In 2012 my company merged with another and my department was eliminated. I’d started getting clients and doing side work, but it was trading one boss for several and I wasn’t very excited about the work.
Then I started experimenting with creating websites and found the freedom I’d been looking for.
See, you can choose to create different kinds of websites.
- Choose one main branded website that you put all your heart and soul into.
- Go with a smaller niche site
- You can create an ecommerce site as well.
And sometimes you can combine these to grow the site even more.
Creating your own site, you’re the boss and you need to be organized, but once you start clicking with the site and the traffic, your earning potential goes way up.
So how do you start a blog?
I’ve talked a few times about the different ways you can make money. Starting your own blog is a great way to create something that is your very own and can create a nice income stream for you.
Although the process has a few steps, it’s a very easy to get started.
In this article I’ll walk you through the technical aspects of starting your won blog. I’m not going to cover choosing your topic for your blog and things like that. We’ll cover that in a different post.
Setting up your blog is a lot like building a house. With a house, you need your address, land to build the house on, your house, all the addons and accessories in your house, and your mailbox.
Each part of getting your website is similar.
Pick a Domain
You’ll want to choose your website address, or domain name. This is how people will find you on the web. It’s become a bit difficult to get exactly what you want so you’ll have to get creative if yours isn’t available.
Your web address is similar to having your physical address for your home.
- Make sure to get a .com if you can
- Try NOT to add dashes
- Add modifiers if you need to. A modifier is like: hq, the, flow, site, my
There are a few sites that can help with the process. I like using Namevine, Panabee, or Namechk. The great thing about these sites is they’ll also show you if your name is available in all the social media sites as well.
I usually make sure I can get the .com web address and Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, if possible.
After you pick a domain name, you’ll need to get hosting.
Hosting is like the land you need to build your house on. You need servers to store all of your files, images, and databases.
There are several hosting companies to choose from, but I recommend Siteground. Their support is amazing and they have built in things like free SSL certificates, which make your site more secure.
After you’ve gotten your domain name and your hosting, it’s time to start working on creating your website.
To get started with your own site, you can install WordPress. With most hosting companies, it’s very easy to install with the click of a button.
They are famous for the 5 minute install, so this part won’t take very long at all.
WordPress is like the solid framework for your house. This is like the foundation and the structure to make sure your house is built right.
Choose a Theme
The theme is how your website is going to look. Similar to how you end up making your house look with your roof selection, house colors, and stuff.
When you’re first starting out, I recommend that you set it up you work on your site yourself. This will let you know what all is involved and it will save you some money in hiring a designer.
There are several free themes you can choose from. If you can splurge a little in the beginning, you really want to look at getting a premium theme from a handful of companies.
When you buy a premium theme, you’ll have access to their customer support if anything goes wrong with your setup. Also, they are constantly updating the code to keep it more secure and up to date with the changing times.
Some premium themes I have used and recommend:
Divi from Elegant Themes – this is a very popular drag and drop theme that lets you create anything you want just by dragging the elements on the page.
Thrive Themes are decent as well with their Thrive Architect plugin, you can make any theme a drag and drop theme.
StudioPress – I use this on most of my sites. I just like how the themes are coded and the community surrounding the themes is great. There are several themes you can choose from. I got their whole package back in the day, but you can choose just one theme and go with that.
Plugins are like apps on your website that extend the functionality of your site. There are a handful that you’ll want to add for things like security and SEO. Then you’ll have others that you can add to make your site work better.
Things like ecommerce if you want, contact forms, optins, affiliate marketing, etc.
Think of plugins as the amenities for your house. Do you have a garage door opener? A pool? All the things that make your house comfortable. It’s the same for the plugins for your site.
The beauty of plugins is you can add them as you need them. No need to add all the plugins right now.
Start Writing on Your Topic
Finally, once you have all these steps in place, you can start writing about your topic. Look at other blogs in your market to see what their most popular articles are about, take notes on that and see what you can write to add value to your readers as well.
Don’t get too bogged down with your topic. Your site can be fluid and change as you figure out what you really like to talk about. Many people, including me, get stuck on this part and spend months worrying about it before moving forward.
Believe me when I tell you that you find out faster what to talk about when you start writing. So just get started and keep moving forward with it.
This is the challenging part. Many people who start writing think they’ve put up 2-4 articles and should be getting traffic. Unfortunately that’s not how it works. Building up your site is a long ball game. Meaning everything we do today won’t see results for at least a few weeks.
There are two main ways to focus on getting traffic.
- Search engine, seo, Google. However you want to call it, your site will start ranking for keywords and start showing up in Google’s search results.This is typically great traffic, but it can take 3-6 months or more for your site to start ranking. There are ways to improve these results with smaller competitive keywords, but by and large it takes a while.
- Pinterest traffic. I’ll be honest, for all the sites I’ve created over the years, I’ve focused on the Google traffic and just played the waiting game. But, getting Pinterest traffic can be faster and easier to start getting traffic and that’s what I’m working on with this site.There are way different methods for getting this kind of traffic, but you can see what’s working with your site faster and adjust accordingly.
What I recommend and what I’m doing with this site is to start out focusing on Pinterest traffic to start getting results and start making some advertising money.
Then, as your site matures and as you see what topics are most popular with your audience, you can focus on stabilizing your traffic and getting search engine traffic for your site.
You want to have more than one way of getting traffic anyway. This keep your site from being vulnerable to changes that Pinterest or Google might implement.
Start Earning Money
Once you start getting traffic to your site, you can add things like affiliate link, and ads and start earning money. Like with the traffic you’ll see what’s working and what isn’t and start tweaking things.
What I like about sites is it’s like a science experiment and you enter the lab every day to see what works and how to make money.
Once you start earning money from affiliate earnings and ad revenue you can branch out with your own education course, physical products if you want, service offerings, sponsored posts, etc.
Keep experimenting with what works best for your site and for your personality.