Can I really make money starting a WordPress blog?
I get this question from readers all the time.
My answer is always: Yes you can.
Even today? Even with millions of blogs already out there publishing millions of new posts each day?
Yes. Blogging is absolutely still a viable way to make a living. But you have to do it right.
The main reason so many blogs fail is that people don’t know what they are getting into when they start.
Wouldn’t it be helpful to have some guidance from a successful blogger?
Hi, I’m Neil Patel and I’ve built multiple seven-figure businesses from blogs that get hundreds of thousands of visitors every month.
The WordPress blog you are reading right now generates hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
Finding success blogging didn’t happen instantly. I’ve been doing this for more than a decade.
Like everyone else, I started at zero. No blog, no followers, no income.
So how did I get to the point where millions of people visit my blog everyday?
Just keep reading.
Your journey of a thousand miles starts with a WordPress blog.
You don’t need any prior experience or technical skills like SEO to get going. With a little guidance from me, you can start that journey on the right foot, headed in a healthy direction.
If you are ready, so am I. Let’s take your idea for a blog and turn it into reality.
Starting a WordPress Blog: Your Two-Minute Quickstart Cheat Sheet
Looking to start a WordPress blog right now?
In this section, I’m going to give you the bare bones rundown of how to get one up and running as soon as possible. I’ll go through each step in greater detail after.
If you have a name and a purpose for your blog, here’s what’s left to do:
- Get a domain name for your site (www.your-domain-name.com) so people can find it on the internet.
- Select a web host to maintain the server where your site lives. Hosting the site yourself is going to take way more time and effort.
- Install WordPress on your site.
So what’s the quickest way to get all of this done?
You can complete all three steps at once if you head over to Bluehost (one of the few web hosts that are officially recommended by WordPress) and take advantage of the exclusive offer for readers of my site:
Normally, you have to go to three different places to get a domain, web hosting, and WordPress. With Bluehost, it’s a package deal.
When you sign up, Bluehost will throw in a free domain name for the first year you sign up. That saves you $10-15 and time searching for a domain registrar.
On top of that, WordPress is a one-click install on Bluehost. It could not be easier.
The entire process is stupid simple and they have 24/7 customer support should you have an issue.
Below, I go into more detail on every step. No matter where in the journey you are, you’ll find the guidance you need to get your blog up and running.
Step 1: Find a Blogging Topic
Let’s start at the very beginning. What are you going to blog about?
You have near total freedom here. Really, all you need to do is pick a topic that you are interested in. That’s the only requirement.
You don’t have to be an authority on the topic (yet), but it needs to be something that you won’t get bored learning about.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular blog categories so you can get a sense of just how wide open your opportunities are.
These are broad categories. Think of how many completely different types of blogs exist within just the music category. There will be blogs for critics, instructors, solo musicians, bands, genres, and more.
It’s not just deciding on a topic, it’s picking how you want to blog about that topic. An active musician and a music critic are both sharing their thoughts about music, but their blogs are going to look and feel completely different.
With any blog topic, your choice may easily spread into other areas of interest. Don’t feel that the initial topic of the blog will pigeonhole you for life.
Feel free to experiment with a few blog topics, and see what best matches your interests and passions.
Step 2: Choose a Domain Name for Your Blog
Once you know the topic you will be blogging about, you have the information you need to get a domain name for your blog.
The domain name is your web address. This domain for this blog is neilpatel.com, which works great for me.
You are looking for something that speaks to your blog topic and how you are going to cover it.
It can get a little tricky, because so many of the best domain names are already taken. This is especially true for names that use the .com domain extension.
There are hundreds of different domain extensions, such as .biz and .tech. You may have more luck going with one of those. If you can, though, go with a .com extension. Get creative if you have to.
Have some ideas already? Search your domain name with the tool below. It will let you know if your name is available. If it’s not, the tool will offer viable suggestions.
Some Tips for Choosing a Domain Name for Your Blog
- Should you use your personal name or pick a more general topic? Answering this should be simple. Is the blog about you, or are you trying to build a brand apart from yourself?
- Make it easy to type. You don’t want other people getting your traffic if someone types in another website by mistake!
- Make it pronounceable. There’s no need to confuse people with complicated spellings or creative misspellings.
- Keep it short. Fewer characters means less hassle for the user and less risk of mistyping.
- Don’t use other companies’ brand names or trademarked slogans. They will come after you and shut you down!
- Try to use broad keywords. Top-level topics like “cooking” are great, but you need to connect these big ideas to narrower topics. Use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest to get ideas.
- Make sure that the blog’s name makes sense. It needs to be intuitive to the user and Google!
- Avoid numbers and hyphens. These confuse people, and it makes it hard to explain the domain to others.
If possible try to include term related to your main topic. For example, if you plan to write about recipes, you might want to include a word like recipe or cooking. Don’t force it, but try to include keyterms if you can.
Come up with a shortlist of domain names you are happy with and pick the best option. Here are some strategies to come up with fresh domain name ideas when the one you want is taken.
Don’t overthink it. The key is to act now, and gain momentum. New pages don’t rank on Google immediately, so the sooner you get started, the better.
Once you have your domain name ready to go, it’s time to find a web host.
Step 3: Find a Web Host
Web hosting is a service that allows the blog to be accessed through the internet by other users. Without a domain and web hosting, your blog won’t be seen online or get any traffic. The two are inseparable!
There are a lot of different web hosting companies out there. You need to find one that is reliable, safe, and has a good reputation.
I highly recommend Bluehost. The company is extremely well-known and one of the only web hosts officially recommended by WordPress.
Everything has been optimized for WordPress, so there is very little you have to do to get set up. And you won’t have to spend big for the easy to use platform.
Bluehost offers dependable hosting plans that start at $2.95/month. A lot of other options that are as good as Bluehost cost closer to $10/month.
In addition to being affordable, remember that Bluehost gives you a free domain for the first year that would normally cost an extra $10-15.
Best of all, if you sign up for Bluehost now, you can access an exclusive discount just because you are a reader of my blog.
Let’s walk through the set up, step by step.
Once you click the link, you’ll be directed to this landing page:
Go ahead and click “Get Started Now,” which is going to bring you to another screen.
Here you will be able to see a few different hosting packages. You want Basic, which is all the way to the left. It’s a super-low price, but Basic will completely support a single WordPress blog without cutting any corners.
Click “Select” right below the $2.95/month price.
Then, Bluehost is going to ask you to set up your domain:
In the box on the left, where it says “Create a new domain,” enter your favorite domain name that you came up with.
To the right of the field where you enter your name is a dropdown list with different domain extensions. You can search specific extensions, or just type in your name.
Once you have your domain name finalized, Bluehost will ask you to finish signing up. You’ll be brought to a page where you can enter your billing info.
That’s all straight forward enough, but below the section where you enter your account information, you’ll see “Package Information” and “Package Extras.”
Under “Package Information,” I recommend signing up for the “Basic 36 Month Price” because it gets you the best deal.
It costs more up front to sign up for longer, but it’s worth it. If you can afford the 36-month deal, that will save you the most money over time.
Under “Package Extras,” I highly recommend purchasing “Domain Privacy + Protection.”
The reason you want Domain Privacy + Protection is that it keeps your personal information from becoming public. Normally, hackers or scammers can see who owns any domain, but with DP+P enabled, they will only see Bluehost’s business information.
You can ignore the rest of the package extras for now, as a lot of those services can be found elsewhere for free. Just be aware that some of the extras may be selected by default, so be sure to deselect those.
Once you’ve confirmed that everything looks good, enter your payment information and click the box that says you have read and agree to Bluehost’s terms and conditions.
After that, click the green “submit” button at the bottom of the screen.
Well done! You now have a fully operational website and there is only one, very small step left—installing WordPress.
Bluehost makes this completely painless. Once you are logged in, look for “My Sites” on the left side of the Bluehost dashboard and then click the “Create Site” button that appears on the right hand side:
You will then see an option to “Start Building” under the WordPress logo. Click that.
Next it will ask you to enter basic information about the site, like the site name, tagline, administrator information, and an email address for all of this login information to be sent.
Once you fill all that out, WordPress will begin installing automatically. When it’s finished, you can click back to “My Sites” and log into your brand new WordPress blog!
Congratulations. You have taken an idea in your head and turned into a blog that anyone in the world can read.
It’s an important step and you want to keep that momentum.
Now, with a blog topic, domain, and hosting in hand, you’re ready to dive into the real work: sharing your content with the world.
It all starts with your passion. As long as you’re putting in the writing work and pouring your knowledge and interests into your posts, you’re on the right track.
Post regularly while you start to build a following. That way, every new wave of readers is welcomed with a treasure trove of your writing to consume.
You can really start attracting your audience with a little extra care in how you craft each blog post.
Check out my ultimate guide to writing posts that rank in Google’s top 10 search results. Nothing is better than landing on page one.
Good luck with your new WordPress blog. Let me know how you do and feel free to reach out if you need help.