Over 7 years ago, I started MapleMoney.com – not as a coupon blog, but as a personal diary. After talking about my own couponing escapades numerous times, my readers suggested turning the blog into a couponing site. Considering that’s mostly what I talked about anyway, I figured, why not? I love teaching people how to save money – especially with coupons!
So, around 2008, the site switched from personal diary to frugal living and coupon blog.
Now, 6 years after making the switch, I can proudly say that I am the owner of a very successful business, with a small team of amazing people, and thousands of readers that visit MapleMoney daily to learn all about saving money, using coupons, and of course – finding awesome deals!
And now, I want YOU to have that same success. If you’ve ever thought about starting your own blog, this series is for you.
How to Make Money Blogging
After launching our blogger resources page a few weeks ago, I’ve had numerous requests for a blog post on starting a blog and making it profitable. What a great idea! Anything to help you earn some extra cash. However, this cannot be explained in one post, or you’d be reading for days and days!
Instead, every Monday for the next month, I’m going to share my tips on starting a blog and how you can make money blogging.
This week, we’re going to talk about setting up your blog – the most important first step for any successful blog.
Setting up Your Blog – Domain Name
The very first thing you’re going to need is a place to send your readers! Have you given any thought to what you want to write about? Maybe you’re a gardening enthusiast and love talking about how to garden. Maybe you are a fashionista and get giddy when it comes to fashion. Or maybe you’re like me and you love teaching others how to save money.
Decide on your topic, then, buy your domain name. And yes, I said buy your domain name. Don’t get a domain on a free site, such as Blogspot or WordPress.com. People take you much more seriously if you own your domain name (.COM is the best, too, if you can get it!).
I recommend GoDaddy for your domain name, simply because the site is easy to use and domain names are very inexpensive (they often have coupon codes available, too!). Not only that, but they have incredible customer service. Without a coupon code, a domain name will cost you around $10/year on GoDaddy. That’s it!
Setting up Your Blog – Hosting
The second thing you need to do after you’ve purchased your domain, is to find a good hosting company. There are tons of them out there, but many are crap, if I can be so blunt.
I set up MapleMoney.com with BlueHost when I first started, and loved them very much. They are perfect for a new blogger. The prices are low and the service is fantastic. My site never once went down when we were hosted with BlueHost.
Now that the site is much bigger, we had to switch to a different hosting company, but I always recommend BlueHost to new bloggers because they really just cannot be beat for newcomers!
Setting up Your Blog – Design
First impressions are everything, so you need to make sure that your site is presentable before you start sending people there to check it out. I recommend WordPress as your blogging platform. It’s free, it’s easy to use, and it’s one of the most widely used blogging platforms out there.
This also means you need to design your site. If you’re not a designer, please don’t pretend to be. Hire it out. There are many affordable options out there when it comes to web design. My favourite is Fiverr.com. It’s amazing how much people will do for just $5!
If you really can’t afford to spend anything on design, check out the free WordPress themes that are available. There are tons of them, and many are very nice! If you can afford it, try to at least purchase a header for your site, or a small logo – just so you can personalize your blog.
Setting up Your Blog – Content
This is the fun part – deciding what to write about. This week, try to come up with 100 blog post ideas. You don’t need to write the content, just the ideas for blog posts. Write down as many ideas as you can think of, but keep your topic in mind. If your blog is about fashion, it would be silly to write a post about saving money on cat food.
Take a look at your favourite blogs in your niche/topic. What posts have they written that received a lot of comments and social media shares? Can you write similar posts for your blog (don’t copy them, of course – put your own spin on things and make your content original)? Write these ideas down, too.
Look on Google Keyword Tool and search for your topic. You will see all sorts of keyword ideas – those could be your blog posts. For example, if you blogged about DIY projects, you could write articles on DIY Mother’s Day Gifts, DIY Pet Toys, DIY Wall Decor, DIY Furniture, etc.
Use the Google keyword tool to find the most popular keywords in your niche, and then build content around those keywords.
Join me next week for part 2 of How to Make Money Blogging!