Because we receive so many questions about how we specifically set up our blog, we decided to provide our readers with a soup-to-nuts, comprehensive guide for how to set up a blog. This blog post is intended to function as a how-to manual—a guide that will light the path toward launching your new blog—with easy-to-follow screenshots, step-by-step instructions, as well as additional rationale and insights to improve your blog.
What should you do first? Great question! If you’re feeling stuck on which comes first – the chicken or the egg – the answer is really both. It may seem like a lot to juggle, but as I explain (Step #3 below), even though you’ll be dipping into all of your buckets each month, some will have a priority focus over others. For instance, if you’re starting out with blogging, in months #1-3 you may have a priority focus on:
But if you create a realistic plan for how much time you’ll have for creating for your website in the next 3 months and you fill that plan with what you think are good or great ideas for new posts or podcasts then you will start creating some true hits with readers or listeners (even if not all of those ideas will resonate as much with your audience as they may do with you).
Hello! I want to be a stay at home mom and I’m basically a single mother. I’m with my child’s father. We just aren’t married yet but he plays basketball overseas so I’m taking care of our daughter by myself. I want to be able to spend more time with her. I’m currently a teacher and it is absolutely miserable and draining the life out of me and my sanity. I would love to get started on becoming a blogger. You have truly inspired me to do it. I’m just very scared and hesitant on spending the money but I’m beyond ready to do it. I started filling out bluest but haven’t completed yet because of the add-ons they are offering and I’m unsure on what to select or unselect but it raises the price it. Could you provide advice? I also wanted to know is there another site you recommend for themes? They are no longer $69, they are $89 now for Elegant themes website. I’m really trying to get this started and am more motivated then ever to do this but I’m just trying to do it in a lower cost if possible. Thank you!
Hi Carol, Sorry to hear about your troubles. Did you upload WordPress to Bluehost? If so, what you need to do now is upload a theme. There are free ones that you can use, or you can purchase one from StudioPress (this is what my blog is designed with now), Elegant Themes, or Thesis. I’ve heard the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes is super easy to modify. Don’t give up you can do this — with anything new, there is a learning curve.
I’ve been building online businesses and e-commerce websites since 2000. I would never in my life start a new website with a “free” blogging or “free” website platform. If you do, within months your website is going to start growing, and you’re going to have to switch to a paid platform anyway. You will have thrown away all that time (and lost money in the process).
The easiest PPC method to get started with is Google AdSense. However, in order to make any kind of decent money with display ads, you’ll need quite a bit of traffic. And by the time you get that much traffic, you’ll make more money going with an ad management company like Mediavine (minimum of 25,000 monthly impressions) or AdThrive (minimum of 100,000 monthly pageviews).
Affiliate marketing is my absolute favorite way to make money blogging. I love it because it can feel quite passive. You can create just one blog or social media post, which can potentially still earn you money years down the line. Now, you will have to maintain the post and keep generating traffic to it. Still, with affiliate marketing, I can relax a little and enjoy life more, all while knowing that I am earning a great living promoting products that I use and enjoy.
That being said, while you shouldn’t expect to go full-time right away, blogging has in fact led to multi-million dollar companies. There is no guarantee in blogging, just like any other business endeavor. We share these stories with you so you can see what is possible. While you may never make millions, with the right research, time, effort, and timing, you can certainly earn a good income from blogging. To play it safe, we recommend blogging as a side business until you start seeing those returns.
If you aren’t part of an ad network then you are constantly searching for new companies to advertise on your site. This one was always a pain in the ass for me. I wanted to spend time making my site better, but if I ignored selling my ad space then I wouldn’t have money to continue to make my site better. You can join an ad network, but that means you are giving up a percentage of the revenue. Work hard to only get 50% of the money? Bleh.
Selling physical products online can be hard to setup as you will need to deal with storage, shipping and even deal with things such as local taxes and distance selling laws. Of course a lot of this headache can be resolved by finding a company who will offer a white-label or drop shipping service leaving you to worry about getting traffic and updating the website.
Thank you so much for this helpful post! I have been researching how to make a successful blog for a month or so and have found many of your posts very helpful! It is my goal within the next year or so to have one up and running! I’m currently working more then full-time hours but live my job; just want more freetime. I think with some hard work I can make it possible.
Oh, and side note—once you've started generating a decent amount of traffic to your blog, it'll be a smart long-term decision to move up your hosting plan to a managed WordPress hosting provider like Kinsta that have even more features (which is what I use now that I'm in the hundreds of thousands of monthly readers), especially when you're in need of speeding up your WordPress blog.
I’d like to start a blog, I feel it’s easy but with all the info don’t know where to start. The goal is to have fun with it and earn potential income. How do I come up with great topics people would go for. I tried this kinda before but didn’t complete process. It gave me headache 🤦🤦. By the way thanks for your blogging education. Very informative..😊
I always encourage my friends to look at WPengine for hosting, its a bit more pricey but is really stable and reliable, plus they include tons of goodies that are usually considered a premium service and they all work without a struggle. Thinks like a CDN, Backups, Offload to S3. All these things can really help the quality and consistency of your site and are definitely something to think about whether you are a beginner or an advanced blogger.
Thanks so much for this great post! I’m a new stay-at-home mom and was researching jobs I could do from home (so I could stay at home for the longterm!) and I kept coming back to blogging. I have read and re-read your post multiple times and downloaded Ruth Soukup’s book; so good! I feel like I’m much more set up for success and not floundering in the dark! I would love any feedback on my website!
It seems like you got your blog up and running – congratulations! About the “WebPage not available” – this is a common thing. Just wait a few hours, clear your browser cookies and you should be able to see your blog. If you want to speed up the process, follow this guide: http://support.hostgator.com/articles/hosting-guide/lets-get-started/when-will-my-domain-start-working-propagation
Hi Anna! I love that you already know blogging is your calling! You’re totally right that there are many possible directions to go, but you won’t truly know which is the one that will make you most successful until you get out there and try a few things. Also, with practice, you’ll be much more likely to see posts take off. I don’t think you need to be afraid to start, though. As long as you start your blog off the way I’ve outlined in the post, you’re going to have such a great start. This is everything I wish I would have known in my first years of blogging that would have helped me become successful so much faster. You can do it! And I hope you’ll stop by and give me an update about how you’re doing as you do get started :)
Once you’ve selected the right account, you’ll move to the next page where you can actually purchase your domain. Either you already have a domain, which you can easily port over to their service, or you’ll buy a new domain name. If you’ve already done the research on your domain, this step should be fairly straightforward. If you haven’t, don’t rush this step and take enough time selecting the perfect domain.
Whether you have been blogging for years or just a few weeks, Ruth’s bestselling book, How to Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul), offers solid advice and practical action plans for writing amazing content that gets noticed and shared, creating compelling images, growing blog traffic, maximizing revenue, and turning your blog into a profitable business.
If you can keep your readers engaged and actively reading your content and digesting it thoroughly, Google will take notice. Engagement, calculated through things like the average time spent reading your content, average session time, exit rate, bounce rate, and so on, is one of the primary components when ranking on Google's competitive Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Wow, you really are just a breath away from starting your blog, and wish all the passion and organization you already have, you have such a great start. I know I already mentioned in the post, but I wouldn’t let choosing a domain name hold you back from starting your blog as it really can be changed pretty easily down the road if you find you just hate it. Some variation on your own name is an easy place to start. I hope to hear back from you someday soon that you’ve started your blog! :)
If you're unsure whether or not you've written a strong headline, take it for a test drive by using the free headline analyzer tool from CoSchedule. It's super cool—you just paste in the headline you're thinking about using, and it gives you a score on a scale of 0 to 100 (with 100 being a truly perfect headline), based on their analysis of millions of headlines.
Thank you, I started my blog on January 1st of this year. I paid for a host and got the free domain name. I have been using a free theme so far. Your post encourage me as I am starting out ok. Traffic has been slow, but I just watched an online series about SEO that I believe will help. I look forward t your next post. Also, I had trouble picking a domain name and picked this one but would love to change it later.
Thanks so much for this article and all of the links! I’ve been thinking about blogging for the past year. This year I started my Instagram page and just this week joined Twitter and Facebook as a means of (hopefully) expanding once the blog is underway. My first dilemma however, is the name! For the past four months, I have been @travelsandtantrums on IG (and the other platforms) however, I am thinking of changing that name as it began as a way of documenting our big family trip this year – I hadn’t counted on growth (as you talk about in your articles). Also, as our kids grow up, I hope that the ‘tantrums’ will subside – so, I don’t know whether to stick with what I have or to change to a more ‘family/reality’ name. It is catchy but is it relevant if we are not ‘travelling’ all the time? Hmmmmm. I’d love to know what you think!
If you scour the web, you'll find companies like Aweber, Get Response, Mail Chimp, Constant Contact and loads of others when it comes to email marketing. The first thing you need to do is to pick one of those companies and integrate it into your blog. Second, you need to develop a free offer. What will you give away in exchange for that lucrative email address?
Hi Jessica, thanks for the advice! I have been setting up my blog over the last few days and written a few posts already. I’m really nervous to launch the site though so as of now only I have access to my blog. Did you wait until you had a good amount of material on your blog before publicizing it or did you start with one article and got more traffic as more material was added? Thanks!
Firslty thank you for sharing all this great info, so far everything you have explained has worked. However I am stuck on the “choosing my theme”, I am hesitant because I don’t know if I am STUCK with whatever I choose and at this point I want a longterm awesome working blog and website. Can I try themes out to actually understand what I want or do I just choose and then that’s it I am stuck with it. Most importantly I want to be able to add “ads” so I can make some income from my site, just to cover some of my expenses and time, but I have no idea which themes allow this and how do I find out. Frustrated and stuck in limbo for a couple weeks now. Thanks for your help
My name is Jamie Spencer and I have spent the past 5 years building money making blogs. After growing tired of the 9-5, commuting and never seeing my family I decided that I wanted to make some changes and launched my first blog. Since then I have launched lots of successful niche blogs and after selling my survivalist blog I decided to teach other people how to do the same.
However, aside from that, you can always opt to generate small amounts of cash flow by doing other things such as creating articles that will lead people to courses or audiobooks that you've developed, or building out video tutorials that will ultimately sell some big package or system that will help to teach people whatever it is that you're really good it.
On August 23, 1999, Blogger was launched by Pyra Labs. As one of the earliest dedicated blog-publishing tools, it is credited for helping popularize the format. In February 2003, Pyra Labs was acquired by Google under undisclosed terms. The acquisition allowed premium features (for which Pyra had charged) to become free. In October 2004, Pyra Labs' co-founder, Evan Williams, left Google. In 2004, Google purchased Picasa; it integrated Picasa and its photo sharing utility Hello into Blogger, allowing users to post photos to their blogs.
It was only after following the example of some of my favorite bloggers (like Darren and Yaro), and some excellent advice from the Internet Business Mastery Academy that I knew I had to do something more than just blog to make some real profit. Soon after, I formed my LLC and leveraged the authority and trust I had earned on my blog to launch a profitable online business. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]