Make Money Blogging – Part 2

In this series of articles I will show you the secrets of how I started making a living blogging online.

So far you have chosen and purchased a domain name, hosting space, and even installed WordPress! If you’ve made it this far then I already know you’re dedicated and ready to take the next few steps. Most of the complicated stuff is done, but there are a few more things to do before your blog is ready to share with the world. You probably don’t like the default theme that came with WordPress and also want to customize things to look the way you want. Well, we will get to both those items in this article. Let’s get started!

Make Money Blogging – Part 2

Uploading your Blog Theme & Plug-ins

In this article I’m going to show you how I make my blogs appear so attractive and user friendly. When you first visited or you probably noticed how professional and clean our websites look. Even if you were extremely skilled in HTML and CSS, coding a website with the functionality that WordPress already has with the attractiveness of a theme like mine would take you several weeks to code. Instead of building the look of my website myself I simply used a paid theme. There are free themes out there for WordPress and you may opt to try them out, but they come nowhere close to the professional themes available at and Woothemes usually charges around $70 for access to 3 themes whereas Elegant Themes gives you the option to browse dozens of different themes for only a one time membership fee of $49. I prefer Elegant Themes because I might experiment with one theme for awhile and then decide I like another one more. I’ll simply return to Elegant Themes and grab the theme I like and add that to my site. When starting out I actually changed the JGN theme about 3 times before finding a theme which I am very pleased with. The options that these themes come with in the WordPress dashboard are SO MUCH more detailed and user friendly that the options WordPress gives you. You can customize everything from SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to appearance and layout quickly and easily with Elegant Themes or WooThemes. Check out both websites, you may find some themes on WooThemes that are more to your liking. Choosing a theme is a very personal choice so my only advice is to find something professional that you will be happy with for years to come.

Once you have purchased and downloaded your theme, uploading it to your WordPress site is easy! Log in to your WordPress site (remember? and click APPEARANCE, followed by ADD NEW THEMES and then at the top of the page click ADD NEW. Search for your theme zip file and then upload – it’s that easy!

Try playing around with the settings of your new theme. Locate the name of your theme in your WordPress blog and click it. You will see all kinds of settings you can tweak and play with. Experiment with them while refreshing your blog in another window. This is exciting is it not? You’re seeing your blog evolve into a new professional website before your very eyes!

Plug-Ins & SEO:

While playing around there’s something I would recommend setting up straight away. In order for Google and other search engines to find your blog posts you’ll want to change a default setting in WordPress. Go to your WordPress Admin and click Settings and then Permalinks on the left side. Change the settings to Custom Structure and use the code /%postname%/

In the Plug-Ins section of WordPress you will find you can search for and install Plug-Ins of all sorts into your website. Be careful! Many of these Plug-Ins are poorly coded and could really screw up your new blog. Be cautious what you install and make sure it has a lot of current users, high ratings by more than a few people, good reviews, and are updated often. If any of these ratings are low or recent reviews say it doesn’t work with the current version of WordPress then wait awhile or search for a different option. A rash decision installing an unknown plug-in can have terrible repercussions that will last many hours or in some cases days.

The following is a list of plug-ins I have found after experimenting with literally hundreds of WordPress plug-ins. I spent countless hours messing around finding these so you don’t have to. Remember that when you use the various links on this site that you are supporting me and in turn I write articles like this to help you. These kinds of relationships are the kind you want to develop as your blog grows and changes in the future. The more we help each other out the better we do as a whole. If you credit me with a link on your website, and I mention you in my blog posts, we help each other out in the long run.

Plug-Ins I highly recommend:

  • Fast Secure Contact Form
  • Google Analyticator
  • Google News Sitemap Feed with Multisite Support
  • Google XML Sitemap for Images
  • Google XML Sitemaps
  • Login Logo
  • No More Frames
  • OPS Old Post Spinner (wait to use this)
  • OZH Admin Drop Down Menu
  • PC Robots.txt
  • Quick Cache
  • Related Posts Thumbnails
  • SEO Searchterms Tagging 2
  • SEO Smart Links
  • SEO Ultimate
  • WordPress Database Backup
  • WP-Optimize (be careful using the Optimize Database Tables function!)

After you get your plug-ins installed and set up you’ll want to start getting some basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) done. Although SEO is an extremely complicated skill that people spend years in school to master we will use mostly plug-ins and a few simple tools and tips. First make sure that when you post a new article that you name the post something that people would actually search for. For example if your blog is called and you write an article entitled “10 New Running Shoes that Rock” don’t name (or have WordPress auto name) your post URL to “10-shoes-rock”, instead name it something people will search for like “10-New-Running-Shoes” or “New-Running-Shoes”. That way your chance of showing up in Google and other search engines is much higher!

Your WordPress site already comes with a Blogroll page set up for you. A blogroll is where you list other websites you often frequent or trade links with. For example if you like this website and the advice you have utilized here you could link to us. If I see that you have linked to me I have the option of linking back to you. This is called a “pingback”. Pingbacks can be good and bad, you don’t want to trade links with just any old website as many spam sites will attempt to pingback you by placing useless spam comments on your posts. (This is actually a sign your blog is gaining traffic but can be very annoying as they increase. On NERD TREK sometimes I get hundreds of these spam pingbacks a day.) So, when you choose another website to place on your blogroll send them an email letting them know your intentions. Most blog owners are pretty cool and will be more than willing to trade links. The more websites that link to and from your website the better your ranking will be in the eyes of Alexa and the other search engines. Once again though, spam links will bring down your rating so you only want to trade links with reputable websites.

RSS Feeds

A RSS feed is a news feed that your readers can subscribe to. Having RSS as an option will help skyrocket your daily readers and give your readers the option of getting your blog articles as a daily news article. Later on when you insert advertisements you gain the potential to make hundreds of dollars from a single RSS feed. The easiest way to setup RSS is by using Feedburner. It’s a free service now owned by Google and will be the easiest thing you have setup for your WordPress site thus far!

To set up a RSS feed simply visit and create an account. Fill out all the parts of the form and change your WordPress settings to the new settings Feedburner gives to you. Feedburner also has an email update script that you can utilize. While logged in at Feedburner click PUBLICIZE>EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS, you will then receive code that you can add into a TEXT WIDGET under WIDGETS on your blog. (Drag and drop a TEXT widget into the fields to the right, enter the CODE from Feedburner and click SAVE.

Email Lists

Building an email list is one of the most important promotional tools you will use if not THE MOST IMPORTANT. If you ever lose your website or a major life change causes you to close shop for a time you will still retain your email list and thus can pick up and move without a problem. If you didn’t have that email list of subscribers you would lose everything and have to start from scratch. After years of building a following that is NOT an option, trust me.

For setting up your email list we recommend, they have built an incredible reputation on the web and have never failed to deliver an email to my readers.

Try signing up for your new email list and put up a sample test post. Once you receive that email save it for a year or two from now and when you look at that email you will know it was the first. The first of thousands or millions of emails that you have sent out to your loyal readers and you’ll remember the day you set up your first blog.


Coming up next article…

In “Make Money Blogging – Part 3” we will get into monetizing your blog. Yes, that means you’re going to learn how to start making money off your new website! So when you’re ready I’ll see you in article 3!




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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games /, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.