Here are the 10 steps on how to earn money from your website or blog:
- Unleash ideas within you
- Choose a name for your new blog
- Get web hosting from Hostinger
- Get familiar with WordPress
- Install a WordPress Theme
- Customize Your Blog
- Brainstorm Blog Topics
- Write Your First Masterpiece
- Create an Editorial Calendar
- Monetize Your Blog
Anyone can start a blog that makes money. Seriously.
You can even generate enough money from your blog to quit your job.
I started from scratch just like you. But after more than a decade of trial and error, I’ve finally figured out the secret to running a successful blog that makes money.
You can avoid these mistakes and generate profits much quicker by following the blueprint outlined in this guide.
Step 1. Unleash ideas within you
Stop. Don’t get overwhelmed about this whole thing. Just breathe. You got this. You don’t need to reinvent blogging to be successful.
You just need to be specific about what you want to talk about.
When it comes to choosing your blog’s niche, there are two key questions to ask yourself.
- Do I Enjoy Learning About This Topic?
If you don’t love the topic, it’ll show in your writing. You shouldn’t even start a blog if you don’t love what you’re blogging about.
Whatever topic you pick, you need to love it and be naturally curious about it.
If not, you’ll run out of ideas quickly. You’ll lose any momentum you built up at the start.
Most importantly, you won’t be able to consistently create content that will build your audience.
If you are still lost, think about the items about which people come to you for advice. Do friends or family ask you for fitness tips? Recipe ideas? Career advice? With just a little thought, you’ll quickly determine where your areas of expertise exist.
- Are Others Interested in The Same Things?
You might feel like the only 20-something who’s obsessed with knitting. But there are others out there.
Do a quick Google search and you’ll find over 1 million results aimed at people just like you.
You might be wondering if your idea is too quirky. Or, is it too broad? My advice is to get as focused as you can on something you’re genuinely interested in.
If you want to start a travel blog, for example, stay away from generic words like “travel.” Choose a more specific topic, like “backpacking.”
Step 2. Choose a name for your new blog
Now for the fun part: naming your blog.
This is your brand. It’s how people will remember you.
But don’t overthink it. The magic of a brand gets built over time. Even if you feel stuck, keep moving forward.
The best way to land on the perfect name is to start with brainstorming. In the last step, we talked about unleashing all of your ideas and nailing down your niche.
Now, it’s time to take those ideas and turn them into a name.
So, open up a new spreadsheet or grab a pen and paper. Then spend about ten minutes writing down every word that comes to mind.
From there, start combining words and phrases until something stands out to you. Aim for 5 – 10 potential names and write them down.
Now, it’s time to see if those names are available as domains. A domain is where your blog lives on the internet.
If none of your preferred site names are available as a .com, head back to the beginning and keep brainstorming.
Here are some extra tips for choosing an excellent domain name:
Always choose a .com when possible.
Avoid using numbers, hyphens, and homophones (words that sounds the same but are spelled differently).
Keep it as short and concise as possible.
Should be easy to say and understand.
Avoid complicated and commonly misspelled words
When you land on an available name, click next to automatically add it to your cart and register it.
Step 3. Get Web Hosting with your preferred we host company.
Now it’s time to get your blog live.
It may seem complicated at first, but don’t worry. It’s much easier than it sounds.
To get started, you need web hosting (where your blog lives) and a domain name (your blog’s address).
Once you’ve made a decision there, you’ll be able to buy a new domain or connect an existing one to your site.
After that, you’re done with the hardest part! Congrats on your new blog!
Step 4. Get Familiar with WordPress, Your Blogging Software
You can’t start a blog without blogging software. I run all of my blogs on WordPress because it’s user-friendly, free, and powerful.
If you decide to make a blog that’s not on WordPress, you’ll find that it is much more costly. WordPress offers a ton of free plugins that allow you to modify your blog in any way, shape, or form.
Step 5. Design Your Blog With a WordPress Theme
In the blogging world, pre-built WordPress site designs are called themes.
There are thousands of themes to choose from. But it can be easy to get trapped in “shiny object syndrome”, browsing through tons of pretty pictures and templates but not walking away with a theme that fits your needs.
You can swap out your theme any time, so choose something that’s good enough for now rather than stressing over the perfect option. Like your brand, your WordPress blog’s theme will probably evolve over time as you figure out what works and looks best in practice.
Let’s go through selecting a theme step by step.
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First, you need to log into your WordPress admin. You can access this by going to [yourdomain].com/wp-admin.
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.”
WordPress comes with a few themes ready to go, but we’re going to search for the flashier premium themes that will make your eyes twinkle.
Click the “Add New” button at the top to get access to thousands of WordPress themes.
The three categories are “layout,” “features” and “subject.” You can look for themes that closely hew to what your blog is going to be about or ones that have features you’re already sure your blog will need.
After applying the filters, you’ll see amazing themes that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars in design fees.
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 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:
By now, your theme should be activated and ready to go. Let’s move on to customizing your theme.
Step 6. Customize and Optimize Your WordPress Blog
There are endless customization choices 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 in impressive ways.
There are WordPress plugins for everything from adding ecommerce functionality or contact forms to your site to analyzing your content for SEO improvements (more on that in a bit) or boosting site security and performance.
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.
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 particular keywords and phrases.
I attribute a good portion of my success to being easily discoverable for relevant search terms, which has helped me build my networks and net worth.
If you’re new to SEO, then this may seem daunting.
But, WordPress makes it insanely simple to optimize the technical aspects of your blog.
The majority 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.
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.
Set Up Permalinks
Permalinks are static hyperlinks that lead to a particular blog post or page. By default, WordPress automatically generates permalinks when you create a post, with the post ID number coming after your domain.
The permalink “/p=1213” is in no way sexy and it doesn’t help anyone understand what the page is about before viewing it.
The simple fix is to set a permalink structure.
In the left sidebar, mouse-over “Settings” and choose “Permalinks.”
There are a few options to choose from. I use the “Post name” structure on my blog which uses keywords from my title to create a unique permalink.
Save the settings after you’ve selected it. You’ll see this in action a bit later.
If you’re still with me, you’ve purchased your domain and web hosting, installed a theme, and optimized your website to be crawled and found by search engines.
Now, we get to the bread and butter of blogging. What are you going to write about in your blog?
Let’s find out.
Step 7. Brainstorm Blog Topics
On the technical side, your blog is all set up and ready to go. When it comes to topic generation, the world is your oyster.
The majority of your blog posts will come from personal experiences, passions, successes, failures, and new learnings.
People use questions as search queries, like:
What should I write about?
What to blog about?
Should I start blogging?
So naturally, you should start off with some questions of your own. I use a series of questions and a systematic process to come up with my blog topic ideas.
No need to worry. It’s not complicated and it won’t take very much time.
By following this process, you should be able to come up with about 50 working topics within a half hour of distraction-free time.
Pull out a pen and paper or open up your favorite word processing tool.
The goal of this exercise is to get 10 answers for each question. If you can think of more, note them all.
It’s time to look through the lens of your readers with these 5 questions.
- “What Excites, Intrigues, or Stirs Passion in My Readers?”
- “What Common Challenges Do My Readers Face?”
- “What Character Traits Do My Readers Possess?
- “What Do My Readers Love About My Niche?”
- “What Do My Readers Hate About My Niche?”
You get the point. Now that you have about 50 answers, you can begin dissecting blog post ideas from each answer. The sky is the limit.
Try to come up with a catchy headline that will draw your readers in and then throw them a one-two punch in the rest of your content.
Step 8. Write Your First Masterpiece
WordPress uses an intuitive editor, similar to your favorite word processing tools. New blog entries can be created directly from your WordPress admin dashboard.
Click on “Posts” in the left sidebar.
This will populate a list of your blog entries in descending order. Since we’re working with a fresh install, you won’t see anything here.
To create a new entry, click the “Add New” button at the top or in the sidebar.
You’ll be brought to the editor and you can begin blogging.
Click on the + in the right corner to see WordPress’s Gutenberg blocks, which allow you to add headings, media, quotes, and tons of other features to your blog.
First things first; add one of the titles that you developed in your brainstorming session in the title text box.
Once you save this post as a draft, WordPress will create a permalink based on the keywords used in your title.
You can start typing the body of your article in the large text area and write until you feel happy with your content.
You’ll want to add visual assets to your blog posts as well. Images help engage readers and can often illustrate concepts better than words.
To add new images, ensure that your text cursor is in the place where you want your image to appear. Click the blue + sign, then select the “Image” block.
Choose “upload” or select the image from your Media Library if its already uploaded to your site.
After your image has uploaded, you can resize it, and add links using the icons at the top of the image.
Your image will automatically insert into your post.
After you’ve completed your article, you’ll need to make a few last minute optimizations using the Yoast SEO plugin.
Yoast has post specific settings that can be at the bottom of the main text area.
The four main settings are “SEO title,”“slug,” “meta description” and “focus keyphrases.”
Completing these settings will generate a preview of what your post will look like when it is discovered in Google’s search engine results.
Create SEO titles that are attractive to click and meta descriptions that explain what your post is about.
The Yoast SEO plugin will provide real-time feedback, as you begin to optimize your title and description.
Aim for as many green lights as possible, but don’t stress if you’re unable to get a perfect score. If you can get 80% green lights, then you’re on the right track.
Before you publish your post, you can view what your blog post will look like by clicking the “preview” button at the top of the page.
Before you hit that publish button, you want to make sure that your entry looks and feels the way that you want it to.
Here’s a quick checklist to consider, before you hit the publish button:
Speak in a conversational tone.
Content flows naturally.
Easy on the eyes with adequate white space.
Use headings to separate sections.
Bullet points and lists.
Check for typos and grammatical errors.
If everything checks out, you’re ready to publish your first blog post.
Scroll to the top of the page and click the publish button that’s just to the right of the preview button to have your post go live immediately.
Congratulations. You’ve successfully set up a blog that looks great and is optimized for search engine traffic.
Step 9. Create an Editorial Calendar (Optional) if you are a persistent blogger
One of the fatal mistakes I see bloggers make is to blog only when they “feel like it.”
They forget that new fans want more content and they fail to deliver.
Unforeseen circumstances will arise. You’ll let a new Netflix series take over the time that you could have spent blogging.
Life will continue to throw curveballs at you, whether you start blogging or not.
Consistency is undervalued and it needs to be something you prioritize.
They make aggressive goals reachable in micro-steps. They keep you organized. They streamline your social media and email marketing efforts.
And, you’ll be surprised at how an editorial calendar can even help you grow in character and integrity.
We are creatures of habit.
The better you keep your dates, the faster you’ll grow your audience.
So, how do you get started and how much will it cost?
Just open up a new Excel spreadsheet. If you have multiple writers, you can share the sheet using Google drive.
Start with four columns – Publishing Date, Title, Keyword and Notes.
Your needs might be different than mine, so feel free to add additional columns as needed. Common additions might include “Author,””Category” and “Persona.”
The simpler you keep it, the easier it will be to digest and follow.
Look through your calendar on your iPhone, Android, or the one hanging on your fridge. How often can you post?
Monthly? Weekly? Daily?
Be conservative with your goals, because consistently missing deadlines can lead to quitting altogether.
Next, go through the answers that you came up with in your brainstorming session and add them under the “Title” column.
Your titles don’t need to be perfect yet. Throw in a working headline that you can spruce up before publishing.
Sometimes, the best headlines come after you’ve written your article. You’ll have a crystal clear picture of what your story is about and who it is for.
The “Keyword” column is intended for SEO purposes. If you’re targeting specific keyword phrases that you’d like to rank for, add those in there.
If nothing comes to mind, you can do some keyword research later on.
Finally, there’s the “Notes” column.
This section is a perfect place to write down brilliant ideas that come to mind. Notes also act as a great tool to stay focused on the topic at hand and tackle it coherently.
You should be able to write up a set of 25 blog post topics with deadlines that you’re confident about keeping.
That’s almost half a year’s worth of blog posts for a weekly writer.
Okay. You have the editorial, but you’re still missing the calendar.
Go to Google Calendars and set up a new calendar. You can do this by clicking the down arrow to the right of “My Calendars.”
Click “Create New Calendar” and add a name, description and time zone. You can share this calendar with other participants on your team.
If you don’t have team members, share it with your spouse or a good friend who is willing to keep you accountable to your goals.
After you’ve filled out the essential information, click “Create Calendar” and get acquainted with your new best friend.
Make sure that your calendar is selected in the left sidebar and change your schedule view to weekly.
Click on a time slot under a day and add your blog post title as the “Event Title.” I recommend that you set a notification for a couple of days before the publishing date.
If you only write whenever it’s convenient, you’re heading down a dangerous road.
You’ll eventually run out of ideas, lose motivation and forget about the drive you once had to start your own blog.
Editorial calendars are a quick fix for a blogger’s procrastination.
Step 10. Monetize Your Blog
The last step is to monetize your blog.
You may not start your blog with the intention to earn money from it immediately. If that’s you, then it’s a good thing.
The conventional style of selling looked something like this:
Think of an idea
Create a product
Try and sell the product
File for bankruptcy
This method has been unsuccessful for so many individuals and businesses because they didn’t build an audience before selling.
They based market demand off gut feelings.
That’s why blogging is the perfect channel for monetization. You’ll build an audience through your blog posts, email newsletters, interaction in the comments, and social media channels.
Want some pointers for how to turn your blog into a money-making device?
Ask your audience
Blogging brings people into your life through interaction. If you think of your favorite bloggers, you might feel like you know them on a somewhat personal level.
Better still, your market research becomes significantly easier. I ask questions at the end of my blog posts that generate hundreds of comments.
Alternatively, you can also send email blasts with a survey, using something like Google Forms, to gain valuable information on what your target audience wants.
By building a blog, you open doors to talk with potential customers. People who will give you honest feedback on what they want from you.
If 90% of your survey respondents tell you that they want a formal course on digital marketing, then what do you think they want?
A digital marketing course that they will happily pay for.
Sell Physical Products
Make Money With Advertisements
If you don’t want to sell a physical product or service, you can do what other publishers are doing: sell advertising space.
Anyone can put an ad on their blog using Google Adsense. But, the real money comes from private sales of ad placements on your site.
If you build a high traffic blog, you can make a full-time income selling ad spots on your website.
Talk about passive income!
The only thing that you need to do is to add their banner and keep doing what you do best: write about your passion or expertise.
The reason why monetizing is the last step in creating a profitable blog is because money shouldn’t be the driving factor in your early efforts.
As you build meaningful relationships and community, your audience will steer you in the right direction by sharing their needs.
If you want to make money blogging, then it will be your job to fulfill those needs.
FAQs About How to Start a Blog
In essence, how do I start a blog?
Set up a CMS (like WordPress), choose a design, write and publish your first post, and stick to a regular publishing schedule.
What are some options for CMS to use on a blog?
WordPress, Wix, Shopify (for e-commerce sites)
How do I choose a name for my blog?
Use free name generator tools, check for available domains, check business records and social media to make sure others don’t have that name already.
How do I optimize my blog for search engines (SEO)?
Use a reputable SEO plugin if you’re on WordPress like Yoast, set up Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, make sure your XML sitemap is set up properly (Yoast can do this automatically), and set up permalinks.
How do I come up with blog post topics?
What excites my readers?
What are common challenges for my readers?
What are the character traits of my readers?
What do readers love about my niche?
What do readers hate about my niche?
How do I monetize my blog?
Through affiliate sales, ad revenue, product sales, and courses.
Starting a blog is easy. But creating a successful blog that earn money takes hard work and dedication.
Have some patience as you begin your blogging journey. You can’t expect to make hundreds or thousands of dollars overnight.
Fortunately, running a blog is affordable and it won’t be long before you break even.
If you follow these steps, tips, and best practices for success you can make more than $3,000 per month from your blog in no time.
Everything that you need to get started is here. You can begin right now by getting your domain and web hosting.