Blogging jobs: do they exist? The good news is YES and they can be quite lucrative if you’re lucky and work hard. But you’re also likely wondering how to get started, especially if you’re not familiar with the likes of web hosting and WordPress. Let me be your guide and take you through the basics of creating your own blogging job. In a future article we’ll talk about how to monetize the blog, but for now let’s concentrate on getting it set up.
Blogging Jobs: Getting Started
The very first thing you’ll need, and probably the hardest to obtain, is a good idea. I’m a firm believer in “writing what you know” – it certainly helps the words come out faster. Find a niche, is there something you’re really passionate about or good at? Then research other blogs in that niche. Is it already overcrowded with blogs? Can you bring something different to the table?
The niche also dictates your domain name. My domain name, thesidegigguru.com, came from wanting to be an authority on doing side gigs and hustles, and other related financial hustles. It’s still better to get a .com, even with all the fancy new extensions that are available these days. You can use whois.net to check for availability of domains. Spend some time thinking up something catchy and easy to remember!
Hosting and WordPress
Hosting is the place that you blog lives on the Internet. The connectivity it needs and the hardware the blog runs on.
We’re using Bluehost for this blog for the following reasons:
- Solid technical support via chat
- A “one-click” WordPress installation even on the cheapest hosting plan
- Free domain registration ($10-15 value)
- Plans starting at $7.99/month. If you use the ads on our site to sign up, you’ll get a 50% discount and will be able to sign up for $3.95/month
This blog is running on the exact same $3.95/month plan mentioned above. For the price of a fancy coffee you could have a blog!
So go ahead and head over to Bluehost and select the $3.95 plan.
So go ahead and use the link to set yourself up on Bluehost and when you’re doing, you’ll be directed to a control panel. From there click the “Install WordPress” icon under “Website”.
Adding To WordPress
A theme stylizes the look and feel of your blog. There are hundreds if not thousands of WordPress themes available. You can spend as little (free) or as much as you like on one. There definitely are free themes that work well – this blog uses the free IonMag theme.
WordPress comes with some built-in themes, or you can use sites like Theme Forest to buy, download and then upload themes to your WordPress. Once you have a theme you can also customize that theme yourself or get someone to do it for you. This is easy in some themes (driven done by menus) and hard in others (driven by cryptic CSS code).
Jetpack should have been installed for you with WordPress if you used our link to Bluehost. It does a whole bunch of little things for you, but the thing I like the most is the better statistics that show you who’s visiting your site and from where.
Insert Headers and Footers
We’re going to need this plugin later on. In essence, it allows you to embed code in your WordPress pages.
You might have learned of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, before. It’s the techniques to make sure that Google finds you and that you feature in search results. Yoast is a tool for WordPress that makes building SEO-friendly content easy.
MailChimp is a mailing list manager that I happen to like. ChimpMate integrates MailChip with WordPress and provides those boxes on my page that invite you to sign up for offers.
Autoptimize improves your WordPress site’s speed and ultimately improves the experience for those reading your blog as things are more snappy. Having a fast loading landing page helps reduce the amount of “bounce” away from your blog. This will help your score on Google Page Insights.
Testing Your Blog
Before you really start blogging as a side hustle you’ll want to test your site to make sure it both works and that the experience is acceptable for your readers.
Google Page Insight
My favourite test tool is Google Page Insight. It’s free, reputable (it’s made by Google after all) and easy to use. The reports are readable by regular human beings, too. You want a grade of more than 85%.
Pingdom is another test provider, but you’ll have to sign up for a Free Trial to use it. It offers the advantage of slightly more technical reports and testing from multiple locations. One of the advantages of Pingdom is you can test from Sweden and Australia to gauge the user experience outside of North America.
Putting It All Together
So now you have a domain, hosting, WordPress installed, some plugins to WordPress that’ll get you off to the races and are ready to write your first post. You’re blogging as a side gig!
In the next article we’ll talking monetizing your blog and search engine optimization.