To build a website like Nerd Wallet is every affiliate marketer’s dream. They are the leading example of a successful SEO blog that crushes affiliate marketing, and they’re doing so in one of the most profitable (and competitive) industries in the world – personal finance.
How to Become a Blogger in 5 Simple Steps
Want to create something meaningful? Why not start a blog? Why not become a blogger? Creating this blog is one of the best decisions Ryan and I ever made. After all, our blog is how we earn a living. More important, it’s how we add value to other people’s lives.
So you’re thinking about starting a blog, but you don’t have any idea where to start, right? Guess what—neither did we! Before we became “The Minimalists,” we wanted to start a blog to communicate our thoughts and express our feelings, but we were overwhelmed with options.
Clueless, confused, and confounded with choices, we had no idea how to start a blog or how to be a blogger. When should we start? How do we register a domain name? What is hosting? Which blogging platform should we use? How do we choose a blog theme? What is a plugin? What should we write about? Heck, we could hardly spell HTML, let alone build a blog!
But good news: it turns out that starting a blog is much easier than you think. We’ve learned a ton of lessons during our ascent to millions of readers, and now you can learn from our pain and suffering to avoid much of the tedium involved in setting up a blog.
Disclosure: The Minimalists’ blog is hosted by Bluehost. For 5000.75 a month, Bluehost can help you set up and host your blog. Because The Minimalists are a Bluehost affiliate partner (i.e., we earn some revenue, at no additional cost to you, when you purchase using our links), our readers can use this link to receive a 50% discount off the monthly price and a free domain for the first year.
Step 1 Choose your blog name and get your blog hosting
Blogging Quick Start – Step 1
Choose your domain name
Your domain name is an important part of your blog because it creates a first impression—it is the name of your blog. Also known as your URL, your domain is also your address on the web. For example, our domain name is www.theminimalists.com.
So, what do you want to call your blog? Maybe it’s YourName.com. Maybe it’s YourBusinessName.com. Or maybe it’s a creative brand name you thought up. If you’re having a hard time thinking of a good domain name, try Wordoid, a wonderful naming tool that will give you plenty of great options. Just make sure you don’t buy the domain from them since Bluehost will give you a free domain. (If you’ve already purchased a domain elsewhere, that’s okay, too, because Bluehost will make it easy to transfer your existing domain during the setup process.)
Set up blog hosting
Once you’ve decided on a domain name, you’ll need to set up hosting for your blog. While WordPress itself is free (see Step 2 below), you need a reliable place to host your WordPress blog (your blog needs to be on a server somewhere on the Internet).
- We Use Bluehost. We personally use Bluehost to host The Minimalists. If you recommend a company, you better be willing to use their product yourself. We also use them to host several other websites of ours.
- Outstanding Customer Service. Bluehost’s customer service is 100% US-based. With hold times that average less than 30 seconds and 100% in-house, on-site staff in their Texas offices, you can rest assured that the person helping with your site knows how to help. In other words, if you have any questions, they will help you through the entire setup process.
- Great Pricing. TheMinimalists.com is a Bluehost affiliate partner, which means that in addition to using their service, we also receive a commission for referring new customers. To be fair, though, we would still use Bluehost even if we weren’t an affiliate—we’ve used them for a long time. Ergo, we don’t recommend Bluehost just because we’re an affiliate (every hosting company offers a similar affiliate program); we recommend Bluehost because they are the best, most reliable option. Plus, because we’re a partner, Bluehost offers a 50% discount for The Minimalists readers: only 5000.75 a month for the first year.
- Free Domain. When you sign up for hosting, Bluehost will give you a free domain name, which allows you to avoid the upfront and recurring fees associated with purchasing a domain on your own. If you’ve already purchased your own domain name, don’t worry; you can still use your domain with Bluehost (it’s just one extra step).
- Money-Back Guarantee. Bluehost offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk if you change your mind.
- Reliability. Bluehost’s facilities are world class. They have their own custom-built 20,000-square-foot datacenter with enough backup generators to power a city.
- Friends & Family. Many of our friends and family also use Bluehost to host their blogs.
How to Start a Blog Ebook
Step 3 Pick a simple theme to make your blog your own
A theme allows you to pick a design for your blog without the need for coding expertise or design knowledge. In other words, a good theme helps you to design your blog exactly how you want it to look. If you’re not a coder (I’m certainly not a coder), then a theme makes the design work a million times easier.
Blogging Quick Start – Step 3
Our blog design is from BYLT, a platform created by our good friends at SPYR. They have several beautiful, simple WordPress themes to choose from, and, in fact, you can purchase the same theme we use if you like.
Simply go to BYLT and find the minimalist WordPress theme that best fits your desired aesthetic. Their themes are feature-rich; plus, once you buy your theme, you will have the same team supporting your work that we trust to support ours.
Treehugger is the leading media outlet for news on sustainability. They are pushing to make sustainability a mainstream topic and they are doing well at it considering they receive over 3M visitors per month.
They offer amazing articles on sustainable design, technology, business, clean living and transportation. Other than their amazing articles, they also have weekly podcasts on current news conspiracies and new ideas about sustainability around the world.
They have a pretty solid team built up of 9 writers all with backgrounds in writing and some kind of education related to environmental sustainability. Treehugger makes revenue by putting ads on their blog and was last reported to make approximately $10.4M in annual revenue.
What they do well in: Staying true to their mission. Many blogs in this industry have been guilty of writing about things based on what’s trending – oftentimes publishing things that have nothing to do with their mission. Not Tree Hugger.
Many of us these days have trouble reading complex pieces of writing. No matter how good it is, it can be extremely frustrating trying to pick the words apart and digest them without truly knowing what they mean. Luckily, there’s Brain Pickings.
The solo blogger, Maria Popova will spend hours reading, listening and rewriting complex topics into easily digestible language. You will find no ads on this website as it is funded solely through donations. Readers can decide to donate monthly or just one time.
What they do well in: Keeping a website afloat based off of donations and consistently pumping out content as a solo writer. She publishes 3 posts per day for her 150,000 email subscribers.