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 3 years ago (I’ll show you how below!).

Make sure you 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.

Why Do You Want to Start a Blog?

There are many reasons to start a blog, but before you start yours I recommend you take out a piece of paper, or your phone, and write down why you want to start a blog.

It can be anything. Maybe you want to build a profitable blog, 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.

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.

You Can Make Money Blogging

Blogging can be a great side hustle and eventually become a full-time gig. If you go about blogging the right way, it can become a solid source of passive income.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Let’s dive in!

How To Start a Blog in 5 Steps

Here are the 5 steps to launch your blog in 10 minutes, and for less than $6/month:

  1. Find Your Domain Name: Memorable & Descriptive
  2. Set-up Website Hosting: I recommend Bluehost
  3. Set-up Your Site: WordPress & Theme
  4. Write Your First Post: Woohoo!
  5. Make Money: Promotion, Ads, and Affiliates

Now let’s get down to business!

Starting a blog is easy! You can literally launch 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.

BlueHost Start your blog with Bluehost and get your domain name FREE + receive a 63% discount on monthly hosting fees when using our link. Get Started With Bluehost BlueHost

Step 1: Pick a Name and Niche 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. But before you come up with a name, you need to decide what topic to write about.

Before you go about buying a domain name and setting up hosting, you need to give yourself some direction. 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

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.

First things first, your blog name should be unforgettable. Make it memorable, not too long, and use keywords related to your niche.That way, readers can easily remember the name and make their way to your site, knowing what kind of content to expect when they get there.

I strongly recommend that you keep your domain shorter than 20 letters. It’s statistically shown that domains that have 20 letters or less get more traffic because they are easier to type in and remember.

And more traffic means more money!

Then, go ahead and make a list of 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.

If you’re still stuck, take another peek at some of the competitors in your niche to see what kinds of names they have.

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:

  • MoneyBoss
  • BudgetsAreSexy

Once you have a handful of creative titles in mind, you can see whether or not they’re available.

Quick Tip: If your name isn’t available but you really love it, try tweaking it by adding a dash or an article like “the.”

START SEARCHING FOR YOUR DOMAINS NAMES BELOW.

Don’t spend too much time on this step, because you can always change the domain name at a later time. If you already have your domain name, type it in the “I have a domain name” field and there you go!

 

Step 2: Set-up Website Hosting

Once you find a domain you like, it’s time to buy your domain, set-up your hosting, and install WordPress (the best content management system for bloggers).

Why WordPress

WordPress is the go-to for professional bloggers, and for good reason. For starters, it’s incredibly easy to use for beginners, but it also allows more advanced developers to customize their site and pages to their preferences.

It also comes with loads of free templates and plug-ins that can improve your reader’s experience, aid your writing and editing process, and allow you to make more money on your site.

Last but not least, it looks, and operates, seamlessly. WordPress sites are quick, clean, and highly functional.

How to Purchase Hosting for Your Blog

Choosing WordPress as your blogging platform is step one. Step two is picking, and purchasing, hosting. This step might seem daunting, but it can be done in 5 minutes through a quick, hassle-free process.

Whereas WordPress helps you build your site, a host gets your site live on the internet. It basically stores all of your site’s content, making it accessible online.

While I do recommend using WordPress as a blogging platform, I don’t recommend hosting your site there.

Here’s what I mean. There are two variations of WordPress: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. WordPress.com is a site that offers free hosting, whereas WordPress.org, the one highlighted above, is more or less software that helps you build your own self-hosted blog.

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.

I personally recommend Bluehost, which allows you to select the cheapest plan option and then upgrade later if you need more bandwidth.

But if you are going to take blogging seriously, you should consider an upgraded package.

Here’s a quick look at the range of packages Bluehost has to offer, for reference.

how to start a blog with hosting packages offered by bluehost

 

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.

 

how to start a blog by creating your hosting account with bluehost

 

Then you will want to review the package information and decide what term/add-ons you desire. The more months you purchase, 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!

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Step 3. Set-Up Your Site with WordPress

After you secure your domain, WordPress should automatically install (you don’t need to click anything!).

Choose a Theme

All you need to do next is pick a theme that you really like – there are a ton of designs and more are added regularly.

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.net.

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
  • Contact
  • About
  • Blog

…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 4. 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.

 

how to start a blog post using bluehost

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.

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 posts, commenting on other blogs, 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.

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How I Make Money Blogging

I currently make money on Millennial Money advertising ($1,200/month), through affiliate commissions ($1,500+/month), participating in Twitter chats ($250-$750 each), reviewing products I test and like ($1,000+), as well as consulting opportunities ($500+ per engagement).

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.

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.

Grant Sabatier

Creator of Millennial Money and Author of Financial Freedom (Penguin Random House). Dubbed "The Millennial Millionaire" by CNBC, Grant went from $2.26 to over $1 million in 5 years, reaching financial independence at age 30. Grant has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, NPR, Money Magazine and many others. He uses Personal Capital to manage his money in 10 minutes a month.

Latest posts by Grant Sabatier (see all)

Posted in: Blogging, Side Hustles

48 Comments
    Buy, Hold Long
    Posted Jan 01 2017
    That's fantastic. Good on you for blogging and making it a possible career. That is my end goal, I wish to have this happen to me, one could only hope! I am still new to the game, I am trying to learn and posts like this help me on my way. Appreciate it.
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant @MillennialMoney
      Posted Jan 02 2017
      I'm glad you found it valuable. Best of luck!
    Cameron Curran
    Posted Jan 08 2017
    Wow! What a post, Grant. I truly wish I would've came across this prior to making "Refined & Defined: The gentleman's guide" blog, But this gave me priceless insight. Thank you so much, and I sincerely look forward to reading more of your posts. The knowledge is invaluable.
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant @MillennialMoney
      Posted Jan 09 2017
      Thanks Cameron. Appreciate the positive feedback. I look forward to following your blog as well.
    Dan D Castle
    Posted Feb 20 2017
    I appreciate your approach to help others , I`m starting a blog. thanks.
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant @MillennialMoney
      Posted Feb 22 2017
      Nice. Good luck with your blog! Share it with me when it launches.
    Pradeep Sharma
    Posted Feb 21 2017
    Thanks for sharing your personal views on blogging as well as on finance (making, saving and investing - MSI)
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant @MillennialMoney
      Posted Feb 22 2017
      For sure Pradeep. Thanks for stopping by.
    Harrison Noe
    Posted Mar 01 2017
    Hey! I loved this so much thay I started a blog: Quickly Capable. It is about taking on ridiculously large learning projects in an unrealistically short amount of time, my fist challenge is to see if I can gain fluency with Spanish in a month. I don't expect every challenge to be a success, but that is part of the fun. Thanks!
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant @MillennialMoney
      Posted Mar 01 2017
      Thanks Harrison. Keep me posted! Good luck.
    vijayender tarun
    Posted Mar 13 2017
    what are your thoughts for Blogs about health and fitness, I want to Blog but know nothing about finance. I want to write about health and daily day to day life philosophy (for e.g. motivation and success).
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant @MillennialMoney
      Posted Mar 13 2017
      You can blog about anything. It doesn't have to be finance! The only way to be successful with a blog is blogging about a topic you love, because it is a lot of work. Those sound like great topics!
    Lee
    Posted Mar 17 2017
    Great blog! I'm new to blogging so I really appreciate your info. I have so much to learn.....I definitely will follow you.
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant @MillennialMoney
      Posted Mar 17 2017
      Thanks Lee. Blogging is tough at the beginning, but gets a lot more fun as you find a rhythm, start building traffic, and start making money :) I am most surprised by how natural writing has become - I actually started to crave time to write, which I didn't expect. Now I love it.
    Mich
    Posted Apr 10 2017
    This post, along with just about every other one of yours has been extremely helpful and inspiring. I plan on starting a blog in the near future and I'm trying to pin down exactly what I want my content to be about. I'm very interested in personal finance and wealth building, however I am not sure I am knowledgeable enough on the subject to start writing posts about it. I will continue to read your posts and hopefully find the right direction to take it. Thanks for the insights.
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant @MillennialMoney
      Posted Apr 10 2017
      Thanks Mich. I appreciate the kinds words. You don't have to blog about money - just find a topic that inspires you most that you can keep writing about. That's the key - it will only be successful if you find a topic you love.
    Lara Pumphrey
    Posted Apr 13 2017
    I love your website! I can relate to a lot of your posts. I also have a passion for personal finance too! I just started my blog last week. It has been quite the learning curve. This post helps a lot. Thanks for writing honest, down-to-earth stuff..
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant @MillennialMoney
      Posted Apr 15 2017
      For sure. Thanks for reading Lara. Just checked out your blog - it looks great. I can't wait to follow your journey.
    Grace
    Posted May 08 2017
    Thanks for the great post! I'm a new blogger too and posts like this are super encouraging. This is one to bookmark for sure!
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant @MillennialMoney
      Posted May 08 2017
      Thanks Grace
    Pat @richestmaninlondon
    Posted Jul 02 2017
    great post thanks a lot. I have launched my blog on the back of reading this. please check it out and tweet it if possible. much love
    anny
    Posted Jul 10 2017
    Your post is inspiring and educative... Love it
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant Sabatier
      Posted Jul 14 2017
      Thanks Anny.
    Kristopher
    Posted Jul 28 2017
    awesome post ! Thank you for sharing
    Success 365
    Posted Aug 26 2017
    I've been blogging for a while and in my opinion what you said about 'don't build a blog, build a platform' is spot on. I'm 100% into creating your own products, building a funnel and making your money that way. You're correct when you said that making money from ads and affiliate links requires a lot of traffic. I had a news site. OMG that thing needed loads of traffic to make even a few hundred bucks. I sold it. Nice article.
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant Sabatier
      Posted Aug 31 2017
      Thanks!
    Zachary
    Posted Oct 04 2017
    Thank you for this! Reading this post helped inspire me to start my own blog which I just recently started posting to! Thanks for all that you do!
    Millennial in Medicine
    Posted Oct 15 2017
    This was the best step-by-step guide I've seen to starting and monetizing a blog, It inspired me to start working on mine months ago and thanks to you I was able to launch last week! Thank you. Looking forward to following more great content.
    Daniel Ortiz de la Garza
    Posted Nov 15 2017
    I think this post has just changed my life. A few years ago I was flirting with the idea of starting a blog, and dabbled through blogspotcom. I now understand deeper why the domain part is critical, to build the platform! Thank you!!!! I will be grinding it out the next 6 months to get mine going. Quick question: is there a minimum time you set per day to write for your blog? Just curious the work ethic required to see success...
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant Sabatier
      Posted Nov 18 2017
      Write at least 2-3x a week when you start. Good luck!
    Aparna @ Elementum Money
    Posted Nov 15 2017
    Hey Grant, Had been meaning to check out Millennial Money for long and am glad I finally did. I especially like your point about blogging keeping you accountable in your financial journey. I am personally experiencing this in my blogging journey at Elementum Money where I am also looking to maintain a discipline of 3 posts a week. This post made for a great read. Thanks.
    Jenn Kopec
    Posted Nov 28 2017
    This is one of the best posts I've seen about starting a blog with intent to monetize. I've been trying to find the most simplistic way to do so over the years. I write - ALOT - and have had a few different incarnations of blog types, but now own my namesake domain through Word Press. This is quite frankly one of the most simplistic views for people just starting. I'd love to know if you have a post taking it one step further into the ins and outs of the niche of monetizing a blog!
    Scott
    Posted Jan 23 2018
    I just launched my personal finance blog yesterday and I am so glad that I can enter my thoughts into a little white box with a blinking little line and an article like this pops up. Thanks, Grant, for writing this post and giving me some direction on where to get started with my new blog.
      Grant Sabatier
      Grant Sabatier
      Posted Jan 23 2018
      Thanks Scott. Good luck with your new blog!

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