How To Start A Blog And Make Money Blogging in 2020
You decided to start a blog but you don’t know where to start and how to do it?
Then you’ve come to the right place.
My name is Julieta, nice to meet you! 💕
Keep reading to find a step-by-step guide to starting a blog for free, for beginners.
This guide also includes tips to help you make money with your blog from the beginning, and use it to sell products, promote affiliate links, work with brands, and more.
I know how scary and overwhelming starting a blog can be. That’s why I put together this easy to follow guide to make starting a blog easier and less stressful.
Do a little each day, vow to never stop learning and believe that you CAN DO IT. I’m here to help you.
This post is updated regularly with new information and tools to help you make the most successful, money-making blog ever! Ready? Let’s go!
This blog endorses products I genuinely love, so if you end up making a purchase through one of my affiliate links, I may earn a commission. Learn more here.
Table of Contents
- 0.0.1 How To Start A Blog And Make Money Blogging: The Ultimate Guide
- 0.0.1.1 1- Decide what your blog will be about and choose a name
- 0.0.1.2 2- Set Up A Self-Hosted WordPress Blog and choose a Domain Name
- 0.0.1.3 3 – Set up WordPress
- 0.0.1 How To Start A Blog And Make Money Blogging: The Ultimate Guide
- 1 Amazing!
- 22.214.171.124 4 – Install Plugins
- 126.96.36.199 5 – Connect Google Search Console & Analytics
- 188.8.131.52 6 – Set Up Pages (About, Legal, Contact, etc).
- 184.108.40.206 7 – Write some posts
- 220.127.116.11 8 – Build Your Email List
- 18.104.22.168 9 – Go LIVE!
- 1.0.1 Congrats On Starting Your New Blog Today!
How To Start A Blog And Make Money Blogging: The Ultimate Guide
1- Decide what your blog will be about and choose a name
First things first, you need to pick a niche for your blog.
A niche is a segment within a market that targets a specific group of people.
This means that, instead of writing a blog about everything and for everyone, you need to find one thing to write about. You need to write for one specific group of people.
You need to define your ideal reader (the person you want to write for) and then find out what their interests are, what their biggest problems and struggles and write content that will help them deal with those things.
After deciding on a niche, you can move on and pick a name for your blog.
When picking a blog name you should choose something that’s catchy and easy to remember. You can make a mind map: write down different keywords, topics you’ll write about, some info about yourself like your name, age, a word that best describes you, etc. After you’ve written some keywords start playing with words to see what you can come up with.
2- Set Up A Self-Hosted WordPress Blog and choose a Domain Name
The first step in starting a blog, is choosing your web host.
What Is Self Hosting?
Self-hosting is when you own your own domain, and you pay a company such as Bluehost, or others to allow your site to be viewable and ‘live’ on the Internet.
Paying for this means that you own your website and all of your content – which is extremely important if you want to make money blogging.
Why Self-Host and not a Free Host?
if you are serious about blogging and would like to turn it into a business one day you need to treat it like a business from the beginning and invest in it!
If you want to start a blog to make money you need to keep in mind that it’s very hard to make money on a free blogging platform (like Tumblr or Blogger). Most of them don’t allow you to monetize your blog (or if they do, it’s very limited).
When you pay for your hosting and own your domain, you can monetize your blog, meaning you can run ads, join affiliate programs, work with big brands and even add an eCommerce cart/shopping functionality.
Free sites like Tumblr don’t allow ads, limiting your ability to earn income from your blog as well as limiting just about everything else you will want to do.
Because when you use a free host, you don’t own your website or content, the free host owns it and can shut you out whenever they please. That is why it is so important to self-host when you start a blog.
When choosing a host for your blog, you have many options, but Bluehost is the most popular one, for good reasons.
Bluehost is a great choice for a new blogger, as they make it super easy to set up a website in 5 minutes, and it is cheap!
They offer website hosting starting from only $3.95/month which is super affordable. You also get a free domain name with your purchase and so many other benefits.
If you are interested click here for more information on their pricing and services.
Why you should choose Bluehost:
- WordPress recommends it
- you get a free domain name
- you get a free email
- installation is fast and simple
- they are reliable
- customer support is helpful and fast
How to set up Bluehost:
Setting up Bluehost is super quick and simple. It only takes a few minutes.
You just go to their homepage and click “Get started”.
There you can pick a plan which best suits your needs and click “Select”.
The plan I got is “Basic” which is perfect for bloggers as it’s all you need.
The next step is setting up your domain name, you can create a new one (you get a FREE one with every Bluehost plan) or if you already purchased a domain name just enter it!
Click “next” and you’ll be taken to a new page (see screenshot below) where you have to enter all your account and payment information.
Once you’ve filled in all the information boxes click “Submit” and you’ll be taken to a new page where you’ll create a password for your account!
This will be your login to access all of your website’s foundation content and hosting information, it’s important, so make sure you remember this password.
And make it a good password that no one could guess, as even if you are a small blog, there are still people who will try to hack into it.
3 – Set up WordPress
Setting up WordPress is so quick and easy with Bluehost.
Once you’ve created your Bluehost account click on “Go to login” to start setting up your WordPress website.
After you’ve signed in you’ll see a page that looks like this:
This is where you’ll enter your blog’s name and some other information about your website and what it is about.
Once you’ve done filling in all the fields click “Continue”
The next step is picking a theme for your blog.
You’ll get a list of recommended themes based on the information you entered in the previous step or you can search through different categories like Blog, Food & Drinks, News, etc. and pick a theme you like the most.
Read this for a step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress theme.
When picking a theme keep in mind what kinda content you’ll be sharing on your blog. What will be the focal point of your blog? Photos or text? Pick the theme that best highlights it.
But don’t worry about the theme too much as you can change it anytime!
You’ll be taken to this page:
Click that “Start building button” > “Login to WordPress” to go to your WordPress dashboard. (the screenshot below is how your WordPress dashboard will look like).
Now that you installed WordPress it’s time to play around with your website and customize it.
In the left menu click on plugins > add new and download all the necessary plugins on your website.
How To Install Secure HTTPS
Bluehost now provides free SSL certificates for all assigned and parked domain names set up in your account. This is a security measure that makes your domain work on https (and not just Http) its a requirement for Google. In most cases, the SSL will automatically assign and install itself to your new and existing domains; however, some customers may need to manually enable the certificate.
How to activate your free WordPress SSL Certificate:
- Log into your Bluehost control panel (CPanel)
- Click ‘My Sites’
- Hover over your site and click ‘Manage Site’
- On the next screen, click ‘Security’ and then beside Free SSL Certificate, turn the switch to ‘on’
Once you’ve turned the SSL on, it can take a few hours to install and activate. In some situations, you may need to take action to complete the process. If so, you’ll receive an email with instructions.
Once that is complete, you will have a working SSL certificate for your domain name!
You now have a self-hosted WordPress website that is ready to be monetized!
But before you begin creating blog posts, there are a few necessary tasks we need to do to ensure your website is set up correctly:
4 – Install Plugins
When you first start a new WordPress site, it is very basic, having little to no functions.
You need to add plug-ins to your website to make it complete.
One of the many great things about blogging with WordPress is that you have access to so many great plugins. Plugins are like apps that you install on your site to improve its functions.
Must-Have Free Plugins
These are the free and freemium WordPress plugins that I use the most and recommend to anyone starting a blog.
These are the top free plugins I recommend:
- RankMath SEO
- Askimet Anti-Spam
- Pretty Links
- Broken Link Checker
- Easy Google Fonts
- Shortcodes Ultimate
Essential premium plugins
- Social Pug
- WP Rocket
Learn more about the best (free and paid) WordPress Plugins of 2020.
How To Add A Plugin
The easiest way to add a plugin is to go to Plugins » Add New from your WordPress dashboard and search for the plugin you want.
Then it’s as easy as clicking ‘Install’ and then ‘Activate.’
But you can also upload plugins too.
If you have downloaded a plugin to your computer, here’s how to install it on your blog:
1. You do not need to unzip the .zip file, just leave it as is.
2. Go to your WordPress dashboard and on the left side tab click where it says ‘Plugins’ and click ‘Add New.’
3. On the next screen, you will see a button that says ‘Upload Plugin’ Click that and upload the plugin that you saved to your computer. (You can also use this area to search for new plugins).
4. Once it has uploaded, you can go to your ‘PlugIns’ tab, find where it is and click ‘Activate.’
5 – Connect Google Search Console & Analytics
It’s important that you connect Google Search Console as well as Google Analytics to your website right away.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to connect Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
6 – Set Up Pages (About, Legal, Contact, etc).
Once you set up your blog it’s time to add all the important pages to your blog.
- about page
- contact page
- legal pages
For your about page write a few paragraphs telling your readers who you are and what your blog is about.
On your contact page write your email address where people can contact you or add a contact form.
Now let’s talk abut legal pages!
Having legal pages on your blog is SO important! (and it’s required by law! )
And trust me, you WILL collect their personal data even if you aren’t aware of that. (for example through Google Analytics, and someone’s email address when they leave a comment on your blog).
7 – Write some posts
Now that your blog is all done and you have your legal pages it’s time to write some posts.
Plan out and write at least 5 different posts that will be up when your website goes public.
Write 5 posts that best represent you and your website to show people what they can expect from you.
Take your time with writing these articles, make them the best they can possibly be.
Leaving a good first impression is key to success, you want to make people wanna come back to your blog, you want to make them want more.
And how do you do that?
With great posts they won’t be able to get enough of!
8 – Build Your Email List
Why do you, actually, need to build an email list? Why is an email list that important?
Here are just some of the (many) reasons:
- you own your email list
- it can’t just “disappear” (unlike social media)
- it’s a direct way to communicate with your audience
- it helps you build a more personal relationship with your audience
- helps you get more traffic to your blog (because they are obviously interested in your content when they subscribed)
- an email list is a gold mine for affiliate marketing
- you have full control of the content
If you want, you can jump directly to my Guide on How To Build an Email List from the Beginning, for FREE.
The first step of building an email list is picking an email service provider. There are so many well-known ones out there. Some of them are free, some you have to pay for.
I recommend MailerLite, which, is hands down, the best email service provider I came across.
Did I mention the best thing? MailerLite is FREE for up to the first 1000 subscribers which are super helpful if you’re a new blogger who is just starting out and don’t want to spend a lot of money on your blog.
9 – Go LIVE!
The last step of starting a blog is making it public.
To make your blog public go to your Bluehost dashboard in WordPress and click on “Launch your site”.
Your blog is ready to be seen and read. Great!
After you started your blog it’s time to let the world know about that awesome blog you created!
How do I get traffic to my new blog?
There are only two real ways to get traffic to your blog, they are
Yes, there is also social media and other places but, in my opinion, they aren’t really worth your time. Especially when you’re just starting out.
Learn Pinterest and SEO first and then you can experiment with other things.
Pinterest is the best way to start for new bloggers as you can see results incredibly fast.
If you haven’t already, set up social accounts for your blog. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest are the big ones. It is recommended that you post to social media every day.
How can I make money with my blog?
Once your blog is live it’s time to monetize! So how do you monetize a blog?
Simply put, to monetize means you have added features to your blog that will earn you money.
You should add all of these monetize features to your blog:
- Affiliate Links
- Sponsored Posts
- Own Services/Products
Congrats On Starting Your New Blog Today!
Just think of how happy you will be by this time next year, for starting this blog today!
Remember to take each day in stride, work a little bit each day, and don’t give up. I’m so happy that you have started!