Ready for change? Thinking about creating a website? Being a blogger? Starting your own business so you can work for yourself and take back your freedom? Wondering how to make money starting a website or blog? Let’s talk about it!
The vast world of the internet can seem overwhelming. If you are interested in starting a website or becoming a blogger, you naturally have a TON off questions. Let’s try to answer some of those questions here and get you started following your dream, starting your business, or making extra money from home!
Trying to balance the family budget is stressful (get help in the Happy Mom Boot Camp!). Saving money only gets us so far and finding extra income while balancing work and family can seem impossible. But Moms are amazing and there is always a way.
This post contains affiliate links.
How can a website/blog help me earn money?
There are so many ways to make money on-line. Utilizing your hobby, talent, or skill is the best place to start because it is something you enjoy. Do you already have sell products such as Beach Body, essential oils, make-up, candles/scents, ect.? A website is a great place to showcase your products and give you access to a much larger audience.
A few ideas for websites topics you might already have a talent/hobby doing:
- Crafts– Sell your hair bows, wreathes, handmade products, holiday decor, DIY candles, ect.
- Sales– Do you already sell products such as Beach Body, essential oils, make-up, candles/scents, ect.? A website is a great place to showcase your products and give you access to a much larger audience. For example, if you sell essential oils, you could write articles on how to use oils in play dough or making soaps. Beach Body coaches often blog about health, fitness, fit meal planning, ect. These articles highlight your product and you can have an “online store” where people can go to make a purchase from you.
- Coaching– What do you do in your regular job? Do you have a degree in something that people would like to know about? Fitness coaches are not the only ones who benefit from on-line coaching. There are life coaches, marketing coaches, advertising coaches, educational tutors, spiritual coaches… If you know about it, chances are someone else wants to know about it too- and YOU can teach them!
- Blog– Do you make amazing desserts and always find people asking for your recipes? Food blogger. Do you have a knack and passion for beauty/fashion? Fashion blogger. Are you always making something cute for the holidays? Craft blogger. Are you a handyman, car-lover, hobby gardener, runner, teacher, novice mixologist, vegan, dancer, baseball-lover, toy fanatic… The list is truly ENDLESS. If you love it- someone else does too. Share your passion with the world!
So how do people make money on-line?
- There are several different ways. The most common type of income comes from advertising. When you click on any website and see an ad, the ad company is paying that site owner to advertise on his/her site. This is considered a passive form of income because you typically just put up the ad and that’s it. The more people who visit your website, the more money you can make. There are many opinions (and rules) around advertising but it is the most common form of website income.
- Selling products or services is the next most common way to earn money with your website or blog. You can sell your own services such as coaching sessions, e-courses, e-books, or physical products for a few examples. Another way bloggers/websites earn money selling products is by what we call affiliates. This is when you advertise a product that someone else created and if you refer a sale, you get paid a fee. This is a great way to share products that you love with your audience. If they make a purchase, you get a referral fee at no additional charge to the person making the purchase.
- An additional income possibility can be found through sponsored content. Companies pay websites/bloggers a fee to review a product or service for them and write about it. Here is a totally made up example: A cereal company is debuting a new product and they offer to pay $100 for an article about their product. Bloggers will bid on the job and if selected will review the product and write an article about it (for example, a recipe for cereal bars in an article titled: “5 Easy Recipes for Breakfast On the Go”). Again, I completely made that one up just to give you an idea of how it works. It is a bit more complicated than that but hopefully you get the idea. Sites such as IZEA pay influencers (aka website owners) to promote products listed by advertisers. Sometimes this involves writing an article but it can also involve social media messages and other promotion. The more followers you have, the more money you can make.
Can I make a real income?
Yes. Countless people make part-time and full-time incomes using their websites for coaching, services, blogs, or selling products. The best way I can show you this is through some examples. Many people start blogging after reading other’s blog income reports. This link shows 16 bloggers and their income reports for the month of July, 2016. I love this report in particular because it shows a good range: some bloggers have changed their lives and some are still making their way. They also come from a variety of niches which illustrates that YOU can choose to start a website about whatever you are passionate about.
The bottom line here is that you can turn your passion into income. You can start RIGHT NOW on a life towards freedom. You can stay-at-home with your kids. You can quit the job that you hate. You can travel. If you have the dedication and the passion- you can have the life YOU choose. And you CAN make an income doing so!
…Think about it from this perspective: when you need to know something, where do you go? Google? Pinterest? Well, the information you find was most likely written by a blogger. Share your knowledge!
Blogging/website ownership is certainly not a “get rich quick” sort of thing (and be skeptical of anything that is). It is a marathon more than a sprint but there is so much more than just income involved. It can help you follow your passion, connect with people, share your knowledge, build a business, and have a creative outlet.
Probably the best part of being a blogger is when you get feedback that you helped someone. For example, one of my favorite moments happened when I got a comment on Yummly. I posted my Zucchini recipe and got a review from a woman who loved the recipe and was able to get her husband to actually eat zucchini (and ask for seconds!). I know the feeling (since my husband also does not embrace healthy eating) and I feel like I was able to help someone and connect with a reader. Awesome!
SO WHERE DO I START?
I thought you would never ask 😉 You can start right now- it only takes about 5-10 minutes to get set-up!!!
Get yourself a website.
Bluehost– if you want to make money, you need what is called a self-hosted website. This means that you own the content that you write/publish (VERY IMPORTANT). You must be self-hosted if you want to make money on your site. Advertisers and affiliate companies require it. Luckily this is a pretty easy step.
I use and recommend Bluehost. This company hosts your site for you. My favorite thing about this company is their customer support. It can be easy to get stuck on technical stuff when you’re are just starting. Bluehost makes it easy with options to get help with site installation and other technical aspects. They are also awesome about answering questions. I have called them with some really basic questions that I was stuck on and they walked me through step-by-step. In my experience, they even go the extra mile to check your site for back-up and other things I seem to forget to check. If you need tech help you can always call them for assistance.
Webhosting is really inexpensive with Bluehost. For about $5 per month, you get your website, email accounts, etc. all with a 30 day money-back guarantee. When you sign up for a year in advance, you also get a domain name (what you call your website) which saves you money and time. Signing up for a year is pretty important because if your hosting lapses, you don’t own your website. This ty.html”>happened to Google once believe it or not!
2. Choose a name for your site
This is what is called a domain name: www.domainname.com. It is what you will call your website. This is an important step because it is how people will find you on the vast “internet”. Here is one tip to think about: try finding a domain name that makes it easier to find your site in a search. For example, if you are writing about photography tips, you may want to call your site www.photographytipswithsuzy.com instead of www.suzysflashandclick.com. This makes your site is easier to find when someone is “Googling” photography tips. It also lets people know what your site is about. Take it from someone who made that mistake. It probably would have been better to call www.livinginhappyplace.com with “mom” or “family” in the title to make it more clear what topics I discuss on my site. Lesson learned- but hopefully you can benefit from my oversight.
(screenshot from Bluehost.com)
After you choose your domain name, Bluehost will make sure that site name is available and suggest alternatives if not. Then you will be prompted to complete sign up by entering your information and selecting a plan. (This is easier than it sounds). We discussed why you want at least a 12-month plan but the longer time period you select, the larger the savings. I purchased the 3-year plan when I started and I am glad I don’t have to think about my hosting service every year.
The other services you might consider adding (and the boxes are checked by default) are Domain Privacy Protection and Site Backup Pro. I STRONGLY encourage you to utilize the Domain Privacy Protection because it protects your own personal information. All website information must legally be available to the public via “whois.icann.org”. By using the Domain Privacy Protection, Bluehost will list their company contact information as your site info instead of using your home address. WORTH IT. (There is a “learn more” link during set-up that will give you additional information). Site Backup Pro is also useful because you never want to lose all of your hard work!
Once you have completed your sign up with Bluehost, you are ready to download WordPress.
Why do you need to do this if I am using Bluehost? The best way I can explain this is that Bluehost works on the backend (and in the background) to keep your site up and running. You won’t use it much once you are all setup. (The best hosting company is the one you don’t have to worry about!). WordPress is the software you will use to write blog posts (articles), set up the look/feel/functionality of your site, create your pages, etc. It is actually really easy to use and there are a zillion Youtube tutorials to show you just about anything on WordPress. You can also always call Bluehost if needed.
Installation of WordPress on your computer is a prompted, step-by-step process. It should install just as you would any other application/software. Chose where you want to install it, enter your site info, then install. Again, Bluehost is great about support if you have any questions but I think you will find it to be easier than it sounds. There are also full tutorials (including video step-by-steps) to walk you through the process.
The last part of WordPress set-up you need to think about before starting to write articles is the theme. Your theme is the look/feel and some of the functionality of your website. There are an ENDLESS number of themes to choose from so I will try to offer some tips to make it less overwhelming:
- Themes can be free or have a cost to purchase. Free themes are fine but often the paid themes offer additional functionality, options, customization settings etc.
- When theme “shopping”, you want to look at the overall layout, readability, feel, and functionality of the theme and image how it will work for you. Where do you want your sidebar to appear (my sidebar is on the right to give you an idea). Is the font readable and consistent with your brand?
- Some places to find themes: WordPress and MOJO Marketplace are typically the most reliable. You can also find some more unique themes on Etsy.
- If you are not technologically inclined, it is usually worth the minimal cost to have the theme installed for you. Especially on Etsy, it is usually only an extra $10 or so (it varies so make sure you check) and for that fee the theme developer will take care of the tech side of installing your theme for you.
You have taken the first step towards your dream, hobby, side business, or mental outlet. The only thing left to tell you is BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. If you are passionate and pursue your dreams, anything can happen. You can do this.
If you’re interested in getting updates, tips, and additional resources, please subscribe to get the latest posts. Look for an upcoming post on what to do next (more on theme section, creating your brand, using images, widgets/plugins, and more). You can also follow Livinginhappyplace on Facebook to get the latest!
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to provide financial advise. Please seek a financial/legal professional with questions or to seek professional advisement.