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The moment you decide to start a profitable blog can be the most thrilling time in your life, but it can also be awfully scary and overwhelming.

I know I felt like I was drowning with all the choices and things I had to learn.

Whether you’re a complete beginner or someone with some web design and coding knowledge – it makes no difference; anyone can create a successful, money-making blog.

But I won’t lie to you.

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It won’t be easy.

You’re going to have to work hard every day if you hope to turn your passion into profit.

However, I truly believe that if I can do it, absolutely anyone can. I started off just like you. 

You may just be looking for a creative outlet –  but something tells me if you here, you’re dead set on creating a sensational blog that has endless earning potential.

Either way, it’s entirely possible.

If you want to start a blog and begin monetizing it straight away, you’re in the right place.

I’m going to give you a step by step guide showing you exactly how to start a profitable blog.

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Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. I ONLY promote products that I use, love, and trust. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive compensation if you purchase something through one of those links. This helps run The Beautified Life – so thank you! 🙂  Read more on my disclaimer here

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1) Choosing a Blogging Platform

Selecting the right platform is the most crucial step in starting a profitable blog. Your blogging platform becomes your foundation, which is why you should spend your time researching and deciding on the best platform for your blog and business.

There is conflicting information out there, so it can become quite confusing.

There are pros and cons to each blogging platform, but when you are looking to start a profitable blog, you need to think long-term.

If you want to create a blog to share your personal thoughts with your family members and friends, then sure, you could go with a free option. But if you are reading this post, something tells me you are a driven, ambitious women who wants to start a money-making blog.

There are many reasons why I recommend self-hosted WordPress for new bloggers. I explain in depth why self-hosted WordPress is the superior choice in this post.

Not only will it be a major inconvenience down the road if you decide to switch to a better platform like WordPress, but you could lose all of your hard work in the process (SEO, followers, etc).

The bottom line is this: If you want to be a successful blogger with a money making blog, you must invest in yourself and your business. That means paying the few dollars a month to have a proper self-hosted blog.

I will dive into what that all means below.

 

 

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The most common options out there are WordPress.com, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace, and WordPress.org.

Wix, Weebly, and WordPress.com are all very similar, in the fact that they are free to use. However, since they are free, you are very limited in what you can do and how you can customize it to fit your brand.

Also, your domain will include ‘’wordpress.com’’ at the end of it, which is not professional, and it means you do not own your website.

So that means, it CAN be shut down at random, and you could potentially lose all of your content.

You also don’t have the freedom to monetize your site how you like. And even with ”free” platforms, you end up paying loads of fees down the road.

So they are not even really free.

You’re VERY limited if you want to start making money from your blog with any of these options.

If you want to make money after you start your blog, you NEED to be self-hosted, period.

Squarespace is a suitable platform I have been told, but you are still limited with customizing (if you’re not a Squarespace designer), and you don’t have the freedom to change certain coding in your theme. You also only have a handful of themes to choose from, and with self-hosted WordPress, you have endless amounts. Then there are the monthly fees to use Squarespace, whereas self-hosted WordPress.org is free to use (you just have to pay for hosting, which is a few bucks a month.)

Also, in SquareSpaces’s terms of service, there are some pretty freaky things. You can check that out here.

If you want absolute control over your website, the ability to change or customize anything you want – self-hosted WordPress (www.wordpress.org) is definitely your only choice. You’ll have access to thousands of plugins that allow you to customize your blog to your heart’s content. It’s also easy to monetize your blog and even add a shop on your website.

WordPress does have a slight learning curve, but girl, is it ever worth it! If you’re still unsure, check out this post where I explain in detail why I believe self-hosted WordPress is the only choice.

For the sake of this guide, I will assume you’ve made the choice to go with self-hosted WordPress.org. Good choice. 😉

Click here to start a blog on self-hosted WordPress.org and then below I will show you exactly how to do so.

 

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2) Choosing a Name For Your Blog

Choosing a name for your blog can be very overwhelming. I know for me, it took ages to decide on a name. The easiest way to come up with a name is to sit down and do some serious brainstorming. Think of your blog’s niche, and then write down some descriptive words that are related to your blog.

A few things to consider when choosing a name for your blog:

    • It’s easy to remember and relatively short
    • The domain is available
    • The social media handles are available
    • It reflects the tone of your blog
And, of course, you need to make sure that domain is available. (Your domain is your web URL – mine is www.thebeautifiedlife.com) 

When you sign up for web hosting with SiteGround, you get your domain name absolutely free, forever. This is a major bonus because when you purchase your domain separately you end up paying an additional $15-20 a year.

It’s also critical that your blog’s name is something that you could write about for years and years. For example, if your blog is a lifestyle blog that covers many topics, then you would not want to name it something too specific like makeuptips.com. As that would not allow you to write about varying content as most lifestyle blogs do; you would be confined to writing about only makeup tips.

So make sure there are several topics that you can write about, that stem from your domain name.

You could also just do a random name that has nothing to do with your niche  – or make it your first and last name. For example www.aleeking.com. A very successful blogger who does this is Melyssa Giffin of melyssagriffin.com

SIDE NOTE:  You can write about whatever you like of course – however, I would suggest narrowing down your topic (your niche), as much as you can. This makes it easier to know who your target audience is. This makes it easier to make money when you know who your target audience is. 

 

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3) Purchase Web Hosting

Deciding on a name can be one of the most time-consuming tasks of starting a profitable blog. The hard part is over.  Now it’s time to buy web hosting and a domain.  The hosting company I recommend is SiteGround. They are fabulous. Their customer service is out of this world, and their website speed is impeccable. Not to mention they are a 99.99% uptime and 24-hour support. Which is why bloggers all over the place are switching hosts to SiteGround.

If you already have a host and are tired of the down time, sub-par customer service, or are just ready to take your blog to the next level; SiteGround is where it’s at.

They will migrate your site immediately; you don’t have to lift a finger. And it’s free.

They are also extremely affordable. They have the option to purchase a month at a time. But, I would recommend you sign up for at least a year or two, to get the best price.

Web Hosting

 To start your blog with SiteGround, click here, and then follow the instructions below. And if you have any questions at all while signing up – send me an email [email protected] But I promise it will be easy-peasy.

 

How to Sign Up For Hosting With SiteGround

Choose Your Plan

There are three different plans you can choose from. If you’re a new blogger, chances are the first plan ”Start Up” is more than enough. You can always upgrade later!

So, click ”GET STARTED” on whichever plan you choose. 

 

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Once you choose the plan you would like, just click ”ORDER NOW”. 

choose and enter your domain name.

 

That domain name you just brainstormed? This is where you will input it.

If you already have a domain, just click ”I already have a domain”. If you don’t, then just click ”register a new domain” and you will get your completely free domain name. 

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put in your account information.

Fill in your account and client information. 

 

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put in your payment information.

Next, you input your payment information. I recommend going with the 12-month plan so that you can take advantage of the free domain for life! 

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confirm and pay.

Lastly, you will un-click any extra services you don’t want. Then hit ”PAY NOW”. 

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Woohoo! You now officially have web hosting for your blog! You are almost finished.

3) Install WordPress

  • You will want to find your c-panel now, which can be found in the ”Accounts Tab.” Click the red button that says ”C-panel”. The C-Panel is basically your dashboard for your hosting site. 

 

  • Click ”WordPress Installer” (blue WordPress icon.) This is found under the section of Autoinstallers. 

 

  • Next, click the ”INSTALL” button. (It’s blue). 

 

  • After install, you will need to find your domain name in the little drop-down menu. (Likely the first one). 

 

  • Put in your blog’s name in ”SITE NAME”.  Then put in your site description (you can change this later if you want to leave it blank). 

 

  • Choose your username and password. I cannot stress enough why you need to pick a unique username AND password. No ”ADMIN” for your username. Believe me, hackers can get in if you do this. Make your password very strong. (I suggest a combination of upper and lower case, and letters and numbers. 

 

  • Then enter your email address. 

 

  • Click ”INSTALL”. 

 

 

That’s it! Congratulations,  you are now the proud owner of a brand spankin’ new WordPress site!

When you are ready to log into your website (your dashboard), you will typically go to your site domain and add ‘’/wp-admin’’ to the end.

So it would look like this:   http://www.YOURNEWDOMAIN.com/wp-admin (For example – if my site was called ‘Alee King’, I would go to http://www.aleeking.com/wp-admin

 

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Just put in your credentials that you were given previously. Your dashboard is where you can customize your blog, create new pages and posts, and design your website how you like it!

4) Choosing a Theme

I’ll admit, it may look a tad confusing and intimidating when you first look at your dashboard. It isn’t difficult; you will pick it up in no time! You’re probably wondering… What now?

Pick a theme!

Now comes the fun part. Making your blog beautiful! A theme is a template for your website or the framework for it. This is how your blog will look, and the overall design of your blog. I don’t think I need to say how important what theme you choose is.

Go to Appearance > Themes in your dashboard once you’ve logged in, and you will see some free themes. However, the majority of bloggers (especially those who wish to monetize their blogs) choose to buy a paid/premium theme, because you’re very limited when using a free theme, and to be honest – they are all very plain and blah!

There are a few different paid theme websites that I recommend, and all for totally different reasons. Read on, to find out more.

 

With a paid theme, you get way more options, support, more features, and complete customization.

The theme I have for this blog is Boss Lady by A Prettier Web. It comes with snazzy landing page templates, lead page templates, different layouts, shortcodes, it’s e-commerce ready, and it’s fully customizable.

It’s ideal for any girl boss. And it’s extremely affordable.

There are also a few other themes by A Prettier Web that are also gorgeous. The Blog Lady Theme, The Course Lady Theme, and the new Biz Lady Theme.

Or you can take a look at other themes if none of these suits your needs!

Starting a profitable blog

 

 

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes

I also have a post with 11 gorgeous and feminine themes for girl bosses you can check out here!

 

5) Writing Your First Blog Post

Another exciting part is writing your first blog post. This can seem intimidating in WordPress, but I promise you it’s straight forward. Just follow these steps, and you will be on your way to publishing your very first blog post.

  • Go to ‘’Posts.”
  • Then to ‘’Add new.”
  • Now you will see an editor where you will write your blog post
  • Select your ”categories” and your ”tags” for that post.
  • If you have Yoast SEO plugin (which I highly suggest you do) you will input your keyword and meta description at the bottom of the screen before publishing. And don’t forget to use your keyword throughout your post, once in the intro, and once in the conclusion. 
  • Once you finish writing your blog post, you only push ‘’publish.”
  • If you want to add pictures to your blog post (which I highly suggest you do!) You will go to ‘’Add Media’’ From there you will click ‘’Upload Files’’.

 

Well, there you have it.

Starting a profitable blog may seem like a daunting task at first, but don’t get discouraged. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. And thanks to all the helpful resources out there, I have learned so much about blogging in a short time,  which is why I want to spread the knowledge and help other newbies follow their dreams and start profitable blogs.

If you need any help at all while signing up your self-hosted WordPress site with SiteGround, then don’t hesitate to comment below, or send me an email:  [email protected] and I’ll be sure to help you the best I can. 🙂

Until next time,

XO, Alee

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47 thoughts on “Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Profitable Blog

  1. Hi, this is a comment.
    To get started with moderating, editing, and deleting comments, please visit the Comments screen in the dashboard.
    Commenter avatars come from Gravatar.

    Posted on November 4, 2016 at 1:35 pm
  2. Hello Alee
    Thanks for explaining things so well and in an easy to understand way, many people want to start blogging but unsure where to get started.
    Another fear many have is, “who will read my blog”or not knowing the direction.But once one gets a clear guidance like this one it`s quite easy apart from the endless working hours on the dashboard.If anyone tells me blogging is easy, they are lying,social media,affiliate products,backlinks, checking for broken links, learning new things………….the list is endless.But having said that, l enjoy blogging.

    Thanks for sharing really enjoyed your post

    Posted on November 28, 2016 at 12:26 pm
    1. Hello Roamy,
      I completely agree! Blogging takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and major drive! However, I do believe that anyone can be successful at blogging. But it does take so much patient and perseverance.
      So happy you found this blog post helpful!
      Alee King

      Posted on November 28, 2016 at 2:27 pm
  3. A very comprehensive post for those thinking of jumping into the Blogging world. You don’t skip a beat, and that’s great. I think I would add a little warning that this new “hobby” might start to take over their lives….lol

    Posted on December 8, 2016 at 9:27 pm
    1. Olivia,
      Thank you! And lol yes I agree. It does begin to consume your life.
      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
      Alee

      Posted on December 9, 2016 at 12:09 pm
  4. This is awesome!!! Love all of the tips!!! I’m with blospot right now and I’m still determining if I should switch. I’m making money off of it and I’ve finally love the theme that I created with it but I’m wondering how hard it would be to switch and if it would be a good move. I’m in a pickle haha! This is great for when I decide if I’m going to switch or not! I’m glad that I found a theme that also is for WordPress!

    Jasmine 🙂
    colorubold.com

    Posted on December 9, 2016 at 2:21 am
    1. Jasmine,
      Thank you! And I’m actually working on a post now, comparing WordPress in depth with all the other platforms. I personally think it would be worth the switch. I didn’t have a clue about coding or anything tech related when I began, and I’ve found it relatively easy. Switching over would not be as difficult as you would think either.
      Alee

      Posted on December 9, 2016 at 12:12 pm
  5. Wow! This was so informative and thorough! What about suggestions regarding upkeep and social media marketing? Care to share any of those?

    Posted on December 9, 2016 at 7:49 am
    1. Vincent,
      Thank you! That is a good point, perhaps I can add some social media marketing tips. I’m also working on a blog post right now along those lines.
      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
      Alee

      Posted on December 9, 2016 at 12:13 pm
  6. This is a great post! I agree that wordpress is a bit of learning curve but one you get a grip on it, you are golden!

    Posted on December 11, 2016 at 3:16 pm
    1. Kara,
      Thank you! I have had a few issues along the way, but I would still say WordPress is the only way to go. Although, I know there are many successful blogs on other platforms, I just love how much control over my website I have – that was the deciding factor for me.

      Posted on December 12, 2016 at 12:37 pm
  7. Very well-researched and informative! I’m not familiar with phrases like ‘landing page” though. Would you consider doing a post of terms and explanations?
    Love your blog <3

    Posted on December 19, 2016 at 8:50 pm
    1. That is an excellent idea! I could do a blog post defining and explaining loads of blogging terms for newbies. 🙂

      Posted on December 20, 2016 at 12:23 am
  8. very good post, i definitely love this web site, keep on it

    Posted on January 11, 2017 at 1:55 pm
  9. Very well written post. It will be beneficial to everyone who usess it, as well as yours truly :). Keep up the good work – can’r wait to read more posts.

    Posted on January 11, 2017 at 2:07 pm
  10. Thank you so much for all of this information. This has really helped me and has given me lots of ideas for my blog and i realize that i have some work that i need to do.
    Thank you again!

    Posted on February 15, 2017 at 11:11 pm
    1. Hi Janice,
      You’re most welcome!:)I’m so glad you found this post helpful – I try to make every post benefit my readers in some way, so I’m thrilled it is.
      Alee

      Posted on February 16, 2017 at 3:54 pm
  11. Great value here. Way to share and blog unstoppable! Cheers!

    Posted on February 23, 2017 at 3:07 pm
    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Thank you! Have a great day.
      Alee

      Posted on February 23, 2017 at 4:07 pm
  12. Fantastic blog post this is very helpful material for newbies! I once was a newbie and you’re right it can be scary to start your own blog. Props to an awesome read! 🙂

    Posted on February 28, 2017 at 9:09 pm
    1. Hi Julie,
      Thank you! I agree, it can be quite scary when you have no idea what you’re doing or what to do next. I’m working on a series of other beginner blog posts for topics that I know I struggled with, in hopes it will help other newbies. 🙂
      Alee

      Posted on March 1, 2017 at 12:30 pm
  13. This is very helpful Alee! I wish I had this when I first started out.

    Posted on March 1, 2017 at 2:01 am
    1. Thank you, Jasper! I agree, that’s why I created it. I had a hard time finding something as detailed.
      Alee

      Posted on March 1, 2017 at 12:30 pm
  14. This is so generous and i love how you go through the steps one by one to make it so simple to understand. THANK YOU so much!

    Posted on March 7, 2017 at 3:28 pm
    1. Hello Qudsiyah,
      You’re most welcome! I try to make my posts as detailed as possible, as I know the struggle of being a new blogger and not having a clue where to turn. So glad this post was helpful for you.
      Good luck,
      Alee

      Posted on March 8, 2017 at 2:38 pm
  15. Thanks so much for the great informative post!

    Posted on March 7, 2017 at 8:52 pm
    1. Hi Lisa,
      Not a problem! 🙂 I’m glad you found it informative and helpful.
      Have a great day,
      Alee

      Posted on March 8, 2017 at 2:39 pm
  16. Great tips! I agree that having wordpress.com at the end of your website name does not appear professional.

    Posted on March 13, 2017 at 6:16 pm
    1. Hi Dyana!
      Definitely, it’s not professional and I know when I see that or ”.blogpost” at the end, I honestly don’t take them seriously. It’s a few bucks a month to get a professional website, so really why not invest in ourselves?
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂
      Alee

      Posted on March 13, 2017 at 7:30 pm
  17. I am so looking forward to having my own website! Thanks for the tips!

    Posted on March 17, 2017 at 10:20 pm
    1. You’re most welcome! I hope my step-by-step tutorial helped you 🙂 I try to make them as detailed as possible, as I know when I started my first blog I would have needed something like this lol.
      Alee

      Posted on March 18, 2017 at 6:35 pm
  18. This is a really thorough, detailed post! It was interesting to read about Siteground, I had not heard of this hosting before. I have Bluehost right now and I think their customer service is terrible. Might have to make a switch! Thanks for all of the information 🙂

    xo
    Kaitlyn | http://confidentlyrose.com/

    Posted on June 13, 2017 at 12:07 pm
    1. Hey Kaitlyn!

      Oh, BlueHost is terrible!! I used to use and promote them (this tutorial used to be a BlueHost tutorial).

      But I started noticing that they’re actually a terrible host, have A LOT of down time, and have awful customer service.

      I could no longer promote them and sleep at night lol.

      Honestly, most ”big bloggers” are promoting it only because they pay a lot more than most web host companies..and new bloggers are falling for it – because they see these bloggers as trustworthy and credible.

      Siteground will switch you over for free! Good luck!

      Posted on June 25, 2017 at 5:58 pm
  19. Very informative, and easy to understand. I wish I had read this before switching my blog over to WordPress last fall – would have made the transition smoother. Am thinking about changing my theme, but concerned that something may get “lost in the translation” so to speak. Is switching themes easy?

    Posted on June 13, 2017 at 2:31 pm
    1. Hi Jean!

      I haven’t switched themes before, but have installed several, so I can’t say with certainty but as long as you backup your site before you switch themes, you should be good.

      However, certain things like widgets in your sidebar will be different, as every theme’s layout is different, and they normally have different widgets for each theme.

      But if you back up your site before you switch, you’ll be fine!

      Hope that helps!

      Alee

      Posted on June 25, 2017 at 6:00 pm
  20. I agree it takes a lot of hard work and patience. Amazing article.

    Posted on June 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm
    1. Hey Sreya,

      Indeed, it does. And thank you!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Alee

      Posted on June 25, 2017 at 6:08 pm
  21. I love that you are taking the time to teach others! Great advice.

    Posted on July 28, 2017 at 6:46 pm
    1. Thanks Marissa!

      Posted on August 1, 2017 at 11:33 am
  22. Hi Alee! Very good, it helped me a lot well done keep it up dear.

    Posted on September 9, 2017 at 9:36 am
    1. No problem! I’m pleased it was informational for you!
      Alee

      Posted on September 15, 2017 at 7:23 pm
  23. Thanks for all of your valuable information Alee!

    Posted on September 14, 2017 at 7:46 pm
    1. You’re most welcome, Stacy!
      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
      Alee

      Posted on September 15, 2017 at 7:19 pm
  24. Thanks! Helpful info.

    Posted on September 28, 2017 at 3:56 pm
    1. Thanks, Tracey! Glad they were helpful.

      Alee

      Posted on September 29, 2017 at 10:43 pm
  25. some great tips – thank you

    Posted on September 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm
    1. Thank you, Leanne!
      Thanks for stopping by,

      Alee

      Posted on September 29, 2017 at 10:43 pm