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When I started my blog, I just wanted to write to and for women like me. OK so that’s a half-truth. I also wanted to make money doing it. I had spent more than seven years working as a full-time writer, and although I decided to stay home with my first child, I didn’t want to stop writing. That was my reason. If you want to find success blogging for money, you’re going to have to determine what your reason is.
1. Figure out what you want to blog about.
This may seem like the easiest part, but it’s actually the most difficult. You’ll want to pick a subject area that’s broad enough to keep you interested over time but narrow enough that you’re clearly targeting a defined audience. Don’t just think about what you enjoy writing, but think about what people want to read. Google a few keywords related to your subject area, and see the top articles that pop up. Then, do your research. Try to pinpoint every other writer doing what it is you want to do, and figure out how you’ll do it better or differently.
2. Pick a unique name.
Once you’ve done that research, start thinking about what you would like to name your blog. You’ll want something that captures your unique focus and succinctly informs readers what your blog is all about. The most important part is to make sure your name isn’t already associated with a company, social media page or trademark. I did this using sites NameCheckr and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
3. Pick your platform to start blogging for money.
Sure you could go with a website builder like Squarespace, which provides hosting and easy-to-use templates. That’s what I did for my wedding website, and I loved it so much that I figured it would work just as well for blogging for profit. Wrong.
Not only was it costly, it was nearly impossible to move anywhere with search engine optimization, and I quickly outgrew some of the customization limits.
So I decided pretty quickly to follow the advice of dozens of other successful bloggers and create a WordPress.org website using paid hosting.
4. Start with the hosting.
“You can think of web hosting as a home where you store all of your things,” HostGator officials said on the company’s website. “Except, instead of storing furniture and household goods, you’re storing all of the files necessary for your website to function. These files usually include your HTML and CSS files, documents, media files, and more.”
BlueHost is a popular choice, but that’s kind of why I decided against the company. I kept seeing user feedback that the service is slower, the customer service is lacking and the company spends entirely too much time trying to sale you on its features. That last one I experienced myself, but you decide which service is best for your needs.
5. Follow the steps your host lays out.
I won’t lie. Designing a website is not easy. Even the sites that promise to do it for you, don’t exactly do it all for you, so make it as easy for yourself as possible. Start on a day you can work uninhibited. Purchase nothing before purchasing the hosting. I always like to start with the cheapest plan offered and upgrade as I need to. Then, simply follow the steps laid out after selecting that plan, and beware there are a lot of them.
The next step is installing WordPress.
Look for an email from HostGator with your cPanel username and password. cPanel is the portal you’ll use to manage your web hosting, and the cPanel link is unique to you, so be sure to bookmark it for future reference. Log into cPanel and click on the Quick Install icon. From there, you’ll see an option to Install WordPress for free. Click the Install WordPress button and then complete the form.