How To Start A Blog
Starting a blog might be the perfect side hustle. You can do it on your own time, build multiple passive income streams, meet new people, and unlock tons of new opportunities.
I made over $1 million as a result of launching the Millennial Money blog 4 years ago starting with the following process. (Sign up for my Free 7 Day Blogging Side Email Hustle Course to get the exact strategy I used.)
I’ve also made a ton of new friends and been invited to partner on many new projects that I am excited about.
Here’s how starting a blog has helped me build a richer bank account and a richer life.
You can literally start a blog in less than 10 total clicks. Yup, and if you set up your site on a platform like Bluehost, it automatically walks you through every step of the process, from buying the domain to setting up your website.
How To Start a Blog in 6 Steps
Here are 6 steps to launch your blog in 10 minutes for less than $3/mo:
- Pick Your Blog Niche: Desirable & Descriptive
- Find Your Domain Name: Short & Memorable
- Set-up Web Hosting: I recommend Bluehost
- Set-up Your Site: WordPress & Theme
- Write Your First Post: Woohoo!
- Make Money: Promotion, Ads, and Affiliates
Step 1: Pick a Niche for Your Blog
Before you go about buying a domain name and setting up hosting, you need to decide what topic to write about. While you might change directions or expand the scope of your website down the line, you need to start your blog with a clearly defined focus.
How to choose a blog topic
As you set out to choose a topic for your blog, consider the following:
- Your Passion: Blogging is one place where you should follow your heart. You’re far more likely to stick with blogging when the going gets tough if you’re writing about a subject you love. Not only will your passion motivate you when you’re 15 tabs deep in researching an article topic, but it will show through in your writing and make it that much more engaging. Look at issues that fascinate you, hobbies, your job (if you love it), and your favorite topics of conversation as starting points.
- Your Experience: As I said above, blogging is a learning experience, so you don’t have to be an expert on your subject. That being said, you should pick a topic you’re familiar with. Look at your personal and professional experiences. What unique perspective have you gained from them that you could contribute online? Being knowledgeable about your niche also streamlines the research process and can make your life a whole lot easier.
- The Numbers: There are plenty of affordable tools that can give you an idea of what people are searching for online. You can also look to top-performing bloggers in your niche to see how they’ve found success. You should also research your audience. What kinds of people do you want to attract, and what types of questions do you hope to answer for them? The answers to those questions will help you decide how to build your website and approach the content you write.
- The Money: In addition to researching for creative purposes, you can also analyze top sites to see how much money they make and how hard it will be to compete in a given niche. Some niches are more profitable than others, and if making money is one of your goals, you need to determine whether or not you can build a lucrative career in your field.
Looking at these factors should help you to pick the right niche and narrow down your topic.
Once you’ve landed on a topic, you need to pick a name for your blog.
How to choose the best name for your blog
Choosing a name for your blog is one of the most crucial steps of starting a blog. The name will not only be your URL, but it will also be your brand!
So it’s super important that you come up with a name that you love.
Here are a few strategies to help you craft the perfect name for your site. I recommend you break out a notebook (paper or digital), and get ready to brainstorm.
- Your blog name should be unforgettable. Make it memorable, not too long, and use keywords related to your niche. You want readers to easily remember the name and make their way to your site, knowing what kind of content to expect when they get there.
- Make a list. Start with 10-20 potential names for your blog. With so many websites in existence, you’ll probably find that some of your names are already taken, so you’ll want to have plenty of backups locked and loaded.
- Get Inspiration, if needed. If you’re still stuck, take another peek at some of the competitors in your niche to see what kinds of names they have.
- Think about domain names. Statistics show that domain names with 20 letters or less get more traffic because they are easier to type in and remember. And more traffic means more money!
Step 2: Choose Your Domain Name
A typical formula that I use when coming up with domain names is:
- fun word + word related to your niche + .com
- memorable phrase about your topic + .com
Some of the great domain name examples based on these two formats are:
Once you have a handful of creative titles in mind, you can see whether or not they’re available.
- If your name isn’t available but you really love it, try tweaking it by adding a dash or an article like “the”
- Domains ending in “.com” or “.org” are best
- To help protect your brand down the road, a common practice is to scoop up “.com”, “.org” and “.net” variations of your domain name
Step 3: Set Up Web Hosting
Web Hosting is what makes your new domain name live on the internet. It basically stores all of your site’s content and make it accessible online.
This step might seem daunting, but it can be done in 5 minutes through a quick, hassle-free process.
How to purchase hosting for your blog
You can select the cheapest plan and then upgrade later when you need more bandwidth; however, if you are going to take blogging seriously, you should consider an upgraded package from the start.
Here’s a quick look at the range of packages Bluehost has to offer, for reference:
If you didn’t already, take out the list you made of potential domain names and start searching. Always buy a .com domain – even if you have to search for a new name, the .com will always be more recognizable than some of the other new domain extensions (for example, don’t buy a .space domain!)
The next step is to add in your account and billing information. Here’s an example of what that looks like with Bluehost.
Review the package information and decide what term/add-ons you desire. The more months you purchase in advance, the better your rate will be. Whichever you feel comfortable with will be the best option for you!
Once you enter your payment info and accept the terms of service, you’re all set. Congratulations!
Pro Tip: Have a higher budget?
While BlueHost is inexpensive and a great all around host, the absolute best web host for your new WordPress site is WPEngine. They ONLY host WordPress sites (like millennialmoney.com!) and have the best all around platform, support and customer service. They’ll set everything up for you and resolve any issues you have down the road in realtime via chat/phone/email.
Caution: don’t opt for free hosting if you’re serious about blogging
Free-hosted blogs, like WordPress.com, Blogspot, and Blogger, allow you to build a blog on the spot, free of charge.
While these sites might seem ideal, they come with some major limitations:
- Domain Name: On a self-hosted blog, you don’t actually own your domain. Instead of myawesomeblog.com, your domain name will be myawesomblog.wordpress.com, or Blogspot, or whatever free host you choose. The second title doesn’t quite have the same ring, or air of authority as the first.
- Monetization: Self-hosted blogs seriously limit your ability to make money blogging, hindering you from using affiliate links and ads on your blog.
- Limited features: Self-hosted sites come with far fewer themes, customization options, and plug-ins, keeping you from making your blog your own.
- Ownership: Like your domain name, you don’t actually own your site, meaning the blogging platform could delete it or limit your ability to move your site to another platform in the future.
With a self-hosted blog, on the other hand, the sky’s the limit. You have endless customization options, ways to make money, and true ownership of your blog.
While those features may sound costly, hosting is unbelievably affordable if you choose the right host and package.
Step 4. Set Up Your Site with WordPress
Whereas a host gets your site live on the internet, WordPress helps you build your site.
Why WordPress? It’s the go-to for professional bloggers. WordPress is incredibly easy to use, fast, functional and highly customizable. Loads of free templates and plug-ins are available that can improve your reader’s experience, aid your writing and editing process, and allow you to make more money on your site.
After you secure your domain and hosting, WordPress should automatically install (you don’t need to click anything!).
Choose a theme
If you opted for WPEngine as your web host, you already have access to more than a dozen award-winning themes that can be installed with the click of a button.
Pick a theme that is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and well-suited to your niche. Your readers should be able to easily get to the content they’re looking for from your home page.
WordPress has lots of free themes, but you can also purchase an affordable one there or on a site like ThemeForest.
Familiarize yourself with wordpress
Once you’ve picked a design for your blog, the next step is to get into WordPress so you can start writing your first post!
Bluehost and other platforms which work with WordPress will walk you through a few steps to get your blog rolling. There, you can manage plugins and posts.
Customize your site
Next, I recommend taking some time to design and customize your site.
Before you jump into writing all the blog posts that will fill your site, you may want to set up your main pages.
While posts are the topical articles you probably associate with a blog, pages give your readers some insight into who you are and what your brand is all about.
They might include your:
- Home Page
…and they are often featured in a navigation bar at the top of each page or post.
Take the time to craft some really engaging copy that conveys your passion for the subject and your expertise.
These pages give you the opportunity to display personality and convey the overall message of your brand. They also allow you to connect with your readers beyond the comment section of your blog posts, so make them count!
Once you get these pages in order, you can start writing and preparing to launch your site.
Step 5. Write Your First Post!
To do this in the WordPress editor, you need to find “Posts” in the upper left-hand corner of the page, then click “Add New.” From there, you can add a title, text, images, links, and SEO features like the post’s URL and description.
Your title and URL should include keywords from your post and answer whatever question your users are probably searching for when they come across your post.
Then, you can either publish your post, save it in drafts, or schedule it to be auto-published at a later date and time.
Plan your content
Make your first posts count. Rather than cranking out the first thing that comes to mind or a stand-alone post that won’t have any connections to your other content, start with what’s known as a “pillar piece”.
Pillar pieces of content are foundational, high-level, timeless posts that you can build on with future posts.
Be sure that you have a decent amount of posts ready to go when you publish your site so that anyone who happens across your site will find some quality content there.
Once you feel that your blog is ready to go, just click “Launch your site” in the WordPress dashboard, and voila, you’re live!
If you were to think of your blog as an outline, these posts would be the Roman numerals at the top.
From there, consider building out an editorial calendar to help you keep your due dates on track and formulate a content plan you can easily follow.
Step 6: Make Money
Alright, now that you’ve launched your blog, let’s talk about how you can start making money blogging.
Blogging can be a great side hustle and some bloggers make a lot of money. So can you, but you’re really going to have to hustle.
Like really hustle.
First, you can’t expect too much money from your blog for at least the first 6 months.
During the first 6 months, you will need to spend most of your time writing quality posts and connecting with other bloggers (through guest posting and other networking). Social media is an invaluable asset to new bloggers. Take advantage of it and get your name out there!
In order to make money, you need traffic, and building traffic takes time.
Don’t build a blog; build a money making platform
A lot of new bloggers think they will quickly make money on advertisements and affiliate links (promoting products that pay you a commission), but you need a lot of high-quality traffic to make money with both advertisements and affiliate links.
The fastest way to make money with your blog is to stop thinking about it as a blog and start thinking about it as a platform. I view Millennial Money as my own platform. You should view your blog as a platform, too.
When you build a platform the possibilities for making money with it expand significantly.
Millennial Money allows me to share my personal journey building my net worth from $2.26 to over $1 million in 5 years and wealth building strategies, but it also allows me to build my network, and open new doors to consulting and partnership opportunities.
BUT, because of the network, I have built an audience who companies are trying to reach (Millennials interested in personal finance). So I am able to make money using the Millennial Money platform in a bunch of ways.
And I am coming up with new money making ideas for this platform every day. Here’s an inside look at the ways I make money on my platform.
How I Make Money Blogging
I currently make money on Millennial Money advertising, through affiliate commissions, participating in Twitter chats, reviewing products I test and like, as well as consulting opportunities.
I also reject a lot of money making opportunities to protect the brand. Just recently one Student Loan company reached out and offered me $2,000 to write an article about their new “student loan forgiveness scholarship,” which I declined after researching it.
I also reject a lot of guest post requests from content marketing companies offering $500+ to place an article on Millennial Money.
One piece of advice: don’t sell out and post crappy content. Your readers can tell and it kills your credibility.
Since starting the Millennial Money blog, I have also rejected a $45,000 offer to purchase the domain, landed one large consulting project from a company interested in strategies to target Millennials, and others directly from bloggers who want to grow blog traffic using SEO.
When you view your blog as your platform, the opportunities for making money go well beyond advertising and affiliate revenue. Then as you continue to build a bigger audience and more recognizable brand, the money-making opportunities will continue to expand.
Enroll In My FREE Email Course
To get the exact strategy I used and learn how to make money blogging, sign up for my Free 7 Day Blogging Email Course
Why Do You Want To Start a Blog?
Maybe you want to make money blogging, build a brand, or connect with like-minded people. Or maybe you’re just passionate about writing and want a platform to voice your experiences or talk about what you love.
There are many reasons to start a blog.
Write down your goals. Save this and look back on it when blogging gets tough. Because blogging consistently can be challenging (but it does get easier over time!).
Benefits of Starting a Blog
While blogging can be hard sometimes, it’s a challenge that’s well worth your time and energy.
Here are just a few of the benefits of blogging that make it such an incredible investment.
1. You Can Make Money Blogging
That means once you put in the work to write profitable content, which you’ll learn how to do later in the guide, you can kick back, relax, and watch as your blog continues to make money for you.
2. You Can Work From Home
One of the best benefits of blogging is that it can be done from virtually anywhere. If you have a computer and wifi, your office can be anywhere, or nowhere at all.
Blogging could allow you to travel the world, or stay on the couch while making money. It’s one of the best remote jobs out there.
3. You Can Build a Platform
Blogging gives you a voice and a global platform to make a difference in people’s lives.
It can also help to establish your credibility, opening the doors for you to grow your brand in the future if you choose to write a book or market products related to your blog.
4. You Can Find Community
Blogging provides you with a great way to connect with people. It’s so rewarding to scroll through the comments and find that your content has helped a reader in their personal growth.
You can also learn a lot from your readers and other bloggers in your niche.
5. You Can Learn More About What You Love
Blogging is an awesome learning experience. It challenges you to hone your writing skills, learn more about the world of blogging, and dive deeper into the topics you love.
With those benefits in mind, starting a blog is a no-brainer. Luckily, getting your blog up and running is simple. If you follow the steps in the guide below, you can build a thriving blog, even if you’ve never blogged or built a website before.
Now let’s get down to business!
How Blogging Will Make Your Life Richer
Blogging has changed my life. In fact, the daily discipline of blogging has had profound impacts in many areas of my life, but especially in my financial life.
In order to write quality blog posts, you not only need to share your personal experience, but you also need to do your research.
I learn a ton reading about other financial strategies, which has helped me make small profitable tweaks to my own.
If you want to build wealth and achieve financial independence, the fastest way to do it is to build daily habits that maximize your earning, saving, and investing gains.
Very few people hit it rich, but I truly believe that anyone can become rich through consistent saving and investing habits.
Many studies have shown that you are more likely to accomplish your financial and other life goals if you are held accountable. Starting a blog and connecting with a community is an incredibly effective way to build accountability and build new habits. Both will make your life richer.