After people have seen the success that I've had with this website in a short amount of time, I've received a lot of emails and private messages about how to start a blog and make money the way I am. So, I'm going to teach you how to start your own money-making blog today!
Starting my blog almost a year ago has completely changed my life. As many of my readers know – I used to be a band director that wasn't too happy with my career choice, and only 6 months after I left teaching I can work from literally anywhere that has an internet connection and choose my own hours.
Because of this site and the skills that I picked up from blogging, I outperformed my monthly teaching income in less than 3 months after I quit my job. Now just three years later, this site brings in over $50,000 per month (and my best month was $155,000 so far!).
I'm sure you are wondering how. 🙂 Basically, I make money from affiliate partnerships that I have on my “Recommended” page and various places on the site, and I also started a marketing company based off of my work with M$M.
Between MillennialMoneyMan.com and StellarisMarketing.com, I was able to pull off a leap of faith that most people only dream about taking.
Blogging can = freedom.
I really believe that a WordPress blog is the only way to go if you want to start blogging, and I'll explain why below. If you want to go ahead and start a WordPress blog with Bluehost (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND BOTH), click here or the picture below and then read my how-to guide in this post.
How blogs work:
I'll start this how-to guide by detailing how a blog actually works, and show you the easy steps you need to take to get started with your own!
If you already know how blogs work you can skip down to the step-by-step guide below (it's marked in green like this).
A blog is mainly comprised of 3 parts:
- Domain – The web address for your site
- Host – The company that runs your site from their servers
- Platform – The engine that powers your site
For this site, the above 3 translate to:
- MillennialMoneyMan.com – Pretty cool
- Bluehost – Awesome
- WordPress – Awesome
While it gets more in-depth after you pick a host and platform, you really only need to understand the first three to get your blog up and running! Remember, your hosting company can provide technical support to help you along the way.
Fortunately for you, I made a couple of completely avoidable mistakes when I created this website. I didn't read a how-to guide and it cost me money and DEFINITELY cost me time. I originally picked this domain on Go Daddy, which works fine. I didn't know at the time that Bluehost will throw in a FREE domain if you sign up for their hosting service.
So…there went some cash down the drain. :/
Going with Go Daddy also meant one more account and password for me to remember, so I have already started the process of transferring this site's domain over to Bluehost. My memory is not so great.
As far as picking a name…just try to be creative. I stumbled onto MillennialMoneyMan.com after figuring out that most of the names I wanted were taken up. I like it because it's fairly easy to remember, but unfortunately, the average Joe has no idea how to spell “Millennial” (myself included sometimes).
Try to make your site name simple, fairly short and to the point, and go with your gut instinct! I really believe that if you put out good content, people will come to the website even if the domain name isn't perfect.
There are several hosting companies out there, but Bluehost is one of the easiest with their “one click WordPress installation feature”.
When I started my online marketing business, my first client already used Bluehost and I had to learn how to work with their product. I really liked it. I found it to be much easier to create email addresses and find your way around the admin panel than the hosting company I originally used for M$M.
One of the most important aspects that makes Bluehost better than other web hosting companies is their customer service. You don't need to call in and wait on hold – they have a sweet online chat system that puts you in touch with people who actually know what the heck is going on with your website.
I use their help area extensively (probably 2 times a week) and am yet to be disappointed, so there's that.
THIS is the main reason I think every blogger starting out should use a self-hosted WordPress blog instead of a free service. WordPress is hands down the best platform to build your blog on.
The majority of blogs that you see online are powered by WordPress, and many major companies use it as well.
WordPress makes it simple to create a high-quality blogging site, and best of all – WordPress is Free through Bluehost. In addition, you can download and install WordPress directly through Bluehost. If you turn into an internet baller later down the road you can also manage multiple WordPress sites through your Bluehost panel! (Let's take it one step at a time though).
Bottom Line: WordPress is fully integrated with Bluehost. It takes another needless step out of the equation.
Most importantly, building your blog on the WordPress platform allows you to make money.
Free blogging platforms like Medium, Blogger, and others are very limited and won't allow you to turn your blog into a real business down the road.
Many of the money-making features and freedom of a WordPress blog just aren't there with the free blog sites, because someone other than YOU owns them and is making money (you are just helping them do it).
Whether it's through Google Ads, affiliate sponsors, website design and management services that you'll learn by making your own site, freelance writing gigs you'll pick up along the way as you learn to blog, marketing services like I provide, or any number of the money makers related to blogging – WordPress is the best way to go. Work for yourself, not someone else!
Step-By-Step Guide: How To Start A WordPress Blog With Bluehost
1. Select your Hosting and Register Your Domain
Like I mentioned earlier, you can do this through Go Daddy, but I would highly recommend that you get a free domain through BlueHost with my exclusive link.
All you need to do is sign up for 12 months of service. DO NOT GO MONTH TO MONTH on hosting. It costs more and is a pain in the butt. If you don't pay, your site will be shut down, which sucks. Just don't.
You'll have a few options to choose with Bluehost. Basic is the cheapest, and I would recommend it for someone that doesn't want to drop a ton of cash into their blog at the start. For a little perspective – my marketing clients use Plus or Pro…you won't need those yet. Oh just FYI – you have to pay for the entire price up front.
You are looking at $60 for the entire year if you go with 12 months, which is a good deal. However, I highly suggest that you select the 36-month option to get a much better value at $2.95/month with my exclusive pricing.
To select your hosting plan, click on the picture below and keep following along in the tutorial:
The screen where you register a domain you want will look like this:
After you sign up with your domain and put your billing information in, you will see a pop-up that asks if you want to add extra services. In my opinion, you don't really need anything extra. Go ahead and uncheck all of those boxes that pop up.
From there all you need to do is enter your payment information (remember that you will have to pay the entire hosting amount up-front), and create your site's password.
Summary of step #1:
- Choose a hosting plan (probably basic)
- Find a domain name
- Enter your personal information
- Enter your billing information
- Create a password. I use Bluehost's password generator because it makes crazy passwords that look like: jdhE23+`[email protected]$0jKd~24
Nobody is breaking into your site with something like that unless they're with Anonymous.
2. Transfer Your Domain:
***This one always trips people up. If you went with my advice earlier and did your domain through Bluehost you can skip this part of the tutorial. This is for my people that already have a domain through GoDaddy.***
You'll need to tell Go Daddy which servers will host your site. If you don't, you won't be able to use your Bluehost service!
- Sign in to your Go Daddy account and select ” My Domains”
- On the Domains screen, select “Manage DNS”
- Select “manage” under “nameservers”.
- Select “Edit Nameservers”
- Change the servers to “NS1.Bluehost.com” and “NS2.Bluehost.com” and click save. (This was already changed in the above picture).
Done, now you can move on to the last and best step….
3. Install WordPress!
Heck yeah, almost done creating your blog. Here are the installation steps:
- Click the login button that you saw after creating your site password.
- Bluehost will then ask you to pick a theme for your site. For now, just pick the one you like the most. You can always change your theme later down the road.
- Click the “Start Building” button on the message that pops up.
- You'll be taken to your WordPress dashboard from there and will be given the option to choose a business or personal site. Choose the one that applies to you or choose “I don't need help”.
- Your site will be offline until you click the “Launch” button on your WordPress dashboard.
BOOM. You're done creating your WordPress blog!
Now you can go to your fancy new domain and sign in via the WordPress login by typing in “*whateveryousiteiscalled*.com/wp-admin”
This screen will pop up and will be where you log in to your site from now on:
After you log in with the password you created earlier (which will also be emailed to you), you have a few options. It probably won't take you too long to get the basics of the layout. It will look like this but with way less stuff:
You can either go to Appearance>Themes on the left-hand side and change your WordPress Theme by selecting “Add New Theme”, or you can search the internet for “WordPress Themes” and will find thousands of free and paid options that way.
My thoughts on free vs. paid themes:
At this point, you have a WordPress blog, but you'll need to select a theme to create the look of your site. I started MillennialMoneyMan.com on a free theme and eventually worked my way up to using the Thesis Framework for this site (about $150 once you pick a skin to go along with the theme).
I'm torn on free vs. paid for new bloggers, but free is probably the best way to go. If you want to do a blog for fun and don't care about monetizing yet – go free. If you are serious about monetizing your blog by turning it into an income stream – go with a paid theme.
Some final words on making money with a blog:
First of all – I truly believe that learning how to blog can open countless doors and financial opportunities in your life. Starting this site has been one of the best things that ever happened to me (other than getting married – my wife proofreads my posts). 🙂
I used to think that making money through a blog was just a pipe dream, but seriously…if I was able to have some amount of success doing it, others can too. I don't really feel like I was special or smarter than anyone else that could make a website.
I just found a niche (student loan debt) and tried to provide value for people that are struggling with their loans.
I'm not saying you'll be able to quit your job in 6 months like I did, but you can definitely make money if you put time and effort into your blog. You HAVE to stick with it and learn as much as you can.
Remember – Rome wasn't built in a day. I still work on this site and build this brand constantly, and I'm only a year in!
Also, hustle really really really hard on social media. Trust me on that one. Have fun. You will meet a ton of helpful people in the blogging world, and all of them are nice.
While you are technically competing with each other for readership…everyone has the same goals.
More freedom. More income. Better quality of life.
For the last time, here's my exclusive link to get started with your own Bluehost blog and free domain. If you use this guide and get stuck – email me. Another great way to get in touch with me is on Twitter here.
Also, make sure you join my free private blogging group – the Millennial Money Man Blogging Club!
Good luck and don't hesitate to reach out and ask questions! Here are some of my other posts about blogging: