7 Steps to Start a Successful Blog on a Budget

A 5-step guide for busy moms who want to know how to start a successful blog on a budget. Earn an income from home and get started on less than $12/mo.

My blogging income in January was $14,757. While that is a record for me, I have been making a full-time income since 2016 and a healthy part-time income since 2014 from home through my blog, even as a busy mom with two toddlers at home.

Whenever I actually tell people that I write and blog for a living (which is rarely), I get the head tilt, eyebrows scrunched look and the dubiously-asked question “How do you make money blogging?”

Despite this awkward reaction to my unconventional business, no one could be more surprised than I am that I am able to make a steady income from home by blogging.

I never started out to make blogging a business. When I began GrowingSlower in 2011, a couple of months after my oldest was born, it was simply to fulfill my personal need, yes need, to write. As a newly stay at home mom, it was also a connection to the outside world and an opportunity to share all I was learning about simple and frugal living.

It was years before my blog started earning any significant income, quite by accident, and in that moment I realized that just maybe I could have the best of both worlds.

I could use my love for writing to authentically share my passion and experience to help other moms reach their financial and family goals. And at the same time, I could help my family by earning a much-needed income.

In fact, my blogging income played a key role in helping us get out of debt in under a year. Blogging has allowed me to afford to stay at home with my kids as I’ve transitioned to blogging professionally.

Blogging lets me help support my family as a stay at home mom and live debt free. It isn't easy, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
My life is full of strollers, Legos, homeschool curriculum, and in my “spare time”, working from home blogging. It isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Image Credit

Here’s what I now know. If you have a passion you are longing to share with the world, if you’re willing to work hard, and if you start out following a few simple guidelines for starting your blog the right way, you can make an income blogging, even in the midst of a busy family life and on a tight budget.

Looking back on my blogging journey, I can just imagine how much more quickly and easily I could have reached this point if I could somehow have known when I started what I know now about how to become a successful blogger and make money doing it.

But since that’s not possible, I am sharing everything I’ve learned with you, so your path will be that much smoother. Nothing would make me happier than to help out another busy mama who is wanting to start her blog. So, here we go!

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Earning an Income Blogging

Almost daily, I receive emails from busy moms who have been curious about blogging for a while but aren’t sure where to get started or how it can be turned into an income. They love writing and have so many ideas they want to share with the world through blogging and earn an income at the same time.

If you’ve been thinking about blogging, don’t wait another day. Start now, so you can start growing your blog and your income. I’ll walk you through it step by step. Here is a comprehensive guide for how to start a profitable blog on a budget.

Blogging is one of the few businesses you can start on a tiny budget where you get to share your passion with the world right from your dining room table.
It’s a beautiful time in history where you can share your passion with the world right from your dining room table, and earn an income doing it. All you have to do is start! Image Credit

This post includes affiliate links to many of my favorite affordable blogging resources. At no cost to you, I earn a small commission when you click one of my links and make a purchase.

How to Start a Successful Blog on a Budget

These 5 steps to start your blog will take no more than an hour to complete. Then you’ll have all the basics in place to start sharing your message with the world!

1. Choose a Host

The first step to starting your blog is to pick a host. A “host” is a company that houses your blog online and allows it to be seen by your readers.

There are free options out there. I started out on the free blogging platform Blogger. Unfortunately, this was a huge mistake that really held me back from growing my readership and my income until I finally switched to self-hosted WordPress October 2014. That’s when things really started to take off!

The first and possibly most important step to become a successful blogger is to find a host. Make sure to go with a paid host, so your blog will be "self-hosted". It's so worth it! This image is a graph of my blog traffic coming from google. I was getting almost no pageviews from Google when I was on a free blogging platform. Almost as soon as I switched to a paid host, you can see the graph dramatically increased and continued to grow. The few dollars a month for hosting really paid off and helped me grow my blog and income in ways I just couldn't do before.
Before I switched to a paid WordPress host, I wasn’t even a bug on Google’s windshield. Now it’s my #2 traffic source.

I always assumed that it would be too expensive to pay for hosting for my blog. However, this just isn’t the case. Starting a blog is very affordable.

(I am an affiliate for Bluehost because they offer reliable, affordable hosting for new bloggers. I earn a commission if you purchase a hosting plan through one of my links.)

If you’re just starting out, Affording Motherhood readers get exclusive pricing as low as $2.95 a month for hosting when you click one of the links in this post!

For a new blog, I recommend choosing the starter plan and then upgrading as needed. Most likely, you’ll be just fine with the starter hosting for quite a while.

If I were starting a blog today, I would 100% go with a paid host with WordPress as my blogging platform.

Here’s why I chose to pay for hosting:

  • It is MUCH more affordable than I imagined.
  • Shows up in search results much better. (My search traffic has increased by 1928% since I switched!)
  • Many more options for creating a user-friendly, professional-looking site.
  • More control of your own content.
  • More options for income through products, ads, and sponsorships.
  • Very easy to use.

Simply put, there’s a reason why WordPress is the most popular blogging and website platform in the world. And to use it, you need to choose a host. It only takes a few minutes to get set up with a host.

Bluehost offers automatic WordPress installation included with the cost of your hosting plan. They have a great reputation for customer service, affordable hosting, and are perfect for new bloggers.

So, if you want to start a profitable blog on a budget, your first step is to head over to Bluehost and choose your plan. Click the get started now button, and I’ll walk you through the basics of how to get your blog up and running.

When you're ready to get started you can click the image to go to Bluehost to set up your hosting. once there, click on the green get started button to start your blog. Congratulations! You're on your way to making money as a blogger!

I previously used Black Chicken and now WP Engine because I need more managed hosting now and a higher plan. These are more expensive than other options, but I have had a great experience with them both. Switching in the future if needed when your traffic grows is very easy, as long as you start out on WordPress.

2. Choose a Topic

Chances are if you’ve been thinking about blogging, you already have in mind the topic you’d like to write about. However, with so many blogs out there, is there room for yet another one about your chosen topic?

Here’s what I truly believe and have seen to be true again and again. You have a unique story and perspective. If you are willing to authentically share that on your blog, and just be you, you won’t have any trouble finding a loyal group of readers and make a good income.

You also might have heard that you need to pick a particular topic in order to make an income blogging. I have not found this to be necessary. It’s not like there’s a list of successful blog topics out there that you must pick from.

There are successful bloggers making part-time and full-time incomes in a huge variety of categories, especially “lifestyle blogs” which include fashion, budgeting, food, faith and lots more. So, whatever you’re into you can create a successful blog about.

You will certainly be the most successful if you blog about something you are truly passionate about. Again, it goes back to writing authentically in the context of your unique story.

Important Related Read: How to Choose the Best Blog Topic

The most successful blog topics are the ones you're passionate about, the ones you could sit down with your journal, a cup of coffee, and your laptop and write about day after day.

3. Choose a Domain Name

A domain name is the web address people will type in to get to your blog. For instance, the domain name for this blog is affordingmotherhood.com.

The cost for a domain is about $10 to $15 for the year. I recommend buying your domain name through the host that you’ve chosen to use, for simplicity sake. This will save you the extra step of connecting your domain to your host.

Bluehost offers a free domain name registration with their standard hosting plan.

In this step, you’re essentially choosing what to name your blog. That could seem a little daunting. However, it is not hard to change your domain name down the road if needed, so don’t stress over it too much.

There seems to be a trend now of people simply using some combination of their first and last names, so if you’re totally stumped, that’s a safe bet.

Just enter your domain name in the little search box to see if it’s available.

Next it's time to pick your blog name and domain name. Enter your desired domain in the New Domain box to see if it's available. Don't be too worried about picking the perfect name, as it's really pretty easy to change down the road. The best thing to do is just get started!

You’ll then be asked to enter your account information like your name, address and email address.

The next screen is where you officially select your hosting package. You can choose from a one, two or three-year plan along with a few other options.

If you’re going to be using your home address for your blog registration, then you’ll want to include the Domain Privacy Protection.

Next, enter your credit card info to pay for your hosting package.

Follow the instructions to set up the password for your account.

4. Install WordPress

WordPress is the blogging software that I use along with pretty much every serious blogger out there.

If you’re using a host other than Blue Host, at this point you would need to install WordPress. However, with Bluehost, that’s done automatically for you.

You’ll then be asked to choose a login name and password for your WordPress account.

This is the screen you'll see after you've registered your domain. Now it's time to finish setting up your hosting account.

For better security, don’t use ‘admin’ or your blog name for the Username.

An important note…at this point you’ll be asked to pick a theme. I recommend that you skip this step for now. I’ll explain more in a minute about why this is important and what to do instead.

You did it! Use the Admin URL in your account to login to your new blog. I am SO excited for you!

Congratulations! You just started your blog! Click “Start Building” to login to your new blog.

5. Choose a Theme

A theme works with WordPress to control the way your blog looks. This is what will allow you to choose page layouts, fonts, colors, and much more.

There are free themes available, but after much research, I decided that a paid theme was definitely worth the small investment.

Here are a few of the reasons I chose a paid theme:

  • Higher quality theme by design professionals
  • Updates for latest web changes, guidelines, and security
  • No risk of hidden malicious code
  • Ongoing support

The last thing you want to do is put time into customizing your theme and then find out a couple months later that it doesn’t comply with the latest updates, or worse yet has some hidden code that is compromising your blog and your business.

For my theme, I use and recommend Elegant Themes. You can buy an annual membership, starting at $89, and you gain access to all of their themes. (I recently upgraded to the lifetime membership because I’m not going anywhere.)

That means if you start customizing a theme and realize it’s not what you had in mind, you aren’t stuck. You can just download another one of their dozens of themes until you find the one that is perfect for you without any extra cost.

Elegant Themes has fantastic support and beautifully designed themes (as in both beautiful to look at and easy to use), and they’re constantly updating their library and resources. Best of all, they’re always here to answer questions if I run into a problem.

Important next step: How to Design Your Own Blog

(Everything you need to know about choosing colors, fonts, and creating a logo)

6. Start an Email List

Collecting the email addresses of your most loyal readers is one of the most important steps to growing your traffic and your blogging income.

Imagine you’ve just published your new and totally amazing blog post. You just know that this is going to go viral. Wouldn’t you like a large group of hundreds or even thousands of people that believe in your message to see it right away?

That is why you need an email list. It is free to start one.

When I first started out I used MailChimp for my email management system. It has a lot of good features. Best of all, it is free up to 2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails every month. No credit card required.

How much does it cost to get started blogging?

So, based on the above recommendations, your total cost to start blogging for income is about $160 for your whole first year. If you look back to my interview with Gina Horkey, this is similar to the $171 she invested to start her successful freelance writing business.

Can you start a blog for free? Yes. From my experience, you won’t see the full fruits of your labor until you make the small investment to start your blog the right way. When you do, you’ll soon recoup your cost many, many, many times over.

There are few other businesses you can start with such a small startup cost and that give you the flexibility of working from home.

7. Monetize Your Blog

I know what you’re asking yourself. Before I jump into starting my new blog, how am I going to use it to actually earn an income for my family?

I totally get it! Blogging isn’t the most common career path, and it can be a bit of a mystery when you first start out, but I promise it’s all totally legit.

When people ask me about how I make money blogging, I use the magazine analogy. When you buy a magazine subscription, chances are the publication isn’t even covering its costs to print and mail you their magazine.

Instead, their income mostly comes from sponsors that place ads or articles on their pages.

With a blog, you provide free articles to your readers, while sponsors pay you to include their ads within the post.

In addition to ads, you can also earn income through affiliate networks, sponsored posts, writing books, and creating related products and services.

A lot of people wonder how bloggers earn an income, but it isn't that complicated or unusual. While there are many options, one common way is through placing ads within your blog posts, like magazines do.
One of the main ways to earn an income blogging is through placing ads in your articles, similar to magazines. Image Credit

Of course, bloggers can make a wide range of incomes, and most of it depends on getting started the right way and then continuing to stick with it.

I’ve already shared that I now make a full-time income blogging, but what about other bloggers?

In her 2016 post, Amy Lynn Andrews estimated that bloggers can make around 1% of their page views per month. So, if you have 30,000 pageviews, you might expect to make about $300 per month. In my personal experience, that seems a little low. I usually find myself anywhere from the 1 to 3% range.

In her book, blogger Ruth Soukup notes that the tipping point for earning $50,000 per year is about 300,000 pageviews per month. However, if you just need some part time income, 25,000 to 50,000 pageviews will get you around $10,000 to $15,000 per year.

For specific detail about how to earn an income blogging visit the following post…

Important Related Reads: 

How to Start a Successful Blog on a Budget

Here’s a quick summary of the 7 steps to follow to start your blog.

  1. Choose a Host
  2. Pick a Topic
  3. Choose a Domain
  4. Install WordPress
  5. Choose a Theme
  6. Start an Email List
  7. Monetize Your Blog

I wish you the absolute best with your new blog! Feel free to stop by the comments to share your progress or ask any questions. I’d love to cheer you on!

shannon Clark, Financial Coach

As a financial coach, I provide you with the guidance and support you need to manage your finances with confidence—so you can stop stressing about money. Since 2014, I've helped over 5,000 women and couples pay off debt and save for the future. Will you be next?

124 thoughts on “7 Steps to Start a Successful Blog on a Budget”

      • Hey Shannon so I read your post a while ago but I didn’t comment, just because as I was setting it up the total for the package was $118 with what I picked is that upfront? Or would I make the payments of $2.95 I opted out because I don’t have the money yet. And like you said I don’t want to start a free one I rather invest in one but I just wanted to be sure if that amount if required upfront when paying for the package? Then after the payments of 2.95 for 36 months?

      • Selene, Bluehost has several different packages available. I believe to get the $2.95 rate, you have to pay for 36 months up front, but I am not 100% sure. Definitely check into it first and make sure it’s something you’ll be comfortable with before signing up. Alternately, you can look into Black Chicken hosting. Their rates are a little more but you can pay monthly.

      • This was awesome information! You provided more tangible clear steps than the Udemy course I paid for about how to start blogging. Thank you!

    • This article was very informative. How long would you say it will take to start seeing income coming in?

      I am totally interested, but feeling a little nervous about it.

      Reply
    • Hi, so I have been researching starting a blog and I finally put in the money with bluehost to start my blog, I’m super excited but my main fear is content, are there any tips or even breakdowns on how to write a good solid blog post. I want to make sure my readers love my posts and that they are informative but not boring. Any tips?

      Reply
      • Thanks, Megan for the great post idea! I am working on some brand new content related to starting a blog this month, so I will see if I can fit this in. In the meantime, start with a story to capture your reader’s attention. Help them solve a problem your target reader might be having. A lot of it is guesswork at first. You need to get 20 to 30 blog posts published to start to see what style and topic resonate with your readers. Eventually, you will start to see a pattern, and then you can start to successfully replicate those posts. Let me know if there are specific questions or challenges you’re running into as you start writing your blog posts, and I will include the answers in my upcoming posts.

    • Are the things you put in your blog copyrighted automatically as part of the blog or is there another step if you don’t want others to steal it..?
      Thanks in advance and you’re awesome…

      Reply
      • Hi Jere! Thanks for your question. From my understanding, copyright applies as soon as you write something. You don’t need to do anything extra. However, you may want to monitor your blog by creating a Google search alert. This may make it easier to see if your content is being scraped by other sites. If this is the case, you can request that they take it down. If they don’t respond, you can also report them to Google, Amazon, and others, so that they don’t benefit from your content.

  1. Thank you! Clear. Concise. I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a few years – this makes it sounds fairly simple!! Thank you again!!!

    Reply
  2. I’ve been blogging for about 6 months now I just recently posted my 50th blog post. It took awhile to figure out exactly what topic I was passionate enough about, originally I began as a food blogger, however I has since transitioned into a blog that aims to reach millenials who are at different stages including college, jobs, and new parenthood depending on the path they have chosen to take. Blogging helped me to get my freelance writing career off the ground, and I am hoping that soon I will be able to do well enough with my freelance writing that I can finally invest that ~$200 necessary to get my blog on the profit making path.

    Reply
  3. Thank you so much for this! I have been wanting to blog for well over a year. I kept putting it off thinking I didn’t really have anything anyone would be interested in BUT…Like you said….just be me. I am sure there are many more out there with my same struggles who may need a little input on how I get through them and some encouragement.

    Reply
    • Exactly! I’ve heard the analogy from many different people that you really just need to be one step ahead. It’s kind of like the model of discipleship. The people who are ahead in a certain aspect can help those who are a step behind, and hopefully you also have someone ahead of you to look up to and learn from. I hope you’ll come back and update me when you start your blog Kim!

      Reply
  4. Love this article, it’s got some great actionable tips. I think I’m going to move forward with wordpress hosting in the new year, I want to get some more content up on my blog before I do that. Just a quick question how does switching to paid wordpress hosting increase your blog visibility more than just using the free hosting? just wondering!

    Reply
    • Oh goodness yes! It has paid for itself many times over. I wish I had started with self-hosted wordpress from the beginning, but since I can’t go back in time, I just make it my mission to make sure other new bloggers get started the right way! :) Best wishes on your blog!

      Reply
    • Hi Betsy, thanks for stopping by the blog. Yes, you can start a blog for free, but as I mentioned in the post, you’ll have a much better chance of success if you do go with a paid host. However, the investment is minimal. I have been earning a significant income through blogging that has allowed me to stay at home with my kids since about 2014, so I can say yes, it really does work. I hope you’re able to find the at home job you need!

      Reply
  5. I am starting to set up a blog. I understand it will take some time before it really generates some income, but can you give me an idea of how long it may take before a blog can generate a part-time or full-time income? I am curious if it is possible to do that in about a year or if that will take many years?

    Reply
    • Great question! Yes, based on all my research and my own experience, I believe you can start making a part time or full time income within 6 to 9 months. Especially if you go about setting it up the right way from the start. Best of luck! :)

      Reply
  6. Thank you so much Shannon! Your blog is one of my favorites. You’ve inspired me to start blogging. Keep doing what you are doing; you are a wealth of knowledge and a blessing.

    Reply
  7. After years of thinking about starting a blog, I finally did it. Thank you so much for posting this. I would love to make an income blogging and continue to stay at home with my son. I was wondering if you’ve posted the blog about how generate an income blogging? I just want to make sure I didn’t over look it. Thank you so much, Brandy.

    Reply
    • Shannon,

      I recently found your blog through my research on starting my own (second) blog, which I plan to monetize and turn into my SAH-C (stay at home career). I’ve had a self-hosted WP blog for years, but I’m way behind on the technical aspects. Thanks to your post and through your affiliate link, I joined Elegant Themes and downloaded Divi. I worked for hours last night trying to set it up. I cannot figure out something so simple: how to put an actual name on my blog in the header. What I’ve concluded is that either I need CSS know how or a plug-in. Can you offer me some quick insight? Do I need either of these or am I missing something?

      Thank you!

      Reply
      • Hi Amy, Do you mean you want to put the name of the blog on your home page? If so, I would recommend the easiest way to get started is to use one of the default templates that come with Divi. There are many to choose from that are very well designed. Then, open the visual builder and edit any of the fields that you’d like to change, including the title. Or are you trying to add your blog name to the top menu bar? If so, go to your general Divi theme options, general tab, and upload a logo. I hope that helps answer your question. I plan to offer some additional training on starting a website soon.

  8. I wanted to let you know that this evening is the first time I have came across your blog and as I have many others I read through it. However, I’m not sure what it is about your particular blog but for some reason I feel drawn to it. A lot of what you have blogged about sounds so much like myself. I have wanted to start my own blog for a while (3 years to be exact) but being the procrastinator that I am, not knowing where/how to start AND racking my brain for a domain name has prevented it. I too, have a passion for writing. I always have. All the way back to Elementary school. I have many, many ideas for my blog and have had to hand write everything as I think of it. My dilemma now is coming up with a domain name haha. I have a binder with “my blog” topics, “layout” etc. I literally am just steps away…if I can ever decide on a domain name. Thank you so much for the inspiration you give and the passion you put into your writing…Unlike some blogs where the content is just as original as the next one I click on after it. I only hope to become half the blogger you are. Thank you for sharing this, it has helped!!

    Reply
    • Wow, you really are just a breath away from starting your blog, and wish all the passion and organization you already have, you have such a great start. I know I already mentioned in the post, but I wouldn’t let choosing a domain name hold you back from starting your blog as it really can be changed pretty easily down the road if you find you just hate it. Some variation on your own name is an easy place to start. I hope to hear back from you someday soon that you’ve started your blog! :)

      Reply
  9. Hello!

    You have inspired me to start my own blog and work towards becoming a work from home mom! I love your blog so much. I have a question: can you please explain why starting on a free blogging platform held you back from growing your readership and income?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Great question! Yes, starting on a free platform limited my visibility to search engines (there are so many spammy blogs and sites that are self-hosted, I think that google just ignores all of them). They also don’t have the speed that self-hosted plans can. (readers don’t want to sit around waiting for a site to load) While you can do custom blog URLS with some free platforms, if you have the /blogger or /wordpress web address, it just doesn’t look as professional or legit to potential readers and sponsors. It also limited my ability to customize and optimize my blog design for growing my audience and income. There may be other reasons someone more technical than myself could explain, but all in all, I saw my traffic increase almost over night after I switched over. I hope that helps a bit! Best wishes with your blog!

      Reply
  10. Thank you, I started my blog on January 1st of this year. I paid for a host and got the free domain name. I have been using a free theme so far. Your post encourage me as I am starting out ok. Traffic has been slow, but I just watched an online series about SEO that I believe will help. I look forward t your next post. Also, I had trouble picking a domain name and picked this one but would love to change it later.

    Reply
    • That’s fantastic that you’ve already started out your blog the right way Linda! Keep it up. Also, be patient; I’ve noticed it can take about 3 months to really get your posts picked up on Google or Pinterest. Best wishes to you!

      Reply
  11. Years ago I had some articles or blogs that I posted on WordPress & a few other sites. The site supplys some kind of a dashbord that shows how many people read my content each month. It also shows how much I earned each.month. I have never received any payment from this company. I was wondering if you can tell me where to go or who to contact about this. If I would recieve the pay for my contribution it could be a great side job. I eagerly await a response. Mary

    Reply
    • Hi Mary Joe! WordPress is just the platform that you use to create and publish your blog posts. They do not pay bloggers. So, I’m guessing you may have been signed up with an ad network or affiliate program where you were earning income. Some of the most common are Adsense and Amazon. However, there are many thousands of options out there for earning an income blogging, so you’d really have to go back to your blog and check if you see whether you were working with a particular company. One thing I can say in general is that some companies have a minimum amount you must earn before they will issue a payment, it would be anywhere fomr $10 to $50 or so. If your earnings were below that threshold, then that may be why you haven’t been paid. Also, make sure to check that you have given them your up-to-date contact information. I hope you’re able to make a go of your blog as a source of income soon! :)

      Reply
  12. Thank you for sharing this information with us! Am I understanding correctly that you would advise gaining loyal readers through the WordPress-based blog we create and then using the emails of these readers for the email list you mention? Or did you get loyal readers for the list another way? Thank you for helping me understand this better.

    Reply
    • Hi Kari! I think you’re understanding me correctly. Your readers will initially find you through your WordPress blog. Hopefully, you’ll be offering them lots of amazing articles that they’ll love, so they will want to join your email list. On your blog, you’ll need to include a link to your email sign up (you can see some on my blog at the bottom of posts. Hope that helps answer your question! :)

      Reply
  13. Dear Shannon,
    Thank you so much for this!! I have been thinking about starting a blog for a year now and somehow kept thinking how will I ever get people to read it. With the help of your post I was able to start my own blog! I promised myself I will not comment until I had something up and running. It’s very new and very small (only 3 posts up so far) but I would be honoured if you check it out. The entire credit goes to you.
    Much love all the way from Dubai xx

    Reply
  14. This post has been very informative. I am currently looking to expand my blog and this has helped me hone in on some good choices in order to kickstart my business. Your recommendations are awesome and I can’t wait to get my blog up and running. This was the motivation I needed. Thanks a million times over!!

    Reply
  15. Thank you for this post. I am a SAHM of 3 kids. With only one source of income, I would love to be able to create some extra income blogging to help my family out. I love to share ideas and recipes online so I really feel like blogging is my calling but I am nervous to start because I feel like there are so many different directions to take and I want to know I am going to do everything I can to be successful.

    Reply
    • Hi Anna! I love that you already know blogging is your calling! You’re totally right that there are many possible directions to go, but you won’t truly know which is the one that will make you most successful until you get out there and try a few things. Also, with practice, you’ll be much more likely to see posts take off. I don’t think you need to be afraid to start, though. As long as you start your blog off the way I’ve outlined in the post, you’re going to have such a great start. This is everything I wish I would have known in my first years of blogging that would have helped me become successful so much faster. You can do it! And I hope you’ll stop by and give me an update about how you’re doing as you do get started :)

      Reply
  16. Hello did you ever do the blog about “How to Earn an Income Blogging” where you were going to list the actual links and stuff that are free?

    Reply
  17. I love your site!! Just wondering when you expect to be going into specific detail about how I earn an income blogging? If you’ve already posted that, can you please tell me where to find it? Thanks so much!

    Reply
  18. Hi! Thanks for all the helpful tips. I have been blogging on and off for a few years, and am currently using a wordpress.com site but pay for my domain name so it doesn’t have the .wordpress.com at the end of it. If I choose to go through blue boat to host my blog, do I type in my current blog/domain name into the already have one box instead of creating a new one? And will all my current blog content transfer over? Thanks!!! :)

    Reply
  19. I really like this inspiring post! I love to write but have been hung up on trying to decide on a niche topic. It is encouraging to know that I can be successful from a more broad standpoint too!

    Reply
  20. Hello, I just found your blog while looking for resources on financial planning. We’ve been passive and a little sloppy in this dept for our entire marriage and want to change that. I have to be honest. While a lot of the resources here are fantastic, I feel suspicious about the blogging for profit idea. Seems a bit too good to be true. I went to a very good school and majored in lit/writing. There was no mention of the potential to write, profitably, for the internet (with the exception of science/medical writing). Could a writer generate a decent income simply with freelance writing and blogging? Where does the money come from? Ads? Or would I have to also have a product to sell (i.e., a course, ebooks, etc). I’m feeling a pyramid scheme here (buy my writing course, start a blog, sell your course, etc). Gina’s income in her first few months was outrageously high. More than I make now as a librarian. Forgive me for being cynical/suspicious. I’m just curious.

    Reply
    • Hi Baz, thanks for your comment. I’m so happy you’re looking towards getting your finances to where you want them to be. It also sounds like you are in a fantastic position to find a work from home situation with either freelance writing or blogging with your writing background.

      So let me start out by answering your first question: where does the income come from? I go into this in greater detail in my How to Make Money from a Blog post, but it sounds like you’ve got the idea. My main source of income is through ads, but I also earn money through my books and courses, affiliate commissions, my Etsy store, and occasionally sponsored posts.

      If you just want to earn an income from writing, I would go the freelance route, like what Gina teaches. I can definitely see how it can seem too good to be true, but you have to look at these fields, either blogging or freelance, as a job/business. It’s definitely not a get rich quick thing. Those who become successful work hard, just as anyone in a more conventional job does. What I love about Gina is she is an incredibly hard worker. If you look at her story, she started out in freelance while working full time, so she was getting up at 4:30 in the morning and working weekends so she could grow her income. She was so determined. Her first month she made $805. Amazing!

      As for me with blogging, I’ve had times when I woke up at 5 in the morning to work after being up with a baby all night or stayed up until late into the night to work after my kids have gone to bed. But I love this work and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

      I wish you the very best with your endeavors! And if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! :)

      Reply
  21. I have wanted to start my own blog for years now, though I can’t help but wonder, would it be best to partner with an already established blogger at this point? To start out doing guest posts? Instead of adding to the competition? How would I even go about contacting a blog administrator with this option?

    Reply
    • Hi Sydney! Not many blogs pay for articles and guest posts, but I think what you’d be interested in is freelancing writing. Creating content for other websites is definitely an option if you want the flexibility to work from home writing. You can check out my interview with Gina about how to get started freelance writing. I think it just comes down to what you’re more interested in doing. Do you want to create a blog that you are able to share more of your story and build relationships with readers? Or do you just want to straight up write articles that fill another site’s requirements? I hope you find the perfect situation for you!

      Reply
  22. Thank you so much for this post! Really straightforward and clear. Very valuable for hopeful and aspiring bloggers out there wanting to join the world of blogging. Great post!

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  23. I started a blog 3 months ago and have only been posting every other Saturday because I am also writing a book. Eventually, I will write a post once a week. I have not started monetizing my blog yet though. I have to admit that ads on blogs seem too distracting to me. Still trying to figure out what direction I want to take for monetizing my blog.

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  24. Awesome tips Shannon. Many people fail to understand that blogging is a long term goal, they give up so soon. I think first get relevant people to your blog posts and then choose the best way to monetize them.

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  25. Thank you so much for the information! I’ve always wanted to blog since I love to write and have a minor in creative writing. My friends and family always told to start one as well but it always seemed too daunting. After somehow coming across your sight I read this post and for the first time felt I really could do you. You made it sound simple and possible. It does take work, yes, but your post was very encouraging and realistic. I’m just still in the building a blog stage, but hope to launch soon. I’m excited for this journey and it’s all thanks to your blog!

    Reply
  26. Hi, I feel like I have found a home on your website. Every article has been great so far. I wanted to make sure I understand correctly – that if I buy through bluehost, I don’t need to buy a WordPress plan?

    Reply
    • Yes, that’s right Janelle. Bluehost is the hosting plan. I recommend a paid hosting plan for all bloggers. Your host’s server is where your website lives. WordPress is free, it’s the ‘software’ so to speak that you use to write your posts. Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad my site has been helpful to you! Please feel free to post here if you have more questions or email me anytime.

      Reply
  27. Hi Shannon,, all your lnfo on starting a blog has been very helpful, the info I don’t have is marketing, this seems to be a mine field, can you help, thank you.rodney

    Reply
  28. i know that blogging is a super duper work but getting success in it is too difficult and in it i am struggling 1.5 year and i am get only 16.2 $ during 1.5 year . now i am too upset in blogging but after seeing other bloggers i am continued my journey in blogging . and now after seeing many article just like your i made idea for making a blog on wordpress

    Reply
  29. This was the most helpful “how to get started blogging” info I have found. THANK YOU!!! I feel like I can actually do this. This and other articles you have are so wonderful. Thanks again!!

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  30. Shannon, thank you for sharing your success strategies! I look forward to reading more of your posts. You’ve helped me start my blog on how to grow younger and live longer. Have you written about content creation like writing a book or creating a lead magnet?

    Reply
    • Jeremy congratulations on starting your blog. I am sure that is a topic that many people will be interested in. I have not written about content creation and lead magnets yet, but I will definitely add them to my list now. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Reply
  31. Hello! I want to be a stay at home mom and I’m basically a single mother. I’m with my child’s father. We just aren’t married yet but he plays basketball overseas so I’m taking care of our daughter by myself. I want to be able to spend more time with her. I’m currently a teacher and it is absolutely miserable and draining the life out of me and my sanity. I would love to get started on becoming a blogger. You have truly inspired me to do it. I’m just very scared and hesitant on spending the money but I’m beyond ready to do it. I started filling out bluest but haven’t completed yet because of the add-ons they are offering and I’m unsure on what to select or unselect but it raises the price it. Could you provide advice? I also wanted to know is there another site you recommend for themes? They are no longer $69, they are $89 now for Elegant themes website. I’m really trying to get this started and am more motivated then ever to do this but I’m just trying to do it in a lower cost if possible. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Jenise, thanks for your comment. One thing you might consider is to directly use your teaching skills with a work at home position. Look into sites that employ teachers for teaching/tutoring. Just thinking that you might earn more, sooner with something like that.

      However, blogging definitely does offer the flexibility that stay at home moms need. So to answer your questions, you don’t need to do any of the add-ons for Bluehost. The only one you might want to do the one that says Domain Whois Privacy to keep your personal address private.

      If you don’t want to spend the money on a theme right away, you could use the default themes that come with WordPress, and then upgrade later without any issues.

      Best wishes with starting your blog! Please feel free to post any other questions that come up. :)

      Reply
  32. Thanks so much for this great post! I’m a new stay-at-home mom and was researching jobs I could do from home (so I could stay at home for the longterm!) and I kept coming back to blogging. I have read and re-read your post multiple times and downloaded Ruth Soukup’s book; so good! I feel like I’m much more set up for success and not floundering in the dark! I would love any feedback on my website!

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  33. What really matter most is your quest to deliver value to people. I started my blog for $1 domain name alone and I hosted with google blogger and from there I’ve been moving on and it’s really an incredible journey.

    Reply
  34. This is so helpful! You explain each step of the process perfectly and with the most reputable companies. Thank you so much!

    Reply
  35. Hi Shannon!
    Thank you so much for this information. I am just starting out and there is a lot to learn! My goal is to grow my blog and monetize it, but I have a question about hosts. I already paid for WordPress premium and started my blog there. But now I keep seeing Bluehost recommended everywhere, and I understand you can link your WP blog to Bluehost. I am just wondering what I paid for with the $96/year wordpress premium? Is that already a host package, and I don’t need Bluehost? Or what else would Bluehost provide? Does using Bluehost make it much faster and more efficient to reach your target audience and start making money? Thank you!!!

    Reply
    • Hannah, the WordPress Premium option does give you some additional features and flexibility for your blog, but unfortunately, it is not a hosting plan, so it does not help you to monetize in the ways I describe in the article. Ideally, for a professional blog you would be self-hosted. This could be with Bluehost or another hosting provider. Bluehost is simply the best bet for your money when you’re getting started. I hope that helps. Feel free to reach out with any other questions. :)

      Reply
  36. This article is packed with helpful information especially for a personal or business blog. Awesome job with a ton info and effort. You should be proud of yourself! Thanks again…

    Reply
  37. You recommend Bluehost but your site is hosted by Cloudfare.
    Can you please share what’s the difference and why you’re not with Bluehost?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Cloudflare is actually used for caching so that readers are able to view the site faster. My hosting is actually with Black Chicken as I explain in the article, because of the amount of traffic I have now, I need a more managed plan. I love them, but if you’re wanting to get started and are trying to do so on a tight budget, there’s no better option than Bluehost. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  38. Thanks for this clear step by step. My question is about email lists. Part of what seems daunting is not having easy access to the population of people who would be the audience’s blog (ie parents of young kids) because I’m not longer part of that community myself with my older kids. Any suggestions for how to tap a wider audience, use social media like Facebook to “find” an audience? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Oh I love that you want to target an audience with your blog that is the stage you were a few years ago. That’s a great idea, and parents of younger kids definitely need your wisdom. If you can find even one person in your life who comes to you to answer these types of questions, write a blog post that addresses one of their problems. If they find it helpful ask them to share it with two or three of their friends who it could benefit. Continue to do this, and your blog will grow naturally. As you build up a catalog of helpful posts, you will also start to naturally grow traffic from social media and search engines too. Does that help?

      Reply
  39. Thank you for your blog – I am very excited about starting mine. While going through bluehost, I am a bit unsure about all of the extra features. Do you recommend one (or any) of those?
    Domain Privacy Protection
    SiteLock Security
    Codeguard Basic
    Bluehost SEO Tools Start
    Office 365 Email Essentials

    Reply
    • The only one I would use is Domain Privacy Protection, especially if you’re starting out and don’t have a business address yet. You don’t necessarily want to tell the world where you live. All the others aren’t necessary to start out with. Best wishes on starting your new blog Stephanie!

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  40. Hi! Love your post! I have been considering starting a blog and this has answered alot of questions! But, I do have 1 question. You mentioned about having an email list to help start off. What would you suggest for someone who has hardly any emails to list. I don’t have alot of friends emails, so what would you suggest doing to get your name and blog out there for others to find your blog. I am socially awkward in person, but have always been better writing than talking ? thank you in advance.

    Reply
    • Hi Toni! Congratulations on potentially starting your blog! Let me explain a bit more about email lists. Having an “email list” is a brand new list of emails you collect as a professional blogger. You won’t include friends or people that you already know. You will collect emails from blog visitors when you give them the opportunity to subscribe. Let me know if you have any other questions on that. Now, as far as marketing your blog, you can get traffic organically through search (people search on Google, etc and find your posts) or social media (Pinterest or Facebook). I think the very best way to start is to find at least one person that’s interested in your topic and write for them. It doesn’t have to be someone you know in person, it could be someone you met online, on a forum or Facebook group for instance. Then, share the post with them, get their feedback. If they like it, ask them to share it with someone they know who would enjoy the post. Over time, you can build interest in your blog and get very valuable feedback on your work. It does take courage to step out and interact with readers. It took me years to get comfortable with it. But what I have gained both personally and professionally through these relationships is well worth it! Best wishes with your blog!

      Reply
  41. Hi! So, I have looked into doing a blog multiple times and am always afraid of losing more than I invested. I have tried so many at home “jobs” that never work out. I have been thinking more and more lately about trying to do a blog with topics that may not always be willingly discussed (i.e, anxiety, depression, panic attacks and thoughts while being a single mom…). I noticed in your blog though that you say an income can be earned within 6-9 months and that you need to have 20-30 blogs posted before it may be picked up by other sites… So I guess my biggest question for this second would be how many blogs should one do within certain time frames? Should we do a post-a-day, 2-3 posts a week??? I really need to find something that will allow me to stay home because with 4 kids, 1 being autistic and my anxiety, I really don’t know that I can handle being outside the house anymore.

    Reply
    • Hi Kristina, there isn’t a set posting schedule you need to keep up with. You could stretch those 20-30 blog posts out over 6 months, a year, or 2 years if you want. It’s just that it may take longer to see results. As a stay at home mom, blogging has given me ultimate flexibility in earning an income from home. As I prioritize caring for my family and my health there have been times when I go months without posting or post just once a month. Then there are seasons where I’m working on a specific project or I have more time, and I post a lot more.

      If you’re concerned about making the investment, I would just advise you to make sure that you’re really dedicated to sticking with blogging, learning the right way to get started, and then doing it regularly. It’s not at all ‘easy money’ or ‘get rich quick’. It does take hard work, so you need to be passionate about sharing about your topic.

      Reply
  42. My daughter (13) and I are curious about the world of blogging. We plan to create our own blogs, and I’m wondering if you have any tips for protecting my daughter as she explores this new arena? Any websites/courses out there for exercising caution as a teen blogger?

    Reply
    • Thirteen is young to jump out into the wide world of blogging. I don’t have teens yet, but my advice would be to go slowly. You may consider limiting who can view and comment on her blog posts, for instance, trusted friends and family. Also, keep close tabs on what she’s publishing and how she’s interacting online. Talk to her about what personal details you are comfortable with her sharing. That said, I’ve had a very positive experience in my many years of blogging, and haven’t had any issues or concerns. I wish you both the best with your new blogs!

      Reply
  43. Hello Shannon my name is Michele i was a little afraid to write a post didn’t know what to say but lately i have been thinking about becoming a stay at home mom an starting a blogging site not so much for the money but just to be able to connect with the people around the world that are feeling the way i am feeling about life as far as financial situations an family an things that we have a passion for like our talents that we put on hold just because of the daily stresses of life so i started to google about how to start blogging an becoming a stay at home mom an i came across your website an as i started to read your post on every topic of becoming a stay at home mom an budgeting an getting your husband on board an how to stop stressing over money you just made me feel confident in myself that i can do this i’m always so afraid to do things that’s what holds me back from accomplishing my dreams an i’m just so grateful that i came across your blog so thank you

    Reply
  44. Hi Shannon. I am not a mom. Actually I am a man hehe. Thank you for that great blog. I planning on starting my own blog. I know already what to blog about. I love to share my thoughts with people. I know it takes hard work. I have been waking up everyday at 5h30 for the last 6 months, reading and writing and putting my dream into action before going to work. Now it is the time for me to start sharing my idea with the world. And thanks to you i feel ready to start my blog. People like you make a big positive difference in other’s people lives and empower them. And one advice, if i can allow myself to give to your readers, that worked for me and that is the fruit of my own experience is that difficult moments or moments of crisis as Napoleon Hill wrote in his book ”Think and grow Rich” are the best time to help reconnect with our ”other self” (our true nature) to discover our purpose in life and live happy. For me blogging will be the path to live on purpose and share my gifts with the world. Thank you again for your inspiration Shannon.

    Reply
  45. Hi Shannon Clark,

    Great Work.

    Really, A Well formatted & Well written article with valuable pieces of information.

    Thanks for sharing great content with us.

    Cheers,
    Keep sharing great content like this.

    Reply
  46. Thank you for all this information. I recently got my WordPress site and I’ve been working on it a few days to get it going. I feel so frustrated with WordPress! I feel like I can’t customize ANYthing on it! As I’ve learned more, it seems that I can customize almost everything to make a profitable blog in the budget.

    Reply

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