My journey starting this website The Coupon Boutique started off rough. Three months after launching this website my now ex husband and I decided to separate and I was a stay at home mom with a child with special needs. It was rough. Luckily I was able to get my old position back with Alpine Access (now called Sykes) and started working full time from home. I did my research in my spare time on how to build my website in the crazy world of blogging.
It took me almost 2 years to finally learn how to build a profitable website (after expenses). Blogging is something that I still love doing, and luckily it pays my bills now. I’m not here to sugarcoat things. I made a very small amount when I first started out, but luckily I didn’t give up and it grew from there. Today I am going to share with you what I learned and save you 2 years of your life. If you are serious about starting a blog (website) and want to share your passion and earn a living from it, I encourage you to continue to read.
Do you want to blog for money? Or are you looking for a fun outlet?
When I decided to launch my website I didn’t have the intentions on making this a full time job. I wanted to help people save money and needed a platform to share my findings. Ask any professional blogger and they all say the same thing. People don’t start websites to make money. One reason is you have to build a following and gain their trust. You also have to add value to their lives and that takes time. Blogging isn’t an easy way of making money. But I can honestly say that once you have a strong following and loyal followers it can be very profitable in the long run. I have to be very honest and say that I don’t for one minute regret starting The Coupon Boutique and have zero desire to work for someone again, I love being my own boss and having a flexible work schedule to be with my children!
So let’s get into the juicy stuff! Let’s build your website! This process can take 15 minutes of your time! I recommend that you build your website with WordPress (self hosted) and not Blogger. Although Blogger is free, you will face several challenges. If you website becomes popular Google may mark you as spam and shut your website down (seen it happen) or if you later decide to move to self hosting you have to move your entire website which is a pain in the butt. It is also much harder to monetize a Blogger website because some advertisers prefer a self hosted platform.
Step 1 (A): Domain Name and Hosting (BlueHost)
Picked out a name yet? Well..I can tell you The Coupon Boutique is taken! LOL Once you have picked a name you can host your website with Bluehost or Hostgator. Both are excellent and the top hosting platforms the only difference is BlueHost requires you to pay for hosting upfront while Hostgator you can pay month to month BUT you pay more. If you want to host with Hostgator skip to Step 1(B) below.
With Bluehost you will be asked to pick a plan level and I recommend the Starter Plan. Their plans start at $2.95 per month! SWEET! I typically pay for hosting for the entire year because its cost effective and you don’t have to worry about a monthly bill.
Once you select your hosting package you can so register and host your domain name with Bluehost. Hosting is renting space on the web to display your website. Bluehost has great rates and their service is excellent.
This is where you choose the terms of your plan (12 months, 24 months or 36 months). You also want the Domain Privacy Protection to protect your personal address and phone number from being displayed to the public.
Step 1 (B): Domain Name and Hosting (Hostgator)
If you decide that Hostgator is a better alternative and you want the option to pay month to month. What I like about Hostgator is that they have a 45 day money back guarantee. Here are the steps:
1. Go to Hostgator and click “Get Started Now”
2. Choose a hosting package. I recommend the Baby Plan because you can host unlimited domains on your account. If you only want to host one website Hatchling will do.
3. Enter your domain name. Note that your domain will cost you about $13-$20 for a year. You will only pay this fee once a year, not every month. If the name is available you will get a green check.
4. Next make sure the Domain Privacy Protection is checked. I highly recommend you opting for the Domain Privacy Protection. This service hides your personal contact information on the web. This protection is $9.95 per year and well worth it! This is paid annually, not every month.
5. Confirm your hosting package and billing cycle. You also need to create a username and security pin for accessing your Hostgator account. Enter your billing information and whether you want to pay with credit card or via Paypal.
6. The next screen will show you some add ons. I personally leave them unchecked but if its in your budget you can check the ones you are interested in.
Step 2 (A): Installing WordPress (Bluehost)
Now that you have set up your hosting, Bluehost will email you your website credentials with your hosting information, save that information (email) in a folder. Once you receive that email, Login to your Bluehost account and find the Website Builders section. Click on the WordPress logo.
On the next page click the “Install” button in the “Do it yourself (Free)” section. Trust me its that easy!
Click the “Check Domain” button
Check the terms and conditions box and then click the “Install Now” button.
Once you get the message that says “Your install is complete!” you’ll want to click on the “View Credentials” button at the top right hand corner and write down your Admin URL, Username, and Password. You can change these to something more memorable later, but you’ll need them for your first time logging in.
Now type your Admin URL in your web browser. You will your login screen and you will enter your username and password you copied from the previous step.
Step 2 (B): Installing WordPress (Hostgator)
Now that you have set up your hosting, Hostgator will email you your website credentials with your hosting information, save that information (email) in a folder. Once you receive that email, click the link titled control panel “cpanel”. Use the username and password provided in the email
Now that you are logged into cpanel you will probably see some popup windows, just exit out to them. How click “Get Started With WordPress Today”
Now click “Continue” to do a QuickInstall
Now you will be asked where want to install WordPress. You will want to install in your Root Directory. There will be a form to fill out, I suggest you don’t opt for the “Enable Auto Updates” and also choose an admin name and not the default “admin” to prevent someone from hacking your account. Once you filled everything out you should see this message:
Step 3: Choosing a Theme, Let’s Make it Look Nice!
The best looking theme are available with StudioPress and Elegant Theme. Some of your top bloggers use this theme for a more professional look. They have several to choose from. I also recommend that you have a custom made header done. You can use Picmonkey or Canva to design your own. You can check out this video here on how to design a header with Canva.
You also want to start an email list. This is a MUST! I have been using Aweber for years now and I like that you can see the open rate, click thru rate and more with them. The reason you want to start collecting emails is because your email list followers look forward to your emails daily or weekly and are the life line (besides social media) to your website.
Monetize Your Blog (Website):
This advise goes for whatever niche you are in. Your website can feature services like consultation or a monthly membership free on your products and services. You can also sell eBooks! The possibilities are endless. You can also monetize with ads like Media.net and Google Adsense. You can also monetize with affiliate marketing with companies like Commission Junction, Shareasale and Amazon. If you are not familiar with affiliate marketing it is when you display various merchant’s products and when you make a sale you earn a commission. You can also add a donate button from Paypal on your website and your followers can donate to your website until you are able to find other ways to fully monetize your website.
Once you have completed the steps above you are ready to begin your journey as a blogger. I recommend that you start with WPbeginner they have helpful articles to help you navigate on how to use WordPress. You can also Google “blogging tips” and follow a couple of bloggers who write about helping you succeed in the world of blogging!