How To Set Up A Money-Making Blog

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Setting up a blog is one of the first things you need to do to make money online. But how do you set up a blog and where do you start?

Read on to find out what it takes to set up a profitable blog and start making money online.

If you are looking for ways to monetize your blog, check my article, 10 Ways to Make Money with Your Blog.

Here's a quick overview of the 12 strategies I'll cover in this post:

  1. Create a clear plan.
  2. Determine your goal
  3. Select your niche.
  4. Know your audience.
  5. Decide what you want to promote.
  6. Set up your blog
  7. Promote quality products or services
  8. Provide quality content
  9. Build a list
  10. Monetize your blog
  11. Accept payments online

What you need to do before creating your blog 

#1 Create a clear plan.

Determine your goal, niche, what type of product, and what kind of content you want to provide.

Your plan can change but you need to start with a plan so you'll know where to start and what direction to go in.

#2 Determine your goal.

Clear, specific goals are necessary to build a successful website. Decide what the purpose of your site is and what you want to achieve with your site.

Do you want to make money with your site? Or do you want to create a personal site?

Do you want to sell products or services, generate leads, provide customer support, provide useful information, educate your prospects and customers?

#3 Select your niche.

Be sure to choose a niche you are passionate about and know well.

#4 Know your audience.

It's important to know who your audience is before starting your blog. You need to know your audience so you can focus on them.

Knowing your audience will help you choose a web design that is targeted to them.

You need to know what their needs are and think about how can you fill their needs with your content and products.

Knowing your audience will help you write relevant content and choose products they want and need.

#5 Decide what you want to promote.

Are you selling professional services, one product, multiple products, an ebook, a course, your own products, affiliate products?

#6 Set up your blog.

  • A. Get a domain name.
  • B. Get hosting.
  • C. Choose a blogging platform
  • D. Choose a design

A. Get a domain name

Having your own domain is essential to get the credibility and promote your brand.

How to order a domain name

You can search or to check the availability of the name you want and order it from them. A domain name typically costs around $13-$20 a year.

When ordering hosting with Bluehost, you'll get a free domain from Bluehost for the first year.

Keep reading to find out why I recommend Bluehost hosting services.

Benefits of ordering a domain name through a hosting company

  • Bluehost will give you a free domain for the first year when ordering hosting.
  • Saves time because you'll only have one log-in for the domain and hosting.
  • The hosting company will point the hosting to the name servers – which is one less technical thing you'll have to deal with. (if you order the domain and hosting from 2 different companies, you'll have to get the DNS info from the domain company and then input that information in the control panel of the hosting company – this process is confusing for newbies).
  • Even if you're not ready to set up your site, you can “park” the name. Domain parking is registering a domain name without connecting that domain with a website or email. This reserves the domain name for you and prevents someone else from getting the name.

You can get your first year domain name registration for free
from Bluehost if you're hosting with them.

You can read more details about domain names by reading my article, How to choose a profitable domain name.

B. Get hosting 

You’ll need a hosting service to make your blog visible on the web.

Paying for hosting is a must if you want to have a money-making site or blog.

I recommend having your own domain and buying hosting to build credibility. Free blogs and free hosting have limitations and won't offer support.

Choosing the right hosting company is important. If you're serious about making money online, you must choose a host that offers reliable service (no downtime or very low downtime) and excellent support. It will help you make money with your site, and prevent headaches and problems.

Web hosting is inexpensive and starts at around $3.99/month.

I've been a web designer for 10+ years. I've worked with different hosting companies. I've had my share of problems with hosting companies, including downtime (you'll lose money when the site is down), lack of support, and outdated systems.

Here are some tips on how to choose a web hosting company:

  • Choose a hosting company you can contact by phone.
  • Choose an established hosting company that has a track record of being reliable and has little or no downtime.
  • Don't buy hosting through eBay or other auction sites. Those are mostly resellers.
  • Choose a large company. You'll get better support. Believe me, you will need expert technical support at times.

I recommend Bluehost.  They fit all the above criteria. It's an established company that offers inexpensive, reliable hosting. I am using them for my own websites and my clients' sites and am very happy with their services.

Why it's important to buy hosting from a large company:

Many web designers, programmers, and marketers buy a reseller package from a hosting company and resell space.

The problem with buying from a reseller is that you'll depend on one person for support instead of a large, established company that will be more available, has a pool of experts, and can provide better support. That person will often be unavailable when you need them and may provide little or no support.

Here's my own hosting nightmare story: A long time ago, I bought hosting from a reseller at an internet marketing conference. The reseller was a single person (which is typically the case). He died, there was nobody I could contact to get help, and my hosting account got suspended.

That's why I recommend buying hosting from an established company.

Why I recommend Bluehost 

  • Inexpensive. It's one of the most affordable hosting companies. Click here to get your hosting at $3.95/month.
  • Get a FREE domain name for the first year when creating an account (saves you around $13-$15) with Bluehost.
  • FREE SSL certificate – another savings! I highly recommend having an SSL certificate to provide extra security. When you have an SSL certificate your customers will be more comfortable providing their credit card information and personal information. Without the SSL certificate, any data transfer between the website, the browser, and the server is unprotected. Many hosts charge a yearly fee for an SSL certificate. But you'll get it free when hosting with Bluehost.
  • Get excellent 24/7 support. You can reach them by phone (or Live Chat) and get help from their expert technical staff anytime. If often call them and love their customer service. They go out of their way to help you.
  • Get reliable service. It's very important that your site doesn't go down when you're making money or are offering a special promotion.
  • Easy to set up and use. They have a 1-Click WordPress Install that makes it really easy and fast to set up your WordPress blog.
  • They will install for you at no cost. If you're not a techy, just ask them to install for you and they'll do it at no cost. What can be easier than that?
  • Get a 30-day money-back guarantee. you can cancel anytime within 30 days after your purchase and get a full refund.
  • They provide great free tutorials.

Choose from different hosting plans to fit your needs.

Plans start around $2.95/month for their “baby” plan that will work for most beginning bloggers. If you want to build more than 1 site, you can “addon” an unlimited number of domains for around $6.96-$7.95/month. You can upgrade your plan as needed. You can also upgrade from a shared account to a dedicated account. But when starting out, just get a shared account.

Click here to check out the hosting plans available at Bluehost.

bluehost hosting plans

C. Choose a blogging platform to build your blog

Choosing the right blogging platform is important when creating a money-making blog. Your blogging platform will affect search engines optimization, traffic, credibility and sales.

So, which blogging platform should you use for your blog?

Your choice will depend on these factors:

  • Are you new at blogging or are you experienced with blogging and have some coding experience?
  • Do you want to want to make money with your blog or create a personal blog?
  • Are you willing to pay a small amount of money to get a blog and do what it takes to make money with your blog?

To build a money-making site that inspires trust, I recommend using a self-hosted WordPress site, pay a small fee for a domain name and pay a small fee for hosting (starting around $3.95/month)

A domain name only costs around $13-20/year and you can get great hosting for around $3.95/month at Bluehost. Isn't that a small cost to pay to help you make your blog profitable?

WordPress is free software, easy to use, and provides many benefits.

This site is self-hosted and built with WordPress.

If you are just looking for an easy way to build a small personal blog, then can provide you with a free blog that uses the free WordPress software, free hosting and a free sub-domain. But free hosting has limitations.

Limitations of free hosting (e.g., blogger and others)

  • You don't get your own domain name.
  • You're not in control. You can lose your site (e.g. they may not like your topic or you may not follow their rules).
  • Limited features.
  • Many free hosting platforms don't allow you to display ads which limits your earning potential.
  • You won't inspire trust when using a free site.

If you plan on building a professional blog and want to monetize your blog, go for and invest a very small amount of money for a .com domain (around $12-15/year) and hosting (around $3.95/month).

Advantages of using the self-hosted WordPress to create your blog:

  • It's easy to install WordPress – It's a 1 click install and Bluehost will do the installation for you.
  • User-friendly, easy to learn and easy to update. Anyone can easily learn WordPress basics. Even if you plan on outsourcing some initial set up and customization, you'll want to be able to make content edits, change descriptions of products and prices, add pictures and add content to your blog.
  • Availability of thousands of professional-looking themes. (See some good themes below)
  • Availability of thousands of plugins to make your blog more powerful.
  • Very customizable with many options and features.
  • Easy to add pictures, picture galleries, video and many other features.

If  you're a non-techie and want to make money with your blog,
don't get confused about the technical stuff, just do this:
Get a domain name, pay for hosting and use WordPress to build your blog.

If you want to learn more about other blogging platforms, read how to choose a blogging platform.

D. Choose a professional-looking design

You can choose from many free and professional WordPress themes.

  • Make sure to choose a theme and design that is targeted to your audience.
  • Choose a theme that suits your needs and goals and has the look and features you want.
  • You can try different themes and can change themes anytime but I recommend not changing themes too often. Each theme works slightly differently and you'll waste time getting familiar with the new theme when changing.

A good WordPress theme can help you make your blog profitable.

There are plenty of free WordPress themes but it’s worth paying a few dollars to get a professional-looking, user-friendly, secure, and responsive theme that gets updated regularly. You'll also want customer support. You can get a great professional theme for less than $100.

Solid, professional WordPress themes

The themes below are some of the most popular, high-quality, professional, solid WordPress themes.

ElegantThemes.  (Divi is provided by ElegantThemes and is one of the most popular WordPress themes.)

elegant themes wordpress theme


  • Elegant Themes provides 87 easy-to-use, professional-looking, high-quality themes (including Divi)
  • All themes by Elegant Themes, including the Divi Theme include the drag and drop Divi Builder that lets you easily build and customize your website.
  • Elegant Themes gives you access to all themes for $89 per year or $249 for lifetime access. They don't sell the themes individually as many theme sites do.
  • They also provide three plugins that members can purchase.

From the company: Divi is more than just a WordPress theme, it’s a completely new website building platform that replaces the standard WordPress post editor with a vastly superior visual editor. It can be enjoyed by design professionals and newcomers alike, giving you the power to create spectacular designs with surprising ease and efficiency.


Looking for a super easy, super fast, clean, SEO friendly, free or inexpensive theme? This is it! This is the theme I'm using on this site. 

This is the easiest theme I've ever tried to get your blog up fast! That's why it's especially great for newbies!

It is also the fastest, lightweight theme I know. It's a responsive (mobile friendly) WordPress theme built for speed, SEO and usability.

When I first installed this theme, I was amazed that it looked good right out of the box without any customization. Of course, I did customize it a bit but total newbies will be happy that they can get a site up and running without having to tweak it. And it's easy to customize this theme without knowing code.

The GeneratePress theme provides great designs with lots of built-in options and nice child templates with plenty of customization features.

  • The theme provides multiple options. A few of the many features include 5 navigation locations, dropdown menus, 9 widget areas, 5 sidebar layouts (I use a different sitebar for different topics), and navigation color presets.
  • You can use another page-builder with it but its built-in functions and design capabilities are fantastic on their own. The included starter sites/site library includes page builders and non-page-builders.
  • It works great with all major page builders, including Beaver Builder and Elementor.
  • The theme is also compatible with all well-coded plugins, including WooCommerce and bbPress.

This is an amazing theme that comes with fantastic support.

There is a free version and the paid version is only $49.85/year. The theme will still work even if you don't pay for renewals and you get renewals at 40% discount!

The free version is great. The pro version is ridiculously inexpensive for what it does – and you can use it on unlimited sites!

The Generatepress premium plugin is a set of 14+ paid add-ons that extend the core theme with great features. The premium versions includes WooCommerce, dynamic page headers, control spacing (sizes, padding, margins) a site library, colors, typography options and more.

Learn more and check out GeneratePress here.

More WordPress themes:

  • Thesis – DIYThemes – Also provides very popular, good themes.
  • The popular Genesis theme from StudioPress. The Genesis Framework enables you to quickly and easily build incredible WordPress sites. Genesis provides a secure and search-engine-optimized foundation to build your site.
  • Bluchic feminine WordPress Themes. BluChic provides beautiful, feminine-looking WordPress themes. They are easy to install and come with step-by-step instructions and video tutorials. You can have a beautiful, feminine-looking website in minutes!
bluechic wordpress themes


Confused about building a blog? Don't let the technical side hold you back. If you don’t want to do anything technical, consider hiring a web designer or VA who can set up your blog much faster than you can. It might be worth paying a little money to get started blogging. Once your blog is set up, it's really easy to add your content.

How to Make Money with Your Blog

  • Promote quality products or services
  • Provide quality content
  • Build a list and stay in touch regular with your prospects and buyers
  • Monetize your blog
  • Accept payments online
  • Drive traffic to your site

#7 Promote quality products or services

You can promote your own products or services or other people's products as an affiliate. Make sure to promote only quality products and services.

If you don't have your own products to promote, you can sell other people's products. This is called affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize your blog. Even if you have your own products, you should offer products from other people to provide more resources to your audience and make additional money from affiliate commissions.  Read more about affiliate marketing here.

You can also create your own products. An easy way to create e-books and courses is by using Private Label Rights (PLR) products. Starting out with some PLR content will shorten the time it takes to create your own product. When using PLR or Resell Rights products, make sure you only use quality products. I recommend making some changes to PLR content, adding your own viewpoint to any PLR you use, and using your own voice to make it your own.

To learn more about Private Label Rights and Resell Rights and how to find them, read 15 Ways to Make Money with Private Label Rights.

#8 Provide Quality Content

Content is the most important element of your blog. Quality content will establish credibility and will help people find your blog through search engines. You need to provide great content to make your blog successful. Your content has to be unique and interesting. It has to be targeted to your niche and audience. You need to add new, quality content to your blog regularly.

To get more information about creating quality content, read my article, 10 Super Fast Easy Ways to Create Quality Blog Content Fast

#9 Build a List

Visitors typically come to your Web site four to five times before they buy from you. Building a list is one of the BEST ways to make money online. Having a list allows you to stay in touch with them and bring them back to your site. It will increase your conversion rates and profits. Whether you’re doing affiliate marketing or selling your own products, having one or more targeted email lists is vital. But even if you don't have anything to sell yet, you should start collecting email addresses right away.

To build a list, you need to create a great landing page or a subscription form (opt-in form) that is targeted to your ideal audience and ask for your visitor's email address. You can automate list creation with autoresponders and automated email marketing software.

To motivate them to give you their email address, offer an incentive like a free ebook, short report, newsletter, ecourse, templates, or other information they're interested in.

Read my articles to learn more about building an email list and automate your list building

How to Set up a Profitable Email List, Automate Your Email Marketing and Explode Your Sales

30 Surefire Ways to Build and Grow Your Email List Fast

List Building Resources

#10 Monetize Your Blog

There are many ways to monetize your blog. Popular methods to make money with your blog include

  • Selling products or services
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Make money from ads
  • And more

Recommended reading about monetizing your blog:

#11 Accept Payments Online

If you're selling your own products or services, you'll need to provide a method for people to pay you. Using Paypal is a popular way to accept payments online. Here are some reasons why:

  • It's one of the easiest payment methods to set up.
  • Buyers can pay with a variety of credit cards, echeck and more.
  • Low processing fees.
  • No setup fees and no monthly fees.


Disclaimer: If you purchase a product through a referral link, I will get a commission at NO extra cost to you and it helps me to keep providing you with quality information.

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