Starting a blog with the goal of monetizing it doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult! I learned the hard way, and have tried it ALL. If I can help just one person take the easier route and learn from my mistakes, then I’m happy to do so!
The Basics: Hobby vs. Income
One thing you want to keep in mind when starting your blog is whether or not you want to turn it into a source of income. Doing it as a hobby is also perfectly fine, in fact that’s how most bloggers start out. However, how you start your blog can make a huge difference on how easy (or difficult) it is to make the switch to monetization, should you ever choose to do so.
The most important things you need to start with to put your best foot forward is a domain, self-hosting, and a platform to build your site on. You have those three things, and you have monetization capabilities!
Owning your own domain is sooo important. Brands will not take you seriously or reach out to you for collaborations if your site is something like yourblogname.wordpress.com or yourblogname.wixsite.com. Why is that a turn off for brands? Well, because it means you don’t actually own your site. You are extremely limited with what you’re able to do. Brands don’t want limitations! They want to work with bloggers who are in complete control of their site. Buying a domain is super simple and super cheap! There are many places to buy domains so prices vary, but I bought mine for $12 from Google.
Choosing a name is probably one of the hardest parts of starting your blog, and registering a domain can make that even harder, because what you have in mind may already be taken. If that’s the case for you, play around with different things because if you were set on yourname.com but it is already taken, you can try yourname.blog, yourname.us, or even yourname.biz. There are so many options out there, so just make sure to take the time to play around with it until you find something you like!
Being self hosted sounds pricey, but it’s actually suuuper cheap! Like, $3.95 a month cheap. You want to be self hosted for multiple reasons, one being control. When you are self hosted you have complete ownership and freedom over your site, and you can monetize it however you choose. Another reason you want to be self hosted? The tech support! Unless you actually have a degree in computer science, or have a natural knack for technology, you’re going to run into some issues eventually.
**this post contains affiliate links, for more details see my disclosure page**
There are definitely options when it comes to self hosting, but I firmly and adamantly believe SiteGround is the BEST. I would not consider myself techy at all but I do try, which is why it was important for me to find the best tech support out there. Another fun fact is that I absolutely loathe talking to other human beings on the phone, so when I discovered SiteGround offered 24/7 online support I was hooked. They also get back to you ridiculously fast, like I don’t think I’ve ever waited longer than 45 seconds for someone to get back to me.
Another major bonus? Say you start out blogging as a hobby, so you go with a free wordpress.com site. Well, when you decide to make the switch to monetization, the lovely support team at SiteGround will transfer your site to wordpress.org (which is what you need once you’re self hosted), free of charge! How great is that?
A Platform to Build Your Site On
You bought your domain name, you set up your account with SiteGround, and now you need a platform to design your blog! I suggest (and use myself) WordPress.org. SiteGround actually gives you the option to download WordPress right after setting up your account with them. If you happen to have a hard time downloading the software, you can talk to SiteGround support and they can walk you through it!
I’m going to be upfront with you and give you a heads up that getting the hang of WordPress can be difficult, and it is true that Wix is easier to navigate for those that are not techies. HOWEVER, WordPress is the blogging platform and it is absolutely worth it to stick with it and learn what you can. There are endless amounts of articles and YouTube tutorials for every little thing you need to know.
PLEASE NOTE: WP.com and WP.org are two VERY different things. WP.com offers the free version, but they also offer plans you pay for. Those plans do NOT give you the same freedom as self hosting AND those plans are MUCH more expensive.
Domain name: $12 (mine was on the expensive side, you can definitely find a domain for under $10)
SiteGround Hosting: $47.40
Platform to build site: FREE
Grand total: $59.40
Possibilities = endless.