How to start a blog and make money with it:
Anyone can start a blog, yes. But how to start a blog and make money with it? That’s a whole different question – and it’s a little (a lot?) more complicated!
I often get asked how to create a blog to make money, so I decided to share everything I know in this free tutorial!
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
UPDATED – November 17th, 2023
I’ll tell you right now, the best way to start a blog to make money is to have a PLAN, and to understand just WHAT actually makes money for blogs.
As with most things, there’s a right way and a wrong way to start a blog, if you want it to be profitable.
Despite everything you (may) have heard, you can’t just jump in and start writing whatever you want and hope the readers will come. (They won’t!)
Psst – I recently updated my how to start a blog and make money post with a step-by-step tutorial video (see below) on the technical steps to get your blog set up fast. Trying to do this on your own can take a LOT of time, so definitely give it a watch if you haven’t completed this step! (Please note the following video is now outdated and I will be updating it ASAP! It’s very simple to set up a blog, so don’t distress 🙂 Just click the “get started” button on this page and choose the cheapest plan. You can always upgrade later!)
There are literally millions of blogs on the internet, and only a fraction of them are earning any income.
It’s hard to get exact statistics, but I’d guess that that less than 10% of bloggers ever become “full time”. I heard somewhere that 90% make less than 1$ per day – but don’t worry. I make over 200$ each and every day, and I will show you WHY I earn money with my blog, so that you can start your own blog and make money too.
So why are so many bloggers failing?
This isn’t because blogging for money is dead – far from it!
It’s because people don’t want to accept that learning how to blog and make money is just like learning how to do anything else to make money.
If you want to be a doctor, you go to medical school.
If you want to be a photographer, you read about lighting and practice photography.
When you’re working towards establishing a career, you put in the effort and you accept that it’s going to take time. You treat it like a JOB.
Same thing when you want to be a blogger.
Many people want it to be an “easy money” thing, and they don’t want to put in the effort that starting a blog for money requires.
They get bored and give up when they won’t see results quickly. THAT is why so many bloggers don’t earn much.
It is well worth the effort – in the end, you get to have the best freaking job on the planet!
And not to mention, the most flexible job on the planet. (Seriously – imagine this: I went into the hospital with an appendicitis just before Christmas this year. Both myself AND my husband missed 2 days of work. BUT, while I was way from my “work” it still brought in the same amount of money as it would have if I had been “working”.)
When people ask me how to start a blog to make money, I tell them there are a few requirements.
Surprisingly, you don’t need to be super “good at computers” to make a great income as a blogger – I’m certainly not “good at computers” – I actually never took a single computer course in high school.
But you DO need to be dedicated and stubborn enough to make the computers do what you need them to do.
You need to be a self-starter, you need to be willing to not give up when you run into snags.
You need to be a problem solver. (I’ve had people email me (in response to something I’ve written here or there and say things like… “well, I don’t even know what a URL is”. And, believe it or not, that’s fine. What’s NOT fine is that they didn’t just think to google “what is a URL”. You MUST be a problem solver.)
You also need to be a decent writer – with a good grasp of whatever language you want to write your blog in. OR you need to be creative enough to figure out how to get away without writing much. (That IS an option! You can pay others to write for you, for example.)
Starting a blog to make money requires that you are willing to learn and learn and learn. And then learn some more. (Many people don’t want to hear that – because they want blogging to be the thing that solves all their problems easily… but if there’s a way to make a living blogging without gaining any knowledge about blogging, I haven’t figured it out yet.)
You need to be unafraid of trial and error – and of failure.
Sometimes, the best way to figure out what DOES work is to figure out – systematically – what does NOT work.
You need to be willing to invest a little bit. (Don’t panic – it doesn’t have to be much of an investment. It actually costs very little to start a blog – about 4$/month for a GOOD blog host, and then IF YOU WANT you can spend another $60 – $100 on a blog theme. That’s totally optional.)
The cost of starting a blog, compared to the cost of setting up a traditional brick and mortar business is PEANUTS.
This is one the least risky (monetary) ventures you will ever take.
I DO suggest that you consider purchasing some good blogging courses in the first year; remember, you want to treat this like a JOB you are training for.
And lastly, before you begin, you should know that blogging is hard work.
Sure there are a few of those “overnight successes” out there – but don’t let them fool you into thinking it’s easy. Even they worked hard to get where they are.
Now, if I haven’t scared you away – if you’re still ready to learn how to get started blogging for money, well then…
Stop waiting. Start working!
I wish so much that I had just started my blog 15 years ago when I first had an interest in it.
I wish I had let go of all the fears and pushed aside all the overwhelm.
I can hardly imagine where I would be now NOW if I had just started THEN.
You have literally almost nothing to lose. Starting a blog for money is one of the least risky “businesses” you can tackle on your own.
I believe that with hard work, almost anyone can start and grow a successful, money making blog. I believe this because I did it and I am in no way more qualified to be a blogger than anyone else out there.
One day I just thought… why NOT me? (And why not YOU? Why not you?) Just do it!
I’ve compiled my best beginner blogging posts into a series of 13 lessons detailing How to Start a blog and Make Money – this free course will walk you through the basics – step by step.
This is not a comprehensive blogging course that will overwhelm and confuse you.
This is how to get started with your blog and understanding what it takes to make a blog profitable. (That part is SO important. Many people start with no understanding of what it takes to earn an income with their blog.)
The lessons are divided into two parts. If you’ve been blogging for a while and feel pretty comfortable with the technical aspects of blogging, skip right to part 2.
PART 1 (Lessons 1 – 8): Basic Blog Foundations with WordPress
PART 2 (Lessons 9 -13): Making Money with Your Blog
The advice I share in the following pages is what I wish I had known when I was starting my blog!
Step one for getting started with your blog is buying a domain name and hosting.
Your domain name is your www.yourblogname.com.
Your hosting is where your blog LIVES on the internet.
You should not start a blog with a FREE “place to live”, because you want to “own” your real estate online. (In the same way that it’s better to OWN your home than RENT your home in terms of being allowed to do whatever you want to it – decorate it, renovate it etc.)
However, you can get set with a SUPER CHEAP plan – don’t be “sold” into spending more than a few dollars per month when starting out!
For the more technically advanced, or confident start-up-bloggers, purchasing your domain and hosting from SEPERATE companies is a good idea (because that way all your eggs are not in one basket should something go wrong in the future!)
HOWEVER, it is not the end of the world if you purchase them through the same place, and this can always be changed later.
It is slightly more complicated to purchase a domain name separately from your hosting, as it requires a few extra steps.
If you’re up for the extra steps, I would purchase your domain name through namecheap.com.
They have the best prices I’ve found, and the whois protection (that shields your personal information from the world) is free forever through them. (This is where I purchase all my domains now.)
HOWEVER, for those who are less technically adept, and don’t want extra hassle, it’s fine to get a domain name the same place you get your hosting – again – you can change it later.
I now suggest, especially for beginners, just start with uber cheap hosting. (You can get a free domain with your hosting through that link as well).
A note on blog hosts:
You could research hosts till you’re blue in the face, and it all comes down to SOMEONE’S OPINION.
I used to recommend a slightly more expensive host, because IN MY OPINION, they were a better option… but recently their support has declined to a point where I no longer feel great recommending them.
So again, just start with the cheapest option – like Bluehost.
In the end, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR – this is not the worlds greatest blog hosting. It is the CHEAPEST that I know of with EXISTING CUSTOMER SERVICE.
If you have slightly more to spend on hosting, BigScoots is THE way to go. This is where I host my sites these days.
I recommend some other resources throughout the lessons. Everything I recommend is something I have used myself on my journey to grow a full time income from my blog. Good luck on your blogging journey – it’s one of the very best journeys I’ve ever taken – and I hope that’s the case for you too!
(Click the image or the orange link below to access the lesson.) Remember to pin this post on Pinterest so you can find it again later and pick up where you left off!
PART 1 : Basic Blog Foundations to Start a Blog on WordPress
Part one includes some of the more technical details, including where to start a blog and make money – you don’t just want to start it anywhere, believe me!
I didn’t do ANY real research on hosting companies before I started my blog – I just started on the platform that the first tutorial I stumbled on suggested… and I regretted that later.
I recommend starting your blog HERE on this host, where I still have small sites hosted to this day. (For much larger sites, I recommend moving over to a more dedicated host, like Bigscoots. BUT, this comes in the future.)
Now, dig into lesson 1 by clicking the image or link below!
READ: THE TRUTH ABOUT STARTING A BLOG Lesson one is a detailed walk through on how to set up your hosting and wordpress. The actual START a blog part. You do want to make sure you are “making” your blog properly so you don’t run into trouble down then road!
READ: HOW TO START A BLOG Your blog’s THEME is how it looks. There are COUNTLESS options out there to choose from – everything from free to expensive, and there are bad options and good options. Lesson 2 walks you through considerations for choosing your blog’s theme, and talks about the single most important aspect of a theme: MOBILE RESPONSIVENESS.
READ: CHOOSING A THEME It can be tempting to just jump in and start blogging but there are important little things to do first. Don’t ignore lesson 3!
READ: 5 THINGS TO DO BEFORE WRITING YOUR FIRST BLOG POST Lesson 4 is much like lesson 3, and if I had to choose one lesson that I would NOT want you to skip out on, it would be this one. Permalinks and google analytics installation can cause you SO many headaches down the road. If you take the time to get these things right when you are first starting your blog, you will never regret it.
READ: WORDPRESS SETTINGS, PERMALINKS & GOOGLE ANALYTICS By now you’ve probably come across the term “plugin”, and you might be wondering what the heck that is and if you need any of ’em. There are pros and cons to plugins, and you definitely don’t just want to dive in and start installing plugins left and right. Lesson 5 is an overview of what plugins are, how to install them, and what to be careful about regarding plugins when you start a blog.
READ: HOW TO INSTALL WORDPRESS PLUGINS (& WARNINGS) IT’S TIME! If you have completed allllll the other little steps up to this point, you can WRITE YOUR FIRST BLOG POST! Lesson 6 will show you how!
READ: WRITING YOUR FIRST BLOG POST IN WORDPRESS Lesson 7 just covers some very basic beginner mistakes people make that cause their blogs to grow more slowly. We can skip past these things and look more “professional” out of the gate – if we know to watch for them.
READ: 7 WAYS TO LOOK LESS LIKE A “NEWBIE” BLOGGER The final 2 part lesson in part one of this course on starting a blog for money is GETTING BLOG TRAFFIC. No point in writing if no one shows up to read your blog! There are a number of ways to get traffic to your blog, and this lesson covers my favorite ways – GOOGLE and PINTEREST!
PART 2 – Making Money with Your Blog
If you’re already blogging, but asking “How can I start blogging FOR MONEY (not just for fun)”?? Then THIS is for you! Lesson 9 details HOW blogs actually make money. You’re writing content and putting it out there, but who is paying you?! People email me and ask this all the time. Lesson 9 will help you understand WHO will send you a paycheck for blogging.
READ: BASIC BLOG MONETIZATION – HOW DO BLOGS MAKE MONEY? I also recommend reading this, at this point: 15 Bloggers who make money blogging WITHOUT “blogging about blogging”. There are some kinds of blog content that make money, and some that don’t. Plain and simple. This is another big reason why many bloggers fail to earn an income – they don’t understand what KIND of content you should write when you want to start making money with your blog. Lesson 10 explains how to write profitable content.
READ: WHAT IS PROFITABLE CONTENT Affiliate marketing is one of the fundamentals ways many people monetize their blog. You can talk about products or services you use and love – and if someone else clicks YOUR link and makes a purchase, you can make money on that sale! Of course there is more to it than that, and lesson 11 walks you through the basics of what affiliate marketing is.
READ: AFFILIATE MARKETING – CAN YOU REALLY MAKE MONEY WITH IT? Lesson 12 is tackling the email list. For me, this seemed like the biggest, scariest task of all… but building an email list is what broke my “income ceiling” for my blog. Until I started an email list, I was earning 3-5000/month pretty consistently. AFTER I started an email list, I managed to have some 8-10k/months with my blog!
READ: MY BIGGEST BLOGGING MISTAKE – IGNORING MY EMAIL LIST When you start a blog to make money you often forget that it will require patience – but if you’ve been at this a few months and still aren’t seeing any income, you may be making one of these very basic mistakes. Lesson 13 will go over identifying your problem areas and provide some solutions to help you conquer these issues and start making money with your blog!
Not ready to start a blog yet? Pin this so you can find the course again later!