Start a Blog to Increase Your Income
Even though I have a 5 video series on how to start a blog, plus a free pdf resource but it occurred to me that some people learn better with written rather than visual instructions. So here is a walk-through to get your blog started with Bluehost.
Before we get started, let me tell you WHY it’s a good idea to start a blog.
Why Start a Blog?
A blog a great way to quickly validate an idea. Before you do anything like draft a 40-page business plan or print up fancy business cards, I would start a business by validating an idea quickly and cheaply- with a website. This will tell you if there is really any demand for what you are proposing to offer. It’s so inexpensive, that you’d do better to fork over the money and count it as a “soft launch.”
These days, you can start quickly and pivot just as quickly if needed. Once you are live to the world, your intended audience can actually tell you what they need from you. You’ll know how to structure your offering and keep iterating based on customer feedback. Without an existing online presence, that’s almost impossible to do. So, just go ahead and get going already!
The other great thing about a website/blog is that it’s what I call the “gateway” business. If you don’t have money to start a food truck or a real-estate investing empire, blogging is a way to 1) research and gain knowledge about a particular interest or industry 2) monetize your findings and knowledge to capitalize your “real-business.” You may want to own a horse ranch. Do you have the $500K to acquire the land and complete the build-out? Why not start writing about it? You’ll either fuel your dream in an unstoppable way or build enough income to launch your “real” dream or both!
Also note: this strategy really only works if you have a self-hosted blog and can capture emails for further marketing. (I use ConvertKit to capture emails). This is where the money happens. If you need to start a blog, you can do so for as little as $3.95 per month with BlueHost.com. Use this link to get that price on web-hosting or check your domain name availability below:
How to Start a Blog
Let’s talk about what it takes to start your website or blog. It’s not hard at all. I’m going to outline some steps that will get you started in just a few minutes. If you are someone who learns better by seeing and doing, I’ve got a five-video tutorial that you can use instead. Click here to access the video training. For the readers, follow the written instructions below:
I use BlueHost.com for my hosting services because of their consistent uptime and stellar customer service.
Additional benefits of BlueHost include:
- Affordability (we’ll go over the plan options)
- Free Domain- When you sign up using this link
- Simple WordPress Installation
- 24/7 Tech Support
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantee- Full refund if you change your mind
- Extended Money Back Guarantee- You receive a prorated refund if you cancel after 30 days
There are free options out there to start a blog or website, but avoid them. Why? Well, because you are using a platform run and managed by your free provider, there are many rules and limitations in place that will severely limit your income options. You can’t use certain code snippets (plug-ins) to make your website more user friendly, 3rd party analytics tools or insert ads (that you’d want to control) very easily. There are other limitations to free hosting places like Blogger or WordPress.com, but suffice to say that you should avoid these routes or you will have to move your content over at a later time (because you will bump up against the limited features early on.) I know people who’ve had to make the move to a self-hosted platform and it’s a pain. Simply put, invest the money upfront so you can be profitable from the very beginning.
1) Choose Your Plan
You can start with the basic plan . Remember, if you change your mind and decide that now is not the time to become an online entrepreneur rock star, you can get all of your money back in 30 days. If you decide 60 days in that this isn’t for you, you can still get your money back at a prorated rate.
2) Select Your Free Domain Name
Tip: Open www.whois.com in another tab to find available domains. I would also recommend some research on the U.S. Patent and Trademark website to make sure you do not choose a name that is trademarked. I almost did that one time and fortunately a few minutes of quick research set me straight. I’ve heard of stories where people get cease and desist letters because their website name is infringing on a trademarked phrase! Yikes! If this happens to you, make sure you discuss these matters with a trademark lawyer and maybe he can help with your case.
3) Enter Your Billing Information
4) Install WordPress
If you don’t know, WordPress is like the Windows OS for blogging. Since WordPress is so popular, there is an entire “ecosystem” of plug-ins (enhancements), developers and consultants who work to make this a great platform for bloggers and online entrepreneurs. It’s a content management system that organizes your content in a way that is palatable and easy-to-use for your visitors. BlueHost.com is awesome because the installation of WordPress is painless and simple.
To do this, log into your BlueHost.com account they go to hosting >cpanel >install WordPress.
Once you do this you should get this screen. Click “start.”
WordPress is installed! Yay! Now, you will choose a username and password for your WordPress set up (separate from your BlueHost credentials.) Going forward you will log into your WordPress dashboard to update your pages and add posts. (I hardly ever need to log into my BlueHost account.)
To access your WordPress dashboard, go to www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin (make you put your domain name there.) So if your domain name is www.cutelovabledogshirts.com, your WordPress dashboard login would be www.cutelovabledogshirts.com/wp-admin.
Your website won’t likely look the way you want it to, but it’s a start. If you want more information on customizing it with a nice template, here is the full WordPress tutorial I teach on Udemy.com.
Also, here are some paid templates that I’ve used and recommend:
- Genesis– this is a very common theme that is used as a starter. It is very functional and lays a good foundation for customization.
- Restored316– These work on the Genesis framework and have nice options that can be customized by a developer later on if you decide you need that.
There are many other theme options available for free as well. You simply log into your WordPress dashboard and go to Appearance > Themes >Add New. From there, you can search many of the free and paid themes offered by WordPress and its developers.
Lastly, I want you to remember that starting is a big deal. Even though your website might not look all fancy or be exactly what you had in mind, it’s place to start. I recommend try to make your first $500 or $1,000 quickly so you can either afford a nice, new template or be able to hire a designer to spruce it up for you. If you are providing valuable content, don’t worry too much about the design just yet. The most important task of starting is done. That’s what matters here.
How do I Grow My Online Business or Blog?
Now that your blog or website is up and you are aware of the ways you can make money, you probably want to start actually making money. For some people, this can start slowly and for others it can be fast. It depends on how much work you put into it in the beginning.
My blog has grown substantially from two approaches:
- Reinvesting in tools and services that will make the user experience better
- Taking classes from other bloggers and web entrepreneurs that have been successful at monetizing their online presence
- Being intentional about growing your audience and email list.
In order to not get to confused or bogged down with details, here are a few things that I would do immediately in order to increase your chances of generating income.
Start collecting emails IMMEDIATELY. Add a pop-up box through MailChimp (free email service up to 2,000 subscribers or ConvertKit)
- Write 10-15 blog posts for all the categories you have set up (if possible)
- Check out this Pinterest Strategy Guide to start generating traffic quickly
- Use BoardBooster to automatically schedule your PINs (which link back to your website and will get you more email sign ups)
- Send regular emails recommending affiliate products (Amazon.com has an easy affiliate program to get into. Check if your state is eligible.)
Once you do these things, I would suggest jumping on some continuing education. I mentioned these classes in my Start Blogging Now resource guide that you should have already received from me. But I will list them again in the order that you should take them:
For a complete list of resources that I use to run my blog, YouTube Channel and podcast, check out my resource page at:
Need access to the instruction videos and PDF resource guide for to launch your website or blog?