In 2009 times were tough for me. I was working full time, making decent money, but I STILL had trouble living in NYC and managing my bills (I’m looking at you Sallie Mae!). I was super stressed about about money, so I decided to take on a second job at a retail store. Yup, on nights and weekends I would work retail for extra cash.
I was getting into the office at 9am, leaving at 5:15 and checking into a second job until midnight, I’d get home around 1am and wake up a few hours later to get back to my day job. I felt tired, I looked tired and the extra money was helpful, but the toll it was taking on me physically and emotionally wasn’t worth the minimum wage I was making.
Now, before I continue let me say that I’d never want to turn any of you off by bringing up the subject of money, but… I’ve actually had about a dozen emails asking me (very politely!) how I make money as a blogger. I have a rule that if multiple people reach out and ask me the same question, I’ll take time to answer it… so here we are.
I think most people could use a few extra coins here and there, so I completely understand being curious about making money from a blog and I’m happy to help if that’s something you’re interested in.
Okay, back to the story– one day, my level of exhaustion just hit me like a ton of bricks. I had a real conversation with myself: I was putting myself through way too much for what felt like $1/hour. I thought to myself “How can I bring in extra income without making myself miserable? Is there a way to make some extra money doing something that I actually enjoy?”
Then I thought about my blog. At that point I was spending my free time writing blog posts and starting to get to know a lot of my readers in the comments section and on social media. To make a long story short, I made the decision to quit my nighttime retail job. Then I gave myself a specific goal.
My goal was to have my blog bring in the same monthly income that a part-time retail job would (after taxes about $500 per month). Over the next few weeks I’m going to show you the steps I took to make money from my blog.
First, let me say that monetizing my blog was my second goal. My first goal was (and is) to be successful, which for me, has nothing to do with money and everything to do with making great content that resonates with my readers. For more on that, you can read How to Start a Successful Blog.
If you want to be a professional blogger, the way your website looks and functions is like your interview. In one click, people will know if they want to stick around on your site and hear what you have to say. You may have awesome content, but if your blog doesn’t look like you care, people may not give you their time. We all want to come to a professional site that’s easy to read and explore. The main changes I made when I took my blog seriously were:
- Getting my own “.com” name, no more .blogspot or .wordpress for me
- Getting my own hosting, hosting is kind of like the house your blog lives in. You want to own that space.
- Moving to wordpress, I started on blogspot but wordpress has really taken my blog to the next level
It took me years to get my blog up and running in a legit way and I paid people lots of money to do things for me that I actually could have done myself, but I didn’t know any better. I don’t want you to have to go through all of that, so today I’m going to show you how to set up WordPress blog with your own domain and hosting in three easy steps on Bluehost I’ve got screenshots so you can follow along.
You’ll need all of these things in place before my next post where I’ll show you how to grow your blog while working a full time job.
STEP ONE: DOMAIN HOSTING
Do you know what you want the name of your blog to be? Think that through, then go to Bluehost and click that big green button to get started. To check if your domain is available, type it in the left hand box and Bluehost will let you know. FREEBIE ALERT: Bluehost gives you a FREE domain name with the purchase of your hosting plan.
After you’ve selected a plan, you’ll follow Bluehost’s instructions. Select your package details and any other special deals you want to take advantage of. In my opinion, the only one that’s a MUST is the domain privacy — it keeps your personal details private. Follow the remaining instructions and soon you’ll have hosting!
STEP TWO: INSTALL WORDPRESS
Okay, now Hosting is set up, so let’s get WordPress installed (I used to be on Blogger, I switched to WordPress and it’s the best thing I ever did!) Thankfully, Bluehost makes it ridiculously easy. Navigate to the hosting tab at the top of the page and then click on “WordPress” under “Website Builders”. Next, you’ll click on “Install a brand new instance” and then select the domain you’d like to install it on and click “Check Domain” (you can leave the “directory” part blank).
You might get an error message that says there are files already there. Unless you already have website files there that you want to keep, you can click “Overwrite”.
For the final step, select the drop down for “Advanced Options” — don’t worry, it’s not advanced! You can name your blog title here (you can always update this later) and choose your WordPress login and password. Check the box about creating a new database and then hit “Install Now”.
You’ll watch the install process at the top of the page and when it’s ready, a box will pop up that says “View Credentials” — click on that and write these down somewhere safe so you can refer back to them to log in to your site. Ta-da! You’ve installed WordPress, congrats!
STEP THREE: MAKE IT PRETTY
Now that you’ve set-up WordPress, it’s time to make your site pretty! Login to your site by going to yourblog.com/wp-login.php (or follow the link from your credentials). You’ll see this page that will log you in to the backend of your site!
Let’s make your site pretty! You’re going to want to select a new theme since the ones that come with WordPress for free are pretty basic (*ahem* boring). If you’re a beginner, a “theme” is what makes your blog look the way it looks (colors, buttons, etc.). Once you’re bringing in a little cash from your blogging, you can hire a designer to design a custom theme. But for now, let’s find a beautiful theme for you to install yourself. This is is definitely more budget friendly and as I show you more steps to get your blog to part-time job status, you’re going to see that I really prefer you to spend as little money as possible in the beginning. Cool?
I’ve found great themes on the following sites:
- Theme Forrest: Soooo many themes are on this site, you can find pretty much anything here.
- Etsy: There are some great modern themes here