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As a business or individual, starting a blog is one of the best things you can do to establish your online presence. There are many perks associated with it that I can’t emphasize enough. But one thing for sure, if done well with enough dedication, you can start a profitable blog that will turn out to be your full-time income source.
However, you should not let money be your main drive to start a blog. If I ever started blogging solely in pursuit of earning from it, then trust me, I could not have reached this point. The disappointments that come along with it will leave you devastated and demoralized.
Just like most jobs, blogging requires utmost dedication and a lot of patience. It is not a get-rich quick kind of thing. If it was, everyone could be a blogger.
Talking from experience, my blogging journey has not been a walk in the park or bed of roses. Instead, it has been a journey full of challenges and at some point, I contemplated of quitting since getting traffic was a tough row to hoe and as a newbie.
Also, I was not conversant with how to go about the crucial nuggets such as SEO, which are important for making your blog successful.
However, in spite of all the challenges, I have connected with various people around the world and above all, I have made new friends. I mean, that’s what life is all about, right?
What Does it take to Build a Profitable Blog
What you need to understand is that blogging is not as complicated as some of y’all think. Actually, you can start a blog in less than ten minutes and you’ll be ready to go.
Most people also think that starting a blog is an extremely expensive thing, but I can assure you it is extremely affordable.
Some people have blogs that they started with as low as $0 (zero). Yes! It is possible, there are several free hosting platforms out there (such as wordpress.com, blogger, weebly, wix among others) where you can just sign up and start posting your articles there and get some readers.
However, here is one thing I discovered, you won’t make a living out of a free blog; neither can you get a good number of readers with such platforms.
I am not saying it is barely impossible, no, some people have made it, but it requires quite a lot of effort. But why work your ass of that much, have sleepless nights and end up not achieving such results when you can do better with a few bucks? I believe if you want to blog as a business, you need to make a small investment.
I haven’t heard of any profitable business out there that started with zero capital and made it to thousands of dollars per month. Have you? I guess not.
You see, before I started using WordPress, I was initially using blogger/Blogspot. But I shit you not, it was the reason I almost gave up on blogging. SEO optimization was a major challenge for me. Also, as much as there were several themes for blogspot that I could purchase, I could not customize the blog fully since I was not in control of most features since the hosting company limits most features.
Above that, since it was free and I did not own the blog, I risked the blog being pulled down by Google at any moment.
Let’s say it is pretty muc like borrowing someone’s notebook and write your notes there – as much as the notes are yours, you don’t own the book, and the owner can do anything with the book (your notes included) according to his discretion.
So you risk losing your precious notes. See, it is that bad! To avoid this, what else do you have to be assured if not to purchase your own notebook?
So I used Blogspot for about 6 months of dedication, writing posts and sharing them on social media, but irrespective of all that, I could not manage to fetch even 50 visitors in a day.
It was terrible yo! I even stopped posting new content for about another 6 months while I was still in my final year at the university. It was really demoralizing for me to continue spending much of my time on it, so I chose to focus on my studies thereafter.
To cut the long story short, Free hosting usually comes with stringent limitations which as a business blogger, you can’t make a profitable business out of it. It is a total pain in the butt. I think this is where the saying “Cheap is expensive” comes in, right?
Check out this post on ShoutMeLoud on why you should avoid free hosting like a plague.
So early this year, to be precise on January 3rd, 2017, I decided to migrate my blog to WordPress and have a self-hosted blog that I could be in full control without any fear of closure.
Blogging with WordPress has been awesome and actually quite easy more than I ever thought. I am actually regretting having not migrated my blog earlier. But then, no need for regrets, I still have plenty of time to make it happen. After all, these are life lessons meant to strengthen us and serve as eye openers.
So if you haven’t started your blog yet and you have that desire to have an online business, I would advise you not to go for free blogging, invest a few bucks in a self-hosted blog and kickstart your business in an easy and smooth way.
Where to Start
I know you’re probably confused and you don’t have any idea on where to start… Relax, this ain’t rocket science, you got this and you need not to be a tech savvy (I ain’t one either but I made it).
So, how do you start a self-hosted blog?
As I mentioned earlier, it is quite an easy thing that won’t take you more than ten minutes to have it rolling.
There are four major things that you need to have your blog or website up and ready to kick some ass with it.
- Choose a niche
- Choose domain name and purchase hosting for your blog
- Install WordPress
- Select an appealing theme
Choose a niche
It is crucial that you choose your niche wisely, there are probably hundreds of niches that you can choose from. One thing you need to ensure is that you choose a niche that you find interesting and one that you will still be able to write about for several years.
Failure to this you’re likely to suffer the writer’s block syndrome.
You can choose to write about online freelance business – like in my case; or you can opt for other niches such as law, healthcare, sports, affiliate marketing.
I believe by having a desire to launch a blog, you must have something in mind that often excites you or something you do with much ease and would like to share it with the world. In whatever niche you choose, I recommend that you use it as a guide to choose your domain name.
Choosing a domain name and Hosting your blog
Choosing a domain is one of the most important things for your business. You can opt to have it as your name or find a name that is related to your niche.
Example, since my niche is freelance writing or copywriting, I chose the domain freelancenuggets which is the compound word of the words “freelance” and “nuggets”. Where “Nuggets” means “A valuable idea or fact.”
Since my aim is to provide people in the online community valuable information and ideas on how to start and improve their freelancing business, then I settled for Freelance Nuggets.
Well, I guess you can use the same criteria, or if you want to brand your business with yourself, then you can use your name in the domain.
However, I would advise you not to choose to long words, or words that can be hard for the readers to comprehend or remember.
Also, it would be weird if you blogged about food or best recipes and yet your domain has something to do with building and construction stuff.
That will be the biggest de-service you can do to yourself, not only will you confuse your readers but also, you will find it hard to rank your blog in the search engines. So choose the domain carefully.
Once you have come up with the domain, you can consider hosting your domain now and start your blog right away.
This blog (freelance nuggets) is hosted on Bluehost, and I would recommend you to host with them. I truly like their hosting, it is very cheap, and their customer service is just on point and they are available around the clock (27/7). Above that, you can get a free domain for one year for the start.
You can get hosting from as low as $2.95 per month instead of $3.96/month using my link.
One awesome thing about Bluehost is that they make installation of Bluehost a one-click affair, unlike other hosting companies. You don’t need to be a techy to do it. Actually, Bluehost partnered with Mojo Marketplace which installs WordPress for you with just a single click.
Once you purchase your hosting plan, you will receive a notification email immediately that asks you to log into your c-panel (control panel) on Bluehost website. You will then click “Install WordPress” and follow the prompts such as entering your domain name and then everything else is just done automatically in less than a minute.
WordPress Installation procedure
Step 1. Go to Bluehost and click on “Get started now”. You will see various hosting plans and their respective prices as shown in the image below. Clearly the hosting package is very affordable. You can choose any of the three but as a starter I would recommend you to go with the basic plan.
Step 2: You can select your plan. In this case the basic plan. It usually goes for $3.95 per month but if you use my link you will receive slashed prices of up to $2.95. (It is a limited offer)
Step 3: Provide your chose domain name and click submit.
step 4: Provide your personal information as well as contact details.
Step 5: Chose your plan. If you notice, it is expensive if you purchase it annually, but it is way much cheaper if go with the three year plan. You can add the Domain Privacy Protection as well, but it is completely optional.
Boom! You did it.
That wasn’t hard, was it?
Installing WordPress with Bluehost
Now that you are done with the first step, you will need to install wordpress from your bluehost cpanel. Here is how you will do it.
Head to Mojo Marketplace (located at the bottom cpanel page) click on “one-click installs”. Then select WordPress and click “start”.
I have provided screenshots to guide you step by step.
After selecting one-click installs, hit “start”
Locate your domain name you just registered.
Enter your admin panel logins (username and password)
Finally, click “Install now”
Congratulations, you just created your blog. In less than 10 minutes your blog is step and all you need to do now is customize it, and make it look attractive and easily navigable.
Choosing a theme
I guess choosing a theme is one easy thing, but a very crucial step. Your readers need to find some dope ass theme that is not only good looking, but also interactive and easy to navigate through.
You should have your menus and tabs arranged in a proper manner to avoid confusion.
Normally, once WordPress has been installed, you will have a couple of free themes to choose from. You can modify one of them to suit your needs and your desired outlook. Alternatively, you can consider purchasing premium themes.
Don’t worry, you only need a few bucks to get a good, easily customizable and interactive theme. Depending on your budget, you can get a cool, stylish and professional theme at $30-$199.
WordPress recommends the StudioPress themes such as Genesis. However, you do not have to purchase such a theme if you don’t like it or your budget is a bit low. Since I wanted to save some bucks, I opted for this theme – it is called Noir by wpexplorer
Customizing the theme as you desire might take a couple of days since it is a process of “trying-and-changing” kind of stuff. However, it is fun to do, and you don’t need a professional at all. Unless you are a busy person, then you might consider hiring one to help you out.
Once you are done with the setting up of your blog, you are now ready to start writing quality content and sharing them with the world. With consistency and dedication, you can do blogging as your full-time business.
I bet you have read about thousands of people who quit their 9-5 jobs and delved into their blogging business full-time. You can do it too. I am not there yet, but I believe by the end of this year, my blog will be able to give me sufficient income where I can consider doing it full-time.
Read this post on the various ways you can make money as a blogger
Happy Blogging – you can share with me your experience in the comments below!