How to start a blog
Learning how to start a blog was one of the best decisions I've ever made. In less than a year, I was able to quit my full time job and make a full time living from my blog.
Learning how to start a blog allows me to make thousands of dollars online!
Please note, this post was updated on April 11, 2019 with recent Bluehost updates and tips. Click here to grab your free domain name and follow the instructions below.
First, grab these free workbooks and guides. They are all essential blogging tools to help you get started. I like to print them out and save them on my computer for reference.
- 120+ Awesome Blog Post Ideas Cheat Sheet
- Blog Template Layout Worksheets
- 7 Ways to Boost Your Blog Income Overnight
- 10 Steps to Take When A Blog Post Goes Viral
- The New Blogger's Guide to Guest Posting Guide
Blogging has also allowed me so many opportunities. With this tutorial, you will:
- Different blog idea topics that you can blog about
- Learn how to start a blog with step-by-steps instructions
- Hosting plans and options
- Get a FREE domain name with your hosting plan
- Bonus tips on what to do after you start a blog
- How to make money blogging
When I started out as a new blogger, I made over $13,000 blogging in 6 months. This was all in my spare time, too!
Today, I make over $10,000 online each month. In my first year of blogging full time, I made around $90,000. You can read all my blog income reports here.
If I can learn how to start a blog and make it successful, you can too!
There are so many reasons why you should start a blog.
For me, I wanted to share my experience trying to make extra money. I also wanted to start a blog to have a creative outlet, interact with other people and document my journey.
If you are really passionate about something and want to share your passion with others, blogging is definitely for you!
Here is an epic list of blogging ideas:
- Mama / family life
- Saving money
- Building a home
- Starting a business
- Crafts / DIY / How-to steps
- Book clubs and reviews
- Healthy living and/or weight loss
- Career / lifestyle
- Tutorials / how to's
- Homeschool / family life
- Personal Finance
- Makeup and hair
- Teacher / education
- Faith / religion / inspiration
- Reviews/ direct sales – LuLaRoe, Scentsy, Essential Oils, R+F, Mary Kay
- Vintage finds / picking
- Product Sample Reviews
- Pets – accessories, bakery, etc.
- Wedding / wedding planning / event planning
- Service based, such as accounting, bookkeeping, real estate
- Brick and mortar shops
- Self care
- Garden / homestead
- Coupons / save money
- Car / woodworking / building / ‘shop' hobbies
- Student / college / Greek life
- Home decor
- Everyday lifestyle
- Mental well being / self help / depression / chronic illness
- Travel / RV / Vacation
You can also start a blog and share your experiences in multiple ways.
You don't have to be a professional writer or expert either. Some of the best blogs write from the heart and are not perfect!
How to Blog in Your Spare Time
I would wake up early and try to blog a little bit before work.
Mornings are my most productive time of the day, so every morning I made sure to wake up early and do a little bit.
Everyone works differently though, you might be better working in the afternoons, or in the evening!
Before I knew it, I started making a small amount of income.
After four months of blogging, I received my first paycheck for $60. This was so exciting!
A few months later, my hard work and persistence blogging started to pay off.
In a six month period, each month my income would increase.
When I added up how much money I made, I realized that in six months I had made around $13,000.
What I like best about blogging is that I can make money without having to have a part time job.
I get to work my own hours at a time that's convenient for me. I have made more money blogging compared to having a part time retail job.
How to start a blog today
Today I want to share how easy it is to start a WordPress blog on Bluehost. Starting a blog with Bluehost is really cheap and only costs a few dollars a month.
After a lot of research, Bluehost was the perfect choice for my blog's hosting! This is the web hosting company I used to start my blog and I recommend them.
I am going to walk you through the entire process step by step. You can leave this blog post tab open while you set up your blog so you know exactly what to do. This will take around ten to fifteen minutes total!
I also want to let you know if you purchase a web hosting package through my referral link, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you.
Because this blog post receives so much traffic, Bluehost has even offered a discount to my readers so you can get a low special price that you cannot even get if you were to go straight to their website. Yippee!
I am also going to show you how to get a FREE domain name for an entire year when you purchase a 12 month Bluehost plan. This is a great deal and will save you an additional $15!
Pick your plan
Select your domain name
Picking the name of your domain (AKA your blog, online shop or website) is important, so put some thought into your name.
When I decided to start my blog, I made a list of possible names for my website.
I wanted the name to relate to saving money, getting out of debt and budgeting, so Believe In A Budget made sense and was the winner.
It's also easy to remember and has a good ring to it!
Over time, I also decided that I wanted to purchase a domain using my personal name, Kristin Larsen.
So I purchased the domain name KristinLarsen.com and now own that as well. I don't currently use it, but I like owning my own name.
I get many questions from readers asking what should they name their website – their personal name or a brand name?
I think it really depends on what is best for you and your situation.
One advantage to using your name for your website is because you have the flexibility to create and write about anything.
When selecting a fictional name like Believe In A Budget, this is a more specific niche. It wouldn't make sense to write about a ton of other hobbies outside of personal finance.
If you are having trouble deciding what to name your blog, here's a list of things to remember:
- You can always change the name of your blog or website down the road and it's really easy to do!
- If you feel comfortable using your own name, this can really help you create a brand around YOU! It's great to own your name online!
- If you want to build a brand but don't want to be center stage, pick a phrase to use as a blog name. This is where I felt most comfortable as I'm fairly private 😉
- When selecting your own name, you have free range to do anything with your website.
- When selecting a phrase for your blog, website, shop, etc., you need to select a title that will align with your vision!
Choose your plan
To get the best price, select the 36 month plan. This is the plan I selected when I started my blog. It was the most cost efficient as well.
This will save you money and you don't have to renew your blog every year. I have heard horror stories from other bloggers that forgot to renew and their blog expired. Don't make this mistake!
If you aren't sure if you want 36 months, at least select the 12 month plan.
This way you can test the waters, so to speak, and still get the FREE domain name.
Once you pay for your website, you will get to this screen.
Don't forget to check your email. Bluehost will send you a welcome email confirming account and FTP information.
Create your password.
Make sure to review the requirements for creating the password.
If you need help you can always click the “Suggest Password” option.
Regardless, I recommend writing down this information just to be safe. You’ll end up needing it later on to log in!
Let's connect WordPress and Bluehost together!
Thanks to Bluehost, after your hosting account has been created, WordPress will automatically install.
Bluehost makes it super easy to create a WordPress blog. They do most of the work for you! This is great, especially if you are not tech savvy.
Start off by picking a theme. Bluehost offers some free themes from WordPress.org. Note, you can always update your theme later, which I will discuss later on in this blog post.
For now, it's easy to pick a free theme so you can get started. Changing your theme on your blog only takes a few minutes!
Everything will then be installed for you. How easy is that?
Now that you’ve picked your theme, let’s jump into WordPress and get you even closer to constructing that first blog post.
Click on the Start Building button.
Decide whether this site will be for business or personal use. It doesn't really matter which option you pick.
I would personally select business, especially if your goal is to make money blogging!
On this step, you’ll see an overview of Bluehost+WordPress integration.
You can manage WordPress plugins and blog posts/pages here.
Decide on a site title and description here. You can fill it in or leave it blank.
For example, my site title is Believe In A Budget.
My site description changes, but it currently says ‘Learn how to start a blog, side hustle and work online!'
If you find yourself spending too much time thinking about this, just skip it for now. It's easy to add once you are ready and only takes a few seconds on WordPress.
Here’s a revamped dashboard of the Bluehost control panel.
I have not had to use the control panel very often, but it's good to know what it looks like. 🙂
This is where you access your account information as well as some more of the tech-related things.
Once WordPress and Bluehost are done connecting everything, just click the button that says Log in to WordPress.
That's it! You've officially set up your blog!
Keep reading below so you know what to do after you start a blog for more tips and next steps!
So you learned how to start a blog – what's next?
You can sign up for my free blogging guide and tips that is delivered via email. It includes a series of action taking tips, advice, how-to's and more. It's super helpful if you are new to blogging!
If you do not want to use one of the free themes mentioned above, you can pick out your own theme.
This is my favorite part because this is where you get to decide what you want your website or blog to look like! If you like the existing theme you selected, you can also start customizing that!
One tips is to perform a Google search with the name of your theme. Usually you can find lots of free tutorials to help you customize things like adding a logo, picking your font, any colors you want to use, etc.
I personally use and recommend the Genesis theme for your website.
It's basically the bones of your website. It's the preferred theme by businesses and bloggers and super Google friendly.
Next, you have something called a child theme, which is like a layer that goes on top of your Genesis theme.
- I used a free theme called Sugar & Spice when I first started this blog.
- This blog previously used the Delightful Pro theme and the Darling theme (both from Restored 316 Designs)..
- If you like feminine themes, check out Restored 316 Designs.
- I also recommend Code + Coconut for modern and feminine themes.
All of themes I mentioned have a wide variety of theme styles, which are perfect for all types of blogging niches.
If you want to monetize your website with ads, get signed up with Google Adsense and Media Net. These are your basic ad companies!
Once you start to get more page views each month, look for a private ad company like AdThrive!
If you want to start searching for sponsored post opportunities, I have had the best luck with Cooperatize.
If you want to find brands to work with and start utilizing affiliates to earn income, sign up with iGain, Flex Offers and Shareasale. These companies are like the middle man between you and brands/products.
For your newsletter and email subscriber list, ConvertKit is a great option.
Blog income posts
Here are some of of my online income reports from blogging. As you can see, I did not get rich overnight.
I have worked hard though to make this blog a success. In the early days, blogging was my side hustle.
As time went on, I was able to spend more and more time online. This is reflected in my income reports below.
The more time I was able to learn about blogging, the more income I made.
I have been writing income report for over three years! In each monthly report, I share how I made money online:
- June 2015 online income report $66.10
- July 2015 online income report $515
- September 2015 online income report $1530.94
- October 2015 online income report $3634.28
- December 2015 online income report $4238.99
- April 2016 online income report $5,920.53
- October 2016 online income report $7157.04
- December 2016 online income report $11,195.28
- March 2017 online income report $19,752.67
- September 2017 online income report $68,856.02
- January 2018 online income report $41,502.90
- April 2018 online income report $109,878.70
As you can see, my income has increased year by year!
Part of the reason my income has increased so much is because I continue to learn as much as I can about working online and how to implement different strategies.
My income comes from a variety of sources, such as ad income, affiliate income, freelancing and offering products and courses.
How to use Pinterest to help your blog
One of the best ways to grow your blog is with Pinterest.
Since starting my blog, Pinterest has become my number one method for getting traffic to my blog. More traffic means more income!
Here's a few posts on how to increase your blog traffic:
- Be sure to visit my Resources page for even more blogging tips.
How to Start a Blog - Free Tips and Guide
In less than a year, I was able to quit my full time job and make a full time living from my blog. Learn more!