In this post: Ever wanted to know how to start a blog and make money online? Keep reading this step-by-step guide on how to start a blog with WordPress and with BlueHost for profit.
PS – Be sure to use my link and get 50% off your package (from 6.66 to 3.29/month!).
How to Start a Blog and Make Money in 2020
Pop the bubbly, girls! It’s officially two years since I’ve started blogging (yayy)!
And what a journey it’s been, OMG.
What started as a travel blog is now my lifestyle blog where I connect with other like-minded women and exchange ideas on topics that matter to us. I’ve never imagined my life would be as it is nowadays because of blogging and I’d love to share this initiative with you.
Ever since I started blogging, I get so many questions about “how to start a blog”.
That is why today I will be sharing how to get your blog up and running in under 10 minutes.
It’s important to highlight that when I started out blogging, I had zero clue about WordPress, SEO, digital marketing…. Nada! I learned everything on the way (and in all honesty, if I can do it, so can YOU!).
I started blogging in October 2018 but only posted once or twice a month and I was not too insightful on what made up a good travel post. Back then, I thought my genuine tips were enough and I totally forgot about trying to strategize content to what users wanted.
At the beginning of 2020, I decided to really take blogging seriously and i wanted to dive deep and learn how to start a blog for money. That’s when I rebranded my blog from travel into lifestyle.
From there on, I began posting content on a regular basis, sometimes one post a day (at the time I was running after Pinterest traffic, but this in the end made me waste more time than anything – but more about that on another post).
Since then I have been able to work with some amazing brands, stayed in luxury hotels for free, was invited on different occasions to watch concerts and as well holistic treatments. Slowly my hobby turned into a business where I am making $1000’s of euros/month.
This not only allowed me to upgrade my lifestyle, but to live a more flexible life than I ever imagined before.
If you’ve been thinking of starting a blog, I encourage you to do so!
Don’t fool yourself that it is too late. The online world has space for everyone. Everyone has a unique voice and blogging is a great way to share content that you love (and make some money while doing so)!
So, let’s get your blog set up!
How to Start a Blog for Profit
First, Let’s Talk About Web Hosting
I use WordPress for my blog layout and it is hosted by Bluehost.
A Web Host is what allows your website to exist and be visible on the internet. It enables your website to run and it is where all of your information is stored. Web hosting allows your site to quickly pull all of that saved content onto the web when someone visits your site.
Years ago I had a blog on Blogspot and as my audience grew, I quickly realized the limitations that came with free sites. Furthermore, web hosting will allow you to use a variety of different WordPress themes, analytics, and more that are not available on free platforms.
Thankfully web hosting is very inexpensive! You can start hosting your blog for as little as $3.95 per month here.
Best Web Host for Bogging: Bluehost
I use Bluehost to host La Belle Society it is the top-rated website hosting company. They are reliable and your blog loads quickly anytime someone visits your site.
Have you ever visited someone’s blog and it takes ageeeees to load? With Bluehost, you don’t have to worry about your site loading slowly or going down. They will take care of everything for you.
Here are some pros to using Bluehost:
- You get a FREE domain name (mine is www.labellesociety.com)
- You can use WordPress for FREE when hosted on Bluehost
- It is very affordable at $3.95 per month
- They have 24/7 technical support and live Chat (that works super well).
- Your blog will load quickly and run smoothly
- You can monetize your blog with affiliate links
- With WordPress, you can use SEO to grow your blog’s presence
- Your site will look professional
Steps to starting your blog on BlueHost | A Step-by-Step Guide
1. Purchase Hosting
Next, you need to select a plan:
The basic $3.95 plan option is perfect and that is what I have. This rate is locked in so you don’t have to worry about the price changing on you. You get this rate for 36 months and don’t have to worry about it for 3 years. That’s a great way to keep expenses under control.
PS – Kindly note that this price may vary if the plans go on sale or whenever they update them.
2. Choose your Domain Name
Your domain name is going to be your blog’s website address (i.e. www.labellesociety.com). You can either create one for FREE, or you can sign up an existing domain that you might have purchased from GoDaddy or elsewhere.
PS – Note that you cannot pick a domain name that already exists. If you are having trouble thinking of a domain name, type in a keyword and Bluehost will give you some ideas!
You can always change your website name if you’re unhappy with what you’ve picked, but note there is a cost to change it. My first blog was called TravelGuaplous and when I had to change it to La Belle Society there was a small fee (which I don’t remember at the moment).
Make sure your domain is easy to understand and represents you/your brand! You want your domain name to be memorable so people know where to find you. Think of this as your “brand.”
3. Make your purchase
For the “Account Plan” select the length you want. Again, the 36-month option will be the best value to avoid price changes.
After select “Domain Privacy Protection” for $.99 and that’s it. You don’t really need any of the other options.
If you purchased your domain name through another site, you will now need to contact Bluehost customer service and they will walk you through how to do that! It’s super simple. However, this is only if you’ve previously purchased your domain through GoDaddy or any other hosting. If you used a free domain name through Bluehost then you are good to go.
After the payment information is done, Bluehost will ask you to enter a password and you will receive instructions on how to add WordPress (again, it’s very easy).
Once that is done, guess what?! You have a blog! Congrats, girl!!
You’re a blogger!
Understand the WordPress dashboard.
At first, all of the settings and buttons may seem a bit intimidating, but after a few days or weeks, you’ll be a pro at navigating the interface. As you start to write and publish posts, you’ll spend a lot of time in the WordPress dashboard and with no time you’ll start feeling at home.
To get you started, I want to briefly point out a few significant aspects of the WordPress dashboard.
Below is how the home screen of the dashboard looks like. You can customize this page by clicking on the “Screen Options” button in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
One of the first settings I recommend you change is the permalink structure. Click on “Settings” and then “Permalinks.”1.
- Then select the “Post Name” option. Note that it is important to make this change before you start publishing posts. Once you publish and have inbound links to your blog, it will be more complicated to change the URL structure and you might end up with broken links (which will hurt your SEO). Best start with the right foot. 2.
- Familiarize yourself with the “Plugins” section. We’ll talk more about the essential plugins next.3. The “Posts” tab is where you compose and format your new blog posts. Just click ‘’Add New’’
- The “Pages” tab is where you compose the static and permanent website pages of your site, such as your “about page,” and “disclosure” policy. a.
- With WordPress, the primary difference between posts and pages is that posts are dated articles and pages are undated. In short, posts will show up in your blog feed, and pages will not (a hack if you want to write a ‘’secret’’ blog post is to write it as a page and not categorize it.
- This way it will be live, but hidden. This is helpful when you want to write off-brand topics that can bring you traffic, for example)For your convenience, WordPress.tv has published a thorough walkthrough video of their dashboard. If you want the grand tour of the WordPress dashboard, you can take a few minutes and watch the video.
Step 3: Customize Your Blog
Choose a responsive WordPress theme.
We always recommend purchasing from a known and trusted source, such as:
1. StudioPress. If StudioPress (the creators of Genesis) is selling a child theme in their store, you can be sure that it’s a well-coded and well-supported theme.
2. Restored 316. Lauren creates beautiful, well-coded feminine Genesis child themes. I used one of her designs for many years and was very pleased with the theme and the support Restored 316 provided.
3. Feast Design Co. Again, we have been thrilled with the quality of the theme and the support that they provide.
4. Pretty Darn Cute. Lindsey also makes a lot of pretty and feminine themes, including the Creative theme which is becoming increasingly popular.
When you’re deciding on a child theme, look closely at the layout and general structure of your theme. Colors can be changed, logos can be changed, and typography can be changed. It’s harder to change the overall layout and structure of the theme.
Install The Necessary WordPress Plugins.
Next, we need to customize the look of your blog and add a few helpful features with WordPress plugins.
A plugin is a piece of software that acts as an add-on to a web browser and gives the browser additional functionality. In other words, plugins allow a web browser to display additional content it was not originally designed to display
Kindly note that, on the negative side, the more plugins you have, the more potential issues may as well arise (site speed, security, etc…). So, while plugins provide a lot of great functionality to your blog, you’ll only want to install the ones that you absolutely need.
It’s easy to get carried away when trying to decide what are the must-have plugins, so here are a few that I use with and recommend:
1. Akismet. This is a plugin to reduce/eliminate spam comments.
2. Yoast SEO. The standard as far as a WordPress SEO plugin goes. It will help you easily structure your blog posts so that they rank high in search results.
3. W3 Total Cache. This is a “caching” plugin that will speed up your site. The settings for this plugin are super complicated, so if you use this plugin, be sure to ask your host what settings they recommend rather than trying to configure it yourself.
4. Genesis eNews Extended. This is a handy little plugin that allows you to add an email signup form to any widget area on your site. This plugin is only for blogs using the Genesis Framework. The great thing about this plugin is that the signup form automatically pulls the styling from your child theme so everything matches. This plugin can be configured with most email marketing services like MailChimp and ConvertKit.
6. Genesis Simple Share. A pretty and lightweight plugin that adds social sharing buttons to your posts and pages. Also designed to work with the Genesis Framework.
7. Pretty Link Lite. This is a plugin that allows you to make long and ugly links into pretty little links that re-direct to the final destination. This is particularly handy if you have a long affiliate link with lots of crazy characters at the end. You can use Pretty Like Lite to make links like justagirlandherblog.com/bluehost (pretty!) re-direct to the longer and not-so-pretty affiliate link.
You can search for and install all of these plugins directly from the “Plugins” tab within your WordPress dashboard.
An Amazing “About Me” Page
Did you know that it is said that one of the most highly trafficked pages on your site by new visitors is your about page?
People want to get to know you! They want to know the person behind the blog. This is your chance to show the best of your personality. Take some time to make this fun, interesting, and engaging on your site.
For an example of an engaging about page, read this amazing article about creating a compelling about page from Lauren at The Thinking Closet. It surely inspired me to revamp mine.
You want your readers (and eventually other businesses) to have an easy way to contact you, so make it as easy as possible for them to find you. I recommend that you set up a dedicated “contact” page, either with an embedded form or just simple instructions on how to get in touch with you. Take a look at my contact page here.
Personally, there is nothing more frustrating than wanting to connect with a blogger and having to search for their social handles or contact page. Don’t miss opportunities simply because you’re not ‘’obviously easy to find’’.
What makes a quality blog post?
Before we end this post on how to start a blog in 2020, I thought it would be helpful to leave you with some quick tips that I believe are useful knowing when you’re just starting. Let’s go over some items on what makes a quality blog post:
Be valuable. It’s fine to interject yourself and your story into your posts, but primarily you are writing for someone else. Think to yourself ‘’Is what I wrote valuable/helpful to anyone else? Will what I just wrote make someone’s life better in any way?
Answer questions. Answer specific burning questions in your niche and give your perspective. You’ll be seen as a helpful resource for your readers (to know what questions people are asking, simply write the blog topic on google and see the results. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to comply with SEO this way).
Long posts are great. I’m always disappointed when a post title catches my eye only to find out it’s a 300-word post with no real depth or value. Bear in mind that fluff isn’t good (in fact, it’s terrible and might hurt you), but if your message needs 2,000 words, that’s ok! Don’t be afraid of long blog posts as they keep readers longer on your website, and Google loves that.
Headlines are key. People decide to click or not click on your posts primarily based on your headline, so plan to spend at least 20 uninterrupted minutes brainstorming headline and title ideas. I really recommend Sharethrough (a free tool that ‘’grades’’ your headlines).
RELATED: The 2021 Ultimate Blogger Toolkit
Great post images are necessary for social traffic. Spend time making eye-catching Pinterest-sized images for each post. Original photography is great in certain niches, but you can also use free stock photos as the starting point for great post images. This Fizzle article has 50+ resources for finding free stock photography. I personally use Haute Stock for all my website images and I love their feminine and elegant photos. Get 21 free Haut Stock images here.
Tell stories. If it relates to the message you are trying to convey, share a personal story. This helps you be more personable and relatable. If you do this, over time, your readers will feel like they know you. They’ll have a personal connection to you and this will help you gain a loyal readership. If you’re a regular at LBS, you probably noticed I talk a lot about my Italian boyfriend, his OCD, our burger addiction, and my ever-growing love for musicals and books.
Create helpful resources. Think about creating something like that is super, duper helpful in your niche (and evergreen). Think about the type of posts that readers will come back to over and over again. These are the posts that just keep on getting traffic month after month.
How to make money from your blog (monetize)
Lastly, as I know many people are curious about how bloggers make money, here are a few ways to inspire you. For a more detailed explanation, please read this post.
1. Ad Revenue
You can display ads on your site and make money even when you’re just starting. However, note that in order to earn a more significant income, your traffic numbers must be high. I use Ezoic and I am gaining around $25 a day, which is not bad. My goal is to get into Mediavine, but I need to reach 50k/month sessions and I am not there yet. That said, I really recommend Ezoic over Google Ads (Ezoic pays almost double what AdSense pays).
2. Affiliate Links
Promote various products on your site and earn an income in case a reader clicks on one of your links and makes a purchase. Amazon used to be a great money source for most bloggers, but they callously cut down commissions when Covid started – because so many people were already buying directly from Amazon, they ‘’didn’t need the middle man’’ as much, i.e. bloggers (shame on you Amazon). A great way to make money from affiliates is to promote courses and resources you use and love.
3. Sponsored Posts
Team up with a company and get paid to promote their products. Typically you’re paid on a “per post” basis as opposed to affiliate links (which require you to make a sale in order to get paid). >> Don’t wait forever for brands to reach to you. Reach out to them yourself and surpass your competitors, even if you don’t have a big following. Wanna know how? Read this <<
4. Digital Products
This is potentially the most lucrative income category. It’s also the most time consuming to create and sell your own digital products. Digital products include eBooks, courses, printable, paid webinars, and email courses.
My income roadmap looked something like this: I started from the get-go with Ezoic, later added some affiliate links to the site (Amazon, RewardStyle, Courses), a few sponsored posts, and now I am on the road to creating my own digital products to sell.
PS – If you want to get into RewardStyle, hit me an email at [email protected] and I can invite you. While I don’t guarantee you’ll get in, this can definitely increase your chances and speed up the process (it has worked for Cris, for example).
More Tips on How to Start a Blog and Get Paid
You can blog about whatever topic(s) you want! Just be sure to choose a topic that is timeless and that you can blog about for a long time!
Also, don’t copy someone else’s content and blog. Find your unique angle! You don’t have to overthink this part. I feel like this holds a lot of people back from starting a blog.
Rather than looking at what other people are doing, make a list of all the things you love and are good at. You will notice a theme, and most likely this can be what your blog is about!
For me, my list included beauty, self-care, and homemaking, with a pinch of fashion and travel. This way, La Belle Society became a lifestyle blog. I tried niching my blog down into elegance, etiquette, providing tips with a strong focus on becoming new adults as young women.
As I work for 4+ years as a Strategic Account Executive, I also teach bloggers and influencers how to get paid partnerships with brands. If you’re interested in my 10 post series on the subject be sure to visit this page.
At the end of this post, I will also link some other useful resources that can help you in your blogging journey.
If you have any questions at all, please leave them in the comments below and I will respond there!
Happy blogging, girls!
If you liked these tips on how to start a blog and make money, then you should check out the below:
Other Useful Blog Resources
If you’re serious on learning how to start a blog and make money, then the below tools will be game-changing in your blogging journey.
Blog Income Tracker – Don’t make the same mistakes as I did and forget to track your income (and expenses). Trust me, this will make a huge difference in your life.
ShareaSale – Has been in business for 20 years, exclusively as an Affiliate Marketing Network. This is a place where you can sign up once, and get access to hundreds and hundreds of amazing brands’ affiliate networks.
Tailwind – If Pinterest or Instagram is part of your strategy and you feel you’re losing too much time with it (join the club), then Tailwind is a MUST. Tailwind is an approved tool for both Instagram and Pinterest to schedule your posts. This allows you to batch in advance and plan your posting schedule. Try Tailwind for one month free here and make up your mind on your own.
DepositPhotos – Stunning stock photos for every niche.
LongTailPro – A fantastic keyword search tool for Google SEO. I love it because they also include an in-depth course on understanding SEO, how to find the best keywords to make money and get traffic, and many other insider tips on how to best utilize keywords to boost your website. Perfect for both beginners and advanced SEO understanding.
The She Approach To Boosting Your Blog Traffic (eBook) -This eBook is a guide to helping new and established bloggers increase their blog traffic. It was y first book on how to increase my blog traffic and it slowly tuned into something of a bible for me. Every so often, I go back to it both for inspiration and to refresh my memory.