How to set up a blog and make money blogging

I own multiple sites and have been making money blogging for years. Here is a simple guide to help you set up and get started making money with links to what I use, what I recommend and extra resources. Some are affiliate links which is how I pay for all the free content provided on this site. I only recommend products and services I personally use on all my site.

How to start a blog

1.) Go self-hosted
My sites are all hosted with SiteGround and I recommend them to everyone. I have used a variety of hosts. SiteGround have been the best value, are extremely affordable (cheaper than many others I have used). Customer service has been fantastic and they have done a few extras for me which they normally charge for. I had issues with my site being down on other hosts, regularly, which is no good if you are trying to grow a business! Hosting with SiteGround starts at $3.95per month.

2.) Choose a good domain name
Choose an easy to remember, short domain name. I have my domain names separate to my hosting for many reasons. I don’t believe in having all your eggs in one basket. Once you have your domain and your site, make sure the domain name is connected to your hosting properly and directed there.

3.) Install WordPress
Hosts such as SiteGround make it easy to install WordPress. Log into SiteGround. Click on My Accounts. Scroll down and click on WordPress then follow the instructions to install it.

4.) Choose a theme
With WordPress installed, go to your WordPress admin and pick a theme. You can select a free theme within WordPress or opt to purchase a premium theme which has more features. To find a theme go to “Appearance” then pick “Themes”.

5.) Add Plugins
There are thousands you can choose from and what you select will depend partially on what you are doing with your site. I recommend starting with at least the following:
Yoast SEO –  for SEO
Akismet – to protect from spam
Sucuri – for security and protection
AddToAny – or similar plugins enable people who visit your site to share it easily via social media accounts
HelloBar – for email sign ups
JetPack – gives you stats and has a heap of features
WordPress Editorial Calendar – to plan out posts easily
WP Super Cache – to cache your site

These are just a few of the plugins I use and recommend.

6.) Add Google Analytics
Google Analytics will give you all the information you need about your site visitors, what they are looking at, how many are looking at your site, where they live, what they are interested in, how long they spend on your site, what they are reading etc. Advertisers will want screenshots of this before they pay you to do sponsored posts etc. on your site.

7.) Set up your social accounts and email
Set up each social media platform you plan to use and secure the name in all others. Make sure you go through and fill in all the details, add all necessary photos and make it clear what you are about. Start following, liking, commenting and engaging with others on social media to get it growing and add the links to your site.

Set up a way to collect email address and send content to them. MailChimp, Awebber and InfusionSoft are popular options with different features. Make it easy for people to sign up to your list, give them a good reason to then make sure you stay in contact with them once a month, once a week or whatever you can commit to. Do not send out emails daily.

8.) Quality Content
Have at least 10 posts ready to go or live already when you launch. Ideally, have an about page and category pages set up plus your email address then a few quality blog posts so there is content on your site. Without content, people won’t come back. You are better off posting once a week or once a month and making sure it is a high quality post than posting low quality content daily.

9.) Marketing Plan
Who is your target audience, what problems are you solving for them and how can you reach them?
Simply setting up your blog doesn’t mean anyone will find you. You need a solid marketing planning, know what to share on social media, when to share it, set up your email database and send newsletters to them, do guest posts on other sites, podcast interviews and work out exactly how you are going to market your site to your audience.

10.) Educate yourself
I highly recommend checking out all my business resources at www.kylietravers.com.au. A few of the articles and resources I have found useful for blogging are:
Day One Advice: 78 successful bloggers reveal what advice they wish they knew which has some great friends of mine in it who have sold their sites for over a million dollars.
Problogger’s Guide to Your First Week of Blogging is a great book to help you get started.
If you are already blogging I found 31 Days To Build A Better Blog by Problogger extremely valuable with easy to implement advice, lots of resources, links and a forum/community too.

How can you make money blogging?
With multiple ways to make an income through your blog, it is best you work out what you want to do then commit to doing it that way. For example, if you plan on having a lot of your own products, recommending others dilutes your message. If you plan on making money from sponsored posts and affiliates work out how often you are willing to post, what your guidelines are and prices.

One easy option is to install ads. Viglink and Wowtrk are two which have been great for me.

Before you focus too much on monetising your blog, concentrate on building a following, an engaged community who love what you do and providing quality content for them. If you don’t have an audience, you can’t sell anything.

Sponsored posts
The default option of many bloggers. Companies paying the blogger a fee to write about them. Fees vary from $50 through to thousands depending on traffic and what the blogger determines they are worth.

If doing a sponsored post, make sure it is a ‘no follow’ link. Mark it as a sponsored post. Use #Sponsored in the title and have a disclaimer at the beginning of the post. I also have a category for advertising.

Determine how long the post will be live for. Decide if your rates include social media shares and how many links can be included in the article. Create a basic contract to use and have a cancellation clause to state what happens if they or you cancel it.

Work out what you will and won’t do, brands you will or won’t promote then create a standard response to use outlining everything for all the emails you will get about sponsored or ‘guest’ posts. Most guest post requests are businesses wanting a link.

Create a page on your site outlining how you work with brands, what options you offer and create a media kit to either have on your site or to send to brands when they enquire.

Affiliate Marketing
An affiliate link is a link where you get a payment if someone buys something through it such as books from Amazon. Most bloggers make some of their money from affiliates. I only recommend or link to products/services I have used personally and can recommend.

Affiliate links still need to be marked no follow and disclosed as affiliate links. You can use them in posts, in your sidebar, on social media or in your newsletter. Be consistent, know what you are recommending and don’t spam people with them.

One of the programs I use and make decent money from is Wow. You can sign up free here.

Sell your own products – eBooks, courses, Skype coaching
Create eBooks, eCrouses, offer one on one Skype coaching, do webinars, run workshops, classes, a Meet Up Group, sell graphics, printables or physical products. The list is endless as to what you can sell from your site. I know bloggers making over $100,000 a month selling their own products from their sites.

Work out what your audience needs/wants and fill that need or solve their problems with your products.

Other options
The above are the main ways people make money blogging. You can also offer banner ads in your header, sidebar or footer. Mentions on social media for a fee, Captcha advertising, brand ambassadorships, sponsored packages, freelance services such as writing, blogging and virtual assistant services and pop up ads.

The most important thing is to decide how you want to do it, provide quality content and develop a community or you won’t be able to monetise it anyway.

What questions do you have about blogging?