How to Start a Blog and Make Money in 2020
Here are the 7 steps to start a blog and make money in 2020:
- Step 1: Choose your niche (A topic you’ll blog about)
- Step 2: Register your domain & chose your blogging platform
- Step 3: Get web hosting for your blog
- Step 4: Install WordPress & set up your blog (themes & plugins etc.)
- Step 5: Write your first blog post
- Step 6: Get initial traffic (visitors) to your blog, and
- Step 7: Monetize your blog
Are you wondering how to start a blog and make money in 2020?
… kudos to you for taking this good decision because blogging has a lots of benefits.
Before we proceed…
…here is the quick table of contents or steps needed to get started with blogging in 2020!
Ready to start your blog and make money from it?
Step 1: Choose a Niche for Your Blog (a Topic You’ll Blog About)
What is a blog niche?
A blog niche is a category or topic that you will write about in your blog.
Choosing a niche is important because your whole content strategy will revolve around your chosen niche (topic) and will attract the right audience to your blog.
Choosing a blog niche depends on what your end goal is.
If you are a wedding photographer you need to write about topics that potential couples search often on Google (like best destination wedding tips, bridal/groom makeup etc).
This will give you visibility in front of your potential clients and thus you can get hired.
Here are a few tips to help you decide what to blog about:
- Choose a blog niche that you are passionate about: Blogging is all about passion. If writing about something can keep you up even at 4 in the morning, I think that’s a good topic to start. On the other hand, if you are writing about a topic that doesn’t interest you, you will not be able to pull it off for longer.
- Choose a blog topic you are familiar with: You don’t need to be an “expert” to get started with blogging, start a blog on something you are well versed with can give you instant recognition. For example, are you famous in your family for making delicious food? Do your friends need you when they have a social media doubt (like how to block my ex on Facebook?) or a techy thing (like how to make ringtones on iPhone?) Are you interested in movies and latest music releases or gossips? All of these could be good topics to start your blog and make money from it.
- What type of audience do you want: If you want to make money blogging, you have to attract the right audience/customers to your blog. Not all will be interested in what you say or sell. To get the right people read your blog you have to write posts they are looking for. Think about the problems they have, the language they use while talking or surfing online and include them in your blogging strategy. For example, Pinch of Yum, a super successful food blog, writes about kitchen efficiency, recipes and things they’re audience (food enthusiasts, homemakers) are interested in.
These are basic things you have to think before starting a blog.
In case you want more help deciding what to blog about…
…Here is a detailed guide on how to find your niche in blogging with 100+ profitable blog niche ideas.
Step 2: Choose the Right Domain Name for Your Blog
A domain or blog name refers to the location of a website on the internet. It is found in the address bar of the browser and helps you access the desired website/blog on the internet.
In simple language, a domain name can be explained as the address of a house you want to visit.
If I tell you to find my house then how will you react? You probably will ask me my address and then you will reach me, right?
Similarly, every website or blog has its own unique address on the World Wide Web. The address of the blog is in a format called URL (Uniform Resource Locator).
Let’s check this with my domain URL (https://www.staging.digitalgyd.com) as an example:
- HTTPS://(Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
- www (the sub domain)
- DigitalGYD (The domain or blog name)
- .com(Top Level Domain).
In whole, it looks like https://www.example.com in which example is your domain name which is subject to availability that means you can register only for those domain names which are available and not registered by anyone before.
Looking for blog name selection best practices?
Here are some tips for choosing the right domain name before getting started with blogging:
- Make sure your domain name is short and memorable.
- Choose a domain name that reflects your brand or business.
- Choose a domain name that gives you full scope to expand your content scope. Like if you choose a domain name like getflatabs.com you will be restricted to content revolving abs fitness.
After a while, you’ll run out of blog ideas and monetization opportunities. Even if you try and write about toned thighs on the blog it will be a mismatch.
- Always go for a .com version unless it is previously taken.
- Avoid choosing fancy domain names since they are hard to remember.
- Avoid numbers, hyphens, and symbols in your domain name. They cause a lot of confusion and make it impossible for your readers to communicate your URL with others (like via phone).
- Check here for a lot of fashion & beauty blog name ideas
Check If Your Domain Name is Available Using The Tool Below:
Where to start a blog in 2020? Choosing A Blogging Platform
Wondering, I have bought a domain name… now what?
Well, now, let’s now look at the best sites for blogging.
What is a blogging platform?
A blogging platform (often referred to as a content management system) is a platform that delivers your raw data into a human readable form (blog) where users can read your posts, shop products and interact with you.
The main demerit of making a free blog using free blogging platforms is that you don’t own your content. They can delete your site permanently without having to inform you.
There are many blogging platforms out there but the most commonly used is WordPress.
WordPress is the most used CMS in the world because it is robust, easy website builder (requires no coding knowledge) and feature-rich (you can create a website on almost any topic with WordPress). That’s where you should start your blog in 2020.
This diagram shows why WordPress is one of the best blog sites to use.
This tutorial is focused on creating a self-hosted WordPress blog. This is what I use and any other blogs you know use.
Let’s head over to choosing the web hosting for your blog now.
Step 3: Choose the Right Web Hosting for Your Blog in 2020
Now that you have chosen a domain name for your blog…
…you’ll need a web hosting account to host your website.
There are dime a dozen hosting companies out there but you have to choose the one that is:
- reliable, and
- has a good customer service.
Bluehost stands tall in all these parameters and I have been happily using them since quite a long time. Started in 1996 (that’s before Google itself!)
One more thing that you’d want to know is, Bluehost provides FREE SSL for your blog.
SSL certificates are a Google ranking factor and they induce more trust amongst your visitors for your blog.
See the “secure” symbol prior to my URL on your address bar. This sign of credibility helps best when you want to start a blog and make money from it, in a professional way.
FREE OFFER: If you haven’t already bought a domain for your blog, don’t buy. You will get a FREE domain for lifetime with Bluehost!
To get started, click here to open Bluehost as a new window tab. Don’t worry the current tab will stay open for you to refer the steps.
Step-by-step Guide To Start A Blog On Bluehost Hosting
1) Once the page loads, click on the big green “get started now” button to get started with hosting for your blog.
2) Select your pricing package. Be sure to choose the basic plan (1st column) in the image below to avail the cheapest hosting offer. This plan is enough for you to get started without any issues.
Bluehost enables you to lock your hosting for 3 years at a very cheap price ($3.95).
P.S. You can also choose the hosting for 1 year but then you have to pay $7.99/month. So, it is a better choice to get hosting for 3 years instead with a little more spending.
Remember, Bluehost is the cheapest hosting you can get (which meets the customer satisfaction).
And, you can recover your investment because your blog will be making money by the end of the first year itself (I was making $350 per month by the end of my first blogiversary!).
So go ahead and choose the first basic option.
3) Select your domain name (or enter the one you have finalized in step 2 above)
4) After that, you will be asked to fill your account details. Don’t panic this is just for billing process and involves full privacy protection.On the same screen re-check your package information. Make sure to un-check the things I have marked they are not necessary and simply add to your price.
Further below on the same page, enter the bank details and hit the green ‘Submit’ button to complete the process.
Congratulations! You have successfully purchased a hosting account for you.
Congratulations! Your WordPress blog is ready and running.
Once you have installed WordPress on your Bluehost hosting we have literally completed creating a blog for you.
Step 4: Setup WordPress to Get Your Blog Up and Running
Now that you have started a blog, are you wondering how do I set up my blog?
The new Bluehost interface guides you all through your WordPress dashboard including suggestions to write posts, publish an about page etc.
Still, if you want to do things manually, which is what I prefer too, don’t worry!
In this section, I’ll show you initially setup of your blog including important setting configurations, theme changes and getting it up and running for the public launch of your dream blog site.
You can continue reading this or visit my article on things to do after WordPress Installation for more detailed and step by step process.
To be able to change or edit anything on your blog you have to access its dashboard.
Step 4.1) Install a theme for your blog
A WordPress theme is what decides how your blog looks and feels on the outside. Themes are what makes every website you visit look different from one another.
The default theme of WordPress is pretty basic and useless when it comes to setting up a money-making blog. It has limited or no features that themes should have.
You can feel it when you see your newly-setup blog and compare it to mine (the page you are reading now).
To change your WordPress blog’s theme, head over to dashboard >> Appearance (on the left-hand option panel) >> themes. Click on the Add theme button on the upper left corner of the new screen (screenshot below).
Now you have to upload a theme (zip file) that you’ve previously purchased.
It is always recommended that you invest a little money and get a premium theme. The advantages of having premium themes are:
- Full security from hacks
- Clean coding to make your site load fast
- SEO optimized to help your site rank on Google
- You get premium support from the theme developers when you get struck with something.
- Premium themes give a branding to your site and signal your readers that you are serious and are here to be in business.
Here is a list of 51+ themes for bloggers for your new blog!
Step 4.2) Setup your blog’s permalink structure
Setting up the permalink structure for your new blog is important because it defines the URL structure after “/” of your blog address and it heavily helpful in SEO (as well as user-experience) if it is optimized well.
Here are a few examples of WordPress permalink structures:
To change your blog’s permalink structure, go to your blog’s dashboard >> Settings >> permalink settings.
I recommend setting example.com/sample-post/ as your blog’s permalink structure. This is the simple, neat and the most SEO friendly URL structure.
Additionally, having an uncluttered URL format can help in user experience and be in the mind of your readers.
Step 4.3) Install essential WordPress plugins
WordPress has 1000s of plugins that help you in different purpose. You can install any plugin but you shouldn’t do. using more plugins will eat up your server resources leading to slow site and downtime.
Here is a list of best WordPress SEO plugins that you can refer and use.
Using Yoast SEO (free), the first plugin on that list is essential.
Step 4.4) Setup spam protection
Akismet is a free WordPress security plugin that keeps your blog safe from spammers & fake commenters. Akismet comes added to WordPress by default.
In case it isn’t there in the plugins section (dashboard>>plugins>>installed plugins) you can add it by clicking the Add New option in the same section.
Then search for Akismet >> Click on Install >> Activate.
To get your Akismet API key, simply click on the Get API key button on the next window.
This takes you to the Akismet for WordPress page where you again have to click on the big Get An Akismet API key button.
In the resultant page, you need to signup for a free WordPress account.
After you click signup, you are taken to the pricing page. Make sure to sign up or choose the first (free basic) option.
Now, get the API key and insert in on the Akismet plugin page on your dashboard.
Step 4.5) Install a backup plugin
You should always make sure to install a backup plugin for your WordPress blog. This protects your data and stores the whole site as a backup.
In case your site gets hacked or gets deleted by you accidentally or is attacked by spammers, you can use this handy backup to get started with blogging again for free.
I use the BackWPUp plugin which is free and has options to upload automatic backup schedules to your Dropbox or desktop hard drive.
Step 4.6) Install social sharing plugins
The aim of blogging is to get more and more people to read it so you can help them and get revenue. The more the traffic to your site the more the money flowing in.
Installing social sharing plugins helps people to share your blog posts to their social profiles and email or bookmark them for future use.
The benefits of adding social sharing plugins are:
- They bring social media traffic in for free
- They help your blog become popular
- A good number of social shares increases the credibility of your posts and hence boost authority and trust.
Check the left-side of this article, nearly 4200 people have shared it across social channels thus bringing in, even more, people to the article.
They also show that 4000+ readers have actually liked this step by step tutorial on how to start a blog and make money from it and thought that their friends and followers will like it too.
Social Warfare is lightweight, clean coded and have several features that help in getting more shares (like mobile optimized, pre-set tweet that can be tweeted in 1-click, different tall Pinterest image etc).
If you’re not in a state to invest in a feature-rich premium plugin, you can use the free basic sumome share plugin.
Step 4.7) Write Your About Page & Contact Page For New Blog
An about page is the most visited page of a blog since every new visitor that lands on your blog will be curious to know about you and your blogging journey (visions) etc.
To write your about page, head to dashboard>>pages>>add new.
Give your title in the next screen. This is the heading olf the page. Here are some tips to write a killer about page:
- Make it about your visitors rather than you.
- Write what they can expect from your blog (type of articles you publish, tone of your blog etc)
- Show them how they can get benefited from your blog
- Add some social proof, like a testimonial from a reader who liked your blog (optional but important to boost your authority)
- Write in a personal yet clear tone. Don’t use the third person.
After that, publish your very first page on the blog.
How to add a contact page?
- Install the free plugin called WPForms (read my WPForms Review here)
- Follow the above guide to create a new page on WordPress.
- Add the WPForms contact form shortcode you get to the new page and hit publish.
Similarly, to create a disclaimer page for your blog simply head over to free online disclaimer generator tool and fill up the info and follow the above process.
Here’s a list of all the above plus 18 more essential things to do after installing WordPress.
So that’s it! You have successfully created a money-making blog for you.
Step 5: Write Your First Blog Post Article on Your Blog
Wondering how to start a blog post?
To write your first blog post on WordPress, go to the WordPress blog dashboard >> Posts >> Add New. Writing a post is as easy as writing a page in WordPress.
- Pick a topic and research on it (using Google scholar, Wikipedia, and other blogs that rank for the query. See what they are writing, how they represent and what they are missing. Check the comment section to see the readers’ reactions and questions on the topic).
- Fill up the title.
- Customize the URL (auto-generates but customizable)
- Add content (paragraphs, sub-heads), images and videos (essential to get more SEO backlinks).
- Make sure you follow all On-Page SEO techniques.
- Check everything in the preview mode.
- Hit publish.
Step 6: Driving Initial Traffic to Your Blog
Now that you have finished setting up your new blog, published essential pages, and a couple of posts, your new aim should be to get traffic to your blog.
Everyone likes to start a blog and make it popular but a blog isn’t popular by itself from scratch.
That is why you need people or readers or traffic to truly start your blog making money.
Here is how you can drive traffic and make your blog popular in no time.
Getting traffic from search engines will take a couple of days but prior to that, you can drive insane about of traffic by other means.
This referral traffic will help you get a boost, some user interactions, and aid in getting your new blog indexed in Google (or other search engines like Bing) faster.
Make sure you have at least 5 articles before publicly launching your blog. This will give your readers enough data to check out and gauge your blog and make them wait for more.
To get your first 1000 readers, follow the following steps:
- Email your family and friends about your new blog. Give them the homepage link and ask them to leave their opinion as comments on the blog posts.
- Tweet out your posts with relevant hashtags.
- Go and leave comments on other relevant blogs (Feel free to comment here in this article and I will tweet and share your blog with my 30,000+ followers!).
- Find out blog communities and forums (like HellBoundBloggers Forum where you can answer questions in your niche and include a link back to your blog in the signature.
- Join communities like viralcontentbee.com where you earn points by sharing others’ posts and invest those points to get shares for your posts. Real people Real share.
- Join Facebook groups that allow self promotion and comment on weekly threads about your latest blog posts. Try to interact and form a friendship so that you can mutually promote your blogs and benefit.
- Make your first posts speak for you. Write quality articles on everything you know about the topic you are writing. Link to authority bloggers in your articles and tweet them to let them know that you mentioned them in your article. Ask them (politely) to share your article and most will do it. Needless to say shares from influencers can bring you a hell lot of traffic.
Step 7: Make Money From Your Blog in 2020
This article on how to start a blog and make money 2020 will be incomplete unless we don’t talk about making it profitable.
No one wants to make a blog for FREE unless you are an NGO or a want to run a hobby blog.
Even if creating a money-making blog might not be your motivation, you cannot create a blog for free.
The reason being, a blog runs on resources like hosting, themes and other expenses.
So, in order to make your blog profitable you need to monetize it or have to spend money from your pocket which is not our aim here.
In this section, I’ll explain how to make money with a blog for beginners.
Start, shall we?
There are many ways to make money from your new blog. I have listed some of the most potential and profitable ways to monetize a blog as soon as you start it.
The second option on the list below is what you can use to make money as soon as you start a blog and make money without even having much traffic.
Some of the most popular blog monetization methods are:
- Selling Ads: You can make money by placing ads like AdSense or media.net (if you sign up through that link of media.net, you’ll get an extra 10% above your normal income for your 1st 3 months!) on your blog.Make sure your blog has some growth before applying for them.
- Offering services: This is the fastest and most effective way of monetizing a new blog.You can provide services in anything you do well like managing social media accounts of clients, bookkeeping, becoming a virtual assistant (VA) or providing a freelance writing service.I did earn my initial income by providing freelance writing services.You can also pitch potential clients and show them your website as your portfolio for writing samples.
- Creating a product or course: I am not sure if this applies to you but if you already have a soft design of a product or a course on a topic you are expert in, you can create a blog; form a community of potential buyers around it and then sell it to them.
- Infolinks: Infolinks is an in-text ad program that can be used to earn money from ads in your blog’s text.Read my Infolinks review and learn how it can be used to earn money as soon as you start blogging online and don’t ignore media.net because it works like a charm.
- Affiliate marketing: This is a great way to make huge money from blogs but you need to have patience and know your audience.After that, you can pitch or show ads to them based on what things they are interested in.Shareasale is a good place to find best high-paying affiliate programs for bloggers and enroll in them.Again make sure your blog has some traction to avoid application cancellation.
Wrapping Up Our How to Start a Blog and Make Money in 2020 Guide!
Congratulations! You Have Successfully Created A Blog For You in 2020.
Give it a shot. Start your own blog and make money from it now.
It is worth it! ✌
Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a Money Making Blog
A blog or weblog is an online diary or website where you publish blog posts with your audience with the aim of sharing some information, solving a problem or interacting with them via comments/shares and views on your entries.
You can do a lot of things with blogging apart from starting a blog and making money from it. There are numerous benefits of having a blog of your own. Here are some of the advantages of starting your own blog:
1) Express yourself; showcase your talent: Through blogging, you can get a way to express yourself, share the talent you have in you.This can be anything like health tips, productivity lessons, kitchen or gardening, business strategies and everything in between.
2) You can help others: With your talent, you can help others succeed in their business, get more sales and even lead a better life. This is incredible because you reach to an audience worldwide and help them.
3) Earn money from home (or anywhere): The best benefit of starting your own blog is making money from it. Blogging gives you financial freedom.You don’t need to have a brick and mortar shop neither you need a 9-5 job, with blogging you can make money right from your bedroom/basement. I recently gifted my father 1 million INR ($15,000 approx.) to renovate his (offline) grocery shop. And let me tell you, his smile and pride in his eyes was something I will rejoice my whole life.
4) Get fans and followers: Blogging, if done right, can earn you name and fame in addition to money. You can create a personal brand and grow your fan following.
Yes, starting a blog is perhaps the most profitable business you can think of. Blogging is literally a zero investment business idea that helps you make money by adding value to the world wide web via your expertise. However, it does require consistency, passion, hard work and willingness to invest back in your blogging business to scale it into a profitable money making machine.
The simple answer is, it depends. I made my first blogging income after 8 months of blogging (& it was $0.84). However, once I knew this was possible I put in more efforts and with my hard work (and obviously God’s blessing) I now make a living blogging. The time taken to make money blogging solely depends on your niche, the work that you put in and the blog monetization strategy you have in place.
It depends. Your blog’s income will vary on the time you’ve blogged, the niche you’re blogging in and the hard work you’re putting in. As per my experience, if you follow the right path and work hard, making at least $2000-$3000 per month should be easy.
While bloggers like Pat Flynn make well over 7 figures many fail to make their first blogging income.
It’s been more than 5 years and I am yet to make as much as 7 figure bloggers make but that’s not the point. It’s not a race. Like every business, blogging business also varies from people to people and situations to situations.
As a rule of thumb, the most profitable blog topics are the ones that target and solve the pain point of your audience. The larger the pain, the more they spend. Here are some of the most profitable blog topics:
3) Love, romance & sex
5) make money online etc..
If someone told you that you could make money with WordPress, don’t listen. They’re probably scamming you. Making money with WordPress takes time and unless you’re running some sort of paid campaigns sending traffic to your WordPress site, this is impossible.
You might want to read this post on benefits of blogging to see 21+ lucrative advantages of blogs that non-bloggers are missing out on in life.
I hope you liked our how to start a blog to make money in 2020. If so, a kind social share to your favorite social media platform would mean a lot.