How to Start a Blog That Generates $3000 a Month
So, you want to start a blog and get paid by blogging? Great idea! After all, what’s better than following your passion and earning passive income via this.
None the less, it’s a great way to start building your online career which could help you reach the new heights.But…how the heck do you get started?
There’s so much info out there on the web, and everyone’s telling you to do different things. Who do you listen to? Where’s the starting point? dammit, maybe you should just forget it – it’s too confusing! Well, hold up. I used to be a blogging newbie too. I had the same problems as you. But don’t worry. I am here to help you. I promise it’ll be simple, relatively easy, and easy to understand. Sound good? Awesome, let’s move on.
I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to do to get started(how to start a blog) and set up your own personal blog. Before we dive in though, I really want to talk about WHY you should build a blog.
Note: If you already have a solid idea of the whys, then skip this and go right ahead with the guide. There are many reasons to start a blog. Here are a few popular ones:
1. You will become a better writer:
Blogging will not force you to become a better writer, it’ll just happen as you do it. And becoming a better writer holds important benefits for the rest of your life—whether you are creating a book, a presentation, a résumé, or an anniversary card for your loved ones, having a good writing skill has its unfair advantage!
2. You’ll make some money:
You don’t need a huge following to start making money with your blog. In fact, you’ll have the potential to make millions of dollars from the comfort of your own home. In today’s economy, being diversified and having additional sources of income can be tremendously beneficial. If you are working a job that doesn’t pay as much as you’d like, or if you would simply like to earn more money (who doesn’t?), then start a blog in 2019 can make for a great side income.
3. It will create new opportunities for yourself:
When you become known for a certain topic, you could get picked up by the search engines, and people who are looking for expertise in that area will eventually reach out to you. This will result in a new and interesting career and business opportunities that wouldn’t have otherwise been possibilities.
To see more of WHYS, you can read this article.
Before you go into action steps, let us cover some valuable information.
Can I start a blog for free?
Yes, but…After doing this a long time, here’s my advice:
A free blog is fine if it’s a hobby, but if you’re looking to build a business out of your blog or make money blogging, I would highly recommend some of the paid (yet still very affordable) options that I’m going to cover below. If you’re on the fence about whether to use a free or paid hosting provider to get started… here’s, why you should consider (an affordable) paid hosting provider:
Why? A few reasons:
Only basic features:
This might not be a problem at first, but as you grow, you will almost certainly feel the pinch. Expandability and flexibility are key, both of which are limited to free blogging services. you’ll have a lack of control over how your blog looks and acts.
Lack of support:
Companies don’t offer free blogs out of the goodness of their hearts. They still want to make money somehow. If you’re only using their free service, they’re not making money from you. Therefore, they don’t have a lot of incentive to keep you happy. Sometimes this means you’ll have little to no support. Other times it means you’ll be badgered with offers for their paid-for products.
Most free services have limits on monetization (i.e. making money) unless you “upgrade” to a higher level. You’ll have to pay for that upgrade of course, so it defeats the purpose of having a free blog in the first place.
Switching isn’t easy:
If you ever want to switch to a better service (very common among those who start a free blog), it’s a hassle and can be costly. Doing it yourself takes a lot of time and know-how. Hiring someone to do it correctly costs hundreds of dollars.
Can’t use others for inspiration:
You might not be able to do what your favorite bloggers are doing. This happens to new bloggers all the time. They start a blog for free. Soon they notice cool features on other blogs which they want too. The problem is, it’s not possible on their free service.
In general, we value the things we pay for. Blogging is hard work. One way to keep yourself accountable is to pay just a little bit for it. Even free blog hosting services can disappear overnight! If those common pitfalls don’t convince you, or a free blog is truly your only choice, I would recommend going with Blogger.
How much does a blog cost?
The method I outline below is budget friendly. It works out to less than $10 a month. I blogged for years on this budget. As my blog and income grew, I eventually started paying for more premium tools and services, but they are not required to start.
I’m not very tech savvy. Can I do this?
Absolutely! I specialize in simple. Hundreds of people follow this guide every day— of all ages and walks of life — many of whom have no prior web building knowledge. I started with no computer background myself.
Why do I recommend you Bluehost?
There are countless blogging platforms, like WordPress, Squarespace, Blogger, Wix, Weebly, etc.
There are also countless hosts, like WPEngine, GoDaddy, SiteGround, HostGator or hundreds of others. I’ve been living and breathing blogging a long time and I’ve tried many of the above.
Some I would never use or recommend because even though they make it dead simple for a blogger to start a pretty-on-the-outside blog, the code underneath is so bloated your site speed and SEO will likely suffer.
Others I love and would use in a heartbeat…if only they offered more functionality and expandability. Others are either too new or too limited in their infrastructure to make me confident they’ll be around for the long haul or have the capacity to handle a virus, outage, sudden swell in customer support, etc. (which happens to all of them at some point). Others may be great, but I simply haven’t tried them.
Know this: All platforms and hosts have pros and cons. All have glitches at times. Just like in life, there is no perfect solution (beware of those who tell you there is!). The setup below is not perfect either, but it’s one I have personal experience with and has, in my opinion, more pros than cons for the new, budget-minded blogger.
One very last thing before we get started:
Creating your own blog can take a little while, probably up to 30 minutes. So, grab yourself a cup of coffee or juice (whatever you like) and read on to your new journey. If you need any help during the set-up process, get in touch with me here or comment below and I’ll help as best I can and answer any questions you might have). Let’s dive into the first step of “how to start a blog in 2019”:
1. Name your blog and get web hosting:
This is a fun and important step because your blog name is your brand. It’s how you’ll be remembered. But, don’t overthink about it.
The key is to act and gain momentum. When you’re starting a blog from scratch, you need two things.
The first is a domain name.
This is your blog’s name.
For example, mine is smartsourav.com. Domain names will run you roughly $10/year. If you don’t find the right domain name, no worries you can still start a blog and change your name later.
The second is web hosting.
Web hosting is a service that allows your blog to be accessed through the internet. Without web hosting, your blog can’t be seen online. Without a domain name, your blog won’t have an address. These two are inseparable.
There are plenty of web hosting companies to choose from. Prices generally range from $3 – $1000/month.If you’re just starting a new blog, you should use Bluehost. They are the biggest and most well-known hosting company and I worked out a deal with them where you can get started for the lowest price(plus you will get a free domain).
To be honest, you really don’t need anything fancy at this stage. Once you hit over 25,000 unique visitors a month, you can consider upgrading, but Bluehost can scale with you.
And the cool part about this offer, which isn’t available to the public, is that you get $175 worth of freebies including free money to spend on Google and Bing ads, in addition to the free domain. Click here to get the smartsourav.com special. When naming your blog, you may want to take these tips into consideration.
- Choose a .com over others. They’re easier to remember.
- Try to use a keyword that represents what your blog is about. This helps people quickly identify your blog’s niche and helps search engines distinguish what your blog is about.
- Aim for 2-3 words. Unfortunately, most, if not all single word domains are taken.
- Avoid using numbers and hyphens. They are difficult to remember.
- Go for something memorable or catchy.
- For personal brands, use your name or a variation of it.
Remember it might take some effort to find the perfect name for your blog, but it’s worth the thought and effort when starting a new brand.
2.Install WordPress – your blogging software:
You can’t start a blog without blogging software. I run all my blogs on WordPress because it’s user-friendly, free and powerful. Even without a piece of technical knowledge, you can install WordPress in exactly 5 clicks. Here’s how. After you get your free domain and hosting account, you can log in and use your first click on the “Install WordPress” icon.
Choose the “do it yourself” version and click the “Install” button.
Use your third click on the “Check Domain” button.
Your last two clicks will be for acknowledging their terms of service and finalizing your install.
Within a minute, you’ll have a fully functional WordPress blog up and running.
3. Design your blog with a WordPress theme:
In the blogging world, WordPress designs are called themes. Out of the box, your blog will look something like this:
It isn’t the fanciest design out there, but it’s workable. There are thousands of themes to choose from. But it can be easy to get trapped in “Shiny Object Syndrome” and not walk away with anything. You can swap out your theme any time, so don’t get too caught up with the bells and whistles. First, you need to log into your WordPress admin. You can access this by going to yourdomain.com/wp-admin.Here, you’ll need to enter your user credentials to log in.
If you’re new to WordPress, the dashboard might look a little daunting at first, but you’ll be an expert with a little practice.
To install a new theme, hover over the “Appearance” menu in the sidebar and click “Themes”.
Instead, we’ll search for flashier themes that will instantly make your eyes twinkle. Click the “Add New” button at the top to get access to thousands of WordPress themes.
Your taste and mine might be different. Fortunately, WordPress has a “Feature Filter” that lets you search for something that will fit your style.
The 3 categories are “layout,” “features” and “subject.” Here’s what your filter requests might look like.
After applying the filters, you’ll see amazing themes that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars in design fees. Since I like you, it’s free 😉
If you click on the theme’s thumbnail, you can get an instant preview of what your blog will look like. Evaluate if it fits both your personal style and the topic that you’ll be covering.
Once you’re satisfied with the sneak to peek, click the “Install” button. Once the installation is complete, click the “Activate” button and you’re all set.
If you can’t find a theme that you like, there are premium themes that you can purchase from sites like:
- Elegant Themes.
By now, your theme should be activated and ready to go. Let’s move on to customizing your theme.
4.Customize and optimize your WordPress blog:
There are endless customizations that you can make on a WordPress blog. We’ll stick with the essentials.
Themes are the foundation of your design and include the core functionalities. WordPress also has plugins that can add to or extend the functionality of your blog.
For example, you can use plugins to add forums, contact forms or sliders. While they might seem like basic features, they aren’t always available by default.
The first step is to click the “Customize” button on your active theme. Menu options in the sidebar will vary, depending on the theme you choose. The main category to edit is “Site Identity.”Here, you can add the name of your blog and a tagline if you wish. When you’re done, click the “Save and Publish” button.
5.Optimize for Search Engine Traffic:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a multi-billion-dollar industry. SEO is the process of optimizing your website to be found in search engines for keywords and phrases. If you’re new to SEO, then this new feat may seem daunting.
But WordPress makes it insanely simple to optimize the technical aspects of your blog. Most of your SEO efforts will be to create engaging content for real people. Whether that’s through text, videos or images, your job as a blogger is to spark a relationship with your readers. And, what better way is there than through relatable and informative conversation?
You can get started by downloading a plugin called Yoast SEO. Hover over the plugins menu on the side and click “Add New.”
Search for “Yoast SEO” in the search bar and it will be the first result that comes up. Click the “Install Now” button. Then, hit the “Activate” button once the installation is complete.
You can access the plugin’s settings from the new SEO menu in the sidebar or by clicking the icon at the top.
From the dashboard, go to “Your Info” and set the foundations for your blog.
Make sure that your website name and tagline are correct. Then, identify yourself as a company or person. Click the “Save Changes” button and we’ll move on to the next step.
Next, go to the “Webmaster Tools” tab and click “Google Search Console.” Google Search Console is a webmaster tool that allows you to submit your site to their search index and optimize visibility.
Sign into your Google account, whether that’s your Gmail or Drive account.
Once you’ve logged in, click the “Alternate methods” tab and select “HTML tag.”
A new drop-down will appear with your search console meta code. Copy the alphanumeric string without the quotation marks.
Next, paste your meta code into the Google Search Console text box and click “Save Changes.”
Finally, click the “Verify” button.
As you tinker around in Webmaster Central, you’ll gain a wealth of data-driven insight, such as keyword phrases you rank for, errors on your blog and the ability to give Google a nudge when you publish a new post.
Next, go to the “General” tab and start the installation wizard.
Yoast will take you through a series of 10 quick steps to optimize your WordPress blog.
The first step is a welcome screen that you can skip.
In the second step, select the environment that best suits your site. Most likely, you’ll choose the production environment, which means that it is a real website that you intend on driving traffic to.
Step 3 is the website type. Choose blog and click next.
The next step is to set yourself up as a company or person. We already set this up before, so you can skip this step.
In step 5, you can add any social profiles that are associated with your blog. Click “Next” when complete.
Step 6 is about post visibility. The default settings are fine to use. Set your “Posts” and “Pages” to visible and “Media” to hidden.
Next, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll have multiple authors or a solo blogger. If you choose to add another writer in the future, you can change these settings later.
If you wish to have the Yoast SEO plugin pull in data from Google’s search console, step 8 is the place to do it.
Click on the “Get Google Authorization Code” button.
A new pop-up will appear where you can allow Yoast to access your search console data. Click the “Allow” button to confirm access.
In step 9, you can verify your website name and choose a title separator.
The title separator is a symbol used to separate your blog post’s title and your website’s name in the meta title information. This is what Google searchers will see when finding your blog through a search query.
For instance, if you found this post on Google, you might have seen “How to Start a Blog –SmartSourav.”
The symbol is a matter of personal preference. Click “Next” when you’re ready to move on.
The final step is no step at all. It’s a congratulatory message confirming that you have successfully optimized your SEO settings for your budding WordPress blog.
Now publish your first post.
Starting a blog is easy. Creating one that will be successful and make money requires hard work, dedication, and grit.
But, the rewards far outweigh the risks.
Blogs are affordable and more accessible today than they have ever been before.
Like anything else in life, there will be obstacles that attempt to throw you off course. But, I encourage you to go forward with your passion and share it through your own blog.
Everything that you need to get started is here.
As you begin your blogging journey, remember that you’re speaking to humans.
Be you. Be adventurous. Be honest and transparent.
As you continue to consistently create great content, your tribe will flock to you, listen and respond.