Blogging as a Hobby: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

How to start a Hobby Blog

If you are looking for a hobby that can help you make an impact on others as well as put some money in your pocket, then blogging is for you.

A blog is a convenient way to share your thoughts, knowledge, skills, and experiences with others. You never know whose life you can touch by sharing what you have.

I started blogging almost six years ago because I needed a way to express my creativity and make a living from it. Working in a traditional job, I felt stifled because I had to do the same things in the same way. There was no room to follow my impulses, experiment with new ideas, or make mistakes.

But why blogging? I settled on blogging because it was cheap to start and I didn’t mind writing. Also, I didn’t like being in front of the camera or posting my photos everywhere, so I kicked out YouTube and social media.

As you will see later, blogging has some pretty compelling advantages, especially if you want to do it as a hobby.

In this article, I will show you everything you need to get started with hobby blogging. I will explain:

  • Why blogging is a good hobby to have.
  • Give examples of successful bloggers running profitable blogs.
  • Take you step-by-step through the process of starting a profitable blog.
  • Explain how you can make money from your blog.

If this seems like something you might be interested in, then stick around.

Note: This post is rather long, so if you want to go straight to the process of starting a blog, go to my article on How to start a WordPress blog from scratch or jump to section 7.

1. What is Blogging?

Blogging is simply publishing written content online using a content management platform like WordPress.

With blogging, you can either do it as a career where you are employed as a blogger, or you can do it as a hobby where you start your own blog as a creative outlet.

Blogging as a hobby has several advantages over career blogging, for example:

  • You are responsible for the creative direction of your blog. You can blog about things you are passionate about. Also, you don’t have anyone telling you what to do.
  • You work on your own schedule. You can set your schedule so that it fits your lifestyle or routine. This is especially important if you already have a full-time job or you have kids.
  • You own the blog and you can sell it whenever you want. When you write for others, you are helping them to build an asset that they can sell, but you don’t share in the rewards.

> The types of blogs you can start if you are blogging for fun

When it comes to hobby blogging, the world is your oyster. You can blog about anything you want. However, here are some types of blogs that are popular with hobby bloggers.

  • Recreation/Pastime Blogs. You can blog about things you enjoy doing during your free time, such as cooking, fishing, farming, music, traveling, electronics, or photography.
  • Personal blogs. You can blog about your personal experience in overcoming challenges such as losing weight or getting out of debt.
  • Lifestyle Blogs. You can write about your lifestyle, for example, your health and fitness or beauty routine.
  • Journal Blogs. You can keep track of your thoughts, ideas, and feelings in the form of an online journal or diary. You can also use your blog as an outlet for difficult emotions.

Many hobby bloggers often combine elements from all these types of blogs.

2. Why Is Blogging a Good Hobby? The Benefits of a Blogging

Blogging can enrich your life in many ways. I have written extensively about the benefits of hobby blogging in my article: Is Blogging a Good Hobby? The Amazing Benefits of Blogging as a Hobby. Check it out if you want a deeper understanding of the benefits of blogging.

In this section, I will explore three major benefits that make blogging a compelling option.

#1. Blogging is a hassle-free way to make a side income while sharing your passions

There is nothing better than making money doing what you love. If you have a passion or hobby, you probably spend a lot of time researching or doing activities around it. Why not share the knowledge you have accumulated and make some money on the side?

Starting a hobby blog can be quite profitable because:

  • The starting costs are low. With less than $100, you can start a decent blog. You only need to pay for web hosting and a domain name. If you go with a hosting provider like ChemiCloud, you will get a free domain and discounts that will make it even cheaper (check out ChemiCloud prices).
  • You don’t have to quit your job. You can do blogging even if you have a regular job. If you can find 1-2 hours every day to blog, you can build a large blog within a few years.
  • Your income is unlimited. Unlike a job, you have no set amount of money that you can earn. Your effort and strategy determine your income. That is why top bloggers can make over $200,000 a month without too much hassle. Such an income can set you up for life.
  • You can sell your blog on sites like Motion Invest. Typically, you can get 30X-40X the value of your monthly profit. For example, if your blog makes a profit of $1,000 a month, you can sell it for $30,000 to $40,000.

Most side hustles require a lot of money to start, earn very little, or take up too much of your time.

#2. You can use blogging to market your business

Blogging is a great way to dip your toes into entrepreneurship even if you don’t don’t like sales and marketing. Blogging is great for marketing because:

  • It is a cheap way to market. If you are doing the writing yourself, you don’t have to pay anything.
  • You get targeted customers. Because you leverage particular keywords, you are sure that people who come to your blog are your ideal customers. This means that you don’t have to pressure people into buying because they are already interested.
  • You get detailed data and metrics. Tools like Google Analytics help you to take the guesswork out of your decisions.
  • You can create an online shop. You can sell products and services right from your blog using Payhip or WooCommerce. This helps to reduce buying friction.

If you don’t yet have a business, blogging will teach you the most important entrepreneurship skills. For example, you can market other people’s products through affiliate marketing and gain marketing skills that you can use once you have your own product or service.

#3. You can use blogging to build your career

If you are employed and have no intention of starting a business, you can use blogging to build your career. Blogging is great for career advancement because:

  • You can use it like an online resume. When you write articles around your knowledge, people start to see you as an expert and this can open opportunities for higher-paying jobs, consultancies, or collaborations.
  • You can use it for networking. If you own a blog, people in your industry will reach out to you for advice and you can use this opportunity to provide value and network with others. You can meet interesting people using this method.
  • You can create a community. For example, if you are a programmer and a new programming language comes up, you can be among the first people to learn and teach it to others. From this, you can build a community of professional and newbie programmers.

3. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog?

It will cost you less than $100 to start a blog depending on the web hosting provider you choose.

Chemicloud Header

Here are the main requirements for a blog:

  • A blogging platform. If you use WordPress, this is free.
  • A web hosting package. Web hosting providers host your blog for you on the internet. Costs vary widely, but you can get good affordable web hosting for around $60 a year. I recommend you check ChemiCloud (see pricing). They often have some good discounts.
  • A domain name. A domain name is like your address online. It costs around $10-$15 a year. If you use ChemiCloud, they give you a domain name for free.
  • A WordPress theme. A WordPress theme helps you to design your blog. A good theme like GeneratePress costs about $59 a year but you can use their free theme if you are on a budget.
  • WordPress plugins. Plugins help you to extend the functionality of your blog. You can get most of them for free.

4. Can You Be a Blogger If You Are Not A Good Writer?

You don’t need to be a good writer to be a good blogger. With blogging, you write exactly how you talk.

When blogging, don’t write in the boring way you were taught in school. Write as if you are talking to a friend.

And if you don’t like writing, or if your writing is poor, there are several AI tools (such as Writesonic or ChatGPT) that can help you write good quality content or give you ideas on what to write about.

The key thing to remember in blogging is to provide something valuable to your readers.

5. How Much Money Can You Make With a Hobby Blog?

You can make anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars a month from blogging.

When you look at blogger surveys, you find that

  • 8% of bloggers make over $10,000 a month.
  • 12% of bloggers make over $5,000 a month.
  • 15% of bloggers make over $2,500 a month.
  • 19% of bloggers make over $1,500 a month.
  • 31% of bloggers make over $500 a month.
  • 47% of bloggers make over $100 a month.

These statistics show that blogging can be a great side hustle.

Considering that the average pay raise in the US is about $200 a month ($2,500/year, assuming a 5% annual increase for a 50k salary), you can give yourself a substantial pay hike by starting a blog.

However, how much you make from blogging will depend on several different factors, such as:

  • How many blog posts you have published.
  • The type of monetization you use.
  • The niche you are in.

If you want to see how much you can expect to earn from blogging, check out my post on how to calculate blog earnings. In that article, I also show how top bloggers make millions of dollars from blogging.

6. Examples of Successful Blogs and Bloggers

Although hobby blogs often start small, they can become wildly successful.

In this section, I will look at three successful hobby blogs. These blogs prove that ordinary people can make a decent living from their passions such as food, travel, and DIY.

#1. It’s a Lovely Life (Travel)

It’s a Lovely Life is a travel blog that was started by Heather Delaney Reese. Although her blog is primarily a travel blog, she also writes about other topics such as food, lifestyle, and blogging.

Heather started the blog in 2012, but she began blogging much earlier (in 2000, after the birth of her daughter) because she wanted to make money as a stay-at-home mom.

The blog became very popular, and by 2019, she was making $222,857 a month (according to her August 2019 income report). This enabled her husband and her kids to join her in the blogging business and now, the family spends most of their time traveling to exotic locations.

#2. Pinch of Yum (Food)

Pinch of Yum is a food blog that was started by Lindsay Ostrom in 2010, while she was still working as a fourth-grade teacher in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Pinch of Yum Blog Header

Within a few years of blogging, she was able to quit teaching to focus on blogging fully. In November 2016, her blog made $95,192 from 2.4 million visitors that came to her blog that month (see income report).

Although, Pinch of Yum is primarily a food blog, Lindsay also writes about other aspects of her life such as travel and lifestyle. Lindsay has been featured on sites like BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, and Mixergy.

#3. Just A Girl And Her Blog (Lifestyle)

Just a Girl and Her Blog is a lifestyle blog that deals mainly with organizing and DIY projects.

The blog was started in 2013 by Abby Lawson, a stay-at-home mom to two boys. Although she started the blog as a hobby, by 2015, it was doing well enough to enable her husband, Donnie, to quit his job and join her in blogging.

After three years of blogging, the blog was regularly making over $30,000 a month. For example, in November 2016, the blog made $40,124 (see income report).

If you want more examples, you can check out my article on the highest-earning bloggers, where I analyze how million-dollar blogs make money.

7. Steps in Starting a Blog

Starting a hobby blog will take you roughly 30 minutes even if you don’t have technical skills. There are software and tools that will help you make a professional-looking blog.

In this section, I will summarize the main steps you need to create your hobby blog. If you want a detailed step-by-step guide that will take you through the entire process with no steps skipped, you can check out my quick-start guide on how to start a blog.

For now, let us go through the main steps.

#Step 1. Choose a Niche for Your Blog

You first need to decide what your blog will be about. When thinking about what you want to write about, you should ask yourself:

  • What are you interested in?
  • What are you experienced in?
  • What are people searching for online?

You want to write about topics that you have experience in or enjoy, but at the same time, other people also like.

Examples of profitable Hobby blog niches include fitness, travel, arts, crafts, interior design, food, and DIY. For more hobby niche ideas, check out my huge list of hobby ideas.

#Step 2: Choose a name for your blog

Your blog’s name will be your blog’s brand, so you need to choose a good name. You will also use your blog’s name when registering for your domain name (in Step 4).

Your domain name is your address online. For example, the name of my blog is Hobby Slave, and my domain name is hobbyslave.com.

When choosing a name, ensure that it:

  • Is easy to remember.
  • Does not contain numbers or special characters.
  • Is available on social media platforms.
  • Is not trademarked.

At this time, you should also think about your logo. Your logo, blog name, and site colors will represent your brand.

You can use a tool like Visme to design your logo. They have an excellent logo maker with plenty of templates that you can use to experiment with different logo designs.

#Step 3: Choose a blogging platform

It is crucial to choose the right platform when starting your blog.

I would steer clear of the ‘free’ platforms because they often lack crucial features, and if you later need these features, you will need to upgrade to expensive paid plans. You are essentially locked in.

Also, you also have little control over your blog because the company can delete it anytime.

> The Best Blogging Platform for a Hobby Blog

I would recommend starting your blog on WordPress (WordPress.org not WordPress.com). It is the most popular blogging platform, powering over 40% of all websites online.

WordPress is great because:

  • It is free and open-source. You don’t need to pay to use WordPress. The only thing you need to pay for is web hosting. Also, you can move easily between hosts because you are not locked in.
  • It is highly customizable. You can use themes and plugins to make your blog look and function exactly as you want. For example, with a WordPress theme like GeneratePress, you can turn your site into an online shop or membership site.
  • There are plenty of free tutorials. If you want to create a WordPress blog, you will find plenty of high-quality resources and tutorials available online and on YouTube for free.

In Step 5, I will touch on how to install and customize WordPress.

#Step 4. Register Your Domain Name and Sign Up for Hosting

Your blog will need somewhere to live on the internet. A web hosting provider will host your website and make it accessible online. You will need to pay a small fee for this service.

Your web host can also help you to register your domain name.

If this is your first blog, I would recommend choosing a shared hosting package from ChemiCloud. They have 3 packages you can choose from (Starter, Pro, and Turbo)

Chemicloud shared hosting plans

ChemiCloud are great because:

  • Their prices are reasonable, and they give great discounts. You can pay around $50 a year (or $4 a month) for hosting on their cheapest plan.
  • They will give you a free domain. Domains often cost around $10-15 a year, so that is a cost you will avoid.
  • They are highly rated by customers. On Trustpilot, they have 4.9/5 stars, one of the highest ratings for web hosting companies. They are known for fast and reliable service with quick customer service.

You can check for the current price and features here.

#Step 5. Install WordPress and WordPress Plugins

After you purchase your hosting, your login details will be emailed to you, so ensure that you provide the correct contact details when signing up.

If you are on ChemiCloud, you can install WordPress with just a few clicks using the softaculous installer which is available through the control panel.

Once you install, WordPress, you need to:

  • Configure WordPress by deleting unwanted themes and plugins and checking for any updates. You will also need to set the permalink structure.
  • You will need to install important plugins that you will need for the proper functioning of your blog. Here are the essential plugins for a new blog.
  • Create important pages such as home, blog, contact, and about pages. You will also need to create legal pages (such as disclaimer, privacy policy, and terms).
  • Create a navigation bar to help your visitors easily navigate your site.
  • Install an SSL certificate to secure your visitors’ data and for SEO. If you are on ChemiCloud, you can do this for free through the control panel using Let’s Encrypt SSL.

Check out this short video (7 minutes) on how to configure WordPress.

#Step 6. Design Your Site

After you have installed WordPress, you will need to design your site to make it look the way you want.

To do this, you will need a WordPress theme and plugin. There are many good WordPress themes and plugins (free and paid) that you can use.

I would suggest going with the GeneratePress theme and Generate Blocks plugin. The premium version of GeneratePress goes for $59 a year and is packed with features (check current price and features).

GeneratePress Theme

They also have a free theme if you don’t need any complicated designs or features.

The great thing about GeneratePress theme is:

  • It is lightweight and fast which is great for SEO.
  • It is affordable.
  • It has plenty of professional-looking designs and templates.
  • There are plenty of free tutorials on YouTube such as this one.

That was a general overview of the main steps that you need to take to start your hobby blog.

If you need a step-by-step guide that will take you through the entire process with no steps skipped, you can check out my quick-start guide to starting a blog.

8. How to Write Great Content for Your Blog

Once you have finished creating your blog, you can now start writing your content. You will write most of your blog content as blog posts. You can create a new post from your WordPress dashboard by going to Posts and then New Post.

Add a new post in WordPress

Writing great content is probably the most crucial task of blogging. To be successful in blogging, you need to create many high-quality, SEO-optimized blog posts. This will give your posts the highest chance of ranking on search engines like Google.

Here are some quick tips on writing great content.

#1. Write Consistently

Create a schedule for writing content. For example, if you write 2 to 3 posts a week, by the end of the year, you will have at least 100 posts. This is enough to get you decent traffic.

If you have a full-time job or struggle to write in English, creating content can be a challenge. Therefore, if you have the budget, you can hire writers on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr.

Alternatively, you can use an AI writer. With the release of GPT4 and Chat GPT, AI writers have become really powerful, and they can write better content than most humans.

You can try an AI writer like Writesonic which leverages GPT4. It costs around $13 a month for 60,000 words (check the current price). With 60k words, you can write 30 blog posts that are 2,000 words long every month.

If you want to test how the AI works, Writesonic have a free plan that you can play around with (you don’t need to put in your credit card).

#2. Use Images

Images help you to pass your message visually. They are also great for SEO because they help to increase time-on-site (dwell time).

You don’t have to be a good designer to create beautiful images. You can use a tool like Visme to create appealing logos, infographics, featured images, and graphs.

They also have a library of free images that you ca use without worrying about copyright infringement.

Visme is quite affordable with the starter plan costing about $12 a month (check current price). If you are on a budget, try out their free plan.

#3. Ensure that your content is easy to read

You can make your posts easy to read by:

  • Fixing grammatical errors. Grammatical mistakes make your content difficult to read. Use a tool like Grammarly to fix such mistakes and improve your writing style.
  • Using simple language. A typical 14-15 year old should find your content easy to read. Use Grammarly to check your readability score.
  • Making your content skimmable. You can use sub-titles, images, and bullet points to break up the text.

9. What Can You Write About In a Hobby Blog? Hobby Blog Ideas

What you write will depend on your niche and target audience. However, here are some types of articles you can target.

  • Lists.
  • How to Guides.
  • Beginner guides.
  • Reviews of helpful products and services.
  • Personal stories.

Examples of titles of such blog posts can be:

  • How to learn German in one month.
  • 12 Things you need to know before getting a puppy.
  • Beginner’s guide to crocheting.
  • The 12 best cameras for portrait photography.

You can come up with lots of such ideas. If you are struggling to come up with ideas, you can use a keyword tool like KW Finder. It will help to you find keywords and discover topics that are easy to rank for in Google.

10. How to Get Visitors to Your Blog

You can write the best content, but if you can’t get visitors to your blog, all your efforts will be in vain. Therefore, you need to learn how to attract visitors if you want people to read all the awesome content you have created.

Here are the three main methods you can start with.

#1. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

To get traffic from Google and other search engines, you need to optimize your content in a way that is easy to find on search engines. You can do this by:

  • Targeting keywords that people are searching for. You can use a keyword tool like KW Finder to identify such keywords.
  • Fixing technical issues on your blog like slow speeds and security. For speed, ensure you have good hosting. Also, use a plugin like WP Rocket to optimize your site.

#2. Build an Email List

Most of the visitors who come to your site will leave and never return.

You need to capture their email addresses so you can email them whenever you have a new post or a product to promote.

You can get visitors to sign up for your email list by offering them something valuable, such as a short ebook, in exchange for their email.

You can use a service like Systeme.io to build your email list. They allow you to start building your list for free, and you can send emails to up to 2,000 contacts every month with their free plan.

#3. Outreach

You can reach out to people with established audiences and ask them to share your content. You can do this in several ways.

  • You can do guest posts on other people’s sites.
  • You can answer reporters’ questions on Help A Reporter Out (HARO).
  • You can get interviewed on other people’s YouTube channels or Podcasts.

11. How to Make Money From Your Blog

There are plenty of ways that you can make money from a blog. However, if you are new to blogging, it is best to focus on 2 or 3 methods to avoid getting overwhelmed.

The easiest ways to monetize a blog are:

#1. Display Ads

You can sign up for an Ad network that will serve ads on your blog and pay you according to how many visitors you get. This is great for beginners because once you get accepted to an Ad network, you don’t need to do much else.

Most premium Ad networks require that you have a good number of visitors. For example, Mediavine requires 50,000 visitors, and Ad Thrive requires 100,000 visitors.

One of the few premium ad networks that do not have a traffic limit is Ezoic. As a beginner, Ezoic will be your best bet. See how you can join Ezoic here.

To increase your chances of getting accepted, read their list of requirements. Also, ensure that you have a couple of high-quality posts. They do not have a specific number of blog posts but aim for 20-30 posts.

#2. Sell Products and Services

The easiest products to sell are digital products. These include ebooks, patterns, courses, songs, or photos. You can also sell services like coaching and consulting.

Think about your interests and those of your audience and develop a product you can sell to them.

You can use a service like Payhip to sell digital products and services. It is great for beginners because it is affordable and easy to use. You can check the current pricing here. For a 10% discount on all Payhip paid plans, you can use the coupon code HOBBY10.

Another great thing about Payhip is that you can get started for free. They will charge you a transaction fee only when you make a sale. If you sell infrequently, this might be more economical.

#3. Affiliate Marketing

In affiliate marketing, you recommend useful products to your audience, and you get a small commission if you purchase through your link.

If there are products that you enjoy using, check their website to see if they offer an affiliate program.

Note that many companies require that you have some visitors before they accept you, so don’t get discouraged when you get rejected. Keep building your audience and try again later.

12. Quick Tips for Success in Hobby Blogging

Success in blogging takes time, so don’t get disappointed when progress is slow.

In my blogging journey, I have learned a lot of lessons that I wish I knew when I was starting out. I have written a detailed article that goes through all you need for success in blogging as a new blogger. For more, check out my article on the best blogging advice for beginner bloggers.

However, here are some quick blogging tips to point you in the right direction.

#1. Write about things you enjoy

If you write about what you like, you will look forward to writing. This will help you to be consistent. Consistently cranking out content is the key to success in blogging.

#2. Learn about SEO

Google is the biggest referrer of visitors to websites, so you need to know what it takes to rank on Google. You especially need to sort out the technical issues because they can wreck your blog.

#3. Niche down

When your blog is still new, you need to focus on one topic or niche. This will help you to gain traction and start building an audience. For example, instead of writing about dogs, you can write about German Shepherds or any dog breed you own.

Wrapping Up

A blogging hobby can open up a world of opportunities. If you have made it this far, then you have the basics of what you need to start a successful hobby blog.

The sooner you get started, the better. You will make mistakes, and sometimes it will seem like you are just spinning your wheels, but keep at it.

And learn all you can about blogging. The blogging world changes quickly, and the only way to keep up is to keep learning constantly.

Further reading

If you are ready to start your blog, check out my step-by-step guide on how to start a blog. You might also enjoy reading about my best blogging advice.

If it is difficult for you to find an enjoyable hobby or passion, the following articles might help you.