Can I really make money starting a WordPress blog?
I get this question from readers all the time.
My answer is always: Yes you can.
Even today? Even with millions of blogs already out there publishing millions of new posts each day?
Yes. Blogging is absolutely still a viable way to make a living. But you have to do it right.
The main reason so many blogs fail is that people don’t know what they are getting into when they start.
What if a successful blogger could give you specific advice so you know what to be aware of?
That’s why I’ve written this guide for you–so you can learn how to succeed before you even start.
I’ve built multiple seven-figure businesses from blogs that get hundreds of thousands of visitors every month.
The WordPress blog you are reading right now generates hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
Finding success blogging didn’t happen instantly. I’ve been working hard at this for over a decade.
Like everyone else, I started at zero. No blog, no followers, no income.
How did I get to the point where millions of people visit my blog everyday?
Just keep reading, and you’ll find out.
Your journey of a thousand miles starts with a WordPress blog.
You don’t need any prior experience or technical skills like SEO to get going. With a little guidance from me, you can start that journey on the right foot, headed in a healthy direction.
If you are ready, so am I. Let’s take your idea for a blog and turn it into reality.
Starting a WordPress Blog: Your Two-Minute Quickstart Cheat Sheet
Looking to start a WordPress blog right now?
In this section, I’m going to give you the bare bones rundown of how to get one up and running as soon as possible. I’ll go through each step in greater detail after.
If you have a name and a purpose for your blog, here’s what’s left to do:
- Get a domain name for your site (www.your-domain-name.com) so people can find it on the internet.
- Select a web host to maintain the server where your site lives. Hosting the site yourself is going to take way more time and effort.
- Install WordPress on your site.
So what’s the quickest way to get all of this done?
You can complete all three steps at once if you head over to Hostinger and sign up for their WordPress Starter hosting plan.
Normally, you have to go to three different places to get a domain, web hosting, and WordPress installed. With Hostinger, it’s all in one package deal.
Getting a free domain alone with your Hostinger web hosting will save you $10 to $15. Not to mention the time spent looking for a good domain registrar.
But then you save even more time because Hostinger preinstalls WordPress on your site during setup.
The entire process of getting a WordPress blog set up on Hostinger is stupid simple.
Below, I go into more detail on every step. No matter where in the journey you are, you’ll find the guidance you need to get your blog up and running.
Step 1: Find a Blogging Topic
Let’s start at the very beginning. What are you going to blog about?
You have near total freedom here. Really, all you need to do is pick a topic that you are interested in. That’s the only requirement.
You don’t have to be an authority on the topic (yet), but it needs to be something that you won’t get bored learning about.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular blog categories so you can get a sense of just how wide open your opportunities are.
These are broad categories. Think of how many completely different types of blogs exist within just the music category. There will be blogs for critics, instructors, solo musicians, bands, genres, and more.
It’s not just deciding on a topic, it’s picking how you want to blog about that topic. An active musician and a music critic are both sharing their thoughts about music, but their blogs are going to look and feel completely different.
With any blog topic, your choice may easily spread into other areas of interest. Don’t feel that the initial topic of the blog will pigeonhole you for life.
Feel free to experiment with a few blog topics, and see what best matches your interests and passions.
Step 2: Choose a Domain Name for Your Blog
Once you know the topic you will be blogging about, you have the information you need to get a domain name for your blog.
The domain name is your web address. This domain for this blog is neilpatel.com, which works great for me.
You are looking for something that speaks to your blog topic and how you are going to cover it.
It can get a little tricky, because so many of the best domain names are already taken. This is especially true for names that use the .com domain extension.
There are hundreds of different domain extensions, such as .biz and .tech. You may have more luck going with one of those. If you can, though, go with a .com extension. Get creative if you have to.
Some Tips for Choosing a Domain Name for Your Blog
- Should you use your personal name or pick a more general topic? Answering this should be simple. Is the blog about you, or are you trying to build a brand apart from yourself?
- Make it easy to type. You don’t want other people getting your traffic if someone types in another website by mistake!
- Make it pronounceable. There’s no need to confuse people with complicated spellings or creative misspellings.
- Keep it short. Fewer characters means less hassle for the user and less risk of mistyping.
- Don’t use other companies’ brand names or trademarked slogans. They will come after you and shut you down!
- Try to use broad keywords. Top-level topics like “cooking” are great, but you need to connect these big ideas to narrower topics. Use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest to get ideas.
- Make sure that the blog’s name makes sense. It needs to be intuitive to the user and Google!
- Avoid numbers and hyphens. These confuse people, and it makes it hard to explain the domain to others.
If possible try to include term related to your main topic. For example, if you plan to write about recipes, you might want to include a word like recipe or cooking. Don’t force it, but try to include keyterms if you can.
Come up with a shortlist of domain names you are happy with and pick the best option. Here are some strategies to come up with fresh domain name ideas when the one you want is taken.
Don’t overthink it. The key is to act now, and gain momentum. New pages don’t rank on Google immediately, so the sooner you get started, the better.
Once you have your domain name ready to go, it’s time to find a web host.
Step 3: Find a Web Host
Web hosting is a service that allows your blog to be accessed through the internet by other users. Without a domain and web hosting, your blog won’t be seen online or get any traffic. The two are inseparable!
There are a lot of different web hosting companies out there. You need to find one that is reliable, safe, and has a good reputation.
I highly recommend Hostinger. You can get top-notch web hosting and secure a domain name for free.
Plus they offer this quality hosting for less than $2 per month.
I recommend opting for that middle plan, Premium Shared Hosting, because that’s the least you have to pay to also get a free domain.
Everything has been optimized for WordPress, so there is very little you have to do to get set up. And you won’t have to spend big for an easy-to-use platform.
Let’s walk through the setup process.
Step 4: Set Up Your Site on Hostinger
Head on over to Hostinger’s website by clicking here, then click Start Now and select Premium Shared Hosting.
When you select your hosting plan, you’ll be taken to the checkout page. Enter your personal and payment information here.
One thing to keep in mind is you’ll only get that $1.99 rate if you commit to four years of hosting up front.
You can opt for a shorter one-year or two-year term, but you’ll probably have to pay a dollar or two more per month if you go one of those routes (depending on what promotional pricing Hostinger is running when you sign up).
Finish checking out and submit your payment information, then you’ll be taken to Hostinger’s great setup wizard.
This is my favorite part. Hostinger’s wizard asks you just three quick questions to tailor the setup experience to your needs and comfort level.
If you’re a novice site builder, it gives you helpful assistance so you’re not left figuring too much out on your own. If you’re experienced, it takes care all of the essentials and then stays out of your way to let you create the vision in your head.
For the sake of this guide, I’ve chosen to go through the rest of the setup as a beginner who is building a blog for myself.
Next, you’ll choose the platform you want your site to run on. Since we’re talking about making a WordPress blog, go on ahead and select WordPress on the left.
When you click Select under WordPress, Hostinger will display a field for you to create a new WordPress account or sign into your existing one. You don’t even have to leave the wizard to complete that step.
Hostinger even helpfully offers a selection of site templates to start from.
If you’re looking to make this process even easier and faster, take a look through the themes on offer here. They’ll populate your site with backgrounds, images, content and more, so all you have to do is swap out photos, words, and color schemes with your own to match your brand.
You can always just skip this step if you don’t want to commit to a theme yet by scrolling below the Show More button to the text link not far underneath it.
Next comes a crucial step. You’ll secure your WordPress blog’s domain.
Remember this comes free with your Hostinger Premium Shared Hosting plan.
Click Select on the left underneath Buy a Domain. A field will appear below where you can search for available domains.
Since you already did all the hard work of identifying your future site’s domain, just enter that here and select it in the field after you click Search.
I strongly recommend spending the extra $10 per year for WHOIS privacy. It keeps your personal information from becoming public.
Normally, hackers or scammers can see who owns any domain, but with WHOIS protection enabled, they will only see Hostinger’s business information.
You’ll need to complete checkout on that screen since you’re adding the paid WHOIS privacy add-on to your plan. But after that, believe it or not, you’re all set!
Hostinger will take a couple minutes to install WordPress for you and connect your domain to your new site. Once that’s finished, you’re taken to your account dashboard.
You can work on your WordPress site by clicking WordPress in the left-hand navigation menu in your Hostinger account dashboard.
That will show you the current version of WordPress installed, any issues that need attention (such as an SSL certificate needing to be setup, as you can see in the image above), and much more.
Since WordPress is already installed, you can launch right into building out your blog. Just click Edit Website on the right and you’ll be taken to the WordPress interface.
Your site is live and ready for visitors. Now it’s just a matter of creating content. So start writing up that first blog post!
From your WordPress dashboard, hover over Posts near the top of the left-hand menu bar, then click Add New.
That will take you to the post editor where you can write up your first blog post.
You can also add pages to your site (like an About Me page) or look for themes and plugins to make your WordPress blog look and function like you want it to.
But the key is to focus on creating content. That’s why you wanted to build a WordPress blog in the first place, right?
That being said, the hard part of creating a website and securing hosting and a domain name is behind you. Congratulations! You have taken an idea in your head and turned into a blog that anyone in the world can read.
It’s an important step and you want to keep that momentum.
Now, with a blog topic, domain, and hosting in hand, you’re ready to dive into the real work: sharing your content with the world.
It all starts with your passion. As long as you’re putting in the writing work and pouring your knowledge and interests into your posts, you’re on the right track.
Post regularly while you start to build a following. That way, every new wave of readers is welcomed with a treasure trove of your writing to consume.
You can really start attracting your audience with a little extra care in how you craft each blog post.
Check out my ultimate guide to writing posts that rank in Google’s top 10 search results. Nothing is better than landing on page one.