Hi, I am Noel and I have been living in Dubai as an expat since 2007. After being here for five years, I started researching how to start a blog or website online just to earn extra income.
But prior to blogging, as an employee, I felt that my income was not enough, so I ventured into many side businesses such as MLM both online and offline, etc.
I chose these businesses because, as a worker in Dubai, they are easy to get into in no time at all. It just takes a few minutes to get set up and then voila, you have your own business. But unfortunately, I failed with those businesses. If you are reading right now and you have felt the same feeling that I did, then you are in the right place.
If you have a BIG goal in your life, you cannot stop chasing it, so in 2012, I found how to make a blog or website but using Blogspot or blogger. That year was when my blogging venture began.
Then to cut a long story short, I made a blog post on blogger which I submitted to one of the biggest advertising companies for monetization… and bammmm! I was rejected because I didn’t know what things are necessary to do in order to have a decent blog that will be accepted by them. In summary, I didn’t have a step-by-step guide to follow like this blog.
I found later that it is important to have a guide or mentor to start any business, otherwise, you will have a lot of failures due to trial and error, and those failures could cost you thousands of dollars – which is what had happened to me.
However, I was able to monetize my blog after only two years since I made my first blog post in blogger. And today I am making an extra $400, deposited directly to my bank account and an average of $100 dollars per month deposited to my PayPal account, as you can see in the screenshot below.
Why I Chose Blogging and Why You Should
Blogging is a good way to share my expertise and knowledge in various fields. It also serves as an avenue for me to discover more about myself since it cultivates my skills as a writer, a researcher, and many other things.
Apart from that, it is a good source of earning, especially for someone like me who is an expat. It is a good side business which you can handle online anytime you want. Although blogging requires time, it is still very convenient.
I am part of the corporate world as a quality engineer and I report to work every day. But while doing that, my own blog, which I consider a side business, generates a passive income for me. That is one good aspect of blogging. Despite being limited to one niche per blog, I have a vast number of audience members around the globe which gives me greater chances to help others through my articles and to increase my revenues as well.
Compared to a physical business like a grocery store or direct selling, blogging is less of a headache and it has a super cheap start-up cost. You don’t have to deal with business permits and with physical items that tend to get damaged, or whose value gets lower over time. When you allocate some time to your blog and you post at least once a week, your revenue will continue rolling. Its value will increase with more posts and backlinks.
Another good thing about blogging is that you have different ways to earn. Apart from advertisements, you can also earn through sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and even by selling too!
Yes, you can also sell on your blog. That’s what I do. I sell digital items in the form of ebooks. This is also easier since you do not need to look for a publisher. Instead of selling them somewhere else, I sell on my blog. Take a look at my earnings below.
You see? There are so many ways to earn by blogging! That is why it is very rewarding for me. With that, I also want to help you get your own blog. Below is a step-by-step guide that I prepared for you.
Step-by-Step Guide How to Start A Blog or Website
Before you get started, bear in mind that if you are serious about turning a blog or a website into a business, you need to invest or spend money to buy your blog’s domain name and hosting. I’ll discuss more on that later as we go on.
Step 1: Choose Your Niche.
Choosing a niche or specialty is a requisite to starting a blog because you cannot just jump in and post anything you want. There are so many niches to choose from. But you should make sure that you choose one that you are really interested in. Since you want to earn from blogging, see to it that your chosen niche is profitable.
So, how do you choose a niche? I will make it easier for you. First, you need to determine your interest and experiences in life and make a list of it. Then ask yourself the following questions:
• Is there an audience for this niche?
• Can I help other people find solutions to their problems?
• Do I have enough content ideas?
• Can I write on this topic for 3-5 years?
• Are there existing blogs/ websites on this niche that have successfully monetized their sites?
If your answer to the above question is YES, then you have chosen the perfect niche. And now you are ready for the next step.
If you didn’t find a niche yet. You can just start with your passion or your career like what I did. I started to blog about what I was doing in my job as a quality engineer. So, my niche is about all the topics related to quality in construction. Whether your job right now is an accountant, a nurse, a teacher, a welder you can start from there.
Step 2: Choose a Blog or Website Platform
There are different platforms for your blog that you can choose from. It could be WordPressdotcom, Blogger, Wix, Weebly and many others. But the most widely used platform for both blogs and websites is WordPress in wordpressdotorg. I suggest not to start with the free website platform. I have been there and it was just a waste of time.
Blogger is owned by Google and there are also many bloggers who use it. Others just buy a domain and the blog is hosted by Blogger or Google. It is user-friendly but it lacks the good SEO features of WordPress. There are many available free themes on the web that you can use for Blogger. You can also customize it after installing.
Wix is another good platform. They are known for neat and modern one-page websites. But you can customize it if want to add more pages. It is also easy to use especially because all you have to do is drag and drop some items. You have the option to start on a blank space or with a template which is customizable. It uses Wix SEO Wiz to help their websites get to search engines.
If you decide to use WordPress, you have to choose if you want it to be hosted on WordPress.com or if you want to be self-hosted, you will buy your own hosting for WordPress.org. WordPress features different plug-ins that will make it easier for you to manage your blog. It is also easier to optimize your website with Yoast SEO.
Step 3: Choose a Domain
A domain name is an address where internet users can access a website. It is in the form of http://www.yourdomainname.com. Like the domain name of this blog or website www.theexpatmoney.com. This is a unique address for your blog or the other people may call “site.” You can also choose the extension you want from .com, .org, .net, and others.
But .com is recommended since it is the king of all the top-level domains. Why? Most site visitors expect a site to be .com and they tend to trust it more if it has that extension.
Check your chosen domain name is available here.
I recommend buying a domain from Bluehost.com. This blog is hosted with Bluehost. That is why I highly recommend Bluehost because I am very confident about them being a user. Bluehost offers a very small monthly payment of $3.95 per month.
You can choose your domain name and extension then click “Check Availability,” You will then be brought to a page where you will be asked to register an account. You could either register easily with one click by signing in with Google or you can also fill out the form for your information.
Now, if you chose a domain name already or you bought a domain name from other domain sellers you can then go ahead to Step 4.
Step 4: Choose Webhosting
A web hosting service provider provides the technologies and services that are needed in order for a website to be viewed on the Internet. This means that websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers that are called server.
I want you to go to this Bluehost link. A new window will open and make this page as an open resource to get started.
For a Self-Hosted WordPress blog, start by clicking on the green “Get Started Now” button.
You will be directed to a page where you can choose your plans. I recommend buying either the Plus or Prime plans since they offer more features. When I registered to host my domain, I chose prime but you can still choose basic and upgrade later. Once you’ve chosen a plan, just click “Select.”
Buying a hosting will give you a FREE FREE FREE domain name. Choose your extension and enter your desired domain name. But if you already bought your own domain name from other domain sellers before, simply enter it on the “I have a domain name” box.
Then you will be asked to sign up like the image below and you will see the details of your purchase. Fill up your name and other important details.
Under “Package Information,” you have the option to buy an account for 12 months up to 36 months. I chose Prime plan which costs $7.95/month in 12 Months. The reasons were there are a lot of freebies such as $200 for marketing tools, $80 per year in extras, spam experts, domain privacy & code guard basic.
If you want to select a Basic plan you can do so. For the “Package Extras,” you can uncheck all, or you can retain “Domain Privacy.” You can buy other extras later on if you think you already need them.
Enter your Payment Information and choose between credit card or PayPal. Agree to the Terms of Service by ticking the box then submit.
Note: After clicking the submit button, you’ll be asked to add upgrades. Just click “no.thanks.”
After your purchase, your receipt will be sent to your email address and you will be asked to create a password. Click the green button with “Create your password.”
Step 5: Setting up WordPress
When finished creating your password then you can now login to get started.
After logging in, you will be asked to select a theme like an image below, you may select a theme or just skip that. By the way, your new blog or website has already built up a theme.
If you want a nice theme. I suggest, find a free theme later on Mythemshop. They have a lot of nice-looking theme and it’s free.
After, either you selected a theme or not then Bluehost will set up WordPress for you.
After setting up your WordPress then it will say “All done!” and “Start Building.” Then Bluehost will tell you “For your information, we’re provisioning your WordPress installation on a temporary domain. We’ll update your site to yoursitename.com automatically as soon as it is ready.”
After clicking the “Start Building” then you will be taken to your WordPress dashboard and you will be asked to select “Business” and “Personal.” You can select personal as there is no big deal with that and this is your personal blog. You can select “I don’t need help” as well.
And then Viola! Congratulations. You have now a new self-hosted WordPress blog.
Preparing and Customizing Your Blog or Website
This is an important step in creating your blog because this is the part where you can give your blog’s personality and branding. Customizing your blog will also allow you to make it more user-friendly to improve its usability.
1. Changing Theme
BlueHost will give you the option of getting free themes. You may also start with a free theme from mythemeshop. Once your blog starts earning, you can then buy a theme. Like what I did, I’ve started with a free theme. If you do not have enough money to buy a theme I suggest start with free. If you can afford to buy why not so that you may have a good looking blog like this one and there are more features on the paid theme that you can use to optimize your blog such as the speed, mobile-friendly, etc.
There are many more pre-made themes available online. If you are a feminine type of person I suggest by one from Etsy and have it customized to suit your branding and style. Check out here at Etsydotcom.
Using a free theme, you can now start building your blog
2. Add Widgets
A widget allows you to add static and dynamic content to certain areas of your theme like the sidebar, header, and footer. Choose which widget you want to add by simply activating it. Then drag it to the appropriate widget zone and then customize.
3. Adjust Permalinks
Permalink is a unique url that is attached to your domain name. It would look like this:
You can see this in your browser’s address bar. A permalink is unique for every page of your blog. Now it’s time to choose your permalink structure. To do this, go to your WordPress dashboard and click “Settings” then “Permalink.”
In the “Permalink Settings,” choose the Post Name wherein your permalink will be connected to your domain name. This is the recommended url so that it is easier for bots to crawl on your blog and find your content. Then click “Save.”
4. Setting up Menu
Now set up your site’s menu and navigation to make it easier for your users to navigate your site. In your dashboard, select “Appearance” then open “Menus.”
To make a new menu, just click “Create a New Menu” then enter the Menu Name and then “Create Menu.”
Let us say for example, you made the menu “Category” and you want all the categories to go under it, then go to “Categories” and “View All” so you can select the category you want to include by clicking on the checkbox. You can easily arrange it later under the “Menu Structure” where you can simply drag and drop the menu.
After setting up your blog, you are now ready to install some plugins that you need. Plugins could extend and expand your site’s functionality. There are so many plugins to choose from but the main plugins that you need are the following:
This is a spam-fighting service that protects millions of WordPress sites from comment and contact form spam. Spam comments are very common on a website. To save you from this, install Akismet simply by going to “Plugins” then “Add New.”
Now search for the plugin and you will find the results below. Click on “Install Now” and then “Activate” the plugin.
2. Contact form
Do the same steps for your contact form. This one is needed so that users can directly send you a message or ask you a question using the form. The message will then be sent to your email.
3. Yoast SEO
This is one of the most popular plugins in WordPress because it is a powerful tool that can help you in making your site search engine friendly. After installing Yoast SEO, you will be able to easily optimize every post that you will make.
This one is also important since it will protect your website from hacks and malware. It will block malicious malwares that can harm the site as well as fake Google crawlers. It will also protect the blog by locking in users who will have too many failed attempts to log in.
Now that your plugins are all set, you can start creating different pages in your blog. Let us start with the ones that you are very important. You can just add some more later on.
To create a page, just go to “Pages” and “Add New.” Make a name for the page and click “Publish.”
This page will tell the users who you are and what you do. This is important so that they will know that there is a real person behind the blog. Apart from introducing yourself, it also gives your blog the authority and your users will trust you.
This is a statement in your blog that discloses some or all of the ways that you use in order to gather, use, disclose, and manage a user’s data. It fulfills a legal requirement for the protection of a user’s privacy. This is necessary especially if you gather emails or you are selling online.
3. Contact page
On this page, you can find the contact form where users can send you a message. Through this, it is easier to connect with your readers and with others who might want to collaborate with you.
4. Terms and Condition
These are the rules that one must agree in order to avail of a service. Sometimes, terms of service is merely a disclaimer regarding the use of websites.
Creating Your First Blog Post
Now you are all set! It is time to write your first blog post. For some blog owners, they have prepared a certain number of articles before launching to make sure that they will not run out of content.
But if you haven’t prepared one, just start writing. Choose a topic that is in line with your niche and look for keywords that can help you optimize the article. Also look for images that you can add in to make it look more interesting and captivating for the readers. Once your article is ready, just go to “Posts” and click “Add New.”
Input your title or headline which will then automatically generate a permalink for you. But you can still edit the permalink before publishing. Then add your content in the wide box. Make sure that you format it well, add h2, h3, or h4 tags for sub-titles, add external and internal links, and add images. Don’t forget to check a category for your article and enter tags which are keywords telling Google what your post is about.
To add images, simply click the “Add Media” button and you will be brought to the media library. You can either select an existing image in the media library or upload a new one.
Once you have selected an image, just click, “Insert into Post.” Don’t forget to add the title and alt text of your image in order to optimize it for search engines. Also, add a featured image by uploading one through the “Featured Image” section on the right.
Before your post, scroll down below the box where you added your content and check your “Readability” and “Yoast SEO” analysis. See to it that you follow the guide on that area in order to get a green lit circle which means that your post has a good readability and SEO score.
If you think you are all set, hit “Publish” and your post is now live. Google will then index it and bring it to the search engines. If your post is well-optimized, it will be easy for the users to find them once they type a search query that is an exact match to the keywords you use in your article. But of course, there are still many factors that could affect your page’s ranking on search engines.
After publishing, always promote your content in your blog’s social media account. This way, you can establish followers and bring readers into your site. Also, see to it that you have social buttons installed so that it is easy for the readers to share your content. This way, you will reach a wider audience.
Setting up a blog is actually quick and easy. But once you already have one, make sure that you will have some time to maintain it and updating it with new posts. This way, you will be able to establish your blog and earn from it in the future.
Making money blogging is actually simple but it is not easy. You can’t just create a blog and leave. It needs a lot of hard work before you can start earning. The pay-off is not immediate and it also takes time to establish readership. But if you work hard on it, you will definitely turn your blog into a business just like what I did!
Again, Congratulations! You’ve made your new WordPress blog or website.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me at my email add [email protected]. I will be willing to help you on how to start a blog or website or send me a message through the contact form here.