Ever wondered how to start a blog and make enough money to quit your job?
You can do it. Tons of people already have.
Want definitive proof?
The blog you’re reading right now gets over 2,436,100 unique visitors a year and generates well over a million dollars in annual revenue.
$381,772 a month is a lot of money… especially for a blog. Now you aren’t going to generate that much money, but it is realistic for you to make 1/100th of what I am making.
That’s why I’m going to show you how to make $3817 a month.
Making $300,000 per month is REALLY hard. Making $3000 per month is a lot easier.
And for most folks, an extra $3000 per month would change their life.
So, yes. Blocks of text and a handful of images can generate life-changing amounts of money.
Want to know something else?
I started from the same place you’re at right now. The only difference between you and me is that I’ve already been doing this for a decade.
Look, I stumbled a LOT along the way. Fell flat on my face. Had tons of terrible ideas.
This guide shows you how to avoid the same mistakes I did. Not only will your path be easier, you’ll get there a lot quicker.
Let’s dive in.
Your 2-minute quickstart cheat sheet
Looking for a barebones, quickstart guide to get started as fast as possible? In this section, we won’t cover everything, only the essential steps.
First, you need an idea and a name for your blog.
From there, head to Whogohost.com and sign up for the Basic Plan. It’s $2.95 per month if you sign up for three years in advance—I highly recommend it to get the best deal.
Next, follow the instructions to set up your account. Skip all the package extras except for domain privacy + protection. The extra privacy is worth the investment.
Finish setting up your account, and now you officially have your own little piece of the internet. Congrats!
But, don’t celebrate too hard just yet—we’re not quite finished. From there, you need to:
- Install WordPress (your blogging platform)
- Choose and install a cheap/affordable theme
- Customize your new theme
- Write and publish your first blog post
- Stick to a regular publishing schedule
After you have your first few posts under your belt and traffic starts to flow in, you can start thinking about how you want to make your first $1.
From selling ad space to digital/physical product offerings and affiliate marketing, there are dozens of monetization methods you can explore.
Now let’s go through the whole process in detail.
Step 1. Unleash ideas within you
If you want to create a blog, you don’t need a revolutionary idea. But, your blog should be focused on something specific.
Remember that no idea, no matter how good, is truly unique.
But, you have unique experiences. You have a distinct voice. And, you probably have a vibrant personality that will attract others, like your family and friends.
When it comes to choosing your blog’s niche, there are two key questions to ask yourself.
1. Do I Enjoy Learning About This Topic?
If you don’t love the topic, it’ll show in your writing. You shouldn’t even start a blog if you don’t love what you’re blogging about.
Whatever topic you pick, you need to love it, and naturally curious about it. If not, you’ll run out of ideas quickly. Most importantly, you won’t be able to consistently create content that will build your audience.
If you are still lost, think about what your family and friends come to you for when seeking advice? It might be fitness, recipes, or relationship advice. You know best.
2. Are There Others Interested in The Same Things?
You might feel like the only 23-year-old who’s obsessed with knitting. But, there are others out there.
Do a quick Google search and you’ll find 539,000 results aimed at people just like you.
You might be wondering if your idea is too quirky. Or, maybe it’s too broad?
If you want to start a travel blog, stay away from generic words like “travel.” Choose a more specific topic, like “backpacking.”
Step 2. Choose a name for your new blog
Now for the fun part: naming your blog.
This is your brand. It’s how people will remember you.
But don’t overthink it. The magic of a brand gets built over time. Even if you feel stuck, keep moving forward.
The best way to land on the perfect name is to start with brainstorming. In the last step, we talked about unleashing all of your ideas and nailing down your niche. Now, it’s time to take those ideas and turn them into a name.
So, open up a new spreadsheet or grab a pen and paper. Then spend about ten minutes writing down every word that comes to mind.
From there, start combining words and phrases until something stands out to you. Aim for 5 – 10 potential names and write them down.
Now, it’s time to see if those names are available as domains. A domain is where your blog lives on the internet.
As an example, neilpatel.com is my domain.
Neil Patel is who I am, but it’s also my brand and what you type into the address bar to find me. But that also means you can’t use the domain because I already own it.
You could do what I did and use your personal name as your domain.
But in most cases, I recommend choosing a different name for your blog. That’ll make it a lot easier to sell the site if you ever want to.
How do we see if domains are available?
I prefer to use Whogohost.com’s domain name checker. Type each potential name in one at a time to see what’s available.
After you click the search button, you’ll see whether or not the name you chose is in use.
When you find a name that’s available, you’ll get results like this:
Keep trying your potential names until an option you like is available. If none of your potential names are available as a .com, head back to the beginning and keep brainstorming.
It might take some effort to find the perfect name and domain name for your blog, but it’s worth it.
Here are some extra tips for choosing an excellent domain name:
- Always choose a .com when possible
- Avoid using numbers, hyphens, and homophones (words that sounds the same but are spelled differently)
- Keep it as short and concise as possible
- Should be easy to say and understand
- Avoid complicated and commonly misspelled words
When you land on an available name, Bluehost automatically adds it to your cart.
Don’t buy it yet. I’ll show you how to get your domain for free in the next step.
Step 3. Get Web Hosting with Bluehost
Now it’s time to get your blog live.
It may seem complicated at first, but don’t worry. It’s much easier than it sounds.
To get started, you need web hosting (where your blog lives) and a domain name (your blog’s address). The good news is that Whogohost.com, my favorite web hosting company, offers both as a package deal.
Plus, it’s incredibly affordable. You also get an awesome discount as a NeilPatel.com reader. And your domain name is free for the first year.
So, head over to Whogohost.com and click “Get Started Now.”
Next, you’ll see three different plans. Scroll down and select the Basic Plan for $2.95/month. It includes everything you need when you’re just getting started.
And you can always upgrade later if you need to. So, for now, select the Basic Plan.
Next, you get the chance to register the domain name you found in step two. You already know it’s available, so this step is a breeze.
Type it into the box on the left, make sure the dropdown is set to .com, and click Next.
Next, either sign in using your Google account or manually enter your personal information.
Then, scroll down and choose your registration term from the dropdown menu under “Package Information.” You’ll get the best deal with a 36-month registration by locking in a lower rate.
You can also choose a 24-month or 12-month agreement if you’d rather spend less today.
Now, you have a few extras to choose from.
Package Extras – What You Need and Don’t Need
Let’s take a quick look at these package extras and walk through which ones you need and don’t need. Honestly, you only need one of them.
But, let’s briefly talk about each one:
- Domain Privacy + Protection – keeps your personal info off the public record by replacing it with Bluehost’s business information. I highly recommend investing in this.
- Codeguard Basic – creates daily backups for your blog. There are other options out there, so you don’t need it.
- Bluehost SEO Tools – straight up? You don’t need this. There are far better free SEO alternatives, like Ubersuggest.
- Microsoft 365 Mailbox Trial – this is for managing your business email account. It’s free so you can try it out if you want to check it out, but I highly recommend Google Workspace instead.
- SiteLock Security Essentials – protects your blog from malware. There are much better options for this, so you don’t need it.
To recap, domain privacy + protection is the only package extra you need.
It exists to keep your private information safe and secure. Without it, anyone can access your phone number, home address, and email. Which… can cause various issues like scam callers and unsolicited mail.
It’s certainly worth the extra investment.
So, make sure you uncheck all the boxes except privacy + protection.
You’re almost there – just one more thing
Enter your payment information, read the auto renewal terms, and hit submit.
After that, you’re done with the hardest part! Congrats on your new blog!
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the instructions to set up your account. Then, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
Step 4. Install WordPress – Your Blogging Software
You can’t start a blog without blogging software. I run all of my blogs on WordPress because it’s user-friendly, free, and powerful.
If you decide to make a blog that’s not on WordPress you’ll find that it is much more costly as WordPress offers thousands of free plugins that allow you to modify your blog in any way, shape, or form.
Even without a technical bone in your body, you can install WordPress in exactly five clicks.
After you get your free domain and hosting account, you can log in and use your first click on the “Install WordPress” icon.
Choose the “do it yourself” version and click the “Install” button.
Use your third click on the “Check Domain” button
Your last two clicks will be for acknowledging their terms of service and finalizing your install.
Within a minute, you’ll have a fully functional WordPress blog up and running.
Step 5. Design Your Blog With a WordPress Theme
In the blogging world, WordPress designs are called themes.
Out of the box, your blog will look something like this:
It isn’t the fanciest design out there, but it’s workable.
There are thousands of themes to choose from. But, it can be easy to get trapped in “Shiny Object Syndrome” and not walk away with anything.
You can swap out your theme any time, so don’t get too caught up with the bells and whistles.
First, you need to log into your WordPress admin. You can access this by going to yourdomain.com/wp-admin.
Here, you’ll need to enter your user credentials to log in.
If you’re new to WordPress, the dashboard might look a little daunting at first, but you’ll be an expert with a little practice.
Once the installation is complete, click the “Activate” button and you’re all set.
If you can’t find a theme that you like, there are premium themes that you can purchase from sites like:
- Elegant Themes
- Thrive Themes
By now, your theme should be activated and ready to go. Let’s move on to customizing your theme.
Step 6. Customize and Optimize Your WordPress Blog
There are endless customizations that you can make on a WordPress blog. We’ll stick with the essentials.
Themes are the foundation of your design and include the core functionalities. WordPress also has plugins that can add to or extend the functionality of your blog.
For example, you can use plugins to add forums, contact forms, or sliders. While they might seem like basic features, they aren’t always available by default.
The first step is to click the “Customize” button on your active theme.
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