So, you want to start a blog? Congrats! Starting a blog has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. A few years ago, I was laid off from my job as a full-time radio news reporter and had no idea what I would do next.
I tried voiceover, I tried writing a book, I applied to a bunch of jobs and relied on unemployment payments. But soon, those ran out, and I knew I had to act fast.
It was in that article that I learned Michelle makes a whopping $100,000+ per month from her personal finance blog!
That’s when I learned yes, it is possible to make money blogging, and it’s a viable career. Wow! I was hooked.
In my first full year of blogging, I brought in about $25,000, and I only expect that amount to go up. Blogging takes a lot of time and effort, but I love being my own boss and having the ability to travel whenever I want.
Through this guide, I want to help you set up a money-making blog so you can get down to business and live a life of travel. You can blog from anywhere – your campervan, sailboat, RV or tiny home.
One awesome thing is this: You don’t have to have a degree in computer programming to get your blog up and running. You just need motivation, dedication, and the willingness to learn.
Just a few simple steps and you’ll be on your way to learning all about how to make money blogging!
Reasons to start a van life, RVing or sailing blog
There are a lot of reasons out there to start a blog! Years ago, people used to write blogs that were about their personal lives – where they went, what they did, pictures of their kids and their adventures.
Now, blogging is moving toward helping other people.
You’ll want to write posts that answer questions people are searching for online or posts that help people achieve their goals. Just writing about yourself and what you are doing isn’t going to net a big enough following to make you a good income.
There are a lot of reasons to start a blog, and here are a few of them!
- To help others – If you’re passionate about a topic, most likely, other people are, too! Blogging gives you the opportunity to share your passions and connect with others like yourself.
- To be your own boss – Blogging is amazing because you can be your own boss. You can work when you want, write about what you want, learn about what you want. Running a business isn’t always easy, but it’s your business. And that’s amazing.
- You can do it from anywhere – All you need to blog is a computer and an internet connection, which is perfect for traveling types like yourselves. You can blog from a campervan, RV, sailboat or tiny home, as long as you have a computer and an internet connection
- You can make a remote income – I’m not going to lie when I tell you this – most blogs fail. But if you have the dedication and motivation, anyone can make money blogging. This is a viable remote income that can turn into a full-time job if you spend the time and effort learning about it. Creating a blogging business is like any other business. You have to be willing to learn all about it and immerse yourself in it.
How to start a WordPress blog on Siteground
The wonderful thing about blogging is this: anyone can do it.
It requires a small amount of investment up front, but far less than any other type of business. You’ll have to purchase a domain name for $10-$15 per year, and then hosting for as little as $3.95 per month.
You might think you should set up a free account on wordpress.com or blogspot.com or weebly.com, but please, don’t do this. These free accounts aren’t easy to customize or monetize. If your goal is creating a money-making blog, you’ll need to buy your own hosting.
If you’re still looking for a domain name for your blog, you can use Siteground’s domain name checker for availability.
You’ll want to pick a web address that’s easy to remember, contains no strange characters, numbers or hyphens, and has to do with your niche. I’d also recommend a name that ends with .com for professionalism.
Then, you’ll need to purchase hosting.
Think of hosting this way: if the domain name is your address, hosting is the place on the internet where your website lives.
Here are some reasons I love Siteground for hosting. (I did start out using Bluehost for web hosting, but switched to SiteGround for its awesome customer service. I needed all the help I could get when starting a new blog.)
- Great customer service – anytime I had a problem with my blog, I could chat a customer service rep and have my question answered immediately. A couple times, my blog crashed and they revived it right away.
- Fast website load times – Siteground is dedicated to site speed and is always looking for new ways to make its hosted websites faster
- 30-day money back guarantee – If you purchase hosting on Siteground then change your mind about this whole blogging this, they offer a 30-day money back guarantee
- Great price – Starting a blog for $3.95 per month won’t tear your bank account apart, and is perfect for a new blogger. You can scale up your hosting to support more traffic once your blog is bigger and creating more of an income
- WordPress is free using Siteground – Siteground has a very easy tutorial to help you install the WordPress blogging platform on your hosting account. You’ll learn more about how to do this in the below tutorial
- You’ll look super professional – A self-hosted blogs mean you’re taking your blog seriously. You’re investing in and starting a business! A self-hosted blog through Siteground means you are ready to monetize your blog and start earning a remote income
Click here to set up your hosting on Siteground, then follow the tutorial below to install your WordPress blog.
You should choose the “StartUp” plan seen in the screenshot below if you’re just starting out with a new website.
If you need help, please don’t hesitate to reach out and send me an email: [email protected]
I want to help make this as seamless as possible!
Setting up your domain name on Siteground
After you’ve purchased hosting, it’s time to add your domain name to your account. Domain names cost about $15.95 per year through Siteground, which is a steal.
Enter your domain name on the screen below, then click “Proceed.”
Woo-hoo! Now, it’s time to install WordPress on Siteground!
Install WordPress on your Siteground account
If you’re using Siteground for hosting your blog, you can use their handy WordPress wizard to get set up.
Once you log into the “Customer area” for the first time, you’ll see a pop-up which asks if you want to start a new website on your account.
Click on the WordPress blog square seen below, and choose the WordPress credentials you want to use to log in to your dashboard, which is where you’ll write and create your posts and pages.
Congrats! You now are ready to pick a theme.
Choosing a theme for your new WordPress blog on Siteground
A theme is what makes your blog look the way it does. If you’re just starting out, you can easily browse and use a free theme. You can change your theme at any time, so don’t stress about this too much at first.
You’ll have to log into your WordPress dashboard (you can think of this as the helm from where you run your blog).
To do this, you’ll go to your blog’s website name, with the word admin after. This is where I go to log into my WordPress account to add blog posts to The Wayward Home:
Below is what your log-in screen will look like. Use the credentials you used when you installed WordPress into your Siteground hosting account.
Once you log in for the first time, you’ll see your WordPress Dashboard, which will look a bit like the below screenshot.
I know this looks confusing at first, but you’ll soon get used to navigating your way around.
In order to pick a theme for your blog, you’ll have to navigate over to the left black column and hover over “Appearance”, then click “Themes” from the pop-out box.
See the screenshot below.
When you reach the “Themes” page, you’ll click “Add New”.
And from there, you can explore dozens of themes. You can click on them, scroll through them, even see a demo of them to get an idea of how they’ll look when installed on your website.
I’ve spent way too much time looking through theme demos! Just pick the one that looks best to you for now. Remember, you can very easily change your theme later.
You can choose one of the free themes right in your WordPress dashboard to get you started, or you can purchase a theme and then upload it directly to your WordPress site.
Here are some popular companies where you can purchase a theme. I started out using Elegant Themes and Divi for my account. About one year later I hired a designer who customized my site for $1,000 and built it out more professionally, but I waited until my blog was making an income to do this.
These are theme companies popular among bloggers:
Take a look around for yourself and see which theme works right for you. No matter which theme you pick, there will be a learning curve as you figure out exactly how to use it. Don’t get frustrated! Usually, themes come with documentation and training videos to help you out. Elegant Themes has a really good support ticket system, and I probably asked them at least 10,000 questions 🙂
If you’re going with a paid theme, you’ll have to upload it to your Dashboard after you buy.
To do this, go to “Upload Theme”.
WordPress will download and install your theme for you, and when you’re ready to start using it, simply click “Activate” and you’re ready to go.
Your self-hosted, money-making WordPress blog is now up and running through Siteground.
Congrats! This is a huge step.
I waited until I had about eight posts on my blog to make my website live, but it really doesn’t matter what you decide to do. People probably won’t be flocking to your blog right away, so you could even publish it with one or two posts only.
Write your very first posts on WordPress
Before you do anything else, you’ll want to create a few Pages on your WordPress blog. An About Page (see my example here) and a Contact page (see my contact page here) are both super important. You can also do a Start Here page if you want – I recently created a Start Here page to help guide people around my site.
If you’ve never used a WordPress blogging site before, it’s going to take some getting used to. There are a lot of YouTube videos that explain the WordPress dashboard. If you want to take a great free course, I recommend Grayson Bell’s Understanding WordPress: How to Navigate Self-Hosted WordPress.
Blogging isn’t a “get rich quick” scheme. You’ll need to invest some time and effort learning about blogging to turn it into a profitable business, just like anything in life! (I’ve invested over $1,000 in blogging courses and hundreds of hours of my time to make money blogging, but I think it’s worth it.)
Here are some general tips on how to navigate your WordPress dashboard:
- You create new blog posts by clicking “Posts” on the left-hand side and “Add New”
- You create a page by clicking “Pages” and “Add New”
- If you want to add photos to your WordPress blog, you’ll click on “Media” from that left-hand column
- To customize the way your sidebar and footer look, go to “Appearance” and Widgets”
- You’ll want to start gathering email addresses right away so you can send emails with links to your latest posts and offers. I suggest going with Convertkit as your email service provider
- To start learning about how to make money through affiliate marketing on your blog, I highly suggest the course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. This is a course written by millionare blogger Michelle Shroeder-Gardner. I bought this course right away because I wanted to learn how to monetize my blog immediately
If you’re confused about ANYTHING blogging-related, please write me at [email protected].
I’d love to help!
Kristin Hanes is a journalist who founded The Wayward Home as a place to learn about alternative living. She currently lives on a sailboat and in a Chevy Astro van, and has written articles about alternative living published in Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Marie Claire and SF Gate. Read more about Kristin here.