Starting my own WordPress blog was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Not only has it been a great way to boost my career, but I’ve also started making recurring income writing about what I love: personal finance.
Many other bloggers make a full-time living by blogging and you certainly can too! Now before I sell you the dream, you should know blogging can be quite consuming and hard.
You’ll find yourself wanting to quit, maybe feeling burnt out, or feeling like you are making little progress. This is completely normal. But, if you are willing to stick it out and keep learning, you can reap the income rewards.
Below is my in-depth guide to starting a WordPress blog, the easy steps to get started, and tips to help you grow your blog.
If you grew up in the digital age or have ever been on the internet, then you are well aware of blogs and blogging.
Technology has made it more enticing for people to start their own and many have even turned their blog into a full-blown business.
Yet, sometimes a negative stigma comes with saying you have a blog or are a blogger, but I also think that mindset outsiders have is really changing.
For me, blogging makes sense for a few reasons:
- Great way to showcase your knowledge – If you are knowledgeable about something, have experience, or even looking to expand your knowledge, then starting a WordPress blog is something you should do. You can build a personal brand from your blog, improve your writing, and get new opportunities you may never of had without blogging.
- Resume & career booster – In the past (and still some present), employers make look at your blog as something not to take seriously or doesn’t apply to your job. Wrong. Launching a blog is a resume booster and the last few interviews I was on, I almost always was asked about the music blog I had launched. Why? Because it showed my technical chops, my entrepreneurial side, and helped me become a better marketer. Of course, if you blog about something obscene or risqué that could be a different story.
- Blogging can become a business – Blogging can become a full-time online business for you and open the doors to many new opportunities that put you in charge. There are opportunities in advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, freelance work, book deals, speaking engagements, and so much more. Now, blogging as your own business can be challenging and is not a guarantee to happen overnight, but it is well worth the effort if you put in the time.
How to Start A WordPress Blog
If you are taking blogging seriously and looking to launch a blog correctly, you should be on WordPress. I’ve been on other platforms that make it easier, but they just do not have the same support, functionality, and appeal.
To be more specific,
- WordPress sites are better for SEO
- Looks more professional
- There are tons of plugins to utilize your website better
- Makes you look more serious about blogging
- Pretty intuitive to learn (although there are more steps than say Blogger or Squarespace)
Yet, with WordPress, you will need to set-up a few things, including hosting.
When many people think of hosting, buying a domain, designing, etc. they panic. It’s a lot to digest if you are new to the blog game and it’s why other outlets like Blogger are so appealing.
I was always comfortable using WordPress for my jobs, but actually setting one up and paying for it was intimidating at first.
Luckily, Bluehost makes it easy and is quite affordable. It took me less than 10 minutes to get a domain, hosting, and WordPress set-up.
Now, if you are looking for another option for hosting, SiteGround is also quite good. But for Invested Wallet, I chose to go with Bluehost at this time.
Here’s How to Set Up Your WordPress Blog in a Few Minutes
I chose to launch Invested Wallet through Bluehost because:
- I was already familiar with the brand
- Affordable hosting options
- Free domain and SSL Certificate
- Easy WordPress install
- Bluehost is simple to understand and has 24/7 support
Now, before you get started on your own WordPress blog, you will need to have some upfront cash.
A lot other articles leave this part out when they mention about setting up your site. I don’t want you to feel surprised, but it’s also not that expensive.
For example, I’ve started this website for around $150 bucks, which is way cheaper than starting most businesses. And upfront cost is worth the potential opportunities or passive income you can generate later on.
Step 1: Find your domain and set-up hosting
You can click here to get started purchasing your hosting and your domain name, then continue to follow the steps below.
Generally, before you get into your hosting and WordPress blog, you need to think of a great domain to register. This might be the hardest part, especially because so many people buy domain names.
Make sure to write down a lot of variations and give it a day or two before committing if need. If you are taking blogging seriously or looking at a business, you do not want to rush the name.
But, if you already have a few in mind, use the domain checker below to see if your name is available.
Once you have the domain name picked out, click the “get started now” button and get started.
First, you’ll select a hosting plan that fits your needs. You can always select the cheapest plan and upgrade later, but I opted for a larger plan right from the start.
Once you select the hosting you feel comfortable with, you’ll get to register your domain for free! Or if you already have a domain, you can follow the steps to connect it here as well.
While your domain is important, you can always change it later too with Bluehost. For me, I like to get the name right from the start.
After selecting your domain name or connecting your existing one, you just need to fill out your personal account billing information in order to purchase your hosting.
This next part is important: Remember when I said you need some up-front money? When you select hosting, you pay by their monthly packages. So Bluehost has a 12-month, 24-month, 36-month, and 60-month package. The higher commitment to your site, the cheaper it costs you per month to host.
I know some of you are thinking, why is it not on a month to month basis? It’s something I’ve seen people on a lot of hosting sites ask for. I think in the future that might be a possibility, but right now these are the options. So if you are unsure of your blog or do not have $60-$200 budgeted towards get started (depending on your hosting selection), then wait until you are ready.
After your account info and payment info is set, you have officially set up your hosting and domain! Exciting! You’ll also receive a welcome email and will be sent your FTP information.
Then you can create your password. Make sure it is secure, a good length, and that you right it down for safe keeping. You can always do the suggested password, which I did so it would give me a secure sequence of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Go ahead and log in and start getting familiar with your new Bluehost account.
Step 2: Set up WordPress
This step is great because Bluehost makes your life easier here. It automatically connects your hosting to WordPress! No need to click around, mess with servers, etc. All done for you.
After you create your password and you are in your WordPress dashboard, Bluehost guides you through exactly what you need to do in order to start a blog.
Bluehost will ask you to pick a theme. You can just pick a random one or find one that you actually like elsewhere. You can change it later or scroll to the bottom and skip this step.
I chose a super basic theme because I went with a designer to customize the layout of my site specific to my needs. However, there are tons of great WordPress themes out there. T
here are many free themes and others might cost you $50+ for, it’s really up to you what you decide to do. You can always change your theme later or update it, so no need to worry!
After you choose a basic theme or skip to keep going, you’ll click on “Start Building”
On the next screen, you can choose “Business” or “Personal” – it’s up to you. Or, you can click the “I don’t need help.”
You’ll be able to see you WordPress dashboard of plugins, pages, and blog posts!
Step 3: Start writing!
The last step to me is the most exciting because you have officially set-up everything you needed to have your own blog. Now you can write your first post and let the world see your knowledge!
How to Grow Your WordPress Blog And Start Making Money
Now that you set up your WordPress blog in a few steps from above (if you did not start the set up process, get your blog started here with Bluehost), you’ll also want to think about how you can grow it and begin making some passive income.
While I love creating blogs, writing about my passions, and using blogging as a resume booster, I also look at as a great way to make income.
There is nothing wrong with looking at your blog as a business or as a way to make some side cash.
Of course, you should be genuine in your WordPress blog, nor scam anyone with malicious links to try and make a dollar. People can tell from a mile away!
Passive income from your blog can come in many different ways: ads, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, paid writing opportunities, brand partnerships, sponsored social posts, freelance work, etc.
However, the income will not be very passive in the beginning as it takes work to build it up. In fact, even after you build the traffic, you’ll still want to put in some work to maintain results.
Now, in order to make money blogging, you need to know how to grow your blog into an income machine. Many new bloggers also assume as soon as they launch that tons of money will pour in. This can take months, maybe even years for traction to really grow.
There is so much content on the internet, you need to dedicate time building trust and a community of dedicated readers.
How You Can Start to Grow Your WordPress Blog
Ready to start growing your blog? Below I have outlined a few things you need to do in order to start seeing traction.
I did not go overly in-depth, otherwise, this post would be 5,000+ words. Instead, I’ve given you enough information to get you started and begin your own research.
Search engine optimization is one of the most important aspects of growing your WordPress blog. You want your content to be on the first page of Google in order to get that steady flow of traffic. SEO can be difficult and takes time, especially for a new blog.
There are some great SEO tools out there and I’ve used a few, but I dig SEMRush and Ubersuggest. Here are some ways to get cranking in organic traffic:
- Create long-form blog posts aim for 1500+ words if you can, with shorter paragraphs.
- Use various long-tail keywords. This tends to happen naturally as you write but using a tool like SEMRush or Ubersuggest will help you find various phrase to target.
- Guest post on other blogs to get linkbacks to your site. Links from other credible blogs and outlets will improve your search rankings.
- Add the Yoast plugin to your WordPress blog to update page titles and meta-descriptions. These aspects may not affect ranking as much, but matters when it comes to your click-through-rates, which can affect your search engine positioning.
While social media algorithms have changed and add the countless social posts every second, it can be hard to be seen. Yet, social media still plays a huge role in helping your blog get noticed, generating traffic, and even help your SEO.
- Share every day or multiple times a day (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.)
- Re-share old posts, but change the context of the social post
- Engage readers if they comment on social posts
- Engage with other bloggers social accounts in your space
- Like other social posts and leave comments
Besides social media, many people forget to promote their content in other places. If you want your brand to grow and more people viewing your content, consistent promotion is key.
- Answer questions on Quora and linking back to a specific post. Also helps with SEO.
- Find forums related to your topics or where your targeted audience hangouts and share. Don’t spam them or you’ll potentially be banned.
- After a few weeks, import your post to Medium, which can get you visibility from that platform.
- Post in Facebook groups. While groups can get spammy, if you join the right ones and craft a good message, you can get in front of a lot of people. A few of my posts in Facebook groups have generated 1,000+ pageviews.
Right when you launch your blog, make sure you set up an email provider to capture newsletter subscribers. These are the people who value and love your content, getting them to return to your site is crucial.
Of course, you also don’t want to spam anyone and make sure you make it clear they are able to unsubscribe at any time.
These email subscribers are valuable to your traffic and potential future revenue if you decide to take a blogging seriously (you should be!). Here are three tools I have used frequently and even use on Invested Wallet:
- Mailchimp – Probably one of the most recognized email brands out there, I’ve been using this platform off and on for years. You can use it free for up to 2,000 subscribers and they have a lot of features. A good place to start, but note they are limited once you grow more.
- ConvertKit – These guys are fairly new, but taking over the email world by storm. Why? Because they are specifically built for bloggers and creators, so they tailor to our needs. Forms, reporting, landing pages, cool subscriber options, smart automation, etc. I plan on using these guys for Invested Wallet in the coming months. Their pricing is also really attractive, especially for those just getting a start or generating lower monthly income.
- Sumo – I’ve known about Sumo for quite some time, but only recently started using the tool. The company arms you with a suite of tools to increase your traffic, build a following and track your success every step of the way. Takes 30 seconds to get started and is free up to a certain point, but is also fairly priced. You can see the tool in use on this blog.
By this I mean, write like a human and show your personality. You don’t want to be thought of as a robot. Personalization is everything these days and showing you are human helps you build a connection and trust with your audience. That ultimately will lead to blog growth.
This is for sure one of the hardest aspects of growing your blog, is being patient. Everything takes time, but with consistent writing and testing, comes growth.
Sometimes it may happen faster than for others, but stay focused and do not compare your blog to others. Too many people give up blogging after a few months when if they stuck with it a bit longer, something big would have happened.
Phew! That was a lot of information about starting a WordPress blog and how to grow it to make passive income.
There is more definitely more detail and techniques to grow a blog than what I wrote, but this will certainly get you on the right path in the coming months of your site.
I will probably write an in-depth post about growing your blog or website in the near future, so stay tuned.
Have you started your own WordPress blog yet? What challenges or successes have you had? Let me know in the comments below!