One of the best things I ever did to improve my finances was to start this personal finance blog. Wait…what? Yes, it is true. I started this blog as a way to make extra money. You see, back in 2007, my wife was 3 months pregnant and I found myself dipping into her income to cover our expenses — I would much rather live on one income even if both of us were working. Starting a blog turned out to be really good. It certainly far exceeded our expectation as far as making side money goes, but I learned a hell of a lot of good financial practices just by writing about personal finance.
I am not saying that you have to start a personal finance blog to make money. You can write just about anything that you’re passionate about and make money. It so happened that I was and still am passionate about personal finance and achieving financial success and that was why I wrote about personal finance.
How to Start a Blog for Beginners
Since this is not a Blogging site, my goal is to get you to started as cheaply and as quickly as possible. The subject of blogging is just way too big and complicated for me to cover here. That said, if I am starting again today, this is how I would do it.
1. Choose a Subject
First, think about the subject that you want to write about — pick with just one subject. Think of something that you like, or something that you talk about all the time when you meet other people. This could be personal finance (of course), investing, cooking, real estate, hiking, etc. Write about what you love!
2. Choose a Domain Name (Your Brand)
Now, figure out a domain name. This is your brand online. You can pick a name that is subject related, or just some random word(s) you make up that is fairly easy to remember and say. For example, I came up with Moolanomy by combining the word Moolah (meaning money) and Economy (meaning careful management of available resources). The hard thing is most of the obvious names are already taken by someone else, but don’t sweat it — just pick something that is good enough.
For this step, go to GoDaddy and type in a word in their search box.
For example, let’s say I love to talk about Real Estate, I can type in “realestatelove” and see realestatehoney.com is available…not a bad name IMHO. Once you find the name, go ahead and hit that Add to Cart button. DO NOT PAY YET.
3. Start a WordPress Site
The self-hosted version of WordPress is by far the most powerful blogging platform you can get. To get you started blogging fast, I want you to go to GoDaddy WordPress Hosting next. Go ahead and hit that Get Started button and type in the Domain Name again (currently there is a free domain name promotion when you buy a WordPress site), then hit Select and Continue and finish up the registration. NOW PAY THE DADDY.
Now you should have access to a basic WordPress site for under $15 initial investment — not bad!
4. Make the Site Yours
I am not going to go into too much details about how to configure everything…trying to focus on the making money part in the next 2 steps. To customize your site:
- Create a simple logo to match the name. You create one fairly easily using websites like LogoMaker.
- Choose a theme. WordPress comes with a lot of free themes. Just choose one that you like for now and get to the next step!
Don’t spend to much time tweaking your site, just make it good enough for now.
5. Start Writing
This is the important part because you can’t make money blogging with an empty blog. Your first order of business is to start writing about the subject you chose. To continue with our example, we might write about these topics:
- How to Become a Real Estate Agent
- How to Invest in Real Estate
- How to Buy Your First Home
- 10 Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Home
- What is Real Estate Tax?
Well, you get the idea. If you can’t think of what to write, join a Facebook Group related to your Subject. People ask and answer questions there all the time and you can use that as your content idea generator.
6. Making Money with a Blog
Now that you have some content in your blog, you can finally start thinking about monetizing (a fancy word for making money with your blog). There are 3 main channels you can use to generate income with your blog:
- Display Ads – This is where you put banner ads on your blog and make money based on clicks and/or the number of pageviews. To get started, head to AdSense and sign up to become a Publisher.
- Affiliate Ads – This is where you promote a brand, a service, or a product and make money every time a sale is made from someone who clicked on your link. To get started, head to FlexOffers.com and/or CJ.com and sign up a Publisher (or Affiliate) account. Once approved, search for brand(s) you want to promote and apply to join their individual program. Once approve, you can set up an affiliate link(s) to use on your blog.
- Product Ads – This is where you can promote specific product and get a percentage of the sale. To get started, head to Amazon Associates and/or eBay Partner Network, and join the program(s).
Once you joined these advertiser, you can add ads and links to your blogs to start generating income. Obviously, there are a lot more advertisers out there and you just have to search for them because many are niche specific and it would be impossible to cover them all.
To help you get started with monetization, here are 30 Proven Ways to Make Money Online Blogging by WPBeginner.
How Much Can You Make by Blogging
The income varies and depends a lot on the Blogger (you) and the niche…but I’d say $25 to $2,500 a month is typical.
I was thrilled when I made my first $100 blogging…and I think my best month ever was over $40,000 in a single month. Just like any business, the money comes and goes…you just have to work hard at it. Overall, I am happy with my journey with Moolanomy.com. It helped me become a more financially savvy person, and with the money I made from blogging, I was able to purchase two rental properties, built up a $120k SEP IRA account and a $250k Solo 401(k) account. Not bad for a Side Hustle!
The above steps is how you get started blogging for money in a nutshell. It is very simplified and there are quite a lot to learn to become a successful blogger/online marketer. The important thing is that you get started. If done right, with hard work and luck, you will be able to have a good side hustle income with your blog.
Pinyo Bhulipongsanon is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance and a Realtor® licensed in Virginia and Maryland. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, financial literacy author, and Realtor®.