How to Start a Blog for Profit and Fun
Blogging changed my life in so many ways. In addition to earning money, I’ve made friends, learned new skills, and grown more confident. You can too! Here’s how to start a blog for profit and fun.
Here’s a promise I can make. No one regrets starting a blog and putting time into it. However, once you have started, you will regret all the time you missed out on before starting your blog.
How to Start a Blog for Profit and Fun
Many of us create wonderful blogs that help others and provide a creative outlet as well as to bring in extra income. Blogging is hands-down my favorite activity to spend time on. Not only that, but I give it credit here, for literally helping me create an amazing life!
For many years I wanted to have a blog but I put it off because there was so much I didn’t understand. I created this tutorial to help you get started NOW. I don’t want you to miss out on years of opportunity like I did!
Why People Don’t Start Their Blogs
For all the people out there thinking about starting a blog, so many just don’t get started. They worry about who will read it or what happens if no one reads it. (Ten Reasons People Don’t Start Their Blog)
I can tell you this, all those worries can be addressed later as you grow your blog and gain confidence. Starting a blog is simply the beginning. Yet it is critically important! (At the bottom of the post, I share a link to a very special Facebook group where you can get support as you move forward.)
Any kind of blog you can imagine has the potential to bring joy, fun, and money into your life. And I believe with all my heart that if you are reading this, then you probably have the call to blog. As a teacher and mentor, I want to help you get started on something that can be truly life-changing.
The Most Important Thing You Can Do
After working with hundreds of new bloggers and wanna-be bloggers I can tell you the most important thing to do.
Many people wanting to blog get so overwhelmed by how hard they think it is that they never even try. They fade away with their blog dreams dancing about their heads without ever putting the first word out there.
Don’t be one of them!
Yes, starting a blog is going to take you to places that you’ve never seen. It might seem a little scary and easy to mess up. It’s perfectly normal to feel this way. It’s okay. The thing I want you to know is that blogging really is do-able. It’s harder to write about than actually do.
So, dig in and get it started. I have plenty of resources to take you on from there but the most important thing right now is to get your blog started.
Pin the graphic below or save the post for future reference!
The First Question: Should I Pay for a Blog?
The first question most people have is should I pay for a blog? One of the ways to blog is with a free blogging site that offers simplicity and of course doesn’t cost a thing. That can sound attractive but it does have some serious drawbacks.
This part can be a little confusing. You can start a free blog on WordPress.com or you can use WordPress.org, which is also free but you use it with a hosted domain that you do pay for.
However, the drawbacks to the free blogging sites are serious ones. With free blogs
- You can’t have a simple URL. You’ll have a bulky long URL
- There are strict limits on monetization. If you goal is to make money do not use a free site.
- You don’t have as much control over your own content. You don’t own your website and you risk losing everything.
- If you decide to monetize, you will have to move everything later.
If You Want to Monetize Your Blog
If you are serious about monetizing your blog—it’s best to start with a self-hosted blog.
For me, it was an easy decision. The cost per month was about the price of ONE cup of fancy coffee. I wanted more control of my blog in terms of customization and being able to monetize. And I really did not want the hassle of moving it later.
In the past, I have used two free platforms and one other paid hosting site before I started using Blue Host. I’ve been with Blue Host for almost three years and have never had a single problem. A simple phone call has helped me resolve the two relatively minor issues that I’ve ever had.
Plus, for a new blogger, it truly is the most affordable option out there. To me that is a win-win. You get affordability with a reliable well-known host. Blue Host has been in this business for a long time and they are not about to go anywhere anytime soon.
Bluehost is one of the top web hosting companies in 2018 and you can start your own blog with them for as low as $3.95 a month.
In addition Bluehost has made the process EASIER than ever by having WordPress automatically installed at sign-up!
Before you get into all the details, here are some related posts on blogging that can help you decide if blogging is for you.
How to Start a Blog for Profit and Fun
Let’s get started.
You will need a hosting account. Website hosts maintain the files for your site as well has thousands of other websites. Think of it like a shopping center that has space for many individual stores. A hosting account is like leasing a space in that shopping center where you can set up shop. Once you set up “shop” your visitors can come find you!
Get started here if you already feel ready. You can always come back to get more info if you need to.
How to Pick a Web Hosting Plan
The way it works to get the best price is to sign up for three years. I admit, I didn’t do that. I just signed up for one year and paid a little more per year. Here’s the thing. It’s still inexpensive. I don’t know any other hobby or business you can set up for under $5 a month. It’s amazing to me and it has been worth every penny.
As a beginner, the basic plan is great. You can always easily upgrade if necessary with a simple phone call.
How to Choose a Domain Name
Your domain name is what people type into their browser to find your website. For example, my blog is www.mythinkbiglife.com otherwise known as My Think Big Life. Picking a domain name is important but don’t overthink it. Do your best! If you write great content and build a great blog, your name will be fine.
Most bloggers have to pick a name without really knowing where their blog is headed. I decided that I’d rather get blogging than spend months debating on names. Your content will decide if your blog is popular–not the name.
Next you will enter your account information. This is easy to do–just follow the prompts.
There are a couple of additional costs that I think are worth adding on. First is Domain Privacy and the Second is Sitelock Security.
Next add your payment information. Read and agree to the Terms of service and submit.
How to Create a Password
IMPORTANT: Creating a password with at least 10 characters and includes a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols is a must. Be sure to write down your user name and password somewhere safe, as your password could be difficult to remember (that means it’s strong!)
How to Customize Your blog
Choose a theme — You can browse thousands of themes for your blog. I recommend starting with a free theme until you get used to WordPress and figure out the features that are important to you. Later you can upgrade to a paid theme that best meets your needs. When you find a theme you like, click “Install” and then “Activate” on the theme preview.
The great thing about a THEME is that you can change the look without affecting your content. Let’s say you started with a free theme and wrote a couple of blog posts. Then you decide to change the look of your blog. You can change the them and your content stays the same.
Now it’s time to start building your blog. Congratulations!
How to Login into your WordPress blog
To access your WordPress dashboard, type your domain name into the address bar of your browser, adding “/wp-admin” to the end of it. So it will look like this:
Now you’ll be taken to the screen where you login to your blog dashboard with the user name and password your created during the installation process. Bookmark this page!
How to Upload a Header Image in WordPress
This is the image at the top of your blog that announces your blog name, and possibly a tagline. When I started my blog, I actually made my own header with a basic photo editing program. It doesn’t need to be fancy; the most important thing is that it is readable and fits your theme. (When you click “Appearance” -> “Header” it should tell you the recommended header image size for your specific theme). Try PicMonkey.com for an affordable online editing program.
How to Adjust Settings in WordPress
The settings menu will allow you to customize the functionality of your website, like moderating comments before they appear on your site (I recommend this to help prevent spam) or setting up sharing buttons (do this!) Take a few minutes to explore the settings menu and see all of the available options.
How to Write Your First Blog Post
Writing your first blog post IS a big deal. It’s exciting and scary at the same time.
To add content to your blog, you will go to the dashboard and click on New Post. This opens up a box where you can begin writing your post or add the text from one that you have written.
Most of the time, I like to write my blog posts in a word processor offline and then copy and paste into the post block later. Either way is fine.
To make your post public, or “live,” click the PUBLISH button. And now you’re officially a blogger!
Here is an excellent post on how to write your first blog post the way professional bloggers do.
Because your blog will become such an important part of your life; it’s important that you are confident about your hosting company. Bluehost has been with me since the beginning of My Think Big Life when I had a couple of people on my blog and has helped me grow to tens of thousands of people a month.
If you already have a blog on a free site be sure and call Bluehost and see about moving your blog. They can help with that too.
Happy Blogging my friends!
Get Help and Support on Your Blogging Journey
Here’s the second most important thing you can do in your blogging journey: Get support! I run a supportive and informational blogging group on Facebook called Banking on Blogging. We have a friendly and helpful vibe that’s perfect for new bloggers.
Coach with Sara
Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.