Inside: Everything you need to know to start a blog in 2021 to make money working at home.
YES, you can still make it as a mom blogger! I support my family of 5 completely with the earnings from my blog – this is my story and how you can copy my blueprint for blogging success (without the same mistakes I made along the way!)
EDIT: Today, 22nd October 2021, you can start a blog for as low as $2.95 per month for 12 months. affiliate link (That’s only $35.40 for the entire year!) Hurry, this deal ends SOON. PS – you also get a free domain name ($15 value) when you sign up for a year’s hosting with Bluehost!
How to Start a Blog in 2021 that Makes Money
I started my blog in January 2015 — and even the five short years since, I’ve seen the industry grow and change in so many ways!
The core information in those posts is still spot-on — the same basic principals to start a blog have not changed.
However, there are quite a few things about the industry itself that are different, so I decided to expand on my earlier posts and get a little more specific for how to start a mom blog in 2021.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- The first step to start a blog in 2021
- Choosing a host and setting up your WordPress blog
- The Importance of Having an Email List for your Blog
- How to Make Money Blogging
- How to set your mom blog apart from all the others (and not get lost in the crowd!)
- What’s changed for bloggers in 2021 and how to position yourself for success
- Blogging Tips
Before you get started:
If you haven’t read any of my earlier posts, I highly recommend that you start with this one about how to create a blog from the ground up, and next read the 5 things I wish I’d known before I started my own blog. <– seriously…read this! You don’t want to make the same mistakes I did!
Then meet me back here and I’ll update you on what’s new in the blogging industry for 2021!
Note: I’ve included ad and affiliate links for products/services that I use and love and that might be helpful for you too; read my disclosure policy here.
The Very First Step: Choosing Your Web Hosting Company
The first step? Claim your very own place on the web!
By this, I mean that you need to choose and secure a domain name (your URL or website address) and hosting (who will store your website data and serve it to your visitors).
While there are a few places you can start a blog for free, I recommend that you skip the free platforms and start right away with your own self-hosted website.
I talk about this in almost all of my blogging posts because I started on a free site and had to switch a few months later to a paid host. It was a bit of a hassle and I had to pay someone to make the switch because I didn’t want to risk losing any of my information or messing up.
Because I want to save you the time, extra costs, and trouble that I went through, I’ll briefly go over again why I encourage new bloggers to start out on their own self-hosted website (instead of a free platform).
Why I recommend a self-hosted WordPress blog (WordPress.org that is)
- WordPress.com and many other free blogging sites place strict limits on monetization, so if your goal is to make money then this is not the option for you.
- On a free blogging service, your website URL will be long and cumbersome. Example: www.yourblognamehere.wordpress.com — yikes! Not only does it look less professional, but it will be harder for readers to remember.
- A self-hosted blog gives you control over your content, and you don’t risk losing everything if that platform closes or decides to shut down your site for any reason (rare, but it does happen). Essentially, with a free blogging site, you don’t totally own your own website and that is NOT ideal.
- If you start with self-hosted, you won’t need to pay to switch over later or try to figure out how to do it on your own. Because real talk, if you’re serious about blogging as a career, you will need to be on a self-hosted website. So much easier to just do it from the start!
Note: If you already are on a self-hosted website, feel free to skip down a few sections to “What’s Changed in 2021.”
If you haven’t started your blog yet, or are still on a free blogging platform then you definitely want to keep reading! The next couple of sections cover choosing a host and setting up your blog.
There are SO many blog hosting options – how do you choose?
When I made the switch to a self-hosted blog, I looked at 3 factors to choose my hosting service:
- Price – I wanted to keep expenses as low as possible since I wasn’t making a profit yet.
- Service – I had a small amount of prior coding knowledge, but I wanted to make sure that I could call my host anytime if I had questions.
- Recommendations – I asked around! What host did other bloggers choose? Why? I even asked my tech-savvy friends in the computer programming industry who they thought would be best for me. One name kept coming up, and it really steered me in the right direction.
After all my research, the choice for me was clear: Bluehost.
They came highly recommended. Lots of other bloggers that I knew and trusted were also hosted by Bluehost. Plus, my close friend who’s been in the computer programming industry for decades highly recommended Bluehost.
They offer 24/7 service. That’s right, I could literally call anytime of day or night (and I did!!) to get help with my blog. This was invaluable when I noticed an attack on my website at 1:00am (bloggers sometimes work late) and they were able to get it stopped within minutes.
The price is right. To be honest, this was the deciding factor for me. As a new blogger, I didn’t want to sink a lot of money into expenses before I started making any money back! The good thing with Bluehost is that they offer starter plans as low as $2.95 (a special price just for my readers) and a FREE domain name (when you sign up for 1 year hosting plan).
Bluehost is trusted by over 2 million websites, their service is available 24/7, and the monthly fee for a starter plan is less than a cup of premium coffee — it was a no-brainer for me!
If you’ve researched hosting at all, you’ll probably see a few other companies recommended too. Understandable, as I’m sure there are other companies that offer good service too (though it would be hard to match Bluehost’s prices!)
I also want to address negative reviews you might see – a few negative reviews are a given for just about any business out there. Everyone is entitled to their opinions.
What I can say to the negative reviews is that my experience with Bluehost was 100% positive. They provided my site with dependable service even when my traffic hit 200,000 page views a month or more (which is serious traffic)! When The Soccer Mom Blog hit 1/2 million monthly page views, I moved to a specialized host, but I still start new pages on Bluehost because the value is impossible to beat!
I feel confident recommending Bluehost because I used them to grow my site from a few thousand hits a month to hundreds of thousands of page views. I was able to quickly get through to customer service anytime (super important because I’ve seen bloggers get hacked and not be able to get in touch with their host for half a day!) Oh, and did I mention the price is pretty much the best in the industry?!
Click here to sign up with Bluehost through my link and you’ll pay LESS than their regularly-listed plans PLUS get a free domain name!
Still have questions?
- Find out more about why I chose Bluehost hosting here!
- Get a breakdown of all the blog hosting features you need here!
Step 2: Set Up Your WordPress Blog
Once you have your host and your name settled, you’ve got to get your site set up.
I walk you through this process in my Step by Step Guide to Set Up a WordPress Blog here. It only takes a few minutes to get started, and then you’re on your way to writing and creating!
You might also want to check out which blogging tools I use and recommend (and which you can skip).
Bookmark this page, so you can check out those setup guides first if needed.
Step 3: Create an Email List Immediately
Social media platforms are constantly changing their algorithms, which is why it’s so important that you have an email list for your blog! Having an email list allows you to connect one-on-one with your readers and even send them updates!
You can use your email list to drive traffic to affiliate opportunities, market your paid products, and even get traffic to your blog!
There are so many reasons to use an email list, which is why I’ve outlined my top six reasons here.
Don’t wait to do this!!
The longer you wait to start your email list, you’re wasting opportunities to gain subscribers!
Get Started NOW: Click here to read my guide to setting up an email list!
Step 4: Learn How to Make Money Blogging
You want to make money with your blog, right? Of course, you do!
Whether you are running a hobby blog or a business blog, it is possible to make money with your blog!
There are a ton of bloggers who will publish their income reports and help you get started with your blog.
If you don’t know where to start, look at another blogger’s income report. These income reports will give you valuable insights into not only how they are making their income, but where their income is coming from!
In addition to the income reports, you may be able to find tips and tricks for getting started! If you are just starting out, then reading success stories or tips for growing your traffic can be extremely helpful! These posts are written by bloggers who are making money from their blogs, and sharing their exact formula for how they made that happen!
I wrote a whole post dedicated to answering blogging questions that you can check out here.
So, how DO bloggers make money?
There are a ton of different ways that bloggers can earn an income through blogging!
- One is through sponsored posts, both on your blog and/or social media. Sponsored posts are when you are paid to share your opinion on a product, service, or even share your experience.
- Another option is through referrals and affiliates. Affiliate links and referrals are a great way to earn money by promoting products or services that you are already using! When they click one of your links and make a purchase or sign up, you’ll earn a commission.
- You can even help other bloggers by learning how to become a virtual assistant!
If you want to know more about how you can make money blogging, I wrote a whole post about six things you need if you want to start making money blogging here.
Step 5: Set Your Mom Blog Apart from All the Others
“Mom Blog” is a pretty broad website topic, but it is also one of the most profitable blogging niches! (Moms have a lot of buying power, and brands recognize that).
The key is to set yourself apart from all the other mom blogs out there – what makes your blog unique? What perspective do you offer that is different from other bloggers? How can you connect to readers in a way that no one else can?
(And honestly, this question is important no matter what type of blog you have — from travel to food!)
- “Cheat Sheet” — I created this handy post for bloggers that will help you help you start a successful mom blog this year – click here to check it out!
When creating a blog post, the 5 W’s are a helpful place to start:
- Who – Who are you writing for; what is your target audience?
- What – What is the topic of the post; your subject?
- Why – Why are you writing this post; what is your purpose?
- When – When will this post be relevant; evergreen content without an “expiration date” will benefit your readers and bring traffic to your website for years to come!
- Where – Where do you think this post will get the most engagement; is it a recipe that does well on Pinterest, a relatable parenting post that would get shares on Facebook, a step-by-step guide that’s searchable on Google?
It’s also important to ask yourself this question: How will your post help your readers; what problem are you solving?
New bloggers (myself included in those early days) have a tendency to write “diary style” posts – along the lines of “what I did today.” While your close family and friends may enjoy keeping up with your life, it won’t be as relevant to total strangers.
Instead, weave personal experiences into your post to make it more relatable – but don’t make the entire focus of your post all about you.
Read this next:
Now let’s talk about what’s new THIS year – here’s what you need to know to start a mom blog in 2021…
What’s Changed for Bloggers in 2021
Now that we’ve covered the logistics of starting a blog (which don’t change much), let’s talk about what has changed in the past year!
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- The growing blogging industry – is it still possible to join in now and make a successful business with your blog?
- Social media changes for bloggers – what you need to know with changing algorithms.
- The ONE thing you can do to make it in a changing industry.
5 Quick Tips:
1. A Growing Blogging Industry
It’s a fact, each year thousands and thousands of new blogs are created. You might know friends and family who have started their own blogs too.
So is there room for you?
The good news about a growing blogging industry is that brands are taking notice. More and more business are getting savvy to working with bloggers and influencers, so there are actually more opportunities now that even when I started blogging. Plus, brands are seeing the real value that professional bloggers can provide and they’re paying accordingly.
It’s not a pipe dream to want to make a legitimate part-time or even full-time income with a blog! It is possible!
I support my family with my blog, and I personally know dozens of other bloggers who do the same. I also know hundreds of bloggers who contribute significantly to their family’s monthly income, while doing work they LOVE.
Don’t be intimidated by the number of blogs out there. If you’re willing to put in the time and work, then there is room for you in the blogging world!
Most importantly, the world hasn’t heard your voice yet – and you have something new to offer that perhaps no one else has yet!
2. Social Media Changes You Need to Know About
When I first started blogging, Facebook had already switched to a “pay for play” model, with Facebook ads becoming a necessity for business page owners.
Some bloggers moaned about the “good old days” where ALL of their posts would get seen by ALL of their Facebook fans. However, the smart ones adapted and figured out how to get their posts seen by as many of their fans as possible.
I’ve seen bloggers grow a Facebook page from 0 to 100,000 fans in one year. I even know one gal personally who grew her page to over 700,000 fans last year!
So don’t listen to nay-sayers who tell you that Facebook is dead. It might be a little tougher than it was a few years ago, but real growth and traffic is still possible.
When I started blogging, Pinterest was a GOLD mine for traffic. All of my new pins were shared by hundreds of other pinners as soon as I posted them!
Then the algorithm changed…
Real talk: Pinterest is still a gold mine for traffic. (It’s my highest source of visitors by far!)
However, you’ve got to work a bit at it – your pins need to stand out from MILLIONS of others!
I’ve studied pins for the past two years and I’ve created a simple system that worked to triple my Pinterest followers in the first three months alone! It’s also kept my traffic growing even as algorithms make it tougher for bloggers to get noticed.
I created this handy guide for new bloggers that will help improve your Pinterest strategy – click here to check it out!
I compiled everything I learned into an easy to follow, self-paced course called Pins that Produce. Here I share ALL of my secrets for designing Pinterest images that stand out from the crowd and GET CLICKS.
3. Work at Home Jobs are More Important than Ever
With all that happened in 2020, the security of being able to work from home (or from anywhere) is one of the main draws for blogging.
If you’ve been wondering if blogging is for you, click here to read my latest post about the questions to ask yourself before you become a blogger!
4. The ONE Thing You Need to Do in 2021 to be a Successful Blogger
You might be surprised by this one…
The one thing you can do to start a mom blog in 2021 that can beat the odds:
CREATE QUALITY CONTENT
If you provide your audience with quality content, it will get seen.
The algorithm changes are not meant to hurt bloggers or make it hard on us. (At least I hope not!) The purpose is to make the experience better for the user.
Think about it – if you’re on Facebook and all you see is spam, then you’re probably going to log off. And Facebook wants us on there as much as possible!
So Facebook is going to make it harder for that lame stuff and junk posts to get seen. However, if you create and share content that your readers also love and share, then those posts will get seen.
The same goes for Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram… you name it! If you hear about algorithm changes, don’t panic! Instead, keep learning, keep writing, and keep improving your craft.
Watch for what your readers respond to, and give them more of that type of content. If you give your readers what they want, they’ll keep coming back for more! (And they’ll tell their friends by sharing too!)
From blogging etiquette to whether or not you should accept guest posts on your blog, I’m sharing all my posts in one place.
What did you find helpful about this post? Are there any blogging topics you’d like me to cover in my next post?
Let me know in the comments below!