This is a guide on steps you need take to start a monetizable blog. Before I started a blog I put in a lot of research. Believe me. I have learned through trial and error how to start a blog the right way. This is for absolute beginners.
Most people I have seen tell you to pick a niche first before you do anything. And this may be the reason people start in the first place. You might want to have a Mommy Blog or a Fashion Blog, but it is completely okay to not know where your content is heading.
Instead, I propose that before you do anything, ask yourself “Do I want to make money blogging?” If you would like to make money, whether it is a full-time job or a few cents for the hobby, you need to be self-hosted. If not I recommend WordPress.com. It is completely free and requires little effort to set up. All you do is sign up, pick a theme, customize, and post.
However, this guide is for those who wish to make some money.
Step 1: Choose a Host.
A website host is the way that your website is connected to the Internet. Personally, I recommend Bluehost. I have used it for two separate websites and have never had a problem. Others may tell you to start with a higher end package when starting web-hosting, but you honestly don’t need it. There is not going to be an overwhelming amount of traffic, and the perks are unnecessary when starting out. If you later feel that it is you can easily upgrade. I choose the 36-month contract because not only is it the least expensive monthly rate (which is charged once at the beginning) but it allows me to have 3 years between renewal, so I don’t have to remember. I have seen other people recommend other Hosting Providers but have not used them, so can not give them a fair review. Disclaimer: I am a Bluehost Affiliate, therefore if you use my link and purchase services I have a chance that I could make a commission.
Once you start you can choose a domain name. This is the title of your website, and how people will find you. On my “About Me” page I explain why I chose mine. I went with something more tied to my personal identity instead of a particular niche, however, if you know exactly what audience you want it may be helpful to attract them with an appealing domain for that category.
For a full and detailed tutorial on Bluehost setup, I recommend checking out “Bluehost Beginner’s Guide” on Website Setup.
Step 2: Choose a Platform.
Bluehost has a one-click installation for WordPress.org which is what I use and recommend. If you are particular about launching quickly with all the little details the way you want it, you can test out themes on WordPress.com first to get a feel for what you like before making any financial commitment. I am currently using the Theme Pique. I didn’t find it necessary to purchase a theme when there are perfectly good themes available for free. It also allows you to change your mind later without regretting spending money.
Step 3: Become Searchable.
After you are done be sure to publish the site so that the page can be found using the URL, not a “website under construction” page. In order for people to be able to find your website, you must add it to search engines. Search engines like Google, and Bing.
Now that people can find your website by looking for you using search engines it is time to focus on where the majority of your traffic will come from. Social Media is the main source of traffic. Even more so, bloggers typically have the majority from Pinterest. Here is where it gets more laboursome. In order for people to want to see your post it must seem interesting to them. Post images are important to draw people in to click and read. I use Photoshop Elements 11, but I have had this program for years and you don’t need something so expensive. Any tool that allows you to put text over images will do. I personally don’t recommend using stock images because it can lead to trouble in the future if you aren’t too careful. On top of this you can use Instagram, Twitter, Facebook to name a few. But do not spread yourself thin. I recommend focusing on 2-3 so you don’t burn out or have to much repetition.
Step 4: Monetize.
Do not, I repeat do not go crazy with monetization. The methods I use to monetize are listed in my “Full Disclosure” page. I recommend starting with Google Adsense and Amazon Affiliates. There are ads on my blog in order to make some form of revenue from page views, but the more ads you place the busier your blog will look and the more overwhelming it will become for readers. I suggest 1 add on your sidebar if you have one, and 1 on each post, unless they are very long, then 3 maximum. Amazon Affiliates is not an intentional way to make money on my part, but I use it because if I mention a product I like to link to it incase someone else would like to try it. Amazon has so many products and is a reliable website. I would never send someone to a website I don’t trust using myself.