Looking for a simple, easy guide on how to start a blog in 2018?
You’ve come to the right place!
Every creative person can make money sitting at home. How?
By having a blog.
No matter how talented or skilled you are as an artist/designer/illustrator, it will be difficult for you to establish yourself in your field if you don’t have a blog. Having a blog makes you an expert. People will read your blog and want to know more. They will want to know your story. What makes you tick. How you create art. How you do anything!
And having your own website helps you reel in clients. Whether you are a writer/artist/blogger, your blog becomes your very own resumé/portfolio. How you communicate shows how much authority you have in your field.
And this is the secret sauce to bagging clients!
Not only does having a blog look professional, but you make it very easy for your potential clients to find you and contact you.
After launching my website and continuing to blog, I slowly watched my email inbox explode with Illustration requests.
The process is simple. People read your blog. They fall in love with your writing. So, they hop on over to your About Page to find out who you are. If they like what they see, they explore your services (to know what you’re offering) and finally contact you to hire you!
I’ve had a blog before this and I was earning enough money to pay my rent and support my husband and dog.
It was goooooood money.
No doubt, when you initially start your blog, you have to put a lot of effort to get it off the ground by writing consistently and writing damn good content.
And if you blog consistently and efficiently (by having strong goals in mind), you will be minting money within 6 months, I promise.
I get a lot of emails every week asking me tips related to Blogging and it brings back so many memories of when I first started. I started my first blog in 2015 as a hobby. It was called Mary Angela Designs. However, it doesn’t exist anymore. And for a whole year, I made peanuts. Well, not peanuts. Because peanuts… you can sell. I made zero anything.
And on October 11th, 2016, I’d had enough. I made a plan to monetize my blog. And I did.
It didn’t take me longer than 2 weeks to earn my first $300 when a woman hired me to create some doodles for her. I started offering my services on my website and also signed up to be an Amazon Affiliate.
In November, I had earned my first $1000 through my illustrating services and products.
I took a long break in December to modify my website in order to cater to the right crowd.
And guess what happened?
My page-views and subscribers doubled. I got 2000 subscribers in less than 30 days which resulted in a boost in my amazon affiliate sales.
In other words, I was able to make an income doing something I loved – creating.
So, there you have it – the benefits of blogging.
Enough about me!
Let’s learn how to make a money-making blog in 2018.
This post includes affiliate links to products I truly (from the bottom of my heart) recommend, meaning at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small percentage which I will use to buy a super supreme meat pizza that I will binge on with my husband while watching Netflix.
Starting a blog is super easy. But continuing to blog consistently for as long period of time is unbelievably hard.
This is one of the reasons why a lot of bloggers fail.
They enthusiastically start a blog and churn out blog posts faster than you can say “cheese cracker”, and within a few months there’s not a peep from them.
You stop receiving their emails. Their last updated blog post is 3 months ago. And you never hear from them again.
Because they were blogging just to earn a quick buck.
They didn’t write about what they were interested in.
There was no zing.
The zing is important, hon. Because the zing is what fuels your writing. And if you don’t have a zing, you don’t have a blog.
1. Your blogging niche should be something you’re passionate about. To discover your niche, ask yourself, if this is something you’re passionate about. Think back on all the blog posts you like to read. I tend to read a lot about art, creativity and blogging because that is what I’m interested in. And although I can’t call myself an expert, I know quite a bit in that area. Hence, my blog is about art, creativity and blogging. You see?
2. There has to be a high demand in your blogging niche. Once you pick a blogging niche, come up with 3-5 ideas of your first few blog posts. Search these ideas in google. If you’re getting a couple of 100 thousand searches, then you’re good. It means you have a strong base of readers who are going to love your blog.
There ya go! You are now ready to start your blog.
First, you will need a Domain and Hosting.
If you’re unaware of the terms domain and hosting, a domain name is your website URL. For egs: (www.facebook.com or www.yahoo.com or www.straycurls.com) and a hosting is where your website is going to live – imagine it as a house where your little blog is going to stay.
Now, first we are going to name your Blog baby and then buy it a house to stay in.
In the first step, we are only going to choose a domain name, not buy it.
Skip this step if you’ve already decided what your website is going to be called and you’re absolutely sure the domain is available.
Go to GoDaddy and type in your URL just to see if it’s available. If it’s not, pick something else.
Don’t think too hard when you’re coming up with a domain name. My domain name is Stray Curls because I mostly create curly hair comics. It doesn’t really need to be a hundred percent related to your field.
If you’re finding it difficult to think of something creative, stick your name. A lot of great bloggers I know keep their name as their domain name. And it’s unique!
People are going to love your blog no matter what your domain name is, because they’re coming to read your content, not gawk at your blog’s URL.
Never make a free website. *stomps the ground with her giant clown feet*
The main problem with free hosting is, your website is going to look like this – wwww.cupcakemania.wordpress.com or www.cupcakemania.weebly.com – ugh.
When you attract readers, they’re going to take one look at that URL and go, “Eh, this lady can’t even spend money on a decent website, she’s obviously not a professional. I’m outta here!”
I know this, because when I was a teenager, I had a tiny blog that looked just like that. And I couldn’t figure out why my blog’s traffic was so low!
If you’re serious about making money with your blog, then please take the first step to making a professional blog.
*whips out her pokéball*
I absolutely love Bluehost because it’s quick, efficient, cost-effective and reliable.
Not only do they have 24/7 customer support, but they also give you a money-back guarantee if you’re not happy. Now, that’s confidence!
Apart from this, you can install WordPress in just one click!
And the best benefit of all: You get a free domain! Which is why I didn’t tell you to buy a domain earlier.
Why buy a domain when Bluehost is allowing you to pick one for free?
Go ahead, and click the Get Started Now button. I’ll wait over here.
If you’re just starting out, you can choose the basic plan and slowly move your way upward as and when you feel your website needs more space or grows a little bigger.
Now you’re going to have to pick a domain name if you already haven’t done it before.
The good news is, if you’ve already purchased a domain, you can click the second option. If not, then think of a good and suitable domain name (if you haven’t already) and select the first.
If however you can’t think of a domain name, that’s not an issue at all! You’ll get this pop up.
So, you can buy the hosting, and give a name to your blog baby later.
Did you know that I had no name for 8 days after I was born? Yep. My parents couldn’t decide on what to name their first born child. To think that they had 9 months to come up with one…
After this, you will be asked to enter your payment and address details.
Below, you will have to choose your package details.
The best option according to me is either 36 months or 60 months because although this is a lot of money to pay upfront, it’s a huge saving in the future. You only end up paying 5.95 per month which means, you end up saving almost 2 dollars every month or $24 in one year!
Below, you will have to enter your payment details.
After you’re done, click the little box to agree to all the terms and conditions (that no one reads anyway) and click on submit.
On the next page, you’re going to find some add-ons. You don’t really need these for your blog, so just click on “complete”
Congratulations! You’ve just purchased your domain and hosting. And you’ve finished the first step of building your own website.
You should get this page.
Now, set a good, strong password, until the bar shows green and you will get this screen.
Bluehost will have already installed WordPress for you. So, all that’s left is to pick a default theme. Just pick one. We will choose a better theme later.
Once you’re in, you will be able to see your Website’s Dashboard! This, sweetheart is where all the magic happens!
Once you’re in your Website’s Dashboard, you can pick a nice, customizable theme. A theme is like a dress. You can change it whenever you feel like, make modifications, accessorize, and look all glamorous to suit your style.
Might I suggest Madame, that you start with Elegant Themes as they are a woman’s first choice when building a beautiful and powerful website theme.
Divi is personally my favorite.
Elegant Themes is constantly updating and adding new themes to their library. They also have wonderful customer support. This is most important when you are buying a theme for your WordPress Website.
Because if you are unable to figure out something, you don’t want to be left in the dark. Their Support Team will help you with any doubts or difficulties you may have. And Elegant Themes is very simple and easy to use. Especially if you’re a newbie blogger with no prior website building experience.
Akismet – You’re going to be getting a lot of spam comments as a newbie blogger. I speak from experience, yo. Akismet makes sure that this doesn’t happen. It kicks all the spam comments in the booty.
Better Click To Tweet – This plugin allows you to add tweets within your Blog Post, meaning your reader can just click on the pre-written tweet and tweet it! Ain’t that awesome? More traffic to you and your blog baby. Woot woot!
Simple Author Box – This will add an author box with all your social media icons on all your posts so you don’t look like an anonymous blogger on your own blog.
Yoast SEO – In order for Google and other websites to find you better, SEO is a treasure in disguise. This plugin helped me get some of my blog posts on to the first page of Google. And this is by far my favorite plugin because it has gained me a lot of blog traffic!
Social Media & Share Icons (Ultimate Social Media) – This is the best social media icons pack I’ve found for the blog sidebar. It’s totally customizable and has tons of options! I was able to upload my own social media icons. 😀
Over time, you will find lots of plugins that will suit your needs.
1. Start with your Homepage: When people land on your website, they need to know in less than 5 seconds what your website is about. Make your Homepage unique and pretty. Your Blog is about you and the things you’re passionate about. You can always change the design of your Homepage so that it reflects the real you.
2. About Page: Sometimes when your readers are going through your blog post, they’re going to get curious and want to know who’s the person behind the masterpiece. So, they’re going to peek at your About page. This is by far, the most important page in your Blog. Learn how to write an extraordinary About Page for your website.
3. Contact/Reach Me Page: If your readers love you and connect with you, they’re going to want to write you little notes. Have your Contact Page visible so the find it easy to write to you.
When you first create your blog, you’re going to be very eager to write a lot of posts and fill your Blog Page with a huge quantity of posts.
Do. Not. Do. That.
Having quantity is undeniably important but quality trumps quantity any day.
This post is my 10th Blog Post. But notice how I’ve taken the time to make it detailed and long. It’s hard work, but it will pay off eventually. And the benefits you reap from a long and helpful blog post is 10 times more than a short blog post with no aim.
Your blog posts need to be detailed. Every blog post you write must have a purpose. It must solve a problem for your readers and in order to become an expert in your niche, you need to show that you care. This means that you need to write content that will have your readers sticking around for more.
1. Be detailed and solve one problem at a time – Everytime you write a blog post, try and tackle one problem. At the end of the blog post, your reader must feel like they learned something and their lives are just a little bit better because they should be able to take something and put it into action.
2. Write long posts – Although you might feel like you’re repeating things or mincing words, understand that your reader might not be an expert in your field. You need to be able to break things down for them so that they understand what you’re trying to convey. Be thorough in your approach.
3. Listen to your readers. – Your readers and fans are going to write comments or emails to you. They will ask you questions or your thoughts on a certain subject. Use this as a key to come up with more blog post ideas.
4. Add a little personal touch – I cannot stress on this enough. There are lot of helpful posts and tutorials that I’ve read but sometimes, I feel like it’s written by a robot. Your readers want to know the real you behind your Blog. A lot of people might cover the same topic you have. What makes your blog special is the way you tell it. The way you connect the dots. Everybody’s perspective is different. Write from your heart.
5. Have an enticing title – Using relevant keywords is going to help your Blog Post reach the top. For example, if you type “Things to write in a blank notebook” in Google, my post comes up as the third search! It’s had over 30,000 shares and is still responsible for a lot of traffic to my website.
Your Blog Post Image is worth a thousand words – My Blog Post images have a common theme going on, meaning if anyone sees my Blog Post graphic on any social media (irrespective of
who’s shared it), they’re going to know it’s from me. Make sure you have a template and stick to it.
A Content Upgrade is a beautiful resource you offer to your readers in exchange for their email.
This can be a small poster, checklist, workbook, ebook, a printable, etc. basically anything that you feel confident enough to make (and know will attract followers) in order to get their email addresses.
ConvertKit is one of my email collecting bad boy machine.
Collecting emails is important because once you have a huge list of emails, you can send your followers newsletters every week. These newsletters can include your products, services, helpful information and links to your latest blog posts. This not only establishes you as an expert, but also helps you build a strong connection with people who love your Blog.
These followers eventually become your customers because they love you and your products. And when your readers keep coming back to your blog for more resources and helpful information, your pageviews increase – giving you a chance to get more sponsored post deals, and increasing your ad and affiliate revenue.
So, more traffic equals more revenue.
When I was first starting out, I used Mailchimp because it’s free for your first 2000 subscribers. But Mailchimp didn’t let me grow and if you have one person subscribed for two different opt-ins, they enter two segments and are counted as 2 people! Meaning, if one person subscribes for 5 different opt-ins on your website they get subscribed to 5 lists, and 1 person counts as 5.
Sneaky lil’ Mailchimp.
So, after a whole year of using Mailchimp and only earning about 2000 followers, I switched to ConvertKit and made over 10 forms to collect email addresses which led me to earn over 2000 additional followers in less than 50 days.
If you’re serious about growing your blog and email list, I urge you choose ConvertKit as your email marketing platform. You’re never going to turn back.
Now that you know how to create great quality blog posts and content upgrades/opt-ins to lure in your readers and help them stick around, it’s time to learn the importance of promoting.
You cannot write your blog post and then sit quietly expecting people to find it. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way. I know this, because I did the exact thing during my first 2 months of blogging and got crickets.
When you start out, you’re not going to be getting very good traffic. The key is to be patient and keep promoting on all your social media. Pinterest is responsible for almost 25% of my blogging traffic and brings me tons of views.
If you would like to see more blogging tips on your Pinterest Feed, then be sure to follow me so we can be Pinterest buddies! I also have a Group Board about Blogging Tips that you can join and contribute to!
After Pinterest, the second best Social Media is Instagram. Instagram brings in around 10K pageviews each month.
After one month of blogging, you can start recording your stats in a notebook. Keep a notebook aside for coming up with blog post ideas and recording your social media stats.
Ultimately, your time should be divided like this – 25% blog post creation and 75% blog post marketing.
Aside from marketing on social media, keep aside time to join FB groups so that you can be part of a community where you can share your views and get help related to Blogging. It’s nice to also help others because when you offer help and advise to others who were in your shoes 1 year ago, you not only make friends but you also establish yourself as an authority on the subject.
Try and not spam FB groups with links to blog posts unless absolutely necessary or if someone has asked for a resource and you have one.
Hence, by constantly participating in group threads and helping others in your niche, you will be building your online brand identity.
Whenever you like a blog post, and find it valuable – don’t just leave.
Write a comment.
Ask a question.
Keep the conversation going wherever you go.
Not only does this help you build relationships with bloggers, but it also makes you visible on the Blogging Map.
Comment on at least 3-4 blog posts every single day. This will help you get noticed in the blogging community. Make sure your comments are detailed and well-thought of.
If you’ve started a blog, let it be out of passion for blogging. Monetizing your blog should not be your first priority, otherwise your blog is not going to be successful. Your key motive is to connect with people, put your words out into the world and make a name for yourself.
For the first couple of months (at least 4-5), don’t focus too much on making money.
Just focus on creating good quality blog posts and putting your name out there. Keep writing and promoting and adding valuable information on your pages and posts. You need to have blog to promote, meaning you need to have at least 20 blog posts on your blog before you actually start seeing a good amount of traffic.
After you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can start thinking about making money from your blog. Note, that in order to make money from your blog, you’re going to need a substantial amount of traffic. Aim for at least 2000 pageviews a month in the beginning. Slowly keep raising the bar as your blog grows.
Once your blog gets around 10,000 views, you can follow the below steps to make money from your Blog.
1. Ads – When you’re starting out, ads a good way to make some extra chunk change. But in order for this to work, you need to have a lot of views because you only get paid if people click on these or buy something by clicking on them. Personally, I don’t use Ads. Because I find it ruins my web design and makes everything look too cluttered.
2. Affiliates – Being an affiliate for a product means you provide a link to a product (that you are an affiliate for) and if someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase, the company provides you a little commission at no extra cost to the person who clicked on the link.
3. Products – I’ve made a lot of printables and clipart that I sell in my shop. And you can too. You can either start a shop on Etsy or Creative Market or sell your products on your Blog like how I sell my ebook on mine.
4. Services – You may be an artist/photographer/writer/designer/wedding planner and so on. Advertise your services on your very own page. Let people know what you’re good at so they can hire you with a click of a button.
5. Sponsored Posts – Write emails to brands you want to collaborate with or write a blog post featuring their product. It’s a great way to earn money in the beginning of your blogging journey and earn some recognition.
If you like reading and you’re looking for a good book to learn how to monetize your blog and become an expert, then I highly recommend you read How to Blog for Profit without Selling your Soul.
I loved this book because it taught me some Blogging tricks to gain more traffic and monetize my blog efficiently.
Additionally, you can download my free 12 page Blog Planner right here.
I know I’ve covered a lot of points and I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Hey, I feel you.
Therefore, make sure you bookmark this article so you can keep coming back to it and read it at your own pace.
I’m a Computer Science Engineer by default, but I’ve managed to create a blog that’s artsy and creative that not only helps people but also helps me earn my living as a Blogger. All my blogging knowledge comes from a lot of reading and experience.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I want you to know that anyone can blog.
I’m pretty sure my dogs have their own blogs too. But the secret to a successful blog little grasshopper, is to never stop trying.
Sometimes, you might not achieve all the results you want to immediately.
Sometimes, you will feel like crying because you will feel like you’re getting nowhere.
Even so, never let it bring you down. Remember, nobody became a super blogger in one day. In fact, it takes months (even years) of practice and consistency to reach to the top.
If you’ve just created a blog, type the link below in the comment section. What are you blogging about? I’d love to know! And if this post helped you learn something new, be a doll and share it with the world.