How to Start a Personal Blog and Make Money (in 2023)
In this post, I’ll show you the steps in starting a personal blog.
You don’t need experience in website development or coding.
Just follow the instructions below and you’ll have your own personal blog within the day.
Let’s get cracking.
How to start a personal blog?
The best way to start a personal blog is to use a self-hosted domain. This will give you complete control and ownership of your website.
To build a self-hosted personal blog, the first thing you need is a solid domain name.
1. Come up with the perfect blog name
In a personal blog, your identity is significantly more important than your niche.
Besides, the whole point of a personal blog is to write about topics you’re personally interested in.
That said, the first order of business is to come up with an awesome blog name.
There are three ways you can do this:
Use your own name
Sometimes, the simplest strategies work the best. If you have a unique, catchy, or “brandable” name, feel free to use it as your domain name.
A great example would be Penelope Trunk with her blog – also called Penelope Trunk.
If you have a cool-sounding name that can be used on your blog, you can move on to the next step. Otherwise, here are other things you can try.
Play with your nickname
You can use your nickname to create a unique name for your personal blog. Mix and match it with any phrase or word you can think of.
For example, Joanna Goddard combined the phrase “cup of joe” with her nickname “Jo.” The result is a rather snappy name: Cup of Jo.
You can refer to several websites to learn idioms, sayings, and random phrases you can infuse with your nickname. The Phrase Finder, for instance, can supply you with 2,500 English phrases and sayings with corresponding explanations.
Still can’t come up with a blog name you’re happy with?
You don’t have to force your name on it.
Have fun with words that describe you
Absolutely anyone should be able to come up with words that describe them. It can be anything, from dad, skinny, blonde, brown-eyed, and so on.
Get creative by combining it with common words or phrases – whatever pops into mind.
That’s exactly what Adrian Kulp of Dad or Alive did when he named his personal blog.
Use a quote that you personally live by
A number of personal bloggers create their domain names around a short quote or phrase they live by.
This can be from a movie, book, or any material that won’t sue you for using their lines.
For instance, if your personal blog revolves around your love for bikes, start with a line like “Ride or Die.” In fact, you can go ahead and check if the website name “RideOrDie.com” is available.
Personal blog domain name ideas
There are plenty of personal bloggers who used the techniques above to pick a name. For your inspiration, here’s a list of some of the most memorable personal blog names in the business:
- Middle Class Dad
- By Sophia Lee
- Marie Forleo
- Tiny Buddha
- Tech Savvy Mama
- Megan the Vegan Mom
2. Hosting your blog name
Once you found your ideal personal blog name, it’s time to choose your web hosting service provider.
I have experience with a handful of different web hosting companies throughout my 11-year blogging career. Overall, I strongly suggest using Bluehost for most bloggers due to the following factors:
- Great customer support
- Reliable performance and uptime
- Easy to use
Bluehost also offers FREE domain registration for new customers. This is an excellent package deal for beginners looking to build their first personal blog.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that Bluehost is the top-recommended web hosting for WordPress. The hosting platform features a dashboard tailored to help you set up, configure, and optimize a WordPress-powered site.
To get started with Bluehost, go here and click ‘Get Started Now.’
On the “Select Your Plan” page, choose the plan that fits your needs and budget.
I recommend the “Basic” plan if you only want a single personal blog.
On the next page, enter your desired blog name under “Create a new domain” and click ‘Next.’
You also have the option to choose a different domain extension or “Top-Level Domain” (TLD). But as a rule of thumb, it’s best to just leave it at the “.com” extension.
If your domain is available, you can proceed with the rest of the checkout process by completing your payment information.
Want to check if the domain name you want is available? You can use the widget below to do a quick check and immediately head to the checkout process!
Feel free to tweak the “Package Extras” section according to your needs. When you’re happy with your payment form, scroll down, agree to the renewal terms, and click ‘Submit.’
That’s it – your personal blog is now hosted.
This takes us to the next step.
3. Setting up WordPress on your domain
To install and build a WordPress site using Bluehost, you’ll need to create an account.
You can do this as soon as you’re done paying for your hosting plan.
Just click ‘Create Account’ to continue.
You will then be required to create a password for your main Bluehost account. Simply follow the onscreen instructions until you reach the hosting login form.
Once there, enter the credentials you just created and click ‘Log In.’
After logging in, Bluehost should automatically assist you in creating your WordPress site.
First, enter your personal blog’s name and tagline. When done, click to enable the toggle shown below before clicking ‘Continue.’
In the next step, Bluehost will ask about your goals. Fill up the form to receive recommendations that will help build your WordPress site.
When done, click ‘Continue to Theme Selection’ to select a starting theme. Don’t think too much about it – you can pick a different theme later.
What’s important is you head to the “My Sites” page on your Bluehost dashboard and click ‘Log in to WordPress.’
During your first login, there’s no need to manually create an admin account for WordPress. You’ll be launched straight to the dashboard, which looks something like this:
But in order to access your dashboard quicker, I recommend setting a new password for your username.
To do this, go to the “Users” page and click on your account.
On your user page, scroll down to “Account Management” and click ‘Set New Password.’ You can type your new password in the text field that appears directly below.
To save your new password, scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Update Profile.’
You can now start customizing your brand-new personal blog.
4. Personalize your blog’s theme
One of the first things new WordPress users do is pick a theme for their website.
As a personal blogger, this is an incredibly important decision. But it should also be fun to look around at the themes that WordPress has to offer.
To check out all the free, ready-to-use themes, go to ‘Appearance’ and click ‘Themes.’ From there, click ‘Add New’ and you’ll be presented with WordPress’s entire built-in library of themes.
Since this is your personal blog, try to look for a theme that matches your personal style and taste.
Keep in mind that every WordPress theme is customizable down to the smallest details. That said, don’t focus on fonts and colors – look for page layouts, menus, and functional elements you like.
Most importantly, pick a theme that’s built for optimal performance and readability.
It may be your personal blog, but if you want to make money blogging, don’t forget about the user experience.
Personal blog design ideas
To get things up to speed, let’s have a look at some personal blog homepage designs brimming with personality:
Life with Emily
Mr. Money Moustache
Color Me Courtney
For maximum design flexibility and functionality, pick from one of the 7 Best WordPress Themes for Bloggers. There, I talked about the features, pricing, and real use cases of each theme. Have fun building!
5. Create your “About Me” page
One of the essential building blocks of a personal blog is the “About” page.
That’s where your audience can decide if you’re someone they can really trust.
You can tell a story, highlight your achievements, share your hobbies – anything that helps readers get to know you better. You should also write a paragraph or two about your personal blog’s mission.
There are also some personal bloggers who spiced up their About Me page with an inspirational quote.
To help you write spicy About Me pages, you can observe how expert personal bloggers do it.
Let’s look at some examples.
Personal blog About Me examples
You know you read a great About Me page if you still remember it weeks or even months after.
Here are some of the most well-written About Me pages that stuck with me:
1. Dad or Alive – Adrian Kulp
2. Suffolk Scribblings – Dylan Hearn
3. Zen Habits – Leo Babauta
4. The Everywhereist – Geraldine DeRuiter
5. Color Me Courtney – Courtney Quinn
Not sure how you’ll write your personal blog’s About Me page?
Whenever inspiration is scarce, you can always fall back on my six-step formula.
Basically, there are six things you can focus on when writing your About Me page:
- A killer headline
- Compelling starting paragraph
- A crystal-clear profile image
- Your introduction
- Some social proof (if any)
- A call-to-action
You can read my six-step guide on writing an About Me page to learn how to incorporate these elements.
6. Write a short personal blog bio
Another crucial element of your personal blog is your bio.
Put simply, it should serve as your short introduction to readers who are visiting your blog for the first time. You should also consider adding some contact information, like your email address and links to your social media profiles.
Below are some of my favorite personal blog bio examples:
1. Chris Guillebeau – The Art of Non-Conformity
2. Sophia Lee – By Sophia Lee
3. Jeff Campbell – Middle Class Dad
4. Emily Helm – Life with Emily
5. Ehmonie Hainey – What’s Haute
Writing your personal blog bio is a little bit tricky.
For some, it’s as easy as introducing yourself to strangers. For the overthinkers, it can be a very frustrating challenge.
Whether you’re having trouble with your bio or not, read my guide on how to introduce yourself as a blogger. It comes with helpful examples as well as a foolproof template for writing your personal blog bio.
7. Determine your personal blog categories
After building your About Me page, you should already have a few ideas on what topics to write about.
Remember, getting to know the person behind a blog is a huge part of the experience. But a personal blog still needs top-quality, relevant content to gain popularity.
The first order of business is to determine the content categories you’ll focus on.
Most – if not all – personal bloggers have them.
For example, Geraldine DeRuiter of The Everywhereist has a lot of travel guides on top of her other posts. These are sorted into categories like “Random Musings,” “Life at Home,” “Rants and Raves,” and “Nothing to Do With Travel.”
To create categories on WordPress, select ‘Posts’ from your dashboard and click ‘Categories.’
From there, enter your new category’s name, description, and URL slug. Click ‘Add New Category’ to save your new category.
Using categories will make it easier for your readers to find posts they enjoy.
To give you an idea, here are some of the common categories that personal bloggers write about:
8. Add your personal blog tagline
A personal blog’s tagline is a short description of what you’re all about. It can be a complete sentence, phrase, or just a string of content categories.
The tagline is displayed below the blog’s name, letting readers know what to expect. It can also appear next to your personal blog’s name in search engine results.
A great blog tagline will help you get more clicks in search engine results. This, in turn, can have a positive effect on your search engine rankings.
For ideas, here are a few other tagline examples from personal blogs:
- By Sophia Lee – “Making your not so perfect life look perfect”
- Suffolk Scribblings – “All is not quiet in the countryside”
- Penelope Trunk – “Advice at the intersection of work and life”
- Dad or Alive – “The confessions of an unexpected stay-at-home dad”
- WoogsWorld – “Making the most out of the mundane”
- Mr. Money Mustache – “Financial Freedom Through Badassity”
- Chris Guillebeau – “You don’t have to live your life the way others expect”
Ready to write your personal blog’s tagline?
The easiest way is through WordPress’s general settings page.
Simply head to your dashboard, go to ‘Settings’ and click ‘General.’
Nice – your personal blog is officially ready to launch!
But before you pull the trigger, you’ll need some content.
Let me help you come up with ideas.
Personal blog content ideas
As a personal blogger, you’re in charge of the topics you’ll blog about.
You can experiment with a couple of candid articles about your life. This is a great way to discover your inner writing voice and identify the topics you enjoy writing about.
To give you an example, Adrian Kulp started his blog with posts about random topics. There’s an article about car seats, his daughter’s birth, and his love for baseball.
What makes articles like these important is their evergreen value.
No matter how long ago they were posted, new visitors will still enjoy reading them – given they’re well-written, of course.
If you still can’t think of something, here’s a list of easy personal blog content ideas you can write about:
- Your recent accomplishments
- A story about people you know
- A past experience
- Important life events
- Challenges you overcame
- Health issues bothering you
- An open letter to your past or future self
- Interesting facts about yourself
- Your weird habits
- The apps you use
- Your daily rituals
- Something you recently bought
In a nutshell, you don’t have to think too hard when you’re just starting out. Whatever it is you want to write about, go for it – it’s your personal blog, after all.
Here’s a bonus tip: you can check my list of 621 lifestyle blog post ideas for topics you can cover. With this list in hand, you can have attention-grabbing blog content for months!
That is up to you.
Some personal bloggers enjoy the simple activity of publishing articles every once in a while. Others, however, try to scale it further by monetizing their personal blog.
This can be done in a number of ways, like:
- Offering online coaching or consulting services
- Displaying ads
- Earning commissions through affiliate marketing
- Selling digital products
- Publishing sponsored posts
- Selling online courses
- Finding clients or customers for your local business
Related: 89 Blog Monetization Strategies: The Ultimate List (2023)
If your personal blog is new, you don’t have to worry about any of these for now.
Just focus on building a reader base, building your authority, and gaining your audience’s trust. Once you have recurring traffic, you can shift your focus into setting up funnels for your offers.
It’s not something we can casually discuss in a mini section. To learn more about increasing conversions and sales, I recommend reading this guide.
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