Blogging tips

How to Start a Personal Finance Blog (and Make Money)

how to start a personal finance blog

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Personal finance is one of the most profitable niches in the blogging world. Not only can you help people manage their finances, but you can also make money through affiliate marketing and other strategies. But first, you need to learn how to start a personal finance blog the right way.

As a senior writer for LendingTree (primarily its subsidiary sites, Student Loan Hero and Magnify Money), I know what it takes to run a successful finance blog. (I helped Student Loan Hero grow its traffic and revenue so much that it got sold for $60 million!)

But you don’t need to be a big business to make money in the personal finance niche.

There are lots of individual bloggers who turn a profit running personal finance blogs, as well as a few who have grown their blogs into multi-million dollar companies. Tim Chen started NerdWallet with just $800, for example; now, the site is worth over $500 million.

If you’re interested in starting a personal finance blog of your own, read on to learn what it takes, step by step.

How to start a personal finance blog

1. Choose a strategic niche

The first step in starting a personal finance blog involves planning and preparation. Specifically, you want to figure out what your niche will be in the personal finance world.

You’ll have the best chance of success if you narrow down your blogging focus to a specific niche.

It’s pretty much impossible to compete with the personal finance giants without a specific focus. Plus, writing in a specific. niche allows you to position yourself as an expert and build trust with your readers.

Some examples of personal finance niches include,

  • Saving for retirement
  • Budgeting and frugal living
  • Investing for beginners
  • Credit repair
  • Insurance
  • FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early)
  • Student loan repayment
  • Paying for college

By narrowing down your niche, Google will understand exactly what your blog is about, and your blog posts will have a better chance of ranking higher in search results.

High-ranking articles bring in organic (free) traffic month after month. And more traffic means more money.

Plus, narrowing down your niche will give you a much clearer idea of who your customers are and what problem they’re trying to solve. This understanding will help you succeed at marketing affiliate products or even selling your own digital products.

Do you need personal experience in your niche?

Note that a lot of personal finance bloggers share their own story and experience with a certain topic, such as paying off a lot of debt in a short amount of time.

But you don’t necessarily need to have personal experience with a topic to do well with it.

It helps to be interested in your topic, of course, but the most important thing is that you can create well-researched, informative, accurate, and thorough advice for your readers.

Remember, a blog should help solve people’s problems, whether that means helping people conquer their credit card debt, save an emergency fund, or whatever else.

2. Come up with a memorable name

Your next step is coming up with a memorable name for your blog. You’ll need both a name for your blog and a domain name, or URL (for instance, this blog’s domain is remotebliss.com).

Brainstorming names for your blog can be fun, but also daunting!

My advice — don’t overthink it. Your name is important, but it’s not going to make or break your blog.

Find an idea you feel good about, and go with it.

A few tips for brainstorming a good blog and domain name:

  • Come up with something unique. For one, you can’t register a domain name that somebody already has. And second, you don’t want your blog to get mixed up with someone else’s. Think of something new and different!
  • Make it short. Our attention span is short these days. Aim for 1-3 words that are catchy and easy to remember.
  • Make it relevant. Ideally, your blog name indicates what your blog is about. Student Loan Hero, for example, is all about student loans. Clever Girl Finance is a personal finance blog geared toward women. If you think you might want to expand your niche eventually, you might want a name that allows some flexibility (but spend at least a year building authority in your chosen niche before trying another one).
  • Go with a .com domain name. Although you’ve probably seen domain names that end in “.co” or “.io,” “.com” is a safe bet with a long legacy on Google.

Do you have a domain name in mind and want to see if it’s available? Use this free tool from Bluehost to check!

3. Sign up for web hosting

Now that you’ve brainstormed ideas for starting your personal finance blog, it’s time to get your website up and running.

Your first step is purchasing a hosting plan. Your host is basically where your blog lives on the internet.

Note that there are a few free hosting plans (Weebly’s free plan, for example), but you won’t own your domain on a free plan. Instead, your domain will be something like, mypersonalfinanceblog.weebly.com, instead of mypersonalfinanceblog.com.

As you can see, that doesn’t look very professional, and it won’t do your website’s SEO any favors.

If you’re serious about making money on your personal finance blog, I recommend purchasing a hosting plan from Bluehost.

Bluehost is one of the most affordable web hosting providers out there (plans starting at just $3.95 per month). It provides fast site speeds and strong security.

The only drawback of Bluehost is that it doesn’t always have the fastest customer service. If customer service is important to you, then I recommend a different hosting service — Siteground.

They offer the same fast speeds and site security as Bluehost, but also have great, fast customer service to help you troubleshoot problems. However, Siteground costs a little more per month (plans start at $6.99 per month).

Since Bluehost is more affordable, I’ll share the steps of signing up for Bluehost here. But note that signing up for Siteground is pretty similar (for more details, you can check out Siteground here).

How to sign up for Bluehost hosting

To get started with Bluehost hosting, simply head to the Bluehost site. Unless you need multiple websites, choose the Basic hosting plan.

how to start a personal finance blog

Your next step is choosing a domain name. Bluehost offers a free domain for a year when you purchase a hosting plan. You can also transfer a domain name if you already own one.

how to start a finance blog

Next, fill out your account information and choose your hosting plan. You have options for a 12-month, 24-month, and 36-month plan, but your price will be lower if you commit to a longer plan.

how to start a finance blog

Next, you can choose extras to make your site more secure. I recommend going with Domain Privacy and Protection and ignoring the others.

However, Codeguard Basic can be useful if you don’t mind spending a little extra, since it offers automatic backups of your site. But you can also use a separate plugin for backups.

how to start a personal finance blog

Finally, you’ll enter your credit card information and hit purchase. Once you do, you’re all set!

how to start a finance blog

You now own your domain name and have web hosting for your new personal finance blog!

4. Install WordPress

Once you’ve purchased your hosting plan, your next step is installing WordPress. WordPress is your content management system, and it’s responsible for pretty much your whole website (your theme, blog, plugins, etc.).

If you purchased a Bluehost plan, Bluehost will automatically install and set up WordPress for you.

If you chose a different hosting plan, search for a “How to connect WordPress” guide on their site. Whatever hosting provider you chose, it will be easy to get WordPress up and running with just a few clicks.

Note that you want to sign up for an account on WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. WordPress.org is the free platform for hosting your blog, and it comes with tons of free plugins and themes to optimize your site.

5. Download a few essential plugins

Next up, you’ll want to download a few essential plugins on your WordPress dashboard.

I recommend starting with an “under construction” or “coming soon” plugin. Once you activate this plugin, your site will show that it’s under construction, which is helpful while you work on its design.

When you’re ready to make it live, you can deactivate the plugin so everyone can see your sweet new website. I recommend preparing 5 – 10 blog posts before making your site live.

A few other plugins I recommend are,

  • Yoast SEO. This plugin will check your readability and SEO score and help you optimize for a certain keyword.
  • MonsterInsights. You can connect this plugin to your Google Analytics account for in-depth insight into your website’s traffic.
  • W3 Total Cache. This handy plugin will make your site faster (Google takes site speed into account when determining ranking).
  • Elementor. This is an easy page builder with drag-and-drop features. Not totally necessary, but it can make it easier to design certain pages.

If you’re not familiar with plugins, by the way, they are a great and free way to add features to your site without you having to do any manual coding.

For instance, there are plugins to add an affiliate disclaimer on your blog posts (important if you’ll be using affiliate links), as well as a plugin to add an author bio to your site.

Really, the sky’s the limit, so if you’re looking for a specific feature, try Googling plugins to see if there’s one that could add it for you automatically.

6. Select a theme and design your site

Next up is selecting a theme and designing your site. WordPress offers hundreds of both free and paid themes for your blog.

Its free themes work well if you’re trying to keep costs down, as you can find a variety of user-friendly themes to create a good-looking site.

how to start a blog for free

However, free themes can be limited in terms of how much you can customize them, and they’re not always optimized for site speed.

If you want more control over the look of your site, you could purchase a theme. I’m a fan of the Divi theme, which allows you to create a beautiful and user-friendly site. It also grants you access to hundreds of pre-made website templates.

You can pay an annual fee of $67 to purchase Divi or a one-time fee of $187 (at the time of writing).

Divi WordPress Theme
While you can change your theme as you go, it’s usually easier to set it up right from the beginning. But as I said, if you’re looking to keep your costs of starting a blog low, you can opt for a free theme, at least in the beginning.

7. Add legal pages to your blog

Adding legal pages to your blog is an important step that not a lot of bloggers talk about.

Legal pages such as “Terms & Conditions” and affiliate disclaimers can protect you from any legal action that someone could take against you.

Of course, chances are you’re not going to get sued when you only have a handful of people visiting your blog at the beginning. But if you add legal pages at the get-go, you can forget about them and be protected no matter how big your blog grows.

I think legal pages are especially important when you start a personal finance blog.

They state that even though you’re offering financial advice, you’re not serving as someone’s personal financial advisor, so you can’t be held legally accountable for the financial decisions a reader makes.

This isn’t to say you’re not going to be giving solid, professional advice, but you don’t know your readers’ individual situations.

You can find free templates on the internet, but my favorite legal pages for blogs come from lawyer Amira of A Self Guru. She sells bundles of legal templates that will protect you and your blog, and they’re incredibly easy to customize.

how to start a personal finance blog

All you need to do is add your name and blog name to the templates and then upload them to your site. In fact, I use her templates for Remote Bliss (see my Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions, and Disclaimer below).

You can check out Amira’s legal page templates here

8. Plan and write your first posts

Now that you’ve finished setting up your blog and website, it’s time for the fun part — writing your first blog posts!

I suggest starting with cornerstone content, or the long-form, comprehensive posts that are essential to your niche.

For instance, if you are blogging about credit repair, you might start with the Ultimate Guide to Increasing Your Credit Score. Or if you’re writing about saving for retirement, you could start with The Beginner’s Guide to Saving for Retirement.

It helps to do some keyword research here, so you can write on topics that people are actively searching for.

One great tool is Ubersuggest, since it not only shows you keywords and monthly volume, but it also suggests how difficult a keyword is to rank for.

When you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to pursue long tail keywords (of four words or more) that have an easy competition score.

For a list of all the best keyword research tools (free and paid), head to this guide.

Post on a consistent basis

It also helps to blog on a consistent basis, ideally two to three posts per week. At the same time, opt for quality over quantity; don’t churn out subpar posts just for the sake of hitting a quota.

It takes several months to rank on Google and grow traffic, so don’t worry if you don’t have an audience right way.

Keep working on your blog, and you’ll see it grow over time.

For more insight into how to write outstanding blog posts that rank on the first page of Google, head here.

9. Use affiliate marketing to make money

Once you’re comfortable writing blog posts in your niche, it’s time to think about monetizing your site.

One big strategy that personal finance bloggers use is affiliate marketing.

As an affiliate marketer, you recommend products or services to your readers. When a reader clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you’ll earn a commission.

Affiliate commissions for personal finance commissions tend to be especially lucrative (often hundreds of dollars per sale), which is why the personal finance sphere can be so profitable for bloggers.

So how can you sign up as an affiliate? Well, this varies by company.

Some companies run affiliate programs of their own, and you can sign up right on their site.

Others are part of affiliate marketplaces, such as,

After joining one of these marketplaces, you can apply to be an affiliate for its member companies. The company will review your application and let you know once you’re approved.

Some companies require that you have a certain amount of monthly traffic before approving you, whereas others will approve you from day one as long as you’re blogging in a relevant niche.

Don’t worry too much if you have to wait before getting approved, because chances are you wouldn’t make much money until you’ve built up your blog traffic, anyway.

By the way, there are a few blog post types that tend to make the most money. These are,

  • Best of posts, where you recommend products to your readers
  • Reviews, where you give an honest review of a product or service
  • Comparison reviews, where you compare one product or service with another and help your reader choose which one to buy

Head to this guide to learn more about all the ways to make money off your blog.

10. Increase traffic to your personal finance blog

It takes time to build a blog and start making income from it, so your primary goal should be increasing traffic to your site.

As mentioned, it helps to post on a consistent basis so that Google sees you as an active blog and rewards you with higher rankings in search results.

Another important piece of successful blogging is building backlinks to your site. If other sites link to your personal finance blog, it will build authority in the eyes of Google.

A few ways to get backlinks are to,

  • Reach out to another site and offer to write a guest post, as long as it contains a link to your site
  • Ask another blog to do a link exchange
  • Become a source for reporters (for instance, you can sign up on Help a Reporter Out (HARO))

A few more effective ways to increase readership are,

  • Make pins for your articles on Pinterest
  • Create videos and run a YouTube channel
  • Start a podcast
  • Grow your social media following (on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Now I definitely don’t recommend pursuing all of these avenues, as you’ll stretch yourself way too thin.

In fact, my number one strategy is Google SEO, or writing high-quality blog posts that will rank highly on Google and bring in organic traffic.

But SEO takes time, and there are other strategies you can use in the meantime.

I recommend choosing one or two of the above to focus on (go with the one where you tend to spend most of your time and feel you’ll do your best).

My personal favorite is Pinterest, but some bloggers do amazingly with Instagram, YouTube, or podcasting, so it definitely depends on your niche, personality, and interests.

Building a personal finance blog takes time, but can pay off big

Now that you know how to start a personal finance blog, you can see that starting your blog is the easy part. You can purchase hosting, design your site, and get your blog up and running in a matter of hours.

But growing your blog is a different story, and it takes time and dedication to produce content and grow traffic. Doing so can be well worth it, as successful personal finance bloggers bring in thousands (or even millions) of dollars from their blogs.

The key is commitment and perseverance, as well as continuous learning along the way. You may encounter roadblocks, but you’ll need to keep an open mind and remind yourself that everything is “figure-out-able.”

In fact, searching for answers to blogging questions is a major part of being a blogger! So embrace the challenge, and take action today on starting your personal finance blog. You’ll do great!

For more pro tips on starting a blog the right way, head to my ultimate guide on how to start a blog, step by step.