Have you been thinking about starting a blog and aren’t quite sure if it’s right for you?
Or are you ready to jump in and get your new blog set-up with an easy step-by-step tutorial?
Either way, we’re here to help you!
We not only want to show you every detail of setting up your brand new blog, we also want to share the strategy we used to rapidly grow our own brand new blog this past year!
In our very first month, we had over 11,000 blog pageviews, month 2 was almost 30K and by month 3 we had over 46K blog pageviews. We want to also tell you what we did because getting enough traffic to your site to make it profitable, is one of the HARDEST parts of blogging.
There are SO MANY awesome reasons to start a blog!
Maybe you want to make a little extra money on the side to supplement your income?
Maybe you ’re a SAHM who wants to start a business while juggling being home with your kids?
Maybe you hope to start a side hustle and eventually turn it into a full-time flexible job from home?
Or maybe yet, you have special skills, hobbies or talents and you want to create your own product, offer services or create paid courses to help others?
Blogging has been one of the best decisions for my life, it gives me the flexibility to work from home and be able to spend tons of time with my family. My daughter, Madi, also helps with our blog and as someone in her early 20’s, she started blogging to help pay for fun extras her job can’t cover and she’s working hard to get started on sponsored posts and working with brands.
Here’s a few reasons why someone shouldn’t start a blog
~ We want to be 100% real here, just because we love blogging doesn’t mean we recommend it for everyone! ~
- If you need extra money as soon as possible! Blogging isn’t a make money quick path, if you’re needing to make money quickly, there might be better options for you!
- If you aren’t willing to treat it like a business. It’s easy to get caught up with the blogs you see on Instagram that get paid to travel, have total job flexibility, work with popular brands or maybe even quit their day job after their blogging income replaced their full-time day job.
- You’re totally broke. Don’t go into debt to start a blog. Starting a profitable blog is the same as running a business and if you’re wanting to earn money blogging, there’s going to be a couple upfront expenses. That being said, you DON’T need to spend very much to get your blog off of the ground.
Blogging is a business, and while there are SO MANY rewards and benefits to starting a blog, it takes a lot of hard work and determination from YOU to turn it into a profitable business! But of course, we plan to help you as much as possible! 🙂
Ready to Set Up Your Blog?!
It’s hard to believe, but setting up a blog can literally be done in under 30 minutes. Yup! That’s it! Technology makes things so easy, with the click of a few simple buttons, you have a blog!
If you’re ready to jump in and get started, we use the #1 rated hosting company for bloggers. (and suggest you do too! 😉
STEP 1 ~ CHOOSE YOUR PLATFORM
As a brand new blog, you have the option to choose a free or self-hosted blogging platform. The majority of bloggers use WordPress, which powers over the 30% of the internet! And that’s definitely what we recommend for you too.
WordPress is a content management system that helps you create, maintain and manage your blog content. Everything related to your blog can get created and edited through the WordPress admin panel.
WordPress offers both the free option and the self-hosted option. wordpress.com is the free version, wordpress.org is the self-hosted version.
While free sounds great, if you’re blogging to make money (and not trying to start a hobby blog), the free WordPress option is NOT a good choice! Here’s why:
- You can’t monetize a wordpress.com blog, you aren’t allowed to use ads or monetize with affiliate links
- The website URL they’ll give you doesn’t look as professional
- You have limited help and support
- They can actually SHUT DOWN your blog for no reason since it’s theirs and not actually yours
- They put their own ads for their profit on your site
At this point, you don’t DO anything about WordPress, we just want you to understand what it is. When you set up your web host, there’s a super easy one-click install button to add WordPress! I promise it’s THAT easy! 🙂
Assuming you’re blogging to make money and choosing wordpress.org, let’s keep going! You’ve got this!
STEP 2 ~ SIGN UP FOR WEB HOSTING
The #1 rated hosting service for new bloggers is Siteground. Handsdown. Starting with a high-quality host right away is really important and will save you the hassle of switching later this year. We made the mistake of starting with a lower quality host just to save $1/MONTH, and we didn’t realize until after launching, that Siteground is a much better option and the one that most successful bloggers use.
Reasons You Should Use Siteground:
- Siteground is the #1 fastest hosting option for new blogs– site speed matters and you don’t want to lose readers because your page is slow to load!
- They are the #1 rated hosting options by bloggers themselves
- Their site uptime was 99.99% this past year, which is unheard of compared to other hosts!
- They have AMAZING around the clock customer service! That’s right, if you’re up at 2 AM and have a question, pick up the phone and call them, chat or email.
- They give you a free SSL security certificate– many hosts charge for this. A security certificate is required to get your content seen with search engines.
- You get FREE WordPress installation
- They provide TONS of tutorials to help you with your blog
- They’ve very inexpensive! It just costs 3.95/month!
- They even provide a money back guarantee
Here’s a survey I came across recently in a blogging Facebook group:
Yup! Siteground is where it’s at, my friend. 31 votes for Siteground, 5 for Bluehost and 0 for the other options.
SIDE NOTE: You may even hear that many bloggers claim Bluehost is the BEST web hosting service, this isn’t the whole story. Bluehost PAYS blogging affiliates more, and this, unfortunately, causes some bloggers to put profit above others’ best interest. Time and time again I read in Facebook groups about bloggers who mistakingly signed up for Bluehost, only to have to switch hosts months down the road.
What Siteground plan should you choose?
I suggest if you’re a brand new blogger and this is your first blog, I recommend the StartUp plan, which is the least expensive.
It’s $3.95/month for your first year, if you pay for it annually. If you want to save even more, you can also lock in that super low $3.95 price if you pay for 36 months up front (which we decided to do.)
Siteground will give you the option for additional options, the only one we added and that we recommend at this time for you, is the Domain Privacy. This costs an extra $1/month, but will keep your personal information confidential.
STEP 3 ~ CHOOSE YOUR DOMAIN NAME
Choosing your domain name is the next step you do within Siteground. If you’ve already purchased it elsewhere, that’s totally fine! You just enter that info in next. It will cost around $15/year to maintain your domain name. It IS easier if you buy it from SiteGround, because that’ll save you the extra time of having to transfer it from another service.
How to pick a domain name? It’s easy to get hung up on what to call your website, here’s a few suggestions:
- Use your name – this makes it easy for readers to remember YOU and makes it easy if you change your business focus later
- If you’re a lifestyle blog writing about yourself or numerous topic, go with something fun that represents you! This is how we ended up with Hairs Out of Place 🙂
- If you’re focusing on one niche, like personal finance, pick a domain name that helps the reader know what you’re about just by seeing your blog name.
STEP 4 ~ INSTALL WORDPRESS
Now that you signed up for Siteground and picked your domain name, it’s finally time to install WordPress!
This is literally a one-step, click of a button process that Siteground helps you set up for free. 🙂
You will set up a separate username and password for your WordPress account than you did with Siteground. When you login into your blog, you actually go to the WordPress website.
To access your website, you go to: www.yourblogname.com/admin
When you login to WordPress, here’s an example of the WordPress admin dashboard. Everything related to your blog can get created and edited through the WordPress admin panel.
STEP 5 ~ INSTALL A BLOG THEME
A blog theme is what makes your site pretty and unique. You can customize it to change the colors, you can add a logo, photos and can change what gets displayed and how your content gets displayed.
You have a couple options here:
Hands down the most important decision was getting started with a high-quality host, which you did when you joined Siteground. If you want to start with a free theme at this point to save a little money, you can!
A couple things to know about free themes:
- They’re very simple
- You might not be able customize it to what you’re wanting
- It doesn’t come SEO friendly
- It might not be mobile optimized, which is SUPER important since 80% of blog visitors will be on their cell phone.
You will be given free theme options within Siteground or you can check out free WordPress themes here.
PAID THEME OPTIONS
We decided to go with a paid theme when we first set up our blog, simply because we’re serious about starting a profitable business and we understood that would require investing a little money upfront to make that happen.
The other reason is that there are so many new things to learn with blogging, I didn’t want to set something up and then have to go learn a new process later that year.
If you sign up for a theme within Siteground, you can add it right there. If you pick a theme elsewhere, you install it on the WordPress website, which you access by going to: www.yourblogname.com/admin
If you decide to use a different paid theme (like we did), to upload it to WordPress, you go to Dashboard > Appearance > Themes
We highly recommend you use a paid Genesis theme, like we did. Genesis is a very popular, cleanly coded, SEO friendly and mobile optimized theme framework that is a widely used option for bloggers serious about turning their blog into a business.
Genesis is the framework of your site, you then purchase what’s called a Genesis “child theme” to make it all pretty. On the Genesis website, there are many Genesis and child theme specials that give you a price break for buying on their site directly.
Some of the Genesis child theme options:
The last image is by the Designer Pretty Darn Cute, we have a child theme of hers called “Pretty” that we purchased directly from her website. If you do that, you’d then purchase your Genesis theme from the Studio Press website and then purchase and install your child theme separately.
How Do I Customize My Theme?
You want to try and pick a theme that closely matches what you want your blog to do and what you want your reader to see once they get to your site.
Once you have your theme picked out, the theme designer should have tutorials on how to change the colors of your theme, how to enter blog posts, how to add a new logo if you’re using one, and how to upload images. You’ll either have WordPress plug-ins automatically installed for you on your blog OR the theme designer will recommend the plug-ins for you to install that’ll help your website add certain features.
The WordPress website has TONS detailed tutorials to help you too!
STEP 6 ~ GET A BLOG EMAIL ADDRESS
You, of course, can sign up for a new email address before you have your website organized, colorful and launched. The reason we’re adding sign up for email service as part of starting a blog, is because I’m trying to prevent you from making a mistake that not only I made, but my sister just made when setting up her new blog.
We both assumed it was fine to get a free email address for our blogs through a company like Gmail, and it’s actually not. And because of that, my sister and I EACH now have 2 different blog email addresses. I’m trying to prevent this for you!
As a new business, you’ll need to get an email address that’s through Siteground to be able to reach your future blog email list and have it not go instantly to the spam folder like where a Gmail account will send your blog emails.
Email Service Options
If you ask pretty much any blogger what they say is the #1 thing to focus on as a blogger, most will tell you their email list. It’s not uncommon for 80% of a bloggers income to come from their email list and only 20% to come from blog posts!
Adding reader’s to your email list is something SUPER important and you should start doing right away.
There are both highly rated and free email service options:
- MailerLite— They are considered the best free email service provider. Even if you don’t plan to start collecting reader email addresses right away, you’ll still want to sign up for their free service just so you can get your free email address for your blog.
MailerLite is FREE up until 1,000 email subscribers, and then you’ll start getting charged. At that point, you should switch to the next option, since it’ll cost you less.
2. ConvertKit– ConvertKit is considered the best paid email service provider. This is the plan we have, and at the time of writing this, it costs $29/mo.
The main reason we started with CovertKit is because we knew we wanted to start growing our email list immediately since most bloggers make their money from their email list not their posts.
The other reason we started with ConvertKit is because we didn’t want to have to learn more than one program. There’s already so much to learn with blogging!
BLOG TRAFFIC POSTS
- How Tailwind Tribes Helped Me Get 9K Blog Visitors in 30 Days
- First Month Blogging Report ~ Over $11K Blog Pageviews
- Third Month Blogging Report ~ $358 & 46K Blog Pageviews
- Is Your Blog Traffic Getting You Down ~ 12 Pinterest Blog Traffic Essentials
HOW TO START MAKING MONEY WITH YOUR BLOG
Like most of us, we’re guessing you’re trying to make your blog profitable as quickly as possible! Many successful bloggers monetize in multiple different ways.
Here’s a list of the most popular ways bloggers:
Most bloggers start with Google Adsense and switch to a higher paying ad network like Mediavine once they reach 30K blog pageviews per month. AdThrive is another popular option for bloggers getting 100K blog pageviews per month.
Affiliate marketing is when you recommend products and services to your readers, and if they buy the product through your link, you get paid for part of that transaction. This can be a product, a service or maybe you can even be an affiliate for an ebook or course you purchased from another blogger and really recommend to to others.
What’s awesome about affiliate marketing, is there’s such a huge variety of companies you can sign up for! If you aren’t sure what affiliate companies or products you want to recommend to your readers, we just simply made a list of companies and services we use ourselves or ones we’ve heard really good things about. You only want to promote high quality items to your readers.
Some of our favorite affiliate marketing companies:
Creating Ebooks or Courses
Creating your own products or courses is how many bloggers make a lot of their income. It can be about any topic you know well related to your niche. Your posts and email list opt-ins tell a reader what to do, your paid ebook or course tells them how to do it!
Here’s an example of the landing page for my ebook so you can get an idea of what this means. Yes, this is a blogging related example, but I have numerous non-blogging niche ebook ideas in my head I’m excited to start on later this year! 🙂
Sponsored posts means you’re getting paid to promote products for companies and you most likely get to keep the product too. Some people work through companies that connect bloggers or brand influencers with brands, or you can create a media kit and contact brands directly.
If you want to make money quickly with your blog, the best options are to either get rapid traffic to earn ad money OR sell services. Some service examples include:
Yay!! We’ve now covered everything you need to do step-by-step to start your blog, plus traffic and monetization resources! We’re so excited for you to get started on your new blogging adventure!
Please be sure to reach out and contact us with any questions you have! 🙂
DON’T FORGET TO SIGN UP FOR THE FREE 7 DAY RAPID START PINTEREST TRAFFIC COURSE!