Do you have a passion for a certain topic? Want to turn that passion into something that can potentially make you some money on the side?
Whether that passion is candles or something else entirely, a blog is a great way to start a business on the side and make a little extra money while creating content about something you love.
In this post I’m going to show you how to start a blog and make money from home, step-by-step!
I know that this topic isn’t about candles, but I’ve had a couple people ask me how they can start their own blogs. I thought this would be a good opportunity to do something different and hopefully share something useful.
For those that don’t know, I created this blog back in 2015! It all began with the simple idea of putting something out there on the internet that I thought people might like to read.
Over time it has grown into something that earns me money – which is passive for the most part – while giving me the freedom to work when I want, but more importantly, allows me to work for myself.
But this isn’t the only experience I have in this area.
I’ve been creating blogs and content for a decade now, so I like to think I know a bit of what I’m talking about when it comes to this topic.
However, not every idea I had was a success. I taught myself everything along the way and made plenty of mistakes getting here.
I’m going to show you how you can avoid many of the mistakes I made along the way, and fast-track your way to success.
This post might look intimidating in it’s length but don’t let that scare you. It’s only because I tried to make it as detailed as possible, and I go through each step along the way. The entire process of setting up the blog should only take around 30 minutes.
So let’s get into it, shall we?
A few words of caution
There is nothing I find more annoying than the countless “gurus” that you see all over the internet making outrageous claims about how you can “make millions of dollars on autopilot for no work whatsoever”.
That is really not what this post is all about. I don’t want to set unrealistic expectations and mislead anyone.
If you go into this expecting to make millions from the get-go, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
However, that isn’t to say that you can’t realistically make a good amount of money doing this either. Making enough money to make a full time living doing this is actually fairly common.
Even if you only make enough money to cover a few bills each month, I’d consider that a worthwhile side hustle.
So what does a big part of this side hustle come down to?
This may be obvious given the name, but the majority of your time spent blogging is going to be creating content!
Researching and writing is the biggest part of blogging.
The good part about writing content on a blog is that the work that you put in up front can create you passive income for years and years to come.
So what is passive income exactly?
Passive income is not money that you make for doing nothing.
It is, however, money that you make continually around the clock after giving up your time initially as an investment.
For example, creating a blog post can be a source of passive income.
You put in some time up front creating that blog post, but in turn, it can continue to generate revenue for you months and even YEARS after you create and publish it. All this without you actively continuing to work on it.
Pretty cool right?
Do you need to be tech savvy to create a blog?
No! These days, blogging has become quite user friendly and it does not take a lot of computer knowledge to get something up and running.
There is a bit of set-up that is required to get your blog up and running, but once you have that done, creating content is practically as easy as writing text in a Word document.
How to get started creating your own blog (Step by step)
You are now ready to jump in and get started today.
The earlier you start, the better, blogs tend to grow over time. Even if you don’t have the perfect idea in your head right now, it’s still better to start and adjust your blog as you go.
Preplanning – What to make a blog about
It’s good to have a general idea of what you’d like your blog to be about beforehand. You don’t have to know the exact details, but a general idea can be helpful.
Maybe you’d like to create a blog like this one about candles, or maybe you’d like to create a blog about pets.
It really doesn’t matter what you choose because people are searching for just about any topic on Google every day. If there is a topic that you are interested in, there is likely plenty of other people that are interested in it as well.
What if you really have no idea what to create a blog about?
There are a few steps you can take to get the ideas flowing for a website idea:
Browse Pinterest and see what people are sharing
Pinterest, in my opinion, is the best social media platform for bloggers.
Every day, people are sharing thousands of ideas on the platform and looking around at other peoples ideas can stir up some ideas that you might like to make a blog on as well.
What would you like to learn more about?
If you’ve ever wanted to pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill, you might have a great idea for a blog on your hands.
Many people don’t like reading information from experts because they often overlook important information that can be useful to beginners.
By blogging about something as you are learning about it, you can gain quite a bit of attention from other beginners, while also learning a new skill or hobby at the same time!
Choose a topic that is important to people
Pets, money, hobbies.
When people really care about something, they spend a lot of time wanting to learn more about it.
These can be great ideas for blogs in general, but also when it comes to thinking of things to write once you have an idea picked out. Solving peoples questions or problems about these things can bring in lots of interested readers.
Blogs about physical products often do well
Take for example, this blog.
I often write reviews on candles that I’ve tried out and give recommendations based on what certain people might be looking for.
Look around your home. Is there anything that you’ve tried that you now have some expertise on that people would like to know about?
People like to read honest reviews about products and entire websites and blogs are sometimes built on these ideas.
Consider blogs or Youtube channels that you currently subscribe to
Often times, the things you are currently reading or watching make for great ideas for your own blog.
The fact that someone else is already doing it shouldn’t scare you off but encourage you, as you now know that there is already a market for that idea.
Competition in blogging is good and even though someone is already doing it, you can often put a twist on other ideas and in some cases, gain exposure from people that already have an audience.
Also, if you find that content is missing from blogs or channels that you watch , it can be a good idea for content that you can create to fill that hole in a topic.
Step One – Choosing a domain name and host for your blog
The first step in creating your blog will be picking out a domain name. This is the name that people will type into their web browser to find your blog (for example: candlejunkies.com). Think of this as the address to your home on the internet.
While this name is an important part of your blog, try not to get too hung up on this decision, as you can change the name for a small fee (around $10) later on.
A good blog name is something that is short, easy to remember, and preferably has a word relating to your blog niche (topic) in it. For example: timtravels.com for a travel blog, or bloggingwithjess.com for a blog about blogging (yup, that’s a good topic too!)
Aside from this domain name, you are also going to need a host, which is essentially going to be your little piece of land on the internet.
If that is beginning to sound confusing, there is no need to worry. You can get these 2 things together from the same place!
I recommend that beginner bloggers do this through Bluehost. Bluehost will give you a free domain name for the first year and hosting for as little as $4 a month.
Step Two – Setting up the hosting for your blog
In this second step, I’ll go over the exact process that you need to get your hosting and domain name setup and ready to go with Bluehost. You don’t need any technical knowledge, as I will show you every setting that you need with pictures along the way.
The image above is what you’ll be greeted with when you first head over to Bluehost. Simply click the ‘Get Started’ button to begin setting up your blog.
Once you clicked ‘Get Started’ it will take you to the image above where you can choose your hosting plan and the contract length.
The nice thing about these packages are that if you choose one and then later decide that you need features from a more expensive package, you can scale up later on as your needs change. Starting with the basic plan will be good enough for most bloggers to get started.
You can also adjust the length of the contract you agree to here. Agreeing to a 36 month contract will save you a few dollars a month, but if you don’t want to commit to something like that you are fine to just choose a shorter length of time.
The next step above is pretty straightforward. If you’ve though of a name for your blog, enter it in the box on the left and click ‘Next’.
Otherwise, if you can’t think of anything right now, you can still get your blog started and choose your free domain name later on by clicking “I’ll create my domain later” where it shows in the screenshot.
Whether you choose a domain name or not, the next page will get you to enter your billing information.
After you fill the form out you will see a section called ‘Package Extras’ as in the image above.
These are all optional services and I would recommend just deselecting them all.
Then tick the checkbox agreeing to the terms and click ‘submit’ once all the information is filled out.
At this point, it’s time to give yourself a pat on the back, as you now have your very own home on the internet!
Step Three – Installing WordPress on your hosting account
Now that you have your little spot on the internet, it’s time to install the CMS (content management system) called WordPress.
You can think of this as an app that you install on your web hosting account that allows you to create and publish blog posts with an easy-to-use interface.
You may have heard of WordPress, or possibly even created a blog with WordPress before. It is important to be aware that there are two versions of WordPress, however:
- The free version doesn’t need any of the hosting that we did above, but is very limited, and not recommended.
- The other version is an app that will be installed to the hosting that you’ve already purchased and gives you an incredible amount of customization, themes, and plugins that will all help your blog function and look nice and professional.
We’ll be using the second option of the two listed above.
That’s really all you need to know about this for now, so let’s get back to where we were at with setting up the hosting account.
At this point, you should have gotten to a page which says ‘Congratulations!’ and now wants you to set a password for your account.
Click ‘Create password’ and follow the instructions that are given.
Once you create a password and log in to your account you should be greeted with a page that is similar to the one below.
From this page, you will want to click over to ‘My Sites’ from the menu on the left side of your screen.
Then click ‘Add Site’
The page above will ask you to then fill out the name of your site. I usually use the domain name I chose previously but with spaces between the words here.
The tagline can be a quick description of what your blog will be about.
Again, don’t worry too much about getting these perfect right now, both the name and tagline can be changed within WordPress after it is installed.
Click the ‘Next’ button to continue
This next page will ask if you want to install any popular free plugins. I usually just deselect each of these, as you can choose from other options and install them afterwards anyways.
Then click ‘Next” to continue
Once WordPress has finished installing, you will then find yourself at this important page.
These are the details that you will need to login to your WordPress website. I advise you to either take a screenshot of this information and save it somewhere that you will remember on your computer, or write down these details on a piece of paper so you won’t forget them.
From now on, whenever you want to login to your blog, you will do so by going to the ‘Admin’ URL that is given to you on this page. I recommend that you copy this address into a new tab and bookmark the page.
You can also click ‘Login to WordPress’ below to log in automatically.
Once you’ve entered your credentials on the admin page or clicked the login to WordPress button, you will be taken to your WordPress dashboard.
Your WordPress dashboard is what you should now see as pictured above.
Click the ‘Get Started’ button on the right hand side and you will be given the option to choose between having people see your blog posts when they first land on your website or a static page.
I recommend beginners just choose the option to have blog posts show on the front page. This can later be changed when you are more familiar with using WordPress.
From this point, you are now ready to click ‘Launch your site’.
Once you do this, you will be able to type your domain name into the browsers address bar and see the live version of your blog!
Get excited, share it with your friends, you now have your very own website!
Step Four – Choosing a theme for your WordPress blog
If you visited your blog after clicking ‘Launch your site’ and were underwhelmed by the look of it, don’t worry!
In this step we will be installing a theme to your blog which will give it a look that is much more pleasing on the eyes.
When it comes to themes for your blog, you have two options:
- Free themes
- Paid premium themes
The difference between the two is that the free themes will generally be more simple visually, often without some of the bells and whistles that premium themes come with.
Once again, you can choose one option for now and then decide to change it later on down the road pretty easily. If you want to spend as little money as possible, it’s fine to just go with a free theme.
Choosing a free theme for your WordPress blog
Choosing a theme will effect everything from the look and functionality of your website, to the features and capabilities that it has.
It is extremely important to choose a theme that is fast, easy to navigate, is visually appealing, and last but not least, is optimized for the search engines – mainly Google – properly.
While this can seem like a daunting task in itself, I’ll try to simplify it for you by giving you a few of the best ones that I think you should choose from.
So which free themes are good and how do you change them?
Begin by clicking the ‘Themes’ link under the ‘Appearance’ menu from your WordPress dashboard as in the picture above.
Next, click the ‘WordPress.org Themes’ button as pictured above.
From this page, you should click on ‘Popular’ to see the most popular themes that people are using.
The themes that I would recommend choosing from here to start are:
The benefits of choosing any of the themes I’ve recommended is that they all have premium versions with more features which you can easily upgrade to later on if you so choose to do so.
But that’s not the only reason to choose them.
Choosing one of these more popular themes means that if you run into any issues down the road, you should be able to find others with similar problems and find out how to solve them. These themes are also fast, easy to use, responsive, and have been highly reviewed by many users.
When you’ve decided on which of these themes you’d like to use, you can either go to their official website from the recommended list above, or you can hover over one of the themes from the popular section and click ‘Install’ as seen in the image below.
After clicking ‘install’, wait a few seconds for the theme to install and the button should change to say ‘Activate’, then click on ‘Activate’.
Depending on the theme that you chose, you may need to follow an additional setup wizard to get the required plugins installed that the chosen theme requires.
Follow any additional instructions required and then move on to the next step: Writing your first blog post
Choosing a premium theme for your WordPress blog
If you’d like your blog to look fancy and unique right off the bat, you can choose from the many premium paid themes available on various websites that sell them.
Some premium theme stores which I recommend buying a paid theme from are:
When choosing a theme from these websites, there are a few things to consider aside from choosing something that looks nice.
Things you should look for in a good theme are:
Responsiveness refers to how the blog changes visually when it is viewed on a different device such as an Iphone.
Aside from the theme you are considering just saying that it is responsive, you can also usually view a live demo of it in which you can preview what it will look like on different devices.
Make sure that the menu is easy to navigate and that text is easy to read.
Lots of high user review scores
It’s a good idea to look at the reviews before making any premium theme purchase.
While some themes can look nice, they can also be coded very poorly and be a pain for you to use. Not only that, but some of these themes with poor reviews are slow and buggy.
Choose a theme with good reviews.
While you might think that the more expensive themes are just automatically better, that isn’t necessarily the case.
The reasons for certain themes being so expensive can range from them having features that enterprise businesses need, to being multi-theme passes that agencies can use across multiple websites.
I’ve found that most premium themes for the purpose of blogging fall in the $39 – $69 range.
How to install a premium theme
So once you have a premium theme picked out that you’d like to use for your blog, here’s how you install it.
When you purchase a theme from one of the websites above, they will give you a page that instructs you to download the theme files to your computer.
Go ahead and download those files to your computer now.
Next, go to your WordPress dashboard and under:
Appearance -> Themes You will see a button that says ‘Upload’, click on that button.
From this point you will see a button that says ‘Upload theme’, click that and then the button that says ‘Choose file’ to browse your computer for the theme files that you just downloaded.
The theme should be a .zip file and if it is not then you may have to go back to where you purchased it and be sure to just download the ‘theme files only’ so it only contains the .zip file for installation.
Then just upload and install the theme as shown in the image below.
Once you click ‘Install’ the theme will begin installing. Once that has completed, you will be given the option to ‘Activate’. Click on that and you’ll be set!
If you’d like to further customize your themes appearance (logo, typography, formatting etc.) you can do so by clicking:
Appearance -> Customize from the left hand menu of your WordPress dashboard.
I won’t go into the details of customizing your theme as that would be an entire course in itself and will just make this tutorial more confusing than it needs to be. If you are interested, you can find a good post on customizing your theme here.
Step Five – Writing your first blog post
You’ve now got your blog all set up and it is basically ready to be shown off to the world.
The one thing that is left to do.. create some content!
I said it earlier in this post, but I’ll say it again. This is where the majority of your time will be spent. Whether you are running your own candle blog, your own pet blog, whatever the topic is, this is where you should be focusing your efforts.
People don’t read blogs because they look pretty, people read blogs because they have information that someone finds useful. Reading a blog that looks fancy is just a bonus.
Be sure that you don’t get distracted with unimportant details when you should be focusing on creating good content first and foremost.
So how do you get started? It’s actually quite simple.
From your WordPress dashboard click:
Posts -> Add New under the menu on the left hand side as shown in the image below.
You will then be taken to the new editor. It might give you a short little introduction which you can follow along to if you’d like.
From there you just need to do the following things to complete your post:
- Fill in your title – Try to make this something that people would want to click on. It should summarize the topic your post is about in a clear, concise way.
- Write your blog post – In the space below the title you’ll write your blog post. Be sure to include media where it makes sense to make the article interesting to read and try to write on a topic that people will find interesting. This is where keyword research comes into play. This can be an entire article itself and you can find out more about this if you’d like to by clicking here.
- Fill out additional blog details – On the right hand side of your editor, you will see post information. In this section you will want to fill out some additional information about the blog post. Things such as the category it falls under, the posts featured image, and tags should be filled out for each blog post that you do.
- Click publish – The final step is to hit the publish button in the top right hand corner of the editor. Once you do this, your blog post will be live for the world to see!
And that is creating a blog post in a nutshell!
There is a lot more that goes into writing a blog post that people will want to read but these are the basics of getting a post published.
These posts go into writing quality blog posts in great depth and will be a great starting point for improving your blog writing.
Step Six – Making money from your blog
So you’ve got your blog up and running and you’ve got a few posts published.
You’re probably wondering: “How do I make money from this?”
The answer is that there are many ways. Different types of websites make money in different ways.
Candle Junkies Approved Candles
Below I’ll go over a few methods that are fairly common that may or may not be applicable to you. You just need to find what works for your blog.
Here are ways to make money from your blog
Display advertising (Banner ads)
Displaying ads on your website is a very common way to make money from it. It’s easy to do and you can get started fairly soon after starting your blog.
By displaying ads on your website you get paid for a mixture of how many times the ad is viewed on your page and how many times someone clicks through an ad on your page.
The most popular method for displaying advertisements is through a program called ‘Google Adsense‘.
This program by Google allows bloggers and website owners to sign up, install a piece of code on their website and then let Google handle the rest. They will begin placing ads on your website in places that they believe are relevant.
With display advertising, you will find that you need lots of visitors to make any substantial amounts of money and that different blog topics will perform better than others.
However, the ease of getting started with this can make it a great choice. You can even use this in conjunction with other methods of making money to increase your earnings or use this as a temporary method to earn money until you can find something more lucrative.
Affiliate programs allow you to place links to products on your website which will give you a small commission if someone decides to then purchase that product after clicking over from your link.
This is at no additional cost to the customer and is essentially a small percentage of a sale to reward the blogger for sharing an item.
The largest affiliate program out there that you can sign up for is Amazon Associates, which basically lets you promote any product on Amazon and receive a small commission in return when someone buys something after coming from your blog.
Affiliate links can be a good way to monetize a blog when the topic of the blog is focused on physical products anyways.
If you’ve tried a product out and recommend it for example, you can write a post on it and share your referral link within it.
Selling your own products
If you have your own products, you can always use your blog to sell those products.
WordPress has plugins that allow you to set up storefronts on your blog where you can sell any products that you would in a normal business.
Some bloggers also choose to create their own products to sell. These can be courses on a topic that they know lots about, which they’ve spent time creating that they don’t want to give out for free.
This is generally a way of making money from your blog once it is more established, but I’ll mention it here anyways.
When you have built up a blog which has a decent amount of readers, companies will often come to you asking to promote their products / websites.
This is basically just another form of advertising, but it can be a way to instead charge a flat rate for featuring something from another company.
These are just some of the ways that you can make money from your blog. Most commonly, the methods of making money will fall into one of these four categories, but not always.
Get creative and see what you can come up with!
Just keep in mind, that the most important thing is to first and foremost give value to your readers.
Summing it all up
While blogging can seem like some out-of-reach idea that is too difficult to do, the reality is that it doesn’t actually take that much time to give it a try and see how it goes.
Getting a blog set up and running from nothing can now be done in around 30 minutes. From this point, you can start creating content and see if it is something that you’d like to continue pursuing,
Try and set realistic expectations for yourself and just have some fun with it.
You most likely won’t make millions from it like the gurus will often tell you, but making money is a real possibility that you can achieve.
This post should give you everything you need to know to get started with the basics of blogging, but try and continue learning about it.
The more you do it the better you will get and the more chance you will have at making something that is successful.
You can do it!