How to Start a Successful Blog: The Complete Newbie Guide

Do you have the desire to start a blog? Starting a blog is one thing, but how to start a blog and make money with it is another. Millions of blogs never make a dime, and there's a reason for that. #startablog #makemoneyblogging #bloggingforbeginners #wordpress #bluehost #hostgator #siteground #howtostartablogstepbystep #howtostartablogandmakemoney #blogginginspiration #workfromhome #2017 #2018

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a commission or other benefit at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting The Daily Change Jar.

I f…ing LOVE blogging!

I wish I would have started blogging 10 years ago. Better late than never!

Let’s face it though, it’s not for everyone, nor is it a one-size-fits-all type of thing.

There are so many different ways that you can start and run a blog.

One of the things that I have noticed with most “how to start a blog” posts is they are generally a long sales pitch for one kind of hosting plan or another.

I love an affiliate sale as much as the next blogger, but I also like options.

Whether you have a few hundred bucks to spend or next to nothing to get started, you CAN start a blog and build it into a profitable business.

So in this post, I will review the technical aspect of starting a blog. If you would like more in-depth info, such as picking your niche, writing your content, email marketing, monetization, and more, sign up for my blogging email course below.

Now one of the things that I promised myself from the very beginning when it came to blogging was I would remain transparent with my audience. Having said that, I am NOT a blogging expert, I haven’t been doing this for 10 years, I don’t make $100,000+ per month blogging (at least yet), I don’t have a team of VAs, nor am by any means a “guru.”

How To Start A Blog FREE Email Course

In this free course, I show you how to create a blog easily, from setup to content to all the way to earning your first income and attracting readers. Join now!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

So why the heck should you listen to anything I have to say?

Even though I may not be an “expert” I have done a SHIT TON of research into blogging and what it takes to be successful.

I take blogging seriously. I eat, sleep, and breathe blogging!

It is my career, my full-time gig, and I am super passionate about it! I am constantly learning, tweaking, and testing. And even though some may still consider me a  “newbie” I have had people come to me asking for help to set up their blogs, and have taught seasoned bloggers useful tactics, so that tells me something 🙂

So let’s get on with it, shall we?

Now, I won’t lie, blogging is A LOT of work. If you aren’t passionate about it and excited to sit down in front of your computer every day, then blogging probably isn’t for you.

It also takes time to see results from your efforts. Don’t’ expect to hit publish and be the next millionaire blogger. It doesn’t work that way.

There are millions of blogs online right now. There is an easy and quick way to start a blog and a right way if you are planning on turning your blog into a business. If you have read my first income report, I am transparent with the fact that I started my blog with the intent to make money from it.

Hello, I’m not putting in all this work for nothing! Like I said before, blogging is my full-time gig, my career, and just like any other career, the goal is to have an income from it, yes?

Good, glad we cleared that up 🙂

So if you are looking to start a blog as just an online journal and don’t want to make money from your blog, then you might as well stop reading here.

HOWEVER, if you want to start a blog and turn it into a business and actually make money from your hard earned blogging efforts, keep reading…

The whole concept of hosting was very confusing to me when I first started researching what blogging was all about. So let’s break it down.

Your hosting is like buying land to build on, your website is your house, and your domain is your address. Make sense?

So why not save some $ and use a free blogging platform?

There are several reasons why you should spend the money to purchase hosting.

When you purchase hosting, you own your “property,” whereas if you are using a free blogging platform, you can lose that property at any point in time, along with all your hard work.

If you ever plan on making money from your blog or website, freelancing your service, or turning your site into a business of any kind, then buying hosting is an absolute must! It doesn’t have to be expensive at all to get started, I outlined 3 options for you below to fit everyone’s budget. 

When you have a site that you pay for hosting or a self-hosted site, you can do with it whatever you want. You can run your own ads, use affiliate links, participate in direct advertising, sell your own products, the list goes on.

Kind of like renting a house versus buying a house. When you buy your own house, you can do whatever you want with it. Whereas when you rent, you pretty much have no options.

Making money on a free blogging platform is VERY difficult. So don’t count on it. Many advertisers and companies won’t even consider working with a blogger that uses a free blogging platform. They are seen as unprofessional. It looks much more professional when you have a self-hosted site. Yourdomainname.com looks much better than yourdomainname.blogger.com.

Plus when you have a self-hosted site that shows companies that you are willing to invest in your business, which means your serious and they will be more likely to invest their time and energy into you.

Got it? Ok, good.

There are a TON of options for website hosting. I will give you a quick overview of 3 of the most common used by bloggers.

If you have read my income reports, you already know that I personally use HostGator.

Some of their features include:

  • 45-day money back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
  • Free site migration (helpful if you already have an established blog you want to switch over)
  • A variety of payment options

You can purchase hosting through HostGator for as little as $5.95/month for 36 months, $6.96/month for 24 months, or $7.95/month for 12 months. However, if you prefer to pay on a month to month basis rather than an upfront fee for 1-3 years, they also offer a month to month plan for $14.95/month.

This is a great option for those strapped for cash or with commitment issues. 😉

Keep in mind if you do decide to go with this plan you will also need to purchase a domain, which you can do through HostGator for $15.

If you do decide to purchase a domain and hosting through HostGator, use promo code TDCJ25OFF to get 25% off your entire order!

You’re welcome 😉

There are also other options for purchasing domain names.

You can get one through GoDaddy for about $1 or through NameCheap for less than $10. These prices are generally good for the first year and renew at a higher price each following year, generally around $15.  

Siteground is another good hosting company that I have heard lots of good things about from other bloggers.

Some of their features include:

  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Free site migration
  • Easy WordPress installation

The cost for hosting is $3.95 per month paid upfront for 12, 24, or 36 months. They do also offer a 1 month trial period, which can be good for someone unsure of their commitment level. You do also have to purchase a domain if you go through SiteGround for $14.99.

Lastly, BlueHost is a hosting company that A LOT of top bloggers promote.

Some of their features include:

  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • 1-click WordPress installation
  • 24/7 customer support
  • A free domain

To get the best deal, BlueHost offers their lowest price package for 36 months at $3.95/month. You also have the option of 24 months for $4.95/month, or 12 months for $5.45/month. BlueHost does not offer a trial period or a month to month payment option, which can be difficult for someone who is REALLY strapped for cash when starting their blog.

I can personally vouch for the outstanding customer service of BlueHost and HostGator. I have used both and they are timely and extremely helpful. I did learn in speaking with BlueHost customer service that they do not offer free site migration, which they charge about $150 for. So take that into consideration if you have an existing blog that you want to be moved to a self-hosted blog.  

So there are your options for hosting 🙂

Now, how the heck do you set these up?

No worries, they are all pretty similar in terms of setting up and getting things running.

First things first, before you go buying ANYTHING, pick your domain name.

Step #1-Pick your domain name.

A good resource to use to see if your domain name and accompanying social media handles are available is namechk.com.

If you want to develop a brand, it is very important to keep your name consistent across your site and social media. Simply type in the name you are looking at (without a .com or anything behind it) and whatever is available will show up green.

Some things like twitter you have to be careful of, as some names can be too long. For example, “thedailychangejar” is too long of a handle for twitter, so I simply dropped the “the”.

Another good resource for choosing a name if you are having trouble coming up with something is the Business Name Generator from Shopify.

Also, try to make sure your blog name is easy to spell and isn’t something too crazy. The way I came up with my blog name was I looked at all the popular “personal finance” blogs and the words they used in their names. Then I simply make a list of different parts of the names, then pieced something together that was easy to spell, made sense, and I could make a good logo from. Not necessary, but was one of my requirements.

Step #2: Purchase your hosting.

For simplicity’s sake, I will walk you through how to set up hosting through HostGator.

Click here to get started.

You are going to want to choose the WordPress Hosting package.

At this point, I am going to assume that you are only going to be working on 1 site, so the Starter plan should be enough.

Now you can choose to pay for 36, 24, or 12 months up front or pay month to month. I would suggest that you get the SSL certificate, especially if you plan on selling anything from your site. This assures your customers that your site is secure.

Don’t forget about the promo code: TDCJ5OFF!

Again you have options here. If you can’t afford to pay a lump sum upfront, then a month to month option through HostGator might be better for you. It is more expensive in the long run, but I know that not everyone has the funds to fork over a few hundred, or even $100 when they start out.

Just make sure if you are paying month to month that your card on file is up to date. You don’t want your card expiring and your site going down!

I had that happen a few times due to a rouge plugin when I first started and it was super frustrating!

When you are ready to get your blog setup, follow the steps below to purchase hosting for your blog.

  1. Go to the hosting company you chose and click the “Get Started Now” (or similar) button.
  2. Click on the package you are interested in.
  3. Enter the domain name you registered with earlier, or sign up for a new domain name.
  4. Enter your personal and payment information.
  5. Next, you will be asked to enter a password. Make sure it’s secure as this information is very important.

*Tip, it generally makes things easier to purchase your domain name through your hosting company, then you don’t have to worry about connecting your domain and hosting. However, if you already registered a domain with someone other than your hosting company, let’s help you get that setup, shall we?

Step #3: connecting your domain and your hosting

If you already purchased a domain name through your hosting company, you can skip this part.

If you buy your domain through a domain register like GoDaddy, then you will need to connect your domain to your hosting account.

Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.

GoDaddy has a full support page for setting nameservers for your domain names. Now I’m not a super “techie” person when it comes to this stuff, so I will admit, pretty much every time I did this I had to contact the hosting tech support to help me with the nameservers 🙂

But I have learned to take notes and outline step by step on how to modify your DNS Nameservers so I can help you guys out with it!

How to change your DNS Nameservers when you are using GoDaddy for your domain and HostGator for your hosting:

  1. Log into the GoDaddy.com Account Manager.
  2. Select Manage Domains from the Domain Names drop-down menu or the Manage Your Account list.
  3. Select the domain name you wish to modify and click the Modify button.
  4. Scroll down to NameServers and click the Change button next to Use Custom NameServers.
  5. Then simply click into the boxes and enter: ns8146.hostgator.com and ns8145.hostgator.com then click the Add Nameservers button.

*Note, it can take up to 24 hours for everything to go through. So be patient and don’t freak out if your site doesn’t show up right away.

You will then need to add the domain you bought as an addon domain to your web hosting. You can do this by clicking on “Domains” when logged into your web hosting account and then clicking on “assign.” Follow the steps and it is very easy!

Congrats, you have now connected your domain to your hosting account!

Step #4-Installing WordPress on Your Blog

Alright, here is where the rubber meets the road!

Putting WordPress on your blog is easy and FREE!

*Note, the WordPress you are installing on your self-hosted site is different from a WordPress.com blog, which is a free blogging platform.

  • After you create your password, the hosting company guides you through exactly what you need to do in order to start a blog.
  • First, you will need to pick a theme. You can just pick a random one for free or a paid one. All you need to do it Google “Free WordPress Themes” or check out Creative Market, which has some really cool and affordable themes that you can use to customize your blog exactly how you like it!
  • Then start putting together your blog and make it your own!

Don’t spend all your time obsessing over your theme or which widgets to add, you can always change things later.

Remember this: finished is better than perfect!

Now that your blog is officially set up, you should focus on creating high-quality content that your audience will love to read as well as an eye-catching design that speaks to your audience. Don’t go overboard though, simple is good. Have questions about setting up your blog? Leave them in the comments below!

After you sign up for hosting, if you have any questions or are confused about anything, shoot me an email and I will be happy to help you out! Don’t be afraid to reach out, that’s what I’m here for!

Your WordPress is set up, now what?

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you navigate your new blog.

  • After you have completed step #4, you will receive a separate email from your hosting company that will have your WordPress login information. GUARD THIS WITH YOUR LIFE! In order to log into your blog, it will always be your site name followed by “/wp-admin”. EX: “yourblogname.com/wp-admin.
  • When you want to create a blog post, click “posts” on the left-hand navigation site. A page is created the same way but used for things like an about page, a contact page, or anything other than an individual post.
  • Adding images is pretty simple also. If you want to add an image, click on “Media” on the left-hand side and upload your image or video.
  • Want to add a widget? You can go to “Appearance,” then “Widgets” in order to add items to your sidebar, footer, and so on.
  • If you want to collect email addresses, which I HIGHLY suggest right away, make sure you have an email autoresponder service set up. I personally use and recommend ConvertKit. There are lots of options to include ConvertKit or other email providers to collect email addresses.
  • As far as the design elements of your blog, there are plenty of free themes out there that you can simply download as a Zip file and upload to your blog. If you are looking for something specific and are willing to pay for a theme, CreativeMarket is a great place to start. There are TONS of themes to choose from on there, as well as other many creative elements for building your blog, like fonts, images, and social elements.

Have questions still?

Want a more indepth overview on how to create content, promote, and launch your blog? Sign up below for the FREE email course!

How To Start A Blog FREE Email Course

In this free course, I show you how to create a blog easily, from setup to content to all the way to earning your first income and attracting readers. Join now!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Don’t hesitate to reach out, simply comment below or fill out the contact form here.

Have you started your blog yet? What’s holding you back?

 

Do you have the desire to start a blog? Starting a blog is one thing, but how to start a blog and make money with it is another. Millions of blogs never make a dime, and there's a reason for that. #startablog #makemoneyblogging #bloggingforbeginners #wordpress #bluehost #hostgator #siteground #howtostartablogstepbystep #howtostartablogandmakemoney #blogginginspiration #workfromhome #2017 #2018
Do you have the desire to start a blog? Starting a blog is one thing, but how to start a blog and make money with it is another. Millions of blogs never make a dime, and there's a reason for that. #startablog #makemoneyblogging #bloggingforbeginners #wordpress #bluehost #hostgator #siteground #howtostartablogstepbystep #howtostartablogandmakemoney #blogginginspiration #workfromhome #2017 #2018
Do you have the desire to start a blog? Starting a blog is one thing, but how to start a blog and make money with it is another. Millions of blogs never make a dime, and there's a reason for that. #startablog #makemoneyblogging #bloggingforbeginners #wordpress #bluehost #hostgator #siteground #howtostartablogstepbystep #howtostartablogandmakemoney #blogginginspiration #workfromhome #2017 #2018
Do you have the desire to start a blog? Starting a blog is one thing, but how to start a blog and make money with it is another. Millions of blogs never make a dime, and there's a reason for that. #startablog #makemoneyblogging #bloggingforbeginners #wordpress #bluehost #hostgator #siteground #howtostartablogstepbystep #howtostartablogandmakemoney #blogginginspiration #workfromhome #2017 #2018
Do you have the desire to start a blog? Starting a blog is one thing, but how to start a blog and make money with it is another. Millions of blogs never make a dime, and there's a reason for that. #startablog #makemoneyblogging #bloggingforbeginners #wordpress #bluehost #hostgator #siteground #howtostartablogstepbystep #howtostartablogandmakemoney #blogginginspiration #workfromhome #2017 #2018
Do you have the desire to start a blog? Starting a blog is one thing, but how to start a blog and make money with it is another. Millions of blogs never make a dime, and there's a reason for that. #startablog #makemoneyblogging #bloggingforbeginners #wordpress #bluehost #hostgator #siteground #howtostartablogstepbystep #howtostartablogandmakemoney #blogginginspiration #workfromhome #2017 #2018
Do you have the desire to start a blog? Starting a blog is one thing, but how to start a blog and make money with it is another. Millions of blogs never make a dime, and there's a reason for that. #startablog #makemoneyblogging #bloggingforbeginners #wordpress #bluehost #hostgator #siteground #howtostartablogstepbystep #howtostartablogandmakemoney #blogginginspiration #workfromhome #2017 #2018
Do you have the desire to start a blog? Starting a blog is one thing, but how to start a blog and make money with it is another. Millions of blogs never make a dime, and there's a reason for that. #startablog #makemoneyblogging #bloggingforbeginners #wordpress #bluehost #hostgator #siteground #howtostartablogstepbystep #howtostartablogandmakemoney #blogginginspiration #workfromhome #2017 #2018

How To Start A Blog FREE Email Course

In this free course, I show you how to create a blog easily, from setup to content to all the way to earning your first income and attracting readers. Join now!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge