If you've clicked on this post, you are probably looking for ways to make money online.
If done the right way, making money online is possible in 2021, and starting a blog is one of the most interesting and profitable ways to do it.
In general, anything that you "own" can benefit you financially and open doors for you.
Running a blog is one of the most exciting and fun ways to make money online.
Today, we're going to go over how to start a blog that makes money!
Some of the links below are affiliate links. This just means that if you choose to make a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
What to Focus on as a Blogger?
● Being unique - there are so many bloggers/Youtubers/influencers out there that you need to be unique and to stand out.
Share your knowledge about a topic you are interested in and passionate about.
● Write to Sell - if your goal is to turn your blog into a side hustle or even your primary income source, you need to treat your blog as a business and think of ways to make money from the very beginning.
The primary way to make money blogging is by writing content that converts into sales.
We'll discuss more on this later.
Blogging Terms You Need to Know
WordPress – a popular website building platform used by many people for building a blog/website/online store.
Hosting – if you want to take your blog seriously and make money from it, you will self host your blog.
A web hosting service rents you storage space on the internet with all your website's files.
Until the past few years, having a self-hosted website was required to make money with affiliate marketing programs, display ads, and even collaborate with brands.
When you have a self-hosted blog, it means that you own your blog and not a platform such as Blogger, for example.
However, as discussed later, more brands are now happy to partner with content creators with a social media account and without a blog. So that you know…
Domain – a domain is your blog's URL. Once you have a self-hosted blog, you will also own a domain.
If you have a self-hosted blog your domain will be www. yourwebsite. com and not a messy URL such as www. platform. com/yourwebsite/154367 (for example).
How to Start a Blog?
Let’s go step-by-step on how to start a blog, what resources will you need and what I recommend focusing on.
There Are Two Ways to Start a Blog:
1. Blogging for Free:
This sounds like the easier way, but it isn’t worth it for the long (and short) term.
Blogging for free means starting a blog on a free blogging platform such as Blogger, Wix, WordPress.com, and more.
There are three reasons why you don't want to start a blog on a free platform:
● You don't own your blog - even though it's your blog, and you built it, the blog really belongs to the platform you are blogging on.
This means that if the platform goes bankrupt one day, your blog is gone without warning. Or, a more realistic situation is if somehow you broke one of the platform's rules, they can delete your blog without a warning.
● You won't be able to make money blogging (see exception *) - the most significant disadvantage of blogging on a free platform is the fact that you can't make money with your blog because you don't really own it.
Suppose you want to monetize your blog with affiliate links, collaborating with brands, or even displaying ads on your blog. In that case, you won't be able to do it because all these money-making methods require having a self-hosted website.
One exception to consider is using VENNDY as your landing page tool (if you don't have a blog).
An Instagram/YouTube account + a VENNDY Shop Tab can help you monetize with affiliate marketing, even without a blog.
You can use VENNDY as a blogging platform if you'd better start small before jumping into a self-hosted blog.
VENNDY was built precisely to offer content creators (YOU) easy monetization tools, so they wouldn't need to waste months (years?) working their A* out without making a dime.
Nope, if you carefully read what is shared here – this will NOT be you! So, keep on reading…
2. Start a Self-hosted Blog:
The first step to starting a blog is choosing a platform.
If you decide to go with a self-hosted blog, I recommend using WordPress as the platform to build your blog.
Don't confuse the open-source platform of WordPress.org(the more customizable tool with the hosting service) and WordPress.com that offers a somewhat simplified website builder to create websites easily.
But there are other options.
Should You Start a Blog With WordPress?
Honestly, when I just started blogging, in my first blog, back in 2014, I didn't even want to think about starting a blog with a WordPress website because I wanted it to be fully customizable and flexible.
Here are five main reasons why today, I do recommend WordPress:
- It is the dominant platform used on the web. Over a 1/3 of the web is built with WordPress. But if you check its market share within CMSs (Content Management Systems), WordPress holds over 60% of the market share.
- It is the most professional looking website building platform, and it is straightforward to use.
- There are excellent page-building tools that were developed specifically for WordPress. This means you will have more options to choose from.
- There so many plugins and add-ons that are developed by independent
- Because of all of the above, it became a trusted service that keeps evolving, improving and adopting to the market's changes and users' needs.
The fully customized blog turned out to be a mistake, since I had to pay for all of the plugins I needed to add to make my blog look and work the way I wanted.
Most WordPress plugins cost money, but as I learned the hard way, customizing every feature is much more expensive.
Here is just one example:
With regulations changes (the FTC and then GDPR), we all had to add the Cookies notification. As this started to be a mandatory requirement, many software developers created a solution that costs a few dollars (I paid a few hundred dollars to build a customized solution).
If you are planning on monetizing your blog and making money from it, you will need a self-hosted blog, as we talked about earlier.
There are a lot of hosting brands out there; Here's our favorites:
● Bluehost - one of the most popular hosting brands for WordPress. It's only $3.95 a month, and you will also receive a free domain for one year.
● SiteGround - another very popular web hosting service that a lot of bloggers use to host their blogs. They are a bit pricey compared to Bluehost, but they are highly recommended as well.
● GoDaddy - a popular and affordable web hosting service used by many bloggers and website owners.
Your blog's theme is the most critical part of your blog (well, except for its content, text, and images).
Your blog's look is very important because it's the first thing people see when they enter your website…
the first thing brands will look at when thinking of reaching out and collaborating, is what will make people stay on or leave your blog.
WordPress offers free themes. They are basic and nice to start with.
But as your blog is growing, I would recommend upgrading your theme to a premium theme that will look more professional and give you additional customization options in terms of the look and feel.
Here are our favorites website themes shops:
1. 17th Avenue
Website Page Builder
Having a nice page display for your content is very important. Once again, this is another thing that will make people stay or leave your blog.
One of the tools that have changed the website building ecosystem all together are the page builder services that have made design accessible to regular users.
You don't need to be a WordPress expert for building a BEAUTIFUL website with great functionality and all done with drag and drop tools, with zero coding knowledge.
One of these page builders is Elementor which is specifically built for WordPress website building.
Users love it.
It has a free and pro version; both will be perfect for your blog.
Elementor is one of the most uncomplicated page builders to use to build and design pages on your blog.
Here's an Elementor tutorial to start a self-hosted blog.
Recommended Blogging Resources:
I cannot say enough about Grammarly.
If you aren't familiar with Grammarly, it is an online grammar checker wherever you are online.
By downloading their free extension, it will check your grammar mistakes anywhere you type in the browser.
One of the reasons I highly recommend Grammarly is in case you are going to use VENNDY. Once you install their extension, you have their free tool escorting you all along wherever you are online.
When you write your notes on VENNDY's Item Pages or Stories, you can use Grammarly to make sure that you don't have any grammar mistakes that can look bad.
As mentioned before, the look and feel of your blog IS sooo important. Having a logo, brand identity, and cohesive look will help you build your brand.
You also need images for blog posts and social media content.
Using Canva is a must!
It is much more than an easy-to-use designing platform. It is much easier than Photoshop and is more than you need as a blogger or content creator.
Canva is completely free to use, but it does offer a PRO version for an affordable price.
Their PRO version includes endless photos that you'll need for creating Pinterest pins, Instagram stories, ebooks design, and more.
WooCommerce is the "shopping” tool created, managed, and offered by WordPress.
This WordPress plugin is the best e-commerce plugin for WordPress websites.
If you want to sell digital or physical products on your blog, WooCommerce is the best plugin for doing so.
Also, it's completely free!
VENNDY is a marketplace for online creators offering creators simple tools for easily and quickly building a shop tab with your recommended and promoted items so you can share it across all platforms.
So if you don't have your own products to sell but instead sell other's products with recommendations for your followers, VENNDY is an alternative for WooCommerce.
VENNDY helps you build credibility, improve your personal brand, and monetize your work with personalized referrals.
And, it gives you a few tools that can help you monetize from the very first day:
● Carousels for your blog posts – VENNDY’s carousels are fully customizable with your own images and with referral and affiliate links from any platform (except for AMAZON).
● A SHOP TAB – where you gather all your favorites and promoted items, all categorized with easy navigation.
● An Insta’nt Shop Tab for your blog– you’re probably familiar of tools like ShopStyle Collective that offers an Instagram view for a blog. Only with VENNDY, your links are from anywhere, regardless of the affiliate network used or the niche.
● A landing page with an Insta’nt Shop view for Instagram – for those who’ve grown a nice following on Instagram and wonder how to monetize their social reach, you can link to this landing page, even without a blog.
Also, by using VENNDY you can insert the products carousels and promote affiliate products!
You can add carousels with favorite items way before you even apply as an affiliate.
What’s good about VENNDY’s tools is that you don’t need to go back and change an endless number of links inside the text… you just add your affiliate links into the item pages created on VENNDY. It’s automatically linking to the content on your blog.
How to Make Money Blogging:
After creating your blog, posting interesting content, and starting some social media accounts (Pinterest/Instagram/Facebook/etc.), it's time to make some money!
As mentioned at the beginning of the post, let's make sure you don’t only start a blog but focus on results-driven actions.
This means that your blog will not only be up and running but that you'll also be converting your traffic to sales!
Many bloggers quit blogging before they reach three months, and the majority of those who continue don't make more than a couple of a hundred dollars a month.
That's why it is so important you understand how online businesses work.
To help you get the bigger picture of running an online business, I've created this Results-Driven Monetization Strategy Cheat Sheet.
It will help you get more precise about getting from where you are now to where you want to be.
So, make sure to check it out. Once downloaded, you'll get from me a few emails that are some of the most eye-opening lessons I’ve myself learned the hard way.
Don't underestimate free stuff. It is essential you know these before you start.
In the context of blogging, here are the best ways to make money blogging:
Affiliate Marketing - this is the most popular money-making methods among bloggers and influencers.
Affiliate marketing means that you promote a product on your blog/social media, using a unique link that the brand's affiliate program gave you.
Each time someone buys the product/sometimes through your content, you will receive a commission at no extra cost for your readers.
For example, if you promote a Victoria's Secret perfume using your unique affiliate link, and someone buys the perfume through your link, you'll earn a commission for that sale!
Displaying Ads - this is an entirely passive income stream.
At the beginning of your blogging journey, you won't be able to make a lot from it, but as your blog traffic starts growing, your earnings from ads displayed on your blog will increase.
Sponsored Posts - this means collaborating with brands that will sponsor your blog/social media post. Which means, that you will get paid to write a review/blog post featuring a brand or promoting a product.
Offering Services - if there is something that you are good at and have experience in, you can offer it as a service on your blog!
For example, if you are a travel blogger, you can offer travel planning (planning people's trips), or if you’re great with social media, you can offer to help others manage their accounts.
Selling Blogs - this is a money-making method a lot of bloggers don't talk about.
But building a blog for the intention of selling it is a great way to make money every once in a while.
I am saying every once in a while because selling a blog is a process.
First of all, you need to start your blog, write content, start social media accounts, grow your blog traffic and monetize it.
The more traffic and money you’re making with your blog – the higher its value.
After a few months of consistent income from the blog (a small or large amount), you can put your blog up for sale on Flippa.com or Blogsforsale.co.
You can also find potential buyers on Facebook or online.
I do hope this has been helpful.
Just before you go, I would encourage you to read two more blog posts: