How to Start a Blog and Make Money

Last updated on June 4, 2020  ∙ by Edwin Contreras6 comments
How to start a blog and make money

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Starting a blog is one of the best decisions I've ever made. It has allowed me to make money to help provide for my family and make a passive income working from home.

I get to choose my own hours and don't have to listen to anyone (other than my wife!).

When I started my first blog back (Cash The Checks) in 2004, I was completely clueless, but within a few short years I ended up making six figures blogging.

My first year of blogging was rough. I made a grand total of $0 my first YEAR of blogging.

But I kept at it, learning more about why some blogs are successful and others fail (mostly through failing myself). The journey wasn't easy, but it was so worth it.

Fast forward to 2020 and I now earn a six figure income as a full-time blogger running multiple blogs on auto-pilot.

Now I'm sharing what I've learned so you don't make the same mistakes I made when I was new.

Okay enough about me. It's not about me, it's about you. So is blogging right for you? Let me go over a few reasons why starting a blog is the best investment you could ever make.

Why start a blog in 2020?

Why should you start a blog? How could starting a blog change your life today?

Better question, why wouldn't you want to start blogging in 2020? It is never too late to start a blog and make money. Here are the best reasons why you should start blogging today.

  • 1. The barrier to entry is low

Many people are put off by the technical side of blogging. But nowadays it is all point & click and drag & drop. You can start a blog without ever even seeing a single line of code.

  • 2. It is stupid-cheap to start a blog (almost free)

For just the cost of a cup of coffee per month you can have your very own blog up and running. I go over more of the costs of creating a blog here.

  • 3. Blogging allows you to earn a passive income

Your blog can make you money 24/7. Yes, your blog can even make you money while you sleep. There's really no better feeling than waking up to PayPal or Stripe notifications of sales on your phone.

  • 4. Blogging is the perfect side hustle for busy moms and dads

Blogging is awesome because you can devote as much (or as little) time as you want to it. I know most people just can't quit their jobs and become full-time bloggers. The beauty in starting a blog business is that you don't have to.

Even in your spare time it is possible to start a blog that earns you some sweet side hustle money!

  • 5. The blogger laptop lifestyle is real, yo

Blogging isn't just about the money as much as it's about the lifestyle that comes with it. In fact, that's probably more important. Since becoming a full time blogger I can travel whenever I want, dress however I want and work wherever and whenever I want to.

  • 6. Blogging lets you finally escape the rat race

Imagine getting up early every morning to drive to a job you hate to work for a boss you hate even more. Then doing it all over again the next day. And then again every day thereafter until you're old and gray.

This is the sad reality for 99% of the population. There's another option though: becoming your own boss. Blogging lets you escape the 9 to 5 rat race, create your own destiny and live the life you deserve.

Listen, I can go on forever but if you are still not convinced, I wrote a piece on why blogging is the best job in the world here.

Can you still make good money blogging?

I get asked this question all the time. People often times think they are "late" to the blogging game. That's exactly what I thought too. Had I decided to shrug my shoulders and give up before I even got started, I would not be where I am today.

The reality is that great content is in short supply. In a world of clickbait headlines, sites full of ads and even articles written by artificial intelligence bots, what the world needs more of is authenticity.

So, can you still make money blogging in 2020? The answer is of course you can!

But as with everything in life, success won't be handed to you. You need to work hard and have a clear plan to have any chance of making real money blogging.

It all comes down to just how bad you want it. 

It helps to have some help throughout this journey

If you are excited about creating a blog but a bit nervous about the process. I don't blame you. There's so much information out there it's hard to know what to do first.

To help my readers through the beginning of their blogging journey I've created a step by step course that shows you how to start a blog that makes money from scratch.

Take a look at the course here: Six Figure Bloggers Blueprint.

If you a serious about making this whole blogging thing work, I highly recommend it.

Blogging basics you need to understand first

Before we dive in and start a blog let's go over some basic blogging lingo first.

  • 1. What's the difference between a blog and a website?

A blog is a type of website that is updated with fresh new content on a regular basis.

Blogs are written in an informal / conversational style. They are more personal and have a comments section where you can interact with the writer and readers can interact with each other.

When you have a blog with valuable information that updates consistently, you have a blog that people (and Google Search) will love.

  • 2. What's the difference between a blog name and a domain name?

Let me use my blog as an example. My blog name is Do Six Figures while my domain name is DoSixFigures.com

If you're serious about making money with your blog - you need your own domain name.

While you can start a blog for free at countless sites such as blogger.com, wordpress.com and tumblr.com, nothing compares to owning your own domain name.

You can purchase a domain name for your blog at GoDaddy or get one for free with your hosting plan from Bluehost.

I have a handy guide on choosing a domain name here by the way.

Have some ideas for your own domain name already? Check to see if it's available below.

Speaking of hosting...

  • 3. What is hosting, and do you need it?

Just like a physical store has to pay rent, a website has to pay rent as well.

A hosting company will physically "host" your blog on their servers and handle all the behind-the-scenes tech stuff.

Many people start a blog on a free host. But if you're serious about making money blogging - you need a paid host.

I've partnered with Bluehost to offer my readers a ridiculous discount through this link only.

  • 4. What is WordPress and is it better than Wix or Squarespace?

WordPress is a free Content Management System (CMS) and is the blog platform I recommend using. If you choose to start your blog with Bluehost, WordPress comes pre-installed - easy peasy!

Using WordPress as your blog platform is by far the easiest way to start a blog. You can see my review of. the best blogging platforms here.

While there are others, namely Wix and Squarespace, they aren't as flexible as WordPress is. While they seem like good platforms. to start a blog with, it is worth it to learn how to use WordPress instead.

  • 5. Can I really do this?

If you managed to find this blog post and read this, you already have enough "computer skills" to start a blog and make money.

I'm no different than any one of you. I don't have a college degree or magical blogging powers. I just have a motor that just won't quit. I'm driven, competitive, and have that Mamba Mentality.

I can't help you if you lack that inner drive. But I know that if you want something bad enough, you will make the time and effort to making this work.

Ready to get started? Let's do this!

Step 1: Choose a profitable niche or topic to blog about

Choosing a profitable niche for your blog.

If you want to make money blogging the most important tip I can leave with you today is this: You have to pick the right niche.

Sure, you might love writing about fashion or celebrities, but how do you plan on making money from those niches?

That's the problem many newbie bloggers face. They get so excited creating their first blog, only to realize they can't monetize it.

You need to pick a niche that has products or services that sell online. Here are examples of profitable blog niches:

  • Health (healthy eating, keto diet, weightlifting, crossfit, running, etc.)
  • Money (personal finance, investing, debt, budgeting, etc.)
  • Lifestyle (parenting, crafts, food, hobby, etc.)
  • Digital marketing (email marketing, copywriting, content marketing, etc.)

Want some more niche ideas? See my list of the 20 most profitable niche ideas here.

Step 2: Choose a domain name

A lot of people get stuck at this step. Don't.

There's no such thing as the perfect domain. In fact, all the good ones are already taken. At the end of the day, it is your content that matters.

Plus, you can always change your domain name later (and redirect your existing traffic).

Step 3: Choose a host for your blog

A good webhost is affordable, fast and doesn't have downtime.

Here are the hosts that fit the bill:

I recommend Bluehost because they are newbie-friendly. WordPress comes pre-installed and you can be set up in less than 15 minutes.

It is by far the best host if this is your first paid blog.

Step 4: Sign up for hosting and get set up

With Bluehost, choose the basic plan. It costs less than 3 bucks a month if you pre-pay for 3 years (by the way, getting hosting for under $100 for 3 years is INSANE!). But if you're short on cash you can pay less than $60 and opt for the $4.95 rate.

Either way, un-check the package extras to reveal your final price.

Bonus tip: This may or not may work, but try moving your cursor to exit from the page and see if you get a pop-up for an additional discount.

Step 5: Choose a blog theme

There's plenty of free blog themes to choose from. If you want to get started right away, choose a design you like and get to blogging!

But I have to break it to you, free blog themes are either basic AF or have a paid version they'll frustrate you into upgrading to.

I say this because if you choose a free theme you'll soon realize that you can't really customize your blog - unless you learn how to code.

If you want to have full control of your blog design, I suggest going with a drag & drop blog builder like the Divi from Elegant Themes.

Here are the blog themes I recommend:

Step 6: Launch your blog!

There's so much more to go through to turn your blog into a success. But honestly, the hard part is over. That first step is always the hardest.

From here you can read my guides on writing your first blog post, how to write an awesome about me page and my list of essential WordPress plugins.

Holy cow you made it to the end! I'm proud of you rockstar.

If you have any questions, ask me in the comments section below and I'll be glad to help.

I would really appreciate it if you could click the Pin button below to save this post on Pinterest!

Until next time,
Edwin, DoSixFigures.com

just a little > about me

About edwin

Edwin Contreras is the professional blogger behind Cash The Checks and Do Six Figures. Over the last 17 years, he has started over 100 profitable blogs on his way to a six-figure income as a full-time blogger. He is now obsessed with helping people just like you escape the 9 to 5 and make serious money online. You in?

learn more > earn more

continue > the conversation

  • Hello, nice blogging matters here. I started my blog since one month and my niche is pet photography; maybe not the richest one but the others are already a mess and saturated…

  • Winnie Xu says:

    Wow, I’m so impressed with how you were able to make blogging into such a successful career! I always saw blogging as more of a hobby/interest rather than a full-time job.

    One of the greatest highlights of a blogging career does seem to be the independence you get from self-employment. But it does seem like it would be a very long journey to get there.

    How were you able to stay motivated and committed during the first year with no profits?

    • You need to follow a blueprint that others have followed (and been successful with) before you.

      This is the only way to keep pushing through the beginning months of a new blog.

      That, and a faith in yourself.

  • Hey Edwin,

    Loved your strategy on picking up the niche. IMO, picking up a niche is the most important part of starting a blog. You can change almost anything afterward (name, hosting, theme, etc.) but not the niche.

    Thanks for a great article.

    • Yes you can’t change the niche without starting over, so it’s best to make sure you choose a profitable niche right from the start.

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