When the question came again last week from a friend, “What’s the easiest way to start a profitable blog?” I realized that I REALLY NEED TO WRITE DOWN my answer, because I get asked ALL THE TIME How to be a blogger.
People see the fun aspects of blogging, or the income, and automatically want to jump right in, but they have no idea where to start.
I guess that’s what this post is for, but first….if you haven’t read my post about what a blogger’s life is really like, you might want to start there.
How to Be a Blogger: The Easiest Way to Start a Profitable Blog
Here are my tips for not just “how to be a blogger,” But how to start a profitable blog. Hobby blogging and blogging for income are two very different things (although blogging for income can very much be a hobby….if that even makes sense).
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My blog has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, but also one of the most joyful. It’s paid off over $30,000 in student loans, all of our cars, part of our house, and I’ve doubled my husband’s income. But again, it’s hard work.
If you want to know how to be a blogger, and you know you want to start a profitable blog, here are my top tips, in no particular order:
How to be a blogger: 8 Easy Steps
Pick a topic around something you love. When I started I remember another newbie blogger emailing me and saying something like, “I heard a statistic that most bloggers don’t make it past their first year. That’s not going to be me.“
Well…the sad news is that it was her. And I don’t think it’s because she didn’t have it in her (she’s very talented), I think it’s because she wasn’t blogging about something she was super passionate about, and because she wasn’t willing to spend a little bit of money to make money. The first year of blogging is the hardest (at least it was for me), and you need to enjoy what you are doing in order to make it past that point. You also need to be willing invest a little bit and buy a domain name and hosting. My first year, I made less per hour than I probably could have gotten at a previous job, but I didn’t mind it because I enjoyed what I was doing. And then the second year I made far more per hour than I thought I could, and then the third and 4th year were successful enough that I couldn’t think of a job I could do at home that would ever pay more. I was making more than any other job I could dream about getting with a degree…and I was doing it all from home. Part time. After the kids went to bed. Oh…and it was something I loved doing (most of the time). I was also dedicated from the beginning. I told my husband that I needed to pay for my website and hosting and he said, “Then you’ll have to come up with the money, because we don’t even have an extra $100 in our budget right now.” So what did I do? I went through my house and found a couple of things to sell on the classifieds, and I had my website running within 48 hrs.
Pick a Domain Name. This one is important. Pick a domain name that you can see yourself loving for a long time, but is also memorable. You don’t want to pick something that no one can remember. It’s also helpful if it has a keyword that’s connected to what you want to blog about. For instance, I chose “Mother’s Niche” because it had the word ‘mother’ in it, which was something I wanted as my main focus. If you are having troubles coming up with a name, you can type key words into Name Mesh and it will generate ideas for you.
Go With WordPress. If you really want to know how to start a profitable blog, pay close attention to this tip. Go with WordPress. If you don’t, you’re going to be switching over once you get serious anyway, and it will be much more difficult later. Don’t be tempted to go with Blogger because it is free. If you go with Blogger, you technically don’t own your blog, Google does. And Google can take you down at any time (it happens). It also helps later on when you are working with brands and businesses if you are on WordPress.
Set Up Your Hosting. Once you have decided on your domain name, you will want to set up your hosting. Web hosting is everything in the blogging world, because without a good host your website could experience a lot of down time, errors and problems. I’ve always recommended Bluehost to my good friends, and is what I started out with. Once I reached 300,000+ monthly views, I started looking at a private server, but when you are first starting out, Bluehost has been the most reliable and budget-friendly option. They have an easy tool that will setup WordPress for you, and 24/7 support which is CRITICAL for a hosting company, because if you have an issue with your website after normal business hours, you need to know someone will still help you and get your website back up. If you are still coming up with a domain name, bookmark this page (or pin it) so that you can come back and get the special discount that includes your DOMAIN NAME FOR FREE. Get your hosting discount and free domain name here. Or, if you are worried about losing your discount, you can save your domain credit by clicking on the image below:
Once you have purchased your domain and hosting, you are now ready to setup WordPress. Login to your Bluehost account, and look for the WordPress icon:
Start Your First Blog Post Once you have installed WordPress, Write your first blog post! Hooray! You are legit!
Pick a Theme: When you are first starting out, just use one of the free themes. You don’t want to buy anything fancy until you have been blogging for a little bit and know exactly what you want your site to look and feel like. The most important thing is to start writing!
Social Media: This deserves a mention, because it can be a pain if you procrastinate. Once you have your domain, grab social media accounts in that name before they get taken by someone else. Even if you think you might not want to do Twitter, or Instagram, or whatever…sign up for them with your blog name so that you have them available if you change your mind.
CONGRATULATIONS! Now that you have conquered, “How to be a blogger,” Keep an eye out for my next article, HOW BLOGGERS MAKE MONEY!