Starting a blog is easy, and you don’t need to spend all your money to do it.
I’ll show you how to start a blog for free and make money with it.
This is my step-by-step guide, with my 12+ blogging experience condensed into a digestible guide.
While you might not be able to make money from your free blog ‘overnight,’ it doesn’t have to take forever either.
It can start with $100 in your first month, and grow to $10,000 per month in just a few months.
You’re the one to determine how much is okay for you to make.
Why do you want to start a blog?
Why do you want to start a blog, you ask? Blogging has become a very popular way to share information and communicate with others.
There are millions of blogs online today. Besides being a great outlet for personal expression, blogging can also earn you money.
One great reason to start a blog is to become your own boss. You can hire other people to work for you or even create your own job from home.
The possibilities are endless! With the right blog, you can share your expertise with the world and influence others in any way you want. You can promote a new product or healthy lifestyle and earn money while doing it.
This kind of power can be extremely useful, but it’s important to use your influence with caution.
While there are no magic formulas to make money from your blog, you can build a loyal audience that supports you in your endeavors.
However, if you want to earn cash through blogging, it’s better to target a specific niche and focus on serving that audience.
Here’s the easy 11-step formula on how to start a blog for free and make extra money in 2022 and beyond:
Step 1: Choose your blog niche
It can be challenging to choose a blog niche for your site. Some topics are too broad and competitive for beginners like you and me.
Other niches are too narrow with lesser competition. But you’ll still get some visitors to your website.
In general, narrow niches are easier to rank for than broader ones. If you’re unsure, try some general categories, such as product reviews, fashion, beauty, and food.
There are some benefits and disadvantages to each.
A niche can either be very profitable or completely unprofitable. Many bloggers have seen success with niches related to money.
But the competition can be very tough and ‘finance’ related niches or markets fall into the Google-acclaimed YMYL (Your Money Your Life category).
Essentially, Google wants ONLY true experts to write about finance, health, and sensitive topics that deal with people’s life and finances.
If you’re not a financial expert or medical practitioner, it’s best to avoid YMYL niches and topics.
To create the most profitable blog, you should start with a niche you’re passionate about. This way, you’ll enjoy creating and maintaining the blog for a long time!
Finding a winning niche requires you to identify a problem you can solve for people.
The most popular types of blog posts are how-to articles, tutorials, reviews, and story-based content.
Remember to think about your ideal reader and buyer persona when choosing a blog niche.
By solving a problem for your target audience, you’ll be more likely to connect with them.
If you have useful skills and knowledge in a particular niche or industry, you might want to start a blog to discuss those topics.
If you have multiple subjects or areas of interest, it makes sense to start with one single subject first.
Moreover, blogs that focus on one subject (e.g., keto diet) are more likely to rank well in the organic search engine results pages (SERPs) on Google.
Step 2: Choose your blogging platform
There are many factors to consider when choosing a blogging platform.
While it’s important to choose a platform that’s easy to use, you’ll also want to choose one that has some flexibility.
Consider whether you want a platform that offers drag and drop options, or if you’re comfortable with coding. You’ll also want a platform that does not require you to hire a webmaster or designer.
Depending on your goals, you might decide to create a blog for personal use. Some people start a blog simply for fun, while others aim to create a site with a more commercial purpose — to make money.
If you want to build a community for your readers, you’ll need a platform that allows you to interact with them in a number of ways. This includes:
- Providing useful blog posts
- Encourages social sharing
- Allowing comments, polls, surveys, and more.
If you choose a platform that allows you to host your own domain, you’ll also need to pay for hosting services and a domain name.
You should also consider the platform’s plugins and widgets. Although WordPress is the most popular platform for blogs, there are a number of blogging platforms that cater to more advanced needs.
Advanced blogging platforms can offer features like Instagram shops, videos, and even an online store.
Step 3: Decide your domain name
You can use your domain name to create a brand or business identity for the future. Once you register it, you own it as long as you continue to pay for it.
This also gives you more control over the results that appear when someone searches for your name. You can choose a name that best describes your business or brand.
Choose a unique domain name that is easily spelled and easy to remember.
Keep in mind that the domain name you choose should not be similar to another popular brand or phrase. Try using a registered trademark lookup tool to avoid any legal problems.
Avoid using double letters in your domain name, as they are harder to remember and type, which can lead to lost traffic.
If you are unsure of what you should call your domain name, you can brainstorm multiple domains with variations of your subject or topic — such as eCommerce, blogging, travel, travel, etc.
Keep in mind that the cost of registering a domain name may vary depending on the provider you choose.
Additionally, the cost can vary significantly based on the domain extension (such as .com, .org, .net) you choose.
Some specialty domains are more expensive than others. As with any lease, there are benefits and disadvantages to each one.
Make sure you choose a domain that best represents you and your business. You’ll be glad you made this decision.
Just remember that it’s essential to keep in mind that the registration period is typically for 12 months (i.e., 1 year).
Yes, you might register/renew your domain for up to 5 years — most domain registrars (i.e., the company responsible for managing your domain name) will send you a renewal notification a month before expiry.
Step 4: Register your domain name and hosting
Before you start building your website, you need to get your domain name and hosting set up. This is often easier said than done.
While you can sign up for hosting from one provider and register a new domain, you’ll want to make sure your domain name is connected to your hosting plan.
Most providers will transfer your existing domain name for free, but you may want to keep it separate.
That way, you can migrate easily if necessary.
Once you have your domain name and hosting, you’ll need to point your nameservers (or DNS).
You can do this by pointing it to the hosting account at the registrar.
Once the hosting account is set up, it’s time to set up your WordPress blog.
Step 5: Blog setup – Install your WordPress blog
Using a web host like Bluehost makes it easy to install your WordPress blog.
After choosing a theme, the host will install the blog and theme.
When the installation is complete, Bluehost will let you know and direct you to a new dashboard to customize your site.
The new WordPress installation is 100% operational, but you will still need to customize it a bit.
During the installation process, you will be prompted to select a user role.
If you are the only person who will be editing your site, you should choose “administrator” if you are responsible for making changes to the website.
You will need to specify a username and password to login to your new site. You can also access the WordPress support forums for help.
When you install your WordPress blog, you will need to customize it. You will need to adjust the theme and other settings, as well as add new plugins to customize the appearance of your site.
Before you start making changes, you will want to check the blog for errors. You should also ensure that the domain you’ve registered is still active.
This will help prevent problems with updates and prevent a hiccup in the process.
Step 6: Choose a theme for your blog
If you want your blog to stand out from the rest, choose a theme that is highly customizable. It’s important to note that a theme should not overshadow the content of your blog.
The first consideration you should make is how your theme looks on different devices and browsers.
Your theme should be responsive so that your visitors can access, navigate, and read your content on any device. If possible, choose a theme that will scale up or down automatically to fit various screen sizes.
Responsive design means that it will automatically adjust to different devices, including mobiles and tablets.
The second aspect to consider is how easy the theme is to customize. The theme should be easy to install and maintain.
The default WordPress theme is very easy to customize, and many options are included.
This means that you can use it to create custom layouts and designs. You can even customize the color and font of your posts.
Step 7: Brand your blog with essential pages & logo
There are key pages you should have on your WordPress blog. We’ll go through 3 of these pages.
However, the type of page that you have depends on what type of blog you are running.
For example, an online store blog will require product pages, product FAQ pages, return policy page, and more.
Here are the 3 most important pages to include on your blog:
i). About page: If you are selling products or services on your blog (you should do both eventually), one of the most important pages to create is your about page.
This is where potential customers get to learn about you and why they should care about your products or services.
You should make this page stand out to potential customers by explaining who you are and your journey, why they should buy your product or service, and how it can benefit them.
You should also use this page to overcome objections that visitors may have.
ii). Home page: The homepage is the most important page on your blog. People often judge books by their covers (online), so make sure your homepage is as attractive as possible.
By creating the right pages on your blog, you can introduce your audience to the most important parts of your blog and guide them to the content that is most important to them.
iii). Contact page: This page gives users a way to contact you. Your visitors can fill out the form to reach you with questions and concerns.
This helps you build trust with your readers. This page can include your social media profiles, email addresses, or even a Google map location.
Step 8: Create your pillar posts first (5 articles)
One of the best ways to build a solid and profitable blog is by creating pillar articles or evergreen posts.
This is truly important, especially when you’re just getting started. Create 5 to 10-pillar articles that are comprehensive, and address the main pain points of your industry or subject matter.
These posts can answer frequently asked questions and serve as an excellent guide to your readers. And remember, the more pillar articles you publish, the more traffic you’ll receive.
While most people don’t read through your blog posts from start to finish, you can still create an engaging pillar post. People enjoy reading behind-the-scenes content, whether it’s advice, tips, or a guide.
You can create pillar articles using text, images, links, or even videos. Make sure you make these posts a staple of your editorial calendar.
Remember to always link back to pillar articles, especially those that deliver the most value to your readers. Make sure you update these articles regularly, as industry trends can make them out-of-date.
If you leave outdated information on your blog, it will hurt your reputation and make it difficult to get visitors back.
In addition to this, make sure you keep promoting your best posts to your subscribers. You can also add them to your newsletter, so they can get the most exposure possible.
Step 9: Start a YouTube channel for your blog (optional)
So you’ve started a blog and now want to start a YouTube channel. How do you do that? It’s easy, but it can be time-consuming, so be sure to set a reasonable target to reach.
The goal is to reach 1,000 subscribers, so you’ll need to post quality videos that attract viewers.
Basic SEO skills are essential for getting your videos ranked well on YouTube and getting more views. Of course, the skills required to start a YouTube channel are different from those needed for starting a blog.
You’ll want to make sure your channel is optimized for search engines. This means using keywords, or “keywords” as they are known, throughout your content.
These are the search terms that viewers will type into search engines like Google, Pinterest, and YouTube.
Try to use these keywords in the titles of your videos and blog posts, and within the content.
If you’re not comfortable on camera, don’t be intimidated. Filming videos for YouTube is getting easier, so it’s important to get over that fear and try it.
After all, you’ll have a wider audience than you’ll have in your blog.
Make sure that you have fun with the process, and try to make videos you’re proud of! Just keep practicing until you find the style that suits you and your content.
Step 10: Design your content strategy (how often to blog)
Whether you’re a newbie blogger or an experienced veteran, you need to set specific goals and establish a strategy for your blog’s content.
Without clear objectives, your blog may be a virtual shouting match in the ether.
Clearly defining your goals and objectives will help you create a content strategy that will achieve your business goals.
Listed below are some tips for developing a content strategy for your blog.
1). Conduct a content audit: You can use this data to determine which content is most popular and what content fails to do so.
A content audit can also reveal which topics and headlines are most effective for driving traffic to your blog.
It can also uncover any gaps in your content strategy and suggest what types of content should be avoided.
Ultimately, your content strategy is only as good as your SEO strategy. In addition, content marketing is constantly evolving and you should always keep up with the latest trends to remain competitive.
2). Identify your main goals and secondary objectives: Once you have your main goals, you can tie them to key metrics to measure your success.
For example, if your goal is to increase organic traffic, you should create keyword-rich and evergreen posts.
You can also use keyword tools to determine what kinds of content people are searching for and what search intent they are using to find your blog.
Step 11: Monetize your blog content
There are several ways to monetize your blog content, and each has its pros and cons.
While some bloggers insist that any niche can be monetized, in reality, some niches are much easier to monetize than others.
If you are blogging primarily for your own passion, you will eventually find ways to monetize your content.
However, if you’re looking for an easy way to make money from your blog quickly, you must choose your topic and niche carefully.
Here are 3 popular and profitable ways to monetize (and make money) with your blogging business:
1). Monetize your blog with affiliate products
One of the best ways to make money with affiliate marketing is by using the power of search engines.
With just a few clicks, you can find 1000s of affiliate programs that can offer you nice commissions.
Through affiliate marketing, you can recommend products or services to your visitors and earn a commission from every sale.
Affiliate marketing programs require minimal initial investment and operational expenses.
In many cases, you can run your affiliate marketing business from home without leaving your current job.
You can do it as a side project, allowing you to test your mileage and optimize your affiliate marketing campaigns.
2). Make money with display ads
You have probably seen display ads on websites. Display ads can be a good way to monetize your blog quickly.
The best way to maximize your revenue with display ads is by providing relevant content and a good user experience.
The more content you have on your site, the more relevant the ads and therefore the higher the paying advertisers.
Here are a few ways to make money with display ads:
Consider your target audience. Display ads are most effective for websites that attract visitors who are seeking free information.
Avoid creating websites that are solely product reviews. Your audience will respond best to both informational and commercial-based blog posts, which will ‘positively’ impact your display advertising income.
The key to making money from display ads is to have a large amount of traffic on your blog.
By using display ad networks such as Mediavine, AdThrive, and Ezoic, you can make up to $1,000 per month from your blog in under 1 year.
3). Make money with online courses
Selling online courses is a growing market with enormous potential.
Even beginners can make thousands of dollars each month by creating their own online courses, and there are literally thousands of subjects to choose from.
You can teach anything from how to play the guitar to how to use software or even how to bake bread.
Today, there are several new platforms that make the process of creating and selling your online course easier than ever.
With the right tools and equipment, you can easily create high-quality courses and earn thousands of dollars.
When creating your course, you’ll want to make sure that it’s as unique as possible.
Your goal is to create a great learning experience for your audience, and that will earn you positive word-of-mouth and keep your customers coming back for more.
You should also diversify your course offerings, such as adding live webinars or training sessions to your list.
For example, you could offer courses on iOS programming, video editing, SEO, and even a whole new language!
Once you’ve created your course, you need to market it properly.
Your content, videos, and social media profiles should be generating traffic but continuous marketing via YouTube is even more important.
You’ll need to engage with your audience constantly and create content that addresses their needs.
You can also use your audience as a tool to gain brand recognition and credibility.
Make sure to build your email list before you launch your course.
If you’re unsure of what to charge, start by giving away free courses to build your list.
Starting a free blog that makes money: Summary
There you have it, the 12-step formula on how to start a free blog and money helping people by answering their questions.
Get started with Bluehost, which gives you free domain name and web hosting for your blog with a small investment of $2.95/month.