Not even exaggerating — learning how to start a blog has completely changed my life.
Here’s the short version of my story…
After six months of blogging, I quit my job as a high school band director to blog full-time. Three months later, I was outperforming my teaching income. And just four years after that, I’m regularly earning around $75,000/month, and my best month so far was over $155,000!
I’ll admit that my blogging journey is not the norm for most bloggers. It was part luck, part having a good story (paying off $40,000 of student loans in 18 months), and mostly strategy (more on this shortly). I also took a huge risk by quitting my teaching job after earning just $3 from my site… don’t do this.
Every blogger I know has a slightly different story and timeline, and there are still lots of opportunities online and money to earn when you learn how to start a blog.
Blogging is a long game, though. Most bloggers spend months earning zero to not much at all.
But the reason it’s worth that time and energy investment is because there is literally nothing like earning money from your blog. As long as you have an internet connection and a computer, you can make money anywhere, and the earning potential is nearly limitless.
Blogging can = freedom.
It’s allowed my wife to retire. We built a beautiful house. I have multiple businesses. I’ve traveled more in the past couple of years than I have in my entire life. And we do it all while living debt-free.
If you’re interested in learning how to start a blog, I’m going to take you through five simple steps that will teach you how to start a WordPress blog hosted on Bluehost. We are going to start from the very beginning of picking a topic and work our way to how to grow your blog.
First, a few blogging terms you need to know
Before we get started, there are a few terms you’re going to hear me use repeatedly in this article.
- Domain: This is your site’s web address
- Host: The company that runs your site from its servers
- Platform: The engine that powers your site
Don’t worry, I’ll explain more about each of these incredibly important components.
How to start a blog in 2019 in 5 easy-to-follow steps
Step 1: Pick what you’re going to blog about
For anyone who wants to start a blog but doesn’t know what to blog about, this step is for you.
My first piece of advice is to pick a topic you really enjoy talking about. Having excitement or passion for your topic makes it a heck of a lot easier to write about something extensively, especially in the beginning when you’re not making much money.
Another tip is to pick a topic you know a lot about. There is a lot that goes into building trust with your audience, and establishing yourself as an expert on a topic opens doors earning money with your blog.
On the flip side, you don’t need to be an expert — you can blog about a skill or topic you’re learning about. People love connecting through learning experiences, and blogging is a good way to share your failures and successes.
Read more at: The Pros and Cons of Being a Professional Blogger
Step 2: Select your host and register your domain
Remember, your host is the company that serves your blog to the world, and your domain is your web address. These are important terms to understand when you’re learning how to start a blog!
Let’s start with the host…
There are several hosting companies out there, but Bluehost is an affordable and easy to use service with their “one-click WordPress installation feature.” I highly recommend using Bluehost for several reasons, but one of the biggest for new bloggers is that they have stellar customer service.
Bluehost also gives you a free domain name for your first year, and WordPress (a blogging platform) is free through Bluehost.
If you decide to go with Bluehost (again, I highly recommend you do), you’ll have a few hosting options to choose from. All you need to do is click the button below and follow the steps to set up your blog hosting package!
The prices shown above are the ones I’ve negotiated for if you use my free Launch That Blog service. Launch That Blog helps you set up a WordPress blog hosted on Bluehost. My team takes care of all of the technical stuff for you! Click on the link to learn more.
Basic is the cheapest option, and I would recommend it for someone that doesn’t want to drop a ton of cash into their blog at the start. And just an FYI, you need to pay for a year upfront. Basic is $60/year if you go with 12 months, but you get a much better value at $2.95/month if you choose the 36-month option.
After you select your plan, you’ll be asked to register a domain name. It will look something like this:
How do you pick a domain name?
Some people get hung up on this for way longer than they should. I get it, but don’t let it prevent you from actually starting a blog — you can always change it later.
My biggest piece of advice for picking a domain name is to keep it simple, and here are four tips for an awesome and simple domain name:
- Easy to remember
- Easy to spell
- Gives people an idea of what your blog is about
- Stick with a .com domain name, not a .net or .whatever stuff
When you enter your awesome new blog name in Bluehost, you’ll see if that domain name is available or not. If not, don’t panic. It took me a few tries to land on millennialmoneyman.com. But I think it’s worked out pretty well 🙂
Bluehost is asking me if I want extras?
One of my biggest tips, when you’re learning how to start a blog, is to keep things simple. You don’t need all of those extras right now, but I do recommend adding on the Domain Privacy Protection, which keeps all of your contact information hidden. Well worth the $12/year IMO.
All that’s left is to enter your payment information and create a password — sweet!
Step 3: Install WordPress
Heck yeah, you’re almost done learning how to start a blog! And because you went with Bluehost, WordPress is free.
Before I explain how to install WordPress, I want to talk about why it’s such a good choice for new bloggers…
The majority of the blogs and even company websites are powered by WordPress. And if you get to the point where you have multiple WordPress sites running, you can easily manage them all through Bluehost (but one thing at a time!).
But the biggest reason that WordPress is so popular is because the WordPress platform allows you to make money. It has a lot of features that aren’t available on other platforms, especially the free ones, and all of these features are fully integrated with Bluehost.
Bottomline: WordPress has some awesome tools that big and small sites can use to make money online.
Now, here’s how to install WordPress on your Bluehost hosted blog:
- Click the login button you saw after creating your site password.
- Bluehost will ask you to pick a theme for your site. Don’t spend too much time here, just pick the one you like the most — you can always change your theme down the line.
- Click the “Start Building” button on the message that pops up.
- You’ll be taken to your WordPress dashboard where you’ll choose a business or personal site. Choose which applies to you or “I don’t need help.”
- Your blog will remain offline until you click the “Launch” button on your WordPress dashboard.
BOOM! Look at that — you learned how to start a blog!
Should you use a free theme or pay for one?
When you’re just starting out, I don’t think you need to pay for a theme. You can get a lot of stuff up on your site, get comfortable with writing regular blog posts, etc., and then upgrade to a paid theme.
If you want to learn how to start a blog and make money, you’ll eventually want to pay for a theme. But you can work on growing your page views before you drop much more cash on your site.
Want help setting up your blog?
I’ve already mentioned Launch That Blog, but this is a good place to tell you a little more about it. Launch That Blog is the service I created in partnership with Bluehost after having so many people ask me questions about how to start a blog.
Starting a blog can be pretty intimidating… I know I felt this way at first… especially on the technical side. I put starting my site off for a few months because I was so intimidated by it, and this was after watching hours of YouTube tutorials and reading other blogs that explained how to start a site.
Knowing how awesome blogging is as a hobby, a side hustle, or business, I wanted to help future bloggers out. This is where my free service Launch That Blog comes in.
- My team will handle the entire installation process of your self-hosted WordPress blog and deliver it to you within two business days.
- We install our favorite customizable website theme so that your blog looks professional from Day 1.
- Launch That Blog installs the 10 essential plugins that every professional blog needs to have.
- You’ll receive four training resources, both video, and PDF guides, where I show you exactly how to get a strong start and make money from your blog.
Launch That Blog also comes with this exclusive content:
- Creating Blog Posts in WordPress: A Step-By-Step Walkthrough
- The Key Ingredients to the Perfect Post (Step-By-Step Video Guide)
- The Professional Blogger’s Toolkit
- The Blueprint to Building a Profitable Blog
- Facebook Ads 101 Training For Bloggers
- BONUS: How to Customize Your Blog — My web developer for Millennial Money Man has put together a special bonus training showing you exactly how to customize your theme to make your blog look great in minutes!
Step 4: Start blogging
Now that you’ve got the technical stuff out of the way, it’s time to get blogging, and this is when it got really fun for me. I’ve also heard from a lot of new bloggers that they sit on this step for a while because they’re too nervous to start publishing posts.
The reality is that no one is going to create amazing content when they first learn how to start a blog. No one.
When I go back and look at some of the stuff I wrote in the beginning, it was mostly ranting that made me sound like an a**hole. If you don’t like the stuff you write in the beginning, you can always go back and edit it later.
If you’re at an impasse, here are some tips for your first few pieces of content:
- Introduce yourself
- Explain what it is that you love about your blog’s topic
- Is there a story behind your blog’s name?
- Write about the blogs you follow and why
- Are there special tools, products, or services that relate to your topic, explain some of them and why you use them
- Tell the story about how you got started with this topic
- Write a post about starting a blog
That’s at least seven blog posts right there. And when you’re starting, don’t worry about word count, SEO, etc. Just work on writing.
Step 5: Grow your blog
If you want to learn how to start a blog and make money, this is going to be a really big step — you need to start bringing in some readers to start making money.
There are several ways to grow your audience:
- Share your blog on social media
- Interact with other bloggers on social media by sharing and commenting on their posts
- Learn SEO
- Start guest posting for other bloggers
- Build an email list
The way I was able to grow my blog so quickly was by investing some cash and paying for traffic on Facebook. This isn’t the most popular option because it costs money when you might not be making much of it, but it’s incredibly effective.
Still, blogging is a loooonnnggg game. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, even with FB ads. And there’s not a magic pill you can take to start making money overnight.
Starting a blog is a time investment. And if you’re willing to put in a ton of freaking work (which you can do on your own schedule), you can eventually reap the rewards.
If you want to learn more, read How I Grew a $500,000 Blog Quickly With Facebook Ads. I explain exactly why I started using Facebook ads to bring in traffic and why it’s so effective.
Now that you’ve learned how to start a blog, I want to share a few of my favorite websites, articles, and resources that I personally use for this site. There is a lot of information in these links that will teach you how to keep growing your site, learn how to make money blogging, and more.
- How to Make Money Blogging (How I Went From Teacher to 7-Figure Online Business) - In this post, I explain five ways that bloggers make money, pros and cons, and how to get started with each.
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing - This course was created by my good friend Michelle-Schroeder Gardner of Making Sense of Cents, and teaches you how to earn passive-ish blogging income with affiliate marketing. She walks you through building your blog for affiliate marketing, how to find brands to work with, the legal aspects of affiliate marketing, and more.
- Making Sense of Sponsored Posts - Michelle and her sister, Alexis of Fitnancials, teach you how they earn $10,000 to $20,000 from sponsored posts every month.
- SEO for Bloggers from MoneyLab - This course teaches you how to build a proven SEO framework that will increase organic search results so you can increase your pageviews and income.
- MailChimp - A free email marketing service for up to 1,000 emails.
- Convertkit - When you need to start paying for email marketing, Convertkit is the service I use, and I can’t say enough good things about it.
- Laptop Empires - This is the other business that I run with my good friend Mike Yanda. It’s all about online entrepreneurship with lots of great advice for bloggers.
The final word on how to start a blog
I love teaching other people how to start a blog because it’s legitimately been one of the best leaps of faith I’ve ever taken. It was seriously hard work, but I would do it over and over again knowing how good it can be.
The reality, though, is that not everyone is going to stick around long enough to start seeing how awesome it can be. That’s in part because it does take so much work in the beginning without seeing much of a return on your investment.
Six months is right about when many new bloggers start losing interest, and it’s usually right after that when you would start seeing how all of your hard work pays off.
The point is, stick with it. Get help when you need it. Ask questions. Read other blogs for advice. The potential is there, you just need to work for it.