is blogging dead

How to Start a Blog and Make a Full-Time Income from Home

  • Post author:Bob Haegele
  • Post last modified:March 14, 2024
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“Is blogging dead?” It’s a surprisingly sensible question, especially if you’re on the outside looking in. You’ve probably heard blogging is dead from various places, for one reason or another.

Well, let me be the first to spoil it for you:

Blogging is NOT dead.

Not even close, actually. In fact, some people are earning six-, or even seven-figure incomes just from blogging alone!

It might sound crazy, but it’s true. So, no, blogging is most definitely not dead.

Domain names? Self-hosted? What does this all mean!?

…especially if you’re brand new to blogging – these terms can seem overwhelming. At least at first.

But I promise: they’re really not that bad! Once you get the hang of it and start a successful blog, all this stuff sort of becomes second nature.

Why Did I Become a Blogger?

Needless to say, people have many different reasons for starting a blog. Some do it with a laser-focused goal – a determination, even – of making money. Others do it simply as a hobby. Personally, blogging is one of my favorite work-from-home jobs

But even within those motivations, there can be even more specific nuances that influence the decision to start a successful blog.

For me, it was my student loans. Mostly. See, like many millennials, I ended up with a mountain of student loan debt, and I wanted to talk about some of the ways to pay off your loans.

But even that wasn’t my sole reason. I enjoy writing; in fact, I was initially an English major in college before switching to IT. I was trying to be more practical, but that doesn’t mean my love of writing died!

Of course, I also had to know: is blogging dead? Later, I would find out that isn’t the close, which is another reason I chose to purse it.

Whatever your reason, it will most likely be unique to you. But there is no “right” or “wrong” reason to start a blog.

The only thing I would recommend is not to do it on an impulse. It is indeed a lot of work, so ideally you will be very sure you are up for the challenge.

If you’ve read this far and aren’t disheartened yet, let’s get started!

Decide Your Niche

One of the very first things you should do when starting a successful blog is to pick a niche. But how do you decide your niche? There are lots of different ways to decide.

If you really want to create a blog, but you are stuck on picking a niche, you could always leverage the area where you have the most expertise.

So if you work in health care, you could blog about that. If you are an accountant, you could blog about personal finance, etc.

You certainly don’t have to use your day job to pick (I didn’t), but it’s one option.

Also keep in mind that if you know you may eventually want to make money from your blog, some niches are more profitable than others.

That’s a topic for a post of its own, so I’ll just give you a link to a list of profitable niches.

Use WordPress

The next thing you’ll need to decide is the platform that you’ll use. Other than WordPress, some platforms include Wix, Squarespace, etc.

As much as I like supporting the “little guy,” I’m going to have to recommend WordPress here. Simply put, WordPress is the largest blog platform in the world, powering nearly 20% of the internet as a whole.

No, not 20% of blogs. 20% of the entire internet.

Anyone remember Windows Phone? This was a mobile operating which, despite looking nice, ultimately failed. The main reason? Probably the lack of app support.

How does this relate to blogging? Well, because WordPress is the largest platform, it has by far the most support. That includes plugins, community/form support, and just general familiarity with it.

Plugins are basically the apps of the blogging world. No plugins, no bloggers.
I’ve heard from several successful bloggers who went with one of the smaller platforms and ended up regretting it.

Starting things off right is so important, so make sure you do that!

Choosing Your Hosting

In addition to your platform, you want to be sure you select the right host. Even I didn’t do things exactly when I was starting out (in my opinion), and I could have saved a lot of time and headache if I had!

The first thing to understand is free vs. self-hosted. I’m sure you can already guess the key difference.

Free Hosting

As the name implies, it’s possible to get free hosting. Most people who use free hosting go with or Blogger. is WordPress’s free hosting. WordPress will also host your blog if you go with their free plan.

The problem with this approach is that although it is free, you will be fairly limited in what you are able to do from a technical standpoint. In addition, it will be difficult to make money (if you decide to monetize) because you may not be taken seriously by potential clients.

That brings us to our next option…


If you are serious about starting a blog, then self-hosted is definitely the way to go. Not only will you have more control over your blog, but you will be taken more seriously.

I definitely recommend this route as it will set you up for long-term success.

When you go self-hosted, you will need a host for your site in addition to a domain name. I won’t go into great detail about it here, but there is one host that a lot of successful bloggers recommend. Let’s just say that I don’t recommend that host.

Instead, I recommend you start a blog on SiteGround! SiteGround is the host I use for this blog, and they are pretty great.

SiteGround has great performance, excellent customer service, and has very competitive pricing as well. Their uptime is about as close to 100% as you can get:

How to start a successful blog SiteGround uptime

Oh, and by the way, they use SSDs for all of their plans. Bluehost doesn’t use SSDs.

In case you aren’t super techy, an SSD is a solid-state drive. They are aptly named because unlike the old spinning disc drives (called hard disk drives), they don’t have a spinning disk. In fact, they have no moving parts at all.

This makes them not only much more reliable; it also makes them much faster.

I used to have a site on Bluehost, and no matter what I did, I could never get it as fast as this blog.

So yes, I definitely recommend SiteGround. There is so much to love about them!

Choose Your Plan

When you click my SiteGround link, you’ll be brought to the following page (or something similar):

How to start a successful blog - SiteGround plans
SiteGround has multiple plans to meet your web hosting needs.

I selected the “StartUp” plan, and so far I have found that to be more than enough for me. And as you can see, the “essential features” includes all kinds of goodies, like SSL (for HTTPS), CloudFlare, and lots more!

Choose A Domain Name for your blog

Once you select your plan, the first thing you’ll be prompted to do is create a domain name:

SiteGround domain name

There are a few things to understand about choosing a domain name. In general, you want your domain name to be:

  • Memorable
  • Easy to type/spell (i.e. would not be great!)
  • Immediately tell readers what your site is about

So if you blog about personal finance, you might want to reference that in your domain name (like I did). However, if you can’t decide on a creative domain name, you can use your own name.

Using your own name can also give you more flexibility in case you decide you want to change your niche down the road.

For example, is one of the first sites I used to learn about freelance writing. I could have taken that route, but no one can spell my last name, so that would have violated the second point above!

One last thing I want to call out here is that you should definitely get a .com domain if you can. Sure, you might be able to get the domain name you want with .biz or .net even though .com isn’t available, but there’s a reason for that.

Similar to going self-hosted, having a .com will make you look much more professional. While it’s possible to be successful without a .com, that is mostly reserved for those who have been around for a long time.

Take J.D. Roth for instance. He’s been blogging for over 10 years! 10 years is ancient in the blogging world. J.D. is like the blogger version of the Egyptians who built the pyramids or something. Seriously.

So yeah. Get a .com if you can. Trust me on that.

Extra Services

Once you select your plan, you’re brought to the next page. Here, you’ll add your extras:

How to start a successful blog - extra services

Notice you also have to pay for your domain name – generally, you will have to pay for your domain registration. While you can get by at a cheaper rate through a service like GoDaddy, they require you to also register for a second year, and you end up paying more overall.

So if you want to go the easy route, you can just buy your domain directly through SiteGround.

By the way, one of the above options is domain privacy. You DEFINITELY want this. Yes, it’s an extra fee, but it it’s worth it. I initially did not buy domain privacy, and it was a huge mistake.

If you don’t buy domain privacy, that means anyone in the world can find your contact information through ICANN Lookup.

As a result, I was getting spam calls on my cell phone every day! Not fun. As soon as I bought domain protection, the calls stopped, since that prevents people from being able to get your contact information through ICANN.

Then enter your payment information, accept the agreement, and you’re good to go!

Install WordPress

One of the great things about getting started on SiteGround is the auto-installer for WordPress (and other platforms):

How to start a successful blog - WordPress installers
My Accounts > Go to cPanel > AutoInstallers

Once you select WordPress, you can choose quick or custom install:

WordPress Install

If you’re new, I recommend the quick install option.

You’ll set your admin username and password here – remember to save these as you’ll need them to manage your site!

Getting Started with Your Blog

Once you install WordPress, go back to your My Accounts tab and click go to admin panel to start working on your site. As a shortcut, you can access your admin page in the future by going to (yourdomainname).com/wp-admin.

This page is where you’ll be prompted to enter the admin username and password that you set above.

Once you log in, you’ll be taken to your WordPress dashboard.

That’s pretty much it! Now you’re ready to get started with your new blog.

You can do all of your customizations here, such as installing a theme by going to Appearance > Themes. But keep in mind that these are just the ones hosted by; you won’t find any “after-market” themes here.

Personally, I use OceanWP and would recommend it, but that’s the topic for another post.

Establish an LLC

This may not be something you choose to do immediately, but it’s a good idea. When you establish an LLC, you not only protect yourself legally, but also appear more professional.

Doing so gives legitimacy to your blog as a business rather than just something you do “for fun.” If you are serious about your blog and want to take it to the next level, you should definitely consider this.

Is Blogging Dead? Absolutely Not

Now that you’ve made it this far, you know blogging is not dead. You’re also ready to start your blog on SiteGround and grow your audience.

And I really hope you go with SiteGround because they are an excellent host. I can’t wait to see the amazing things you accomplish on your own blog!

Is blogging dead?

Hey there. My name is Bob Haegele and I'm a personal finance writer who has been freelancing since 2018. Since then, I've built a six-figure career as a freelance writer. My work has been featured in Business Insider, Forbes Advisor,, USA Today, and many other outlets. Interested in starting a blog of your own? Check out my post on starting a blog.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. xrayvsn

    I actually switched from Bluehost to Siteground because of a previous post you did and agree that it was an upgrade in terms of speed and service. I thought the transfer of the website would be a pain but they actually did it professionally (and for free) that very night.

    1. Bob

      Agreed, Xray. That post was actually meant to supplement this one originally, but I don’t want to dilute my PF content down too much. Gotta be focused on that.

      In any case, I’m glad you’ve had a similarly good experience!

  2. Abigail @ipickuppennies

    Nice breakdown of the process. I’m on BigScoots, but good to know about SiteGround if I have trouble with the current company in the future.

    1. Bob

      Thanks! How is BigScoots? I thought I heard it was more expensive. SG is nice for someone who’s just starting out. But who knows – I may look for something else further down the line.

  3. Great summary of steps to start a blog. I would only add that the starting a blog v. making money off of it also involves a series of steps and lots of course-correction. I have 2 blogs — one is 11 years old, one just turned 1 year old — and there is a lot of trial and error in what posts resonate, how to grow traffic, and what to actually monetize.

    1. Bob

      11 years – wow! You’re making me feel like a newbie having done this for about a year.

      Great points as well. This is definitely not a get-rich quick scheme and I’m not trying to sell it as such. I feel like there’s a lot of that going on, but after a year I am just starting to figure things out.

  4. Savvy History

    As someone who is dissatisfied with their host after only a few months, and has never considered making money off my blogging as of yet, this was a great read. I hope it works out well for you now and in the future. You are putting in a lot of work and you deserve it. I enjoyed hearing you on a podcast today by the way. I hope there are more podcasts in your future!

    1. Bob

      Wow, thanks so much! It’s certainly not all candy canes and rainbows, but it’s picking up (very) slowly. It’s a lot of time and effort for sure, but I hope it’ll eventually pay off – literally and figuratively. 🙂

  5. Daisy

    My renewal is coming up, looking into switching to save on cost. Thanks for a good read. Now I just have to read up what switching entails. This is all very new to me still. Love reading about other bloggers’ experiences. I’m learning.

  6. Lena Dungan

    I recently started my website using most of the same tools: WordPress and Sightground, but I got my web theme from WordPress and my domain from GoDaddy. It was pretty overwhelming to link them all together in the beginning, but the final product was worth it! I love your site and what you have done with it!!

    1. Bob Haegele

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you like the site and I’m glad you were able to get going as well. 🙂

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