Welcome to part 1 in my series of “How To Build A Blog That Makes Money”. I know there’s already a whole load of guides online that teach you how to start your own blog, but I didn’t really feel there were any that took you through the entire process & then actually showed you how you can make money from it too.
So with that being said in this guide I aim to hold you by the hand and literally walk you through each & every step of starting your very own blog (the right way) and then I’ll show you the “secrets” that I’ve learned which will enable you to not only write about your passion, but cash in on it too.
But before I start, I just want to let you know that if you arrived on this post from my “Ultimate Guide To Making Money Online” then you can use that link to head back there at any time if you decide you want to try out something else other than blogging.
Firstly here’s why you NEED to start a blog…
Everyday more & more people are starting blogs, and there’s a very good reason for that. Right now you might not realise it but it’s the time of the internet revolution & if you’re not starting a blog soon then you’re going to be missing out – big style.
See traditionally people have worked at a JOB and traded their time for money by working an hourly rate, but now they’re realising that there’s a different way, and it’s called passive income – which is something that a blog can provide you with.
In case you’re not quite sure what passive income is, it’s basically a source of income that takes a one-time effort to create, but then afterwards requires very little or no work to maintain.
Meaning you do something once & then the money keeps coming in, and coming in, and coming in, without any more of your time being required (or only very little of it at most).
So let me give you an example of how this works in terms a blog…
When you write a blog post & publish it, it doesn’t disappear overnight, it stays around for people to read. Therefore, whilst it might take you an hour or two to write a blog post, it could potentially be getting readers for many years to come – without you having to make any extra effort.
And for all the time your blog post is attracting people, you have the opportunity to make money. If you look at your blog as a business then each person coming to read your post is essentially “walking into your shop”.
All you need to put yourself in a position to make money is simply put something on offer to them – whether it be a physical/digital product that you’ve created yourself or a link to a third party product on which you’ll receive an affiliate commission.
Then, for years to come you could be generating an income all from that mere 1 or 2 hour initial effort.
That is passive income, and that is why more and more people are realising the importance of creating a blog & getting a “head start”.
But there are a few other great advantages too…
Often people see passive income & immediately see dollar signs – but there is much more to a passive income & an online business than just the money. I call them the “three F’s”…
- Time Freedom
- Money Freedom
- Location Freedom
Whilst money will always be important to get through life, the two biggest benefits to me in particular are time freedom & location freedom.
You see back to the concept of working a traditional job, in reality you have very little true time freedom, and rarely any location freedom at all.
Your time is generally being bought by the hour, and the only way to get more money in your life is to trade more time.
People therefore often find themselves working long hours and not doing much in the way of actually living their lives. Ultimately they’re not doing what the really want to do – they’re doing what they can do, around their work…
Which usually means wishing their lives away in hoping for the weekend to roll around.
When you actually step back & think about it it’s quite terrible that for many people the majority of their lifetime is spent doing something they don’t want to do.
Thankfully blogging can provide the answer to obtaining that time freedom, since through blogging you’re no longer directly trading your time for money. Sure you’ll have to put the work in to start with but once you’ve initially gained momentum & you have built up a steady income then you can take a step back and enjoy time freedom since no, or very little effort is required to maintain it.
And it’s a similar story for location freedom – very few people who work a traditional job are able to say that they have true location freedom. Usually people live where they live because it’s near to their work, and they get up every morning to begin their commute.
As a blogger you are tied to absolutely no physical location – you can literally work from anywhere in the world since all you need to connect to your business is an internet connection, which nowadays you can even obtain 40,000 feet in the sky whilst flying on an airplane.
So ultimate as a blogger the world is your oyster, and you have all the time to enjoy it.
Which for me is the biggest reason for wanting to become a blogger, because I love traveling and I love having the time to do all the things that I want to do, not just the things that I “could” do around work. It’s true freedom.
But I don’t want to make it sound super-easy from the get-go, because it’s not. It’ll become easier down the line, but to start with you’re going to have to commit yourself. The only thing that I can say is that whilst it might not be easy & all plain-sailing, it is most definitely worth it in the long run.
How can you start?
Hopefully now you’re raring to go, and you can see the importance of starting a blog & the benefits it can bring. So the next question that you’re probably asking is how you can get started…
Well thankfully it’s pretty easy – and you can actually have your own blog online in the matter of just a few clicks.
But before I walk you through the set up process I want to explain to you why we’ll be going about things the way we will be. I believe it’s very important for you to know what you’re doing as you’re doing it, as opposed to “monkey see, monkey do”.
Not that I’m trying to call you a monkey, heh! 😁
Now I know there will be some smarty pants (or super eager people) reading this who’ll think that it will be just fine to skip the explanations & jump straight into the meat & bones, but just trust me, stay with me and follow this guide through as it was meant to be followed.
I didn’t write it to exercise my fingers – I wrote it to help you, and to give you the information that you need to know.
The first thing you’ll need is a domain name & some web-hosting.
To put it into super simple terms, web-hosting is basically like having your own bit of public storage space online that anybody can access, and the domain name is simply the bit they’ll type in their web browser to access it.
As an example let’s say your name’s Mike and you’re going to be creating a blog talking about fishing tips. A suitable domain name would be something like MikesFishingTips.com – it’s easy to remember & relevant to the subject of what the website’s going to be about.
Then once you’ve got your domain name you’ll get some web hosting where your blog will reside. Once you’ve got both of those things it’s simply a matter of pointing your domain name to your web hosting account so that when somebody types MikesFishingTips.com they’ll be taken to your hosting account, and shown your blog.
But there’s often a lot of mixed opinions here…
Purchasing your own web hosting account & installing the blog yourself is what’s known as “self-hosting” your blog, because it’ll ultimately mean you have full control over it. It’s not necessarily the easiest way to set it up, but in the long run it’s without doubt the best way.
As an alternative to self-hosting your blog you can sign up with a blog hosting provider & let them host it for you – this is often the route many new bloggers take because on the surface it seems easier, but take it from me that it has some major drawbacks.
The first major drawback is that by going down this route you do not have full control over your blog, and technically you don’t necessarily even own it either.
The second major drawback is that there’s often some restrictions with regards to the things you can & can’t do – whereas with self-hosted you can do as you please.
And the third major drawback is that often these providers will put their own adverts across your blog – so they’ll be making the money, as opposed to you.
So self-hosted blog vs hosted blog – what’s better?
Without a doubt a self-hosted blog is the best choice in the long run as it gives you total control over your blog & the ability to do with it as you please. You’ll have more flexibility over the amount of plugins you can use (more about plugins later) & you’ll have no restrictions on how you can style it, plus this way you’ll be able to make money from it too.
Admittedly the process of setting it up self-hosted might be a little more long-winded, but most people who start out with a blogging provider end up moving to self-hosted eventually so for that reason I always recommend to simply bite the bullet and go self-hosted right from the very start.
And of course when you’ve got a guide as awesome as this one to help you through it, it’ll be nothing to worry about at all. 😁
Verdict: self-hosted all the way!
Let’s take the first step together…
After what I’ve just said above you might be panicking right now that it’s all “just gonna be too much”, and that setting up a blog is going to be too hard for you.
But don’t worry, people exaggerate – going down the self-hosted route isn’t hard at all, and just like the dentist says – it’ll be all over in a moment (seriously – it’s only going to take a few clicks and you’ll be setup).
So as I said the first steps are to get your domain name & to get your web hosting. If you really want to then you can get each of these at different places, but by getting them both together with the web-hosting company you save yourself the hassle of having to figure out how to point your domain name to your web-hosting account.
My advice is to simply kill 2 birds with one stone & get them both together (and my advice is always awesome).
The place I recommend you get them from is company called HostGator. I’ve tried a LOT of different web-hosting companies over the years & this is the one that makes things super easy for anybody who’s new & looking to get started (plus they’re really cheap too).
In the next step I’m going to be showing you how to setup your blog using HostGator’s “easy install system”, so I’d highly recommend you do choose them otherwise you might struggle a little with this guide & getting your blog setup.
So yeah head over to HostGator & choose their cheapest web hosting plan (it’s all you’ll need), and then on the signup page be sure to choose “Register a New Domain” and enter your domain name of choice.
Step 1: Just choose the cheapest hosting plan (with one-click installs)
Step 2: Be sure to register a “.com” domain name on the signup page
When picking a domain I’d always recommend choosing a .com extension as this generally ranks the best in search engines. We’ll talk more about search engines later, but for now just focus on getting yourself a .com domain name. Try and keep your domain short, snappy & relevant to what your blog is going to be about.
Since the extension .com is better, it’s more popular which means it might prove to a little difficult to find a domain name that isn’t taken.
Here’s a couple of awesome tools that will help you choose an available domain name:
- DomainsBot (generates names based on given keywords)
- Dot-o-mater (generates totally random, yet cool names)
Good to go?
Once you’ve got your domain name & web hosting you’re ready to go – and congratulations as you’ve now officially got your own place on the web, wahoo!
But if you type your chosen domain name into your web browser you’ll notice that your new place on the web probably doesn’t look all that exciting (there might not be anything there at all), and that’s because we need to install something called WordPress, which is basically the platform that your blog will run on.
This process isn’t anything to worry about it, and you can think of it as being similar to installing software on your PC.
So if you’re ready to tackle this stage right now, then click the link below to head to part 2 of the guide where you’ll learn how to install WordPress and set up your new blog.