How to Start a Successful Blog (Without Pulling Your Hair Out)

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One of the most common questions I’m hit with when someone finds out I have a blog is HOW to start a blog. These days it’s become so easy to get started, but can also be a little confusing for those of us who aren’t exactly “tech-savvy.” Starting a blog was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and has become our family’s main source of income in just a short period of time. Learn how to start a blog in 5 easy steps!  Follow this step-by-step guide to discover the tactics I used to start and grow my blog into a full-time income. 

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When I started this blog as a hobby in 2018, I had no expectations for it: I simply wanted to create a space that was my own, and was fun! But, then 2020 happened, and like many of us our family was searching for a way to protect our future in case we were to lose our jobs.

I turned this little hobby blog into a full-time income in less than 6 months, and along the way was shocked to discover just how EASY it really is to do. (If you’re curious, you can read more about my story here.)

Starting a blog has given us financial freedom. It’s helped us pay off credit card debt, buy a new house, be able to spend more time with our children and live a life we truly love. I only wish I had discovered blogging earlier!

Note: Some links may be affiliate links. That means I may make a commission if you use my links to purchase, at no extra added cost to you! I only recommend products that I personally love and believe in. Full disclaimer here.

How to Start a Blog That Makes Money

There are a ton of options out there when it comes to starting your own blog. This post is specifically directed toward those of you who not only want to start a blog, but want to start a MONEY-MAKING blog. Yep, you can absolutely make a real income from blogging, but you need to set yourself up for success in order to get there!

Starting this blog was one of the best decisions I made, and it may be for you too. Within just a few months of launching my blog I began bringing in income. A blog is a perfect way to generate passive income, and can also be an incredible way to bring in a full-time income as well.

The best part? You can get started in 15 minutes or less with NO technical experience! Just follow each easy step below.

Step 1: Choose Your Blog’s Niche

If you’re sitting there scratching your head wondering what a niche even is or why it matters so much, I was in those same shoes! I started this blog 100% as a hobby and wrote about anything and everything that crossed my mind. And no one read it haha

There’s a reason why everyone says “you need a niche:” your blog needs to be cohesive, and make sense to visitors. Whether you are writing about parenting, underwater basket weaving, baking or clothing for cats, what matters is that you have a topic that not only YOU want to write about, but that there is an audience searching for.

Trying to figure our your niche? Your ideal blogging niche falls at the intersection of your passion, experience and skills. What’s the most important piece? YOU.

When choosing your blog niche, a great place to start is to think about:

  • Where you may already have experience.
  • What you want to teach/write about.
  • Any leverage or value you already have in an industry

Step 2: Get a Domain Name and Self-Hosted Platform

Once you’ve decided on your niche, the next thing you need to do is pick your domain name! Your domain name is also known as your URL, and is what visitors type in when they visit your website.

Your domain name should be memorable and not unnecessarily long. Ideally, you want it to be easy to spell and make sense to visitors who land on your website. You also want to avoid hyphens and numbers, as that can confuse visitors.

For example, www.ilovecats.com is a simple, easy to understand and type domain name. One like www.I-luv-kittykats.com isn’t as user friendly.

Once you have a name that you like, you need to sign up for hosting for your website.

In order to start your own blog that is set up to make money, you need to be on a self-hosted platform. I recommend using WordPress through Bluehost because they are experienced (over 2,000,000 websites on their servers!), their customer service is fantastic (hello 24/7 support), and they are easy to navigate.

(Side note: a few folks have asked me why they need to pay for a hosted website, when there are free sites out there like Wix. Here’s why:

Wix in particular has been de-indexed by Google multiple times, which means no search traffic. With non-self-hosted blogs, you are limited on your monetization because they limit your advertising options. You are limited on space and bandwidth, are very limited on how you can design your blog, and are unable to use all the plugins and widgets necessary to create a site that can make money. You also don’t own your platform and you should never build a business you don’t own.)

Bluehost makes it super easy to get started. Here’s how:

Step 1: Click HERE to get started with a special rate from Bluehost.

Step 2: Choose your hosting package. There are 4 choices for packages, but for most people the Basic option is totally fine.

I personally chose the Choice Plus option (which through my link is only $5.45 a month instead of the regular $14.99), and I really recommend this option if you have the budget because it really does have the best value. It includes domain privacy, spam protection and code guard, all of which are fantastic options to keep your blog private and secure.

Step 3: Enter your domain name.

Step 4: Create your account.

Congratulations!! You are now officially a blog owner! 

Step 3: Start a Blog By Installing WordPress

As I mentioned above, if you want to be successful as a blogger, you need a self-hosted blogging platform. WordPress is the best, and the option chosen by both beginning bloggers and many, many top bloggers too!

The good news? Bluehost makes it incredibly easy to install WordPress with a one-click install right from your new hosting dashboard.

Once you’ve installed WordPress, the next thing you’ll want to do is choose a theme. Luckily, WordPress has dozens to choose from, including some great free ones! Choose your theme, and you’re ready to start building and customizing!

If you want some extra help with actually launching your blog, I teach a 100% free course on how to get your WordPress site ready to go! Click here for more information.

Step 4: Create Fantastic Content for Your Blog

Woohoo! You’ve officially started your blog and are ready to start blogging. Here’s the most important thing to know first:

While blogs were once more like online journals where you could write anything and gain a following, they don’t really work that way anymore. Instead, blogging success is now very driven through Google search engine trafic.

So, how can you be successful? Create each blog post around one main target keyword. Include it in the title of your post, in the first paragraph, throughout the actual blog post and ideally in the blog post’s URL.

So for example, this blog post’s target keyword is “how to start a blog.” That keyword is in the URL, in the title of the post, in the first paragraph and spread throughout this blog post.

You also want to create posts that people are searching for. While it might be more fun to write first person narratives about your life or challenges, think through the kinds of things YOU are searching for.

Want more help with this? Be sure to sign up for my Free Blogging Crash Course here!

Step 5: Promote Your Blog and Build a Marketing Strategy

There are multiple ways to promote your new blog. Ideally, you want to create as many new links to your blog as possible!

Links are like the currency of the Internet and search engines. The more links there are directing people to check out your blog, the more Google begins to take your blog as a serious website and starts ranking your posts.

Here are some great ways to promote your blog:

Guest Blogging: Not only is guest blogging a great way to promote your blog, but it’s also an awesome way to build authority, meet other bloggers and get backlinks.

Share on social media: Do you have Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or YouTube? These are great places to share your new blog posts!

Pin on Pinterest: While Google is still where you want the majority of traffic to come from, Pinterest is also a fantastic place to build traffic. In fact, Pinterest is now thought of as the top “visual search engine.”

How to Start a Blog: Summary

As I hope you were able to see in this post, starting a blog is actually pretty easy and a lot more simple than many people think.

To recap, the 5 steps for starting a blog are:

  • Choose a niche.
  • Pick a blog name and web hosting.
  • Install WordPress.
  • Create fantastic content that people are searching for. 
  • Promote your blog. 

Remember, if you want extra help or support with getting your blog launched, be sure to check out my Free Blogging Crash Course here.

What questions do you have about how to start a blog? Let me know in the comments!

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