If you want to make money blogging, you must first start your own blog.
And while options abound from Medium, WordPress, Blogger, Wix, Weebly, and many others. I always recommend setting up your own self-hosted WordPress blog.
Not only is it simple to do, as you shall see in a moment, but it's the safest option.
This is because you'll be in full control of everything.
Meaning you won't have to worry about waking up one day only to find your dear blog gone.
Or worse be limited on what you can and can't do to monetize your awesome blog.
And while free blogging platforms are to be steered away from, so are free hosting solutions.
Just know in your bid to cut costs setting up your blog, you may inadvertently cause yourself unnecessary agony a few weeks later.
So you're better off spending the $50 – $100 doing things the right way from the start.
Free-blogging/bootstrapping your blogging journey in my honest opinion shouldn't extend to domain and hosting.
What you can get away with though while starting, is free premium WordPress themes, and I will show you where to get them later.
But these too, if your budget allows, buy them.
And now that we've got the conditioning out of the way, let's get down to creating you, your new WordPress blog.
Table of Contents
How To Start Your Own Self-Hosted WordPress Blog In Less Than 30 Minutes.
Truth be told, setting up your own self-hosted WordPress blog is super simple.
A feat that can be accomplished in less than 30 minutes if you like to keep things simple, with no need to waste time on design stuff.
But don't worry though, we shall cover everything your blog needs to be ready for blogging.
What You Need To Start A Blog.
Now, before you can begin setting up your blog, there are a few items you must first get.
1. Domain Name.
This is your blog's address on the web eg. aytalum.com.
It's what your visitors will type in their browser fields to find your blog online.
So you must pick something that's easy, memorable, short, brandable, and a .Com preferably.
You can use domain name generators like impossibility to help you brainstorm catchy blog names fast.
And when you find a worthy domain name for your blog, register it immediately on Namecheap at a fair price.
Note: Keep on reading, I will share with you how you can get your .Com blog domain name for FREE.
2. Web Hosting.
This is where your blog will live on the internet and as such should be reliable, robust, and affordable for you.
Choosing a good web host for hosting your WordPress blog is of paramount importance. Anything short of amazing will make your blogging experience difficult to love.
And for this tutorial, I will use HostGator.
HostGator is one of the best, reliable, robust, beginner-friendly, and affordable web hosting services available online.
Their packages start from $2.75 a month, and have the options to be paid for monthly, yearly, biennially, and triennially. Super flexible.
3. WordPress Theme.
WordPress themes beautify your blog.
And depending on how good they coded the WordPress theme you choose, it can make or break your blog and blogging experience.
That's why it's super important to choose good WordPress themes that have been built by WordPress professionals.
This could mean paying a premium fee for one or getting a premium one for free.
Either way, make sure you choose a good WordPress theme with ongoing support, enough customization options, is SEO optimized, lightweight – for fast loading, and is easy to work with.
Note: MyThemeShop offers several premium WordPress themes you can comfortably use for free.
These are the 3 essentials you'll need to start your own profitable WordPress blog in 2021 and beyond.
In the following sections, we'll look at how you can buy your HostGator hosting, get your new .Com domain name for free, and install WordPress on it.
How To Buy HostGator Hosting Step-by-Step Tutorial.
Visit HostGator's website and click on the “Get Started” button on their homepage.
This will take you to their Web-hosting packages page from where you'll choose your desired one out of the three; Hatchling Plan, Baby Plan, and Business Plan.
Baby Plan is their most recommended plan as you can host unlimited domains with, unlike with their Hatchling plan.
This is important if you don't want to spend much on hosting with their Business plan, but still want the flexibility of hosting multiple sites.
Note: You'll get a free SSL certificate and a domain name for the first year on any of their shared annual plans.
Select your preferred web hosting package and click on its “Buy Now” button to proceed.
This will take you to their checkout page with a few key personal account details to fill in before finally paying.
Let's check out what they will require of you in each of the steps and help you choose the most optimal option.
#1. Choose a Domain.
If you have a domain name already registered with another registrar that you'd like to use, switch the tab above to “I Already Own This Domain” one to select it.
If not, search for your brand domain name in the search field of the “Register a New Domain” tab to find its availability and choose it if available.
Note: You can specify which domain extension (.Com, .Net, .Org, etc) you'd like to get for free with the hosting.
#2. Choose a Hosting Plan.
This is where you'll specify how many months you'd like to pre-pay for from 1 month to up to 36 months.
Note: They discount Annual plus plans; 12 months at 25.10%, 24 months at 36.53%, and 36 months at 60.30% off.
Tip: You can use the coupon code: AYTALUM to get even more discounted rates and on all plans.
You'll also need to choose an appropriate “Username” and specify a preferred “Support PIN“.
#3. Enter Your Billing Info.
This is where you'll fill in your personal account details including your preferred payment option between Credit Card and PayPal.
Note: These details are important for your account setup, so fill them accurately as needed.
#4. Add Additional Services.
You can add additional helpful services, optionally, per your needs depending on which sites you plan to host.
But for the majority, more so for WordPress users, you can do with none of these as there are free and capable solutions readily available if you want to keep start-up costs low.
Even so, should you need these later on, you can add them.
#5. Enter a Coupon Code.
This is where you'll enter your coupon code. And by default, it's applied for you but you can enter the coupon code I secured for you ( AYTALUM ) to lock in your special discount on all plans.
#6. Review Order Details.
Now that you're done with entering the above details, review everything to make sure it looks great.
Then agree to HostGator's terms of service, cancellation and privacy policies and then hit the “Checkout Now” button to finish paying.
Upon completion, you'll get an email to the address you specified above with your billing information, domain name, and cPanel login credentials.
Make sure you note the cPanel login credentials as you'll need them to install WordPress on your domain name in the following tutorial.
How To Install WordPress On HostGator Hosting Step-by-Step Tutorial.
At this point you should have your desired brand domain name registered, HostGator web hosting bought, cPanel login link and password, as well as 1st and 2nd HostGator Nameservers.
This is what you'll need to put together your brand new WordPress blog in this section.
If you bought your free domain name with HostGator's web hosting, you're all set to install.
Otherwise, log in to your Domain Name's registrar account and point your domain's nameservers to HostGator’s.
In my case, I have the domain name registered with Namecheap, but for you it could be with a different registrar. In either case, the process is the same.
Find your domain name and on its manage options locate the Nameservers option and change them to the “Custom Nameservers” provided for by HostGator.
Note: It might take a few minutes to hours for this change to take effect. But usually seconds.
Once done, click on the cPanel link in your welcome email and log in to your cPanel dashboard using the username and password given.
From your cPanel, click on the WordPress Installer app under “POPULAR LINKS“/”SPECIAL OFFERS” sections.
This will take you to HostGator's WordPress installation page, from where you'll start off by selecting the domain name you wish to install WordPress on.
It’s the one you just bought.
Note: Don't mess with the “directory” field, leave it empty to install WordPress on the root domain, not in a sub-folder.
Then click the “Next” button to proceed.
This will bring you to a WordPress installation settings page where you’ll need to add in a few more details; your blog's title, admin username, your first and last names, as well as your admin support email.
Once done, agree to the “Terms of Service” agreement by checking its checkbox and then click on the “INSTALL” button to now install WordPress on your domain.
This installations process will take just a few seconds to complete.
After the installation has completed, you'll be given the login details to your WordPress blog's backend.
Try to keep these login details safe and somewhere accessible for when you need them.
Finally, click on the “LOGIN” button to see your blog's backend and visit your domain name to see its front end.
Note: Your WordPress login page: yourdomain.com/wp-admin
You just installed WordPress on your Domain name and you're now ready to blog.
And now to the fun part, how to make your blog profitable.
Let's find out!
Blog Monetization: How To Monetize Your Blog And Make Money.
At some point in your blogging journey, you'll need to find a way/s to monetize your words/efforts/asset.
This is because you’ll be blogging for profit also. Bills have to be paid, and mouth/s fed to do it for free.
But bloggers have different ways on how they handle their blog monetization regarding when.
Some do it from the start, while others wait until they've got a reasonable readership to do so.
However you choose though, it's got to be done.
And below I've chosen 4 of the monetization strategies you can employ – regardless of when – to make your blogging efforts pay.
Note: There are so many monetization strategies – more than the four listed below – that you can use to earn from your blog.
1. Blog Monetization Through Ads.
The easiest and fastest way to monetize your blog is through display ads from companies like Google AdSense, Ezoic, and Mediavine.
With Google AdSense though, what you need is like 15+ well-written blog posts to apply and get approved for monetization.
After which you simply paste a few lines of Ad code – with the help of a WordPress plugin like AdvancedAds – promote your blog and earn some Ad revenue.
Depending on which Ad network you go for, there might be some traffic requirements you’d need to meet first, for consideration.
Either way, the process is super simple. Ads show up on your site, visitors click or not, you earn or you don’t.
Note: Try to strike a balance between ads and good user experience.
2. Blog Monetization Through Affiliate Marketing.
While Ads are simpler to earn with, they rarely pay that much and usually get paired with affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is simply earning commissions for promoting other peoples' products.
And when done correctly, affiliate marketing is indispensable from your blogging business.
What you do is swap links for affiliate ones for the products you mention or refer your readers to.
And when those links get clicked and purchases made, you get credited with the agreed-upon commission/s percentage.
What's awesome about affiliate marketing is that some products you'll be promoting will have a recurring aspect to them.
This means you get paid every month, passively, for the lifetime of the referred account.
Doing the work only once and getting paid over and over with no further work. Awesome! 🙂
Even so, affiliate marketing takes dedication to master. And as such, don't be discouraged when you don't see favorable results immediately.
3. Blog Monetization Through Offering Custom Services.
You can also employ freelancing on your blog to earn you even more income.
If you have services, you could offer to your readers; designing, social media marketing and management, coaching, etc. Advertise them on your blog and get clients that way.
And even though most bloggers don't use this method, it's one that could give you a stable and ongoing monthly income.
Alternatively, you can also package this knowledge into a course and sell it on your blog, if offering a service just ain't you.
Either way, you'll have your own product you can comfortably and assuredly promote and earn a consistent income, every month.
But even with the above monetization strategies or more, in place, what will determine if you'll make any money, is not just traffic but targeted traffic.
And to help you, below are 3 methods you can use to drive tones of free targeted traffic back to your blog and make money.
Blog Promotion: How To Promote Your Blog And Drive Tones Of Free Website Traffic.
We've seen above some ways you can use to monetize your blog.
But the truth is a monetized blog with no traffic is dead.
This makes getting tones of targeted traffic back to your blog of utmost importance.
But how can you go about getting this free targeted traffic without confusing yourself in the process?
You do so by focusing and mastering either one or two traffic sources before moving on to others.
And to keep things simple, below I've shared just three of the best sources of free traffic that you can focus on and dominate.
Google is the most visited website online by people from all over the world looking for different answers to their problems.
This makes it able to drive tones of targeted free traffic to your website if indeed it has their answer.
And the way you tell Google you got and you’re the answer is through proper SEO optimization of your blog.
Search engine optimization or short for SEO is the act of optimizing your blog and its content to be found by users, in need of, on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
This means you must choose the right keywords to target, format your blog posts correctly with header tags, do correct backlinking, fix typos and grammar issues, add necessary images, and much more to rank well and attract lots of free traffic from Google and other search engines.
When just starting out with a new blog, your SEO efforts won't be apparent, at least not until 3 months have passed with a trickle of people.
But rest assured SEO traffic is super targeted and reliable if you do things correctly. It just takes time in the beginning to kick in, that's all.
Even so, as you wait it out, the next free traffic sources can prove to be God sent for your blogging success.
2. Pinterest Traffic.
Pinterest for new blogs is surely a God sent.
This visual search engine has the potential to skyrocket your blog's traffic, even when just starting out, making it perfect for gaining free traffic for new blogs.
But unlike Google where you have to wait around a while to grow enough daily traffic to make any profit, with Pinterest, you can achieve this in just weeks with the right know-how.
Simply, sign up for a business account, set up your profile properly, and become active on the platform; Create Pins and pin/re-pin others' in your own boards as well as in the niche-relevant active group boards you're a member of, to get traffic started.
You can use Canva to design your own Pinnable graphics in just minutes, drag-n-drop style, without having to worry about using other complex desktop softwares.
3. YouTube Traffic.
YouTube is also another awesome free traffic source you can use, not only to drive targeted traffic but also to earn passively through Ads and affiliate marketing.
And while creating videos might intimidate some, with web-based video editors like InVideo you can repurpose your blog posts into videos in a matter of minutes.
Simply, create a dedicated YouTube channel and start posting your repurposed blog posts or better yet record new videos; tutorials, reviews, advice, tips, tricks, etc. And keep posting.
You'll start attracting new subscribers, building your email lists, getting affiliate sales, and your imagination's the limit.
Note: Same with blog posts, you must optimize your videos properly to rank on YouTube and Google.
Conclusion: Now What?
Take Massive Action!
You can start your own blog today, and 3 months down the road be profitable. But that can't happen without first taking the action to set one up.
And this start a blog quick guide has touched on everything you need to start your own self-hosted WordPress blog with HostGator and be ready to blog.
How to monetize your blog and even where to drive targeted traffic from to then make money.
The only thing left now is for you to just take the needed action and make it a reality for you.
I won't sugarcoat anything here, but blogging isn't a get-rich-quick scheme. It'll take determined action from you to not be another blogging failure online.
Just imagine if you had started blogging last year, or 2, 3, 4, 5 years ago. How would your life have changed by now?
But while you can't change the past, you can assuredly change today and make 1 year from now, be proud of yourself for having done it.
I hope this quick-start guide for starting your own money-making blog from scratch in 2021 and beyond was helpful to you.
And If so, feel free to share it with someone who really needs to start blogging today.
That's it from me today and till next time.