In order to make money blogging, you have to have a blog!
It can be intimidating to get started, but don't let it stop you. In fact, it's easy.
Step One: Buy a Domain
Sure, you can start blogging for free (where your site ends with “dot WordPress dot com”) but let me be frank: you're never going to make money if you keep it on the free site. You'll drive traffic, sure, but who benefits from that? Not you. Not unless you own your domain. I recommend using NameCheap to buy your domain.
When you buy a domain name, consider:
- Telling people about it offline. Make it easy to remember. Go for the .com if it's available, or consider a .org. Don't make .biz or .info your main page.
- Avoid hyphens. “I'm building a new site!” you'll say. “Check it out: it's dave hyphen builds hyphen neat hyphen tools dot biz” will ensure that 100% of people you tell will never visit your site.
I know there are exceptions to this rule, but the exceptions are rare. It's far better to be able to say the name of your site aloud in a way that's easy to remember.
Step 1A: Buy a domain name that doesn't suck.
Where to find ideas for great URLs:
- Lean Domain
- Domains Bot
- When you've found one, make sure to snag all the social media profiles using Name Check
Step Two: Get Hosting
Get hosting, and don't get hosting from the same company you bought your domain from.
My favorite place for hosting is BigScoots. I used to use HostGator, and wasn't happy with my service, so I switched to BigScoots. They're really helpful, very hands-on, they reply to requests for assistance in minutes, not hours, and they're competitively priced. What more could you want?
Step Three: Update Your Name Servers
Go back to NameCheap, and update your name servers to the servers BigScoots gave you. This might take a little time, because you're updating the servers everywhere. Be patient, grasshopper. I know you want to do everything now, but you might have to wait. In the meantime, you can move along to step four.
Step Four: Install WordPress
We can talk about why you should install WordPress over Blogger (and we will, another day!) but for now, let's just agree that WordPress is what you'll be installing in order to start blogging for profit. It has a lot of power, and you don't have to pay for it. There's a bit of a learning curve, but you'll figure that stuff out. Cool? Cool. Let's install WordPress, then.
Log in to your BigScoots account, then go to cPanel. Scroll all the way down until you find WordPress under Softaculous Apps Installer:
It will ask you a few questions. The only one to be really concerned about is this In Directory:
Leave it blank. You spent all that time coming up with a great URL, don't mess it up now!
Once you're done, it'll tell you where you can go to log in (usually: yourdomain.com/wp-admin) but only if your name servers have updated.
Step Five: Install a Theme
You could spend hours finding just the right theme, but I'd suggest you save your energy for actually creating content. You can trick yourself into thinking that futzing with your design is actually doing work on your blog, but it isn't. I understand not wanting to hire a blog designer right away (they're expensive, but they do know what they're doing, and they'll make your site look a lot better) but you should spring for a premium theme.
This site runs on Aspire Pro from StudioPress. We have a variety of other sites which all use StudioPress, and we recommend those highly. Fresh out of the box, slight tweaks here and there, and boom! You're a pro.
Step Six: Get to Writing
Whew! You have a blog, congratulations! Now, start writing. Work on your “About” page, write six or seven posts in various categories. Write every week. Publish as often as you're writing. We'll get into tips, tricks, and strategies in the future, but for now, just start writing, and voila! You're a blogger.
Look Like a Professional Blogger Right Away
Getting started blogging really is easy.
Getting all the different bells and whistles sorted out right at the beginning, though? That can be tricky. Blogging is a marathon.
We want to help you get started with a sprint.
The truth is, creating a bare-bones site only takes minutes. But that’s just the very beginning.
- Do you wonder why everyone else has their picture by their name when they’re commenting on blogs?
- Or why they have blogs that end in “.com” while yours still ends in “.wordpress.com” and you can’t figure out what any of it means?
- Do other people have cool things like Pinterest buttons that you wish you had too?
- Do you feel like there are 11,000 more things you need to know about blogging?
On Your Mark, Get Set, Blog! puts everything in order, and tells you what information you will need, ahead of time, then gives you the steps in the fastest and most efficient order.
Buy On Your Mark, Get Set, Blog! and get it right the first time.
The book includes 5 pages of checklists and over 40 pages that guide you through setting up your site and claiming your brand, so when you hit publish for the first time, you can be confident you are on a firm foundation.
On Your Mark, Get Set, Blog! was written by Kathleen and Anne, who, between the two of them, have started over 20 blogs, and counting. They’ve done all the trial, and a lot of the error, and they wrote this book to save you from the same frustrating fate.