How to Start a Blog That Makes Money

How to Start a Blog in 11 Steps

  1. Discover your niche
  2. Find the perfect domain name
  3. Pick the best web host
  4. Install WordPress
  5. Pick an eye-catching WordPress theme
  6. Install WordPress plugins
  7. Install Google Analytics
  8. Set up your email list
  9. Pick a blogging cadence
  10. Build an audience
  11. Monetize your blog

Step 1: Discover your niche

1. What am I interested in?

  • Talents. Is there something you’re naturally talented at? Maybe a sport, game, or musical instrument.
  • Knowledge and skills. What skills and knowledge have you built up over the years? Maybe there’s something you went to school for that you can write about now. Think academic subjects or skills like languages and car repair.
  • Career. Your current career can be a fantastic place to write about. For example, if you’re a developer for a startup, you can start blogging about front-end development or the tech industry.
  • Interests. Is there a topic you just love learning about? Think about the things you do in your free time. Maybe it’s reading books, or working on your fantasy novel, or repairing that old car in your garage. This can be great topics to write about in your blog.

2. What are other people interested in?

  • Personal finance
  • Fitness
  • Online business
  • Investing
  • Productivity
  • Real estate
  • Careers
  • Test prep
  • Freelancing

Step 2: Find the perfect domain name

  • Bad news: Most of the very “best” domain names are already taken.
  • Good news: That doesn’t matter because we’re going to find the best one for you.
  • Keep it short. Don’t force potential visitors to have to type a bunch of words to visit your website. We recommend no more than 14 characters.
  • Choose a .com, .org, or .net. These are the easiest ones for people to remember.
  • Easy to spell and pronounce. You don’t want to spell it out constantly for people when you mention your blog’s domain.
  • Avoid numbers and hyphens. Not only does it look clunky in the URL but it’s also difficult to type out when you add hyphens.
  • Use your name. It’s pretty likely that your name is available as a domain. That makes it the perfect choice for a personal blog. I’ll speak more on this later.
  • Use a blog name generator. You might not find the perfect domain name but you’ll get plenty of inspiration from it.
  1. Search until you find an available domain. I highly recommend you do this until you find a domain that’s available.
  2. Purchase a domain name. While it is possible to buy a domain from someone who already has it, that’s an advanced option and can get expensive fast. Low-quality domains will usually go for a few thousand dollars. Highly quality domains that are two words can easily go for $10,000 to $50,000. I’ve even been in discussions to purchase domains for over $100,000 and the really hot ones can break seven figures. Not to mention all the hassle that comes from finding the person who owns the domain, negotiating with them, and transferring the domain if you can get an agreement.

Using your personal name as the domain

  1. Scalability. It’s much more difficult to recruit other writers or grow your blog beyond your personal identity later on.
  2. Sellability. Personal blogs, even if they’re generating serious cash, are much harder to sell. Prospective buyers want a site that isn’t dependent on a single person.

Step 3: Pick the best web host

Step 4: Install WordPress

One-Click Install on Bluehost

  1. Log into your Bluehost account.
  2. Open My Sites on the side menu.
  3. Click Create Site.
  4. Enter your blog’s name and tagline. Click Next.
  5. Choose the domain you want to install WordPress on.
  6. Choose the directory you want to install it on. Click Next.

One-Click Install on WPEngine

  1. Log into your WP Engine account. Click Installs.
  2. Click Add Install in the nav bar.
  3. Enter your blog’s name and tagline. Click Create Install.

Step 5: Pick an eye-catching WordPress theme

Step 6: Install WordPress plugins

  • Akismet — Required for every blog, it automatically filters a ton of comment spam which is a problem for every blogger. This is one of the few plugins that I happily pay to upgrade.
  • Yoast SEO — The most highly recommended SEO plugin, it handles a bunch of SEO tasks automatically for you and also makes on-page SEO tasks a lot easier.
  • Contact Form 7 — The most popular contact form out there. Set up a contact page on your site and then use this plugin to create a contact form that will email you any time someone fills out the form. Super easy.
  • TinyMCE Advanced — A bunch of improvements to the WordPress editor that makes writing in WordPress a lot easier. These days, I usually skip this one. I write all my posts in Google Docs and then format them in WordPress using its default HTML editor.
  • WP Super Cache — A good plugin to speed up your site.
  • MailChimp for WordPress — More on this below. It’s the easiest way to connect your WordPress site to a MailChimp account, create an email sign up form, and start collecting email subscribers.
  • WordPress Popular Posts — Easiest way to add a list of your most popular posts to your blog sidebar. The list will update automatically.

Step 7: Install Google Analytics

  • See how many people are visiting your website
  • Find the demographic info of your visitors
  • See what blog posts and pages are receiving the most visits

Step 1: Log into Google Analytics

Step 2: Create your Google Analytics Account

Step 3: Choose what you want to measure

Step 4: Fill in the property details

Step 5: Copy and paste the tracking code onto your site

Step 8: Set up your email list

Step 9: Pick a blogging cadence

  • At the bare minimum, find a way to post once per week. This needs to be a substantial post, too: 2,000 words at least. I recommend you start here.
  • Serious bloggers will post 2–3 times per week.
  • Larger sites quickly get to 5–7 posts per week. This requires multiple authors.
  • The heavy hitters who push things to the limit will do 25–50 posts per week. No joke, this is for large businesses using content marketing as their primary customer acquisition channel. HubSpot is a classic example of this.

Step 10: Build an audience

  • Always post at least once per week. Never skip a week.
  • Start posting 2–3 times per week if you can.
  • On every post, push on quality as hard as you can. Google the topic and see what other people have done, then ask yourself how you can write something even better.
  • Write stuff that hasn’t been written to death already. Find a new take or perspective on your topics that other people haven’t already covered.
  • Find your voice and be authentic so people can get to know you. This builds connections with your audience faster. A quick hack for this is to pretend that you’re writing your posts to a close friend.
  • To push even harder, get active in other online communities. Post in Facebook groups, subreddits, on Twitter, do podcast interviews, get speaking engagements when you can — anything and everything. Be as helpful as you can be in these communities.
  • For all of your content, constantly ask yourself, “How can I make this as valuable as possible?

Step 11: Monetize your blog

  • Infoproducts. Online courses, webinars, e-books, etc.
  • Affiliate programs. You work with a brand to promote their products and you get a cut of any sales.
  • Freelancing and consulting. You use your blog as a platform to find clients and customers for your own services.

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I am a freelance writer with experience in the following niches: automobile, lifestyle, travelling & adventure, medical, health, education, and technology

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Ian johnson

Ian johnson

I am a freelance writer with experience in the following niches: automobile, lifestyle, travelling & adventure, medical, health, education, and technology

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