How to start a money-making blog in 2020? Get all tools required

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If you are reading this post I can suggest that you have intentions to start your own money-making blog, but you have no idea how to grab the indispensable information about it? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Our aim is to teach people how to create successful blogs and transform it into a passive income generating online business.

In this list, we’ll teach you how to create and ameliorate your own blog step by step. The technical experience isn’t a necessity, as a matter of fact, it’s much simpler and faster than you think!

After reading this guide you’ll be able to get your blog up and running in 30 minutes or less. You’ll also know clearly what to do next to promote your blog and grow your audience.

Before we start, let’s talk about why should you start a blog. Firstly you must be sufficiently motivated to overcome all the difficulties that you will face.

Why Start a Blog?

Whatever your reasons for starting a money-making blog, there is a huge multitude of benefits you might not even realize!

Here are just a few reasons to start a blog:

  1. Earn money online: We’re starting with the best reason first! A money-making blog has the potential to make money every month through different methods. You can earn money through writing sponsored posts, selling your own products and services, collaborating with some brand in the term of lead generation.
  2. Create an audience: Let’s say that you are going to launch a product or a book soon and you want to build some buzz before the launch. A blog is the best way to spread the word.
  3. Attract targeted leads: Maybe you already have a business and want to generate leads and get more customers. Publishing fresh content to a blog is the best way to do that.
  4. Express yourself as a writer: Blogging improves your writing skills. You can share your stories, encourage people and build a community through your blogs.
  5. Quit your annoying job and do something you are excited about:It isn’t a secret that most people are unhappy with their current jobs but simply obligated to do it, therefore, blogging can save theme from the slavery.
  6. Share your passion with the world.

Can You Start a Blog for Free?

The simple answer is yes, you can start a blog completely for free.

However, as seductive as it may sound, choosing the free option can’t unveil the whole potential of blogging. Our advice would be to avoid free blogging platforms.

A free option might be a worthy idea if you just want to start a basic blog as a hobby and don’t care about making money from it.

If you intend to start a business, build your brand reputation, earn money online, or add more advanced features to your blog, then the free option is not going to do well for you because of its many limitations.

The 10 Basic Steps to Start A Blog

Ready to get started? Just follow along and we’ll walk you through it:

  1. Define your niche
  2. Choose the best blogging platform
  3. Set up your WordPress website
  4. Customize your blog’s design
  5. Add essential plugins
  6. Configure your basic blog settings
  7. Write your first blog post
  8. Grow your blog traffic
  9. Improve your SEO statistics
  10. Monetize your blog

You don’t need many hours or days to complete these simple steps. All this work can be done in 30 minutes only) All you need is to start and grow your blog with self-commitment.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Step 1: Define a Blog Niche

Not sure what you should blog about?

There are two approaches to choosing a niche or topic for your money-making blog:

  1. You should pick a topic that you are passionate about or,
  2. You can choose a topic that is advantageous in the term of monetization.

Of course, it’s best if you can find a topic that fits both! But if you have to choose out of the two, the best approach in our opinion is to blog about a topic that is advantageous in the term of monetization.

If you pick a topic that people are searching for, then you’ll have a good chance of getting a lot of traffic to your blog.

Once you start getting more traffic, you can then monetize your blog to earn money. We’ll get to the monetization part in the later section.

Do You Need to Be an Expert on the Topic?

A lot of people will also tell you that you need to be an expert to blog on the topic you have chosen. That’s not necessarily true! You only need to have an honest interest in the topic you have chosen, and then you can learn about it as you go.

How to Determine If Your Blog Topic Is Popular

The next order of business is to find out the search volume of your topic. What is search volume? It simply refers to the number of people who are searching for your niche and related topics, trough online search engines like Google. A money-making blog must be based on highly searched keywords.

In order to discover if your topic is worth blogging about, ask yourself:

  • Is there a high competition in your niche?
  • Are there any popular blogs with big traffic and active commenting?
  • Are there any popular Facebook groups on your topic?
  • Is there some amount of ads in the google search by your topic

If most of the answers to the questions above are “yes”, then you’re on the right path! That means that there are a good number of people out there who are interested in reading about that topic, and you can rely on a huge potential of monetization.

You can also go to Google Trends to check the overall trend of your topic. For example, take a look at this screenshot:

Google Trends - How to start a blog

You’ll notice that the trend of the search term “beauty” is still going up, which means it gets searched a lot. This means that this search term has the potential of offering you a lot of traffic.

Just to get you started brainstorming, here are some popular topics for blogging:

  1. Marketing
  2. Finance
  3. Insurance
  4. Fishing
  5. Travel
  6. Beauty
  7. Food
  8. Technology
  9. Health and fitness
  10. Sports
  11. Business and money
  12. Weddings

Now that you have picked your topic, let’s move on to the next step.
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Step 2: Choose the Best Blogging Platform

The choice of the best blogging platform can be tricky. A lot of people make mistakes when it comes to choosing the right blogging platform.

But the whole blogging life experience has proven that doubtlessly the best is WordPress.org.

Why? Because it’s the most popular blogging platform in the world, and it’s also free.

WordPress currently powers 33.4% of the internet! That’s one-third of the internet itself.

WordPress currently holds more than 60% of the market share and is being used by brands like BBC, Wired, Time Magazine, and the New York Post.

With WordPress, you can install plugins of your choice and you can customize your website any way you want. It gives you the freedom that no other blogging platform does.

The WordPress software itself is free, but since it’s a self-hosted platform you’ll have to pay for the hosting and domain name – more on that below.

Step 3: Set Up Your WordPress Website

Aforementioned, you can’t start your blog without hosting and a domain name.

What is hosting and domain names?

  • Web hosting is where your website lives, like your website’s house on the internet. This is where all your website files are stored. Every website needs web hosting – without it, you won’t be able to take your blog live.
  • A domain name is the address of your website. Users type it on their browsers to get to your website. For example, our domain name is www.blogtyrant.com.

For hosting and domain name registration we highly recommend Bluehost. Which in our opinion is the best hosting for WordPress.

Bluehost makes it very easy to install WordPress, so you can do it with a click of a button. No technical expertise required!

Why Bluehost?

Bluehost is recommended by WordPress themselves and has been in the industry since 1995, which makes it older than Google.

Bluehost hosts millions of websites and has been working with WordPress since 2005. Users opt for Bluehost because it is more reliable and easy to set up when compared with other hosting providers.

How to Get Started With Bluehost?

Once you have clicked on the link, you’ll be redirected to Bluehost Website. Once you are there, click on “get started”. As shown in the screenshot below.

You’ll then be taken to a page where you have to choose a pricing plan. Select the one that suits you best.

Then you’ll be asked to “create a new domain” or “use a domain you own”

Bluehost - Create a new domain - start a blog

Note: make sure that you pick a unique domain name that is also brandable. If you are having a hard time deciding on which domain name to choose, you can use our domain name generator to get ideas.

If you want to wait and think about it, then you can click on “Choose free domain later”.

Next, you’ll have to enter your account information and select the account plan. If you want the best value, then select the 36 months price.

Note: You can also purchase extra add-ons if you like, but that’s entirely up to you. Since you’re just starting out, add-ons aren’t really important and you can skip them for now.

After you’re done, you’ll get an email with your login details to your web hosting control panel. Once you have logged in your Bluehost account you can find your WordPress site under the “My Sites” tabs.

Install WordPress on Bluehost - How to start a blog

Click on Log into WordPress and then enter your credentials. Once logged in, click on Create Sites.

Install WordPress on Bluehost - How to start a blog

This will launch Bluehost’s WordPress installation wizard, where you’ll be asked to enter a site name and a tagline (optional).

Install WordPress on Bluehost - How to start a blog

After you click on the Next button to continue, you’ll be asked to choose your domain name from the drop-down menu. If you haven’t purchased a domain yet, you can go to the Domains tab from the hosting dashboard.

Install WordPress on Bluehost - How to start a blog

After you have selected the domain, leave the directory blank and let Bluehost choose it for you. The installer will also show you some essentials plugins to install, you can add those to the installation process.

Then click on the Next button to continue. This will start the installation and it will take a few minutes to install. After it’s done, you’ll see the success message with your website’s details.

Install WordPress on Bluehost - How to start a blog

You’ll also get an email confirmation, you can click on the link that will take you to the WordPress’ admin area.

And that is it, you have successfully installed WordPress on Bluehost and launched your blog!

Now you can access your blog at the domain you chose (like www.example.com). To log in to the dashboard of your WordPress site and start customizing it, you can just add /login/ or /admin/ to the end of your site URL.

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Step 4: Customize Your Blog’s Design

Now that you have successfully offered life to your blog, the next step is to design your blog.

After the installation, you must have noticed that your blog looks very basic. You need to personalize it and create some difference with your competitors. To make it more alluring, you can choose one of the free themes offered by WordPress or buy another one more professional-looking, for example from (themeforest.net).

There are thousands of themes to choose from. You can either go for the free options or you can get premium themes with more advanced features.

When you are deciding on which theme to stay, then firstly prioritize the simplicity. It really helps when you have a clean design along with good content. If your blog doesn’t look good then your readers won’t bother reading your content, no matter how good it is. You need a simple clean theme not surcharged with useless widgets.

A couple of our favorite WordPress themes are Astra and OceanWP. They’re both free to start with, and you can upgrade to unlock even more features when your blog starts growing.

Astra is a great theme for starting a blog, since it's free and you can upgrade to unlock more features as your blog grows.

To install a theme, you need to go through the following steps from your WordPress dashboard:

  1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard (remember this is at www.example.com/login – just change example.com to your domain).
  2. On the left pane click on Appearance » Themes.
  3. Click on the Add new button.
  4. You’ll be taken to a page where Themes are listed.
  5. Hover your mouse over the one you like and click on Install.
  6. After it has been installed, click on the Activate button.

Step 5: Install Essential WordPress Plugins

The ability of different useful plugins is one of the pros of WordPress. Plugins are what makes WordPress powerful. Plugins can get your site to perform effectively and efficiently and benefit from the different functions without coding knowledge. You can get the best features available out there if you pick the right plugins.

With the help of plugins, you can get any type of feature or function you want on your website.

There are around 54,000 WordPress plugins available in the market for you to choose from. They can help you with creating contact forms, generating leads, growing your traffic, and so much more.

In this section, we’re going to pick out the best WordPress plugins for you and we’ll also teach you how to install them.

How to Install a Plugin on WordPress

From your WordPress dashboard, you can install a plugin by following these steps:

  1. Click on Plugins on your WordPress left-hand menu.
  2. Search for your desired plugin.
  3. Click on the Install button next to the plugin you want.
  4. After it installs, the button will say Activate. Click on Activate to start using your new plugin.

Now that you know how to install plugins, let’s talk about the essential plugins that you need to turn your blog into a powerhouse.

Must-Have WordPress Plugins

1.Yoast SEO Plugin

Yoast - WordPress Plugin

Why is it important It helps you optimize your blog for search engines. Creating usefull content isn

SEO represents the “search engine optimization.” It’s the practice of increasing parallelly the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as the visibility to your brand, through non-paid (also known as “organic”) search engine results.

Why do you need it? Yoast SEO helps you to optimize your site for Google, which helps you to boost your search engine rankings and grow your blog traffic.

How much does it cost? Yoast is completely free to use. However, they also have a premium version which you can use with even more features to grow your traffic.

2.Google Analytics for WordPress – MonsterInsights

MonsterInsights - WordPress Plugin

Why is it important? It helps you configure Google Analytics on your WordPress site.

Why do you need it? MonsterInsights gives you a detailed traffic analysis of your website, which helps in measuring the performance of your blog on a daily basis. With analytics, you can determine what content works best on your blog and give your audience what they’re looking for.

With the help of MonsterInsights, implementing Google Analytics on your WordPress site has gotten easier. Read how to set up Google Analytics on WordPress for more details.

How much does it cost? You can get started with MonsterInsights for free, or get the premium version for more advanced features.

3.WPForms

WPForms - WordPress Plugin

Why is it important? WPForms helps you create a contact form which helps your readers to get in touch with you. You’ll need this as WordPress doesn’t come with a default contact form.

Why do you need it? As a blogger you should always try to build engagement with your audience. A simple contact form will help your readers to get in touch with you, without having to expose your email to spammers.

How much does it cost? It’s free, though you can get more features if you get the premium version.

4.Sucuri

Sucuri - WordPress Plugin

Why is it important? Sucuri helps you beef up your Site’s security.

Why do you need it? It helps hackers stay away from your website. It scans your website regularly for any vulnerabilities and notifies you in case of any breach.

How much does cost? It’s free to use.

5.UpdraftPlus

UpdraftPlus Backup plugin

Why is it important? UpdraftPlus will create regular backups of your website in case anything goes wrong.

Why do you need it? Apart from getting hacked or being hit by a malicious software, you are also vulnerable to losing all of your data. This can happen for many reasons, which is why you need to take regular backups of your data. UpdraftPlus can easily do all this by scheduling regular backups. This makes it an essential plugin to have installed on your site.

What does it cost? It’s free.

6.WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache - WordPress Plugin

Why is it important? WP Super Cache speeds up your blog by making it load faster for your readers.

Why do you need it? No one likes to land on a blog that takes forever to load, that is an excellent way to drive your readers away. WP Super Cache optimizes your blog so that it loads faster, and makes the overall experience smoother.

What does it cost? It’s free, but they do have a premium version that has more options.

Looking for more WordPress plugins to add features to your site? Check out our roundup of the best WordPress plugins.

Now that we’ve installed these must have plugins, we’re one more step closer to our goal of creating an awesome blog.BACK TO THE TOP

Step 6: Configure Your Basic Blog Settings

Before you start writing, it’s important to make sure all your blog settings are configured properly.

Set the Permalink Structure

When you first start a WordPress blog, your links will look like this by default:

http://www.example.com/?p=233

So, it’s important to change your permalink settings for two main reasons:

  1. It makes it easier for Google to understand the intent of the blog by crawling the URL.
  2. It makes it reader friendly.

Then your links will look more like this:

http://www.example.com/start-a-wordpress-blog/

To change the permalink structure go to your WordPress dashboard then click on Settings and then on Permalinks.

Then all you have to do is choose Post Name which is the best option from the Google’s and reader’s point of view.

change your WordPress blog permalink settings so your links look better

Make Sure Your Blog Is Public

This part is important if you want to get any traffic! You need to make sure that your blog is visible to the search engines so that it can be ranked. To make sure that it’s visible, you need to do the following.

  1. Go to Settings » Reading
  2. Make sure that the box in the search engine visibility section is unchecked.
Make sure your blog is public so you get traffic

Disable Pingbacks

Pingbacks notify you when other bloggers link to you. This isn’t helpful as it sounds. In fact, it opens your doors to spammers who will make your blog look unprofessional. It’s best to disable them and here is how you do it.

  1. Go to Setting » Discussions.
  2. Uncheck “Allow link notifications from other blogs”.

Now that you have these settings in place, it’s time to move on to the next step, create your core pages.BACK TO THE TOP

Step 7: Create Your Core Pages and Main Menu

Next we’re going to list down some essential pages that you need to have, along with our recommendations on how to build them.

WordPress lets you create two different types of content: posts and pages. If you’re wondering what’s the difference, check out this detailed guide to posts vs. pages in WordPress.

When first starting a blog, you’ll need to create these pages:

  1. About Page
  2. Contact Page

How to Create a Page in WordPress

To add a new page in WordPress, just click on Pages » Add New.

From here, you can add your page title and your content in the text editor. Check out these WordPress content editor tips for more details.

When you’re done, just click the Publish button and it will be live on your site.

Let’s take a look at how to create these pages and what they should include.

1. About Page

On your “About” page, you should introduce yourself to your readers and talk about what they can expect from your blog. Link out to your other social profiles so that your readers can stay in touch with you.

2. Contact Page

A contact page is crusial if you want your readers to enter in contact with you. You can create a contact form in less than 5 minutes with WPForms. All you need to do is add some instructions and the plugin will take care of the rest.

These pages should be enough to get you started!

If you want to customize the layout and design of your pages, we recommend using a drag and drop page builder like Beaver Builder or Divi.

Creating Your Main Menu

Now that your pages have been created, it’s time to add them to the main menu of your new blog.

To create a menu in WordPress, click on Appearance » Menus. Enter a name for your menu (I just named mine “Main Menu”) and click Create Menu.

Now you can add your new pages to the menu. On the left side under Pages, check the box next to the pages you want to add to your menu. Then click Save Menu.

To add the menu to your header, click on Manage Locations tab at the top. Then select your menu in the location where you want it to appear. Note that your menu locations will be different depending on your theme, but usually there’s a primary, main, or header menu area for you to add your main menu.

Congrats! You’ve finally created your own blog… but what good is a blog if you don’t know how to come up with great content ideas and promote them to make money online?

We’ll talk about all these in our final three steps. Keep reading.BACK TO THE TOP

Step 8: Write Your First Post, Generate Your Unique Content

Alright, ready to get started with blogging?

The first thing you should decide is how often you’ll write and publish a new blog post. The best way to go about it is to make a content calendar. Decide on which days you’ll post your blog and then stick to it.

I recommend starting with one blog post per week. This will give you plenty of time to learn the ins and outs of your new blog.

As a blogger, you’ll need to be as self-disciplined as possible. If you’re serious about growing your blog then make sure that you don’t miss the deadlines you set for yourself. You need to consider your blog as an online business that requires some investments firstly in the term of your time.

Now that we have got that out of the way, let’s talk about how to generate content ideas!

How to Generate Blog Post Ideas

In order to come up with good content ideas, you need to be listening to your audience. You should know their problems and then try to come up with solutions that help them.

But when you’re first getting started with a blog, you don’t have an audience yet! So how do you know what they want to read?

There are two ways how you can find what your readers want to read.

  1. Analyzing your competition
  2. Researching the communities where your readers are most active.

Analyzing Your Competition

You can gain a lot of ideas if you go through other websites in your niche or industry, and see what they blog about.

In step 1 above, we talked about researching other blog posts to pick a niche for your blog. You can revisit those same sites to get ideas for blog posts.

Just make sure to put your own pin on the topic and not copy the content itself. Your blog posts should be 100% original. Think about how you can improve on your competitor’s posts and create something even better.

Researching the Communities Where Your Readers Are Most Active

There are a lot of communities and forums on the internet that can help you get more ideas. Our favorites are Reddit and Quora.

People ask a lot of questions on Quora about different things. You can search your topic in the address bar and you’ll get a list of all the related questions on your topic. Go through these questions and their answers. Compile the data you have gathered and written something that provides an answer.

Start following related topics on Quora so that you get notified whenever the community asks a question related to your topic.

Follow the same process for Reddit, you’ll be surprised by the number of ideas you get from these communities.

Step 9: Grow Your Blog Traffic

When you’re first starting your blog, it can be tough to build your audience. How do you let the world know about your new blog and start growing your traffic?

My favorite method is using search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is the strategy of increasing your visibility on search engines like Google. This way, when people search for topics you write about on your blog, your blog posts will rank on the first page and you can attract lots of readers.

Next, I’ll share some basic SEO tips to help you get started.

There are two aspects of SEO:

  1. On-Page Optimization
  2. Off-Page Optimization

Let’s take a look at how you can use these tactics to grow your blog traffic.

On-Page Optimization

On-Page optimization means the optimization and the tweaks you do on your website. On-page optimization includes the following:

  • Speeding up your WordPress website
  • Keyword research – discovering the phrases people are using to search for your blog topics
  • Optimizing your title and blog post to use your keywords the right way.

I know that this sounds like a lot of work, but it’s not hard to get started with the basics! You can read our beginner’s guide to SEO for bloggers to learn more.

To get you started, I’ll only focus on keyword research in this guide and teach you how to use the keywords you found in the right places.

You can use the Google Keyword Planner to do your keyword research for free. You can either insert the URL of your competitor’s blog post or you can enter your topic idea to get a list of keywords. Pick the ones that have high volume, this will increase your chances of getting more traffic.

You can also try searching for your blog post topic in Google and look at the suggested searches at the bottom of the page for keyword ideas.

Once you have your list of keywords, use the keywords in the following places:

  • Blog post title
  • URL of the page (called the permalink)
  • H1 (The main heading)
  • H2, H3 (The sub-headings)
  • Image alt text
  • Meta description
  • In the blog post itself

If you have Yoast installed on your site, it will make your life a lot easier. Yoast will keep on reminding you about the placement of your keywords and even recommend areas of improvement. Yoast grades your content on the basis of readability and SEO. Try to get all green lights as shown in the screenshot below.

Off-Page Optimization

Off-Page optimization is when you build links or reach out to influencers to promote your blog.

Link building can be delicate, principally if you are doing it for the first time. To get you started, I’ll share some basic tips here.

First, it’s best if you join communities where your audience is located. Start participating in threads and add value to them. It is highly advisable that you shouldn’t put your links in as soon as you join the community. Instead, you should get to know the users and find ways to sympathize with them and only link to your website where it’s relevant.

Another easy method is to find fellow bloggers or influencers on twitter. Start interacting with your influencers and share their tweets and content. The goal here is to get on their radar. Once you have their attention you should introduce yourself and your blog and see if they would be open to sharing your content with their audience.

Step 10: How to Monetize Your Blog

Once your blog reaches a noticeable audience you can consider integrating various monetization systems.

There are many ways through which you can monetize your blog. You can check also another post that covers blog monetization.

For now, we’ll be talking about some of our favorite methods we use to monetize our blogs.

1. Google Adsense

Google Adsense has been around for a long time and bloggers have been benefiting from their service to earn a lot of money. Google Adsense is an advertising platform for bloggers and publishers. Once you have Adsense enabled on your blog, your readers will start seeing ads on your blog. You get paid to show these ads and you get paid more when a visitor clicks on them. Adsense is still the best option in the market of contextual ad networks.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is promoting other people’s products on your blog and getting paid whenever your referral buys their product or service.

Affiliate marketing is easy to get started with all you have to do is sign up for the affiliate programs of the product that you are using or would generally use.

They will give you your affiliate link which you can place on your blog. Every time a visitor clicks on that link, they will be taken to the product’s website that you are promoting. You’ll get a commission if your referral makes a purchase.

There are many products and platforms that offer affiliate partnerships. You can start with Amazon or Aliexpress’ affiliate program and start promoting the products they have listed on their site.

We recommend getting started with the Affiliate Royale plugin to manage all your links.

See our post about blog monetization

3. Create an Online Store

Bloggers make a lot of money by selling things from their blogs. All you need is an eCommerce plugin and when it comes to WordPress eCommerce plugin, there is none better than WooCommerce.

If you find maintaining inventories and managing shipments a hassle then we’d suggest that you look up drop shipping. It’s an awesome, hassle-free way to start selling online.

Launching your blog is just the tip of the iceberg. You still need to practice and keep learning in order to become a great blogger.

Make sure you check back regularly for more blogging guides and tips. You can sign up for our email newsletter to stay informed.

Here are some tools to help you along the way on your blogging journey.

Analytics and SEO Tools

  • Google Analytics – Google Analytics gives you insights on your traffic and visitor behavior so you can grow your blog. You can easily set up Google Analytics with MonsterInsights.
  • Google Search Console – This tool helps you understand how Google treats your site in search results. It also reports any errors that may require your attention.
  • IsItWP Website Speed Test Tool – See how quickly your website loads, and what you can do to speed it up.

Tools for Blog Promotion

  • BuzzSumo – Find influencers in your niche and find popular topic ideas.
  • Constant Contact or Sendinblue – Start sending a regular email newsletter to your audience.
  • OptinMonster – Create popups and other campaigns to grow your email list.
  • Buffer – Schedule your posts on social media to get more blog traffic.

Tools for Writing and Design

  • Grammarly – Fix any grammatical mistakes you might have made.
  • Canva – Create and edit beautiful images for your blog.
  • Unsplash – Download free stock images.

Conclusion

So you have got all the necessary inventory to start your blog. All you need is hard work and self-discipline, start your own blog and benefit thoroughly from this model of online business.

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