How to Start a Blog and Make Money Online

Jen SmithBlogging23 Comments

Start a Pineapple Blog

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

I’m not the overdramatic type but I’m serious when I say blogging has changed the trajectory of my life. I started blogging for a few reasons, a way to help people by sharing my experiences, to hold myself accountable, and to in time, make a little money. I never considered myself an entrepreneur or a writer but now I feel like I’m both.

Why Start a Blog?

To make money from home. It’s easier than you think. An online presence allows you to get freelance writing and marketing jobs and once you build your blog you can build passive income through affiliate links or selling a product. There’s a low start up cost so you’ll at least break even if you decide it’s not for you.
Gain exposure for your business or service. A continual stream of content is great for SEO and building a brand presence. You mark yourself as an authority in your niche and trustworthiness in customers. Think about the brands you know and respect, what do their websites and blogs look like? That’s a great method to determine how much effort to put into your website or blog.
To author a book. Breaking into the book market is easy but being picked up by a publisher is harder than ever. That because people want you to have a following before they’ll even look at you! Having a blog is like having a continuously updating portfolio that anyone can access from anywhere. I know several bloggers who’ve been offered book deals because publishers like their blog.
To help others. If you have an experience or story that you think could help people your job is to share it! We’re all in this together and we can learn quicker and heal faster by sharing our knowledge and reading the knowledge of others.

I want to share with everyone the joy I’ve found in blogging and help you start one for yourself. Whether your passion is teaching, fitness, fashion, or personal finance. Whatever it is there’s plenty of room on the Internet for you and ways for you to make money if you’re patient. Here are just a few I came up with:
Fashion & Beauty: Sponsored reviews of products and brands, affiliate marketing through affiliate marketplaces and amazon (“Top 10” posts do really well)
Fitness: Affiliate links to favorite brands of workout apparel and equipment, sponsored posts of fitness apps, selling your own healthy eating courses or eBooks on a topic you’re knowledgeable about.
Education: Selling your own lesson plans and printables, affiliates to favorite teaching/ organization products on amazon or educational resources through an affiliate marketplace.
Turtles: Reviewing turtle collectibles on amazon using affiliate links, using your writing as a portfolio to get freelance writing jobs for nature & reptile publications, selling your own guide to turtle care or turtle breeding.

See, I’m serious. The ways to make money are really easy it just takes consistency, time and a little gumption to put yourself out there

If your plan is to use a blog for business or to share ideas you want to have as large an audience as possible, you can’t do it for free. You can start a blog for really really cheap though! There are three things you need to do and only one* will cost you money. (*Well, two cost money but you’ll get one for free with the deal I’m about share.)

1. Picking a Domain Name

Your domain is your website name. Mine is SavingwithSpunk.com. You’re probably familiar with GoDaddy, they sell domain names but don’t rush off just yet. Because you can get yours for free with Bluehost.

I went through the toughest time trying to name this blog. Titles are not my strong suit. I suggest sharing names with friends, Googling the heck out of sites you wanna be like, even searching urban dictionary for alternative meanings of the word spunk… but you shouldn’t do that now.

Whatever name you pick .com is the gold standard in my opinion. But if you have a kick ass name that you can’t get a .com, .net is my second choice.

2. Picking a Website Host

The host, it’s not a poor excuse for teen thriller novel with a sad movie adaptation. Web hosting is storage space on the internet, it’s the land your house sits on in Internetville.

When you host for free through sites like Blogger or Tumblr it’s like being part of a Homeowner’s Association, it’s great if you just want to live there but puts a lot of limitations on your site if you plan on getting creative or making money with it.

When you have your own hosting you have the freedom to do whatever you want with your site. You can have advertising and affiliate links, you’ll have more authority in Google (which leads to better search rankings) and brands are much more likely to offer you sponsored posts simply because you seem more professional (it has less to do with page views than you think.)

I use Bluehost because it’s trusted by a ton of professional bloggers (for more than just it’s mad nice affiliate program) and ITS THE CHEAPEST! As someone trying to get out of debt and start a legit blog, price was the most important factor to me.

I’ve been super happy with Bluehost. They have a live chat service I’ve used on several occasions when I couldn’t figure something out and it’s been so helpful.

One of those times included my site crashing because I installed a child theme. I couldn’t even get into the backend to fix anything. I got on Bluehost live chat and they restored my site within minutes. To this technically challenged blogger, those people are saints.

When you purchase web hosting through Bluehost you also get your domain for free, another perk that saved me money. I don’t remember how long the process took but setting everything up was super easy. I’ll also walk you through how to set up a blog through Bluehost after I tell you about…

3. Picking a Website Platform

Also called a blog platform, this is the software that allows you to publish and maintain your content. Until you have a platform your website is just a “reserved” parking spot.

Most people agree that WordPress.org is the best platform out there. It’s free, easy to use, and the #1 used platform so everything you find out there is going to be compatible with it. If you’re confused on the difference between WordPress .org and .com, you’re not alone. Both are free but WordPress.com is a host and platform, WordPress.org is software you download to manage your site through your own host.

Bluehost has a button on their dashboard where you can install WordPress with one-click.

Another great thing with WordPress is there are amazing and easy premium themes you can buy to customize your site (another Goggle booster) and countless widgets you can add that eliminate the need for extensive html knowledge or a web designer. When you get started it doesn’t need to be fancy, just readable.

How to Start a WordPress Blog with Bluehost – In 3 Easy Steps!

So now that you’re sold on this whole blogging thing (or website thing, whatever you wanna call it.) how do you do it? It’s super easy and Bluehost sent me some official screenshots to help me walk you through it.

1. Decide on Your Domain Name

Have this ready to go before you start the process. Test out your ideas on Instant Domain Search and play around for a few days or weeks. Once you have a name, on to step two.

2. Pick the Right Plan for You

Plans with Bluehost start at $3.95 per month and honestly, that’s all you need. To get the deal you’ll pay 12, 24, or 36 months upfront which comes out to less than $50 per year. You can make that back and more in the first six months if you keep up with it.

You’ll then enter your freshly picked domain name, input your money numbers, and decide if you want a few premium add-ons like site security and privacy protection. These are great for piece of mind but not necessary up front. I chose a more comprehensive security suite a few months later but I might try the “Domain Privacy Protection” when I’m up for renewal.

If you already have a domain name and want to transfer it to Bluehost that’s easy to do too, it’s called transferring name servers. If you go into your domain manager’s settings and for the domain name you want to transfer click “Manage DNS” and “Manage” then “Edit Nameserver.”

Enter “NS1.Bluehost.com” and “NS2.Bluehost.com” as the Nameservers.

If you’re with GoDaddy they have detailed instructions on their website or through enom.com see their instructions here.

3. Install WordPress on Bluehost

Log into your Bluehost account, probably using that crazy long password Bluehost generates for you, and it’ll take you to your “home” screen. There are actually multiple screens and buttons you can use to download WordPress and they recently changed things up so I included this video from Nick Loper of Side Hustle Nation to walk you through one of the ways.

You can also click the “Install WordPress button and you’ll be taken to the “MOJO Marketplace” where you can click a green arrow to get to the WordPress download page.

When WordPress is done downloading you’ll immediately be able to login to your site by adding “/wp-admin” to the end of your site like this: www.myawesomeblog.com/wp-admin and start building your site! (Nick has some tips on getting started with themes in his video as well.)

You did it! If you have ANY questions or are confused with anything please send me an email at savingwithspunk@gmail.com. I’m no tech whiz but I set up and built my website so I’ve learned a thing or two and with the help of Google and YouTube we can figure anything out!

Make sure to check out my posts with tips for free widgets to download, how to start affiliate marketing, and ways to balance life with a new blog!

11 Lessons from my First 3 Months of Blogging
11 More Lessons from my First 6 Months of Blogging

And one more time, here’s my link to Bluehost so you can get started blogging your way to a better life! (Was that cheesy? I’m just really excited to make new blogging friends!)

Still on the fence about starting a blog?

If you sign up for Bluehost’s 36-month hosting plan through my affiliate link I’ll give you a one-on-one 60-minute coaching call for FREE! That’s a $100 value. We’ll go over blog basics for your niche, monetization, SEO, tech, and I’ll send you my resource library that helped me get started!

Once you’ve made your purchase, email your receipt to savingwithspunk@gmail.com to schedule your free coaching call! Only valid on the 36-month hosting plan.

Tell me: Are you going to set up a WordPress blog on Bluehost? Do you have any hesitations about starting a blog or website?

23 Comments on “How to Start a Blog and Make Money Online”

  1. Wow! A lot of good information and plenty to think about. I’ve just started my blog, earlier this year, but already see there are some changes I need to make in the upcoming few months to make it better.

    1. Thanks Janet. Let me know if I can give any guidance. Lot’s of trial and error experience over here 😉

    1. Thanks Caroline! These are definitely the basics, be sure to check out my other posts for some more advanced tips!

  2. I started my blog because I love writing, especially about things I’m passionate about. I write about education but had no idea I could sell my old lesson plans. Thanks for the info!

    1. You’re welcome Lisa! There are sites where you can post your lesson plans and sell them from their platform. It make it super easy!

  3. This is a very helpful thank you for sharing. I am gonna be back and read this again. I already have a blog but there are a lot of tips on this post that I can apply especially on how to make money.

  4. I very straight-forward and detailed post on starting a blog, some other posts just expain too much and overwhelm beginners before they have begun.

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