After years of scrolling and shopping online, I got bored. There were more
Blogging became one of my side hustles and I fell in love.It’s been an awesome ride and I’m not getting off of it anytime soon. This is my tutorial on how you can start a blog that makes money too.
But before I get into the hows and whats, lets clear a couple things up because they have been bugging me for years.
Blogging comes in all shapes and sizes
When I first bought my domain and was getting settled into my website, I told my good friend “I started a blog!” and she said “Great! Now you just have to take pictures everywhere you go!”
That wasn’t what I had in mind, but in her mind blogging = good pictures at cool places.
In my mind, blogging = writing helpful content
To some people, bloggers only live on instagram (or some other platform). But my point is there is no one way to do it.
Big big big “but” there, all bloggers better have their own website. Not just because it gives you more credibility on whatever platforms you market your content on (i.e. instagram, youtube, facebook, etc), but because if your platform-of-choice goes down, everything you’ve created will go down with it.
Your website is your home base. It’s where you get to come back to. Where all of your content lives. Forever ✨
Don’t let negativity get to you
People are going to want to talk you out of a lot of things in life, but blogging is harmless.. and personal. It’s a hobby, but unlike most hobbies – there are endless tutorials on how to do it right. But if you let ONE negative person talk you out of it, then you’ll never have the chance to just go for it.
Haters gonna hate. Can you imagine where the Kardashians would be if they worried about all the people that think they’re stupid and talentless?
I’m a big anti-kardash proponent and it doesn’t even matter ohmygod like not even a little bit.
When I first started blogging it almost seemed like a joke. At least that’s how it seemed to most of the people I know. A lot of my friends still joke about behind my back and directly to my face, but that’s just the first of many struggles.
Although several of my friends think it’s silly, there are thousands of supportive people in the blogging community and they get it. Honestly, the people who trash talk bloggers from any niche are clueless (and missing out on a goldmine).
So don’t let it get to you. You have me here, too! 😉
2. Get self-hosted
Running a website isn’t the same as having a Tumblr account. You can go with a free blog space like wordpress.com or blogger, but these are just stepping stones to a money making blog. And they aren’t necessary.
To start a money making blog right now, you need to choose a host or hosting provider. These are the guys with the servers that allow thousands of people on your page at once. You need to purchase a hosting plan because then YOU OWN your website. If you ever want to “move” to a new host, you can. But if you wanted to “move” your facebook account to instagram – you’d be starting from scratch. And it’s different! You get what I’m saying?
You need a host.
The different hosts:
There are a few to choose from, but the BEST and BIGGEST is Bluehost. They are also MY host, and that is an affiliate link. But don’t just take my word for it, even WordPress recommends them.
They also recommend DreamHost and Siteground, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Siteground (nothing about Dreamhost).
Why you should choose Bluehost
I love Bluehost because they are the cheapest lol and there is so much support out there for new bloggers. You can get hosted on Bluehost for $3.95 a month AND get a free domain name AND free SSL certificate. These are all great things, in case you were wondering. More on that soon.
They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee! Ok enough of them. They’re great. I recommend them. You get it.
First things first – You only need the basic plan (you can always upgrade). Next…
Once you’ve decided on your host, you pick your plan a get a domain name!!
3. Choose your FREE domain name
Just another reason why Bluehost rules, you get a free domain name when you purchase a hosting plan with them.
This is a big deal, but it’s also kinda not. I mean millennialist isn’t even a word, and it’s treated me well lol I also own my full name – ashleydicarlo.com and I HIGHLY recommend doing this!
Additional domain names can be cheap. So don’t stress too much.
If you already know what you want to blog about, that’s GREAT. But if you don’t or you’re kinda wishy-washy with your interests, then I suggest something a little vague. I will admit that I give deckbuilders.com more authority when I’m looking for deck building plans, but that’s the ONLY THING I would trust them for. I wouldn’t even expect gardening tips from them.
The best domain names have a few things in common:
- no intentionally mispelled words
- something easy to remember
- something easy to say
I might have missed the mark on ALL of these, but like I said, it’s treated me pretty well! haha! It just goes to show that there is no hard and fast rule about anything on the internet.
The most important thing to remember about domain names is –
they are internet real estate
I regularly buy up awesome domain names simply because I might want it someday. It’s probably not the smartest hobby, but maybe it is?! I remember reading about how Grant at Millennial Money was offered $45,000 for his domain name. A good domain name is a hot commodity, and the “internet real estate” thing isn’t just a metaphor.
You can start hunting for your favorite address below!
Otherwise, that is the next step in Bluehost’s sign up process. Once you have your domain name chosen, you will get to make a few more choices.
4. Pick your plan!
Your price per month will fluctuate depending on how long you are planning to host and which add-ons you want.
No matter what your attitude may be, you should try it for at least year. The price comes out to $83.28 which isn’t too big but is definitely something! However, one year flies by in blog-time. Building a successful/profitable blog is a marathon, not a sprint. The 36 month plan gets you the best price ($3.95 per month) and totals up to $154.08. (see below)
***The only add-on you need is the domain privacy***
It will keep your information safe and anonymous – otherwise get ready for a huge onslaught of spam emails and predatory offers. Everything else can be unchecked.
For about $150 you will have the business of your dreams at your fingertips. It’s the best deal with the best host.
Hooray! You have a website!
Pro Tip: Watch your email closely for important server information from Bluehost.
You will need this if you ever need support from their team! Keep it safe! (don’t delete it lol)
& you need to verify your email through it!
5. Pick a theme & start building your website
Not a huge decision right now, just pick one lol but I do not recommend buying a theme… yet.
After this step you can jump right into building your website! But before we move on, I just have to mention this.
There are thousands (??) or at least hundreds of free themes. If you are looking into paid themes the most popular are:
Elegant Themes (that’s Divi that I’m using)
The X Theme
You can shop them at Etsy, Themeforest, Mojo Marketplace, Creative Market and many others.
Another great thing about Bluehost is their practically built for WordPress, and vice versa. They go together like moms and coffee. Which is great! Because WordPress is what you want for a profitable website.
What is WordPress, exactly?
It’s the “content management” or the interface you see from the back-end of your website. In the easiest terms – it’s the settings for your blog. This is where you add your posts, pages, pictures, and plugins.
***btw. plugins are the extra (free) tools to make your website to cool things like speed up your site or integrate email opt-ins***
6. Log Into WordPress
From now on, you can forever access your website by entering this into the address bar:
Use the domain name you purchased and installed wordpress to, and you’re on the right track!
7. Launch & Start Blogging!
Create your first pages and posts and make it public. A lot of people place a little too much emphasis on an official “launch”, and if you can’t tell – I think that’s straight up silly.
I understand the feeling of not wanting people to see a lousy, brand new, partially complete website, but I have some harsh truth to share with you… very few people will see it for the first several months.
I know it seems easy, but unless you have a giant network and start promoting it on day one, you *might* get 3-5 views. And 4 of those are probably coming from inside the house.
Get it out there ASAP and get familiar with analytics, publishing, plug-ins, and everything in between!
When I first started blogging and exploring the backend of my internet home, I “broke it” more times than I can count. And when I say it was broken, I mean I would type in my URL and it was just a jumbled mess of error. It was just code and crap. I still don’t know what happened. I think I screwed up my theme code?
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