start-blog-2020-guide

Start A Blog

This post contains affiliate links, one of the many ways to monetize a blog! Checkout the discloures for more info.

Keep reading to learn more about turning your blog into your business.  

Yes, You Can Earn Money Blogging!

Before starting a blog, it’s a good idea to think of all the skills that you have. 

Keeping a list of your talents, no matter how small, will go a long way as you’re expanding or refining an income stream. 

And you don’t have to have experience with blogging—I barely had any experience when I started!

Successful blogs have an optimized income stream, sometimes several. 

Let’s look at some of the most common ways to monetize a blog.

Offering Physical or Digital Products

selling-products-online-blogging

Printables are a great example of a digital product. 

If you’ve ever used Pinterest, you know that popular pins can send traffic (or views) to your site. 

Bloggers can also sell physical products, such as jewelry or clothing. 

Running a Service-Based Blog

content-creation-services

Bloggers can offer a variety of services to support businesses. Many do so on a freelance or contract basis. 

Services could include content creation, community management, and even proofreading.

Affiliate Marketing

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Affiliate marketing is sometimes referred to as a “passive income stream.” 

Common affiliate programs may work best when you’ve got consistently high traffic. 

Sponsored Posts

sponsored-post-income-stream

You can get sponsored posts without a tremendous amount of traffic. 

It takes effective outreach. 

What’s outreach? It’s pitching to brand names! 

So how do you get the attention of your dream brand? 

Having your own site is a good start. 

Start Your Blog with a Trusted Web Host and Domain

Your website has three main components: a host, a domain, and a CMS. 

But first, do you know the difference between a website and a blog? 

A website can have a blog. But not every blog is considered a website. 

Blogs go on a site.

And you’re going to need a website for your blog. 

Web Hosting Gives Your Blog a Home

I happily use SiteGround as the host for Morenita Mommy. It’s a great, affordable web host.

For bloggers just getting started, SiteGround offers a discounted rate of $3.95/month for the first year! 

It’s normally at $11.95 month. 

Signing up would mean saving $96 on your first website!

If you already have a domain, you can transfer it to SiteGround.

Otherwise, you can get a cheap one through SiteGround too. 

siteground-web-hosting-sign-up

A Web Domain is Your Site’s Home Address

The domain is the name of your website.

Gmail.com is a free domain that millions use for emailing. 

WordPress.com is a free domain that bloggers use.  

Your website’s domain will be crucial to your brand, so think about it for a good minute and make sure it’s available

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If you were to use a free domain, you’re basically letting your content live under someone else’s roof. 

Here’s what my site would look like if I chose a free domain through WordPress. 

Morenitamommy.wordpress.com

Here’s how it looks because I own my domain. 

Morenitamommy.com

You won’t land $100+/blog post gigs pitching to companies with free domains.

Your email and site, coming from your own domain, looks professional. 

So if you think getting your own domain is a lot, think about how much you’ll be losing without it! 

WordPress: the Best Platform for Bloggers

Once you have your hosting and domain set up on SiteGround, you can get WordPress up and running. 

I recommend you install WordPress manually. Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy. 

In fact, WordPress developers love boasting about the famous 5-minutes setup! 

But before we go into that, I personally want to tell you have invaluable the WordPress community has been in my growth as a blogger. 

What makes WordPress special is its community. 

WordPress is an open source community. I attended WordCamp in Minneapolis last year and I’m super excited that everything has gone virtual for this year. 

I’ve attended many WordPress meetups to connect with others bloggers, developers, and designers.

With WordPress, you’re starting more than just a blog!

So let’s get started on the journey that’s going to help your writing take off.

5 Minute Blog Setup with WordPress

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1. Click on cPanel. It’ll take you to your domain’s control panel.

Here you can create emails under your domains and a lot more, but our focus now is still installing WordPress on your domain. 

If you scroll down, you’ll see autoinstallers.

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2. From the autoinstallers menu, select WordPress. This will take you to the installation page. 

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This will be the login for your admin account. Make sure to change it and store the credentials in a safe place!

3. After the installation finishes, you should be able to access your admin URL.

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5. From here, you’ll log into your blog!

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Use your admin username and password from earlier to log in to your website and start blogging!

Getting Started with Your WordPress Blog...the Smart Way

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Remember that list of all your awesome skills?

If you haven’t made it already, take the time out to make your list now.

Even if it’s just 60 seconds. 

But why is this list so important?

Because this list is going to determine your blogging strategy. 

Don’t overthink it!

If you enjoy writing, make note of that.

Do you like planning things? Creating designs?

What’s something that people come to you for advice on? 

Determine Your Blogging Niche

targe-audience-blog-niche

Imagine that you’re talking to a specific kind of person when you’re writing. 

When I first started, my target audience was moms raising their children bilingual. 

But I had nothing to offer them other than my own personal experiences. 

And let’s be honest, moms aren’t going to invest in that. 

Well, not the kind of moms that I was targeting. 

But a mom who’s the marketing director of a website about parenthood? 

So imagine your niche as an industry and think about the people who would be willing to pay for your content.

It’s the most important step for running a successful blog. 

Got your niche figured out? Alright, let’s get to that blank canvas!

WordPress Has Hundreds of FREE Themes for Bloggers

This can be a blessing and a curse. 

I can tell you from experience that all the time I wasted on theme shopping could have gone towards writing! 

I’m currently using the Ashe theme. 

ashe-theme

This covers all the basics for beginners. Spend a little time adjusting the settings so everything is displayed the way you want it to be. 

And this part takes trial and error. I changed themes plenty of times before finally settling on one that I really liked. 

If you want, start with Ashe! It’s very easy to use. 

Essential Plug-ins

Just like there’s many themes, there are tons of plug-ins too! 

Here’s a rule of thumb: watch out for the latest update. 

I’ll list out the must-have plug-ins for any blogger. 

Smush compresses your images. This will help your site load faster because it won’t be struggling with big ol’ images.

Need some images to get your blog started? Checkout Unsplash and Pexels.

Want to make your own graphics? I use Canva (they’re offering a Pro trial for FREE for 3o days!). 

Aaand if you’re really into details, check out creating your own color palette and font pairings

It’s not super important now but will help later for developing consistency for your brand.  

All-In-One-SEO isn’t too pushy with optimizing your site for getting discovered on search engines.

Contact Form is important for service-based sites. To avoid getting spammed like I did in the beginning, get really simple captcha

Elementor is my go-to for page building. It lets you control every aspect of the page!

Instagram Feed connects your Instagram to your blog.

Overhaul Your Marketing Strategy!

Blogging is an inbound marketing strategy. 

Posting on social media is too. 

To increase traffic, you’ll have to add outbound marketing methods like outreach to your strategy. 

And revamp your inbound marketing strategy, like content creation.

Outbound marketing examples:

Guest Blogging 

Cold-Emailing

(Smart) Networking

Inbound Marketing Examples:

Creating an organic growth strategy for your Instagram

Optimizing your blog’s SEO to build your site’s authority

Promoting freebies like E-books, Printables, etc.

 

Networking with Bloggers

Are you a part of any Facebook groups for bloggers? 

Or if you’re looking for marketing coordinators and CEOs, hang out on LinkedIn.

I connected with and pitched to one of my first clients that LinkedIn.

And landed a $450 writing gig with her too!

So don’t underestimate the power of networking. Get yourself out there and let professionals know that you’ve got something to offer! 

Connect with Local Businesses

Lastly, I want to talk about the importance of going local. 

MeetUp groups are all virtual now, so try connecting with some local businesses.

And yes, you are an entrepreneur. Your blog is your business. Once you start to see it that way, you’ll get better at marketing yourself!