That tricky first step…

You’ve got your blog. You’ve been creating unique, insightful and engaging posts and building your audience, you’ve got yourself some followers. You’re ready to take the next step.

Not that simple though is it? More often than not you’re not even sure what the next step should be, although I suspect most of the time it includes wanting to start earning some money from your blog.

Walking, taking off hat, ca. 1884-1887

But how do you get started?

If you’ve started off with a free WordPress blog there are a few steps which will help you reach that next tantalising (and money-earning) level.

1. Get your own domain name:

This is pretty crucial really. A domain name is the techy way of saying web address. If you’ve got a free WordPress blog your blog’s web address will be http://WhateverYourBlogNameIs.wordpress.com. This is fine, but if you want to start earning money you’ll need to get your own web address.

The simplest way of doing this is by going to your WordPress Dashboard and clicking on the ‘Store’ option. See the ‘Add a Domain’ option below? That’s what you’re looking for. Just follow the instructions to buy your domain name – this might not be the cheapest way of buying your domain name, you could probably save a few pounds doing it somewhere else, but it will be the easiest so if you don’t want to mess around with DNS settings and Nameservers just go with this option.

Buy a Domain Name at WordPress.com

2. USE your domain name:

Once you’ve bought your domain make sure your blog is actually USING it! By default WordPress will set up your new web address to redirect to your OLD web address. You need to change your settings so that your new web address is the ‘Primary Domain’.

*I know this all sounds tech-y, but bear with me, it really is worthwhile going through these steps to get it all right!*

In your dashboard go to Store > Domains and then make sure you have your new web address selected as ‘Primary’. This means that everyone who visits your blog from now on will be sent to your new address.

Primary domain

Why is this a good thing? There are lots of reasons. The main reason is that if you want to make real money blogging you’ll have to eventually move onto a self-hosted blog. Self hosting doesn’t have to be expensive, you can get hosting for a few pounds a month, but you don’t want to lose all your lovely blog traffic when you DO move.

If you’re using your own domain from now, all your subscribers, search engine traffic and page rank (which I’ll explain later) will move with you. This might not mean anything to you right now, but trust me, it’s a good thing.

So, can I start earning money now?

You’re not allowed to place any advertising on your WordPress.com site, but if you fancy trying out some easy and no-effort advertising then you can apply for WordAds.

You need to have your own domain name to apply, and they only accept sites they feel have high enough traffic and are ‘suitable’ but you can apply here if you fancy it.

I doubt you’ll ever become a millionaire from using WordAds, and the ads are pretty spammy (IMHO) but it’s a good place to start while you’re building your audience! Give it a try, you an always switch them off if you find your readers really object to them!

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