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Hi, you're here because you want to know if it is really necessary to start a blog in order to make money or you are just curious. Either way, I will try to share why I believe starting a blog might be a good choice to make even as a side hustle ( which is how I started mine).
Let me jolt your brain by showing you this simple fact about internet growth for the future from Money Magazine
“More than 3 billion people are now using the Internet, according to the United Nations agency that oversees international communications.
The number of Internet users has increased from 738 million in 2000 to 3.2 billion in 2015, according to a new report from the International Telecommunication Union”
Source: Here's How Many Internet Users There are – Money Magazine
I'm sharing that geeky fact to show you that internet growth will continue to grow into the future and as you can see it is not stopping anytime soon.
To answer the first question…
Is Starting a Blog Necessary?
First, of all it is NOT necessary to have a blog to make money on the internet. Yes, you heard that right… but, here's the catch, you have to have an online presence of some kind , usually through social media…whether through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or other social media channels.
There are many savvy women ( and men) making money online in this way but here's the huge risk they take when they don't have their own blog… if the social media giant changes their rules in any way you can see your earnings disappear or drastically reduced overnight.
When you own your own domain or blog, you essentially have your own “address” on the internet, the place where you can start building your niche in the internet world.
Why isn't a “free” website (i.e. WordPress.com or other blog sites) enough of an online presence?
Yes, you are technically online but here's another catch…you won't be able to develop your blog, and by developing your blog I mean be able to use your blog to create affiliate marketing opportunities, sell your own products or change the backend of your blog to improve your blog's growth in any effective way. That's why I recommend self- hosting as soon as you are able.
My Blogging Journey
As a newbie blogger, I too was on WordPress.com for longer than I should have been. I made a decision to invest a few hours out of my week and began blogging and very soon my blog traffic started to grow fast.
When I first started my blog, I used the free WordPress.com platform, since I had started the blog as a hobby and wasn't ready to commit the time I thought or knew it required. I thought it would be an online journal that would only be read by me and a few other interested folks.
Boy, was I wrong. You can see in the image below (a chart of my monthly blog stats) and how quickly my blog views went from less than one hundred views in January 2013 to 5,000+ views in seven months. (Previous to this year, I was just dabbling, essentially posting a blog post once or twice every two or three months and checking my website only occasionally. So, many of us started a blog on Google right?)
These results weres with a hobby blog with no active promotion of any kind. I made a very newbie mistake and didn't have any social media channels connected to my blog from the get go. The basic SEO I did on my site brought traffic to my blog. I just wanted to share my journey in creating diy craft printables because I loved doing it as a hobby and sharing some of my designs.
And would you believe, I still was too distracted with other time commitments to transfer over to self-hosting because I didn't want to deal with the “techie” issues or I just felt I didn't have the time.
In hindsight, if you understand how to make money from a blog, you can see how I was completely leaving money on the table. And with a little research from other bloggers who have gone down the beaten path with good success, you can have better results.
There are several great pins on Pinterest about how innovative young women are bringing in incomes (up to six figures in some cases) using their blogs as either income generators or as a foundation for other work at home jobs.
The difference between many of these successful bloggers came to one important point: One blogger knows how to leverage the page views she has while the other doesn't, I wondered what was I missing? So, I started researching on Pinterest, of course, information by other fempreuners and how they were growing their blogs and making money from them.
You can find some of those success story pins on my Pinterest board Girl Boss Marketing Tools & Strategies, if you would like to check out that board. It's full of pins with solid, actionable information about growing your blog and making it profitable. It's not just for women either, at least 14% of my followers are men.
Most of my blog traffic comes from young women, and I searched Pinterest to find a young blogger who had solid “Growing Your Blog” information for Mompreneurs. One such young enterprising woman, whose email list I subscribed to in order to gain access to her library of resources (especially on affiliate marketing ) was Ana of TheSheApproach.
If you would like to see if her course provides valuable and insightful information for you , you can check out her free video course HERE. Or click on the pic below.
Ana has recently published an Amazon digital book that details all the beginner to-dos and essentials for starting and growing your blog. It's an easy read and is chockful of great info for the beginning blogger.
You can get her ebook TheSheapproach to Starting a Money Making Blog; The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Profitable Blog by Ana Savuica for less than a cup of coffee.
So, back to my story, It took me another nine months ( in the meantime my monthly blog views had grown to 35,000+, with a modest bounce rate) before my son (he's a software engineer) finally convinced me to transfer over to a self hosted blog in April of 2014. I was caught in a struggle between the desire to grow my blog and other work and personal time commitments.
Here's a screenshot of my blog statistics (monthly views) once I started self-hosting…. You can see that my traffic began to multiply rapidly.
From Hobby Blog to Thriving Side Hustle
With the revamped blog and the plug ins ( the apps you can use in the back end of your website), my traffic exploded; but even then I kept plugging along with this part time hobby mindset and small monthly ad network payments that I had set up. I was commiting the #1 newbie blogger mistake…not leveraging my page views and blog traffic.
It wasn't until I started getting a small trickle of corporate sponsorship offers, and being accepted as an affiliate for established companies, that I began researching the actual money making potential of the blog, the very blog that I had crafted as a side hustle. What I needed to know from the get go was the information below…
In a hurry and want to read this later? Pin this to one of your Pinterest boards…
Top 7 Ways to Earn Money With Your Blog
- Placing ads on your posts
- Writing sponsored posts and working with brands
- Selling services and using your blog as a tool to attract potential clients and generating leads
- Selling products including info products like ebooks and courses
- If you have a diy craft site, using your blog to promote your own products on Etsy or Shopify
- Affiliate marketing
- Membership sites
I share all these blogging newbie details, so that you can learn from my newbie mistakes. If you are thinking of starting a blog and are on the fence about the whole idea, I hope my story can be an inspiration to you to get started now and to start with your own self-hosted blog from the get go.
This is important because when you start on a free blog site, you limit the money making opportunities you can take advantage of on your blog and the ability to modify it to grow your business even if it's a tiny micro-business. Keep in mind almost every new blogger starts at 0.
With the offer through my link, you can start a blog for less than what it would cost you to buy a latte or a fast food meal per month and invest in your future.
With a commitment to see it through, why not invest in your future and the potential of building another stream of income even if you start your blog as a side hustle? There must be something you are passionate about or that you might be interested in sharing with other like minded persons like yourself.
So, let's guide you through the steps of how to get started.
Register A Domain Name
The very first thing you need to do is to decide on what the name of your blog will be. This step is worthy of your serious consideration because your blog name should be the best expression of what you will be writing about on your blog. Suppose you had decided on the name “Great Side Hustles” you would use a search tool like the one below to look up this blog name and see if it was available. Once you decide on what the name of your blog will be, it's time to decide on your hosting package.
Use the tool below to search potential blog names for your new site.
Buy Hosting for Your Blog
Now that you have decided on your blog name. It's time to choose the hosting. For most bloggers the bare bones hosting package that the “Basic” package offers is the best option. My add-on recommendation would be to choose the “Domain Privacy” Option. What this option does is keep your contact information private from the public or other nosy “lookie loos”. If you are on a tight budget, you can avoid most of the bells and whistles and buy the basic package.
After you pick out your hosting plan, you will then need to fill out your financial information and make your purchase. I would suggest that you commit to a yearly plan at the very least, so that you will make a commitment to yourself that you will take this blogging venture seriously.
You will receive a confirmation message from Bluehost (similar to the screenshot below) that your purchase has been completed.
Install WordPress on Bluehost
Now that you have made your hosting purchase it's time to install WordPress. You will receive an email from Bluehost that will direct you to log in to the Bluehost site. From there, you will go to your C-panel (basically a dashboard) where you will select the button that will start your WordPress install. Click on the ” Install WordPress” button.
- Click on the “Start” button. This will begin the installation.
- Once in the installation process, you will have to decide which domain you will want to install WordPress on. Click the dropdown menu to the domain name you plan on using.
- Now, you will see “Advanced Options.” This is where you choose your username and password for your WordPress website. You should choose something secure. Try to create a username that is a combination of different letters, numbers, and anything else you can use and remember. You do this in order to keep hackers from gaining access to your site. Write this information down.
- You will want to check “Automatically create a new database for this installation” as well, unless you already have a different database (if you don't know, then you probably do not).
- Click “Install Now”
Woot-hoo…you did it. You now have a WordPress blog and now it's time to concentrate on working on your design and developing great content. The picture below gives you an idea of what the backend (dashboard) of your shiny, new Website will look like. Notice the Bluehost blue stripe within your WordPress dashboard. Now onto a few points about your theme.
Choosing Your Theme
WordPress offers several free general themes (website design) to start your blog, so that you can get started with your blog right away. However, you might want to do a little research on what type of theme you would like especially if you have a concrete idea of what type of blog content you want to create from the get go.
If you are starting, for example, a food blog, lifestyle blog or crafting blog there are several themes (website designs) available that will showcase your blog content in the best manner. However, be aware this will add to your overall initial blog costs.
Customizing your blog can be as easy or as involved as you want it to be. The WordPress theme you choose, the functions that you want for the viewers you serve and the options the theme offers will determine this.
Themes can vary in price from $35.00 to $150.00 on average or can be even more expensive , if you choose one with lots of bells and whistles and back end functionality. If you are not a techy person, you might also have to add the price of the installation of your theme to your overall price tag
I initially purchased the Genesis theme for my self-hosted maiden voyage. I currently run this blog on a child theme from Pretty Darn Cute Designs on the Genesis framework.
I also use the Pagebuilder by SiteOrigin plug in and CSS Hero plug in to modify it. I love, love these plugins. Since I do my own, website modifications these plugins save me time and enable me to make changes without damaging the underlying CSS. I have changed my blog theme 3 times and recently changed it. You will find as your blog and traffic grows that you might do the same.
To see an example of a foodie site that runs on the Genesis framework you might want to check out the Foodie Pro Theme on Studio Press.
In addition, to the Foodie Pro, the designers at Studio Press have created different themes for a variety of specific or niche blogs. Here are some of my favs for lifestyle or creative blogs:
Pretty Chic Pro theme – Great modern and sleek design, plus a full width ad widget for the top of the blog.
Mai Lifestyle theme – Great all around theme for foodies, wellness, fitness and lifestyle bloggers. Includes full width sections.
Cook'd Pro theme – this is a minimalist theme that puts emphasis on showcasing the food images of your blog.
As of December 6, 2018, WordPress has ugraded to the Guternberg editor and Studiopress (the designers of the themes mentioned) have upgraded their themes to work with this editor. If you want to harness the full potential of WordPress 5.0, check out Studiopress' optimized themes.
If you are interested in finding out more about what the Genesis framework is, you can download “The Genesis Guide for Absolute Beginners” (PDF –1 .4MB) >>>HERE.
If you are interested in feminine themes for creatives on the Genesis framework, you might also try third party designers that design themes for the Genesis framework such as OneHappyStudio.
If you are still on the fence about the whole idea, I created a tipsheet pdf download that lists the main points covered in this blog post. It includes a simple worksheet to calculate your blog/ web hosting costs. Click on the image below to download the tipsheet.