How To Earn Money Online
The whole idea of how to earn money online always felt very “out of my league” to me. Then out of left field one day, I got the notion to start a blog and suddenly I needed to know how to earn money online. I was serious about making a blog as a way to supplement my family’s monthly income and I also wanted to help others like you start a blog as I learned for myself how to earn money online blogging.
When I got the notion to start a blog I knew ZERO about how to create a blog much less how to manage one. I didn’t have a mentor to tell me all the answers to successful blogging so I put in my due diligence by researching each little step. My hard work is your gain because I’m going to share all the information I learned in one giant blog post today! I’ll also be including a few follow up how-to posts which go over little things all bloggers need to know how to do.
This post contains affiliate links. If you should choose to make a purchase through one of the links I’ve provided then I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my blog- the work I love to do!
Where do I even begin?
There’s a ton of information out there about how to earn money online blogging and that makes it easy to quickly get overwhelmed. If you’re reading this then that means you’ve decided to create a blog as your means to how to earn money online.
Today we’re going to cover step one- creating your blog. Logically, creating a great blog is the first step in how to earn money online. I’m going to make this very easy and concise for you to read and understand by laying out the steps one by one. There is a lot of information out there about the ins and outs of blogging, but you’re a beginner and logically as such you need to start at the beginning.
After you’ve laid your foundation you can focus on how to earn money online with your blog and implement the things that will make you more successful as a blogger.
Step One: Purchase Your Domain Name And Web Hosting
Think of a great name for your blog.
Begin with deciding what you’re going to blog about and draw a name from there or simply use your own name as your blog’s domain address. Easy peasy. I did both. lol
The perk of using your own name as your blog’s domain name is that it gives you the ability to change your blog’s topic without buying a new name if your first choice epic fails or if you realize you don’t enjoy blogging about that topic as much as you thought you would.
Make sure whatever name that you choose is very relevant to your content so that a reader can guess what your blog is about just by reading the name and that the name is something easy for readers to remember.
Check to see if the name you like is available to be your domain using this free tool from BlueHost.
Buying hosting is basically buying storage space for all your blog files. You’ll want a self-hosted blog because a self-hosted blog is one that gives you complete ownership and therefore control over your blog and what happens to it.
I purchased my blog’s hosting through BlueHost because in my research I saw BlueHost recommended over and over by very successful bloggers. I knew nothing about blogging so I had to research everything and then have a little faith. BlueHost reassured me with their money back guarantee. You can read the details here.
A few bloggers gave recommendations for SiteGround and HostGator, but not near as many recommendations as I read for choosing BlueHost and that’s how I made my final choice. BlueHost is even officially recommended by WordPress.
I can honestly say that I have been very happy with the price (free domain name + $3.95/mo for hosting), ease of use for someone who is not naturally technologically inclined, and their customer service has been excellent so far. I had issues with my blog on a Saturday night around 7 o’clock and I assumed no one would be available until Monday to help me sort things out, but I was wrong. They provide 24/7 customer support. And I didn’t have to talk to someone on the phone and sound like an idiot who does not know technology lingo. haha I was able to chat with a customer service rep online, and he went above and beyond my expectations to double check that everything was working great before we parted ways. Thanks, BlueHost!
If you decide to use BlueHost for your web hosting, I’ll be happy to walk you through the process of getting started and answer any questions you may have after signing up! Just send me an email or reach out to me on social media. 🙂
Steps To Signing Up With BlueHost For Web Hosting
Step 1: Go to BlueHost.com and click the bright green ‘get started now’ button.
Step 2: Select your plan.
I recommend a beginner blogger sign up for the basic plan. That should be all that you need for at least the first year. If you decide later that you need to upgrade, BlueHost allows you to do that.
Step 3: Decide on a domain name and claim it.
If the name has already been taken then you’ll be prompted to choose something else in the next screen.
Step 4: After that, all you have left to do is create your BlueHost account, choose your package, and purchase it.
I had the hardest time trying to decide which things I actually needed once I got to this screen. I decided to go with what you see pictured here and only purchase the domain privacy. Domain privacy was very important to me because it keeps my personal information from being published in the public WHOIS database. I chose not to go with the site backup service they offered because I learned there are other ways to go about backing up my blog.
This brings the grand total for starting your blog and hosting it for one entire year to less than one hundred dollars! Only $77.28! If you choose the same features I did, you’ll end up paying more per month ($5.45/mo), but less initial start up cost. A low initial startup cost was important to me and it’s only a couple of dollars more each month. I decided to go with the 12 month option to give me the opportunity to reevaluate my dedication to my blog after one year. At the end of the year when it’s time to renew I think I may choose the cheaper per month 36 month option because it really is the better deal.
If you already know you’re in blogging for the long haul because you’re planning to learn how to earn money online with your blog then I’d suggest saving yourself some money and choosing the 36 month plan.
Almost Finished! How long was that? 5 minutes??
Now all that’s left to do is click submit and follow the prompts BlueHost gives you. Bluehost will send you an email about your new account with a link “One Click Install” and this should take you to your cPanel (basically the home base for your hosting). All you have to do is click on the WordPress icon on the page located under blogs then click start and installation will begin.
If you have more than one domain, choose which domain you will want to install WordPress on. Click the drop-down menu to find your domain. Under Advanced Options, you will choose your username and password and then just click ‘Install Now.’
You have a blog now! I’m so proud of you for taking that first step. Congratulations!
Wait- Can’t I Just Make A Free Blog?
Yes, you can create and host a blog for free on websites like wordpress.com (wordpress.com and wordpress.org and totally different websites!!) or Blogger, but there’s a huge catch to doing so that you may not be told upfront. When you host your blog on a free blogging site, they are in control of your blog. I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit of a control freak. Especially when it comes to something I’ve put so much time, money and hard work into like my blog.
All of your blog’s files are stored on your host’s servers. You will own your words using a free blog site due to copyright laws, but you don’t really own your blog. They can shut it down at any time and you’ll lose everything. Think of it like storing a large piece of furniture at your rowdy brother-in-law’s house. While the furniture piece technically still belongs to you, you don’t have any control over what may happen to it while it’s stored there. A Royal Daughter has a great analogy explaining how self-hosting works if you need further explanation.
Besides being in total control of your blog and what happens to it a few other reasons to go self-hosted include:
- Your blog will look professional. Your URL won’t have your server name in the address like if you use a free blog host. Example: www.mamabearmartin.com looks more professional and is easier to remember when compared to www.mamabearmartin.blogger.com.
- You will be in control of your blog’s layout and appearance. This means you can “brand” it with any certain style you like best.
- You have the option to monetize through ads, sponsored posts or affiliate links. You did want to learn how to earn money online, right??
- Full control over your blog’s SEO (search engine optimization). You may not know what this is yet, but it’s a big deal. This is how you get readers to visit your blog from search engines. More readers = more opportunities present themselves for how to earn money online.
- You can download any plugins through WordPress to your self-hosted blog. And y’all there is a plugin for just about anything you could imagine. I’ll list which plugins you’ll want to have on day one a little later in this post.
- You’re able to access your backend files when you choose self hosted- meaning you can make any needed code changes. AKA you’re the boss.
- Access to customer service to help you with any technical issues you may not understand how to fix (you can only Google so much before you need to ask someone for help. Trust me on this one!)
Can I Create A Free Blog Now And Make The Switch Later?
Yes, if you’re a masochist. In complete seriousness, if you want to learn how to earn money online and use your blog as a way to supplement your monthly income or create a business from blogging start off on the right foot and choose self-hosted.
If you’re only going to blog as a hobby by all means create a free blog! But if you want to take blogging seriously and think you might ever want to make money from ads or turn your blog into a business in the future you’re going to need to be self-hosted. The initial investment to create your self-hosted blog is so little compared to the potential money you can make through blogging.The initial investment to create your self-hosted blog is so little compared to the potential money you can make through blogging. Leah MartinClick To Tweet
Blogging Day One Stuff- The Stuff You Need To Know Before You Launch
First Things First Choose a Theme
This part is fun. You get to choose what readers will see when they visit your blog! There are infinite options out there for WordPress themes you could use for your new blog. Some are free to use and there are even more you can purchase through WordPress or stores like Etsy.
As tempting as it may be to spend $50 on a theme don’t worry about purchasing a theme yet. Seriously. You do not need to buy a theme. Choose a free, responsive (changes size to fit different mobile devices), easy to read theme from WordPress.org and use that. As a new blogger, you should focus on creating amazing content for your blog and beautiful images to pair with your articles to share on social media. As a newbie, I suggest you resist the urge to purchase any themes for at least 3 months. You may alter how you want to brand your blog between now and then and you’ll have wasted your money.
Google Analytics Please do yourself a favor and have this installed on your blog the moment you go live. Google Analytics tells you how many pageviews your blog is getting and absolutely everything else you could want to know as it pertains to the stats behind your blog. This is free. This is a must to be a serious blogger. As you learn how to earn money online, you will discover that most of the ways a blogger can earn money requires information from Google Analytics.
Email Lists– I took Meera Kothand’s advice and invested in ConvertKit for sending my newsletters and automating my eCourse and freebies from my blog before I ever knew how to make money online from my blog. There are some blogging tools that you have to view the long-term benefits of if you are setting out to blog for business.
You could also use the free service that many bloggers love, MailChimp, but I tried that email service and it was a big disappointment to me. No matter what service provider you choose, you will need to buy a PO Box or you will have to use your home address on any email newsletters you send out. It is a legal requirement that all bulk emails have the sender’s address.
UPDATE: I also think this book is an absolute must have for any serious, beginner blogger. It states exactly how to grow your blog and gain more pageviews. It’s working for me!
Plugins That You Have To Have On Day One
You’ll want to download a plugin that will lock your WordPress account after a set number of failed logins.
You’ll also probably want a captcha that pops up when you try to log in to keep the robots from breaking in.
Akismet– This is basically the industry standard in SPAM blocking. It will automatically block any yucky SPAM comments from your blog. Think you’re not getting SPAM comments because your pageviews aren’t that high? Oh, hunny. You’d be surprised. I thought the same thing until I checked my filter one day!
UpDraftPlus– backup plugin. This is one of those things you have to have and hope you’ll never need. Just like the insurance policies you buy for your home and car. Make sure to back up your blog daily. Set a reminder on your phone. You never know what may cause a little bug to get in the mix.
After trying a few social share buttons, I’ve been really happy with Social Warfare. The customer service they provide was pretty helpful when I was having technical difficulties. They taught me a lot.
If you’re gonna be a serious blogger who knows how to earn money online then you’re gonna be BFFs with Pinterest. Just get used to it. It’s like when you were a kid and your Mom’s best friend’s kid was your playmate- like it or not- because y’all’s moms hung out all the time. Since that’s the case, you’ll need a pin it button like this one from jQuerty.
Set up a Facebook like box somewhere on your blog that links back to your blog’s FB page. This will encourage readers who enjoy your content to follow you there so that they can keep up with when you have new posts and such.
The most important plugin of all may be the Yoast SEO plugin.
Insert Headers and Footers came in handy to me as a beginner before I felt comfortable adding code to my theme’s header or footer (the top or bottom section of the page).
AdInserter is helpful because it can add advertisements into your blog where you want them located without you having to handle the code work. I prefer not to use ads on my blog with only one or two exceptions, but I did do a test run once and this plugin was very helpful setting everything up.
Pretty Link Lite is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a plugin that makes any link into a prettier version of itself. This is useful when sharing affiliate links because they look nicer and they are easier to remember.
Finally the part you’re most interest in- How To Earn Money Online!!
Sign Up For A Couple Of Affiliates For Beginners
Before you begin using any methods to monetize, read this. It expalins the Federal Trade Commission’s rules.
These are the affiliates I signed up for the day I launched my blog which led to me being able to say I monetized my blog in the very first month. I know a bit about how to earn money online.
Amazon Affiliates – When I read a blog, I love it when the writer includes links to Amazon so that I can see what the item she’s talking about looks like. I think using these links actually enhances the reader’s experience. Maybe that’s just me.
Google AdSense – I signed up for Google AdSense on day one, but I ended up never going any further than that with it. It’s a good advertising program that a lot of bloggers use, but with my blog being in a Minimalist niche I feel like too many ads are against my core values.
ShareASale – A great play to find affiliates to work with on your blog.
Tomorrow I’ll be back with info on how to set up your blog’s social media right from the start.
Was this article about how to start a blog helpful? Do you have any advice about how to earn money online? I’d love to hear it in the comments.
Remember- I’m here to help if you have any questions about your new blog! I’m looking forward to hearing your questions! Contact me here.