Thinking about starting your own blog?
Not entirely sure what it involves, how to go about it, or whether or not you could ever actually make money blogging?
Then you’re in the right place!
Because today I’m going to answer those questions and show you the exact route I took to start my blog and get a beautiful and professional looking website that made money really quickly!
Let’s do this thing!…
This post is going to give you an overview of how the process works, so you can get a better understanding of what’s involved. If you want to know how to go about these steps in depth and follow along as you set up your own blog, then go to my EPIC Step by Step Guide to Start a Blog or Website The RIGHT Way!
Here’s what you’re going to learn about in this post – the essential steps towards starting a blog and making money in a month:
- Get your hosting set up with Bluehost
- Choose your ‘niche’
- Get your domain name
- Set up WordPress
- Start to write your blog!
- Work on the aesthetics with a theme and free stock photos
- Get on Pinterest to promote your blog
- Sign up for affiliate schemes
Whether you’re looking for a way to get out of the 9-5, or just want to try something new for yourself, writing your own blog can be lots of fun and a great way to make money – and it’s really not something that’s out of your reach, I promise!
I’ll be honest with you, when I started Slightly Sorted, I had NO clue what I was doing. That’s really not an exaggeration.
Well, I knew how to use Word, and I knew how to send email and do a lot of on-line shopping, but beyond that – not a lot.
But that’s one of the great things about blogging – if you want to, you can just learn as you go along and enjoy the journey. And it’s not as complicated as you might think.
Hard work, but not complicated.
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Now, you will find plenty of articles and posts on Pinterest, telling you that you can start a blog in 15 minutes. Well…. yes and no!
You can sign up for web hosting and install WordPress in 15 minutes, if you’re lucky, but that’s not the same as really creating an amazing blog or website. (If you don’t know what hosting or WordPress are, don’t worry about that for now!)
Setting up a blog is fun, and you’ll be really proud of yourself when you’ve done it, but do not let anyone tell you that it isn’t time consuming and hard work! It’s 100% worth it, but make no mistake, if you’re going to fit this in around your 9-5 then you might need to put in a few late nights – just so you know!
One more thing before we get down to it! You do not have to spend a lot of money on any of this.
As you’ll see below, I chose to purchase a couple of things for Slightly Sorted, but my advise is to go with everything low cost or free to begin with.
There are more than a few scammers out there who will try to get you to part with a lot of your hard earned cash just to get up and running. So just know that you really don’t need to!
So let’s get down to it… here’s what I did – and what you can do too – to set up my blog and start making money in one month!…
How to Start a Blog – First Steps…
1. Get your hosting set up with Bluehost
I recommend that you go to bluehost.com to set up your hosting account, because it’s low cost and reliable.
As your website grows over time, you can upgrade to their higher level packages, but you can just get started with the basics.
If you’re not sure what ‘hosting’ is, it’s basically just the service that enables you to post your website on the internet. You can’t have a blog or website online without it!
There are tons of different companies to choose from, but bluehost.com is a safe and inexpensive option to get started with.
Another reason I like bluehost is because they allow you to set up your initial website without actually knowing what it’s going to be called (whereas with a lot of services you have to choose that at the same time).
Which I think is really handy, because you need to do the next step before you can choose your website/blog name!…
2. Choose Your ‘Niche’
If you don’t know already, your niche just means the subject you’re going to write about on your blog.
Maybe you already know what your niche is going to be, or maybe you’ll need to spend some serious time mulling it over! Either way, I’d recommend you read my post on choosing your niche, because it’s such an important decision.
It will also affect the name you choose for your blog, which is something you’ll need to decide on once you’ve chosen your niche. It’s no good choosing yogaforyou.com then deciding that you’d actually like to write about photography (sorry for stating the obvious there)! But don’t worry about that just yet, because that’s the next step!
In my post on choosing your niche, I mention that the best advice I came across in choosing the niche for my own blog was from a guy called Paul Scrivins. He offers a free 12 day email blogging bootcamp which I can’t recommend highly enough.
It’s very honest and down to earth, and tells you what you really need to know. It covers all aspects of blogging, not just choosing your niche, and I’d be surprised if anyone isn’t very impressed by how much information there is for a free resource!
3. Get Your Domain Name
Once you’ve chosen your niche, you get to have some fun choosing your domain name!
If you’ve got your hosting with bluehost, then you’ll find this a nice easy process – they provide all the simple step by step instructions, you can’t really go wrong!
Once you have your domain name, prepare to feel really excited about starting your very own blog – it all feels real now!!
4. Set Up WordPress
Before you actually start to write your blog or website, there are a few technical aspects of setting up WordPress that you need to take care of. (By the way, with most hosting sites you need to actually install WordPress before you can go through setting it up, but with Bluehost it’s taken care of for you).
WordPress is just the content management system that you use for writing and formatting your website. Basically it’s the tool you use to build your website!
You don’t have to use WordPress, but in my opinion it’s the easiest and most powerful tool to get started with.
Don’t be intimidated by this, it really isn’t difficult once you get used to it.
You can’t really brake anything at this stage, so there’s nothing to be scared of!
I’ve included all the steps involved in my Epic Step by Step Guide To Starting Your Blog Or Website, but if you want to just get a general idea of what’s involved you can check out this video…
5. Start To Write Your Blog!
The next big thing is the most important bit – starting to actually write blog posts!
Nothing complicated about this, I just started writing. My advice here? Just go for it! Don’t worry too much or doubt your abilities, if you’re enjoying writing then it will shine through, even if it takes a while to develop your style.
One word of advice I have at this stage though, is to keep asking yourself – ‘what value am I giving to the reader?’
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes, and don’t fall into the trap of just talking about your own life without solving a problem for them or offering them value of some kind.
Also, keep your paragraphs quite short and snappy – it’s easier to read and holds people’s attention better online.
Since Slightly Sorted is a general lifestyle blog, I had a lot of freedom in deciding where to start. I chose to start off simple by writing a few articles about bullet journaling, since it’s something I’d been trying out.
I knew that a lot of people had heard about it but didn’t really know what it was, so I thought that explaining the basics would be helpful.
Some good advice I came across in the free email blogging bootcamp I mentioned – start off by writing about something you know is popular within your niche.
You can develop more unique posts further down the line, but begin with something that you already know that people want to read about.
Generally that means stuff that will help them or solve some kind of problem for them.
6. Work On The Aesthetics!
You can start off with a free theme for your blog.
A ‘theme’ is just like a template you use that creates the style of your blog.
There are plenty of good free ones out there, so you don’t have to pay for one right away unless you really want to.
However, I do have to say that paying for a premium theme can make the world of difference to your blog.
I suggest at least checking some out so that you can compare them to the free theme you start off with.
I already had my eye on a theme I’d seen, so I decided to invest in that. For me, it was a worthwhile investment as I love how the site looks!
The theme I chose was by Pipdig – I highly recommend checking them out because not only do they have some gorgeous themes, their customer service is amazing.
I justified the cost by reminding myself that all the other resources I’d used so far were very inexpensive!
The next thing I did as far as visuals are concerned was to select images to go with my blog posts.
This is important as it can be really off-putting to see an article with loads of text and no images to break it up, however interesting the content might be.
I went for a mixture of my own photos (just using my iphone) and free stock images.
It can be a huge pain trawling the internet to find decent free stock photography, so save yourself some time by checking out the post I wrote on where to find the best free stock photos!
One more thing you can do for free to improve the aesthetics of your site is to download some interesting fonts. I signed up to Creative Market for free, they send out a weekly email with six free creative resources, usually including at least one lovely font.
7. Get On Pinterest To Promote Your Blog
Next up, I signed up for a Pinterest business account. Pinterest is THE best way to promote your blog for free, and setting up your account and boards is pretty straightforward.
The only difficult bit is not getting distracted by all the interesting articles you’ll find – it’s so addictive!
When it came to creating my account, promoting posts and creating graphics, I didn’t really know what I was doing initially. I took a free training course on Ivory Mix, then to actually create my graphics I used Canva, which is pretty straightforward to get the hang of.
8. Join Affiliate Schemes – The Best Way To Start Making Money
And finally, I signed up for a couple of affiliate schemes!
This is the most straightforward way to begin monetizing your site. It means that when you link to a product using your affiliate link – let’s say it’s a book that you’ve read and recommend – and someone reading your site clicks on the link and goes on to buy the book, you get a small cut of that.
The person purchasing the book doesn’t pay any more for it than they would if they hadn’t gone through your link, and the amount you make off one sale is small (if we’re talking about a book), but it all adds up – sometimes quicker than you might think!
I also watched an interesting video on affiliation on Skillshare (on a ‘two months free‘ taster package). They also have some fantastic mini-courses on different aspects of starting a blog and building a website.
If you decide to use affiliate links on your blog, be sure to only recommend products that you’ve tried yourself and recommend, or have spent serious time thoroughly researching and believe your readers could benefit from. Otherwise you’ll just lose your credibility and the trust of your readers – quickly!
How to Start a Blog… Next Steps!
And that’s it!
One month down the line and I had a fully functioning blog to be proud of. And there really is absolutely nothing stopping you from doing the same thing if you want to!
When you start out, it’s easy to start comparing yourself with well-established bloggers and start to feel like you’re not good enough. If that happens… STOP!
Remember that all the big bloggers were at the beginner stage to start off with – if you’re determined, then just keep going. You’ll surprise yourself with what you can achieve!
During the first month, my confidence was boosted by some positive feedback and my first affiliate sale ($3.25 if you’re interested, shout out to the person who spent $99.99 in TJ Maxx, thank you for making my day!)
My earnings have grown considerably since then, and I love being able to do something I love and make money from it.
After the first month of hard work, I was free to shift my focus towards writing good quality posts to help people out. In the end, that has to be your priority if you want your blog to be successful.
That said, blogging is never ‘done’, and your site will never reach the point of being finished – there’s always more to learn and discover!
After the first month my next step was to sign up for Tailwind, which is a service that schedules your pins for you on Pinterest and saves you tons of time.
That will make no sense to you if you’re new to Pinterest, and I really wouldn’t worry about it for now if that’s the case!
I’ll be posting lots more content in the blogging section of Slightly Sorted in the very near future, including lots on Pinterest, so keep an eye out for more coming soon.
I hope that this post has helped you out if you’re considering starting up your own website or blog.
I’ve purposefully only covered the basics here, as too much too soon can be really overwhelming when you’re starting out.
If you’re ready for more, go straight to my EPIC Step by Step Guide to Start Your Blog or Website The RIGHT Way, where I’ve explained everything in detail along with all the screen shots you’ll need to follow along as you set up your own blog.
And once more, I would really recommend this free 12 day email blogging bootcamp if you’re thirsty for more information. I loved it.
And that’s it!
Get in touch if you’re starting your own blog, I’d really love to hear how you’re getting on. You can include a link to your new blog so we can all check it out!
And let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help you out.
I really would recommend starting a blog to anyone who’s willing to put in the work and reap the rewards. Good luck and happy blogging… YOU CAN DO THIS – REALLY!!!
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