How to Start a Blog in 20 Minutes and Make Money

Last Updated on – Feb 21, 2022 @ 6:22 pm

If you’ve always wanted to start a blog but were unsure of how and where to begin, you’re not alone. Blogging is one of the great online pastimes.

Think of a blog page as your “virtual soap box.” It gives you a venue to share your thoughts, ideas, and opinions with others who have similar interests.

I’ve been blogging since 2009 and making money from it. And believe it or not, setting up a blog is the easy part. Knowing what to blog about has gotten most people stumped.

Yes, people have made tons of money from blogging. But don’t choose a blog topic just because it makes money. If you’re not particularly knowledgeable about the subject, you might not be able to sustain good ideas for your blog.

Here are three key things to keep in mind when choosing a blog topic:

  • It must be your passion.
  • It must be a topic where you can consider yourself an authority.
  • It must invite other people to discuss, share ideas, thoughts, and opinions.

Blogging is an activity that must frequently be done to become successful. Therefore, your blog topic must be something you enjoy doing.

Why start a blog?

People blog for different reasons but the most part, they just love to express what’s in their hearts and minds. But here are five other reasons why you should blog:

  1. You can make real money from blogging.
  2. You can help people find solutions to their problems.
  3. You can boost your business with engaging and compelling blogs.
  4. You can enhance your reputation as an expert in your field of interest.
  5. You can improve your writing and communication skills.

Collectively, all of these benefits from blogging will make you a better person. You will gain more confidence, make new connections and hopefully, find a financially rewarding career!


How to Set Up a Blog

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get started in setting up your own blog.

Step 1: Choose a Blogging Platform

There are many blogging platforms to choose from, but for my money, you should go with WordPress.

Here are just a few reasons why you should choose WordPress:

  • It’s very easy to set up.
  • WordPress is highly secure. That’s why NASA, Sony, and 72 million other websites use WordPress.
  • WordPress allows you to customize your website which makes it unique only to you.
  • It’s free for everyone to use.
  • 52% of all websites use WordPress.

There are good blogging platforms, but WordPress is simply the best.

Go Self-Hosted or Go Free?

When does food taste its absolute best? When it’s given for free! But not all the best things in life are free.

There are close to 200 million blog sites on the Internet. If you want your blog site to stand out, it must create an immediate impression. Tell me, which blog site you would rather visit:

  1. yourblog.com
  2. yourblog.freehosting.com

Letter “a” is self-hosted blog while “b” uses a free blogging website. Ask yourself, have you ever clicked on a link that uses a free blogging website?

Successful bloggers never use free blogging websites for the following reasons:

  • You don’t control content.
  • Your web address is too long and difficult to remember.
  • You cannot advertise on most free blogging platforms.

If you want a professional-looking blog site that will attract an audience and help you make money online, always opt for a self-hosted blog with your domain name.


Step 2: Get a Domain Name

Your domain name will be the address of your blog site. It is where people will find to read your content. Since you’ve opted for a self-hosted site, your domain name would read like www.MyDomainName.com.

But what’s in a name? Is finding a cool-sounding domain name important to the success of your blog?

The truth is one of the key reasons why bloggers fail to get their blog sites off the ground is having a bad domain name. Here are three tips for creating your domain name:

  • It must be easy to remember.
  • What your blog is about should be unique and descriptive.
  • Use prime extensions such as “.com,” “.net” or “.org.”

Once you have a domain name, write it down on a piece of paper or your smartphone so that you won’t forget.

A domain name will cost you around $10. However, if you sign up with Bluehost, you can get it for free. You’ll learn more about Bluehost on the next step.


Step 3: Find a Web Host

If your domain name is your blog address, the web host is the building complex that houses your blog. Without a web host, you will not be able to build a WordPress website using your domain name.

Learn More: 10 Best Web Hosting for Business Websites and Blogs in the Philippines

There are two important things to keep in mind when choosing a web host:

  • Speed – The average time it takes your page to load on a device. The faster the loading time the better.
  • Uptime – Don’t buy into 99.99% uptime; that translates to 42 minutes of downtime per month. Always go for 100% uptime.

There are many reliable web hosting service providers you can consider. But my personal recommendation is Bluehost. And here are seven good reasons why you too should use Bluehost:

Why Choose Bluehost?

  1. You get a free domain for one year.
  2. Fast and efficient US-based 24/7 customer support.
  3. Ability to host multiple domains and websites on your account.
  4. Availability of unlimited space and transfer bandwidth.
  5. Bluehost offers very competitive pricing.
  6. Automatic backup of your files and databases.
  7. Bluehost makes any WordPress updates available within 24 hours.

If you’re convinced as I am that Bluehost is the best, go to their website right now and let’s get started!

See Bluehost’s Plans

Select a Plan

Bluehost offers different types of plan to suit your budget. The more expensive the plan, the more features you get. But if your budget is tight, it is perfectly fine to start out with the Basic Plan. After all, you can upgrade your Plan anytime.

Please take note that all Plans include a free domain for one year. Click the green “Select” button to go to the next step.

Input your Domain Name

Earlier we discussed the value of having a good domain name. If you’ve thought of a good one, enter it in the box to your left side. The small box on the immediate right side is for the extension name.

If you already have an existing domain name, but it is running on a different web host, enter it in the box to your right side. You won’t run into technical problems even if the domain is registered in another web host. For now, the domain will just be used to identify the existence of your account.

Once you’re done, click the “Next” button to go to the next step.

Enter your Account Details

Bluehost will ask you details on personal information. Make sure you fill out all the entries completely and accurately. If you use many e-mails, identify the one which e-mail address will receive the log-in information.

You will also have to select your account plan. Bluehost gives you a choice between one, two or three years’ payment period. The longer the period, the lower becomes the cost of subscription per month.

Bluehost will also offer other features such as Domain Privacy Protection, Site Backup Pro, Search Engine Jumpstart, SiteLock Security and Comodo PositiveSSL. All of these extra features will come at a cost.

You do not have to avail of these. However, Domain Privacy Protection will ensure the security of your personal information. So if you’re using your home address and residence numbers for contact information, I would recommend signing up for Domain Privacy Protection.

If you already have an existing domain name, but it is running on a different web host, enter it in the box to your right side. You won’t run into technical problems even if the domain is registered in another web host. For now, the domain will just be used to identify the existence of your account.

Once you’re done, click the “Next” button to go to the next step.


Step 4: Install WordPress

Here are the summary procedures for having WordPress installed:

  • A window will open up where you will see a button that may read as Install or Start. Click this button to begin the installation process for WordPress.
  • WordPress will present a drop-down menu where it will ask you to select the domain you wish to install. Then click Check Domain.
  • Check the box next to Show Advanced Options then enter your Site Name or Title.
  • Choose an Admin Username and create a Password. When your WordPress website has been installed, you will use them to log in.
  • Enter your e-mail address.
  • Once you’re done reading the Terms and Conditions, click the Install Now

You should see the “Status: Success” notification after WordPress has been installed. All of the information you need to access your website will be e-mailed to you.

Note: Bluehost is offering a special price for Grit readers:

Get Started for only $3.95/month

Step 5: Designing your Blog

Now comes the fun part; designing and customizing your blog! We’ll go through another series of steps, but it will not take much time and much easier than you think.

Remember to go to www.YourBlogName.com/wp-admin and log in using your credentials when setting up your blog.

When you log in for the first time, you will be greeted by a host of terms you may not be familiar with. These includes:

  • Dashboard – Presents your recent activities
  • Posts – Click this if you want to add a blog or edit an existing one
  • Library – Archive of all the images, videos and audio files you’ve uploaded to the website
  • Pages – If you want to add another web page to your website
  • Comments – This is where you moderate comments made on your website
  • Appearance – This is where you can make revisions, modifications to the design and layout plus install new themes.
  • Plugins – If you want to add a new feature or upgrade an existing one
  • Settings – If you want to edit your title, tagline or do edits to your e-mail address and customize the other features of your website.

How to Change your Blog’s Design?

For sure the part you’re excited the most is designing your blog. After all, that’s what web designers are known for right?

WordPress has templates called “Themes” which were designed by professional web designers. There are over 2,000 fully-customizable themes to choose from, and most of them are beautiful! However, if you want to use premium designs, you can go to themeforest.net.

Meanwhile, let’s get started on designing your blog!

  • Move the mouse over the Appearance tab then click Themes.
  • If you don’t like any of the themes on display, click Add New to start looking for designs that will suit your taste.
  • You will see popular and brand new themes. There is also a Feature Filter and search bar. The Feature Filter allows you to choose themes based on your preferences. Choose the features you want then click Apply Feature. If you’re not sure what you want, do a keyword search to have a clearer idea of what you are looking for.
  • When you’ve found the theme you like, click Install.
  • Once the theme has been installed, click Activate which appears on the next screen.

How to Install WordPress Plugins

Plugins are programs that you can install in your WordPress site to customize it according to how you want it to function. Plugins have the following benefits:

  • Add contact forms
  • Moderate Spam content
  • Improve page optimization or SEO
  • Create newsletter or sign up forms
  • Create photo galleries

It is crucial to research on the plugin before adding it to your website. Some plugins may affect the look and overall functionality of your website. A simple Google check will help you find relevant information on each plugin.

  • Move your mouse over the Plugins in the sidebar then click Add New.
  • Do a keyword search to find a plugin you like. Once you find the plugin that suits your website needs, just click Install Now then Activate Plugin.

You’re done!

How to Make your Blog Search Friendly

If you want your blog to be found, it must be search friendly, and search engines dislike two things:

  • Clumsy URLs – Keep your URL by using only relevant information. Click on Settings, go to Permalinks then choose Post Name.
  • Spam Comments – People constantly spam to get your audience to their websites and to advertise their business. Click on Settings, go to Discussion then click on the following answers to these questions:
  • Email me whenever… A comment is held for moderation
  • Before a comment appears… Comment must be manually approved

How to Manage your User Information

You should learn how to manage your user information in case you want to change your password, details or add another user who can access your blog.

  • Move your mouse over the Users tab on the left side menu.
  • Click Add New; you’ll be taken to a different page.
  • Fill in the details.

You can include a password but be sure to share it with the new user.


Step 6: Write a Blog Post

At this point, you already have a fully functioning blog site on the Internet. You’ve also been able to customize the look and feel of your blog site. Now it’s time to get to the reason why you started out on this journey.

Finally, you can start writing your blog!

A blog isn’t just a group of words strung up together to support an idea, a thought or an opinion. In the context of a business or an income-generating venture, your blog must make sense to the reader. It must address the reason why he or she clicked onto your blog page.

To resonate powerfully with the reader, everything he or she find on the page must be relevant. Everything means that your text, images, structure, look and feel must be aligned. You must have sources to validate any claim or information you stated in your blog.

That’s why a blog is such a powerful tool for building a business. It gives you a venue to be seen and heard by a global audience.

Thus, it’s not just how your blog reads that influences readers. You have to give it that look and feel that screams authenticity, relevance, and usability.

Here’s a step-by-step process on how to get your blog published on your website:

  1. Create a New Post:
  • Drag the mouse over Posts and click Add New.
  • Write the title of your blog on the field located on top of the page.
  • Write the content of your blog on the large field in the middle of the page.
  • You can see a box menu on the far right side of the page. This box menu has features that will allow you to save your blog, have it published at a later date or make it accessible only to select people.

Once your blog is published, you can access it via the All Posts section of the Posts tab.

  1. How to Add Images:
  • Place you cursor at the space where you want the image to be attached.
  • Click Add Media.
  • Click Upload Files tab then click Select Files.
  • Double click the selected image so WordPress can upload it automatically.
  • Click Insert into Post button to add the image to your location in the blog.
  1. How to Add Links:
  • Leave your cursor in the text where you will add the link.
  • Click on the icon that looks like a chain link on the toolbar and put your link.
  • Click Add Link.
  1. How to Add Headings and Footers:

Adding headings and footers is a great idea and helps search engine rankings. They will make your blog more organized and easy to read:

  • Click the drop-down menu with the word Paragraph.
  • Click Heading 1 for the first heading, Heading 2 for the second heading and so on and so forth.
  1. Editing Font Styles:

If you are familiar with Word, this should be easy for you.

  • Place the cursor at the word or text you want to modify.
  • Click on the icons you can find in the toolbox to edit or modify the font style or look of the word or text.

You can make the text or word Bold, Italicized or change its color.


Step 7: Monetize your Blog

Can you make good money from blogging? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” In fact, many blogs make over six figures a year.

The first question that comes to mind is “What should I write about?” But really, you should frame the question from the perspective of your audience:

  • What topics or issues concern my readers?
  • What difficulties or challenges do my readers go through?
  • What is the Persona of my reader?
  • What would readers find most interesting about my skills and expertise?
  • What would readers dislike about my skills and expertise?

The point is when you are blogging; you are not writing for yourself but your readers.

Find issues that interest your readers and use your skills, expertise and other forms of knowledge to help them find valuable and actionable solutions or relevant information.

But the truth is, the money you generate from blogging does not directly come from your writing.

A blog is like a career springboard. As you gain viewership, followers and firmly entrench yourself as a valuable resource in your field, you can monetize your blog by selling products and services such as:

  • E-Books
  • Speaking engagements
  • E-courses
  • Modules
  • Consultation services

As your blog grows, take advantage of the opportunities that come with popularity. If you’ve been blogging successfully about health and fitness, why not sell physical products such as supplements, fitness wear, and apparel online?

If you have been blogging about virtual assistance, why not offer virtual assistance packages on your website? You can provide services for administrative work, content writing, accounting and other tasks commonly outsourced by businesses to virtual assistants.

Your blog itself will be the endorsement and seal of quality for the products you sell.

Bloggers also use the following avenues as streams of income:

1. Advertising – You directly generate income from your blog. Examples of advertising opportunities are:

  • Display Ads – These are graphic ads that are usually placed in the sidebar, header, footer or within the content. Display ads come from Ad Networks which act as middlemen between advertisers and bloggers. Google AdSense is one of the most popular ad networks.
  • Private Ads – This is a direct arrangement between an advertiser and the blogger. To find potential advertisers, go to your competitor’s website and see who places ads there. Contact them and pitch a win-win proposal.
  • Reviews and Giveaways – Companies may compensate you in currency or kind for reviewing their products or giving away samples in your blog.
  • Newsletter/ Podcast Sponsorship – You can ask for advertisers to place ads on your newsletters or to have their businesses mentioned in your podcast.
  • Sponsored Posts – You are hired by a company to write about their products and services.
  • Underwritten Posts – You could write about any topic, but the company would like you to mention them in your blog.

2. Affiliate Marketing – You are promoting someone else’s products and services in your blog. You get paid whenever someone clicks on the link and transacts with the company.

The bottom-line is the amount of income you earn from blogging will depend on the number of followers you generate and the viewership your gain. To become a successful blogger requires time, effort and lots of creativity and resourcefulness.

But if you are committed to becoming a blogger, have a deep passion for writing and an inherent desire to help people, your success will just be a matter of time!


Step 8: Drive more visitors to your Blog

Here’s a 3-step strategy to skyrocket your blog’s audience:

1. Find good keywords

Keyword is a term that covers phrases and words people enter in search engines to find information. Without keywords, people won’t be able to find your content.

However, using any keyword is not enough. You also need to understand how important keyword research is. This way, you can match your content with the keywords your target audience uses. 

Without proper research, the keywords you are using may not be relevant, and there may be a mismatch to what your target audience is searching for online. Therefore, your blog will perform poorly on Google Analytics. 

Don’t know much about keywords? Don’t worry, there are tons of free keyword tools available online to elevate your SEO game. 

Google Trends

This keyword research tool visualizes the search popularity of different keywords over time. This way, you can plan your content calendar properly.   

Keyword Surfer

This tool can be plugged into your Chrome web browser. The results will be displayed on the right side of your results page whenever you enter a keyword. 

Answer the Public

If you want to see raw search insights on keywords, use this tool. After entering search terms, you will see the questions people are asking about it.

Keyword Sheeter

A great tool that delivers real-time data on what people are looking for in search engines, Keyword Sheeter is a must-use. It’s also great for blogs who want a fast list of keywords since it pulls a staggering 1,000 ideas per minute.

Keyword Tool

This keyword research tool uses Google Autocomplete to give you hundreds of relevant keywords about any topic. Therefore, you can generate long-tail keywords in mere seconds. 

Keywords Everywhere

This Chrome and Firefox extension shows you amazing insights about keywords such as Search Engine Optimization difficulty metrics, related keywords, and trend charts, among many others. 

2. Create great content using those keywords

Looking up relevant keywords your readers use is not enough. You should also incorporate these keywords in your content.

Whether you want to inform, answer a question, entertain, or guide your target audience, content is integral to keep them engaged. When you have garnered their loyalty, you can finally start generating revenue for your blog through affiliate links

However, creating any content you think of is not enough. Use the following sections to guide your content strategy. 

2.1: Satisfy user intent

No matter what topic your blog centers on, you need to prioritize user intent if you want to rank higher on search engines. 

Your user’s search intent is their primary goal when looking up a query in any search engine. More often than not, users are searching for an answer or resource. 

For example, if you have a surfing blog. Users who look up surfing spots in the Philippines have a different intent than those who search for beginner-friendly surf spots in Luzon.

Although they revolve around the same topic, they are looking for different things. 

Therefore, keep in mind why your target audience is searching for a particular keyword, and what content they want to see in your blog.

After all, Google can determine whether or not your content answers a person’s query through relying on neural matching, an AI-driven process that allows Google to understand synonyms at a high level. 

2.2: User experience

During your first attempt at making SEO-driven content, you may think “why is my content not showing up on Google’s first page but my competitor’s content is there?” 

Chances are, the user experience of their readers was better compared to yours. One of the factors you should take into consideration is dwell time.

This refers to the amount of time that a Google searcher spends on your blog before returning to the SERPs or Search Engine Page Results.

If they are satisfied with your content, they are more likely to stay. When this happens, it means they have had a positive user experience which can be accounted for by Google. 

To illustrate this, imagine a searcher clicking on the first promising link on the SERPs, but when she gets there, the website doesn’t look professionally done.

After 3 seconds, she clicks back to the SERPs and visits the second link. On the second link, she spends 3 minutes browsing through the content. 

This situation will tell Google that the user experience on the first website was negative, and the user experience on the second website was positive. If a lot of searchers mirror the same dwell time, Google will boost your ranking. 

2.3 Content format 

Even if you have the best blog in your niche, your content may still underperform on search engines if the format looks sloppy. Keep these things in mind when writing your blog content. 

  1. Writing should be clear

If you want to hook your blog readers, your blog content should showcase concise writing. Make sure all your ideas are organized well.

Instead of focusing more on the word count, communicate your point immediately, and only beef it up if needed.

2. Make the layout easy on the eyes

Your blog theme greatly influences whether or not searchers will stay on your site.

If you want to make an impact, use quick summary boxes on long blog posts, leverage card-based designs, and ensure the blog design looks great on every device, especially on mobile. Investing in a premium theme or a mobile-friendly blog theme is always a good idea. 

3. Use subheadings

People love scanning content. Just like your blog title, the subheadings also guide your readers. Subheadings act as hooks that allow blog readers to stop and read your content.

Without it, your content will seem monotonous. Just like your headlines, make sure your subheadings are clear and interesting. 

4. Break down long paragraphs

Internet users are notorious for skipping dense texts. When you don’t break down long paragraphs into easily digestible chunks, your post will look like it’s hard to read.

Therefore, your site visitors will simply go back to SERPs.

5. Include images

Including images in your personal blog has tons of benefits. Not only does it break up sections and paragraphs, but it also makes your content more appealing.

Through images, your readers can understand your message better. More than that, images also increase your content’s shareability on social media. 

Backlinks, also known as one-way links, inbound links, or incoming links, are links from one website to another.

Major search engines treat these links as “votes” that a specific page has credible and useful high-quality content. This is why pages with more backlinks rank high in organic search results. 

So how can you ensure you increase your backlinks?

The best way to do this is to consistently post great content. Your content should be solid enough to be used as a trustworthy source of information by other websites. 

Additionally, guest posting helps. By sharing your expertise on another personal blog or website, you can not only build backlinks to your blog but also establish yourself as an authority figure in your niche. 

Why People fail at running a Blog?

A lot of newbies think blogging is easy. However, they couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Blogging takes time and hard work. Because overnight success is almost impossible, thousands of bloggers abandon their blogs because of how hard it is to maintain.

To ensure you run a successful blog, we’ve rounded up the most common reasons why most bloggers fail. 

1. They’re not consistent in publishing content

If you’re serious about blogging, you need to be committed to sticking to a regular publication schedule.

Publishing high-quality content on a regular basis will make you more visible to your audience, and help them have something to look forward to.

This will enable you to establish your reputation and build trust easily. 

2. Lack of basic SEO understanding

Nobody was born a Search Engine Optimization expert. However, this is the lifeline of your personal blog.

If you are stubborn in thinking that you will succeed without SEO, you will only set yourself up for failure.

By continuously studying SEO and keeping up with changing algorithms, you can implement better strategies on your blog. 

3. Content is too generic and boring

If your blog post ideas bore you, then why are you writing them in the first place? Chances are, most readers will mirror the same reaction.

Give your audience interesting high-quality content that goes beyond generic information. More than that, try to inject your unique personality into every post. This way, you can breathe some life into it.  

4. They don’t promote their blog

Making high-quality content is only half of the battle of running a blog. If you really want to broaden your reach, you need to promote it.

Blogging is so competitive so use promotion strategies to your advantage such as email marketing.

To do this, build your email list by getting the email address of your audience. You can also try paid advertising, and guest posting. 

5. Writing style is too formal or rigid

People won’t love your content if you write like a robot. To ensure you hook people with your writing style, be conversational.

As much as you can, use contractions, be concise, and insert quotes and anecdotes. This may take a while to master but you’ll eventually get the hang of it.

6. Website doesn’t provide a good user experience 

User experience is the way you package your blog to satisfy your target audience. To do this, purchase a custom domain, upgrade your hosting plan, get a premium theme, and provide a contact form.

Additionally, make sure your blog has a fast load time. Thankfully, most blogging platforms make all these things easy to do.

About jasonacidre

Jason Acidre is the publisher & head of digital content strategy at Grit PH.

He is a serial tech entrepreneur, organic digital consultant, and a financial literacy advocate in the Philippines. In 2011, he started his first venture, a digital marketing agency that specializes in technical SEO, content marketing, and digital PR. The business started with an initial capital of P1,500 - that eventually grew and generated $1.5 million in revenue in 2016.

Over the past decade, his team has worked with several Fortune/Inc. 500 brands as well as some of the most highly-valued startups in the world. Helping drive millions of traffic, sales, and revenue to their websites.

Along with the team at Grit PH, his current goal is to help 1,000,000 Filipinos identify and achieve their own "true success".

Education: University of Santo Tomas (Undergraduate, Civil Engineering)
Focus: Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, Investing & Personal Finance

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. says

    I have this subdomain from blogger. Can I register that to bluehost and enter my new domain redirecting my current blospot.com?

  2. Matt says

    Hi Jason,
    If you don’t mind me asking you a blog monetize related question that would be great. I need to join a affiliate program that can accept me as new comer and commission rate is not bad as well. Actually i am an blogger myself and it’s been oven a year that i got fully engaged with my contents and built nice followings and traffic and that helped me a lot earn a little through adsense but it is not cutting it.
    It crossed my mind many times before about integrating with affiliate marketing but i was waiting for my traffic to build up so i would not be turned down by programs or stores for that matter and now when i have the traffic built up and trusted following, i feel like i should start promoting products related to my niches now. But finding the products of different niches in one place/platform or even getting approved in and program that might just refuse the starter is hard.
    I’ve been searching and found this program here in UK that is offering those kinda services and stores data with free CMS tools and 100% commission on sales which caught my eye and i feel like i should try joining them but i feel like it would be nice to gain some advise from some professionals on this first.
    revglue(.)com/free-wordpress-plugins here is the address to the list of their CMS tools, any suggestions or recommendations are appreciated .
    Thank you in advance

  3. Tina says

    Thank you for this guide. I have bumped to this blog post a couple of weeks ago, and just yesterday finally launch my own first blog. Not with Blue host, but still amazing, Namecheap.

  4. Lbie Lazareno says

    Thank you for this Sir,its very informative with all the details. Now, I am starting to figure out the ‘hows’ of blogging. I do really want to do this.

  5. JF says

    Do you have an office in the Philippines particularly in QC ?

    Or is there any pinoy who can assist me with my enquiry?

    Thank you.

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