It’s been three years that I have been consistently blogging. I started my blog for two reasons, one as a way to stay connected to the personal finance community and two to stay accountable to myself and family. Over that time I have learned a lot from other bloggers and some by just doing the work myself. For those of you interested in starting a blog of your own here are my best tips on how to start a blog.
First and Foremost
Blogging is a lot of work. Just look around at a number of blogs that are out there that have not been updated for months or years. Most blogs start with good intentions but fail after a few months. If you can get past that initial hurdle you will be fine. What’s your niche? For me personal finance was a good fit, I had begun to educate myself about all things personal finance and I had a mountain of debt to pay off. You need to figure out what your blog will be about, food, cars, children, healthily living, etc. Once you have a niche you can begin to think about content.
Building an audience takes time. You build an audience by producing great content. There are many thoughts on how frequently content should be produced some suggest two to three times a week and others just say once a week. Whatever frequently you choose, I would suggest you have a schedule. Make sure your readers know when new content will be published. Once you have a blog niche, and a rough outline for content your next step will be selecting your blogs name.
It took me a little while to come up with the name Debt Discipline. I knew I wanted to have the word “Debt” in my blog title since that was a big part of our story and since it was going to take a lot of discipline to pay off $109k worth of debt I went with Debt Discipline. A domain name is important for a lot of reason, you want it to represent what your blog it about, be catchy, and easy to remember. Once you have a domain name picked out, you need to make sure it’s available and register it. You can do both directly through Bluehost.
Finding a Host for your Blog
As mentioned above once you have a domain name you need a company to host your blog. There are many options available, but if you bundle the domain registration and hosting together you can save money. Bluehost offers both services. Here’s what Bluehost has to offer:
- To receive the cheapest price to start a blog choose the “Basic” plan. It’s only $3.95 per month (paid in full, upfront) if you sign up for 36 months. If you sign up for a 24-month plan, then the price is $4.95 per month. Signing up for a 12-month plan will cost you $5.95 per month. $5.95 is still extremely affordable and it’s a great plan to choose. If you are unsure about blogging, I would sign up for the 12-month plan as this is still a great price and very affordable for one year of blogging. If you purchase a 12-month plan, your total price is only $72 a year. Plus, you still receive the free domain name when you sign up for 12 months or more which saves you money.
- The Basic plan is all you really need when you first get started. You can always upgrade later to a different plan if you want.
- Domain Whois Privacy protects your personal contact information which is only $9.99 per year
- The other features Bluehost sells are optional and it depends on what other feature you would like to include and how much you are willing to spend to get you blog up and running.
Build Your Site
Once you have secured a domain name and hosting company the next step is to build your site. Once logged into your Bluehost control panel you will find the tools you need to build your website, including the WordPress website builder.
In a few easy steps, you will be able to connect your domain and install WordPress.
Once complete you can customize your look and feel as well. Once done with that you can begin to produce content. Good luck!
Make Money Blogging
Once you produce good content and begin to build an audience most bloggers want to figure out how to monetize their blog. There are several ways to make money blogging, but again it all starts with good content and an audience.
Banner Ads – Google Adsense is probably the biggest of the banner services. As a blog owner, you create an advertisement and add it on your site and based on the number of clicks on it or number of overall visitors to your site you can earn money. This is some of the banners that can be found on the right-hand-side of my blog.
Affiliate Links – Affiliate link are like banners ads or they could be text links that are for a specific company or product. The Bluehost links in this post are affiliate links. If a visitor clicks on one and completes a purchase the blog makes money from that transaction.
Products – Blogs often sell products, book, e-book, training, etc. that the blogger has developed and now is offering to their audience for a cost. I currently do not offer any products.
Services – Many bloggers market their services from their blog, freelance written, virtual assistant, social media manager, coaching, etc. You can check out my services on the hire me or coach links at the top of the page.
There are just some of the ways a blog can make money. I have made money from my blog to help cover the cost of my domain name and hosting cost each year. There are a number of successful bloggers making big incomes each month, Michelle and Holly are two that come to mind.
I hope this gives you a general overview to get started blogging, any questions please feel free to contact me. Good luck!