I remember reading an article shortly after starting my first blog in 2007, stating that the “blogging ship had sailed” and that it was pointless to start a blog anymore – especially with the intention of making money.
But you know what? More people than ever are jumping on the blogging ship, and more and more of them are making a living handing out information on the internet.
It works, and it always will work, because information is one of the most valuable commodities that exists, and people are willing to pay for it. The beauty of making a living blogging is that you don’t even have to charge the reader for your information.
Ad networks are more than willing to pay for advertising space on your site, well placed affiliate links can earn a passive income without costing your readers a penny, and or course, there are good ol’ sponsored posts, in which a company pays you to write an honest article about (or using) their product or program.
But hey, we’re getting the cart before the horse here aren’t we?
How do you start a blog?
It’s pretty simple really: Install WordPress, and start writing.
How To Start A Professional Blog
Choose what you want to write about
Presumably, you want to blog because you already have a topic that you’re passionate about, but even if that’s true, sit down and think about it. Is this what you want to write about every day for the next five or ten years? Is it the only thing you want to write about? As a rule of thumb, you want to have no more than three to five main (but related) topics or categories, with four to eight subtopics under them. For me, my main topics are gluten-free recipes, frugal living, DIY products, and family. An example of the subtopics for a category are breads, desserts, main dishes, snacks, slow cooker meals, casseroles, etc.
Choose a domain name
Now that you know what you want to write about, with those things in mind, it’s time to choose your domain name. From a search engine optimization standpoint, you want to choose something related to your keywords, but you also want something catchy – and something that can change with you as you change. As a personal anecdote, I’ve often toyed with the idea of rebranding because “The Frugal Farm Wife” doesn’t really say anything about gluten-free recipes, or DIY personal care products – only the frugal living aspect. Choose wisely! And don’t forget to check availability and buy your domain as soon as you decide. I bought my first domain name on Godaddy which was super easy (and cheap), but now use Hover at a family member’s recommendation.
Write 10-20 articles…
…or even more! Get some articles ready to go. Test your mettle as a blogger, and your ability to write consistently about the same subject(s). Plus, this way after you get your website up and running, you’ll be able to focus on tweaking your new blog without stressing about having to create new articles.
While there are free blogging platforms such as Blogger and WordPress.com, they both carry limitations that will drag you, as a professional blogger down. For .Wordpress, banner advertising options are limited, and for both, customization and plugin availability is limited.
All that is to say that you will want to have a self-hosted blog, which requires you to either privately host, or find a host for your data. One of the most reliable and affordable hosts is Bluehost, which you can find here. They are super easy to get set up with.
Not to be confused with the wordress.com subdomain which carries many limitations, WordPress.org is a free blogging software that you can download and install to your server, and over which you will install a theme to make it pretty (more on that later). It is easily the most common and easiest to use of self-hosted blogging platforms. I’m not a tech-savvy person by any means, but (with the help of friends in blogging Facebook groups) even I have been able to do almost all of the backend website stuff myself.
Wordpress installation will simply be a matter of logging into your hosting dashboard and clicking the “install WordPress” button if you’re using a well reputed host like Bluehost.
Read: How To Set Up Your Blog
Select a theme
First and foremost, I highly recommend installing the Genesis Framework. Yes, WordPress comes with a few free basic (boring) themes, and yes, it’s a bit of an added cost, but it’s well worth while. Genesis has built in search engine optimization, and is easily the most versatile theme I’ve seen. And the beauty of it is that while you can blog on the bare Genesis framework, you can also install a “child theme” over it.
An easy way to explain it is that Genesis is the body, the Child Theme is the clothes. I am currently using the Adorable child theme from Pretty Darn Cute. Another great place for cute themes is Restored 316, or StudioPress (the makers of Genesis, so going through them makes a lot of sense). You can also find some really cute themes on Etsy if you want to go with something more unique.
Most of us don’t want a straight out-of-the-box theme. Check out the way my theme looked out of the box here, and then come back to this page and compare.
Get your blog name and tagline up in the header. Get a header and logo designed. Make the colors and fonts you own (fonts is one thing I had to hire someone to do. Just could not figure that out!) .
Format your pre-written articles into your WordPress editor, add pretty graphics, and get them scheduled out. But! Before you start scheduling, decide how many times per week you want to post, and on which days.
That doesn’t look simple at all, does it? LOL! But I promise, once you get set up and running, and spend a few days getting to know your website’s back end, the hardest thing you’ll do is keep consistently cranking out good articles.
This article contains affiliate links. See my disclosure policy here.