How To Start a Profitable WordPress Blog with SiteGround In Three Simple Steps
Starting my blog almost six months ago has completely changed my life. Blogging allowed me to unleash my entrepreneurial spirit and most of all, help people improve their financial situation. While blogging full time is not a goal of mine, there are many people who have been able to leave their 9-5 job and work from home!
I’m sure you are wondering how bloggers make money. In the first six months of blogging I received almost $750, and I expect this amount to exponentially grow as my blog continues to grow. Basically, I make money from affiliate partnerships such as the products shown in my “Recommended” page, sponsored post (Be careful with these when you are new), and ad’s. There is more detail on this towards the end of the guide.
If you dream of being your own boss and making money, blogging is a viable option!
I firmly believe that a WordPress blog is the only way to start a successful blog, and I will explain why below. If blogging sounds like something you want to pursue, go ahead and get signed up with WordPress and SiteGround (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND BOTH), click here or the picture below and read through my step by step guide in this post.
3 Steps To Starting A Blog – Skip If You Understand Blogs!
Before we jump into the step by step process, I want to detail the process and explain why WordPress and SiteGround are worth your time.
Here are the 3 steps to starting a blog:
- Hosting – Think of this as the battery to your car. Hosting is a company that keeps your site running on their servers.
- Domain – The web address for your site.
- Platform – The Engine that powers your site
For this site, these are the three answers:
- SiteGround – Must have
- com – Sums up my site
- WordPress – The only option
While there are more steps once the initial registration phase is complete, these are the three crucial steps you need to get your blog up and running!
I made a hosting mistake not once but twice when I started my blog! I never read a how to guide and just jumped thinking, “How hard could this be?” The answer is clearly, pretty hard. These mistakes not only cost me money but a ton of time and problems with my website.
I started my blog with SiteBlog and realized that this was not what I wanted for my site. Rather than owning my own domain, I had www.themillennialbudget.siteblog.com. Not only is that name long, it gives their website credit for my name. This led me to switch to HostGator (same owner of BlueHost) as another blogger recommended their services to me. While this was great for starting my blog and owning my own domain (ie. No siteblog in my name), there servers are super crowded and their customer service is some of the worst in the industry. If you ever read another start a blog guide you will probably realize that many bloggers promote them. This is for one simple reason: money. BlueHost pays them a LOT of money when you sign up. While their services are not bad for a new blog, it is not optimal for a growing blog. My site crashed multiple and their customer service took on average over 30 minutes to respond to me.
This led me to switch to SiteGround. Not only are their prices similar to BlueHost, there customer service and far superior. I conducted an experiment when I switched servers and it took SiteGround 12 seconds to respond to my problem as oppose to 37 minutes and 43 seconds on my old host. It is safe to say that SiteGround values their customers. Getting quick service when your website has any problems, and believe me there will be problems periodically, is crucial.
Luckily SiteGround offers a FREE domain name when you sign up for their hosting service. The typical price of purchasing your own domain cost $15 so this is a great deal!
Picking a name for your blog can be very time consuming and stressful. I spent a couple hours trying to figure out who my target audience was and what niche I wanted to write in. I wanted to target the millennial generation and write about personal finance but many of the names I wanted were taken. This eventually led me to TheMillennialBudget.com as it encompasses everything I want my blog to stand for. I think it is fairly easy to remember but spelling “Millennial” at first was tricky!
Try to make your name short and catchy that tells your reader what your blog is about just from the name. While this will have a minimal impact on who comes to your blog, it needs to make sense.
If you want to have a profitable blog you need to choose WordPress. WordPress is hands down the best platform to build your blog on. Any serious blogger is on WordPress so should you!
WordPress is user friendly, easy to navigate, and most of all allows you to monetize your blog the way you want. When you choose other platforms to begin your blog or try and go the free route and use wordpress.com, you are not able to monetize your blog without restrictions. This limits the amount of money a blog can make.
You can download and install WordPress directly through SiteGround. The best part is that this is FREE! SiteGround gives you free access to WordPress, a free domain name and quality service. This is why I choose them for all my needs and recommend you do as well.
WordPress allows you to work for yourself, not someone else. This alone is the reason you need to be self-hosted, have a unique domain name, and ensure you begin blogging through WordPress.
3 Step Guide To Starting A Profitable Blog with SiteGround
Step 1: Select Your Hosting
Like I mentioned earlier, it is possible to do this for free, but I highly recommend that you start your blog on the right path. Do not start on a free platform and regret it weeks into starting. Transferring from these platforms can be problematic and waste more of your time/money.
Start your blog with SiteGround through my exclusive link.
There are three plans that SiteGround offers. Here is what you need to know:
- StartUp – Perfect for people that are starting a website
- GrowBig – This is what I am currently on. This plan is for growing blogs as it increases your server size and help speed up your website.
- GoGeek – The ultimate shared hosting plan. This is the plan large websites use.
Having been on a monthly hosting plan, I highly recommend you sign up for 12 months of service. DO NOT SIGN UP FOR MONTHLY HOSTING. While I thought I was saving money, I actually found out that I was paying $50 more a year! Do not worry about paying for 12 months in advance though. If you realize blogging is not for you, they will refund the money on a pro rata basis.
To select your hosting plan, click on the picture below and keep following along with the tutorial.
Step 2: Choose Domain & Hosting Options Package
This is the second step to creating your blog.
As mentioned earlier, SiteGround offers FREE domain registration with their hosting services. Once you choosing your hosting plan, most likely StartUp if you are new, you will proceed to the payment screen. Once payment is received you will log into SiteGround and a screen will pop up asking you to register a domain. This is where you put in the name of your blog. Here is an example of both steps:
Congratulations! You are now the owner of your very own blog!
Step 3: Install WordPress
This is the final step before you are ready to have your own money making blog!
The final step is to choose WordPress. Follow this process to find WordPress.
- Log Into SiteGround Account
- Click the “My Accounts” Tab
- Click “Go to cPanel” in the top left
- Under Auto Installers, click “WordPress”
- You are taken to “MOJO Marketplace” that sells themes. We will touch on this soon so don’t buy anything unless you want to.
- Install WordPress and select the domain you want to Install WordPress on from the dropdown menu
- You will have to create a username and password. Make sure these are strong and secure! People on the internet may try to hack your website. You do not want to deal with this problem!
- Click Install
You are done! (With the registration process)
Now you can login into your new domain and sign in via the WordPress login you created. It looks like this:
When you log into WordPress here is a picture of what you can expect:
Here are some of my tips so you do not feel overwhelmed:
- You can create new posts by clicks on “Post” on the left-hand sidebar when you are logged in.
- You can create a page you simply click on “Page.” Pages are static unlike post. These are typically menus that you see on a blog such as Contact Us, Disclosure etc. Pages and post are very different so make sure you do not create a post as a page.
- If you want to upload any images for your post/page click on “Media” in the sidebar.
- You will hear a lot about Plugins when you start blogging. Plugins are additional software that are installed directly to your website that can extend functionality. For example I have plugins for my social sharing buttons and email list. If you get serious about blogging I highly recommend you purchase Social Warfare to organize all of the social media on your website. It is only $29 a year and will help drive traffic to your blog.
Many established bloggers use a paid WordPress theme. The reason for this is that paid themes allow you to customize your website the way you want. Unfortunately, unless you know how to code, creating a unique website is near to impossible. This is why I chose to use a theme called Thesis. Thesis is intuitive. There is little to no coding needed and if you ever get stuck they have a superb support system. I had no idea how to code so using a Theme such as Thesis allowed me to design my website the way I wanted without the help of a designer. The theme is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) friendly and mobile response. Both are crucial to developing a successful blog. Thesis themes generally load faster than other themes which is crucial to attracting viewers. Studies show that if a webpage does not load within three seconds, majority of users will go somewhere else. We live in a world of instant gratification so making sure your website loads quickly is key!
Another option is to choose a generic theme, these are often free or cheaper than Thesis. For the first six months I used a free theme as I tried to get my “blogging bearings”. There is certainly nothing wrong with using a free theme but you need to understand that many other websites may look similar to yours. If you want to really stand out from the crowd, you will likely want to update to Thesis at some point.
5 Ways to Grow Your Site
Write Great Content – Writing from experience is easier and makes your content unique. Do not simply regurgitate information found online into a post as people will not find anything unique, entertaining, or valuable.
Comment on larger blogs in your niche – Leaving a well throughout response to a bloggers article will catch the attention of many readers and result in people checking out your website. Even if you only attract one or two people from each comment you can quickly increase your readership and potentially loyal fans. Additionally, comments leave link backs which are crucial to improving your blogs rank.
Guest Post on Larger Sites – You will hear a lot about guest posting when you now begin blogging. Guest posting is one of the best ways to increase your traffic and create an audience. Before you guest post it is important to be an active reader and commenter on the bloggers platform. This will help build a relationship between you and the author which is crucial for your first pitch. I recommend you comment on their blog for 3-6 months (depending on the size) before you email them regarding a guest post idea. When you are reading to reach out over e-mail make sure the guest post is unique, shares a personal experience, and offers valuable content to their readers.
Be active on social media – When you are a new blogger nobody will know who you are. Social media is the best way to get your name out there and increase your traffic. Some sites I recommend you be active on are Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. You can go from 0-10,000+ views in less than three months if you use these sites properly. Check out my Twitter guide to learn how to increase your following.
Have a consistent writing schedule – Readers appreciate consistency. Millennial Budget usually publishes on Wednesday, Sunday and sometime Friday for guest post days. It is important that your readers know what days to check your blog so having a regular publishing schedule creates loyalty and trust among your community.
How to Monetize
Bloggers often how they can make money from their website. I will be the first to say that making money from a blog is not going to happen overnight. It will take months of building an audience before you see substantial income flow in. With that said, here are three was a new blog can start earning money today!
Affiliate Links – This is basically a referral system to other companies. You sign up to become an affiliate of a company on sites such as Share-A-Sale and Flex Offers. Companies will pay you a set fee for each sale or sign-up generated. Once your blog gets steady traffic this is one of the best money making methods
Advertisements – Placing an ad on your website’s sidebar or in a post is the easiest way to receive passive income. Most new bloggers sign-up for Google AdSense which pays them through something called Cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM). For every thousand people, Google pays you a certain fee. Additionally, if somebody clicks an ad, you can generate even more money. I have received as high as $4.50 for someone clicking my ad.
Sponsored Post – A company will pay you to either write a post or place one of their post on your website. While the payout on these are usually high, you need to beware of two things. Make sure the content is original, and do not accept the offer if they ask for a “Do-Follow Link.” Google will penalize your website if you do this so it is in the best interest to think long-term rather than short-term.
When I began blogging I thought making money was impossible. Having done this for six months I can tell you that there is a LOT of money to be made. However, you need to be realistic. Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme. It can take up to a year before your blog makes money on a consistent basis.
Your site will require constant work. I work on my site every day and I have been doing this for half a year! There are always ways to improve and make the viewer experience better so never settle where you are.
Bloggers are some of the friendliest people out there! When you start to hustle on social media you will build relationships with many other bloggers. While these are technically your competition I highly recommend you think of them as friends and valuable resources. We all want the same goal: Freedom, income and to help others.
For the last time, here is my exclusive link with SiteGround that gives you access to a free domain name. If you ever get stuck on this guide email me or leave a comment below! I want you to succeed like I have and enjoy this experience as much as I do.