How to Start a Blog and Make Money Online in 2018

 

How to Start a Blog WordPress Bluehost

 

You’ve probably been freelance writing for a while now, but have you considered how much your clients make off of your content? Even if you’re among the highest paid writers, your clients are sure to be making far more money publishing your content online.

Now that you already have great writing skills, what’s stopping you from starting a blog and getting all the money for yourself?

Even if you don’t want to make money off of your blog directly, having a blog can produce many other benefits, including:

  • increasing job opportunities as prospective clients find your blog online
  • enhancing your skill as you practice writing
  • an easy reference for anyone interested in your portfolio
  • networking with other freelancers
  • developing new skills such as SEO and digital marketing, among others

And the great thing is that you don’t need years of specialized training to start a blog.

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to create a blog with WordPress in as little as 20 minutes.

But first, you’re probably wondering why WordPress is such a great choice for a blog. Here’s why.

 

Why start a blog on WordPress?

Without a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, you might need a university degree in software programming to create a professional blog. It turns the complex coding of creating a superb blog into a simple click-and-drag operation.

WordPress controls approximately 60% CMS market share.

It’s by far, the most used CMS with the next best CMS having a mere 6% market share.

 

WordPress CMS Market Share

 

If that isn’t enough…

30% of the 1.5+ billion websites worldwide run on WordPress. Besides, a study revealed WordPress powers majority (62%) of the top 100 company blogs. That shows an incredible number of people enjoy the benefits of WordPress, and it’s a useful tool for the best sites.

Here are the practical reasons that make WordPress a preferred platform:

  1. It’s open source (read: free): You can download, install and upgrade the WordPress CMS at no cost. Rarely do you find something so good offered for free.
  2. WordPress is customizable: The flexible framework offers multiple layouts and applications, which can be conveniently modified. And it allows user-generated extensions, with 50,000+ plugins.
  3. WordPress is designed for anyone: The platform is easy to use, whether you’re a non-tech-savvy, a designer or developer.
  4. Low cost to set up and maintain: Unlike other open-source CMS’s like Joomla and Drupal, WordPress has lower maintenance, customization and setup costs.
  5. Huge user and support community: Due to its wide use, you’ll hardly find a problem without a ready solution from other users and experienced designers or developers.
  6. SEO friendly: Blogging needs SEO, and WordPress helps you achieve that.
  7. Responsive design: The platform facilitates access to your blog through multiple devices, ranging from PC’s, tablets to Smartphones.
  8. High security: Considering the increased incidences of online attacks, the platform offers robust security features.

 

Now that you know why WordPress is a great choice when looking to start a blog, follow these simple steps to get your blog up and running.

 

1. Pick a great domain name (Readers of this blog get FREE domains)

A domain name is your unique online address that people will use to find your blog and the content in it.

Writers usually worry a lot about selecting the best blog name.

Often, they are thinking of a complicated, incredibly amazing name that everyone will fall in love with.

You don’t need to do that.

Many times, the simplest, most-obvious, commonly used words make truly memorable names. Think about it, why would someone remember a complicated name? They’ll more easily recall a name containing familiar words: Batman (bat + man), Apple (apple, the fruit), Facebook (face + book) and WordPress (word + press).

There are a few rules to help you find the right domain name:

    1. Consider your audience, business, and brand: The name should reflect what your business offers, match your audience language and geographic location, and portray your unique brand.
    2. Get the right keywords: Identify SEO keywords related to your niche, and words people associate with your niche.
    3. Choose an easy-to-understand name: Get a short name that’s easy to type and pronounce. Above all, avoid homophones (words with same pronunciation and different meanings), numbers (2 and two sound the same when pronounced) and hyphens (the name bat-man can be easily confused with Batman).
    4. Pick a unique and catchy name: Never copy, or select a trademarked or copyrighted name.
    5. If you need help brainstorming on prospective names, use the search bar below.

 

 

6. Preferably, get a .com domain extension.

 

Registering a domain name can cost between $9 and $24.

But, being a reader of Writing Doozy you can get it free on Bluehost.

I’ll show you how in step 3.

 

2. Select a reliable hosting provider

You wouldn’t stash your cash in any random place, would you?

Likewise, you shouldn’t select any random hosting provider for your blog (a hosting provider offers data storage where all the content of your blog will stay so people can access it.).

What will happen if you don’t get a reliable hosting provider?

A poor hosting provider will lead to:

  • Frequent downtimes: If your site goes down, no one can access your blog.
  • Limited support: You may experience urgent issues, but can’t get help from the hosting provider.
  • A hacked site: Regardless of how many security measures you apply on your end, hackers can successfully attack your hosting company if it has security vulnerabilities.
  • A poor reputation: Visitors will have a negative perception when they find a site that’s hacked, has slow loading times, with frequent downtimes and other issues.
  • Google warning: Google will warn online users about your site, for safety reasons.
  • Low ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs): Google will evaluate all the above factors and rank your site lower, leading to less traffic to your site.
  • Loss of revenue: Ultimately, all those issues will dry up your revenue.
  • Loss of files: If your web hosting provider closes shop, you can even lose all the content you worked so hard to produce.

Now that you know the danger of a poor hosting provider, what then does a reliable one have to offer?

A great website hosting provider delivers:

  • Server reliability: This means your site will hardly ever go down. You need this if you ever want to make money while you sleep.
  • Server upgrade options: You’ll likely start with affordable shared hosting, but a good hosting provider will have multiple upgrade options as your site grows, including dedicated servers, and multiple addon domains.
  • Easy CMS installation: The top standard is hassle-free, 1-click WordPress installation.
  • 24/7 support: Great support is there whenever you need it and offered by trained experts, besides accessible guides and tutorials.
  • Money-back guarantee: A true sign of a provider confident in their capacity and your complete satisfaction.
  • Free SSL: Due to the rising cases of online attacks, a free SSL has become a necessary offer from reputable hosting providers.

You’ll get all these features and more from Bluehost.

 

3. Set up your hosting and get your free domain

Now that you have a domain name and know which hosting provider to use, you’re ready to set up your website and hosting.

You’ll get everything done on Bluehost and get a free domain too.

Follow these simple steps:

Go to www.bluehost.com and click on the “Get Started Now” button.

 

Bluehost - Get Started

 

A new page opens up showing different hosting plans. Since you’re just starting out and may not expect to get lots of visitors daily, select the “basic” hosting plan.

 

Bluehost pricing plans

 

A “sign up now” window opens up. To get your free domain, key in the domain name you came up with under “new domain.” Then click “next”. Already have a registered domain name? Key it in under “I have a domain name.” Then click “next.”

 

bluehost free domain

 

A page to fill in your account information opens up. Provide all the necessary details.

 

bluehost account information

 

Scrolling down on the same page, you’ll see a section to fill in your package information. The 36 months option offers the best value. I highly recommend it.

 

Bluehost package plans

 

The last part of the same page is your payment information. Just as with anything that requires payment, don’t be in a rush. Take a bit of time to read the terms of service at the bottom. Then check that everything is filled in properly and submit your details.

 

Bluehost Payment Info

 

When you complete the transaction, you’ll get a request to create a password.

 

Bluehost payment confirmation

 

Once you do all that, you now own a piece of “online real estate”: a blog.

Now, all you need is to install WordPress and start blogging.

 

4. Install WordPress

You’ll install WordPress in one click right from your Bluehost account.

Don’t believe me?

Here’s how.

As soon as you create your password in the last step of part 3, you’ll get a page with a “log in” tab. Log in with your password and you’ll get this page:

 

Bluehost Install WordPress

 

All you need is one click on the “Install WordPress” icon to install WordPress on your blog.

A new page will display several themes for your blog. Don’t worry about this yet, just pick any. You’ll change it later.

After installation, you’ll get a “Start Building” tab.

 

Bluehost installation complete

 

Click on the “Start Building” tab, and you’ll be redirected to your new WordPress site. You officially have a WordPress blog.

You’ll see this page on your WordPress site:

 

bluehost wordpress login

 

Get your WordPress site login information from your email account.

 

5. Choose a beautiful theme

Log into your WordPress dashboard and start customizing your theme.

You certainly want a good-looking blog to match the great content you’ll write and publish.

Therefore, avoid free themes as much as possible. Such free themes typically come with many problems:

  • limited features
  • they usually don’t look professional
  • used by millions of other bloggers, making you look like a copycat
  • many are rarely updated, hence incompatible with WordPress updates
  • may be poorly coded, hence a security risk
  • might be incompatible with important plugins
  • no support in case you experience issues

If you still want the free themes, here’s how to get them.

In your WordPress dashboard, hover over the “Appearance” tab. A sub-menu will appear. Choose “Themes.”

 

WordPress Dashboard Bluehost

 

A whole bunch of free themes will appear. Simply search for and activate the one you like.

 

wordpress free themes

 

Ultimately, the best theme is a professionally designed premium theme from a reputable source. From my experience using the Genesis Framework, I would definitely advise you to go for a premium WordPress theme.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • it has a professional look from expert designers
  • you won’t find malicious code, which is typical of some free themes
  • the code is SEO friendly, making work easy for web crawlers
  • a responsive design so your website fits properly on different devices and screen sizes
  • compatible with multiple browsers
  • up-to-date with latest WordPress, PHP, CSS and HTML versions
  • fast page loading time
  • extensive customization without requiring unnecessary plugins
  • theme support by expert professionals

Having done that, you’re ready to start blogging and make money from your new WordPress blog.

 

6. Write your first blog post

You probably have a ton of blogging ideas.

Go ahead. Create your first awesome blog post for the world to see. In the WordPress dashboard, click on the “Posts” tab, select “Add New”, and start writing.

 

 

WordPress new post

 

I’ve written a useful guide on how to write blog posts. Check it out if you need help with your post.

 

Conclusion

You’re now a blogger.

Even the greatest bloggers online started where you are right now. Who knows, we might be talking about your awesome blog in the future.

 

Do you already have a blog? Share your very first blog post in the comments. If you’re having any trouble setting up your blog, ask any question in the comments and I’ll help where I can.
Mercy Mmbone

Hi, I’m Mercy Mmbone. My mission is to help beginner freelance writers find success online. Even if you don’t have a degree, becoming a successful freelance writer is not as difficult as you’d think. The most important thing you’ll need to get started is self-motivation.

I’m honored to have worked with many popular companies including Ring Central and Freelancer FAQs.

  1. Reply

    I love WordPress for all the reasons you mentioned above.

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