In landing here, it’s pretty safe to say you’re curious about starting a blog and you’re sure as heck interested in how you can make money from doing so. Well, with this post, I’m going to walk you step-by-step to create a WordPress site using Bluehost. Once you’ve determined a clear plan of action and got your site up and running, you’ll be ready to build something that can potentially earn you thousand’s of dollars of month. Take me for instance, I’ve used this blog to land freelance clients and I’ve consistently made money since starting. Check out my income reports!
Today we’ll discuss (click link to jump to section):
Blogging Away Debt
Blogging away debt — is it possible? Yes, it’s possible, but is it easy? Now that’s the question you should be asking yourself. I won’t sit here and lie to you for one minute.
Blogging comes with many high and low moments, but if you have a passion for writing as I do, you’ll be able to withstand those highs and lows. Therefore, I want to present an idea to you that could possibly change your life for the better.
See, blogging is not about being the most popular person out there (although it does help) and it’s not the easiest way to earn additional funds for someone who needs more money to pay off debt. However, it is one of the most convenient choices for some of you.
Many of you, like me, have small children and a lack of time. Taking on outside jobs to pay off your debt might not be in your family’s best interest, but you still have to do something. The debt isn’t going anywhere.
If this is the case, I encourage you to flex those fingers and get ready to create your home on these interwebs here and start blogging away debt away one article at a time.
That’s right, I’m encouraging you to start a blog, market your services, make some extra money, and pay down your debt!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves by focusing on those rather lofty aspirations of quitting full-time jobs and generating insane amounts of monthly income yet (although I wouldn’t complain)! I mean if that happens, so be it.
Let’s just focus on the main reason why many of you come here to Life and a Budget. You’re here because you want to get that debt monkey off of your shoulders so you can run off and pursue grander things in life.
For now, let’s just focus on the main reason why many of you come here to Life and a Budget. You’re here because you want to get that debt monkey off of your shoulders so you can run off and pursue grander things in life.
I know that’s why I am here and it’s one of the main things I aim to talk about here at my home on the internet. I’m using this space as a platform to talk about my online side hustles and my journey to paying off $80,000+ of student loan debt.
Surprisingly, some of you have reached out to me and asked me how you should pursue doing the same, so I want to give you step by step instructions on how you can create your own blog and start blogging away debt.
Is it really possible to earn additional money blogging to pay down my debt?
Yes, you really can do this if you’re ready to work for it. I’ve witnessed it happen to others for years while I sat around dreaming about it being me who was announcing she was debt free from student loans.
I remember when one of my favorite bloggers announced she paid off her loans in 7 months! Forty whole g’s in 7 friggin months! Yet, I’ve been sitting around wishing, dreaming, and hoping and nothing came of it.
You don’t have to lose time and make the same mistakes I did by sitting around wasting time and wishing it was you. It could be you! You just have to be willing to do something about it.
Blogging is a way of holding yourself accountable to another group of people. When one of us wins, all of us wins and you know why? Because that one person is proving to the world that what we’re doing is possible.
That one person is proving that with a little elbow grease and hustle, you can dig yourself out of any financial hole. It takes determination and if you’ve got it, yes you can earn additional money. You might not be able to quit your day job, but you could begin blogging away debt.
Will it happen in one month? Not likely, but if you’re creating content that is valuable and you’re willing to help others more than you’re concerned about getting your next dollar — you’ll eventually reach your goal if you keep going.
Blogging away debt – How?
The first step towards blogging away debt is creating your own self-hosted blog using WordPress and we’ll go over this more in detail below. Why?
Because you control it. It’s owned and paid for by you and somebody (I won’t mention any names) can’t come and shut you down just because they feel like it. You own the content and you can tailor your site to represent your voice.
Your blog is the ultimate portfolio because regardless of how many guest posts you do or sites you’ve been published on, folks want to get to know you! Your blog is where you can craft your voice and share your expertise in a way no one else can.
Offer services. Let people know you’re ready to work.
Once you have your blog, you can create a hire me page and market your services. It doesn’t matter whether you offer copywriting services, blogging services, graphic design, whatever…offer whatever it is that you know.
Pick your niche and run with it. My niche is personal finance and I’m running and telling everybody. Choose something that you could talk about until you’re blue in the face.
Choose your blog name, topics you want to cover, and discover your why. Make sure it’s YOUR why and no one else’s.
No one likes a copycat and while it’s cool to be inspired by other bloggers, it’s not cool to steal and copy them like it’s your business and then claim it as your own. Be you. No one can do you better than you can;)
And it doesn’t stop there. Let’s talk monetization.
There are several ways to monetize a blog once you’ve gotten the hang of it and are consistently bringing the people what they want. Remember, what do they want? They want some good content that is relevant and useful to them!
They want the full, juicy, tender pieces of chicken (add the hot sauce), not just the dried up popcorn chicken they serve the kids these days. Give them the good stuff and save the scraps for your personal journal.
Once you’ve gotten that taken care of, you can experiment with other monetization strategies. Perhaps you want to create a killer e-book on how to cook perfectly fried chicken.
If that’s your niche and that’s what your readers want to read about, write the book. Or maybe they want you! You might be able to coach or consult.
Last, there is always affiliate and advertising income which can be considered as a part of your strategy too. This may require a decent amount of traffic so it shouldn’t be the first thing you consider when starting a blog.
Since I’m a writer, I always focus on my content first and everything else second. This is why I offered freelance writing and blogging services as the first layer of my monetization strategy for my blog.
Blue Host Review
First things first! Let me give you a quick rundown of my experience with Bluehost. Bluehost is a web hosting company that provides services on the low. I mean their prices are extremely affordable!
I’ve heard flack about them from other bloggers, but I was just starting out and I wanted something I could afford. I saw another blogger that I highly respect and study, so I figured I would give them a shot. This blogger seemed to have a good experience and I felt comfortable with my decision.
Well, I have been writing here since October 2015 and I’ve had no problems with Bluehost. Seriously. I guess everyone has different experiences depending on which server you end up on, but so far everything has been kosher around these parts.
I feel like Bluehost is a great hosting company to start with because it’s a reasonable price for a newbie that has like zero traffic. Of course, if my numbers ever go through the roof and things get a little wonky, I may have to find another hosting company.
When that does happen, I’ll be sure to keep you updated. However, regardless of whether I keep them as a hosting company after it’s time to renew my package with them – I’ll still recommend Bluehost to bloggers who are just starting out for several reasons:
- It’s super cheap
- You can get a professional appearance using WordPress
- Bluehost offers tech support for the technically challenged
- Your blog domain name is free for the first year
- WordPress has free themes you can use for your blog
- Your blog will be self-hosted so you can easily monetize with ads and more
- No one can shut your blog down because you’ll own that bad boy
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Start a Blog
Step 1. Choose a name for your site.
Remember that whole discussion on your “why” above? Now is the time to put all of that good stuff into action. If you know what you want to talk about and know what niche your content will fall into, it’s time to choose a name that will be fitting and easy to remember. Why did I choose Life and a Budget? Because I’m hell bent on achieving my financial goals while having a life at the same darn time — and I’ll bet you would like to do the same.
Step 2. Select the hosting for your website.
Go to Bluehost.com and select get started. You can choose between three packages.
I went with the $3.99 plan and decided to pay for 36 months of hosting all for a total of $126.
Total paid for hosting: $126
Step 3. Put in your domain name (see image above).
If you don’t have a previously registered domain name, type in the name you’ve chosen for your blog.
If available you’ll be allowed to proceed with registering it as a domain. This is basically the address of your site – your address on the internet.
Luckily, though, Bluehost is offering free domain registration for a year if you sign up for a 12 month plan.
Total paid for domain name: Nada.
There are some add-on features that you can select as shown above. I recommend getting the Domain Privacy so you can keep your home address off the web.
Once you choose the package and enter your name, you’ll be ready to proceed within paying and setting up your account information with Bluehost. I recommend going with a password that’s long and hard to remember. You don’t want anyone having easy access to your web-host account.
Total paid for domain privacy: $12 for one year.
Next, you will see the welcome shown above and you will create your password for Bluehost.
Step 5. Now you set up your new site using WordPress. Bluehost makes it super easy to install using WordPress. Just do the following.
- Install WordPress by going to the cPanel in Bluehost (shown above).
- Click on WordPress under the website builder section.
- Click start as shown above.
- During installation, it will ask you what domain do you want to install WordPress on as shown above. Select your registered domain from the drop down menu and continue with the installation.
- You should see the status above.
- Now choose advanced options (shown above) and this is where you will create your password and username for your actual site. DON’T choose anything common. Make it hard and use a variety of letters and numbers.
- Select automatically create a new database.
- Click install.
Step 6. Choosing a Blog Theme
To get to your new WordPress site, you will put your domain name/wp-admin (domainname.com/wp-admin) into your address bar. You will see a page that looks like the image above. This is where you put in your login info for WordPress.
After you are logged into your WordPress account, there is an area called Marketplace (see image below).
I used the Mojo Marketplace to find a design.
My blog theme is called Hologram and I paid $39.00. I didn’t have to install it because the designer provided this free of charge with proof of purchase. The only thing I did was design a header for my blog.
If you don’t want to shell out money for a theme, you can also use one of the free ones available. To use a free theme, instead of going to Marketplace, go to appearance. From there you can click on themes and choose the one you want to use.
Total paid for theme: $39.00.
Marketing Services After Your Blog Is Set-up
- Create content. I created around 5 or 6 articles before I actually started promoting my site.
- Go mingle. Get to know other bloggers in your niche and set up your preferred social media account. By preferred, I mean where all of your readers hang out.
- Interact with others on their blog and social media
- Join some freelancer groups on Facebook.
- Seek out guest posting opportunities on other sites within your niche. I went hard with this initially because no one knew who I was or where I was from. It’s a good way to market your skills and network with others.
- Put up your hire me page (check out mine if you have no idea what it should include). Think about the services you want to offer and how much you need to generate to eventually meet your goals.
- Add samples of your work to your hire me page and/or a link to your portfolio of work (I use Contently).
- Add a Wisestamp signature to your email (all of them). I’m really happy I did this. I landed a client from my personal email (Wisestamp can be configured across multiple accounts) and I wasn’t even trying. I paid $25 for a lifetime subscription through AppSumo.
- Pitch clients.
- Land gigs, do the work, and get paid.
Blog and Freelance Resources:
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing: This course has changed the game for me! Within 2 months of taking the course, I made my money back through affiliate income here at LAAB. If you’re interested in making passive income with your blog, this is a course I recommend signing up for!
Careful Cents: You have questions about freelancing and Carrie’s got answers.
Elna Cain: There is so much I’ve learned from Elna’s valuable blog on freelancing. In her course Write To 1k, she teaches students how to write their way to 1k in seven weeks or less. If you’re new to freelancing and don’t have a lot of time to devote to learning the in’s and out’s, I recommend it.
For more resources check out my recommendations.
If you have any additional questions about blogging away debt, feel free to reach out.
Any of you currently blogging away debt? If so, share your site and your experiences with the rest of us in the comments.
What has been your greatest challenge in generating income from your blog? Have you actually paid off your debt using income from your online work? Please share!