Hi, I am Lan. Today, I will walk through the process step-by-step, from choosing a niche, domain name, and hosting to installing WordPress – all you need to learn how to start a blog.
UPDATE: I successfully negotiated a borderline genius discount with Bluehost for my readers! Now, you can set up your blog for as low as $2.95/mo, which is 50% off of its original price. Plus, this price comes with a FREE domain name!
Click here to get started with Bluehost, then, follow my easy step-by-step tutorial below.
WHY START A BLOG?
Two years ago, I was trying just about everything to make money for my family.
We traveled from Las Vegas to D.C. to take a job that paid 10% more than what I made in Las Vegas. The money wasn't enough though to make ends meet.
Imagine living on low single income near Washington, D.C. (crazy expensive city). I felt like things wouldn't get better.
In 2015, I started this blog to see if I could make money. After all, blogging is a low cost, zero risk way to make money the way other bloggers do.
I made $600+ on my third month of blogging. Zero blogging, coding, and technical experience and I still made almost $10,000 a year after I started it.
Now, I make over $20,000/mo and blog less than 5 hours/mo. You can see my income reports here. I anticipate doubling my blog earning this year.
To cut the story short, I started blogging because I wanted to make money while sharing my thoughts on personal finance.
A lot of people told me I wouldn't make it pass 6 months since the personal finance field is super saturated already.
I found my voice and the money started flowing in. If you think your chosen niche is saturated, remember there's always room for you. Don't believe in the naysayers. They suck.
For other people, they start blogging because:
- It's a way to express themselves;
- It's a way to be an authority in their areas of expertise;
- It's a way to create a business without selling T-shirts, knockoff bags, multi-level marketing, etc., and;
- other reasons.
WHAT HAS BLOG DONE FOR US?
Aside from making money for us, we've managed to buy a house, a van for our growing family, fully fund our retirement, put money to our kids' college funds, funded our emergency funds, among others.
As an immigrant from the Philippines, I can say that my family is truly living the American Dream because of blogging.
We now wake up in the morning and live the best life we've ever dreamed of. We no longer worry about money. We now have more time with our kids – the most important thing for us. #nomoremoneyproblems
Today, I want to show you how you can start your blog and live the life you've always wanted.
Absolutely, anyone can make a living from a blog and have the best life ever. If I was able to do it, so can you. I firmly believe you'd get your return on investment quickly. It might be less than a week like many of my blogger friends did.
In this tutorial, I am going to talk about starting a blog the ONLY way you should – through Bluehost.
It is beyond cheap. For $2.95/mo, you can have a blog in 15 minutes or less. That's less than a Starbucks coffee.
It guarantees its products. If you sign up for 12 months or more and feel that it's not for you, ask for a full refund within 30 days of purchase. No questions asked.
It gives FREE domain. You'd be paying $12 aside from the monthly hosting fee using other hosting companies.
There isn't really any risk to go for Bluehost. If you don't think it's a fit for you, you get your money back. I believe in Bluehost that I just signed up for a 3-year extension with it to 2019.
It is without a doubt user-friendly and offers top notch customer service. I am dumb when it comes to technical blogging stuff, but Bluehost and its team are there when I need them. They're there for me 24/7 all the time.
The page speed is unbelievably fast. For a dirt-cheap price of $2.95/mo, you'd think the page speed is slow. Naaah! It's blazing fast. Slow page-speed site means loss of readers and loss of revenue. That never happens to me with Bluehost. See page speed images below.
THERE ARE FREE HOSTING PLATFORMS, HELLO.
Can I start a blog for free? Of course, you can.
Some people like to use free websites like Blogspot and WordPress.com (that’s different from WordPress.org).
That’s cool, but if you intend on monetizing or making money on your website, I suggest that you go with the Bluehost route. Here is a summary of what you can't do with free sites and what they look like:
- No monetization. You can't monetize your blog (You can't make money, in short).
- Limited customization. You can't freely design your blog the way you want it to.
- No support. When your blog crashes, freezes, etc. good luck. No support team will help you.
- Page loads as slow as a sloth. Forget about a turtle. Your blog will load so slow; readers will fly away from your blog faster than the speed of light.
- No successful bloggers. I haven't found a single successful blogger who is using FREE platforms.
Actually, I had a blog back in my graduate school days. I kept it for a year, but I never saw a dime come in my way.
That's how bad my experience was with free sites.
Between a free blog and a blog that only costs $2.95/mo, going for paid hosting through Bluehost is a knockout choice.
HOW DO BLOGGERS MAKE MONEY?
That's the million dollar question.
There are a couple of ways to make money from a blog, depending on what your niche is. Here are some ways you can start earning money:
- Use display ads
- Allow businesses to write sponsored posts on your website
- Use affiliate marketing <— most likely the best one
- Create and sell your products
- Do consulting work
For newer bloggers, I always say that the easiest way to earn money is through display ads (i.e., Google Adsense) and affiliate marketing (i.e. promoting a product or including a product link to your posts). These two ways are possible even when you don't have a lot of traffic coming in.
That said, to be accepted to these networks, your blog needs to have published posts in it. Both display ad and affiliate marketing agencies will look at your overall blog, which includes the contents (i.e., your posts).
Once you gain more readers and your page views are increasing, you can start thinking about adding more value to your blog.
You can start selling your own products, do consulting, entertain bigger and higher-paying affiliate networks, among others.
All of these money-generating schemes typically comes after months or years of building your reader base and creating a ton of quality posts.
HOW TO START A BLOG: STEP-BY-STEP TUTORIAL
Now, it's time to flex those muscles as we embark on a new life for you, that is, blogging. In short, let's get started. This tutorial will teach you how to start a blog in less than 15 minutes or even less.
Step 1: Choose your niche
Ask yourself these questions to narrow your blog topic:
- What do you like to share with your readers?
- What are you passionate about and like to write about?
- What skills and experiences you have that you can share with your readers?
- Do you have tips and tricks that readers may find helpful to them?
I like personal finance and have experiences on debt, money struggles, money success, etc. That's why I chose personal finance niche.
Choose the niche that hits home. It's easier to write something that you're comfortable and familiar with.
Step 2: Register a domain
The second step on how to start a blog is to figure out what your blog or domain name would be (I used thepracticalsaver as my domain name). You can get your domain name for FREE directly through Bluehost as long as you sign up for 12 months or more.
A lot of people get the words domain name, web hosting, and WordPress mixed up a lot of times. To avoid confusion, here's what they are:
- Domain (Name): It is your blog's name (i.e. in my case, domain name is www.thepracticalsaver.com)
- Web hosting: This is where your blog server is. In my case, Bluehost serves as my web hosting platform, which means I rent out Bluehost's server for just $2.95/mo.
- WordPress: It is what you use to create your blog's layout, posts, pages, contents.
Finding the right domain name can be frustrating and difficult, but it shouldn't be. When your blog is up and running, people will remember more of your contents and less of your blog's name.
But of course, your blog's name is your storefront and should reflect who you are. Take your time, but stay 20/20 clear of the big picture, that is, contents and monetization.
Step 3: Get familiarized with Bluehost and the cost
I can’t stress enough why you would be better off paying for web hosting than getting a free one. When you go to the Bluehost site, you will see three options. These options are Starter, Most Popular, and Business Pro.
- Purchase the Starter option. This is all you need to start your blog. It’s cheap, and it serves your basic needs for hosting. You can always change to Plus and Business and just pay the price difference. That's it.
- Number of web hosting years. You have the option to choose 12, 24, or 36 months. Of course, 36 months will give you cheapest cost per month. You'll get the price of $2.95/mo when you sign up for 36 months. But for those starters, a 12-month hosting is enough from now. For 12 months, you are looking at paying $59 per year. Not bad at all considering you still get a lot of freebies. The best value, however, would come from purchasing a 36-month plan since your monthly rate is much lower over the long run. This would only run you around $106 for 3 years. Wow! That's still a steal.
- Other options. These are optional features that carry costs. I would recommend availing the ‘Domain Privacy Protection’ for $0.99/mo, and that’s about it.
I would stay away from month-to-month because you won’t get the FREE domain and you will constantly have to renew your service month after month. Plus, if you don't renew your hosting, then, your website will be down and risk losing traffic, readers, and revenue. That's a blogger's worst nightmare. Also, it's more expensive to go month after month.
Step 4: Dive in and create your Bluehost account
Now that I’ve introduced you to Bluehost, you can now follow the steps (below) when you are ready to create your blog.
a. Go to Bluehost. Click “Get Started Now” button.
Make sure you open another browser to go Bluehost so you can go back to this tutorial.
b. Choose the option you like to purchase. Then, hit ‘select'.
Next, choose the plan that best works for you. You don’t need anything more than the BASIC plan.
Note that the lowest price of $2.95 per month is if you sign up for the longer contract term of 36 months (paid up front). We recommend you go ahead and take advantage of this low pricing plan, and here’s why:
- You can cancel it risk-free. Bluehost offers a guarantee, and you can cancel your plan at any time during the first 30 days and get a full refund.
- No price increase. Your rate won't go up, and it is locked in for 36 months. Locked in means the price won't change, but you are not in a contract.
e. Scroll a little bit down and select the package you wish to purchase. If you are just starting your blog, the basic one is all you need.
Once done, scroll down and put in your credit card information. This is a secured site. You do not need to worry about your credit card information's safety. Read and agree to the terms and condition. Then, hit ‘submit'.
Step 5: Set up WordPress On Your Blog.
Actually, Bluehost eliminated a ton of steps. Kudos to Bluehost.
Here are the processes:
Once you make the payment, you will be prompted to create your password.
a. Click “create your password”.
c. Click ‘login' to get into your account. WordPress will automatically be installed (see 2nd pic below) into your account.
Congratulations! You've just finished the step on setting up your blog, creating your WordPress account, and logging into it.
See. Learning how to start a blog is simple. You are done and now ready to start working on your blog and start monetizing.
WordPress Tips and Tricks
I had not been familiar with WordPress or WordPress Hosting before using it, so, I had to do a ton of work to understand what WordPress has. Here are basic tips and tricks and terminology that can and will be valuable to you.
- Login. When you want to login to your WordPress account, always go to WordPress Admin Page.
- Posts. Posts are what you use to create your blog content. Posts are entries listed in reverse order, that is, new entries come on top.
- Categories. Categories are created as a way to group your own posts. In simpler terms, these are general topics for your site. These are your top-level ID on where your content falls under. For example, I wrote “How To Make Six Figures A Year”. This post falls under the Money Category.
- Tags. Tags are created to describe specific details about your posts. While the category for the sample post “How To Make Six Figures A Year” is Money, the tags are Finance, Income, Network, and Savings because these four words are the main focus in this specific post. Think of tags as site’s index words.
- Plugins. You’ll hear a lot about plugins as you go through the process of building your own blog. A plugin is a software that contains functions that can extend functionality or add features to your blog. Some of the plugins I use are related to email subscription, social media plugin intended for sharing your posts, and WordPress optimization.
- Widgets. I confused myself with plugins and widgets, at first. But they are different. Widgets are small blocks that perform specific functions. They are placed in your sidebars. For example, currently, I have social media plugin for subscription, search bar, and popular/latest/tags widgets on my sidebar.
$2.95/mo to start your blog. Free Domain.
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If you ever find yourself in any Bluehost or WordPress problem, please contact me. I am here to help you get your blog up and running. I may not respond quickly, but I will respond to your inquiries as soon as possible. Contact me at [email protected].
Thanks and happy blogging. Now, you are ready to start a blog.