How to start a blog: and make money
Updated: Oct 4, 2021
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links if you want to know more about that click here.
Making money with a blog is actually pretty easy. I've been writing a blog for a little over a year and am already supplementing my standard income. Over the next year, this blog will replace my current income and provide me the freedom to work from anywhere and write about anything.
Over the course of this post, you will learn, step-by-step, how to start a blog that makes money. I'm here to share with you the basics of blogging and some of the important tools, not just the basics, you will need to ensure your success.
My blogging journey has opened doors I never thought possible and allowed me to make money in ways I never thought possible. If you have a willingness to start a blog and follow my steps below, you can build a money-making venture that earns while you sleep!
There are countless success stories of regular folks who have started a blog, grew it over time, and quit their jobs to run the blog full time. Here is a quick list:
Click here to start a blog with Wix and get 50% off, then follow the steps below to launch your very own money-making blog. If you want to know why I selected Wix as my blogging platform of choice go here.
Using Wix as your blogging tool is cheap, easy, and comes with a ton of accessories that other blogging tools just can't touch. Check it out, on other blogging sites, they promote starting a blog for as little as $2.95/month. That is just for the basic plan and to get that price you have to sign up for 3 YEARS! Plus, they strip down the features so you have to spend more money!
After you add in features like Codeguard (standard with all Wix sites), SEO tools (again standard with Wix), SSL (free with Wix), SiteLock (fee with Wix), you are looking at an additional $16.25 per month, on top of the $2.95 fee. Compare that with Wix "Unlimited" plan and you can see that Wix is a much better value.
Wix throws in a $150 voucher for Google Ads and another $150 for Microsoft Edge advertising. That's $300 you can use to drive traffic to your website. I took advantage of that $300 and increased site views by 150% within the first 3 months of launching my site! That traffic increase helped me convert my first affiliate sales and being to show me just how powerful blogging as a way of life can be.
As I was searching for ways to make some additional income, I found a ton, but none of them had the type of potential and freedom of writing a blog. There are a ton of bloggers out there that have turned it into their full-time job. A job where they have total freedom to work from anywhere and chose their own hours. If that sounds like something you would be interested in, follow the steps below and get your journey started.
Now let’s start to dig into more of the basics that you should put in place when getting your blog built. These are all things that I read about as I was researching how to build a blog and all tools that I utilize nearly every day to make sure The Saving Dude is taking steps forward.
Here is how to start a blog:
Write your content
Growth Plan - how are you going to grow an audience
Google Analytics - how are you going to measure what works?
Business Email - another way to grow your audience and measure it in one tool
The most important step of building our your blog is finding the right platform to support your work. I chose to launch my blog on Wix because they offered a comprehensive suite of tools at a cost substantially lower than what it would have cost me on WordPress. I signed up for the 1-year subscription because they offered me a free web domain and a much cheaper rate. Signing up for a year simply makes sense, if you are going to start a blog, then you need to commit to a full year of work in order to get your blog off the ground.
When I looked into WordPress as an option is was very enticing, but after looking deeper the initial cost of $3 to set up my website ballooned into hundreds of dollars when I added domain registrations, site design, site features, and some things that I thought were super basic parts of building a website that just didn't come with sign up.
Wix provided all those tools and a ton of additional design and site features at a cost that ended up being less than WordPress + all the features needed. WordPress seems like a great option for building your website because a huge portion of the internet runs off WordPress, but once you start to break down your all-in costs you realize that Wix is better bang for your buck.
That's 100% of the reason why The Saving Dude is built by Wix because we get more for our dollar by utilizing Wix as a blogging platform.
One last thing I'll say, sign up for the year long subscription. If you want to build a website and get the best possible cost (i.e. save money) then go for the year long subscription. You get all the same features, including a free web domain, and
If you want to use Wix and get a discount on your subscription, click here.
Website - I use Wix
Wix has been a wonderful tool to set up The Saving Dude and host it. They offer so many cool tools and make it super easy to go from sign up to the full-fledged website in a few minutes. The help they have provided via chat and email when I came up against something I didn't know how to do, has been outstanding. In addition, the number of users being so large makes it really easy to find an answer to my questions via a quick Google search. Click here to go to Wix and start your own site.
One of the most important things you can do for your blog is to create a self-hosted version. This is the difference between https://daisythebulldog.wixsite.com and https://daisythebulldog.com. The second link looks much more professional and when trying to turn it into an affiliate marketing tool you have to be self-hosted or most affiliate programs just won't let you sign up.
Wix is awesome and makes this super easy and will include free hosting if you sign up through my link. In addition, you will get a $150 voucher to both Google Ads and Bing, but only if you sign up for the annual plan, to help get your blog off the ground faster! Here is a quick recap of the best way to set up your blog through Wix
Set up your basic design ( you don't need a blog name or domain just yet
Sign up for the annual plan to get a great deal and become self-hosted
Use your Google and Bing vouchers to get your blog rolling!
One of the other amazing parts about Wix is their easy to use platform. Even more amazing is the all-in-one nature of the platform. When researching the best products to launch a website I saw a lot about Bluehost. More about the pros/cons of WordPress/Bluehost vs Wix here, but for now, let me walk you through the simple 14 click process that gets you from the link above to a site designed by AI and ready for your amazing content.
Click 1: Start Now
Not a lot to say here, just click the "Start Now" button to keep your setup moving along
Click 2: Signup
This is a pretty standard sign up page. Its nice that you can quickly get started using the one click Facebook or Google buttons.
At this point, if you already have your email address set up for your blog I'd suggest using that. This allows you to keep all your credentials in one place.
Click 3: Defining your site
Click the "Get Started" button to begin designing your site
Click 4: What is the site for?
Here is where you would select "Myself" if you are using the site to launch your own blog. One of the best features about Wix is their ability to help create a site for many different purposes.
If you are a freelance website designer (awesome side hustle) you can use this site to set up and design sites for your clients. They have great admin tools to help you partner with your clients to get a site setup fast and with style.
Click 5: Expertise level?
For Wix to make it as easy as possible for you they need to understand a bit about your experience level and what you want out of the site (more on what you want later).
For now, be honest, I chose "This is my first time", because I wanted Wix and their AI to do most of the heavy lifting. If you have confidence that you can make a website dance, then have at it. In the end, all that matters is you getting your blog set up for the rest of us to enjoy.
Click 6: Expertise level?
Now that we have established, broadly, what the site is for and your expertise level, we are now getting into more specific. On this page you type in "Blog" or "Finance Blog" or whatever type of blog you want to launch.
Once you define the type of blog you want, click "Next"
Click 7: AI or Self Driven site design?
Based on your earlier selections Wix will give you the option to let their AI build the site (you make a few selections and they take care of the rest). Or you can utilize their more self-driven approach. I chose the Wix ADI option for quick and easy site design and launch.
Click 8: Select your tools
Now we are starting to define the look and feel of your site. I suggest you add a subscribe form to collect emails and set up a good line of communication with your future readers. If you plan to set up an Insta account it'll be a good idea to include that feed as well.
Depending on your plans there are a ton of options and at the very least set up your subscription form.
Click 9: Name your blog
If you haven't already selected a name for your blog you can skip this part. Selecting the name of your blog is something to be thoughtful about. You want your name to reflect what your site is about. You also want the domain name to be available so that part might take a little time. If you are setting up a free Wix site and want to launch your site a bit later then skip this part.
For me, I made sure my site name and domain were ready to go before I came to Wix, it just simplified things for me. It also ensured I was really committed to creating a blog. We all have a choice about how we want to go about getting our blog off the ground, but I suggest you have content ready, your blog name nailed down, and have identified your domain and email addresses. This way you can ensure that everything aligns from a brand perspective.
Click 10: Basic designs
Some of you may have prepared your blog beyond the content and put additional thought into your branding and image. If so, that is awesome you are a few steps ahead of most who launch a blog. Click 10 allows you to upload those images and launch your blog with your brand reflected from the get-go.
For the rest of us, less prepared folks, this is where you just skip a step and move on to Click 11.
Click 11: Set up your Wix profile
Just a bit more basic information before we really dive into the site setup.
To be honest they could have made this process like 5 clicks and had some of this information all on the same page. The order is also a bit confusing. You are answering questions about site design and setup and then they switch over to account setup. Just seems a bit out of order IMHO, but I'll leave that process up to the good folks over at Wix to determine.
Click 12: Pick your theme
At this point, you are almost home.
Selecting from the themes they provide defines the look and feel of your site and the subsequent pages you set up. Wix provides a curated list of options based upon your earlier selections. If none of these appeals to you, just select one and you can take a look at a longer list of options later.
Click 13: Design your homepage
There is no right or wrong way to organize the information on your homepage. For me, I've tweaked my homepage at least a few times to get the look and feel I think helps my readers navigate easiest.
I'm sure over time your homepage will evolve and change as your site becomes more robust and sophisticated. The most important thing through this process is to get your site setup and get your content published. Everything else can be updated later, if necessary.
Click 14: Select your pages
You are down to your last few steps before your site is ready for prime time (the internet).
If you are starting a blog there are some basic pages you really should consider having.
Home - welcoming people to your site and talking a little about they what/why of your blog is a great way to set yourself up for success
Blog - this is where all your posts will end up
About - your story is important to your readers, especially those readers that will keep coming back
Contact - you want folks to know your email address at the very least, I also suggest you add any social contacts as well
Disclosure - this is a requirement for most affiliate programs and helps protect you and the site
After a quick 14 clicks your site is all set up and ready for some of the great content you have written.
If you want more directed advice on how to get your site set up send me an email, chat me here, chat me on our Facebook community, there are so many ways to reach out and I'm always happy to help.
Content - your niche!
Before I even set up a site I used Google Docs to write my first five articles. It took me some time to figure out what I wanted to write about and in the end, I landed on personal finance. it is a topic that I've learned a ton about over the years and something I'm highly interested in. Those are the two main things you should be looking for when you determine what you want your blog to be about.
If you want your blog to be successful you have to post articles regularly. In hindsight, I should have had 20 articles ready. To get set up with Google Adsense it took about 20 days of the site being live and 10 articles. Since Adsense is one of the first money making tools I set up I use this as the baseline for where you want to be in terms of written material on your blog within the first 20-30 days.
To keep readers on your site you need more content and engaging content for them to hop around and read. You also needed longer articles with more information, good quality detailed information. Using Google Analytics, which we will talk about next, you see that things like bounce rate, users, unique users, and session duration are all metrics that tell you how your site is performing. Taking the steps above, writing more and better content will help those metrics early on.
Now that you have your initial content written you need to decide how you want the site to grow. For this you have a few options, Facebook, Google Search, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and the list goes on. Determining which of these routes you are going to take will have an impact on your content. For example, if you choose to utilize Insta as your growth tool of choice you will want to make sure your content is filled with visuals (pretty similar for Pinterest). For Google Search on the other hand you are going to want to focus on SEO basics and some more advanced techniques to help tailor your content for how Google Search works.
For more details on the growth plan I've implemented head to this article, Should I use Facebook or Google to help my blog grow?
I'm disappointed that I didn't' read about this earlier in my blog building process. I missed out on data from the first two weeks of writing and blog launch. This was valuable data that I missed out on which could have helped me gain insight in to what was driving traffic early in my blogs existence. That coupled with additional content could have provided a ton of guidance early in my blogs history to give it clear direction on what was working and what wasn't.
Now that those early days have passed I'm stuck writing more content to see what sticks. I could have built links within my articles, like this one, to build up the time that readers are on my site. That additional time creates more value for a site and the ability to make money. So in hindsight this tool could have helped significantly in the first 30 days after launch.
Business Email - nice to have
It was important for me to have an email address associated with The Saving Dude so when I set up Google Analytics, my site on Wix, and all the other countless places I've utilized firstname.lastname@example.org I could have all my information related to The Saving Dude all in one email inbox. While it does cost a little bit to get it set up I felt confident that it would help me stay organized during the whole site building process (it has!).
If you need help staying organized and want all your website login details associated with the website you plan to set up for the site then I suggest you get a business email address set up and I personally use G Suite for this.
The Next Level
We will get in to the next level in future posts. The basics will get you started and are really all you need to get your blog up and running in the right direction. As I get more familiar with the items below I'll post future blogs with how I'm using them and how you can too.
These are things that professional bloggers are utilizing to ensure their blog is super profitable. If you have 8 hours a day to manage your blog then you are going to be using the tools below at a high level. Again, as Teh Saving Dude makes progress and develops a need for these tools we will follow back up and write about them.
More precise ad tools like Media.net
Self hosted site
There are quite a few things you need to get your affiliate blog started the right way, but what's awesome about The Saving Dude is I've summarized and organized it all for you.