Starting a blog is great way to make money from home, but most of the tutorials out there are targeted at people living in the USA. This guide will show you how to start a blog in Canada in 2019 and why it is a bit different for us up here in the north.
I started this blog back in 2017 and my only regret is that I didn’t start it sooner! If you are thinking of starting a blog, my advice is do it now! It does take a little while to build traction so the earlier you get going, the better.
Blogging is a great way to make some extra money, make friends online and connect with people from all around the World. It’s also the perfect side job for stay at home moms, university students and anyone with time on their hands at a computer.
This page contains affiliate links meaning I earn a commission if you use those links. Please read my disclosure for more details.
If you are wondering whether is is really possible to start a blog in Canada that makes money, the answer is yes! I actually think blogging is one area where it might be easier to make it as a Canadian than an American!
The advantages of starting a blog in Canada
- You can target traffic from Canada, the USA and the rest of the World
- Most companies pay in USD so your bank account will be happy
- Same timezone as the USA which is a huge advantage
- Less competition for sponsored work than Americans face
- Tax deductions for home office expenses and other business costs
Do Canadian bloggers really make money?
While you may not care about making money with your blog, I am going to assume that you are visiting this site because it is something that interests you.
After all, if you are going to spend hours creating interesting content for your readers, why not get compensated?
So can you really start a blog that makes money? Should you?
Absolutely. Creating a blog that provides value to readers takes a lot of effort. So why shouldn’t you get paid for all your hard work?
I personally started my first blog with the sole intention of quitting my full-time gig. I really couldn’t take the stress of my job but our budget does not allow for me to not work. I gave myself a goal of 6 months but in reality that was not enough time.
I ended quitting my job and becoming a full-time blogger after 11 months of blogging which I think it pretty attainable if you are prepared to work hard and are motivated.
I am now almost 2 years into this blogging thing and I am now in a position where I can drop it for a week or so and not suffer any dire consequences. This is in part thanks to automation tools that I use (see below for more details). I typically work for 5-10 hours on my blog at the moment although it fluctuates throughout the year.
The amazing thing is, you really don’t have to a a big name blogger to make enough money to quit your job.
Here are 3 Canadian bloggers who make money with their blogs:
- Me! You can read some of my earlier blog income reports here, here, and here.
- Carly from Mommy On Purpose makes over $20,000 per month. Read one of her earlier income reports here.
- The Endless Meal made over $11,000 in one month last fall.
How can you make money with your Canadian blog?
- Set your blog up correctly (see below for instructions!)
- Drive traffic to your site so that you can monetize it.
- Choose a subject that people want to read about
Let’s talk about that third point; any subject (or most) can attract readers as long as you are providing them with a solution to a problem.
Let’s all be honest though, there are certain niches that have more of a chance of making money than others.
Make sure you choose a topic that appeals to a large amount of people. There is nothing wrong with going “niche” but don’t be so narrow that only 5 people in Canada would read your blog!
Good Broad Niche – Cottaging in the Muskokas
Too Niched down – Life on Bass Lake, Muskoka
Steps to Creating A Blog That Makes Money
- Start your blog – hosting
- Choose a domain name for your blog
- Pick a WordPress theme
- Install plugins
- Create the necessary pages
- Start writing!
- Promote, promote, promote!
- Join an ad network
- Start making money with sponsored posts and affiliate marketing
How to Start a Blog in Canada in just a few minutes
1.Choose your hosting package
Hosting is the number one thing that can make or break your blog. Your host can slow your site down, cause it to have downtime or even crash it.
Although it can be a bit boring compared with the fun of picking a blog name or a WordPress Theme, your hosting package is a huge factor that should be chosen with care.
If you want to start a blog in Canada using a quality host that doesn’t charge the earth, I recommend looking at HostPapa.
Why HostPapa is the best hosting for Canadian bloggers:
- Prices in Canadian dollars
- Privately owned Canadian company
- Great customer service and small client base = individualized support
- Lots of FREE added extras such a free SLL certificate, free WordPress set up and domain transfer.
How to set up your HostPapa Website
1. Go to HostPapa.com
2. Choose your hosting package.
Which package you choose really depends on your traffic levels and how many websites you need to host.
If you are just starting out or don’t have a lot of traffic, the WP Starter will be perfect. It comes with a lot of premium features that you have to pay for with other hosts including:
- Free SSL
- Free Cloudflare CDN
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Free WordPress Transfer
3. Choose your domain
If you don’t already have a domain name (that’s the www.), then you can get register a free one with HostPapa’s WP Starter package.
On the left hand side, just type in the domain name you would like and you will see all available options. It might take you a few tries to find the one you want, especially if you want to go for a .com name.
If you do already have one, just select that option on the right of the screen and then you can transfer it for free.
4. Choose your billing options
On the next screen, you have another chance to select the right plan for you as well as choosing a term and some add-ons.
When it comes to choosing a plan for your hosting, the longer term you choose, the cheaper it will work out in the long run.
All of the hosting companies run introductory promotions to get you in the door but the prices go up quite considerably after the term is up. That’s why I highly recommend locking in the cheap rate for the longest time possible right off the bat.
On this screen you also get a chance to choose some optional extras or website essentials as Hostpapa calls them. The one I would definitely recommend is Domain Privacy.
I actually did not purchase domain privacy when I first started Seaside Sundays and I ended up buying it last week after some people tried to hack my site. I wish I had bought it in the first place.
Uncheck the boxes of anything you don’t want to add in right now (you can always purchase them at a later date).
Fill out all your contact details and you will then be directed to the payment page. You can pay for your hosting with credit cards or PayPal.
5. Check your email!
Once you have paid, you will get an order confirmation email from HostPapa. In the email you will find two important pieces of information – your login to the HostPapa dashboard and your login for your WordPress admin page.
One of the wonderful things about HostPapa is that they do a lot of the initial set up for you such as installing WordPress and setting up your Let’s Enscript security certificate (SSL). This saves so much time and messing about.
Once you have your “Welcome to the HostPapa Family” email, check the first login that you get for your WordPress admin page. This is the main login you need to create blog posts and add images to your site.
6. Setting up your blog
Once you have logged into your WordPress site, head to Users on the left hand side menu and click on “all users”. You should see your username (as per the email from HostPapa) there and you can click on the username to change your password.
You can also choose the colours you want for your WordPress backend and the name to be displayed on your posts (make sure this is not the same name as your username for security reasons).
7. Choosing A Blog Theme
Now we get to the fun stuff! Go to Appearance > Themes on the menu and you will see some free WordPress Themes already loaded onto your site.
You can choose any of those or any free WordPress themes you find online (a google search will bring a bunch up).
Bear in mind that premium themes that allow you to customize everything will cost a bit but they shouldn’t be more than $50 including a Genesis Framework.
As you can see above, for my site, I am using the Blush theme Paper Lotus. I bought it from Creative Market which is a great source of good themes for all different types of blogs.
Also, if you sign up for Creative Market’s newsletter, you will get 6 free items form them each week, every week it is something different – images, fonts, media kits etc. It’s one of my favourite freebies for bloggers.
I highly recommend getting a Genesis theme for your blog. I only use Genesis as they come with some great plugins and are very user friendly. Don’t buy a theme that makes you pay extra for Genesis though, unless you absolutely LOVE it. All the themes I have bought come with Genesis included for the same price.
Once you have chosen and downloaded your theme to your computer, just click on “add new” and upload the zip file to your WordPress. Then follow the theme’s instructions to set it up.
Once it is all set up you can mess about and change fonts, colors and add your logo to the header.
8. Add Plugins
Most themes will come with a list of “recommended plugins” so you can follow that as much as you like. I normally ignore it except for the ones that I actually need to make the theme look as it should.
In general, the less plugins you have, the better, as they can slow down your site and also if they break, they will break your site (my site has crashed twice and both times were due to plugin updates).
I do have a list of my must-have plugins that I recommend (they are all free although some marked with a *, have a premium plan too).
Akismet Anti-Spam – Filters spam comments
Related Posts – See those little related post pictures at the bottom of this page? That’s this plugin.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer*- Smushes images down to nothing to speed up your site
Simple Social Icons – Social media follow buttons like at the top of my sidebar.
AddToAny Share Buttons – The share buttons at the top of my posts. You can use a fancier plugin and I have paid for premium ones that are prettier but I find this one is light and fast and does the job.
WP Super Cache – Speeds up your site by caching your pages.
Yoast SEO* – Helps you improve your search engine rankings and also gives you the option to create add a specific description and image for Facebook sharing.
Wordfence Security* – Firewall and protection for your site from bots and hackers.
To add a new plugin, just go to the Plugin tab and click “add new” search for the one you want and then once it is installed click “activate” and set it up as prompted.
9. Add Essential Pages To Your Blog
There are a few pages that you need on your blog, either for legal reasons or just because it makes sense. Of course, you can combine your pages or add footnotes instead but in general, you are going to need the following:
Tell your readers more about you and what your goal for the blog is. Tell them why you started the blog and any relevant background that makes you an “expert” in your field.
For example: If your blog is about getting out of debt, tell them your personal story of becoming financially independent.
You can also use the About me page as a contact page or you can create a separate “contact me” page.
With the new rules from the EU, your blog must be GDPR compliant. And, if you plan on making money, you won’t get into an ad network and can be rejected by affiliate programs without one.
If you plan on making money on your site, you need this too. This is where you disclose that you use affiliate links on your blog and give details on what that means for your readers.
If you are a member of Amazon Associates, you will need to have their exact wording requirements on your blog, both in the disclosure page and in a footer.
Every post on your blog should have a disclosure that explains that you use affiliate links with a link to your disclosure page for more information. This is a strict rule from the FTC in the USA. You can see mine at the top of this page.
What about affiliate disclosures for Canadians?
One of the biggest issues when you start a blog in Canada is the lack of information available.
For example, Canada doesn’t give exact guidelines like the FTC gives in the US . As you will likely be getting some traffic spillover from the USA, it’s wise to use their guidelines which you can find here. That way you are covered for sure.
If you don’t want to write out the affiliate disclosure on every single blog post, there are plugins that will do it for you, personally I don’t use one because as I mentioned before, less is more when it comes to plugins and a quick copy and paste does the trick.
10. Start Writing Amazing Content
Now your blog is all set-up, it is time to start putting some posts up. Simple go to “add new” under Posts on the menu and you will be all set to start writing.
I do recommend you either backup your blog using a plugin such as Updraft or write your posts on Google Drive and then copy them to WordPress.
How often should I post to my blog?
You don’t need a blog schedule or editorial calendar but it’s wise to blog frequently in the beginning so you can create a library of content. I started off publishing posts about 3 times a week and gradually cut it down to twice a week once I had around 100 posts.
What images should I add?
Use photos to illustrate your points and break up long walls of text.
Make sure to include images for sharing on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. I use PicMonkey to create my images and they have a standard “pin” size for Pinterest. Canva is another great option and they have image sizes for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Be mindful that most themes have a “featured image” which is the one they show on the home page in snippets.
Check with your theme for the correct size for this image, on my blog, the size is 500 x 500 and it shows up as a small square on the side of the text when you look on my home page.
If you want to use stock photos, use this 26 sites that offer free stock images to get started for free.
Make sure to resize your images using a plugin like Shortpixel or a site such as Tinypng to prevent slow site load speeds.
How many posts should I have before I launch my blog?
Aim for 10-20 blog posts before going live to give your blog some credibility, make sure to interlink each post to others on your blog so that your readers will stay on your site longer.
If you have a related posts plugin like the one I mentioned above, then that will also help to give your readers more of your content.
11. How to promote your blog
One of the weirdest things about starting my blog was that I wrote some posts, spent hours on the design and then just expected people to find me.
Unfortunately it doesn’t work like that for new blogs and unless you have a huge following or your mom really likes checking out your blog every day, you won’t get the page views you want without promoting heavily.
The 80/20 rule has never been truer than for blogging – 20% of your time should be for creating content and 80% should be for promotion.
There are lots of places to promote your blog for free and it can get a bit overwhelming to be honest. I highly recommend picking a few platforms to start with and really perfecting them.
Pinterest is the quickest was to get traffic to a new blog and for that I recommend you use Tailwind. It’s a scheduling tool that lets you automate Pinterest so you can focus on other things. Get a free trial of Tailwind here.
To learn how I use Tailwind, here are some tutorials I put together:
You can also buy some blogging courses (and believe me, in my first year of blogging, I bought a ton!)
Out of the probably 15-20 blogging courses I have bought, here are my favourites for teaching you about blog traffic. They are all under $40 (and one is free) which shows you don’t need to buy a $1000 course to be successful. With all the prices in USD and the Canadian dollar not at it strongest, it’s worth finding freebies wherever you can.
A ebook will help you to grow your Pinterest traffic quickly through manual pinning. Carly grew her Pinterest referrals from 0-200K page views in 6 months using these techniques.
Free course by Lena Gott who grew her traffic from 30,000 to 400,000 page views in only 10 months. I highly recommend every new blogger downloads this completely free guide.
This is a great introduction to improving your SEO quickly. I recommend buying this when you are about 6 months in to your blogging journey as it is hard to rank in Google before then.
Download my free guide to creating pins for Pinterest that will help you get started quickly (and avoid the mistakes I made – download the book to see some of my awful pins).
9. Should you put ads on your site?
If you want to start a blog that makes money quickly, you probably want to put some ads on your site.
In the beginning, your choice is really limited to Google Adsense. You can apply as soon as your blog is live and it can take about a month to get set up.
If you do decide to use an ad network, two plugins will make life easier – Ad Inserter and Genesis Simple Hooks will let you place your Google Adsense ads where ever you want without messing about the code of your site.
Once you reach 25,000 sessions in 30 days, apply for Mediavine or wait until you hit 100,000 page views and join Adthrive. These are ad networks that pay much, much better than Adsense (With Mediavine, I earn in a day what I earned in 3 months with Adsense).
10. Get Started With Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is good for recommending products to your readers. Affiliate links are referral links that pay you a portion of the sale made by your reader.
I recommend signing up for affiliate programs as soon as you start your blog.
This post gives you a great list of the top affiliate networks that accept new Canadian bloggers plus more advice for getting started with affiliate marketing.
All of them accept Canadian Bloggers and most of them pay in USD so it is a win-win situation for us Canucks.
How do the affiliate networks pay Canadians?
One of the biggest headaches for Canadian bloggers is getting hit with huge exchange rates and wire fees just for earning money! It really sucks but on the other hand, it is pretty sweet to get paid in USD and see the awesome exchange rate.
The largest networks I use, shareasale.com and Impact Radius, pay me directly into my Canadian bank account in CAD. I don’t have to pay any fees which is great.
For the networks that do not pay directly into my bank via ACH (same as an interac transfer), I use Payoneer. Payoneer is pretty awesome as it provides me with a free US bank account that I can use just as though I were an American.
I use it mainly for Amazon Associates US site as they will not pay via PayPal and cheques take too long.
I do use PayPal for some of the smaller affiliates I promote and it works just fine, however sometimes I get charged a fee for receiving money which is annoying.
If you have join programs that pay by cheque in USD, don’t worry – you can pay it right into your Canadian chequing account at your bank (no fees).
11. Using Amazon’s OneLink
Whether the majority of your traffic is from Canada or somewhere else, I highly encourage you to sign up for the Amazon One Link program.
OneLink will direct your readers to the appropriate Amazon store for their country and give you credit. You only need to choose one link to put on your site (eg from Amazon.com) and Amazon will take care of the rest.
I find this invaluable for Canadians who often get a mix of Canadian and US traffic to their sites.
12. Build up your social media following
Lastly, one of the best ways to make money with your blog is through sponsored posts for brands. The main social networks that brands want to see are Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
If it all feels like too much work, don’t forget that you can automate your social media. This means that my posts go out automatically without me having to be online.
I use the following automation programs (all free):
- Planoly – Instagram
- Hootsuite – Twitter
- IFTTT – Everything! I set it up so anything I post on Facebook automatically hits my Twitter feed.
- Facebook – I use Facebook’s own scheduling tool.
If you have enough traffic to your site, you can often get sponsored blog posts too which pay anywhere from $200-700 USD per post depending on the brand and your pageviews.
To land sponsored posts, you can either reach out to brands directly or join influencer networks. The networks are a great place to start looking for sponsored work.
You can download my list of the best influencer networks for Canadian bloggers below:
What To Read Next
Start A Blog That Makes Money
Ready to start a blog and make money from home?
In this FREE 5 day email course, I will show you the exact steps I took to take my mom blog from $0 to a consistent $2000 a month within 4 months.