I promised in my last post to share a few of the baby steps I’ve taken towards creating passive income online, so here you go!
Regardless of your primary focus in creating passive income online (podcasting, videos, eBooks, other digital products, software, apps, etc.) you’ll most likely need a website to act as a hub and home for the community you’re creating. So I thought I’d share how I went about setting up my website/blog. (More on how to monetize a blog in a future post.)
I debated for quite awhile what to start blogging about. So I sat down and brainstormed a list of all the topics I knew something about or was interested in such as chemistry, traveling, food, teaching, beer, writing, board games, editing, etc. But finally I decided that the one thing I was most interested in currently was making passive income online! I’ve listened to literally dozens of podcast episodes on the topic, read numerous books, attended webinars, and talked about it endlessly with friends and family. It may not be my first choice in terms of creating immediate passive income, but I hope it will at least help to keep me motivated to continue learning and doing, as well as providing me with a steady stream of things to blog about.
Once I decided on my topic, I needed two things: a domain name and a web host. You could get started by just creating a free page at wordpress.com and having an address like ilovebutter.wordpress.com, but if you’re serious about creating a business and having some credibility then it’s worth the few dollars it takes to setup a site properly. Plus, you’ll probably find that once you actually invest some money into it you feel almost obligated to do something with it, which can be a huge bonus early on!
[Scary disclosure! Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase through them. But I only recommend what I’m actually using and having a good experience with, so rest easy. If you decide to use one of the links, then thank you for supporting this blog and taking part in this passive income experiment!]
Baby Step #1
I began by brainstorming names for my blog and trying them out at GoDaddy, a domain name registrar, to see which were taken. Initially I tried anything that came to mind like makingmoneyonline.com, financialfreedom.com, journeytofinancialfreedom.com, creatingwealthonline.com, howididit.com, kentrocksthefreeworld.com, etc. The easiest way to try out numerous domain names at once on the GoDaddy website is to to click All Products > Domains > Bulk Domain Registration and then enter up to 500 possible names. GoDaddy will quickly let you know which are available.
Tip: Try to choose a domain name that includes your keywords or primary focus. If your focus is on crocheting blankets then try to pick a domain that includes the keywords crocheting and blankets. This will help drive organic traffic to your website whenever someone searches for “crocheting blankets” online.
Once I decided my focus would be on creating passive income online, I started searching for domain names that included those keywords. I tried domain names such as creatingpassiveincome.com, creatingpassiveincomeonline.com, howtocreatepassiveincome.com, guidetopassiveincome.com, journeytopassiveincome.com, etc. Eventually I settled on stepstopassiveincome.com, which I was honestly surprised was available! So I broke out my credit card and reserved it painlessly at GoDaddy for less than $10 for an entire year.
Baby Step #2
Next, I needed to pick a web host. If a domain name is like the virtual address for your new business, then a web host is the building that houses it. Web hosts provide the space on their servers to store your witty writings, provocative podcasts, and vivacious videos (OK, that last one is a stretch) so the rest of the world can enjoy them. I researched far & wide, read numerous reviews, checked out what other websites were using, and finally decided to go with Bluehost. There are numerous providers out there, and I’m sure many of them are excellent, but I chose Bluehost for a few reasons:
- Unlimited domains – Host all the websites you want on one account! How cool is that?
- Unlimited data storage – Post all the blogs, images, audio, and video you desire.
- 99.99% uptime means your website will most always be available.
- Based in Utah with 24/7 US-based support and fast connections.
- You can install WordPress with a couple of clicks. (More on WordPress below.)
Plans range from $4.95 to $6.95 per month depending on how long you want to sign up for. Regardless, I still find it amazing that you can host all of your websites and online businesses for just $5-7/month! How many other businesses can you begin with such little overhead!? Oh, and they even throw in one domain name for free! Too bad I’d already reserved mine with GoDaddy. (But don’t worry, I chose a domain for another business I’ll tell you about later. Remember, I can host all the domains I want on the same Bluehost account!)
Finally, I had to decide how to create my actual website itself. In the past I’ve gone old school, either writing the HTML code myself or using a program like Adobe Dreamweaver. But this time I decided to try out WordPress. Over 60% of all the websites in the world now use WordPress, so I figured it was worth giving it a shot. Boy, am I glad I did because it’s so easy to setup, create content, and customize! Setup on Bluehost is a cinch (see my guide). Writing a new post is as simple as typing a letter in Microsoft Word. Customizing your website is crazy easy using various themes and plugins. (Themes change the entire look of your website, while plugins add functionality. For example, the current look of this website is thanks to the free Fashionista theme from aThemes. But those spiffy social media buttons above and below each post that allow you to share it on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. are easily added with a few mouse clicks by installing free plugin called Shareaholic.) It’s definitely the easiest website I’ve ever setup! Sure, there was a bit of a learning curve, but it’s fairly intuitive and in no-time at all I was up & running. In fact, it only took me a couple of days to get this entire website off the ground and to a state where I felt comfortable sharing it. I find it amazing that I could start up an online business in two days for only a few dollars a month. If I can just make even $7-10/month I’ll be in the black!
In case you want to follow along, these are the baby steps that I’ve taken so far:
- Researched and reserved a domain name with GoDaddy. (But remember, Bluehost gives you one domain name for free.)
- Signed up for web hosting at Bluehost.
- Installed WordPress and began customizing it with free themes and plugins.
In my next post I want to talk about ideas for creating passive income online. Perhaps you’re thinking that there’s nothing you know or are interested in that others care about or would pay money for. But I think you’ll be surprised when you hear a few stories of exactly what people are doing right now online to earn passive income!