You’ve got a passion for natural world but you feel powerless to help prevent it’s destruction. If this resonates that’s because it’s exactly how I felt. But I’m here to tell you that you don’t need huge wealth, power and influence to help protect the environment. You just need an internet connection.
I truly believe that awareness and education is the key to protecting the environment, combating global warming and increasing the space available for wilderness. That’s why I set up WildBlueDot.com. But I also want this site to inspire others to do the same because the louder the voices are for environmental protection, the more blogs and sites that are devoted to this cause and the more people who are educated and aware, than the more likely it is politicians and societies will sit up, take notice and take action. The environmental revolution is already underway and the internet is where it will explode!
This is the definitive guide to getting your own eco blog started and each individual little step you need to take.
Today I am going to teach you the step by step process for setting up a blog, and trust me, it’s so easy you have absolutely nothing to worry about. And what’s more the tools we will use, like GreenGeeks, come from companies that help the environment.
In this definitive 2020 guide for anyone new to blogging will cover the latest strategies, tips and trends, for those who want to create super successful eco blogs and content online.
Before we get stuck into it note this post is about setting up your eco blog or website because that is singularly the most important step to take when exploring ways to make money online.
And for anybody worried it might be super complicated and technical… I have one thing to say… It’s so simple.
And the best bit? You don’t need any coding knowledge. I set up this site with close to zero knowledge about HTML or CC. In fact, great hosting companies like Kinsta or GreenGeeks will give you all the assistance you need. They help to make things so quick and easy that you can actually set up your blogging site in the time it takes to have a cup of tea!
To help save the environment and make money? We might as well start with more important reasons! And it’s a good motivation to have because if you’re creating content about the natural world or an eco online business then the ultimate test of your content, products, services and site will be whether or not your readers are willing to progress from a passive reader to engaged reader or active customer.
“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”Jodi Picoult
You might want to start a blog to support your real-world business, express your thoughts as a writer or campaign for a higher awareness around the environment like this blog that I created about the natural world.
There are a ton of reasons why you might be motivated to start a blog. Here’s a few ideas:
Whatever your motivation it’s important to balance that drive against a topic or subject that your passionate about. Why? Because although setting up a blog can be done in less than 30 minutes, maintaining it, adding content and growing your readership is something that does take time and if your going to be interested and engaged in the longterm than it needs to be a topic that you finding interesting.
Personal finance is a massively important topic for me because I strongly feel that this is missing from education in society. It’s the one subject that impacts all of our lives more than anything else in terms of the hours, time and effort we devote to making a living and its completely absent from the education system. Thanks to the power of the internet we can now educate ourselves and I want to share my journey to financial freedom to help and inspire others to do the same.
Can You Make Money Blogging?
Absolutely! Bloggers have been making money pretty much since the dawn of the internet. And the financial ecosystem and opportunities in which bloggers can and do make money have become ever more varied year on year.
So what are the key ways that bloggers make money?
These are just some of the ways in which you can monetize your blog. And it’s worth exploring each of these methods in more detail to figure out the best way that they can contribute to the bottom line of your site.
And if you keep in mind the ways in which you can make money blogging then over time you’ll be able to tailor content and ensure that it serves the needs of your audience best; after all the greatest arbiter of whether or not your blog is adding value to people’s lives is whether or not they are willing to buy something as a result of the content on your blog.
However, it’s also worth bearing in mind that not all forms of creating money are equal. For many people who seek to make money blogging, the aim will follow the traditional path of monetisation that’s used by 20th Century Media platforms, like newspapers. Their plan will be to grow an audience as quickly as possible and then sell those views in the form of advertising space on their blog. This means that they will use an ad-revenue programme, like Google AdSense, in order to sell space and create profit. This is absolutely fine for many bloggers and site owners and it’s worked well for thousands of content creators around the world.
Personally speaking, I hate ads online. I cannot stand them, they flash and bounce around and more often than not they are completely unrelated to the webpage content that your viewing. In an ever-larger nod to 1984, our online world is now pervaded with ads that seem to know what we want to buy before we’ve even thought about buying it! This makes the online experience slightly creepy.
Google knows what you want to buy because the track your online activity and then serve up sites to the ad banners of blogs that you go on to visit. I don’t like this practice as I find it quite intrusive.
So when you are thinking about monetising your blog and how to make money blogging it’s important that you look at things from the perspective of your reader and make sure that the monetisation methods you choose do not disturb their experience as they navigate your blog.
It’s also worth making sure you focus on the content you’re producing, to begin with. Your blog needs to add value to your reader’s lives in some way. Remember they are inputting a search term in Google in order to meet the needs of that search. If your readers feel that they are getting lost in monetisation content than they won’t stick around.
But before you get onto monetising your blog you need to create your blog first! Creating a successful blog is about adding value to the online experience of your readers. Follow my 10 easy steps below and you’ll have your blog set up in no time at all.
7 Easy Steps to Starting Your Blog
So let’s great straight to it. Here are the 7 easy steps you need to follow in order to set up your blog. You can click on each step to go right to that section, or you can read through the whole post in one go (about a 5-minute read).
Quick Overview: the 7 Easy Steps
1. Identify your blogging topic, aims, focus and goals
2. Register your domain name and hosting account with Kinsta or GreenGeeks
3. Install WordPress
4. Customise your blog using a no-coding-required theme from Elegant themes
5. Create your blogs core pages, menus and branding
6. Start creating amazing, interesting, strategic content that helps people
7. Start Making Money as a Blogger!
Max Tip: I reason I recommend Kinsta or GreenGeeks hosting is because I am passionate about the environment so will only promote hosting providers that are renewably powered whilst providing both the option of a premium and budget hosting provider.
In the time it takes to have a shower you could have your blog up and running. Starting a blog is simple, straightforward and easy to do (if you follow the detailed steps below) but producing consistent, high-quality content takes time, effort, dedication and commitment. But trust me, it has the potential to change your life.
You in? Good. Let’s get started!
1. Identify your topic, aims, focus and goals
What is the aim of your blog? Although you may wish to make money blogging that in and of itself is not necessarily the best topic to get you up and running. This is probably one of the most important things to establish. Finding your passion, discovering your voice and writing what you know about is all standard advice but this won’t stand the test of time unless you figure out a way to make your blog profitable.
Why? Well unless you are creating a blog purely for informative reasons only (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that) then having visitors to your blog being willing to pay for a service, referral, product or information product is the absolute number 1 method to prove that what you are creating is of value to someone else. It’s the ultimate verifier. And for many bloggers today that is what it is all about.
It’s also important to balance the desire to monetise your blog against a topic that you are passionate about. That’s because if you’re going to write about the topic several times a week you will only remain committed if you actually find the topic your writing about interesting. Don’t worry if you don’t think you are the most articulate or expressive writer. Your skills will develop over time and, if you find the topic interesting, then you’ll continue to develop content. However, the best and only way to develop your blog is to write. Once you start putting your thoughts down you’ll begin to get a clearer picture of what your blog might look like.
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”Louis L’Amour
If you are unsure about how your blog will take shape try not to worry too much. I set up several blogs covering topics like nutrition, fitness, the environment and finally personal finance. This in and of itself is a huge topic so take the time to think about it, brainstorm, question the things that drive you. My two passions are finance and the environment. They don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand but there’s nothing to stop me blogging about them respectively.
In this post we will cover all of the requirements to set up your blog; if you already have a good website name and a topic that you’re passionate about read on!
2. Open a hosting account with Kinsta or GreenGeeks
Now you need to take our a hosting account. This is where the files that will serve up your blog will physically live. And in order to successfully display your blog to the entire world, you will need one of the following hosting plans below.
There are so many hosting providers offering everything from here to the moon and back it can be difficult to know which one to go with, so why am I promoting Kinsta and GreenGeeks. Firstly it’s essential that my blog doesn’t contribute to climate-changing carbon emissions which is why I have chosen Kinsta and GreenGeeks as they are both 100% renewably powered.
Secondly, I wanted to offer you the option of both a premium and a budget service, rather than an endless list of hosting providers who all essentially offer variations of the same service.
Kinsta is a premium hosting company that provides a concierge-style service towards its customers. And it comes at a price. Their starter package is $30 per month but if you are time-poor and need solid IT support then Kinsta will provide it. As specialists in WordPress hosting Kinsta will provide a top-quality product for those seeking to establish a strong online presence. With a customer churn of an industry-beating 4% it’s clear that a whopping 96% Kinsta customers are happy with their hosting.
GreenGeeks provides a budget solution to your hosting needs. GreenGeeks has so many great benefits (free domain, free SSL security certificates). And the cost is pretty tiny. Literally less than the cost of a couple of hot coffees billed just once per month.
To give you a quick useful overview I’ve created a comparison table below:
The way I approached it was to look at all the top players in the industry and then make a choice based on the company that had the least environmental impact. Because the most important thing for me is to make sure my blog is not powered by the climate-changing, fossil-fuelled power stations that so many big hosting companies rely on. And both Kinsta and GreenGeeks are power from renewable sources.
After all, if you can choose a host that provides all of the same benefits as the other host providers but doesn’t destroy the planet in the process then the decision seems pretty clear cut to me.
Kinsta is a great hosting provider especially for those looking for a premium service. With speed-obsessed architecture and a high-security network, serving up your site in a secure way, Kinsta provides a technological platform that will give you peace of mind your website is being well-catered for.
Both of these site hosts have so many great benefits (Great 24/7 customer service, free domain, free SSL security certificates). But the question for you is whether or not you are looking for a premium service which caters for all needs such as Kinsta or whether your already a confident user of WordPress in which case GreenGeeks might be the choice for you.
The most important aspect for across both these site hosts is that RENEWABLE ENERGY powers them. For GreenGeeks their servers are powered by a 300% renewable. This means GreenGeeks replaces 3x the amount of energy they consume from the grid in the form of renewable energy credits, whilst Kinsta uses the Google Cloud Platform, which is fully renewable and also adds an additional layer of security by ensuring your website is always accessible and always online.
It’s such a simple choice to make. And one that still provides you with the same great choices you would get from any other hosting provider.
3. Register Your Domain Name
Your domain name is the web address URL of your site. The domain name of this site is www.maxmoneytalk.com. I like short domains that get straight to the point, with fewer syllables, and there are tons available you just need to be a little imaginative.
Check if your domain is available by searching below:
Find a domain starting at $0.88
powered by Namecheap
And if you’ve found the perfect domain in the first go, wow that’s amazing! You are a genius; grab it and register it using the Namecheap service above. Sometimes it can take a little longer…
Believe it or not, I love dreaming up new domain names. It could be a play on your name, a play on a phrase, the creation of a new word or the repurposing of an old one (Uber, Instagram). It could be the initials of a few words. And don’t worry if your first attempt doesn’t sound quite right. I registered a ton of domains before I settled on maxmoneytalk.com.
The more you brainstorm, the closer you will get to your perfect result. I wanted to create a personal finance blog that allowed me to talk about how anyone can maximise the return from their money. Three simple words that were not already taken.
But it took me a long time to get there. I initially called the blog millennialmoneyreport.com, I thought about calling it millennialmoneyreport.com but it didn’t exactly trip off the tongue. Too many syllables. Eventually, after a long train journey (which I always find create for brainstorming), I settled on maxmoneytalk.com.
I would caution against paying huge amounts in order to purchase your perfect domain. There are still tons of short domain names available out there, you just have to use your imagination and try until you find the one that’s right for you.
Whatever it is, make it personal and descriptive of the purpose of your blog. You do not want your readers to land on your blog without a clear indication of what the site is about.
But you know that already… and listen, don’t worry if it’s not too unique. After all, there’s like a billion websites out there already. Chances of you reinventing the wheel in terms of your domain name are pretty slim. There’s a ton of other websites with the words that are even spelt wrong, but who cares… If you are passionate and you enjoy talking about what you do, you’ll stick at it and… create something beautiful!
A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”Richard Bach
A Word On Domain Privacy Protection
There are also additional services that you can select. Whilst these are optional and I suggest checking out the “more info” section on each service, I strongly recommend that you purchase Domain Privacy Protection. If you do not then all your contact details, including your registered address and email will be available online for anyone to see. Make sure you lock up your details. Privacy is paramount!
(I made the mistake of not choosing this option when I first started out and I was inundated with junk emails offering me services from SEO management to website creation – none of which you will need, it really is so simple).
Max Tip: When you are choosing passwords, you need to be careful to make sure that they are not easy to guess. As a published author online you will be a prime target for hackers, and they know what they are doing. As I use a MacBook Pro the computer always suggests a really complicated password that would prevent your typical overriding hacker attack. I recommend you use this feature. They are really complicated and you don’t need to remember them as the computer always auto-fills the correct password. Additionally, if you did forget there are recovery protocols that mean you can reset the password.
Point your domain name to your hosting account
Once you have registered your domain name and ordered a web hosting account you will need to point your domain name to your hosting account so that your website is served up when someone types in your web address. This is a very simple process, however, if you get stuck at any point just drop your hosting provider a line – they will be only too happy to help:
- Locate your web-hosts DNS (Domain Name Server) settings. Usually, this will look like n21.example.com or ns2.example.com and your hosting provider will be able to confirm these details to you.
- Login into your domain name registrar account and update your DNS settings. If you used the Name Cheap search function above to register your domain name it will be your Name Cheap account. Once logged in navigate to the Domain Name Server settings and input the details from Step 1.
- Sit back and wait for the changes to take effect. This can sometimes take 2 hours or less, but usually, it takes anywhere up to 42-78 hours to take effect.
4. Install The Mother of Sites: WordPress
Now you have your domain registered and your hosting account set up there is one last step. You need a blogging platform!
There are many blogging platforms to choose from but the largest and by far the best is WordPress.
WordPress currently powers 33.4% of the internet, holding a 60% market share. The software itself is free, you just pay for the hosting and domain name. If your a blogger, or you intend to create any kind of website, you should use WordPress. Why? Because it offers the highest degree of flexibility in adapting the look and functionality of your site.
And for the purposes of this guide, we’ll be focussing on WordPress instals.
And nearly all websites offer a version of the “One-click instal” for WordPress. Both Kinsta and GreenGeeks do and if you’re using a hosting provider that doesn’t offer this service, then I’d have some serious questions about how well they are integrated with WordPress.
Remember you don’t need to pay anything for this process; it and the WordPress software is completely FREE (you only pay for domain registration and hosting and privacy if you select that).
Navigate to your Control Panel, commonly identified as cpanel in your hosting account (it’s a button listed next to your website domain name).
MAX TIP: This is a great tip for those who want to quickly and easily navigate around hosting accounts (and any webpage in general). You can often be faced with a wall of information about different tools and functionality when you log in to a hosting provider or any other webpage. In order to cut through all information hit Command (and) F simultaneously on your MacBook’s keyboard, or Control and F on a PC. This will pull up a webpage search bar at the top of the page which you can use to instantly and conveniently locate any item on the page, such as a Cpanel!
And from the Cpanel you will be able to initiate the WordPress one-click instal. To summarise those steps simply:
Some hosting providers will have WordPress located in a section called the Softaculous Apps Installer section:
Click New Install, make sure the right domain is selected and complete your user account details (these are the details you will use to access the backend of your site).
So there you have it. You have completed all the steps required to set up your new blog. To login to your new site and start publishing content you must go to your site URL and add /wp-admin to the end of the URL.
Max Tip: Remember all hosting providers and backend support team who are generally available via LiveChat functions in your hosting account. Think of them as the IT Department! They will help you out with any kind of installation functions and, if you decide to use Kinsta, the provide a fully-managed WordPress hosting plan, which means they will take care of any WordPress related issue you have no matter how big or small.
Once you have installed WordPress you will be able to log in to the backend of your website. This is where you will input the account details you just created. The URL for that is
And you are ready to publish!
Max Tip: Once you are published you can start exploring the various ways to make money blogging and it will be tempting to get publishing straight away but it’s really important that you build up an initial body of content to begin within in order to make your site look complete. I recommend between 20-50 blog posts. The reason for this is because if your site looks like a work in progress then it will be discouraging for readers who discover it and they may not return. Also it does not look professional from the start).
Always Use WordPress as your self hosted blog platform. Although there are dozens of blogging platforms out there, WordPress is the only one that truly gives you control. You have your own URL and are entirely in charge of the look and feel of your blog, via the many thousands and thousands of customisable themes available online.
This graphic from pingdom shows the popularity of WordPress in comparison to other blogging platforms. As you can see it is the clear winner in both popularity, ownership and ease of use.
You’ve done the easy bit, like I said in the time it takes to have a shower. Now it’s time to go to work….
5. Start creating Amazing, Interesting, Strategic content that helps people
This is the step that is the most challenging, enjoyable, creative, difficult, interesting part of the process.
You are adding your own unique voice to the amorphous mass of the internet. You’re creating content that will, hopefully, be of use to other people and you are setting yourself apart from the crowd. You will need to think about your tone of voice, your perspective on your choice blogging topic and how you can add value to the swirling mass of information that is the internet. And one of the key indicators, in fact, THE key indicator that shows whether or not your adding value is if your able to make money blogging because when people are willing to pay for something as a result of the information you have given them on your blog then you know you have added value to their experience on your site.
It’s also the step where most people give up. It requires determination, consistency, effort and hard work. And that can be difficult if you have a job, your studying, or your blog is taking a while to get off the ground.
Before you get straight to publishing content you might want to reate the basic foundations on which your site will operate. If your looking for a very simple blogging style platform then get straight to it, but most blogs and websites have some of the following characteristics and follow some of these steps in setting up their presence:
There are some strategies you can adopt to help you stay committed and to help you progress your blog and I’ve outlined them below:
6. Keep Your Blog Design Clean, User-Friendly & Digitally Innovative
When your thinking about the look and feel of your blog research the sites that you like most. Build up a list, subscribe to their email opt-ins and start to think about how you can creatively set your website apart from the crowd. If you build up a large internet following and your keen to make money blogging then you may be tempted to cover your site in ads. But there is a good chance this will ruin the look and feel of your blog. So tread cautiously and stay true to your own style as that will be what attracted readers to you in the first place.
You might want to start thinking stylistically about some characteristics that your site or blog will have. What could the branding look like? What colours could you use?
You might prefer a clean-cut, image free site like Zen Habits
Or the image friendly, food-friendly (now I’m hungry) blog from Deliciously Ella
Whichever approach you choose you should try to keep your blog clean and clutter-free. Make your post header catchy and relevant and keep your blog design fresh and appealing. A key component of making your blog look professional is to pay for a professional theme.
Your WordPress theme is simply the template that you use. A bit like the foundations of a house. You can still style your blog in any way you wish, but using a good, solid, professional theme will help you to build a strong site that stands the test of time.
A great theme provider is Elegant Themes and I can guarantee that you will be able to design any type of website you want. The important point to stress is that you will need to pay for your WordPress theme because if you use a free, or very cheap, theme then it will inevitably look very cheap.
If your blog looks amateur visitors will assume it is amateur and will click away in seconds, prioritising those blogs that offer a professional look with good quality content.
Always remember that every-time someone searches on Google they are looking for the answer to a question or for information that is relevant to their search.
It’s Google’s job to make sure that the most relevant results towards answering that search query are served up in order of relevance and its the job of your blog to ensure that the information and content provided goes as far as it can towards meeting the needs of that search.
Do not be afraid of white space in your blog. It contributes towards the clean feeling and shows your reader when sections of your blog begin and end. Keeping your content and white space balanced avoids things looking over cluttered.
Check through your posts for readability. It goes without saying that you should try to ensure your blog posts have zero spelling or grammatical errors in (though as far as I’m concerned this is an ideal and not always a reality as I just so happen to be the world’s worst proof reader). For the most part, you should try to ensure good grammar and punctuation. This is the only way you are communicating with your readers so you want to ensure they understand what you have to say.
To make your posts more readable your text can include:
Think carefully about your menus and navigation tabs. What are the most important categories for your blog? You might want to separate these items into individual menu headings so that readers can clearly navigate their way around your blog.
You can organise your menus to show the header categories with sub-menus to show sub-categories. Remember to keep the content clear and concise and within the standard of your blog design.
Including and about section. It doesn’t necessarily have to be labelled an about section but I really recommend including lots of information about you and your journey on your site. Even if your blog is related to a topic that doesn’t require your personal information to be published people will still be interested.
Your readers will always want to know who you are, why you set up the blog and a little bit about your own journey. It’s useful, it can be inspiring and it’s a very human trait.
For anyone who is less than an extroverted person (myself included) this can seem a little daunting but whatever you have experienced in the past, remember people are coming to your blog for a very particular reason, a reason which is hopefully connected to your own motivation for setting up the blog in the first place. And if you can provide an answer, some help, support or guidance to meet that reason then they will be extremely grateful.
Do not be reluctant to present yourself to the world. Your voice is just as important as anyone else’s.
7. It’s 2020! Use a Mobile Responsive Theme
But what exactly is a Mobile Responsive Theme? Essentially it means a WordPress theme that can be viewed on mobile without looking utterly rubbish.
The reason you need a mobile responsive theme is that the number of internet connections made by mobile now vastly outnumber those made by a computer. If you want to be digitally innovative, to make money blogging and up to speed with our changing times then you need to ensure your blog is easily accessible by mobile.
One of the easiest ways to ensure your WordPress theme is responsive and can be used to create a blog in both the easiest way possible and one which looks as you want it to look is to take out a theme package from Elegant Themes.
Elegant Themes are produced the most user-friendly, versatile, flexible theme on the planet today and it’s also entirely mobile responsive. That’s why their Divi theme is the Number 1 selling theme available. Not only is it a mobile responsive theme, but it can also be used to create, pretty much, any style of website you want.
The focus of this post is to go through the structural steps required to set up your WordPress blog, which is why we have reviewed, in detail, the advantages you can get by using a mobile responsive theme from Elegant Themes here:
Premium or Budget Hosting Provider
If you are a beginner to creating a website or blog and new to WordPress hosting then choosing a premium service that provides a fully managed WordPress hosting platform, via Kinsta, might be the best choice.
If you have more confidence in setting up websites or blogs than GreenGeeks is another great choice.
Whether you choose a premium or budget hosting provider depends on the kind of service you are looking for. A fully managed service is obviously beneficial for those bloggers who want to outsource the IT and focus on their blogging and, whilst this service attracts a premium price, you will save time and energy that would otherwise be spent on creating content to benefit your audience and widen your reach.
Blogging Resources and Top Tips
Here are some of the most useful, insightful resources and tips from across the internet that you can check out for your future blogging needs.
- Kinsta or GreenGeeks – leading the way in renewably powered hosting, you can choose from either of this hosting providers to give you excellent service with both premium and budget options available.
- Elegant Themes provide the most flexible, user-friendly WordPress themes on the web. One of the most important decisions you will make in the look, style and functionality of your blog will be to use a smart, integrated WordPress theme.
- SimilarWeb – analyse any website or blog for free, with the information provided around visitor numbers, referrals, traffic and stats
- SEMRUSH – a comprehensive marketing tool for keyword research, SEO and digital marketing professionals and bloggers.
- Yoast SEO can help you optimise your posts to ensure you have great SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Even if you are not experienced, it’s really easy to use and takes care of everything from meta titles to descriptions to sitemap creation.
- Create a blogging strategy – this includes coming up with blog titles, time to write your posts and a strategic overview of your blog purpose, goals and timeframes. Having a plan will help you to stay committed, stay on track and stay working toward the creation of your successful blog.
- Collect email subscriptions via an opt-in form on your blog. You might, like me, be reluctant to collect email subscriptions because the last thing you want to do is add to the ever-growing emails that we all end up sifting through in our inboxes. But remember your visitors came to your site for a reason and they signed up to your email list for a reason. They value your content and want to learn more – so jump in and start creating that email list. Ultimately Google’s search algorithms are constantly changing and a good, solid email list is insurance against your site dropping down the search rankings.
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