I’ve been blogging for a few years, and I occasionally get questions from people interested in starting their own blogs. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think, and you don’t really need any technical knowledge to get started. I’ll talk about a few ways you can earn money from blogging before getting into a step-by-step blog set up tutorial.
Contains affiliate links. See my full disclaimer.
How Can You Make Money Blogging?
If you’re interested in making some extra income writing about what you love (be it travel, fashion, crafts, home decor, etc.), blogging is the perfect hobby. And you don’t need to sink tons of time into it if you don’t want. It’s true that the more time you invest, the more money you can make, but it doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. I bring in an average of $300-500 per month (my record is $1800 in a month), but I only post 2-4 times in a month. Of course, many bloggers commit more time to it and end up earning $1,000s each month. The flexibility is one thing I love most about blogging.
Ways to make money with your blog:
- Affiliate links: This is my favorite way to make money. I use services like Shareasale and Amazon Affiliates to link to my favorite products in my blog posts. When people purchase anything through my link (even if it’s not the specific item I recommended), I make a small commission. It’s usually 5-7%, and that can really add up. Ebates is another referral program I really like.
- Sponsored posts: This is when brands contact you to try out their products and use them in your blog or social media posts. Some brands will only give you free products, but others will give you free products on top of payment. Payment can range anywhere from $100-2,000 and up. Not bad! Some brands will contact you themselves, but most work through paid blogger networks. I recommend Linqia for newer bloggers because they don’t have a minimum pageview requirement. They’re also my favorite network to work with!
- Ads: I honestly don’t work with ads much (the ads on the top and bottom of my posts are actually affiliate links), but it’s a good way to make extra income from your blog once your pageviews get high enough.
How to Set Up a Blog
I’ll be doing a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up your own blog. It’s super easy, so just follow along and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!
Step 1: Register a domain & sign up for hosting
Bluehost is an awesome web host that I recommend for new bloggers. The price is low and the set up process is a lot less technical than with other hosts. I’ve also been really impressed with their customer service. TIP: You get $10 back on your domain fees through Ebates, so be sure to sign up for an Ebates account first!
First, visit Bluehost and click “Get started now.”
Don’t have a name picked out yet? Not to worry because Bluehost will let you choose your free domain name later. (To prompt this special deal, just move your mouse up to the tab section on your browser like you’re going to close out of the site.)
Fill out your account information.
Next, you’ll need to choose your package. Less than $4 a month is a pretty good investment considering how much you can make through blogging! I also recommend adding Domain Privacy Protection. If you don’t have this, anyone can look up your domain and see your billing address listed. Since your billing address is probably your home address, you definitely don’t want this available for the whole world to see! Adding Domain Privacy Protection will prevent your address from being publicly listed.
Step 2: Add WordPress
WordPress is the gold standard of blogging. It’s powerful but super simple to use. To set up WordPress in one click, just click the Install WordPress button as shown below.
Click “Continue Installation.”
It’ll take you to a quick set up page. Make sure your domain name is correct and leave the directory space blank.
Next, fill out your site’s name and your email, and choose a login username and password for your WordPress dashboard.
That’s it! Now, click the “Admin Login” link to access your new blog’s WordPress login page.
Enter the username and password you chose earlier and click “Log in”
Step 3: Recommended WordPress Settings
Under settings in the left menu, click “General.”
Fill in the information on the General Settings page and click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom.
This is what the bottom half of the General Settings page will look like. Don’t forget to save your changes!
Now this next step is really important for SEO (search engine optimization) and will help Google find your posts better. Under the Settings tab, click Permalinks. Choose the Post Name setting and click the Save Changes button at the bottom of the page. Here’s what it looks like from the new blog I recently set up:
Now it’s time to find a theme! You have a few options here. You can search for a free theme by clicking the Themes tab under the Appearance menu. It’ll show you the few themes that are already installed, but if you click the “Add New” button, you’ll have access to thousands of free (and customizable!) themes.
Your other option is to click the Marketplace link in the top menu. This will let you browse premium themes that you can purchase for your blog.
You may want to write a few posts before you publish your new blog. To publish, just click the link in the notification banner (you should see this on every page).
Other Recommended Blogging Tools
- Boardbooster to supercharge your Pinterest (a great investment because Pinterest is most bloggers’ top referral source!)
- Mailchimp for email newsletters (love their free accounts!)
- A decent camera. My recommendations are the Canon Rebel T5 or more compact Ricoh GR (compact and great for travel bloggers – see my review here)
- Stock photo downloads from Etsy or free photo downloads from Pixabay