How To Start A Blog That Makes Money

So you want to learn how to start a blog in Australia? Maybe you are bored of your day job and have heard or seen the success that can be made through starting your own money making blog.

Maybe you just want to start a blog about an interest you have or turn a hobby into a business. Maybe you simply just want to start a blog to pen your thoughts.

Whatever the reason may be, there are many tutorials out there on how to start a blog. Very few actually show you how to make money from your blog, which is why my guide is so much better (in my opinion).

start a blog

Why I Started Blogging?

I’ve been making money through blogging for as long as I can remember. What’s more enjoyable than writing content once and making money from it for months and years to come?

There are very few business models out there that are truly passive, work once, and profit on a regular basis without any further work for the foreseeable future.

I initially started my own blog as I wanted to showcase my travel with the world. I saw many bloggers out there getting paid real money from large hotel chains, travel agencies and tour companies to write about them.

Not only did it appear they get to go on free trips, they often got benefits such as free meals, spa trips and tours. Others got upgrades on flights with some luxury airlines.

I had to get in on the action and start a travel blog.

Now before you get too excited, there is actually lots of work involved initially and unfortunately most people give up when they don’t see the short term results another website or guru they watched on Youtube made out.

For those of you that are in that position, remind yourself of the long term results that your site will experience in 6 months time.

Imagine going to University go get a bachelors degree, for four years you see no graduation and then finally it becomes all worthwhile.

DO NOT GIVE UP.

You can make money with blogging if you keep writing good content and promoting your blog. Visitors and businesses will eventually notice you.

If it was so easy to make money blogging, everyone would be doing it. While it’s definitely a lucrative way to make money long term, initially it does require a lot of foundational work.

Imagine building a house to sell, it takes time and effort to complete the building process before it can be sold on the market.

If it doesn’t sell you might need to do further work again before someone finally buys it. Of course some people can never sell their house and lose money and sadly, blogging is the same.

Why You Should Start A Blog In 2019?

Ten years ago starting a blog was super hard and actually costed quite a lot of money with ongoing monthly fees.

Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress (a free resource) were fairly new and often full of bugs or slow to use. Other platforms were difficult to configure and the whole process was something most bloggers like to forget.

In 2019 there are so many free CMS platforms and resources out there that you can start a blog within a matter of hours with only the requirement to purchase web hosting and a domain name. These two small investments are all that’s required to start a blog.

I’ll show you how to start a blog within hours for a few dollars.

How To Start A Blog For Free?

You could start a blog for free using a Web 2.0 host such as WordPress.com, Blogger, Wix or Squarespace but I highly recommend you do not do this.

Once your website grows you’ll be forced to upgrade to a premium plan which costs far more money than using a normal web hosting provider.

When you start using a free provider, it’s impossible to move your website to another provider if your blog becomes slow or you aren’t happy with their service.

You’ll also be required to display a ‘Powered By …’ link on your website and some providers such as Wix will even advertise their business on your blog. This will be very frustrating for you and your visitors. You will not get any of that advertisement revenue.

So yes you can start a blog for free but I would recommend against doing this especially if you want to make money from blogging in the future.

How To Start A Blog

You can build the foundations for your very first blog within a few hours by following the simple steps provided in this article. This will allow you to start a blog and make money.

I’ve made it super simple that anyone can follow along and start their very own blog as fast as possible with minimal time and money requirements.

If you want to navigate to a specific section you can do so by using the links below:

Step 1: Choose Money Making Niche

The first step is to choose a niche for your blog. When I started out I wanted to create a travel blog and it’s important to choose a niche that you are passionate about and can write lots of content about.

A passionate travel blog example.

As my guide is specifically looking at how to make money from your blog then you need to also consider a niche that you can make money from referring visitors to other sites, services or products.

Maybe you want to write about travel, cars, pets, friends, weight loss, fitness. All these niches have ways to make money.

  • Travelers could get paid for recommending hotels
  • Pet lovers could get paid for writing reviews about products
  • Fitness bloggers could get paid for referrals to a gym plan.

We call this affiliate marketing, a term you may have heard about previously on Youtube or news articles and involves making money from other people’s products and services by placing a link on your own website linked to theirs.

If someone clicks through and purchases you get a commission.

This site owner gets paid if you buy after clicking his links.

Nearly 50% of businesses have some form of affiliation with another business. Have you stayed in a hotel and taken a taxi to the airport? It’s likely the hotel got a commission or charged you more than the actual cost of taking a taxi from the side of the road.

In another example, I’m sure you’ve been looking for a product and searched, ‘Best Product X’ on Google and ended up on a site that compares the best products.

These affiliate blogs often link to Amazon or eBay and the website owner gets a 5-10% commission should someone purchase something.

My advice is to consider what you can make money from and ask yourself questions such as:

  • Can I make money from this niche?
  • What offers, products or services could I recommend/promote?
  • Are their platforms out there that offer affiliate programs for my niche?
  • Is the commission large enough to justify the work required in setup?
All these companies offer affiliate programs.

Some of the best affiliate programs I’ve used include:

  • Clickbank
  • Amazon
  • Walmart
  • CommissionJunction.

These platforms offer hundreds of ways to make money promoting other people’s products, services and offers earning 5-95% commissions.

For my travel blog I’m going to use Booking.com and recommend hotels.

There are millions of affiliate programs out there.

Once you’ve found a monetization method and a suitable niche that you can write about it’s the perfect time to choose a domain name.

Step 2: Choosing A Domain Name

A domain name (web address) is your slice of space on the internet but rather than having a physical address you get a virtual one and only people that know that address can visit it.

Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo will help send traffic to your website if you create content people are searching for.

An example from my favorite travel blog.

You’ll get many extensions such as .com, .co.uk, .net, .org, .com.au etc but I recommend choosing a universal one such as .com for maximum exposure and a worldwide audience.

If you choose a .co.uk Google will likely rank your website only for people in the United Kingdom and you’ll lose out on a lot of potential visitors.

You should choose a domain name relevant to your blog niche. You want to avoid adding dashes, numbers and irrelevant words.

A bad example would be, travel-blog123.com

You may want a domain such as travel.com but unfortunately you’re about twenty years too late. All the easy, unique and dictionary words have pretty much gone. You will however be able to find plenty of domains by merging two or three words together.

A famous travel blog is called, ‘OneStep4Ward’ as you saw earlier.

This is a play on words related to travel.

You can use websites such as FlameDomain.com to generate names for your domain name if you are having trouble thinking of your own.

Remember choosing a domain name is the single biggest decision to make as once you start building your site on a domain it’s going to be stuck with you for a long time.

As Johnny from OneStep4Ward mentioned, he’s always regretted using the number 4 rather than the word four as it’s a question people have always asked him when traveling.

Step 3: Buy Hosting & Domain Name

While your domain name is your virtual real estate access point, we need to host our website on the internet so that everyone can actually access our blog.

Web hosting providers use servers located around the world to ensure our blog is always online and accessible from every device that connects to the world wide web as fast as possible.

Choosing a good web host is very important as you want your blog to be online 24x7x365 and if something does go wrong you want support.

Good customer support is equally as important.

As this is your very first blog and we want to setup our blog fast we’re going to buy the domain name through a web hosting provider so everything is already pre-configured.

I recommend using Bluehost for your first blog.

Task 1: Visit BlueHost.com

The first step is to visit the web hosting provider I use for all my blogs and that is Blue Host.

For my visitors you can get started for only $2.95 per month.

Click the ‘Get Started’ button on the official website to choose a plan.

Task 2: Choose Your Plan

You get more than enough storage space for your website, plus you get a free domain name on this plan.

Task 3: Enter Your Domain Name

Enter your domain name that you chose earlier and ask Bluehost to register a new domain on your behalf.

You should see something such as this if your domain is available:

Task 4: Enter Your Personal Details

You now need to add your personal details for setting up the account. Don’t worry your details are perfectly safe and the main fields are the email address and password, make sure you remember these if you need to update billing information in the future.

Make sure your billing address matches your credit/debit card or Paypal information to avoid any issues with your account getting approved instantly on setup.

Task 5: Remove/Add Any Addons

Bluehost likes to provide a few upsells during checkout. You can opt to keep these or you can by pass them. Personally I like to have the Sitelock security.

Task 6: Complete Checkout

You’re all set to complete the checkout process, be sure to enter your best payment details and complete checkout.

You’ll receive an email confirmation and provided your billing details matched you shouldn’t have any issues.

Task 7: Confirm Account Setup

You should have received a confirmation email.

The first thing you’ll need to do now is create your password for your account which will then log you in to the Bluehost dashboard for your brand new blog.


Step 4: Install WordPress

If you made it this far, Bluehost will now automatically create a WordPress blog for you.

WordPress is FREE and the first step is to choose a theme for your blog. You can always change this later if you need too.

Once you’ve chosen your theme, your WordPress blog will be created. How easy was that?

Now we need to launch your blog (we can customize after too), by clicking on ‘Bluehost’ then ‘Home’ then ‘Launch.’

You’ll now need to choose your blog name and slogan (description). You can change these later but call your title something related to your niche and domain name.

Mine would be, ‘Joey Travels The World’ and slogan, ‘Travel More.’

Step 5: Configure WordPress

Navigate to yourdomain.com and checkout how your website looks.

Do you like the theme? Want to change the logo or color scheme?

From the WordPress dashboard you can click on ‘Appearance, Customize.’

You can now go through and make any changes and ‘Save.’

Want to create logos for free? Checkout Canva.com

Now I recommend changing your Permalinks. Head over to Settings > Permalinks and change it to the ‘Post Name’ option.

These are the page names that follow any content you make and will look much tidier than the ones with the dates and times.

Step 6: Best Plugins To Install

There are thousands of plugins you can add to your website to customize the look, feel and structure of your blog.

The most common plugins I install on all my sites are:

  • Rank Math: Search engine optimization help
  • Shortcodes Ultimate: Creating boxes and tables
  • Contact Form 7: For letting visitors contact me.

You can add as many plugins as you like however your blog will gradually get slower with each one. I usually only add 3-5 plugins per blog.

You can always uninstall plugins and make sure you keep them updated.

Plugin 1: Rank Math

Rank Math allows you to optimize your website for ranking high in search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo or Ask.com. There are far too many steps for installing this plugin to include here so I’ve created a tutorial.

This plugin is free and helps your content get ranked better.

Plugin 2: Shortcodes Ultimate

This plugin creates additional shortcodes which let you create cool objects on the page such as boxes, alerts, tables, funky text, images, videos and so much more.

Again there is far too many steps involved with using this plugin so I’ve written a quick tutorial.

Plugin 3: Contact Form 7

This plugin creates a contact form shortcode which you can embed anywhere on your website for a contact form visitors can use that will email you directly.

You can add as many fields as you like and it offers spam protection with Google verification as well. I’ve written a tutorial on how to install and use it here too.

Step 7: Create Your Content

WordPress offers two types of content, pages and posts.

Pages are usually used for static content that rarely changes. An example of this would be something like an ‘About’ or ‘Contact’ page.

Posts are usually for blog content or posts about a specific topic. There is no benefit of using pages vs posts and you could use either if you wish.

Start by creating a post by going to ‘Posts’ and then ‘Add New.’

You can now add a Title and Content. On the right side you can ‘Save Draft’ and then ‘Publish’ the post when you are finished.

The content is exactly like a Microsoft Word document, you can use icons to add bold text, bullet points, quotes, images, links and change styling such as titles.

Adding a ‘Featured Image’ is what will show up on your homepage images for each post. Make sure you upload an image here if your theme offers such functionality.

Create A Menu Bar

Once you’ve created posts and pages you can go to ‘Appearance > Menus’ and create a menu for your blog. Make sure to tick the ‘Make Primary’ for it to appear on your blog.

You can add as many pages or posts as you’d like.

I recommend checking out your blog on desktop and mobile to ensure it looks amazing after adding a menu to ensure it’s not misaligned.

Step 8: Monetize Your Blog

I recommend creating at least 10 blog posts before monetizing your blog. By monetize I mean adding your affiliate links, banners and whatever else you plan on doing to make money through your blog.

Some of the best ways to make money from your blog include:

  • Linking to other companies (affiliate links)
  • Offering guest posting services (paid to post)
  • Adding Google Adsense (display ads)
  • Adding banner ads (display ads).

I’m not going to go into detail on every monetization method on this article. You can checkout this how to tutorial for further guidance.

Let’s say you were using Clickbank offers, you could visit the affiliate JV page and grab an affiliate banner and add this to your WordPress blog.

Alternatively you could let Google Adsense serve ads directly on your blog and make a commission on any clicks made. Do not click your own ads.. unless you want to be banned.

Google Adsense is a easy way to make money from blogging.


Step 9: Get Free Traffic

Now you’ve managed to start a blog and found a way to monetize it, now you’ll want to start driving traffic to turn those visitors into cash.

There both free and paid traffic generation techniques. Given you’ve just started your blog it makes sense to use free ones to generate your traffic.

These techniques will also help with organic SEO.

Some of these include:

  • Niche Blog Commenting
  • Niche Forum Discussion
  • Niche Question Answering
  • Niche Related Guest Posting
  • Facebook Group Posting
  • Pinterest Posting.

Traffic 1: Niche Blog Commenting

This is one of the easiest and fastest ways to get traffic to your blog while also building backlinks to your blog which help SEO.

When your first start a blog, niche blog commenting is the easiest way to get traffic.

Use Google to find other blogs about your niche and relevant posts.

Rather than spamming your website, add a comment that is constructive and related to the content. I try to create 3 or 4 lines and show I’m interested in their content.

Use the URL field and add your website there. Use your own name.

A good example for a travel comment.

Try and do this for around 25-50 blog comments. If you’re the first person to comment on popular blog posts you’ll definitely get targeted traffic.

Traffic 2: Forum Discussion

Another good place to add your blog links is on niche relevant forums. Spam is a big no go so don’t think you can signup and spam your blog. You’ll get banned quickly.

Find a forum related to your niche (i.e. travel) and register for an account. Add about 10-15 posts to the forum and engage with other members.

Use the ‘Signature’ options to add your web address.

If you can find posts where your content is relevant you can add in-text links too but don’t over-do it, slow and steady.

A great way to get free traffic and links to your website for SEO.

Traffic 3: Niche Question Answering

There are many websites out there that allow users to ask questions and other users to provide answers. One of the most famous is called, Quora.com

You can create a free account.

I recommend filling out your profile with qualifications related to your niche. i.e. if you have a travel blog, put your job title as ‘Travel Consultant.’

Now answer 5-10 posts without sharing any link to your blog.

Rather than spamming, you can carefully answer questions and dropping a link to your blog if you can justify it.

This is a great way to get free traffic from Quora.com

Traffic 4: Niche Related Guest Posting

You can use Google to find other blogs that offer guest post opportunities. While most of these will be free, some sites charge fees.

The best way to find opportunities on Google is to use this search term:

If you want to guest post, spend some time in your application and actually tell them why they should pick you.

It’s likely they receive a lot of SPAM so don’t waste their time, stand out!

The benefit of guest posting is getting a do-follow link, great for SEO!

Traffic 5: Facebook Group Posting

This method is amazing for free traffic, especially in niches where people are looking for solutions to problems.

Find Facebook groups related to your niche and join them. Make sure you fill in any application forms correctly. If they say, no links allowed then move on.

If there is no terms and conditions then your first 5-10 comments/posts should be helpful with no links.

Now if you find a piece of content on your site is relevant to an answer you should share it with the group.

Do this for many groups and you’ll get a ton of free traffic!

Don’t SPAM or Facebook will block your domain name (seriously!).

Traffic 6: Pinterest Posting

Another great place to promote your blog is on Pinterest. You will find a lot of people sharing content and I recommend creating images related to your content and re-sharing this on the platform.

Add a link to your blog and share your content out. If it takes off you might be a few thousand clicks to your blog within a few days.

I know bloggers receiving traffic from Pinterest for images they pinned over 4 years ago!

Final Verdict

Now you know how to start a blog for under $2.95 per month and make money with your blog. If you put your mind to it, you will create lots of content and will start to see results within a few months.

If you are struggling, take a break and don’t force yourself to write. Think of the long term goal and making passive income from your blog.

It takes a lot of work to start a blog and it won’t happen overnight.

If this guide was helpful to you then please share with your friends.

To Your Success.

Joey.