When you log in to WordPress, there are some free design templates/themes (on the left-hand side under, appearance) that you can use to customize your site. However, if you’re willing to spend $35 – $199 you can get stylish, professional looking theme that will make you stand out from the crowd. You can either purchase a theme from the Marketplace (located on the left-hand sidebar in WordPress), or you can purchase a theme through Thesis or StudioPress (they have a much larger design selection than the Marketplace).
Really excellent article. One suggestion or caution with Godaddy though…Godaddy has a product called WordPress Hosting. I signed up for it, and all was fine until I installed a plugin which had a special requirement that needed to be set up by the webhost. (something in the server side settings). I called Godaddy and they advised they can’t make those changes. Only on their individual hosting plans would that have been possible. This is a rare event, but worth keeping in mind. When you go for your own hosting you have more flexibility.
Consider a free blogging service. Many people opt to create a free blog using popular services such as WordPress.com or Google Blogger. This is a good option for people who aren't familiar with web design, don't want to pay for their own hosting, or enjoy the ease and stability that comes with these services. These services do have limitations on how you can make money using them, however, so make sure your blog won't break the terms of service.
Consider “bonus content.” For example, if you run a podcast on your blog, you might consider having the standard episode available for free but a longer version or additional content for a small fee. Dan Savage’s extremely popular “Savage Lovecast” runs on this model, where standard episodes are free and “magnum episodes” (longer, with no ads) are available for a subscription fee.
These are certainly stark and sobering insights! I’ve only added some content to my travel blog fairly recently. Travel is certainly a saturated area, but on the flipside I guess it also has broad appeal. This brings me to ponder point 10 – positioning. I have some ideas and some strategies in my head, but will mull over this. Yaro, by providing the authoritative insights that you (and others) do, how much do you think these insights have been responsible for raising market sophistication across the board? Do you think that this creates an ever increasing base standard for success? (notwithstanding the point that you make above that the market is growing). The impression I am left with is that where large amounts of competitive quality content exists (i.e. most fields), it is those that harness the lessons that you (and other experts) provide, in combination with their own original tactical strategies that will prosper. Your thoughts?
Fortunately for us, being active on social media in the months prior to trying to make money blogging really paid off here. As of right now, we have a social reach of nearly 750,000 people each month. Starting a blog has helped immensely with that. What you can charge is largely dependent on your traffic and what an advertiser can expect to make back for paying you for a sponsored post.
No you don’t pay both; WordPress is a free platform. What you’re looking at on the WordPress website is their hosting service costs. You’ll be able to upload WordPress directly from BlueHost. There are free options but you’re limited in how you can monetize. This post has some information on free options: https://www.theworkathomewoman.com/businesses-start-no-money/
The more involved you become with blogging, the more your creative juices will flow. That’s one reason why blogging is so popular. As you gain knowledge about your topic, the confidence you build in your followers and most importantly, in yourself, will soar. All of this leads to increased creativity. Keep an open mind and enjoy your new-found confidence in your own abilities!
However, if you’re looking to build a business out of your blog or make money blogging, I would highly recommend some of the paid (yet still very affordable) options that I’m going to cover below. If you're on the fence about whether to use a free or paid hosting provider to get started... here’s why you should consider (an affordable) paid hosting provider:
22. Advertising – This is definitely the most old-school way of earning money with a blog. It’s also starting to become the least common way. You can sell advertising spots directly on your site or you can sign up with a company like Google AdSense or Media.net. Either way, you won’t see a whole lot of money from ads until your views are well into the thousands each day.
Why? While it's relatively straightforward to begin a blog, it's a monumental undertaking to generate any semblance of traffic and profit from your arduous efforts. You need laser-focus and persistence to build an audience or reach mass saturation with your prose. It takes time and it takes long and drawn out evenings burning the proverbial midnight oil.
In order to build a platform, you have to be consistent in your value delivery. You can’t go cold for weeks and months on end. You need to stay in front of your audience. They’ll be actively checking back for updates from you, so don’t let them down. Get out there and over time, you’ll see an exponential rise. Just don’t expect it to happen right away.
We were inspired to research and write this essay after reading Joshua Becker’s 15 Reasons I Think You Should Blog, in which he discusses 15 great reasons why you should start a blog. Why being the key word here. In other words, he talks about the purpose of blogging, not just how to start a blog. That’s what many of these other “blogs about blogging” seem to miss; they miss the purpose—the why behind starting a blog.
The funny thing is that all these things can happen. You could make a full-time income from building a blog. We do it, Corbett Barr does it, and so do many others. And you could become Internet famous like Leo Babauta or Chris Brogan. But if these are the sole reasons why you start blogging, you’ll be miserable, because it will seem like a job, and if it feels like a job you won’t be passionate about it, and so you’ll either (a) hate it, (b) fall flat on your face, or (c) hate it and fall flat on your face.
You want to be certain that thousands (if not millions) of other people share your enthusiasm and interest in the topic and will pay money for products and/or services that you have to offer in the niche from time to time. Even if you’re not interested in making money from your blog, I am assuming that you at least want other people to read it – yes? Then the same rules apply.
Protip: Back in the day, when there weren’t so many blogs online, you could almost pick any topic and run with it. Now, not so much. There are definitely niches that are really, really full and therefore difficult to break into. How do you know? If you can easily find several dozen popular blogs on the topic, you might rethink your topic. On the other hand, just because a niche is big doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to choose it. After all, a large niche means there’s a market for it! In that case, you’ll have to find a really unique angle. Spend time watching the main players. Knowing your way around will help you fine-tune the “thing” that will make you stand out.
Yes, that’s right Janelle. Bluehost is the hosting plan. I recommend a paid hosting plan for all bloggers. Your host’s server is where your website lives. WordPress is free, it’s the ‘software’ so to speak that you use to write your posts. Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad my site has been helpful to you! Please feel free to post here if you have more questions or email me anytime.
“How to Blog for Profit is hands down the best blogging book I’ve ever read. I cannot recommend it highly enough and will be telling every new and seasoned blogger I know to get a copy! This book is comprehensive, but not overwhelming, and packed with amazing information. And I don’t say that lightly. You see, by implementing the Pinterest strategies that Ruth suggests in her book, I have increased my site traffic by over 500,000 unique visitors per month. For real. Ruth is brilliant! What more can I say?!” -Crystal Paine @ Money Saving Mom
Network with other bloggers or mention their blogs: Early on, you want to get on other people’s radars. And one of the best ways to do that is to mention other relevant bloggers and blog posts on yours. For Austin Belack, founder of Cultivated Culture, that meant linking out to relevant blog posts and then emailing the blogger and saying “Hey! I mentioned you in my most recent article. If you think it’s worthy of a share, I’d really appreciate it. But if not, I’m happy to keep sharing yours.” This drove the initial 50,000 to 60,000 readers to his blog.
Your chosen domain name will be free if you go with Bluehost for your hosting. You can also choose to purchase a domain separately from your hosting package. This is sometimes recommended if you decide to switch hosting providers at a later date. We have been with Bluehost from the start, so I don’t think it’s necessary, but you have the option. We have used Google Domains to buy other domains in the past for $12/year.
Great post, blogging is hard and consistency is required. We run a Nature and travel blog and I think the most important thing we tell people is to start blogging with a purpose, Do not just start and end up soon. Niche is key and many miss out on that because they want to cover and do it all. Do not just start a blog because you think you will get rich quick and be able to travel the world. It takes a lot of work and lots of time.
Keep in mind that even if you don’t have a completely clear plan for how you’ll make everything come together, that’s okay! What’s important is that you’re going in with the idea you’ll keep an eye out for these opportunities. A little bit of research ahead of time will help, but it’s not necessary to have everything planned out to the smallest detail right now.
Allow readers to purchase your own products or donate to your cause through your blog. If you have an online store for selling arts and crafts, or you create T-shirt designs available through a clothing website, provide links to those sites. Including a PayPal button for quick, safe purchases or donations is a common way to monetize creative blogs, or blogs that provide free advice or assistance to those who can't afford it.
Also, I have a theory that a contact page without a form cuts down on time-wasting emails. That’s because a lot of people will see a form and use it immediately before reading the information on my contact page. By providing my email address at the end of my contact page, I’m hoping their question(s) will be answered before they get there, thus saving us both time in an email exchange.
Of course, there are other CMS options you can look at, such as Squarespace, Ghost, and Wix when learning how to start a blog. However, I strongly recommend setting up a self-hosted WordPress site for your blog as it’s the most sustainable, long-term solution—and really the only option worth considering if you're starting a blog with the eventual goal of making money from your website in some way, shape or form.
Working with advertising networks isn’t your only option when it comes to selling ads. If you end up with enough traffic, advertisers may come directly to you and ask you to place their ad on your site. You can also contact advertisers yourself. The biggest difference from the above mentioned option is that there is no middle man, which means you can set your own ad rates.