How to Start a Blog and Make Money in 2021

Make money blogging

Are you interested in making money with your blog?
And you look for an easy guide to learn how to start a blog and making money online.
Don't search anymore, you're in the right place.

With this step-by-step guide, you will easily create in less than 20 min one of the best ways to generate passive income.

So, here are the simple steps to take that will help you to get started right.

Ready to take the first step, and learn how to start a blog and grow a monthly source of real online income.

Note: All of these steps don't require in-depth technical knowledge, and I'll show you the entire process of starting a blog in detail.

Sounds interesting? Let's dive into our article.

Disclosure: Please note that this article includes some affiliate links at no additional cost to you. Those affiliate links may provide me a small commission. However, Know that I recommend only products and services that I use and endorse for myself. If you are using one of my Bluehost affiliate links, they compensate me and helps me to run this steep-by-steep guide and keep all of its content for readers free.

Before jumping on this free guide, here is a quick answer to some frequently asked questions on how to start a blog:

What is a blog?

A blog is a personal website (or part of the website), which can be created by anyone and used as a platform to publicly or privately publish content of various kinds on one or more topics (niches).

For example, this is a blog, because I publish more or less constant content related to blogging and digital marketing.

We could summarize the process of creating a blog in this way:

  • WordPress is a platform that will allow you to create your entire website and you will have a “blog” section within it.
  • With the WordPress dashboard, you can create pages and articles (post or articles, it's the same).
  • These articles will be organized by the ticket categories that you decide to create.
  • From there, when readers come to your blog they can read an article and through menus and other links, they can also browse to read other articles or be interested in your "About me" page, take a look at your "Services", go to the "Contact" page to contact you...

Important: don't see a "blog" as a kind of personal diary or something like that.

A blog is a tool that helps you communicate what you want, either what you know on a professional level and ideas or what you prefer.

The format to use will be the articles (or post), and you will have categories, but I insist, a blog is a part of your website.

I clarify this because this error is very frequent and many people think that the blog section is the entire website, and it's not.

But as I commented is encompassed in a complete website, which usually consists of a more or less common structure.

Can I start a blog without any technical skills?

Among the occasions that I recommend starting a blog, one of the most common responses is something similar to: "But I don't know about programming", "I have never designed a page" or any other argument that involves a lack of technical knowledge.

Has something similar happened to you?

Many people find it impossible to start their blog because they believe that they need to know how to code, web design, or any other technical knowledge that few have.

But, I have excellent news for you: to create your own blog in WordPress you don't need to know programming or web design. If you know how to publish photos on Facebook, check your mail and write a document in Microsoft Word, you can without any problem start your blog, design, and manage it successfully.

How much do you earn with a blog?

The income of a blog is variable and strongly influenced by the business model you will use to monetize (see how to monetize your blog). According to the Blog Income Report Study, the bulk of professional bloggers earn between $ 1,700 and $ 6300 per month, while the elite exceeds $25,000.

What does it take to create a blog?

To create a blog on a practical level you need a web space (hosting), a domain (eg smartsafeinvest.com), and WordPress (Free). It takes you less than 20 minutes to create your blog (Go to the first step to start your blog).

How much does it cost to start a blog?

The cost of creating a blog depends on the software you will use to create it. It is possible to create a professional blog for around $34.50 to $65.40 per year, a totally negligible cost when compared to the potential earnings.


Step
1

Choose the Perfect Niche

When deciding to create a blog, it's important to first define the niche you are targeting.

But, what is exactly a niche?

A niche is a thematic area around which all your blog content will revolve. What is the main topic you want to cover? Who are the readers of that topic?

This is exactly what is meant by niche.

The niches can tend to be infinite: cookingtravelFitnessphotography… The more specific the niche, therefore, focused on a single topic, the more your blog increases the chances of success.

"But if I turn to everyone, it's easier to earn, isn't it?"

Wrong totally wrong, and the reason is very simple.
If you want to position yourself in a very competitive sector, such as the travel sector, for example, the competition is very high and you will have to face giants who have a huge team and a lot of money to invest.
This means that you will only get a fraction of the people interested in the topic.
If, on the other hand, you turn to a more specific and more verticalized niche, such as "balloon trips to Peru", then the competition drops significantly and you can position yourself better.
It's true, the number of interested people will be more limited. But probably all those who are interested in taking a balloon trip in Peru, will not look on the generalist sites but will come to your blog.

If your goal is to monetize your blog and not just keep it as a personal journal, it's therefore important to carefully define your niche to analyze itanswer its questions and offer the best solutions to its problems.

Once you have defined what a niche is, you need to understand how to find the right one.

The niche or topic you choose will play an essential role in how you earn money. As well as how much you'll make, so it's necessary to pick it right.

The perfect niche is about finding a topic you're passionate about, with an engaged audience. So you can help them with products you promote and generate passive income.

Creating a blog, finding ideas for new articles, constantly writing new content, following social networks, comments, emails… is a real full-time job. If this work does not bring income results, you will soon abandon your project, even if it is based on your passion.

This is precisely the reason why 95% of blogs fail to monetize: they think of blogging only as a passion and not as a business.

By this, I certainly don't mean passion is not important. The key thing, however, is to understand how to monetize that passion and, above all, if there is a possibility of monetization.

This does not mean that you cannot run a blog all about your passion. Blogging, for example, is my passion but it's also true that if it doesn't bring me the earnings, I cannot invest 90% of my time to create new content.

So here it comes to the crucial question: how do you choose a profitable niche?

A profitable niche has 4 characteristics:

  • A good number of people interested in the topic
  • Talk about the topic you know well
  • People are willing to spend some money
  • You have something to sell in that niche

So, to find your niche, understand what problem people are willing to spend money on to solve it, and come up with a solution.

How to Find a Profitable Niche for your Blog?

At this point, you probably already have an idea about the niche you want to target. But how do you know if the niche is right?

Here are some questions you should answer yourself to understand if the chosen niche is right.

Are you really interested in this niche?

Choosing a niche just because it's profitable, such as online trading, may not be a wise choice.

This is because you will have to contend with fierce competition and if the topic isn't really something you are passionate about, your interest will diminish over time, especially if you don't see any gains in the short term.

So choose a niche that can be profitable but also in which you are really interested, for which you would never get bored writing.

Remember that when you write, readers can sense your enthusiasm - or its complete absence - between the lines when you talk about a topic. And if you're not really enthusiastic about what you do, how can you convey enthusiasm to others?

Are you really competent on the subject?

With the boom of new bloggers, I found many blogs treated with superficiality and full of inaccuracies.

But how can you expect your readers to trust what you write if you have never achieved the results you promise others will?

A tip that I often see on other blogs is “Fake 'till you make it”, pretend until you reach it.

However, this does not mean - as I see all too often - that you have to increase your results with Photoshop or publish a post on Instagram next to your new Ferrari "Hey, look what I bought with what I earned from trading!" then when you found that Ferrari parked on the street.

And yes, I swear many do.

Fake 'till you make it instead means that you have to become aware bring out a bit of extra courage, that you must not be afraid to take your share of the market.

But without deceiving those who read your posts. A quote from Lincoln that I love says:

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

This is what I always try to keep in mind when I write. And the trust I have built up with my readers is the greatest form of gratification I've ever received in my work because it's something that always pays off in the long run.

Are there people willing to pay?

We have already seen that passion is not everything if you want to monetize a blog. And to monetize it, you need an audience that is willing to pay for products or services related to your niche.

To figure out if people would be willing to pay, you can do some simple research, for example:

  • Check on Amazon if there are books or products aimed at this niche and if they have reviews (if the reviews are zero, or the product is not attractive or there is no demand)
  • Check on Semrush who your competitors are and try to understand if and how they are monetizing
  • Do a general Google search and see if paid ads appear in the first results.

If these searches don't bring results, the niche you've chosen is probably hard to monetize.

Are there any competitors?

It happened very often when I asked about a new project, they answer me with enthusiasm by saying:

"The idea is this and that... the project is very cool, all very innovative and the best thing is... there are no competitors!"

Now, the fact that there are no competitors is not necessarily a good sign, quite the contrary! In fact, it could mean that the niche is not monetizable or that there are not enough people interested.

Competitors are therefore welcome!

Let me reveal a secret: competitors, very often, are also the best partners you can have. So, what you think??

How many searches are done on Google?

Another very good way to understand if the niche you have chosen can be really profitable is to check if and how many searches are made on Google on a certain topic.

The free tool I usually use to do this type of research is Google Trends. If searches tend to rise over time, this shows an increasing interest in the subject.

Instead, I advise you not to focus on topics that lose interest, unless you are really convinced that you can rekindle attention on the topic.

Twinword Homepage

Another tool I use usually is Twinword Ideas, a tool that not only shows you all the searches that are done on a given keyword but gives you many useful tips on other related keywords related to your niche.

Twinword - find related keywords

First, on the Twinword homepage, enter the keyword you want to use, for example, “Social Marketing”. Then choose the country you want to contact, for example, the USA, and the language, in this case, English. Click on Search and start the search.

When the search is finished, the results can give you more than an exhaustive picture both on the number of searches carried out on the keyword you have proposed, and on all the related keywords, calculating the difficulty of each keyword, which turns into how difficult it's to position yourself based on competitors already present.

Through this graph, you can then evaluate whether it's worth working on the niche you thought about or if it's preferable to prioritize a related topic.

The best keywords are those with a high number of monthly searches ( AVG. Monthly Searches ) and low (SEO Competition).

Here are two other ways to see how many searches are done on your niche:

  • Answerthepublic is another tool that shows you what people are looking for in your niche, and the questions frequently asked about it.
  • Forums - When people need answers to their questions, they go to forums. What do they ask for? What do they need? This will show you what information interested them and what is missing.

Is your niche durable?

A good niche is not something that has a boom today and is destined to disappear tomorrow, as it can be a blog that revolves around a single event or in a passing fashion.

In fact, if you can get excellent earnings immediately, after a few months you will inevitably have to start all over again.

The best way to know is to take a look at the blogs from the same niche already present. If they have been around for a long time, there is probably a chance that it will be durable.

Note: Keep always in mind how you can monetize your niche, is there a product or service to promote, or even to create and sell it and generate income. Keep reading the article, we will see all that in the "How to make money blogging" section.

Do you need more help to choose your blog topic?

Choosing your blog topic can surely be challenging, so if you need a more in-depth look at how to choose your blog niche, check out this post:


Step
2

Pick a Name for your Blog (Domain Name)

Now, after you have decided on your NICHE. It's time to choose a name for your blog (domain name).

What is a domain name?

A domain name is a name that you give to your blog or website (like yourblogname.com). It's an address that offers Internet users access to your blog. For humans, is complicated to understand numerical sequences. That's why domain names were created and used rather than IP addresses.

But before you acquire a domain name and creating your blog. There are a couple of tips and good practices to follow to choose the right domain name.

DomainNameStat-Domain-name-registration-statistics

  • Choose an extension, most web users, when browsing on the internet use .com. 41.02% of all domains on the web, have the .com extension according to research from Domain Name Stats. So you can be sure .com is the ideal choice.
  • The right domain name should be descriptive and allow your readers to know what your blog is about.
  • The shorter is better when it comes to the length of your domain.
  • The goal is to pass your domain name along conveniently. It's easier to happen if people do not stop worrying about how to pronounce or write it. So make sure it's easy to pronounce, don't include words that are commonly misspelled or spell tricky.
  • The best place to use one or two keywords of your niche is your domain name. The better at the beginning of your domain name. Try to use keywords that describe your niche and avoid hyphens and numbers.
  • Your domain name needs to be unique to stand out in the minds of your audience. Researching other blogs in your niche and finding out what domain names they use.
  • You have no idea how your business might grow. So, avoid names that can lock you in.
  • If you're targeting a large audience, do not use specified words in your domain. This will be foreign to anyone other than your niche audience.
  • Test other social networks when picking up your domain to make sure it's available. If you use your blog and other social media with the same name, it will strengthen your brand and make it more distinctive.

I suggest using your name or some combination if you decide to create a personal blog. In the end, your blog is all about you. So if you find your name already taken, you can use the middle name or the middle initial. Or a variation such as Adamblog.com.

Make sure that nobody has the same domain name registered.

 

How to Check if a Domain Name is Available?

To Know if your domain name is available, put it in the field below and choose the extension (.com or .org).

Choose your domaine

Then click on the Check Availability button.

Check your domain

If your domain is is available, click the next button. Follow these steps to buy your domain before someone else does.

Available domain

But If the domain name you want is already taken, try to choose another one.

Unavailable domain

What to Do When the Domain Name you Want is already Taken?

If the domain name you choose is already taken, it means that there is already someone else using it. So trying a similar domain name can be confused with the existing name. Your domain name must be unique and original.

The idea is: Make a small change

You can add or subtract a short word or verb that will slightly change your name. You can try different ways to develop your name. For example, if "myblog.com" is used, you can try "readmyblog.com". You can change your name depending on what is available.

The perfect domain name is always the easiest. So be careful to not complicate your domain by trying to find one available.

Here are the things to avoid, if your Domain Name is Taken?:

  • Don't use a different domain extension. If the .com version is already registered by another person. Don't use .net, .org, or other extensions with the same name for your blog domain. Since you have the same name so apparently the same niche, then you risk losing large direct traffic. Most internet users use the .com extension if they don't remember the domain name's extension.
  • Don't use small words. If you can! Consider not using "a, an, the..." at the beginning of your Domain name. Or "but, and, with..." to combine keywords. Avoid these small words where possible these only make it harder to remember your domain.
  • Don't use numbers and hyphens. Numbers and hyphens are frequently confused. Most people who hear your website address don't know if you're using the number (2), or spelled out (two) or (to), or whether they confuse or miss the dash.

It is better to go for a simpler second choice for a domain name than to overcomplicate your domain to try to come close to your original choice.

Ready to Get Started? Try Bluehost for $3.95/month


Step
3

Get your blog online

Now that you've picked out your niche and domain name, The hard work is done. So, it's time to get your blog online. The steps below will make the process easy for you.

In order to get started, you'll need two things to get your blog online: a blogging host and a blogging platform. The best part is that these come together packed in one platform >> BLUEHOST <<.

Bluehost is the best blogging host for new bloggers and professionals, in the opinion of many blogging experts. Joined with WordPress the ideal blogging platform for newbies. And that's what I'll show you how to use in the following steps.

Bluehost is a web hosting service provider that stocks all your blog files and Secures them on their servers. When users type your domain name on their browser, Bluehost shows them your blog.

So, to have a blog, you must have a blog host.

You need as well a platform to build your blog, edit, and write your posts. In this guide, I'll show you how to create a blog using WordPress. It's the most popular, flexible, and easiest-to-use platform. And it's fully integrated with Bluehost what makes the setup process easy.

Why WordPress is the Best Platform to Start your Blog?

WordPress is the most used and most popular blogging platform and more than 30% of the world's websites are powered by WordPress. Can you imagine how big that number is?
WordPress is also considered the best content manager for positioning in search engines. It stands out for its ease of use and is also designed for mobile devices.
Here are other reasons to start a blog with WordPress:

Templates: WordPress currently has more than 12,000 themes from which you can choose the one that best suits your needs. There are free and paid (Premium). A wide range of possibilities that allow you to create an attractive website adapted to all mobile devices due to its responsive design.

Developer Community: This community is continuously growing, so the number of templates available in WordPress is also growing. As it is free software and does not require use licenses, the developers' work is aimed at improving security, platform performance, and updating new versions.

Plugins: Closely related to that large community of developers, the number of WordPress plugins is also constantly growing. There are more than 30,000 plugins that expand the functionalities that this CMS brings by default. They are easy plugins to integrate into your blog, making it scalable and flexible.

Users: WordPress allows you to add users who can collaborate with your website, giving them all the possible privileges (administrator status) or establishing another kind of profile such as subscriber, collaborator, author, or editor.

Personalization: Changing the appearance of the chosen theme is also another option that makes WordPress a great choice. In WordPress you can modify and choose the widgets you want to set; that is, the sections that will appear both in the sidebar and in the footer (sidebar and footer, respectively). Menus can also be customized to your liking. Even the style editor, where you can write custom CSS code. The header of the web, the styles of texts and titles, colors, or background images are more aspects that you can customize.

Personally, I use Bluehost, and I recommend it to all new bloggers for several reasons:

  • You can check and register a domain name for your blog for free.
  • You can install WordPress for free with a simple few clicks. (which I"ll show you how to use in this guide).
  • They have helpful customer service 24/7.
  • You can get started as low as $3.95/month.
  • You can create your blog in less than 20 minutes.
  • If you are unsatisfied for any cause, you have a 30-day money-back guarantee.

1. Get Started

Click here To Start or use any other BlueHost link on this site. Then hit the Get Started button.

Get Started with Bluehost

2. Choose your Plan

I recommend new bloggers to start with the basic plan. Personally, I prefer the Plus plan because it includes domain privacy. It's the domain privacy that keeps your personal information hidden from the public. You can start with the basic plan and add domain privacy later for an additional fee.

Choose your Plan

3. Enter your Domain Name

In the left box, enter your domain name. Then hit "Next" to start the registration.

  • If your domain is taken, or you're not sure about it. Click the link at the bottom "I'll create my domain later".
  • If you already have a domain name and want to use it for your blog, enter it in the right box. Then click "Next".

Create Domain Name in Bluehost

Note: Don't use the right box only if you have paid to register a domain!

4. Complete your Account Information on the Registration Page

Enter your Bluehost Acount Information

5. Choose your Hosting Package and Options

You will also need to choose your account plan based on how far in advance you want to pay.

All plans have all that you need to start your blog, including a free domain name:

  • Simple WordPress installation.
  • Web hosting.
  • SSL certificate.
  • Professional email accounts (for example, [email protected]).

You have the choice of 12, 24, or 36 months billed in advance. The package of 36 months offers the lowest monthly cost. While the package of 12 months has a lower starting price. They do not provide an option for monthly payment, but it's a very reasonable monthly cost, as you can see.

Choose your Bluehost Hosting Package

And keep in mind, there is a money-back guarantee of 30 days. So you can get back your money if you decide not to continue.

I uncheck all the boxes of the package extras when I sign-up. You can always add them later if you decide you need them.

Fill Bluehost Payment Information

Fill in your payment information. Check the box of agreement, and submit your order.

6. Create your Account and Password

Bluehost Complete Purchase

After you complete your Bluehost purchase, you'll then need to create an account and choose a password.

After you do this, you'll be taken to an installation assistant.

Create Bluehost Account

Answer the questions about your blog's goals. Or just click "Skip this step" to go to the Dashboard.

After the installation of WordPress, click the blue "WordPress" button to log into your blog's administrator area.

Bluehost Dashboard

7. Logging in

If you haven't already logged to your WordPress Dashboard, go to Bluehost.com in the right on the top hit "Login".

Login to Bluehost Account

Then log in using your domain name and your password you set in the last step.

Note: Don't panic if you lost your password. You can reset it by clicking the button "Forgot Password" and follow the instructions.

Once you log in, you'll be redirected to your WordPress Dashboard. It's the control panel of your blog where you can manage it. You can customize your design, create and publish pages or posts, add functionality and plugins, and control all aspects of your blog.

Wordpress Dashboard

And now, Congrats! You own your blog with your domain name.

Disclosure: Please note that this article includes some affiliate links at no additional cost to you. Those affiliate links may provide me a small commission. However, Know that I recommend only products and services that I use and endorse for myself. If you are using one of my Bluehost affiliate links, they compensate me and helps me to run this steep-by-steep guide and keep all of its content for readers free.

Most Important Things you Need to Do After Creating your Blog

Before you start creating your content and publish your first post on your blog. You should check that your blog is secured and correctly optimized for search engines. Check also that all essential plugins and settings are installed and adjusted. To do so, check this list of the most essential things to do after creating your blog.

Set up your Site Title & Tagline

The title of your blog and the tagline are some essential elements That can distinguish your site. And help people and search engines to understand what your website is about.

The title works as your blog brand name, so try to keep it short and meaningful. The tagline is a brief description that helps to understand the purpose of your website.

WordPress, by default, comes with a title and tagline that you'll have to change. So make sure you replace them with your own.

To do so, go to your WordPress dashboard » Settings » General

Add Title and Tagline

Set your Timezone, Date, and Time Format Setting

In Settings » General, you can also find other settings like timezone and date format.

Select your Timezone

You need to choose your city's timezone or a UTC option if you can't find your city. This will help you while scheduling and publishing your posts.

Date and Time Format setting

Regarding Date and Time format settings, you can control the way you want them to appear on your website. They function as the posts' metadata and inform the visitors when the posts have been released or updated. You can pick one of the preformatted choices, or you can customize your own format.

Change your Permalink Structure for Better URLs

One of the essential elements of your website is Permalinks. They refer to URLs of the articles and posts you publish on your website, as well as your category and tag archives.

Change Permalink Setting

WordPress by default URLs structure is Plain, But it's not search engine friendly. And that's not something search engines like Google prefers. So you need to have clean and short URLs for your posts, which give your website chances of getting a higher ranking.
To make your URLs permalink search engine friendly. Go to Settings » Permalinks and select Post name as a URL structure. And that's it.

But if you don't like this option, you can create your own structure, and make sure to include the post name for better SEO.

Complete your Profile

Your profile and about page are the pages where people will know about you and your business. If you want to be close to your audience, then make your profile match who you are.

Write a great description of your website and yourself. A bio in which you can describe your hobbies, your website purpose, and your future goals, and your success stories.

To start, go to Users » Choose your account user.

Create your profile

Fill in all the details like your name, your email, your social media account, and image...

You need more tips! Check my post on the most important Things To Do After Installing WordPress.

Install Must-Have (and Free) WordPress Plugins for your Blog

Plugins are necessary for your blog but should always be used reasonably. As they negatively influence the speed and loading time of your blog.

What is a WordPress Plugin?

A plugin is a small application that is installed in WordPress, and that adds extra functionality, such as improving the positioning of each page or increasing the security of your site. There are plugins of all kinds and all prices, which will help you to cover all your needs.

How to Install a WordPress Plugin?

  • Go to the dashboard of your WordPress site or blog, and click on the menu option "Plugins" in the sidebar.

    WordPress plugin menu
  • You will see the list of plugins that you’ve already installed on your blog or website, from this screen, you can activate/deactivate plugins, or even delete them.

  • In the plugins menu, click on “add new” to add a new plugin.

    Add new plugin in WordPress
  • Now, they show you a series of prominent plugins, that may still interest you, or find directly the plugin that you need in the search bar at the top right.

    WordPress plugins
  • Once you find the desired plugins, click the "install now" button, and WordPress will start the installation process.

    Install the plugin
  • At the end of the installation, it will ask you to activate the plugin.

    Activate the plugin
  • Once activated, you will be able to enjoy the extra functionalities that this plugin offers you.

To find out other ways to install WordPress plugins check my 3 methods post.

Here is a collection of plugins that I am using in my blogs and that I consider essential for any other blog.

  • Askimet plugin is necessary for your blog since it helps to moderate the comments that readers leave on an article. And also detects those comments that are called Spam. The operation of this plugin basically consists of leaving any comment that is sent on an article pending for moderation, waiting to be approved by the author or administrator of the blog.
  • Contact Form 7 is a standard plugin that appears installed by default in your WordPress panel. The great advantage of this plugin is that you can easily create and customize multiple contact forms, and then insert them into any page that you have created on your blog.
  • Cookie Law is a mandatory plugin on any website or blog according to the regulations of the Data Protection Agency that regulates the use of cookies on the Internet. For this reason, it will be necessary to use this plugin to inform all visitors that if they continue browsing the website, cookies will be stored through the use of third-party applications.
  • Smush.it is another very important plugin for any blog since it allows you to considerably reduce the size of the images you add to your blog, but without losing quality. In this way, you'll be able to occupy less space in the hosting of your blog, and therefore, add more images.
  • Yoast SEO is one of the best and perfect Search Engine Optimization solutions for WordPress. The Yoast SEO plugin helps you to write better your content through focused keywords and better readability.
  • Google XML Sitemaps plugin generates an XML sitemap. Which will help search engines to better index your blog and notifies all major search engines every time you create a post.
  • Google Analytics plugin is one of the best tools to track your blog. It collects information about users who visit your blog and how they react to it. And it gives you detailed information about your full blog traffic.
  • Wordfence security is one of the most fully-functional free security plugins available. It enables you to manage your whole website's security and protects it against hacks and malware. The plugin scans your blog and warns you immediately when it's compromised. Among its features, you'll find a WordPress Firewall, Login Security, Blocking Features, and more. At first, it can be overwhelming, but it comes with excellent and detailed documentation.

For more, check my list of the best WordPress plugins for your blog.


Step
4

Customize your Blog Design

Choosing your Blog Theme

One of the best things about WordPress is that with a simple few clicks, you can alter your entire design. So let's make your blog look exactly as you want it.

What is a Theme?

A theme can control the entire layout and design of your website. The theme takes the content of your website and displays it to visitors in the browser, i.e., what users see when they browse your website. When you choose a theme, you determine how your content will look and displayed.

To choose a theme, go to Appearance > Themes on the left menu.

Wordpress Themes

Several themes are already installed on your blog, like Twenty Seventeen, Twenty Nineteen, Twenty Twenty, and more. I suggest that you start with one of these themes, except if you've already chosen one.

WordPress always has this wonderful feature that helps you with only a few clicks to change your theme. You can just turn to another theme without losing any valuable content or images.

Here, I chose the "Twenty Twenty " theme for our example.

Choose Wordpress Twenty Twenty Theme

To activate this theme on your blog, hover it over and click the "Activate" button. Good! Now with just one click, you have changed the entire design of your blog!

If you want to install a new theme, on the "Appearance" tab on the left menu, click on the "Add New Theme" link.

Wordpress Add New Theme

You find hundreds of themes to choose from this theme search screen. To find the most used theme, I suggest you click on the "Popular" tab and start browsing to chose one from. Then click the  "Install" button.

Wordpress Most Popular Themes

After the theme has been installed, click on the "Activate" button to activate it on your blog. Next, go to your blog and take a look to see your current theme in practice!

What if I decide on a different WordPress theme?

If you decide to start your blog with another WordPress theme, make sure that your chosen theme has these criteria:

  • Ease of use: There are plenty of excellent themes that are over the top and fail on usability.
  • Design: Not only look & feel, but site structure and design of content containers, which cover all the needs that you are going to have on your site. Both on the home and on the inside pages.
  • Support: Check what kind of support that theme offers, as well as what version updates it has made lately, and if the developer has more themes on the market.
  • WordPress compatibility: Is it compatible with the latest versions? Has it been more than a year without updating? Are the screenshots on the latest WordPress version? Be wary of all this. Check that it uses the latest updates introduced in the core.
  • Browser compatibility: Although Chrome is the most popular and used browser, many users still use Firefox or Explorer, or Edge. An interesting test is to pass the HTML validator to the example site: validator.w3.org
  • Thinking about mobile: Is it responsive? Do you have a specific mobile / tablet/web version? Are you ready for any kind of resolution? Normally all themes have a demo version or an example site, do tests with different devices or Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page to see their correct display.
  • Loading speed: Try to perform speed tests of the chosen theme with tools such as PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom or GTMetrix, but remember that hosting is an important factor in this test, so analyze well the data that interests you.
  • Child theme: For a better adaptation and, although it is not difficult to assemble, better if it comes prepared for you to develop the necessary adaptations on the child theme, and not lose future updates of the main theme.
  • Hidden backpack: Investigate and analyze if the theme comes with dependencies or plugins that you do not know and that may bring you some headache in the future. Hidden paid versions, incompatibility with other plugins or completely outdated, etc.

Whether your choice a paid or free theme, use only trusted sites to download it. Check my list of the best 6 websites to Get Free WordPress Themes.

How to Customize your Blog Theme

Now that you have installed the theme you like. You can further personalize some other basics things like colors, background, logo, and more.

For this, go to the Appearance tab on the left-hand menu. Then click on Customize.

WordPress Customize Tab

This will redirect you to a screen that shows you the customization menu on the left, and your website homepage on the right.

WordPress Customize Screen

Note: Customization options in the menu vary slightly depending on the theme you are using for your website.

This menu offers a varied range of customizations. So let's take a look at the most important of them.

To starting, click on Site Identity on the left-hand menu.

WordPress Site Identity

Add a Custom Logo to your WordPress Site

Now it's time for you to stand out from the crowd and add a Custom Logo to Your website.

So let's start by uploading a logo for your website. Go to the Logo section and click on the "Select Logo" button.

WordPress Select Logo

The "Select Logo" window will appear. On the "Upload Files" tab, click on the "Select Files" button to locate the image on your device. Then choose your image and upload it.

Please note that some themes have suggestions for logo dimensions (i.e., 120 by 90 pixels) and sizes (i.e., Maximum upload file size: 40 MB). You also can crop the image or leave its original dimensions.

WordPress Select Logo Window

As you download your logo, you can see to preview on your website homepage on the right. Most themes place the logo in the top left-hand corner, while others tend to put it below the menu. This might not be a problem, but typical websites place the logo above the menu in the upper left-hand corner.

Change Background Color and Text Color

In the Colors section, you can change the header and footer background color as well as the text color Primary Color.

Change Text and Background Colors

Set a Background Image to your Website

In this section, you can set an image to your website background instead of a solid color. Go to Appearance »  Customize » Background Image, then click on Select Image and upload your image.

Set a Background Image

Please note that the size of the header image varies depending on the theme used.

How to Add Menus to your Website

Navigation menus give structure to your website and help users to find what they're looking for.

WordPress makes it easy to add many navigation menus. And to choose which of them you want to use in different places or even different devices. The menu needs to have already been created, which I will show you how to do it in the following steps.

Please note that most themes have many options to create different menus that can be showing in different places.

So let's start the next step by creating your first basic navigation menu. That can help users to find relevant pages of your website quickly.

To create your navigation menu, click on the Appearance tab on the left-hand menu in your WordPress admin dashboard. Then click on Menus.

Menu Button

Now, you need to give a name to your new menu. Go to the Menu Name box and enter the name you choose, e.g. "Top Menu". Then click the Create Menu button.

Menu Name Box

Now, you can start adding the pages you want to the menu. You can either add specific pages or automatically add new top-level pages.

To select specific pages, click on the View All tab to see all your website's pages. Check the box next to each page you want to add to your menu. Then click on the Add to Menu button.

Add Pages to Menu

Once the pages have been added to the menu, you can arrange them as you like by dragging and dropping them.

Arrange Menu

Now, you need to select the location where you want to display your menu. Then click on the Save Menu button.

Please note that most themes have several locations to display menus. In our example, we're using the default Twenty Twenty theme, which has five different locations.

Menu Display Location

To add Custom Links to your navigation menus, WordPress has made it super easy. Click on the Custom Links tab on the menu screen.

Custom Links Section

Enter the URL along with the Link Text, which is the text you want to appear on the menu. Then click on Add to Menu.

And that's it! You have created your first menu on WordPress.

How to Make your Blog's Logo?

Create your Logo with Bluehost LogoMaker

Once you complete the hosting purchase process, and your account has been set up, you will be able to opt in to use LogoMaker during the initial Onboarding flow.

  • Enter general details about your blog, such as what it will be used for and whom you are building it for.
  • Next, choose what elements you'd like to include in your blog, and make sure that you select the Custom logo, then click Continue.Select Custom Logo
  • Add the remaining details, and select your theme now, or just click on Skip this step for now.
  • Once WordPress is installed, you will see a 'website management' page with the next steps. Hover over Make your logo, then click Let's Go.
  • Once you have opted in, you will be able to access the LogoMaker.
  • Now, enter your blog name.
  • Next, add your blog tagline or slogan (if you have).Brand name and slogan
  • Logos will be generated based on keywords in your blog name and slogan. Click More to load more designs.
  • Click on whichever Logo you like best to customize it.
  • Once your logo has been selected, you can customize color, shape, font, and Symbols to make your logo look as you want!Customize your logo
  • Click the Download button, then the Save files button to download a .zip folder with your logo options.
  • Upload the PNG File to your blog, and designate it as the logo.

Use Tailor Brands to Build your Logo

Tailor Brands is an easy-to-use brand building and automated logo design service. Using Artificial Intelligence with an extensive template library, Tailor Brands' logo maker can create for you unique and stylish logo designs in a matter of minutes. So, you don't need to invest loads of time and money, and you don't need any technical skills to get a stylish logo.

Tailor Brands Logo Maker Website

Here comes the best part, Tailor Brands is free to use. You can design your logo and see what it looks like and download a low-resolution version of your logo without any charge. However, if you're 100% happy with the design, you can buy a high-res Vector file.

Tailor Brands Logo Design

According to the company, Tailor Brands create a new logo in every second and has 14 million users around the world. And with over 500 million designs created on this platform, Tailor Brands will surely be your personal brand tool.

Build your Logo on Tailor Brands

Hire a Logo Designer on Fiverr

Fiverr Freelance Website

Fiverr is the leading online marketplace for freelance services. In other words, Fiverr is a global online marketplace offering tasks and services that are called Gigs. Starting at the cost of $5 per job provided, from which it gets its name.

Fiverr Logo Design

The site is primarily used by freelancers to offer services to customers over the world. You can browse around the site and find the designer you like by looking at their past work and what they offer and the prices they charge. You buy the service, he does your stuff, and everyone is winning. Just like with almost any other service, you need to choose your designer wisely.

Find a Designer on Fiverr

Check my step-by-step guide for more detailed tips on how to customize your blog.


Step
5

Create Content for your Blog

Now, it's finally time to start creating content for your blog.
But before you start writing your first post, you need to create some main blog pages.

In WordPress, you have the possibility to publish Posts or Pages. Posts are as individual articles. Pages are used for general information about the blog, such as your About page, and Contact pages.

Create your Must-Have Blog Pages

here's the list of the must-have pages you need to create in your blog:

  • About: This page explains who you are as well as how you can help.
  • Contact: A contact page provides visitors Information about how they can contact you. And reassure them that you are a real author who can be contacted.
  • Privacy policy: If you collect data from your visitors in any way. You need to add this page to your blog. To Reassure your visitors that you will keep their information private.
  • Disclosure policy: Inform visitors that you make money, or hope to make money from your blog. Describe the ways you intend to generate income. It's an absolute must-have page that should not be neglected. Before you try to make money from your blog, be sure that your Disclosure Policy page is published.

How to Create a New Page in WordPress

To create a new page for your blog, go to your WordPress dashboard. Click on Pages in the left menu, then Add New.

Add New page in Wordpress

Now on the page editor screen, enter the Title of your page in the top box.

Then start writing the content of your page in the text editor.

write content on WordPress

When you finish Click Publish.

Write and publish your first blog post.

Finally, you’re ready now to write your first blog post and share it with the whole world!

Creating a blog post in WordPress is the same as creating a page, you’ll need to go to your WordPress Dashboard.

Click on Posts in the left menu. Then click the Add New button.

Wordpress Add New Post

Now on the post editor screen, enter the title of your post, then start writing your post.

Add New Post in Wordpress

Click the Publish button when you have finished your post to publish it.

How to Add an Image to your Post

Click on the "+" icon, go to Common Blocks, then click the Image icon.

Wordpress Add Image

Click the Upload button to load a photo from your device.

Wordpress Upload an Image

In the right column, go to Block to adjust the image size and add alt text to your picture.

Wordpress Adjust Image Size

Where can I download images?

Images have a very important role to add some visual elegance to your blog posts. Fortunately, there are numerous photobanks that offer incredible high-quality images totally free to use for your blog (without any copyright restrictions).

Where can I find photos to use legally?

Here are 3 of my favorite websites:

Unsplash

The first site I suggest is unsplash.com is a great website for those looking for high-quality, copyright-free photographs, you can use them for your blog or any of your projects and you will undoubtedly get a professional and captivating effect.

To be 100% sure that these are free images, just go and read the license under which the images collected on Unsplash at this link https://unsplash.com/license.

All these free images can also be used for commercial purposes, modified and sold without asking permission from the authors or copyright holders.

Pixabay

Pixabay.com is one of my favorite resources, you can find images, videos, vectors, all high-quality and free content!

You can copy, modify, distribute and use the images, even for commercial purposes, without asking for any permission and without attribution. It's their content privacy disclaimer.

The great advantage of downloading from Pixabay is that you can choose the download size, I always recommend staying on medium size so as not to burden the loading speed of your site.

Pexels

Pexels.com is a great site to find free high-resolution images. A simple to navigate and very intuitive site.

There is an excellent choice in the field of animals, funny photos, landscapes, and nature… in short, if you look well you will certainly find the free images that fit your blog niche.

Check the license to make sure they are suitable for commercial, personal, and non-citing author use.

Remove the Coming Soon Page and Publish your Blog

Once you're ready to make your blog public. Remove the Coming Soon page by Clicking the blue Launch your site button at the top of your Dashboard.

Bluehost Coming Soon Page

Congrats! Now you have your own blog online, and you know how to publish content!

How to Create Great and Unique Blog Post

When internet users visit your blog, they are generally interested in doing research. Or gaining information about a product or service. So the content of high-quality can put your audience at ease and supplying them with all the answers they need.

Create Good Post content

There is always a possibility to create good original content. You can do so by having a sense of the keywords that are generally used in your niche. This will define what users are searching for and need. Or, you can simply have a common questions section. And allowing your users to ask questions directly.

To create good content, there are several aspects to think about:

  • This includes content that increases the ranking of your SEO. Boosts traffic and generates leads.
  • The best way to tell your story is through visual content such as images and videos. Using images, or graphics can be great to clarify the point you are trying to explain. And helps people to remember the information. 
  • Nothing catches the audience's attention like a good, strong headline. Take the time to choose your words to create one that can draw in your target audience and bring you more readers.
  • Take inspiration from your personal experiences. I'm sure you've got a lot of experiences that apply to your blog subject. Your own experiences would be more special than other things you might write about. A lot of people write about what they hear from others, rather than writing about their own experiences. That's the reason - make money blogging niche - includes so much repetitive content.
  • Nothing is preventing a user from revisiting a website as a useless and not valued resource. If you offer free useful resources to your users, they will continue to go back to your site.
  • Don't eliminate such an idea from a blog post if it doesn't come together right away. Check at some other ideas you've written down. See how you can incorporate ideas to make an article more complete. Indeed, some of your best ideas would require some extra work to formulate into a good post.

Read more in this Step by Step Guide on How to create quality content for your blog

Need more help to start a blog with WordPress? Check out these tutorials


Step
6

Promote your Blog and Get Readers

Now, we'll see how you can promote your blog posts in several ways. It should not be a checklist that blindly follows. Contrariwise, it is a list of ideas that you can try to see what fits better for your blog.

Promote your Blog and Get Readers

High-Quality Content

By adding high-quality articles and great content to your blog regularly. This will increase engagement from your current readers and potential visitors. Generate more incoming links to your website. Improve your brand, and help you to build your authority on a particular topic. As well as provide visitors with valuable resources and publish more indexed pages for search engines.

Web Analytics

Use web analytic tools to analyze results, such as Google Analytics. Track visitors and see where they come from and what keywords they are looking for. And refine content to attract more visitors.

You may also use social media analytics tools to evaluate how your blog posts perform. Google Analytics isn't good at social media monitoring. There are other tools that help you see which platform is best for promoting your content.

Social media

Social media are the perfect way to get more visibility and more traffic and shares. But you need to concentrate on the most relevant social networks for your blog. Engage with people, participate in social groups to grow the reach of your social media, and build a presence. Many small businesses use social media to help boost traffic for their websites.

Blog commenting

When you start commenting on blogs in your community and engage with them, You'll get the attention of other commenters and the blog owner. If you leave engaging and constructive comments, other readers will go and check out your blog. Many blog owners will allow you to leave a link to your blog. You might even get an invitation from them to write a guest post. Creating relationships with prominent bloggers will help you promote your content better in the future.

Create your Email List

Emailing marketing is one of the best ways to start driving traffic to your blog post. Other than getting new readers to your blog. You can make sure your current readers are coming back by notifying them when you post something new on your blog. This not only gives you more readers over time But allows you to build a closer relationship with your visitors.

You need to give your visitors what they want. Quality tips, and insight to gain their trust and increase your organic traffic.

For more details check out The 24 Free Best Formulas on How to Promote your Blog


How to Make money from your blog

Now that you have put your heart and mind to create excellent content and promote your blog. Making money blogging is not that hard that you would imagine. It's all about execution, patience, and passion. But don't think that you'll start earning money in your first month. Maybe it could take you a year to start making a steady stream income.

Here are some proven ways that can help you to bring yourself a steady online income. Even if you're not pretty good with numbers, follow these tips will get you closer to getting success.

Advertising

Advertising remains one of the easiest and most common sources of revenue forms for a blog. It can make sense to place a few ads on your website as a supplementary revenue source. But this may hurt the user experience.

If you plan on displaying ads on your website, Google Adsense is one of the easiest ways to do so. But you need a lot of traffic to earn good money with ads. And for the large ad networks, you need thousands of visitors per month to take you seriously.

Sponsored content

Sponsored content is a type of advertising posted by bloggers or social media influencers. This may take the form of a guest post, a sponsored review, a sidebar link, a newsletter advertisement, and so on.

Brands co-create this content to generate conversations around their product or trying to advertise their product on blogs. Fortunately, you don't need a broad audience to get a company to sponsor your content.

Finding blog sponsorships is pretty simple once you have your blog. Just to make your life easier! Here are 4 Sponsored Post Networks to join : Cooperatize, Izea, Tapinfluence and AspireIQ.

Affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is the most common way to earn money blogging. Affiliate links are links you put in your text or images that direct your readers to a specific website. And if your readers purchase on this website, you earn a commission to refer them.

This approach is similar to the sponsored content. You will write an article that will benefit a company with which you are partnering. But there's a small difference! You get rewarded by the number of clicks or transactions made through your affiliate links rather than the negotiated price.

It's easy to sign up for affiliate programs. Many companies that sell products or services have an affiliate link in their website header or footer. Click on the link to find out how to sign up for that program. Many websites have their affiliate system, while others operate over a network of affiliates.

Sell Digital products

Create digital products like eBooks, online courses, games, and templates are a perfect low-cost way to create authority and earn money.

I'm working myself on a few of these. And sincerely it's one of the most rewarding high-profit ways to make money with your blog. The trick is simply to bring value, and just give your audience what they need.

Sell Physical products

Most people use their blogs to promote and talk about the products they make. Some have created their product for a long time and starting to blog as a way to promote their product. Other bloggers, after seeing a need or coming up with an idea they thought their audience appreciate. They produce their own product and sell it to them.

Along with your website, you have many ways to sell your physical product. Some bloggers link their website to an Etsy store and sell their products. Others make use of Shopify to create their blog and web store.

Sell Services

Another amazing way of making money blogging is by selling freelance services. To highlight your skills, you can coach or consult on a topic if you've got great with it. Maybe you've got a talent for copywriting, design, or blog writing. Whatever you are good at, the best place to offer and sell those freelance services online is a website.

All of this comes down to what you know, But when you like doing it, it works best. If there is a service that you would like to offer, you can learn how to do it and get experience to provide it in the future.

Learn more about how to make money with your blog in 2021.


How to Start a Blog FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) People Also Ask

We've talked about a lot of things, and I think that with all of that. You should already have a pretty complete idea about making money with a blog and the strategies to follow if you want to be a successful blogger.

But I want also to briefly answer some specific questions that I haven't answered so far in this article.

Don't have a blog yet? Go to the first step to start creating your own!

Why start a blog?

There are many reasons to start a blog, but here are the popular ones:

  • Make a living from home. I'm a full-time blogger, and I make a monthly stream income. Many others do the same. It's a great opportunity since there are low risk and low overhead.
  • Help your business. A blog helps businesses and companies reach a lot of people at a low cost.
  • Just to write. If you enjoy writing, sharing your story or experiences, a blog is a good place to do it.

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Can I make money blogging?

Yes, as long as you're focused and persistent to build and reach a mass audience. But if writing is not your real obsession, then you're wasting your time. Consider the fact that the more organized you are, the more productive you will be.

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Do people really make money blogging?

Of course, there is no doubt. I make money blogging, and countless others do it as well.

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Is making money blogging realistic?

Yes, as long as you persist in the work.

Like any other business, you have to work hard. Making money blogging isn't as easy as it seems.

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How long does it take to make money blogging?

At this point there are no fixed rules, each case is different. But basically, the right answer will be: when you have the right audience and the right business model.

From there, it will depend on your niche, skills, time invested in the project, and other factors.

To tell you about my case, when I started years ago. I generated my first income after 6 months, with the first AdSense advertising payment of exactly $ 0.65.

It wasn't a big success. But let's see the psychological effect that gave me the first time I generated income with a blog on the internet.

And after that, I really took off and passed $ 1000 for the first time the following year.

At this point, I had already made the switch to affiliate marketing, leaving AdSense behind. The AdSense earnings (a few tens of dollars per month) were ridiculous in comparison.

Since then, I have continued to do essentially the same while also diversifying the affiliate programs I work with. In 2018 I broke the barrier of over $ 50,000 a year in profit.

In brief, as you can see, the start has been slow. But the project has started to grow and continues at a good pace at this time (2020).

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How much do bloggers make?

It varies widely from a blogger to the other. A few make a lot of dollars a month,  Others make a living full-time like me, and some make nothing at all. It depends on many factors like your work strategy, your blog niche, your experience, and more.

Just because you know a blogger who is making a lot of money on a niche you write about doesn't mean you will be able to replicate their results. There are many circumstances associated and possible combinations of income streams. So it's really hard to find solid figures on blogging income.

However, if you're still interested in how much bloggers earn. A quick search on Google will lead you to several bloggers who share their income and reports.

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How Do Bloggers Make Money?

Most bloggers make money through these 5 main ways. And there are several possibilities for each of these 5 main sources of income:

  • Advertising (Displaying ads on your blog)
  • Affiliate marketing (Selling companies' products or services with commission)
  • Selling your own products (Physical or digital products)
  • Sponsored content (Promoting a brand or service in a blog post)
  • Services (Sell your services like freelancing, consulting, or any skill)

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How Much Money Can You Make Blogging?

As I mentioned before, I've started to make my first income in the sixth month. But in less than a year, I made myself a $1,000 cash flow a month.

But now!! Well over $10,000 per month.

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Can you make money just blogging without selling something?

Naturally, you can make money just by blogging. Without setting up a sales process, or product launches, or anything like that. Just by creating content every day.

Of all the possible ways, the one I recommend the most is affiliate marketing. Since it fits easily into content that adds value and it can be very profitable.

It's realy easy! Just insert products with their corresponding affiliate links, which are logical and natural in that content. Focus on the products that your reader really needs, and that comes highly recommended.

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Can You Make Money With a Personal Blog?

The formulas discussed in this article also allow you to make money with a personal blog.

In fact, whether it is a personal blog and does not "smell" so much like a professional or corporate blog. This can even be an advantage to build a relationship with your readers. In a way, this puts you in a more authentic environment and a more intimate position for them.

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Can I Start a Free Blog and Still Make Money?

Yes, you can blog for free and earn money. However, my recommendation is that if you really have a serious goal of monetizing your blog, use WordPress with your own hosting.

For $5-6 per month, what good hosting costs today, you will access the most powerful blogging platform out there. The one that by far, offers the most useful tools and plugins to monetize your blog.

Plus, many free platforms impose serious limitations. Blogger, for example, allows you to use AdSense online advertising. But no plugins to handle those ads, affiliate links, and everything in between.

WordPress.com, in its free version, does not directly allow you to use your advertising. However, it does insert its advertising into your content, the product of which goes to the parent company, Automattic.

In brief, it's worth spending those $6 per month to get it right.

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What is the best blogging platform to make money?

This answers the previous question!! I, therefore, confirm that the best platform to create a blog, if you want to make money is, without a doubt, WordPress (Bluehost and WordPress are the best duo).

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How many visits do I need to make money from a blog?

It depends, especially on your niche and your monetization model.

For example, Ads in online advertising perform very poorly. So you need a lot of traffic to make relevant revenue.

If the economic performance of advertisements varies a lot depending on the niche, I'll give a number, around $ 1 per 1000 visits. This can be a fairly typical figure, if not somewhat optimistic. Therefore, to earn just $ 100 a month, you need 100,000 visits.

With affiliate marketing, with the same traffic. Your blog can generate incomes of several thousand dollars a month.

On the other hand, on a very specialized niche, with little traffic, say 10,000 visits per month. There are people who, with a good strategy of their own digital products, have made several thousand dollars monthly incomes.

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Quick Summary of How to Start a Blog and Make Money in 6 Easy Steps

To summarise, to start a blog you need to learn how to :

  1. Choose the perfect niche for your blog
  2. Pick a name for your blog
  3. Create your blog and get it online (web hosting)
  4. Customize your blog design
  5. Write your first blog post and publish it
  6. Promote your blog and get visitors
  7. Make money from your blog

Final Thoughts

Start a blog is one of the easiest ways to earn money online. But creating one that will be successful requires hard work, energy, and grit.

When you start writing, remember that you are talking to humans, be you, be transparent and honest. And as you keep creating great content regularly, your audience will grow, listen, and respond.

Feel free to drop me a line or ask any questions in the comments below!