How to Start a Blog and Make Money – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide 2020
So, you want to start a blog? That’s a great idea!
Below, you will find a step by step guide on how to start a blog and make money, in less than 15 minutes!
No technical skills and coding are required from you.
Yes, it’s so simple and easy!
You just have to follow our beginner’s guide, and very soon you will be able to start your blog or website.
A web space where you will be able to: express yourself, expose your passions or your hobbies, establish your business, provide the latest news or trends, teach others, sell your products, offer your experience or your services, and much more…
In other words, to do whatever you like and at the same time, make a profit!
Sounds ideal, Huh?
So, let’s start.
First, let’s cover some of the most commonly asked questions.
Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through a link. We want to ensure you that we only recommend high-quality products or services we use, trust, and love, and we believe will add value to our readers.
What do I need to build a website?
You’ll need 4 things to start your blog or your website.
First of all, you will need an “idea”.
You will have to decide what your blog will be about (niche).
Choose something that you love, that you are passionate about or something that you have real knowledge for.
Or all of the above.
Let’s say you want to start a food blog to share some special recipes of yours. You need to be specific to stand out of the crowd because there are thousands of food blogs not to say millions…
The more specific you are, the better the ranking you will receive on Google. So It’s better to start, for example, a vegetarian food blog or a low-carb recipe food blog or the perfect Pizza food blog. You get my point!
Of course, the name that you will choose should be relevant to your content.
Secondly, you will need a domain name
A (.com) domain name usually costs about $12-$15 annually. Likely, you can get a free domain name
if you open a web hosting account to Bluehost here.
Also, you will need a Web hosting provider.
All websites on the internet need hosting.
Let’s say that web hosting will be your website’s home on the internet. Practically, it is the place where your website files are stored.
And finally, you will need a Website platform
in other words, a website builder to set up your blog.
Which is the best website platform?
There are many available, website builders that will help you set up your blog. We propose the use of WordPress as your blog platform (wordpress.org).
WordPress is the most famous website platform in the world. Over 85 million websites are powered by the WordPress platform, and 99.9% of the successful bloggers use only that.
WordPress is by far the most reliable tool on the web market.
It is free (which is great!) and comes with thousands of free website themes, plugins, and tools that will help you create an easy (without any coding knowledge), beautiful, factional, SEO friendly, and mobile-optimized blog.
We use WordPress to build all our websites, and we highly recommend it.
How much does a WordPress Website Cost?
WordPress is free, but you’ll have to pursue your domain name and web hosting, which costs money.
A typical blog or website can cost as low as $50 per year and as high as $25,000 per year or even more…
I recommend you to start with a small budget.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to build a website for less than $60/year (the amount you will spend for a domain name and a web hosting account).
Of course, there are free alternatives, like Blogger, Tumblr, and wordpress.com (the free hosting platform).
BUT the “free” is not so “free” after all…
1. You won’t be able to have your domain name
On a free blog, your blog’s web address (your URL) will be like this:
- yourblogname.wordpress.com, or
It certainly looks ugly and unprofessional.
- You can’t monetize your blog so you can’t have a profit
Free blogs have a lot of limits. For example, you can’t fully monetize them. They also limit the number of photos and videos you can upload. You won’t even have access to the free themes offered by WordPress.
- You don’t own your blog
Your blog doesn’t belong to you. It’s hosted on someone else’s web property, and they can do whatever they want with it! They have the right even to delete it! This means all the hard work you’ve done on your blog might vanish within seconds.
Not to mention that if you want to switch from a free platform to WordPress in the future, it will cost you money, time, and followers.
On the other hand,
With a self-hosted WordPress blog on your domain name,
- You are the owner of your blog.
- You’ll be able to name your blog, for example, “YourName.com”.
- You can choose a free WordPress theme and upload unlimited posts, pictures, and videos.
- Last but not least, you can monetize it (which practically means to put ads, reviews, and sponsored links) and make a profit.
Bottom Line – We highly recommend a self-hosted WordPress blog.
How to Start a Blog and Make Money (2019)
- Get a Domain Name
- Choose a Web hosting
- Set up your Hosting Account
- Install WordPress
- Customize your Blog – Install a Theme
- Write your First Post
STEP 1: GET A DOMAIN NAME
Choosing a Domain
As we’ve already said, your domain name is your website’s address on the internet.
This name is what your users will type in their browsers to reach your website (for example, youtube.com).
A few tips for making a good Domain Name choice when starting your blog:
- Don’t use anyone’s copyright or trademark.
- Avoid the use of hyphens, numbers, and dashes.
- Use keywords that are related to the topic you’ll be writing about.
- Avoid variations of domain names that are already taken.
- It’s always better to use a (.com) domain extension. Even though you could use (.net), (.org) or other extensions, many users still know and ‘trust’ only (.com).
- Keep your domain name as short as possible – that way, it is more memorable and easy to spell.
- If you’re not sure about what domain you want to use, we always recommend using your name “YourName.com”.
You can find millions (truly) of domain names at the following websites which are 2 of the most reliable and popular on the web market.
Namecheap.com (domains for just 0.88/y)
In case you already have a domain name or a website hosted by another provider, SiteGround will give you a free website transfer.
In case you choose Bluehost for your Web hosting, you will get a domain name for free.
STEP 2: CHOOSE A WEB HOSTING
There are 3 types of hosting available on the web market.
- Shared hosting – when you share your server with other websites.
- VPS hosting – when you share your server with other websites, but some of the available resources are reserved for you.
- Dedicated hosting – when the server manages only your website.
For a beginner or a “small” blog, shared hosting is a perfect choice. You can always upgrade hosting when your website is big enough.
Web hosting Providers
There are lots of web hosting providers and although the prices are almost the same, the quality of the services is not the same!
Not at all…
So be aware.
A wrong choice can end up on a very slow website with security problems; along with many other problems that you cannot solve since there will be no customer service to attend to you…
Below you will find 2 of the best web hosting companies in the market.
SiteGround and Bluehost
Both are trustworthy, they offer their services to millions of blogs and websites, they are suggested by WordPress, and they have excellent client service departments.
We’ve tried both, and we use them on our websites with no problems. That’s why we highly recommend them to you.
SiteGround web hosting is our first choice.
- They are faster (indeed super-fast)
Industry average loading time: 4.7 sec
SiteGround loading time with / without cache: 1.3 / 1.7 sec
- They are safer
They provide the safest web hosting service with excellent Hack protection.
Your website is fully protected from hack attacks (and believe us, this is a very common problem) and also your account is completely isolated from the neighbors.
SiteGround is the pioneer in applying effective account isolation mechanisms to the shared hosting environment.
- Their support team is the best and is there for you 24/7.
You can ask about anything, anything at all, they will reply immediately and they will persist until you are satisfied. Their technical support team is high-level professionals based in the US.
- Additionally, SiteGround gives:
- 1- click WordPress Installation – which is perfect for beginners
- Free email accounts
- Free daily backup
- Free SSL Certificate
- 30-day money-back guarantees – that means no risk!
Besides, being able to get a low price for a year, it’s very beneficial in comparison to other hosting providers where the lowest monthly price applies only for a more extended period (2-3 years).
After all, SiteGround is the most popular hosting provider used by thousands of bloggers.
Through our link, you will have a great discount, up to 60% off on the starting price.
Bluehost is one of the largest hosting companies, and an official WordPress recommended host provider since 2005.
Bluehost has agreed to offer our users a free domain name and over 60% discount on web hosting.
Click here to Start a Blog with Bluehost and get an exclusive discount plus a free domain name.
STEP 3: SET UP YOUR HOSTING ACCOUNT
To get started, you have to open SiteGround in a new browser window, and then click “Order Now.”
For a beginner, their Starter Plan will be a perfect choice.
We recommend getting the GrowBig plan only if you want to create multiple websites.
Select, “get a new hosting account,” and then click “register your domain.”
Write your blog URL (the domain name of your choice) there.
You’ll then be asked to input your contact information to register a new account.
Select your plan, server location, and how long you want to purchase your plan.
The best server location you can have would be the one that is closest to where the majority of your blog readers are located. For example, if the majority of your website visitors are from the US, you should select “Chicago, USA” as a preferred server location.
As it is not a good idea to share your personal information online, we suggest picking domain privacy or using a PO Box address.
Click “Next” and put your payment info.
SiteGround will send you a welcome email with your credentials (how to log in to your account), and you’ll be asked to proceed to the customer area.
This is where you’ll install WordPress.
How to Set up a Bluehost account
Open the Bluehost website in a new browser window
Next, click on the ‘Get Started Now’ button.
Choose the pricing plan for your website.
Basic is the most popular choice, especially if you are a beginner.
Click on “select” to choose the plan that you like.
Next, you’ll be asked to select your domain name.
After choosing your domain name, click the “Next” button.
Now you’ll be asked to provide your personal information (name, address, etc.)
On this page, you will also see some optional extras. We generally recommend not purchasing these extras. You can always add them later.
Click “Next” and add your payment information.
After completing your purchase, you’ll receive an email with details on how to login to cPanel (your web hosting control panel).
This is your hosting dashboard where you’ll manage everything.
There is where you’ll install WordPress.
STEP 4: INSTALL WORDPRESS
Both SiteGround and Bluehost give a 1-Click WordPress installation.
So don’t worry, you don’t need to install anything. This would be an automatic one-click procedure.
My Account > Access My Cpanel > Under Pre-installed, click on WordPress.
That’s your 1-click installation process.
Once you’ve completed the installation process…
Access Your WordPress Admin Dashboard
You can access it at www.domain.com/wp-admin (replace “domain” with your URL) and input your credentials.
Congratulations, you have created your first WordPress blog!
STEP 5: CUSTOMIZE YOUR BLOG
Pick and Install a Theme
Now It’s time to start the most exciting and creative part.
Customizing the look of your blog/website is a fun and creative procedure.
The appearance of a WordPress blog or website is controlled by themes.
A theme is responsible for the layout and the design of your blog.
There are thousands of different WordPress themes on the market, free or paid (premium themes), that you can choose.
A Premium is a well-coded theme that keeps your blog safe from hack attacks. Additionally, it boosts your traffic and your blog’s performance on search engines because it is SEO ready and optimized. Also, it allows you to make your blog look exactly like you want it to be.
A theme has two parts, the Framework (the structure) and the Child Theme (the design).
The best framework on the market with no droughts is Genesis Framework available at Studio Press. There (Studio Press), you can also find your child theme (the design of your blog) and choose exactly, what properly fits your business or your blog niche.
Don’t worry; no coding knowledge is needed for the installation of the Genesis Framework and a Child Theme.
A Free theme is an option for a beginner blogger, that can’t or doesn’t want to purchase a theme and doesn’t have any big expectations from his/her blog.
WordPress by default sets up a free theme along with the installation.
You can change it anytime by going to your WordPress dashboard.
Click on Appearance » Themes.
Next Click on the “Add New” button.
On the next screen, you will be able to search for thousands of pre-made free WordPress themes.
You can choose sorted by popular, latest, featured, as well as other filters.
If you decided to purchase a Premium theme, you could upload it from your p.c, and after that, you can install it and activate it exactly as you would do for a free one.
How to Start a Blog and Make Money
How to choose the perfect theme for your blog
There are some things that you have to take into consideration choosing your theme.
Search for a theme that has a simple and responsive design layout.
It is important to be pretty without being complicated.
That way, you’ll make it easier for your users to find the information that they need, either from a pc or their mobile.
Have in mind that a significant number of web traffic is generated from mobile.
Google shows mobile-friendly websites on top of its mobile search results, and that means more traffic for your site.
Thus, all websites need to be responsive and mobile-ready.
You can test if your blog is mobile friendly at Google’s Mobile-Friendly test page here.
A well-coded theme could support your website’s SEO (Search Engines Optimization). In other words, your website’s performance on search engines.
2. Your theme must be SEO ready and optimized.
Of course, if you are a beginner, you can’t analyze a theme’s code on your own.
What you have to do is look at the theme’s details (click on the Theme Details button) where you can find out if your WordPress theme is optimized for SEO.
3. Make sure that the theme of your choice supports all popular plugins
WordPress plugins are the power of WordPress.
You can do anything with these plugins on your website, so make sure that the theme you have chosen supports all popular plugins.
To name some Yoast SEO, Contact Form 7, W3 Total Cache, Akismet, etc.
4. Finally, make sure that you select a WordPress theme that has a support option.
Unfortunately, most of the free themes don’t include support and updates.
On the other hand, premium WordPress themes offer installation, updates, and documentation with one year of support.
Below are some premium theme shops where you can purchase Pretty, Well Coded, Responsive, Seo Optimized, Retina Ready themes.
We use several of their themes, and we highly recommend them.
or Brunch Pro
For lifestyleandberries.com we use Mai Lifestyle Pro Theme and we Love it!
Let’s go back now to the theme’s installation…
When you found the theme of your choice, move your cursor to it, and the “Install button” will appear.
Click on it to install the theme.
After that, you will notice that the install button will be replaced with an “Activate button”.
Click on it to Activate the theme.
Once you have installed and activated your theme, you can customize it by clicking on the Customize link which is on the Appearance menu.
Don’t be disappointed if your theme doesn’t look like the one in the WordPress presentation.
That’s because it has no content.
You need some posts and pictures to make it vivid and beautiful.
Once you choose, install, activate, and customize your WordPress theme, you are ready to create your first blog post.
STEP 6: WRITE YOUR FIRST POST
Page vs. Post
As a beginner in WordPress, you may be questioned on what the difference between a page and a post is.
Well, pages have static content, they are not sorted into categories, and they appear permanent on the main menu bar of your blog.
The most common pages on WordPress websites are the Home page, the About page and the Contact us page.
Posts are the articles on your blog, they are sorted into chronological order and categories.
How to create Pages:
You can easily create them by going to your
Dashboard and Click on “Pages” – “Add New”
How to create categories:
After that and before you start writing your first post, you have to create the categories where your posts will belong to.
On your Dashboard, go to Posts – Categories – Add new category – Name.
Create some categories according to your blog’s content and anytime you publish a new post, you have to choose a specific category to include it.
For example, if you have a food blog, your categories could be Appetizers, Salads, Main Dishes, Sweets, etc.
How to create posts:
Now let’s write the first blog post!
Wow! what a moment…take your time, and when you feel inspired and ready, go for it!
On your Dashboard, go to Posts.
You will see a post there “Hello World” which is the default post of any WordPress blog. You don’t need it so Click on “Trash” to delete it.
Next, you have to click on the “Add New” link, to create a new post.
On the post editor screen, first, you have to enter the title of your post and after that, go to the main editor box below where you can write the “body” of your post.
And that’s it. Take your time to explore all the buttons there and discover their functionality.
Make sure that you set up the Yoast SEO plugin which will be an excellent guide to achieve the Search Engine Optimization of your posts.
To make the readers follow you and share your posts, you have to write valuable content. That means that your posts should be well written and give an answer to a question or the solution to a problem.
And whatever you decide to write about, be sure that you are honest and always tell the truth.
Follow all the above steps, be creative, passionate, and stay focused on your goals and you will succeed. Guaranteed!
To your Success 🙂