How to Start a Profitable Blog
First of all, congrats on deciding to start a blog! Blogging is incredibly fun and a great creative outlet. It’s also an amazing way to earn some extra money!
If you want to learn how to start a profitable blog and make money blogging, you’re in the right place. These are the exact steps I took to start my blog and begin earning money from it just one month later! You can see by reading my income reports that even as a new blogger, I am able to make money from my blog every month by doing something that is fun and rewarding!
This guide will help you start your blog TODAY, even if you are a total beginner. Starting a blog is something you can do sitting at home in your pajamas.
This blog post is about a fifteen-minute read. Putting the steps from this guide into action should take you under an hour! It’s SO important to have a solid foundation for your blog if you want to start monetizing it, so I recommend following this guide closely!
All the links in this post open in new tabs so you won’t lose your place in the guide! You might also want to pin this post for future reference also 🙂
Here’s what we will cover:
- Choosing a blogging niche
- Picking a domain name
- Setting up web hosting
- Designing your blog
- How to monetize
Step 1: Choosing your blogging niche
What will your blog be about?
If you’re blogging just for fun or as a hobby, a defined niche doesn’t matter as much. But if want to make money blogging, you should pick a topic (or niche) to focus on. The most important thing is choosing something you’re passionate about.
If you can’t see yourself writing about your chosen topic long-term or don’t feel excited about it, pick something else!
Some popular blogging niches are fashion, travel, lifestyle, beauty, health & fitness, and business. Getting even more specific is a good idea; for example, a travel blog about traveling as a solo female backpacker, or a business blog about how to run your own wedding photography business.
The best niche if you want to have a successful blog is something that you’re interested in AND knowledgeable about. If you want to make money blogging, you need to be able to provide valuable content to your readers!
Step 2: Picking a domain name
Once you know what you’re going to blog about, it’s time to choose a domain name. Your domain name is your blog’s address on the web. I’m going to be honest, I spent a million years trying to come up with a domain name before I finally settled on Blog Darling.
Don’t make my mistake and overthink it!
Here are some other tips for choosing a domain name:
- Try not to make your domain name too long or include hyphens in it – it’s much harder for people to remember that way
- Make sure that the .com of your chosen name is available (Try to avoid endings like .net or .org because they are less common and harder to remember)
- Think of something that is related to your chosen niche, but don’t be too specific or limiting (ex. “Traveling with Toddlers” for your family travel blog – in a few years, that won’t be applicable anymore)
- Using your full name as your blog name is a great way to establish a personal brand
- You can also do a play on words with your name – For example, “Jetsetting Julie” for a travel blog or “Life According to Kate” for a lifestyle blog.
- If you are planning to earn money from your blog one day, make sure the name is something you would not be embarrassed to say while shaking hands with someone and introducing yourself and your blog
You can use this tool to check and see if the domain name you want is available:
After you have decided on your domain name, you should check to see if it’s available as a handle on other social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) Go ahead and secure those names while you’re at it!
Step 3: Setting up web hosting
What is web hosting? If your domain name is your blog’s address on the web, your hosting is the home where your blog actually lives.
There are many hosting options, but this guide is designed to help you start a self-hosted blog. Having a self-hosted blog means that you have ownership over all of your content.
Why go self-hosted?
- Greater flexibility in customizing your site’s design and functionality
- Ability to monetize your website (running ads, starting a shop, etc.)
- Control and ownership over your own content
There are plenty of web hosting options out there, and I researched all of them before I started my blog.
Finally, I decided to use Bluehost.
Bluehost is very popular with bloggers because it’s cheap and easy to use, yet it gives you a great value for your money. If you sign up with my affiliate link, you can get hosting for $3.95 per month plus a free domain name!
- Bluehost: Web hosting starting at $3.95 a month + a free domain name
This is what you’ll see when you follow the link to Bluehost. Click “Get Started Now” and select the basic hosting plan. You can pay more for an upgraded plan if you want, but when you’re just starting out, it’s really not necessary!
Once you select your plan, you will be taken to this screen where you will set up your domain name.
Go ahead and enter your chosen domain name.
After you choose your domain and click “Next” you will be prompted to enter your information to check out. You will also be able to choose any add-ons you want to buy:
The only add-on I recommend is Domain Privacy Protection. This prevents people from seeing the name and address that you registered your blog with.
The best price deal for hosting is purchasing the 36-month price – however, if you don’t want to make that financial commitment yet, you can select 12-month or 24-month hosting instead.
Once you fill in these details, you will be prompted to pay.
Finally, you will be prompted to set your password:
Yay! Now you’re all set. You can log in to your WordPress dashboard now. Bluehost will automatically install WordPress for you.
WordPress is the content management platform your blog will run on. The amazing thing about WordPress is it’s extremely easy to use and customize.
Go ahead and log in to your WordPress dashboard and you get started customizing your new blog!
Step 4: Designing your blog
You will be prompted by WordPress to go ahead and choose a theme for your blog.
You can pick one of their free themes if you want, but I highly recommend getting a premium theme. In fact, I think a nice theme is one of the most important investments you can make as a new blogger.
Why? It will make your blog looks more professional and stand out right away.
My absolute favorite themes are from Bluchic. (I am using one of their themes right now!)
I also recommend:
They all have gorgeous and feminine WordPress themes.
After you pick a theme, you can also install plugins on your blog! Plug-ins let you customize your blog and add more functionality.
You can access plug-ins on the lefthand menu of your WordPress dashboard, which looks like this:
The plug-in I recommend most is Yoast SEO, because it will help you write search engine-friendly blog posts. But there are tons of other great and useful plug-ins out there. Check out ten of the best free WordPress plug-ins I recommend for new bloggers!
As you can see on your WordPress dashboard, you have the option to create pages, write blog posts, etc. Everything you will do related to your blog can be found in that lefthand menu.
Once you are happy with the way your blog looks, you can go ahead and launch it! Until you do this, your blog will just display a “Coming Soon” page.
To launch, go to the Bluehost menu area on the lefthand sidebar of your WordPress dashboard.
All you have to do is fill in this info and you’re good to go!
Congrats! Your blog is now live. But there is still work to be done..
Step 5: Monetizing your new blog!
Okay, so your blog is launched, now what? I recommend getting a few posts up first and working on a building a small audience before you begin to monetize.
I was able to make money from my blog about a month in. The easiest ways to make money as a new blogger is through affiliate marketing.
Essentially, affiliate marketing is promoting products and services you love on your blog. Whenever someone makes a purchase through your unique affiliate link, you will receive a commission.
Bloggers can use affiliate links in their blog posts and earn money when people click on their links and make a purchase. (Most programs track your link for at least a month, so even if someone doesn’t make a purchase right then and there, you will still get paid!)
I actually designed an entire email course about how to get started with affiliate marketing. In my FREE email course Blog to Biz, I share my exact strategies for how to make money blogging with affiliate marketing.
Over the course of 5 days, you will learn:
- How to start a money-making blog
- How to choose the best affiliate programs (plus free list of 30 of the best programs for bloggers!)
- How to write a blog post that converts, plus other promotion strategies
- How to use Pinterest & other sources to get traffic to your blog
And finally, here are a few other ways to monetize your blog:
- Work with brands on sponsored posts
- Offer services on your blog (here are 9 profitable ones)
- Advertise (you will need a decent amount of traffic for this!)
- Create a paid digital product (ebook, course, etc.)
Starting a blog is actually very simple, and anyone can do it! To make money blogging, you WILL have to put in a lot of time and effort. Blogging is definitely not a “get rich quick” scheme. But if you treat your blog like a business from the very start and make worthwhile investments (self-hosting, a premium WordPress theme, etc.) and put in the effort, you will see results!
If you are still feeling confused by any of this, please feel free to reach out to me and I will do my best to help! My goal is to help other girls start their own blogging business and succeed in their goals.
You can always send me any questions via the Contact page, or email me directly at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, and at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase through my links. I only recommend products and services that I have personally used and love.