How to Start a Money Making Blog in 10 Easy Steps
Have you been toying with the idea of starting your own blog for a while now but just don’t know where to begin?
Maybe you’ve already set up your blog, you have your name and domain ready to go but you’ve been procrastinating for years and feel like you’ll never see your blog baby flash up in big lights on the World Wide Web.
I started toying with the idea of writing a blog back in 2017 whilst we were renovating our kitchen and at that point, social media didn’t really come into the equation.
I started following lots of renovation and interior blogs to get ideas and this lead me down an Instagram path of peonies in the sink and fruit in the bath, so my blog went on the back burner for over a year.
I procrastinated a LOT! I couldn’t get the name right. I toyed with www.mjhomeandaway.com, www.mjhomestyle.com and www.melaniejinteriors.com before I finally settled on the name I have now — www.melaniejadedesign.com
I am a huge fan of blogging; it has created a career for me out of nothing and I get to be at home for my kids 24/7 (although sometimes I wonder if that is a good or bad thing! 😊).
I absolutely love writing my blog and starting one has changed my life. I never read blogs before I started renovating, I think the only time I would come across any blog was when I was looking for a quick recipe or attempting DIY. I was not an avid blog reader.
So, to go from not reading blogs at all, to having two blogs that make me decent money every month is quite the turnaround.
Where do you start?
It took me over a year to start mine as I found the whole thing extremely daunting and intimidating. There is a lot of free information out there to get you started but it was extremely overwhelming.
I’d often find myself falling down an internet tunnel and trying to get my blog perfect instead of just concentrating on the important bits, creating content and blog posts!
If you are reading this, you probably already have an idea about what you are going to write about.
But stop there for a second, have you really given it some thought?
You are going to be writing about this subject A LOT, so it is best to find a niche that you are interested in.
What are you good at? What are your hobbies? Strengths and weaknesses? What have you got experience in or are excited about?
I knew that I wanted to write about home décor, interiors and renovations right from the beginning. I am hugely passionate about it and would often bore my family and friends on décor decisions.
The most successful blogs provide solutions to people’s problems, whether that be trying to lose weight, how to get rich, how to be productive when working from home…
Just make sure it’s a subject that you can talk about for years to come.
Start that money-making blog
I have broken it down into steps. You don’t have to follow them rigidly, but it will help you on your way to creating a money-making website!
I think the hardest part it just getting on with it. Sitting down and building it from scratch that will one day make you money. Once the blog is up and running, you can start on the fun bit, writing posts.
Step 1 — Find your niche and research
You know what you want to write about, now you need to research your niche. Find and read as many blogs as you can that cover the same niche to get an idea on what people are writing about.
It will also help you to decide whether you have something unique to bring to the table. There are hundreds of parenting blogs out there, is anyone covering home-schooling? Or tips on how to get your children to sleep?
By researching, you can note down what you think works (the layout, the images, the posts) and expand on that.
Some of the niches predicted to grow quickly in 2022 are -
Step 2 — Niche it down
I say this often, but it is really important to concentrate on a niche within a niche.
If you’ve decided to write a health blog, there are potentially thousands of topics to write about so you really need to hone it down a bit so you become more of an expert in your “field”.
On my website — www.melaniejadedesign.com — I try to stick to Interior trends, renovations, colour trends and DIY. I find that my DIY and colour trends do the best and the reason for this is that they tend to be articles that answer people’s questions.
There are millions of people asking questions on Google every day, let your blog posts be the one to answer these questions.
Step 3 — Branding
The most important thing I can say about branding is do not spend too much time on it. It is important but you could become obsessed with it being perfect and spend weeks just trying to get the right colours for your brand (like me).
You have to realise that by creating a blog post and the subsequent social media accounts associated with it will make you a brand!
This took a while for me to get my head around. I’m not a brand, I thought. But you are! You are your own personal brand and you want people to recognise your style and personality as it will help people build a relationship with your blog.
If you have a particular style and generally keep to the same colours, people will instantly recognise and trust you.
Start brainstorming names, colour schemes and font styles and try to stick to this across all your channels and social media feeds.
Just don’t take too long about it. It is important to get the brand right, but it is more important to get your blog up and running and get content out there. You will only know if your branding works once you start piecing all your content together.
Step 4 — Create a domain name (URL)
If you already have an established social media account, you are probably already known by a name. Is this name available as a URL?
It is so important to keep the same name across all your social media feeds and blog or people will become confused when you are trying to promote your blog posts.
I also think you can’t go wrong with using your own name, or a variation of it. Just make sure it is easy to say and spell!
Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you need to check that it doesn’t already exist. Also, make sure that it isn’t already taken on all the different social media apps like Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest.
I used godaddy.com to find my domain name and it cost me $20 to buy the URL for 2 years. The best advice I can give you when choosing a name is try to get a URL that ends in .com My domain is set to renewal every 2 years which costs me $47.
These figures can differ hugely, it all depends on what your name is. If you are going for something that will be easily searchable on Google — like interiordesign.com — it will be much more expensive.
Your name, however, will not cost that much.
Step 5 — Hosting
You’ve got your name; you now need to host your website! You have 2 choices, you can either self-host or have a hosted blog. I’ll explain the difference –
A hosted website is one that exists on a website builder like Squarespace, Wix or WordPress.com. These offer all-in-one website solutions that provide the hosting services for you and give you the tools and software to build your website.
These are great for first time website builders but you are limited by what you can create.
Wordpress.org is an example of a self-hosted website. It is an open-source software which means you can download it to your PC and then modify as you see fit. It is free software but you have to find a website host (like SiteGround which I use) to store all your website files on their domain and purchase your URL from a domain registrar.
The best analogy for the above is like home ownership. A hosted blog is like a rental property, you have a home to keep all your possessions but you don’t own the building or land and you are limited in improvements and customisations.
A self-hosted website is like owning your own home. You can do whatever you like to it, paint, decorate, extend. But if something breaks you have to replace it.
When I first started my blog, I used SquareSpace and found it extremely easy to use. But as time went on, I wanted more control over my blog and the layout so I moved over to Wordpress.org in April.
I originally had it hosted with BlueHost but I found it extremely slow and it kept timing out.
I now have it privately hosted with SiteGround which has been exceptional and I highly recommend.
It’s really up to you which hosting method you choose.
Personally, I think the self-hosted version with Wordpress.org is the better method as you have complete control over it and it works out cheaper in the long run.
However, if you are a complete newbie and technology fills you with dread, SquareSpace provides all the tools you need to get you well on the way to creating a beautiful website.
Step 6 — Choose your blog theme
Depending on whether you decide to go with a blog that is hosted (like Squarespace or Wordpress.com) or you go for a self-hosted blog (like Wordpress.org) where you host the website separately, will depend on what themes you can use for your blog.
All website options come with ready built-in theme option and choosing the right theme can have a big impact on your design and SEO.
Your theme will decide on the layout, how you navigate around your blog, the design of the homepage and all the extra features you can add to your website.
You can either go with a free theme (there are thousands out there) or a paid theme. On both of my websites I use a paid theme as I found this the easiest way to choose a design that I loved and had my website up and running with little effort.
Step 7 — Fill out your static pages
About me — Explain to your audience who you are, what you can help with them and what services you provide
Contact me — add all your contact information. Create a contact form, add your email address and provide links to your social media accounts
Step 8 — Create your menus
Again, depending on what type of theme you have gone for, the next step is to create your menus and Sidebar.
Menus are quite self-explanatory. You want your readers to be able to navigate easily around your website and the clearer you make your menus, the better. Keeping your readers on your blog or website for longer is key when it comes to SEO (search engine optimisation).
Don’t overthink your menus, you don’t want your drop-down menus to become overwhelming, pushing people away. Divide your blogs into categories.
For example, on this website I have gone with a main Blog menu and sub categories that I think my readers will be reading the most –
Keep your menus simple! You don’t want to overwhelm your visitors when they first land on your homepage.
Step 9 — Sidebar
I would strongly suggest that you include a sidebar on your website.
Your sidebar is a quick glance at who you are, what you do and can include all your blogs important info like a subscribe button, navigation menu and eventually, ads, if you decide to go down that route.
Step 10 — Write that first blog post
And that’s it! You have your blog name and website up and running and ready to rule the world! Or at least tell the internet about your new kitchen extension…
All you need to do now is create your social media accounts with the same name and write your first blog post!
The best part of a blog for me is actually writing the blog posts. I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I do, but I now have a real passion for writing.
I wasn’t very good to begin with and I kept putting off starting my blog because I spent far too much time researching, coming up with the best name and figuring out my branding.
These are all things that can be learnt and changed whilst actually blogging and you will get better the more you do it.
So, start that blog today!