So you want to start a blog and make money online? You want to start earning money from your blog but are dicey about the whole process and are worried things won’t fall into place as expected. Don’t worry, I had the same exact thoughts and let me tell you – I’m not technologically savvy at all.
Before I show you the 5 simple steps to start a blog – I want to tell you about my experience about blogging on a free WordPress platform and then finally making the move to a ‘real blog.’ In other words – a self-hosted platform.
I started with a free site on wordpress.com since I wanted to kind of test the waters before taking the final plunge of paying for a domain name, self-hosting fees and all that jazz. There are tons of bloggers who recommend going for a self-hosted site from Day 1 to avoid all the work later. I will tell you the pros and cons of both in brief –
Pros of being on WordPress.com (free platform) and then shifting to self-hosted
- The WordPress.com community is very supportive. When you publish a post, the tags that you use help you to be easily found within the WordPress community and you can gain a substantial amount of readers through this.
- It’s a great way for building your blog and growing your network. WordPress even handles the work of sending out emails to your followers (so you don’t have to)
However, the cons (to name a few) are –
- You won’t be able to earn money from your blog. WordPress has strict rules and they do not allow ads to be seen on your blog. There are rules about doing sponsored posts as well. Many blogging networks need you to be on a self-hosted platform before they can start offering sponsored/ paid opportunities. But if you are putting your time and energy in your blog, and wish to earn money from your blog, free WordPress is not your friend.
For me, since I started out as a hobby, a free wordpress.com was perfect – it helped me to build a community and develop relations with other like-minded bloggers.
Once you are confident, you can switch to a self-hosted platform. The sooner, the better. After doing a lot of research, I decided to self-host my blog on Bluehost (This is a referral link)
Note: Buying a domain name and self-hosting are two different things. Some people get confused which is completely fine. Not everyone is tech savvy.
Once you decide to go on a self-hosted platform – the sky is the limit!
You can choose to customize your blog the way you want. You can download plugins. You can start applying to different blogging networks for sponsored opportunities as well as ad networks. (I have just started doing this… more on that later)
So here are 5 Super Simple Steps to Start a Blog –
1. Decide your niche
Think about what you are most passionate about. Is it about travel? DIY Crafts maybe? Book reviews? Or do you pride in saving money and staying on a fixed budget for your family? Remember – you don’t need to be an expert – you should just be willing to share your knowledge with the rest of the world.
You don’t need to stick to one niche too. Many top bloggers that I follow share more than 3-4 topics on their blog.
2. Find a domain name
Okay, once you decide what you want to write about – start thinking about your blog name and find out if the domain is available in that name. Ideally, you would want to have a site name with .com as the ending. So start scratching your brain and come up with a blog name that you like and that is available.
Note: I registered my domain on GoDaddy when I first started blogging on the Free WordPress platform since I didn’t want to run the risk of it not being available later. Registering a domain name isn’t that costly.
3. Set up Hosting and Install WordPress
I did a lotttt of research before choosing a hosting platform. And I found out that Bluehost had the cheapest, quickest and value for money.
Choosing a host is very important since that is where your blog will live. You want to be absolutely sure and don’t want to settle for anything subpar. Bluehost has 24×7 support and so if things go wrong, you can rely on them.
Like I said, I started off by using a free WordPress blog and then switched to a self-hosted platform using Bluehost. So I was already hands on with WordPress. But if you are starting on a self-hosted platform right away, don’t worry. WordPress is really easy to use and understand. It’s what majority of bloggers use and recommend. I think it’s the best invention that has happened for bloggers 🙂
4. Install a pretty theme and Create Social Media Handles
You want to make your blog pretty and also have a couple of things on the side bar of your blog. For starters, you can get a free theme (that’s what I’m using right now) that is easy to navigate and run. But there are a ton of Paid themes available as well.
Then, Create social media handles. For the longest time, I did not make a Pinterest, Twitter & Facebook account and I really regret it. Over time, I have made great connections through my social media channels.
You can either choose to create the social channels using your blog name or your own name but remember to keep it consistent so as not to confuse your readers.
5. Start Writing!
Now that you are all done, start writing. Don’t be afraid to publish that first post of yours! Even if you make a mistake, that’s fine. The blogging world is very supportive and you can always learn from your mistakes.
So these were the 5 Super Simple Steps towards starting a blog!
If you are Shifting from the free WordPress platform to a Self-hosted platform, here’s what you can do –
Follow steps 1, 2 & 3. Then, You will want to transfer all your content from your old site to your new site. This is really easy (just a little bit of work)
You can either pay WordPress to do it or you can do it yourself by exporting your data using the Jetpack Plugin. It will require a little bit of patience and it took me around 2 days for all the data to be transferred. But it’s not impossible. If I can do it, you can do it too!
One important thing – your likes won’t be transferred but all your comments can be transferred from your old WordPress blog. I was a little sad since I lost all my likes on my old posts but well, there’s no gain without pain.
Are you planning to start a blog? Or are you thinking of finally earning some money online and shift from a free web-hosting platform to a self-hosted site? Well, if you are, you should definitely do it!
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