Anyone can use a blog as an internet diary, but monetizing a blog requires strategy, planning, and extreme attention to detail. It's harder than it looks, and the learning curve is steep. …But if you are willing to put in that extra work you can reap the benefits of having a stream of income or a side hustle that you can directly control, plus a wonderful creative outlet! (See how my blog earns me over $7k each month, here!)
How to Start a Blog that Earns Money While You Sleep: The Full 5-step Guide
Step #1 – Find Your Niche
First thing that you’ll have to do is find a topic that is both interesting to you, the writer, and your desired audience. It’s important to spend a good chunk of time thinking about the kind of blog you want to create before ever clicking, posting or tweeting a single thing.
Step #2 – Build the site!
Once you have an idea of what you want your blog to be focused on, it’s time to work on the site itself.
Let's just make this simple: You're going to install a WordPress website.
Me (and just about every other person on the planet) LOVES WordPress. It's so stinking simple to use and intuitive and it comes with great plugins so you can create a really powerful, interactive website. People who don't understand WordPress think my site looks really impressive, but really it's just a drag and drop theme/framework that I can move around to my liking, and WordPress makes that all possible.
Really, WordPress is the industry standard for bloggers. I've used other platforms to blog for my business clients and they're hard to manage, understand, and optimize for SEO.
Just trust me, you want WordPress.
2a. Buy a domain name and hosting package
If the thought of all the technology involved in running a living, breathing website is what's kept you from starting up your own blog side hustle, let me show you how brainless it can be.
Wanna know a secret? I actually have several websites and some are with GoDaddy and other smaller competitors, but HostGator is my go-to. (GoDaddy even gave me a bike once).Even though I use a more expensive provider with a dedicated server for L Bee and the Money Tree (because of the traffic) I do use HostGator for some of my other, smaller sites, which is why I think they're a great fit for those who want an easy and affordable option for getting started.
Okay, so get a website with HostGator. Start here. Don't worry, you can cancel at any time!
2b. Select Your Plan
Get the Hatchling Plan (cute!) so you can get the free domain. Also! You should blog for about a year in order to really start seeing some $$$, which is why I recommend people do it as a side hustle or creative endeavor first rather than trying to start a “blog as a business.”
2a.) Type in the domain name you decided on in step #1. Try to get a domain name as close to your blog name as possible.
2c. Enter in your info and select your hosting plans
I love every aspect of being a blogger, so I encourage you to get at least the one year plan.
Blogging isn't a “get rich quick” scheme, but if you put in the time and effort, you can create something that will make you great money on the side for YEARS. I've made close to $50,000 from my blog (or an average of $1,000 per month) for little work each week, doing something I really love and enjoy.
But of course, the more months you buy the cheaper it gets, so keep that in mind too! If you go to HostGator by clicking my affiliate link here, you’ll receive an extra 20% off! Score!
I also recommend investing in HostGator's Domain Privacy Protection. It will make sure that your information as the domain owner isn't shared with others.
2d. Want to learn how to start a blog? Install WordPress
- When you completed your purchase, you should have received an email from HostGator with your cPanel username and password. cPanel is the portal you’ll use to manage your web hosting. The cPanel link is unique to you, so be sure to bookmark it for future reference.Log into cPanel and click on the Quick Install icon.
See it? Click on it.
Then this screen comes up and you should click on “WordPress” (labeled as 1 in the pic) and then “Install WordPress” (2)
- Enter in your information such as “Username” and “Password” and be SURE to write this down as this is how you will log in to your website.
- You'll receive a log in link in a separate email. Save that info as well.
2e. Fill out the forms
- 1. The Base Domain for your installation.
- 2. The sub directory you would like the site to load from, if desired. You can totally leave this blank, but maybe you want your WordPress URL to be mydomain.com/site instead of just mydomain.com. In that case, your site will always display this extension (if you enter one).
- 3. For Admin Email, enter an email address where you want the admin password emailed to.
- 4. For Blog Title, enter the name of the website. This is what will appear in the header as the name of your site.
- 5. For Admin Username, enter your preferred user name.
- 6. Your first name.
- 7. Your last name.
- 8. Hit the “Install” WordPress Button
A progress bar at the top of the page will let you know when installation is complete. Once complete, you will be able to start working on your WordPress site. Check your email for your WordPress username and password as well as a link to your WordPress dashboard.
Step #5 – Install a Nice Looking Theme
You can either pick a free WordPress theme (just hit the “themes” button in your wordpress dashboard) or buy your own and customize it. I like Creative Market and Bluchic. You'll purchase a theme and they'll give you a zip file. You can easily upload the zip file in the “Themes” tab of the dashboard as well.
The only way to learn WordPress if you're a novice is to get around and play in it and with the customizations. It will seem a bit foreign at first, but WordPress is very user-friendly and the most time you spend with it – the easier it will get.
Soon you'll be up and blogging in no time!
Step #4 – Start Creating & Curating Content
At this point it is a good idea to create a content calendar so that you have set dates for posts – a deadline of sorts – and are able to see what sort of content you plan to post for each day/week/month at a time. This also allows you to work ahead and make changes if needed.
Step #5 – Promote Content
This is all just scratching the surface of what it takes to “blog yourself rich,” but I spent a lot of time ensuring my course, Beginner Blog Accelerator, is the resource to start. It takes everything I've learned over the last four years I've spent as a blogger and walks readers through step-by-step.
I liken it to getting all my years of experience so you can get your blog up, running, and making that moolah in 90 days.
Sure, you can spend hours researching on your own, but wouldn't you rather buy a best-in-class resource that delivers what you need to know without frustrating hours of extensive research?