Are you wondering how to start a money making blog starting a blog in 2020?
Starting a blog from scratch can seem intimidating. But I am living proof that it really isn’t difficult to start a money making blog.
This free guide will show you step by step how to start a money making blog.
I have broken down the process to start a money making blog into 7 steps.
How to start a Money Making Blog in 2020
- Find a profitable niche
- Choose your domain name
- install WordPress on your blog host
- Customize your blog
- Create your content plan
- Promote your blog
- Make money!
1. Find a profitable niche
Before you can start a money making blog, you need to figuring out exactly what you are going to write about.
Before doing anything else, it’s important to decide which topic you are going to build your blog around.
If you think about it, when you watch a TV show about cats, you know what type of content to expect. That’s because you know what niche it is in.
If our cat show suddenly starts talking about drag racing, it would be confusing and you would probably stop watching (unless you happened to like drag racing).
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, and topics do overlap, so perhaps the story was about a drag racer who races with their cat, then that would definitely still be in the nice.
Keep your audience in mind.
The key to making money is figuring out what your audience wants and giving it to them in a format that they want..
Going back to our example about the cat show, you will like a show even more if you are the intended audience.
So for example, if it was a cat show aimed at grandparents, it would look very different to a cat show aimed at children.
By thinking about the audience that you want to serve, you will be able to figure out what what they are interested in and you have your niche.
The simplest way to do this is to consider what you like, who you are and what you want to read.
It is so much easier to write a blog about what you are passionate about and it’s helpful to be genuinely interested in the topics that you write about.
You will have a knowledge base to start and be able to come up with varied topics as you learn more about your niche.
But, having a lot of experience is not always the answer. A blog that follows your journey as you learn about a new topic can be interesting to write about, too. Just make sure it’s something that you want to read and write about.
Your blog is your business, so take your time to think about a blog name that will reflect what your blog is about.
2. Choose your domain name
What is a domain name or URL?
Now that you know what you are writing about, and who you are writing for, it’s time to name your blog.
Choosing a blog name can be as easy as using your name or nickname (like I did) or you might want to consider a brand name for your URL.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind while you decide on your blog name and URL.
- Make it professional
- Your blog name is like your first impression. People will click through to your blog if your name is relevant or they will skip it if it looks spammy.
- Keep it short
- Keep it short and easy to remember. A longer name is harder to remember and harder to spell.
- Use keywords
- Using keywords will help search engines and readers know what your blog is about. If you write about money, and your target audience is moms, look for words that suggest motherhood, mama, mom and money, wealth etc.
- Make it relevant
- Just like considering your niche, it pays to think about who you are writing for, and want to attract to your blog. Your blog name should reflect this.
- Domain extension
- The best domain extension is .com, but this is very often not available thanks to domain resellers. But don’t panic if your domain name isn’t available with a .com extension.
- There are other extensions that are worthy, too. Just be sure that the .com isn’t taken by another blogger in the same niche as you.
- .org, .co and so on are acceptable choices, too.
If the domain name that you want is unavailable, search for the URL in google. If it is another blogger using the same domain name, you will definitely need to change yours. Down the line it could be trouble if someone has already built a brand that is too similar to the one that you are building. If it is a completely different product or service, or is held by a domain reseller, it’s acceptable to use with a different extension. Try a .org, .co, or .blog
3. Install WordPress on your Hosting Platform
Congratulations mama! You’ve figured out your niche and you have thought about your blog’s name.
Now it’s time to actually start your money making blog.
To get your blog started you will now need to organise a blog host and a platform.
A blog host is the company that stores your data and all the files for your blog online, while the platform is the software that is used to build the blog.
Before we get into hosting, lets talk about free vs paid options for blogging.
Free vs Self hosted blogging platform
It is completely possible to start a blog on a free platform. BUT it comes with a really big warning.
When you blog on a free platform, you are generally unable to monetise your blog.
With a free blogging platform, your files are stored on your platform’s servers.
Not only that, but you can’t customise your site in the way that you can with a paid WordPress.org blog.
Free blogging platforms are great for people who are just starting out in the blogging world and blogging for a hobby, but are a poor choice if you want to grow your audience and monetise your blog in the long run.
If you are serious about starting a money making blog, you will need a professional (paid) hosting platform. Having a self hosted blogging platform means that you will pay for your own hosting provider. Sites like HostGator and Bluehost are some of the most popular hosting providers for bloggers.
Because you are paying a fee, you have full control over your blog and can install custom themes. You also have access to the backend and can edit the code if you need to.
A self hosted blogging platform is essential if you want to make money blogging. And it is less than a cup of coffee each month.
WordPress is a great platform for beginner bloggers. It’s free, with no ongoing costs, and there are plenty of free theme options so you don’t actually need to buy anything other than your hosting plan, which can be as little as $15 a year.
It’s easy to install and easy to find help.
There is also a huge range of free and paid themes that you can use to make your blog look fantastic from day one.
The two most popular hosts for startup bloggers are Bluehost and HostGator.
They are both excellent hosts for first timers, plus they both have great customer service.
Bluehost also has one click install for wordpress which is a great option if you aren’t experienced with the backend of a website or know how to install wordpress.
Bluehost was the first hosting company that I have used and so far, they have been my favorite because they are so easy to deal with.
I personally recommend bluehost because it has 24/7 support, automatic WordPress Install and they offer a free domain name when you sign up!
Install your blog
The exact steps to installing your blog will be found with the host that you use. If you run into any difficulties, the best bet is to get in touch with their helpdesk through the chat function. Most of the time, they will take care of the install for you if you have any problems.
Make sure you take note of the login details of your new hosting provider, as well as how to access the cPanel and your WordPress installation login details.
Installing your BlueHost blog
2. Select your plan. If you are sticking with just one blog, choose the “basic” plan. If you are planning to start more than one blog or website, choose “plus” or “choice plus”
3. Type in the domain name that you chose under “create a new domain” and click “next” to complete the registration process.
- if you bought your domain name previously and want to use it with bluehost, type your domain name into the box on the right and click “next”.
4. fill out your account and billing details on the registration page.
5. Confirm your hosting package information and options
- all of the hosting packages come with everything you need to start a WordPress blog, such as oneclick install and free domain name. The longer the package that you choose the cheaper it will be.
- Bluehost will offer you Domain Privacy for an extra (small) amount per month. I always take this, but you can choose not to. Uncheck all the other boxes below “package extras” unless you specifically want them (they are not needed for your blog).
- unlike some other hosting companies, Bluehost includes a free SSL certificate.
6. create your password and account
7. Next you will ne taken to an installation helper. You can click “skip this step”
8. Now WordPress will be installed. Once it is complete, click the “WordPress” Button to be logged in to the administrator area of your blog.
Are you having trouble installing your blog?
4. Customise your blog
Phew! It’s been a long way to get here.
By now you have your blog setup, with your custom domain name and WordPress installed. Now it’s time to fill it with content and make it look pretty.
Design and brand your blog
Let’s start with making it look pretty.
There are thousands of WordPress compatible themes to choose for your new blog.
A theme is essentially the visual template for your blog. Themes make it easier to design because you can just change up the colours and still have a visually appealing but unique blog.
I recommend choosing a free theme to start with. I started with Olsen Light. Make sure your theme is mobile responsive by looking at the demo page with your phone, or going to “is it mobile ready” in google. When your blog starts gaining some momentum you can always upgrade to a paid theme.
Where to find the best themes for bloggers
The most popular themes are from Thrive Themes. Their WordPress themes are lightweight and minimalist, meaning they will be good for SEO going forward and work well for any niche.
Another place to find great themes is Bluechic. Their themes are geared towards women bloggers and entrepreneurs.
The simple and free themes will do for most start ups though. If a premium theme isn’t in your budget, a free theme like Astra will work until you get your blog earning a regular income.
How to install a free theme on wordpress
- To find a free theme in wordpress
- Click “Appearance” on the left-hand menu.
- Click “Themes” and then “Add New Theme”.
- Search through the themes, and when you have found one that you want to install on your blog, click “install”
- When it has finished installing you will click “Activate” to finish the installation.
How to install a paid theme on wordpress
- Download your theme files and unzip them in windows.
- Click “Appearance” on the left-hand menu.
- Click “Themes” and then “Add New Theme”.
- Select the file, upload it and click “Activate”.
Customize your site
Now that it’s installed, you are ready to customise your site!
Click “Appearance” in the left-hand menu and drop down to “Customize”. This is where you can update your colours and change preferences according to your theme.
How to choose colors and fonts
The easiest way to choose colours for your blog is to do a google search for a palette that matches with your favorite colour.
Simply go to google images and search “Colour+palette” and you will get hundreds of options
Take note of the colours that go well together and save the hex code – that’s the sequence of letters and numbers that starts with a #.
Another way is to use https://coolors.co/generate which will generate a colour palette for you based on colours you like.
A nice way to save your blog’s color palette is by creating a blog brand sheet in Canva.
Need some help creating a branding guide? Here’s one that I made for new bloggers, you can use it keep a visual guide to your logo, color palette and fonts. I’ve even included 3 FREE pinterest pin templates.
How to create a logo
It is really easy to get bogged down with design for your blog.
That’s why I think it’s important to get started with minimum viable product. And by that I mean, get your blog up and running as fast as possible and fix up anything later.
So for that reason, your first logo can definitely be just your blog name in a nice font.
I always use canva for creating logos, blog images and my pins for Pinterest
Canva is a free online tool for graphic design. Even if you have no graphic design skill, Canva has templates that you can use to make your logo look professional.
Now you know the exact size that you need your logo to be!
Canva offers a great selection of fonts that have been already paired under the “text” button on the left hand side. Otherwise you can use the search templates bar to search for a logo that you like.
I highly recommend just going with the text option though! Keep it simple!
To create a text logo in Canva
- Open your blog homepage in a new window.
- Right click on the current logo image and save as.
- Navigate to the saved image and right click on it.
- Go to Properties
- Go to Details
- Note down the dimensions
- Open Canva
- Click “create a design” and choose “custom dimensions”
- Enter the dimensions that you noted above.
- Make sure it’s the same units, which is probably pixels.
- Click “create new design”
- Go to Add Text
- Scroll through the templates to find one you like
- Click on it and it will automatically go to your design
- Click on the text in the design to change them to your blog name
- Edit the colours by selecting the text and going to text colour button in the top bar
- Copy and paste your colours from your colour palette until you are happy with the design.
- When you are finished click “Download” in the top right hand corner
- Choose PNG.
- If you want to have a transparent background, it’s a good idea to try Canva Pro, which has a free trial.
- Navigate back to your blog and upload your new logo to your site using the “Customise” link that we used to edit the colours.
Other options for making your blog look professional
Of course, if you don’t want to use Canva you can always hire a graphic designer. Sites like Fiverr offer cheap graphic design services, starting at just $5.
Fiverr is a freelance platform where you can outsource your blog content writing. Back when it first started, gigs were priced from $5, but now it’s rare to find a gig so cheap. Quality can be hit and miss across all platforms, so the best thing to do is find high rated sellers with quality, specific reviews.
To find a designer in Fiverr, go to www.fiverr.com, and click on “graphics and design”, then click on logo design. From here you can look at the range of services offered and choose a designer based on their portfolio.
- Sign up for free here
- Use the catalog to find the service you are looking for
- Once you’ve found a ‘gig’, review the description, price and other details.
- Choose a top rated seller by looking at the ‘seller level’ and checking out seller reviews.
- Place your order
- Once you receive your order and are happy with it, save the .png file and navigate back to your blog. Upload your new logo to your site using the “Customise” link that we used to edit the colours.
Ta-da! Now your blog is looking branded and beautiful, but probably a bit empty. It’s time to create some content.
5. Create Your Content Plan
The saying goes that content is king, so being able to create content is definitely an important skill.
But, it’s actually not as hard as you might think, and even if you aren’t a great writer, there are options that you can use to still create a money making blog.
When you write good content you establish trust, which means your readers are more likely to click your links and to buy from you, or through your links.
I need to have a plan before I sit down to write, so I write down 12 categories and then 4 blog posts for each category. Which gives me 52 blog post ideas really quickly.
But you want more than just how to write simple blog posts, right? You want to know how to create a content plan that will make money from day 1 with your new blog.
Here is the tip.
You need to write blog posts that influence.
These influential posts will then link to affiliate products, and when your readers purchase using your link, you will receive a commission. That is the essence of affiliate marketing.
The top types of influential content for affiliate bloggers:
- How-to advice
Understanding what needs to be included in all of these articles can be tiring, so I have created templates for each different post type, which shows exactly what you need to include so you will never be wondering how to write a post.
Where to find content ideas for your blog
Sometimes I seriously struggle to come up with new and unique ideas for my blog. I have to be honest and say that writing doesn’t come naturally for me.
So I use a couple of techniques to come up with new content ideas.
The first thing that I do is think about the type of products that I want to promote on my blog. From there, I will create a review post, a tutorial post a comparison post and a listicle.
- “Widget” Reviews
- How to use “widget”
- “widgeta” vs “widgetb” which is better?
- 10 best types of Widgets
That’s a very simple example of how to quickly come up with some ideas that will get you at least 4 posts per affiliate product.
2. Pinterest search
Using Pinterest search is a great way to find ideas for blog posts, but it’s also a great way to get sucked into a Pinterest vortex and lose a few hourse of precious blogging time.
I like checking out what is popular on pinterest, but I also use the search bar to see what is being searched for.
If you want to write a post about dogs, you would write “dog” in the search bar. A drop down will then show you a few different relevant terms that people have searched for.
Write them all down, and the click “enter” to search, you will now be shown some more search terms below the search bar.
All of these search results are terms that people are searching for. Write them all down and think about how you can create blog posts around these search terms.
You can also click through on the results to see even more search suggestions which would make great blog posts.
From the “dog” results I came up with
- 10 cutest dog breeds
- how to make homemade dog treats
- How to train your Bernese Mountain dog
- 10 best dog collars for big dogs
3. Headlines that sell
The final way that I come up with content ideas is to use my headline hack sheet. This is a list of my favorite blog titles, that are based on copywriting techniques. I simply go through the sheet, replacing the blanks with the keywords that I want to write about and Voila! dozens of new blog post ideas.
I’ve put together a free page with 40 of my favorite headline hacks. Would you like a free copy?
If you need some more ways to find content ideas, Quicksprout has 15 more ways to come up with new content.
What to do when you can’t write anymore or you can’t write
Blogger’s block is a real thing!
Maybe you feel like you can’t write another word, or you struggle with getting words on the paper, or maybe you just don’t have the time or energy to write. I understand.
It might be time to consider outsourcing your content to a freelance writer.
Freelance writers are paid to research and write your content.
A freelance writer isn’t a complete get out of jail free card for a blogger though. I definitely recommend writing a post outline before you outsource any content, otherwise you don’t know what you will receive.
There are two places where I recommend freelance writers. The first is the problogger job board. There is a small fee to sign up and advertise for a writer, but because it is a paid platform you are more likely to get genuine, quality writers.
The other option is upwork, which I have used a few times. Sign up as an employer and create a job post.
Writers can charge anywhere from 3c to $1 per word depending on the technicality of their subject, their writing skill and amount of research needed. I have found the sweet spot to be around 6c per word but make sure you are getting a native level English speaker.
6. Promote your blog
We are nearing the end. Having your blog up and running is a big accomplishment and many people fail by this stage.
By now you have installed your blog and have some content ready to be published, promoted and monetised.
Finding traffic is one of the hardest parts of blogging. I recommend getting started learning about SEO and Pinterest as your first steps to getting traffic.
I recommend this course on pinterest, which will teach you everything you need to know about how to find an audience, create clickable pins and get traffic to your blog.
Other ways to promote your blog:
- Comment on other blogs
- commenting on other blogs is a solid place to start. Each comment creates a backlink to your blog which is good for your search engine rankings, and it also helps build relationships with other bloggers.
- Engage with readers
- Have you ever left a comment on a blog and the blogger hasn’t responded? It just doesn’t feel nice. Think about the flip side where you have left a comment and the blogger doesn’t just respond, they start a conversation. Now you’re part of the group, right? Creating a two way relationship with your readers is a smart way to build a loyal audience.
- Join relevant Facebook groups
- There are many facebook groups for bloggers, as well as for your niche. follow the rules and add value to the group. Or start your own.
- Create an email list
- The money is in the list, or so they say. By creating an email list you will have a valuable asset that you can create a relationship with and then market to over time.
- Starting your SEO plan at the beginning of your blog is a good idea.
- To learn more about SEO consider taking an SEO course specific for bloggers, such as…
- Or read about SEO at quicksprout / neil patel’s blog.
7. Monetize your blog
At the beginning of this post I went over the most common ways that bloggers make money with a blog. At the very beginning, i think it’s helpful to know how you will monetize your blog from the beginning.
Using Affiliate links and advertising are the two ways that you can start making money from your blog straight away.
Advertising can be tricky though. The ads slow down your site, making it harder for actual real people to read it, and kill your chances of being featured in search results. To make it worse, you need to have a lot of views to make having feature advertising worthwhile.
Affiliate advertising on the other hand, requires no plugins, no big images and doesn’t slow down your site, and you can promote other people’s products to a small and engaged audience.
And better yet, affiliate marketing commissions will generally work out better than advertising rates, and you’re in charge of what shows up your blog.
There you have it, the step by step plan for how to start a money making blog.
If you followed all of the steps above, you will now have a blog that is installed, gorgeous and ready to be filled money making content.
Now it’s time to continue with your content plan and start marketing!