Starting a blog has made my dream of being a work-at-home mom come true. Here’s how to start a blog to make money for less than $70 per year so you can achieve your dreams too!
I have to admit. When I started this blog I had no idea what I was doing…I didn’t even use a blogging platform!
To be completely honest, I had no idea what a blog even was and definitely didn’t have a clue that a blog could be the answer to my dream of being a work-at-home mom.
My early days…
When I first started blogging, I simply wanted to share information that I had found about ways to save money with my friends and family. I went online, fumbled my way through purchasing a domain name and hosting, and added what was mostly a checklist of ways to save.
Before creating a website I was emailing a word doc to anyone that wanted to see my money-saving ways…so I thought a website would be an easier way to share my saving tips. That way I could just update the website as I learned more or had new information to share.
It wasn’t until a friend of mine introduced me to a girl who had recently started a blog that I even knew I could make money with my website. She said first I should change my plain old website to a blog. What? What was the difference? She explained that by using a blog format my entries could be easily updated and there were tons of plugins (plug what?) to help me achieve what I needed to turn my website into a business. Wait what? I could make money by helping others save money?
At this point I had a decision to make – Should I just keep my website as a hobby…an easy way to share deals with my friends and family? Or should I go all in and learn everything not only about blogging, but also learn everything about business in general. Keep in mind I knew NOTHING about business…I have a biology degree and never took a business course in my life!
As I’m sure you have guessed, since you are after all reading my blog, I chose to go all in.
Over the past 5 years I have immersed myself in everything I could find on business, blogging, social media, email marketing, and just being successful in general. The road was definitely not an easy one, and I still have a long way to go, but I can tell you that starting this blog has changed my life forever.
It has made my dreams of being a work-at-home mom come true.
How to Start a Blog to Make Money for Less Than $70 per Year
We’ve all heard that it takes money to make money, right?
Lucky for you, I’ve learned so much over the past few years that I can now give solid advice on how to avoid making the same wrong choices I made when I was first getting started while spending very little. Follow these easy steps to get your blog up and running in no time.
1. Choose WordPress.org for your blogging platform
Don’t make the same mistake as I did. I chose Blogger for my first blogging platform which then led me to having to pay someone to convert my website to WordPress. As I mentioned I knew nothing about what I was doing. Well I’m telling you now, you want to choose WordPress.org right from the beginning for your blog. You’ll need to purchase your own domain and pay for hosting which leads us to the next tip…
2. Choose Bluehost for your hosting
This is the only thing you’ll need to purchase to get your website up and running and making you money!
If you are looking for easy and efficient, Bluehost is for you! There are many companies available to host your blog, but for someone who is just starting with a WordPress site, Bluehost.com is the best option. Wordpress installation is super simple (like literally 1 click) and it is the only hosting service officially recommended by WordPress. In fact, Bluehost has been the number-one recommended hosting service by WordPress for almost 10 years!
When you sign up through this link, you’ll get a special offer of shared hosting at $3.95/month for 36 months + a free domain name for a year! If 3 years is too much of a commitment or too much money to spend right now, you can choose a 12 month term for $5.45 per month which ends up to be $65.40 for the year.
That’s right…less than $70 for your FIRST YEAR of blogging.
Choosing a domain name for your blog will probably be one of your most frustrating tasks. One thing to keep in mind is that you definitely want a .com address. If your name isn’t available you’ll probably be offered a .net or .info address. You don’t want that! So if the the name you want isn’t available keep brainstorming for a similar one that you love.
You can search to see if your name is available by clicking in the image above. Domain names should be about $15/year. If you see one for some crazy price like thousands of dollars it’s because someone owns that name and is trying to make a buck selling it. And remember, if you sign up for a year of hosting with Bluehost (less than $50) you’ll get your domain name for FREE for the first year 😉
You can find a detailed step-by-step tutorial of how to start a WordPress blog or website here 😉
3. Choose a free customizable theme
From the start, and to this day, I have been completely in control of the design on Saving by Design. Everything you see, was created by me and no, I really don’t know the first thing about the coding to design a website! But I do like free and being able to easily change the design of my site without needing to involve (or pay) a third party.
To accomplish this, what I did was choose free blog themes that allow me to easily change the look without coding. Everything – the background, header, font, layout, sidebars – can be easily customized with a few clicks.
My fully customizable, free theme of choice is Weaver Xtreme 😉
As you begin making money with your blog you may want to upgrade to the Genesis Framework, which I did only a few years ago to help improve SEO. If you do upgrade to Genesis you are still able to be completely in control of your site design with Design Palette Pro! You can customize your Genesis theme on your own…and you won’t need to write, edit, or even sniff any code to do it.
For this blog I have Genesis with the Lifestyle Pro child theme. And thanks to Design Palette Pro I can change every element to anything I would like without knowing code or having to hire someone who does.
4. Install a few free plugins
As I mentioned above, one of the best things about WordPress is plugins! Plugins allow you to do an infinite number of amazing things on your blog just by simply installing, activating, and setting your preferences for them.
I’m sure there will be many that you come across during your blogging days, but a few important ones to get you started are…
- Akismet – checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.
- WP Super Cache -a very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files to help your site load faster.
- Jetpack – Jetpack simplifies managing WordPress sites by giving you visitor stats, security services, speeding up images, and helping you get more traffic.
- Yoast SEO (free version) – Yoast WordPress SEO is the most complete SEO plugin available for WordPress. It offers everything you need to optimize your site.
5. Create your email and social media accounts
There’s no point in having a blog if nobody knows you have a blog! To be sure you get the word out about your blog and blog posts, you’ll need to be where everyone is these days…and that’s on social media and in their inboxes.
At the very least you should create a business page on Facebook, a Twitter profile, and a Pinterest Business Account. Other popular social media accounts you may be interested in creating include Instagram, Google+, and LinkedIn.
Probably most important of all is to start growing your email list! No matter what happens with social media in the future, you will have a direct connection to your email subscribers and always be in control of your list.
There are a few providers you can use for free…probably the best to get started is MailChimp. If you have 2,000 or fewer subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free. No expiring trial, contract, or credit card required.
6. Get writing!
Now that you’re all set up, it’s time to get writing!
Think about the topic you would like to write about – is it too broad, are you comfortable writing about it, is there a demand for this topic? Also think about how often you would like to write posts and create a content calendar. The Goal Setting Workbook for Bloggers will help you clarify your purpose and prioritize what’s really important.
It’s a good idea to write at least 5 posts before taking your site live so you can turn those first readers into long-term fans by giving them a few posts to see what your site is going to be about.
Adding text to your photos can also be done easily and for free with PicMonkey. To this day, PicMonkey is what I use to edit and add text to the photos you’ll see on the blog 😉
7. There’s always more to learn
One thing that’s for sure with blogging…there’s always more to learn!
To help you get off to a great start and earning money, I highly recommend the following resources…
How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul – Whether you have been blogging for years or just a few weeks, How to Blog For Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) offers solid advice and practical action plans for creating an authentic, successful, and profitable blog.
Boost Your Blog Income Overnight FREE eBook – Practical tips you can implement right away to help you maximize the revenue you are earning.
FREE Blogging Made Simple Video Training – Discover the simple steps to creating a successful, profitable blog.
So what do you think? Are you ready to start your blogging adventure?
Something to keep in mind is that you can’t control time. It takes time to attract readers, to gain social media followings, and to grow email lists. It takes time to create the foundation of your blog. Only after you have the framework of your business in place is it time to start thinking about how you will monetize your blog.
But don’t worry, if you get off to a great start by following some of my tried and true advice above, I’m sure you’ll be running a successful blog (and business) in no time!
Here’s to your new online journey! Feel free to comment below with your new blog name and any questions you have for me 🙂
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