A question I am often asked by my friends is "how can I start a blog?" Most of the time they either hate their jobs or want to earn a little extra money and they have seen from my experiences that making money online by blogging offers a great lifestyle with plenty of personal freedom. Of course, just putting up a site and writing a post every now and then isn't going to open up the flood gates so cash can start pouring in, so I thought I would create a complete series for people to use as a guide on how to start a blog, and then how to monetize the site after traffic picks up.
Before Your First Post
The first thing you have to do when starting you blog is to decide what you want to write about. You need to find a niche that you are passionate about because you are going to be writing about the topic so frequently. This is a subject area that you are going to have to read a lot about and cover in-depth so focus on something you already enjoy doing. To help you get started, make a list of areas you are interested in and ask your friends to make a list of your interests. A mistake too many people make is to try and start blogging about something they think will make them money but have no interest in. These blogs die out quickly as the owner loses interest.
The next thing you are going to want to do is pick a domain name for your site over at GoDaddy. Be creative, but think short and sweet. You want your name to be brandable and not "thebestblogonnflfootballplayers.com." Who is going to remember that? By the way, there are plenty of free blog hosts out there, but you definitely want to spend the few dollars and get one you host yourself. It's more professional and there aren't as many limits on what you can do with your site.
After you have your domain picked out you are going to want to find a good hosting company. I personally recommend HostGator as the top choice. First off, it's fairly cheap and more importantly they are incredibly reliable. If you are just starting out with building your website, another great feature they offer is Fantastico to install WordPress, so you will not need any technical knowledge whatsoever.
The last thing you need to do before you get started is to download a theme for your blog. This is the design or the look and feel of your blog. You might have to shell out a few dollars if you want it to look professional, but there are plenty of free choices out there as well. If you are going to do it yourself then here are some resources to help you get started:
- So you want to create a WordPress theme?
- Creating a WordPress theme from scratch
- A 3-step guide on how to create a WordPress theme from scratch
After you have completed these four steps, you will have started your very own blog. Pretty basic and easy right? Now for the hard part as we get into the details of what pages you need to have, how often should you post, and other blogging tips and tricks designed to help you make money online.