If you want to learn how to start a blog and make money, you’re in the right place.
In this free guide, I’m going to cover how to:
- Start a blog with Bluehost (free domain name)
- Design your blog using Astra (free) and Elementor (free)
- Create a logo with Canva (free)
- Write content with the help of Grammarly (free)
- Build an email list with ConvertKit (free)
- Get traffic to your new blog using Tailwind (free)
If you want a handy printable guide to starting a blog, check out my blog launch checklist here.
Do you resonate with any of the following?
- Sick of spending your time at work instead of with your growing family.
- Tired of the daily 9-to-5 grind while building someone else’s dream.
- Cursing at alarm clocks and traffic every morning.
- Wondering if you have to wait until retirement to travel the world.
Yeah, that was me just a few short years ago – before I started a blog.
Starting a blog is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and would change the course of my entire life forever.
Blogging allowed me to choose my own hours, work from anywhere, and make more money than I ever thought possible.
And now, I want to help others start a money-making blog so they too can live the six-figure laptop lifestyle.
Frequently asked questions about starting a blog
How to start a blog (step-by-step guide)
Step 1. Choose a blog topic
If you want to make money blogging 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.)
Step 2. Claim your free domain name
A lot of people get stuck at this step. Don’t.
We’re going to win by taking action, massive action. We won’t accomplish a thing if we get stuck in analysis paralysis.
There’s no such thing as the perfect domain name. In fact, let me just give it to you straight: all the good ones are already taken. At the end of the day, it is your content that matters, not your blog name!
Type in a domain idea or two below and take the first step to securing your own home on the web.
Step 3. Start your blog
To give a home to your domain name you need blog hosting. Keep following this guide and this will be one of the only blogging-related expenses you will have!
Ready to begin?
You’re going to see a page like this:
Click on Get Started.
Choose the Basic package, that’s all we need!
After selecting a plan, the next step is to choose a domain name.
If you’re not sure yet you can skip this step by choosing “I’ll create my domain later.”
On the next page, choose the pricing plan that works best for your budget.
I recommend the 36 month plan since it provides the most value for your money. If you want to pay less up front, choose the 12 month option.
Price hack! It might not work, but if you’re on desktop move your cursor to close the tab – did you get a pop-up offering a lower price?
Be sure and uncheck any package extras.
Note: If you did choose a domain name you might want to keep privacy protection since domain registration information is public and you might get spammed.
Once you’re ready, enter your payment information, check the box to agree, and Submit!
Congrats! You’re now the proud owner of your very own domain and website!
See, it wasn’t that bad, was it?
Step 4. Get started with WordPress
Next, create a password and log in.
Note: There’s an onboarding process Bluehost has for starting your new website, but I recommend just skipping these steps so we can get started building your blog with WordPress right away.
Once you’re logged into Bluehost, click on the WordPress link and we’ll start exploring WordPress.
WordPress can be a bit daunting at first. But once you get the hang of it it’ll be a breeze. What you’ll notice on the left panel is a section for Posts, Pages, Comments, Media Library, Appearance, Plugins, Users, and Settings.
Click around and get used to using WordPress. Don’t worry, you can’t mess anything up.
I like to start with a clean slate, so the first thing I do is go to Plugins to deactivate and delete them.
There should be a post that says “Hello World!” you also want to delete.
And there is a comment there to delete as well
Go to Settings > General to add or update your Site Title and Tagline
Go to Settings > Permalinks and make sure it’s set to “Post Name”
Note: One of the reasons I’m having you go all over WordPress at the beginning is to get you used to using the platform. You’re going to spend A LOT of time here, so it’s important to get used to it.
Step 5. Choose a blog design
Now we’re going to move on to designing your [currently empty] blog.
Go to Appearance > Themes
The blog theme I recommend starting with is Astra.
If you want to start with the free version of Astra, go to:
Appearance > Themes > Add new and search for Astra.
Then click Install and Activate to complete the setup.
Astra comes with starter templates so you can have ready-made sites in just a few clicks.
You can see the list of ready-to-import websites right here.
To install the free starter templates, go to:
Plugins > Add new and search for “Starter Templates.” Then, install and activate the plugin.
To use the starter templates you will also need what’s called a Page Builder.
We’re going to use a page builder to visually design our blog, because ain’t nobody got time to learn how to code!
The default WordPress installation comes with the Gutenberg page builder, but I recommend using Elementor instead.
Elementor is a drag-and-drop visual builder that is perfect for designing the blog of your dreams.
To install the free version of Elementor, go to Plugins > Add new and search for Elementor.
With the Astra and Elementor, you now have all the tools you need to design the perfect blog!
You can use Elementor to design your homepage, about page, blog page, and even your blog posts.
Step 6. Design a logo
Even if you don’t have one design bone in your body, we’re going to design an awesome logo in the next 5 minutes.
Ready to do this? Giddy up!
First, use this free logo maker from Canva.
Note: You’ll need to create a free account with Canva to continue.
Once you’re in, simply choose a template, make your desired changes, and save the file.
To add the logo to your blog, go to Appearance > Astra Options > Upload Logo
Step 7. Write your first blog post
Now it’s time to write and publish your first blog post.
I recommend using the free Grammarly browser extension to help write your blog content.
Before you go spending all day doing this, keep in mind that nobody is reading your blog. The main goal here is to get this post published just to get the ball rolling on your new blog.
A simple first blog post can be as simple as:
Hello and welcome to [My Blog]!
My name is [Name] and I want to welcome you to my new home on the web.
I started this website because:
– Why this topic interests you
– Why you want to help others
– What is the goal you want people to achieve
– Why this matters / How will it make them feel
Thank you for reading and if you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment down below!
Follow me on social media [Twitter] [Facebook] [Pinterest] [Instagram]
If you need more help writing content for your blog, I have guides on:
Once you’re done writing your first blog post, hit Publish.
And with that, your blog is officially LAUNCHED!
Step 8. Start an email list
Before we open the floodgates and let people see our blog, we need to start an email list first.
You may have heard that “the money is in the list.” It’s true.
That’s because it is difficult to get readers who land on your blog posts to buy something. Most of the time, they show up, read your blog post, and then leave.
An email list is the perfect way to continue the conversation that started on your blog.
When you continue to communicate with your audience and deliver EPIC value, you build trust.
And trust is the magical ingredient necessary to make money blogging.
While you can’t see this now, I’m telling you: your email list will your blog’s most valuable asset.
You can start an email list for free using ConvertKit.
Once you’re all signed up, the first step is to create a form.
Click on Landing Pages & Forms > Create new > Form > Inline
Choose a template and save the form when you’re ready.
To add the form on your blog you need to install the ConvertKit plugin in WordPress.
Back in WordPress, go to Plugins > Add new and search for ConvertKit.
To finish setting up the plugin, you need an API key which you can find in your ConvertKit settings.
After that’s done, you can go to Settings > ConvertKit in WordPress to find the form you created earlier and add it to your blog.
If you need more help starting an email list, I have a guide on that too.
Step 9. Get traffic to your blog
After you’ve written a few articles it’s time to start driving traffic to your blog posts. To find out where to promote your blog you need to find out where your audience hangs out.
For most, this means social media sites and search engines. Namely, Google, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.
But rather than trying to be everywhere, it’s best to focus on one traffic source at a time.
That’s because there’s a learning curve to getting traffic from each platform. And if you try and learn them all at once, you’ll end up knowing a little bit about each one without mastering any of them.
My recommendation is to start with Pinterest.
Pinterest is the best traffic source for bloggers.
Here’s why I choose Pinterest over the other platforms.
- Google search is very competitive and takes a long time to rank in the search results.
- Instagram and YouTube aren’t designed to take people off the platform.
- and Facebook doesn’t distribute your content unless you pay for ads.
Pinterest on the other hand, is designed to send you traffic.
Here are 3 steps to start promoting your blog on Pinterest:
- Step 1. Open a business account, complete your profile, and create boards relevant to your niche.
- Step 2. Use Canva to create images (called pins) to promote each of your blog posts.
- Step 3. Add the pins to the most relevant board on your profile.
- Step 4. To further promote and share your content on Pinterest, use the Tailwind scheduler.
Tailwind is a Pinterest-approved scheduler that helps you:
- Schedule your pins (the Pinterest algorithm favors those who are active on the platform daily)
- Analytics on pin, board, and profile performance
- Track new follower growth
- Provides collaboration tools to grow your reach
After your new blog starts getting free traffic from Pinterest, the last step is to monetize your blog!
Step 10. Make money with your blog
Finally, it’s time to make money blogging! For this last step, I encourage you to sign up to get my blog launch cheatsheet. It’s entirely free and is designed for beginner bloggers who want to start a blog to make money – not blog as a hobby.
Thank you so much for allowing me to help you start your blog, you have no idea how much this means to me.
If this guide has helped you start your blog, please share this on social media and let your peeps know about it. Thanks again!
Until next time,