Do you know that it’s ENTIRELY possible to earn a significant amount of income by BLOGGING? I was floored when I learned how much some bloggers are earning, while living their passion.
This post contains an easy “how-to” guide for how to start a profitable art blog, even if you have no experience with blogging.
== You may be interested in: Reasons to Start a Profitable Art Blog and Leave Your Day Job Behind ==
To get a few natural first questions out of the way…
How much does it cost to start a blog?
Not much at all…by using the guide below, you can expect to spend less than $60 to get started to cover your first year of registering a domain name and hosting your blog, and then between $5-$10 per month on an ongoing basis after that first year. That’s bare bones on a shoestring, but for around $60 you can get your blog up and running for the first 12 months while you work on monetizing it. Once your blog has a bit of a following and has been live for a while, you can start investing in a few premium services and could choose to move beyond the “bare bones” level at any time.
I’ve started on a shoestring myself and highly recommend that route to ensure you even enjoy blogging before spending any more than you need to.
Can I start a blog for free?
You can, but it’s not recommended if you want to make money from your blog. If it’s just a personal blog or hobby, then free is great. This guide is for those who want to build a blog and monetize it, so there are minimal fees involved and you’ll be starting a hosted blog.
Why? Well, many free services limit opportunities for making money unless you upgrade (in which case, it’s no longer free). If you start with a free blog and then later decide you want a hosted blog so that you can monetize it, you’re looking at a LOT of work and technical knowledge. Starting with a hosted blog just seems to make more sense (again, unless you just want a personal blog and don’t plan to upgrade it at any point).
STEPS TO START A BLOG:
- Choose a Topic – decide what to blog about
- Select a Blogging Platform (example: WordPress).
- Select a Hosting Company (examples: BlueHost, Siteground, etc.)
- Choose a Domain Name (example: criticandthemuse.com)
- Install and Launch WordPress
- Design Your Blog
- Go Live for the World to See!
- CHOOSE A TOPIC
ART, if you’re an artist, but really you can blog about anything at all. What do you enjoy and are so passionate about that you will be inspired to spend hours and days working on your blog content? What subject is never boring to you? What subject do you know about and can share information with others? What topic excites you (so that your readers can become excited when reading your content)?
You may read advice that you need a single niche. However, I’ve seen successful blogs that include multiple topics. Bottom line? The opportunities are endless…choose what you love and feel you can work with. Many bloggers do NOT hit it right out of the gate. They may start with one topic and then change, or start with many topics and then narrow their focus. Just get your blog online and tweak it as you go…but don’t get overwhelmed with the “what to blog about” question to the point where you freeze. Get started, take one step at a time, and let it unfold and evolve.
- SELECT A BLOGGING PLATFORM
WordPress is the “go-to” platform for profitable blogs. By using WordPress, you’ll have access to the best options for tools to integrate into your blog…from site statistics to shopping carts, you’ll find just about any type of “widget” you can imagine.
Please note: WordPress as installed through your domain company is DIFFERENT than going to WordPress.com and setting up a blog from there. Please follow instructions in the guide for signing up with your host company, choosing your domain name, and then installing WordPress from within your Control Panel through the hosting company’s website.
- SELECT A HOSTING COMPANY
I did quite a bit of research about hosting companies before choosing SiteGround for my own blog. Between being cost effective, offering upgraded plans as your business grows, amazing customer service, up-time, and fast load speeds for websites and blogs, it seemed to be the best option.
That said, if I were starting my blog today, I would use Bluehost, so that would be my top recommendation. Why? Bluehost, in addition to having amazing customer support, fast load speeds and up-time, when you host with them and register a domain name along with your account, the first year’s domain fee is free (subsequent years would be about $15 per year, which seems to be an average rate). Those are great reasons to start with Bluehost, but I think the BEST reason is that if you are just getting started with a blog, by using Bluehost, you would have WordPress automatically installed at sign-up without having to go in and manually install it yourself. That feature alone is worth Bluehost being my top recommendation as it allows for a much more user-friendly experience – especially for those of you starting out without any prior experience in setting up a blog or installing WordPress on your domain.
You can use the links below to get started with either one.
- Bluehost* (If signing up with Bluehost, here is a link to screen shots of the set-up process: Bluehost Setup Process)
- SiteGround* (If signing up with SiteGround, this easy set-up guide may be helpful: SiteGround Hosting Setup Guide)
* These are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through my affiliate links, the cost is the same for you, yet you’ll also be helping to support the creation of this blog which is greatly appreciated.
- CHOOSE A DOMAIN NAME
This is a personal preference, really. You could simply use your name (example: www.lauragemme.com), which many artists do. Or, you could think of something that relates to whatever subject you’ll be blogging about.
A few considerations:
- Make sure it’s easy to spell – don’t include any words that people typically find challenging
- Keep it relatively short. (CRITICandtheMUSE is actually on the longer end of what you’re going for here, but it’s still easy enough to remember so seems to work.)
- Choose a “dot com” rather than any other extension (.biz, .info, etc.) If the domain name you want as a .com is already taken, find another name…do not choose the name you want (which is taken at the .com level) and settle for a secondary extension. When people think of a website URL, the dot com extension is the one they’ll remember, and if yours does not have a dot com extension, you may very well be sending your potential readers to someone else’s website (eek! – NOT what you want!)
- You cannot use any punctuation other than dashes in a domain name. And spaces are not allowed (so CRITIC and the MUSE becomes CRITICandtheMUSE in the world of domains).
- INSTALL AND LAUNCH WORDPRESS
To get started installing and launching WordPress, you’ll need to first set-up your account with a hosting company (Bluehost, SiteGround, etc.). (NOTE: With Bluehost, WordPress will already be installed during the sign-up process – bonus!)
If you’re using Bluehost, the sign-up process is more straight-forward and the WordPress installation is integrated, but here’s an article that may be useful to get you started:
Since I used SiteGround to set up this blog, I’ve created a simple step-by-step hosting set-up guide. If using SiteGround as your blog hosting company, it’s helpful to already have some experience setting up a blog and using cPanel (you’ll use this to install WordPress and manage your domain features), but this guide should be helpful to those who are a bit more experienced, as well as for those just starting out:
- DESIGN YOUR BLOG
This is where the fun begins, but it can also be a little overwhelming at times. In designing your blog, there is no ONE way to do it. Rather than attempting to give a step by step guide for designing a blog, I’ll be adding links to design considerations posted by other bloggers to give you a “birds eye view” and multiple perspectives.
- GO LIVE FOR THE WORLD TO SEE!
Once you have your design set the way you like it, and you have a handful of well-written posts, it’s time to publish your site and start promoting it. This is exciting…once your site is live, it’s important to keep up the momentum of writing new posts and keeping your content fresh. Beyond that, share, share, share and create a community of raving fans! 🙂
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