So you want to start a blog? NZ bloggers are starting to make big names for themselves in the world, so it’s only natural that blogging will rise in popularity.
It would be difficult to write a blog about making money online and not acknowledge that it is possible to make money from blogging (2018 Update: I’m now a full time blogger and writing more about blogging to make money – here).
Some of the bloggers I follow make thousands of dollars each month. It seemed like an unlikely dream to me, when I first started blogging way back in 2010. I liked writing, and blogging was an easy way to keep doing that after I had kids.
However, if you have a look on Pinterest, you will find thousands of bloggers posting monthly blogging income reports and many of them make more than a full-time living from their blog, each month. It’s mind-blowing. Here’s a wee bit of background on how I got into blogging.
How I Became a Personal Finance Blogger
In 2010 I attended a social media workshop for my job and that was really where I heard about blogging for the first time. I created a free blog on wordpress.com and had no idea that I could ever turn it into a money-maker.
In 2012 when I was researching travel with my young baby son I started to read blogs by parents who travelled with their babies. These blogs were so helpful in planning our first big trip with a baby, and also piqued my interest in blogging as a medium, although I still didn’t see blogging as a viable way to make money.
For a couple of years, I wrote on a different domain to my main blog now. I mainly wrote about travel but I didn’t really like travel blogging and I didn’t think that I could do it long term. Although I love to travel, being a travel blogger is hard work, and for a below average photographer, the leap was too great. It’s a highly saturated market so you have to be amazing to make a go of it. Besides, it wasn’t my passion.
Tip: Choose a topic you could talk about all day long.
I knew I would get longevity out of money, specifically personal finances. Ever since I got serious about eliminating consumer debt, I’ve been fascinated by personal finance. I feel like knowing how to use money the right way is an amazing gift, and I’m responsible for passing that on because it’s truly life-changing.
In early 2015 I launched my current blog and I now make a decent income from my blog. I’ve also become much more knowledgeable about how people make money blogging so I thought I would share some info with you in case you were interested in creating your own blog.
How to start a money-making blog in 5 simple steps
1. Decide on your niche/topic
Do people always ask you about the same thing? Are you known as the person to talk to about x topic? Is there a topic you love to discuss with people and you would like to expand your knowledge in? Blog about that. That’s your niche (rhymes with quiche – unless you’re American then it rhymes with pitch – weird, right :)).
If you need help deciding a niche, investing in a blogging course could help you decide.
2. Find a .com domain name you can live with
.com is the gold standard UNLESS you are planning to solely target Kiwis. In that case, you might want to buy the .co.nz or .nz version as well as the .com. If you can’t get the .com because someone else has it, you should pick another domain. That’s not to say another TLD (top level domain like .org, .co, .blog etc) won’t work for you, but make sure you don’t confuse your reader by choosing a domain similar to another. For example. If you wanted myawesomeblog.com but someone else had it, don’t go out and buy myawesomeblog.org. You’ll confuse readers and likely lose them to the domain with more clout – the .com. Think of something different with a .com available.
If you are going to buy a .com domain, I recommend Namesilo. Their .com domains are around $9USD, and you can use this coupon (MLM1OFF) to get $1 off. It’s the cheapest .com domain registrar I’ve come across. Click this link to visit Namesilo now.
For .co.nz or .nz, you’ll need to buy from a local registrar like domains4less.co.nz.
3. Purchase hosting and install WordPress
Ok, this is where things start to get serious. You’ve purchased your domain name. Next thing you need to do is to purchase hosting. I highly recommend and personally use SiteGround. Their service is excellent, and their live chat is always available to walk you through any issues you have when setting up WordPress. This is my affiliate link to SiteGround, I do get a commission if you sign up via this link, but I wouldn’t recommend a product I didn’t use and love. They charge in USD, but it’s only around $5NZD per month.
One of the best features of SiteGround is their website transfer service. They will transfer an existing site to their hosting for you, free of charge. This was such a relief as I was worried I would stuff something up doing it myself and I didn’t have the budget to pay someone.
How to Purchase Hosting With SiteGround
Step 1. Choosing your hosting plan
SiteGround has three plans and I recommend starting out with StartUp to keep the cost low. You can always upgrade later when you have tonnes of traffic.
Once you’ve completed your hosting purchase, SiteGround provides numerous tutorials for installing WordPress. They will even transfer one existing site for you, free of charge. Just contact Siteground support via chat and they will get you on the right track.
4. Secure your social media handles
You’ll want to grab at least Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter handle. Facebook is still the best place for most bloggers to reach their audience. Twitter is great for networking with other bloggers. You’ll also need to set-up Pinterest if you have a resource or how-to type of blog. I receive about 60% of my traffic from Pinterest now. I don’t like to call it a social network, as it’s more of a visual search engine. Either way, get on it.
Once you’ve got everything else sorted, the last and most important step is to get writing. A blog is only as good as its most useful and helpful content. Since we’re talking about money-making blogs, my advice is this: Think about the topics you specialise in and how those topics intersect with what readers are searching for on Google and Pinterest. To do that, open Google and type in the keywords you want to target. For example, how to make a budget, how to paint a door, tips for travelling in Egypt. Have a read of the first ten organic results. See exactly what you’re up against. With that in mind, don’t be afraid to just give things a go. Most new blogs have very few readers in the beginning, so test out what works for you and have fun with it. You never know where blogging could take you!
Starting a blog in New Zealand has opened up huge opportunities for me as a freelance writer, and also enabled me to connect with like-minded people. I love blogging and hope to one day make it my full-time job. Have you ever considered becoming a blogger?