can you make money on a free blog

can you make money on a free blog
  • 09-Jun-2022
can you make money on a free blog

We all know that "knowledge is power". If you have knowledge and have some writing skills then you can easily earn a lot of money without going anywhere or can earn huge amount in part time. There are many articles available about how to earn money from blogging, but here we will tell you the step by step way how to earn money from blogging.

In this post, I'm going to give you a step-by-step case study that shows you how I did it, starting with nothing, plus my steps for beginners trying to get started. With a step-by-step guide.

I started from where you are now. The only difference between you and me is that I have been doing this for a decade.

Look, I stumbled a lot along the way. fell on my face. There were so many terrible ideas.

This guide shows you how to avoid the same mistakes I made. Not only will your path be easier, you'll get there much quicker.

Looking for a bare bones, quick start guide to get started as fast as possible? In this section, we won't cover everything, just the necessary steps. Everything is covered in more detail below, so jump down if you hit a snag.

First go to Hostinger and sign up for WordPress Starter Plan. It's just $3.99 per month and you'll also get a free domain name with your hosting plan!

Next, follow the instructions to set up your Hostinger account and you now officially have your own little piece of the Internet. Congrats!

But, don't celebrate too hard just now—we're not completely finished. From there, you need:

  • Install WordPress (Your Blogging Platform)
  • Choose and install a cheap/affordable theme
  • Customize your new theme
  • Write and publish your first blog post
  • Stick to a Regular Publishing Schedule
  • After you have your first few posts under your belt and traffic starts coming in, you can start thinking about how you want to make your first $1.

From selling ad space to digital/physical product offerings and affiliate marketing, there are dozens of monetization methods you can explore.

Let us now know about the whole process in detail. Here are 10 steps to take:

  • Unleash Your Inner Thoughts
  • Choose a name for your new blog
  • Get web hosting from Hostinger
  • Get acquainted with wordpress
  • Install a wordpress theme
  • Customize Your Blog
  • Brainstorming blog topics
  • Write your first work
  • Create an Editorial Calendar
  • Monetize your blog

Step 1. Unleash Your Inner Thoughts

If you want to create a blog, you don't need a revolutionary idea. But, your blog should be focused on something specific.

Remember that no idea is truly unique, no matter how good it may be.

But you have unique experiences. You have a different voice. And you probably have a vibrant personality that will attract other people who want to hear about your experiences.

When it comes to choosing the niche of your blog, there are two important questions to ask yourself.

a. Do I enjoy learning about this topic?

If you don't like the topic, it will show in your writing. If you do not like blogging then you should not even start a blog.

Whatever topic you choose, you must love it and be naturally curious about it.

If not, you will quickly run out of ideas. You will lose any momentum you built up in the beginning.

Most importantly, you will not be able to consistently create content that will build your audience.

If you're still lost, think of the items people come to you for advice about. Do friends or family ask you for fitness tips? recipe idea? career advice? With a little thought, you'll quickly determine where your areas of expertise lie.

b. Are other people interested in the same things?

You can only feel like a 20-something who is obsessed with knitting. But there are others.

Do a quick Google search and you'll find over 1 million results targeted to people like you.

Young Weavers Search Google How to Start a Blog

You might be wondering if your idea is too bizarre. Or, is it too broad? My advice is to focus as much as you can on what you are really interested in.

If you want to start a travel blog, for example, stay away from generic words like "travel." Choose a more specific topic, such as "Backpacking."

 

Step 2. Choose a name for your new blog

Now for the fun part: naming your blog.

This is your brand. That's how people will remember you.

But don't over think it. The magic of a brand builds over time. Keep moving forward even if you feel stuck.

The best way to land on the right name is to start with brainstorming. In the final step, we talked about uncovering all your ideas and getting your niche down.

Now, it's time to take those thoughts and turn them into a name.

So, open a new spreadsheet or grab a pen and paper. Then spend about ten minutes writing down every word that comes to mind.

From there, start adding words and phrases until something pops up in front of you. Aim for 5-10 possible names and write them down.

Now, it's time to see if those names are available as domains. A domain is where your blog resides on the Internet.

For example, incrediblesoftwares.com is my domain.

Incredible Softwares Who am I, but it's also my brand and what you type in the address bar to find me. But it also means that you can't use the domain because I already have the domain.

You can do what I did and use your personal name as your domain.

But in most cases, I recommend choosing a different name for your blog. Will make it very easy to sell the site if you ever want to.

If none of your favorite site names are available as .com, go back to the beginning and keep brainstorming.

Here are some additional tips for choosing an excellent domain name:

  • Always Choose a .com Whenever Possible
  • Avoid using numbers, hyphens, and homophones (words that sound alike but are spelled differently)
  • keep it as short and concise as possible
  • should be easy to say and understand
  • Avoid complex and commonly misspelled words

Step 3. Get Web Hosting with Hostinger

Now it's time to make your blog live.

It may seem complicated at first, but don't worry. It is much easier than it seems.

To get started, you need web hosting (where your blog resides) and a domain name (the address of your blog). The good news is that my favorite web hosting company, Hostinger, offers both as a package deal.

Hostinger - Best Web Hosting

Get rock-solid web hosting at a steal of a price. Shared hosting that's perfect for your new blog starts as low as $1.99/month, or $3.99 per month if you want a free domain name. Plus, you can lock in that rate for a full four years!

You can start today!

In addition, it is incredibly economical.

Once you have set up Hostinger, you can select a blog template to get started. Or, you can start over by clicking the text link at the bottom. If you're new to this, though, I'd recommend starting with a template. There are so many gorgeously designed options to choose from.

Hostinger Setup Template Choose How to Start a Blog

Once you've decided there, you'll be able to buy a new domain or add an existing one to your site.

 

Step 4. Get Familiar with WordPress, Your Blogging Software

You cannot start a blog without blogging software. I run all my blogs on WordPress because it is user friendly, free and powerful.

If you decide to create a blog that is not on WordPress, you will find that it is much more expensive. WordPress offers a ton of free plugins that allow you to modify your blog in any way, shape or form.

The good thing is that Hostinger takes care of the WordPress installation for you during setup. You don't need to do anything to get it ready for use.

After the Hostinger setup wizard is finished, you'll be greeted with a screen where you can connect your domain, view your site, or go to the WordPress dashboard or Hostinger control panel.

Hostinger completes setup for how to start a blog

Click on "Manage WordPress" and you will be taken to that section in hPanel. Scroll down a bit and you will see the version of WordPress currently installed on the right.

Hostinger WordPress Version for How to Start a Blog

If you ever have an issue, you can always do a clean install of WordPress by clicking "Install" at the bottom.

Step 5. Design your blog with a WordPress theme

In the blogging world, pre-made WordPress site designs are called themes.

Out of the box, your WordPress blog will look something like this:

How to Start a Blog for a New Blank WordPress Site

That simple foundation is what you start with. But you want to find something that fits your name, brand, and your readers' experience.

There are thousands of themes to choose from. But it can be easy to get caught up in the "shiny object syndrome," browsing through tons of pretty pictures and templates, but don't shy away from a theme that fits your needs.

You can swap out your themes at any time, so instead of insisting on the right choice, choose something that suffices for now. Like your brand, the theme of your WordPress blog will probably evolve over time as you figure out what works and feels best in practice.

Let's choose the theme step by step.

First, you need to log in to your WordPress admin. You can access it by going to [yourdomain].com/wp-admin.

Enter your user credentials to log in.

wordpress login page for how to start a blog

If you're new to WordPress, the dashboard might seem a bit daunting at first, but you'll be an expert with a little practice.

WordPress Dashboard for How to Start a Blog

To install a new theme, hover over the "Appearance" menu in the sidebar and click "Themes."

WordPress Appearance Menu for How to Start a Blog

WordPress comes with a few themes that are ready to go, but we are going to discover more attractive premium themes that will make your eyes twinkle.

Click on the “Add New” button at the top to get access to thousands of WordPress themes.

Add a WordPress New Theme for How to Start a Blog

You and I may have different preferences. Luckily, WordPress has a "feature filter" that lets you find something that fits your style.

WordPress Theme Filters for How to Start a Blog

The three categories are "Layout," "Features" and "Theme." You can look for topics that closely resemble what your blog is about or that have features you're already sure your blog will need.

Your filter requests may appear as follows.

WordPress Theme Filter Options for How to Start a Blog

After applying filters, you will see amazing themes that otherwise cost thousands of dollars in design fees.

WordPress Theme Options for How to Start a Blog

If you click on the theme's thumbnail, you can get a quick preview of what your blog will look like. Assess whether it fits your personal style and the topic you will be covering.

Once you're satisfied with the sneak peek, click the "Install" button.

WordPress Theme Preview for How to Start a Blog

Once the installation is complete, click the "Activate" button and you are all set.

If you can't find a theme you like, there are premium themes you can buy from sites like:

  • ThemeForest
  • Elegant theme
  • Studio press
  • Thrive Themes

By now, your theme should be activated and ready to go. Let's move on to customizing our theme.


Step 6. Customize and Optimize Your WordPress Blog

There are endless customization options you can build on a WordPress blog. We will stick to the essentials.

Themes are the foundation of your design and comprise the core functions. WordPress also has plugins that can add to or enhance the functionality of your blog in impressive ways.

There are WordPress plugins for everything from adding e-commerce functionality or contact forms to your site, to analyzing your content for SEO improvement (more on that in a bit) or to enhancing site security and performance.

The first step is to click on the "Customize" button on your active theme.

Customize WordPress Theme for How to Start a Blog

The menu options in the sidebar will vary depending on the theme you choose. The main category to edit is "Site Identity".

WordPress theme site identification for how to start a blog

Here, you can add your blog name and a tagline if you want. When you are done, click the "Save & Publish" button.

Save and Publish customized WordPress themes for how to start a blog

Optimize for search engine traffic

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a multi-billion dollar industry.

SEO is the process of optimizing your website to be searched in search engines for particular keywords and phrases.

I attribute a good part of my success to being easily searchable for relevant search terms, which has helped me build my network and net worth.

If you are new to SEO, this may seem daunting.

But, WordPress makes it super easy to optimize the technical aspects of your blog.

Most of your SEO efforts will be on creating engaging content for real people. Whether it is through text, video or images, your job as a blogger is to establish a connection with your readers.

And, what better way than to have a relatable and informative conversation?

You can get started by downloading a plugin called Yoast SEO.

Hover over the Plugins menu on the side and click "Add New."

Add New WordPress Plugin for How to Start a Blog

Search “Yoast SEO” in the search bar and this will be the first result.

Click the "Install Now" button. Then, press the "Activate" button after the installation is complete.

Yoast SEO plugin for how to start a blog

You can access the plugin's settings from the New SEO menu in the sidebar or by clicking the icon at the top.

Yoast SEO Plugin Icon for How to Start a Blog

From the dashboard, go to “Your Info” and set up the foundation for your blog.

Enter your site information for How to Start a Yoast SEO Blog

Make sure your website name and tagline are correct. Then, identify yourself as a company or individual.

Click on the "Save Changes" button and we will proceed to the next step.

Enter Site Information for Yoast SEO for How to Start a Blog

Next, go to the "Webmaster Tools" tab and click on "Google Search Console". Google Search Console is a webmaster tool that allows you to submit your site to their search index and optimize visibility.

Verify Yoast SEO for Google Search for How to Start a Blog

Sign in to your Google Account, whether it's your Gmail or Drive account.

Google login screen for how to start a blog

Once logged in, click on the "Alternate Methods" tab and select "HTML Tags".

HTML Tags in Google Search Console for How to Start a Blog

A new drop-down will appear with your Search Console meta code. Copy the alphanumeric string without the quotation marks.

Copy Tags in Google Search Console for How to Start a Blog

Next, paste your meta code into the Google Search Console text box and click "Save Changes."

Verify Google Search Console in Yoast SEO Plugin for How to Start a Blog

Finally, click on the "Verify" button.

Click on Verify in Yoast SEO for How to Start a Blog

As you roam Webmaster Central, you'll find a wealth of data-driven insights, such as the keyword phrases you've ranked, errors on your blog, and the ability to give Google a nudge when you publish a new post. .

Next, go to the "General" tab and start the installation wizard.

Yoast SEO Wizard for How to Start a Blog

Yoast will take you through a series of 10 quick steps to optimize your WordPress blog.

The first step is a welcome screen that you can skip.

In the second step, choose the environment that best suits your site. Most likely, you'll choose a production environment, which means it's an actual website you intend to drive traffic to.

Yoast Optimization Process Environment Steps for How to Start a Blog

Step 3 is the website type. Select Blog and click Next.

Yoast SEO Optimization for Site Type for How to Start a Blog

The next step is to establish yourself as a company or individual. We've already set this up, so you can skip this step.

In step 5, you can add any social profile associated with your blog. Click "Next" when completed.

Step 6 is about post visibility. It's ok to use the default settings. Set your "Posts" and "Pages" to be visible and "Media" to hidden.

Next, you have to decide whether you will have multiple authors or a single blogger. If you choose to add another author in the future, you can change these settings later.

If you want the Yoast SEO plugin to pull data from Google's Search Console, step 8 is the place to do it.

Click the "Get Google Authorization Code" button.

A new pop-up will appear where you can allow Yoast to access your Search Console data. Click the "Allow" button to confirm access.

In Step 9, you can verify your website name and choose a title separator.

The title separator is a symbol used to separate the title of your blog post and the name of your website in the meta title information. This is what Google searchers will see when searching your blog through a search query.

For example, if you found this post on Google, you might have seen "How to Start a Blog - Neil Patel".

Symbol is a matter of personal preference. Click "Next" when you are ready to proceed.

The last step is not a step. This is a congratulatory message confirming that you have successfully optimized your SEO settings for your emerging WordPress blog.

xml sitemap

The last Yoast SEO setting worth configuring is an XML sitemap. An XML sitemap is a file that lists the URL of your website.

It helps Google and other search engines to crawl your site for new posts and pages. Luckily, Yoast has a built-in feature that automatically updates your sitemap, so you can click on it and forget about it.

In the "Features" tab, set "Advanced Settings Page" to "Enabled" and save the changes.

A new set of menus will appear in the sidebar under “SEO”. Select the "XML Sitemap" menu.

Select the "User Sitemaps" tab and toggle "Author/User Sitemaps" to Enabled. Don't forget to save your changes.

You can play with these settings endlessly, but everything we've set up up to this point will get you started on the right track.

set permalink

Permalinks are static hyperlinks that lead to a specific blog post or page. By default, WordPress automatically generates permalinks when you create a post, with your domain followed by the post ID number.

The permalink "/p=1213" is not sexy in any way and it doesn't help one understand what the page is about before viewing it.

The simple fix is ??to set up a permalink structure.

In the left sidebar, mouse over "Settings" and select "Permalinks".

There are a few options to choose from. I use a "post name" structure on my blog that uses keywords from my title to create a unique permalink.

After selecting it save the settings. You'll see it in action a little later.

If you're still with me, you've bought your domain and web hosting, installed a theme, and optimized your website to be crawled and discovered by search engines.

Now, we come to the bread and butter of blogging. What are you going to write about in your blog?

let's find out.

Step 7. Brainstorm Blog Topics

On the technical side, your blog is all set up and ready to go. When it comes to subject generation, the world is your oyster.

Most of your blog posts will come from personal experiences, passions, successes, failures, and new learnings.

People use queries as search queries, such as:

What should I write about?
What to blog about?
Should I start blogging?

 

So naturally, you should start with some questions of your own. I use a series of questions and a systematic process to come up with my blog topic ideas.

nothing to worry about. It is not complicated and will not take much time.

By following this process, you should be able to come up with about 50 working topics within half an hour of distraction-free time.

Get out a pen and paper or open your favorite word processing tool.

The goal of this exercise is to get 10 answers to each question. If you can think of more, pay attention to them all.

Step 8. Write Your First Masterpiece

WordPress uses an intuitive editor similar to your favorite word processing tool. New blog entries can be created directly from your WordPress admin dashboard.

Click "Posts" in the left sidebar.

This will populate the list of your blog entries in descending order. Since we're working with a fresh installation, you won't see anything here.

To create a new entry, click the "Add New" button at the top or in the sidebar.

You will be brought to the editor and you can start blogging.

Click the + in the right corner to see WordPress's Gutenberg blocks, which allow you to add titles, media, quotes, and other features to your blog.

first things first; In the Title text box, add one of the titles you developed in your brainstorming session.

Once you save this post as a draft, WordPress will create a permanent link based on the keywords used in your title.

WordPress Title and Permalinks in Post Drafts for How to Start a Blog

You can start typing the body of your article in a large text area and continue writing until you feel happy with your content.

You'll also want to add visual assets to your blog posts. Images help engage readers and can often illustrate concepts better than words.

To add new images, make sure your text cursor is where you want your image to appear. Click the blue + sign, then select the "Image" block.

Select "Upload" or select the image from your media library if it's already uploaded to your site.

After your image is uploaded, you can resize it, and add a link using the icon at the top of the image.

Your image will be automatically inserted in your post.

After completing your article, you will need to do some last-minute optimization using the Yoast SEO plugin.

Yoast has post specific settings that can be found below the main text area.

Fur main settings are "SEO Title," "Slug," "Meta Description" and "Focus Keyphrase."

Completing these settings will generate a preview of what your post will look like when it is searched for in Google's search engine results.

Create SEO titles that are click-catchy and meta descriptions that describe what your post is about.

Yoast SEO plugin will provide real-time feedback as you start optimizing your title and description.

Aim to hit as many green lights as possible, but don't stress if you're unable to get a perfect score. If you can get 80% of the green light, you are on the right track.

Before publishing your post, you can click the "Preview" button at the top of the page to see what your blog post will look like.

Preview Post Drafts in WordPress for How to Start a Blog

Before you hit that publish button, you want to make sure your entry looks and feels the way you want it.

Before you hit the publish button, here's a quick checklist to consider:

  • Speak in a conversational tone.
  • The material flows naturally.
  • Easy on the eyes with ample whitespace.
  • Use headings to separate sections.
  • Bullet points and lists.
  • Check for typos and grammatical errors.
  • If all goes well, you are ready to publish your first blog post.

Scroll to the top of the page and click the Publish button to the right of the Preview button to instantly make your post go live.

And here's what my last post looked like.

How to Start a Blog for WordPress Post-Publish

Congratulations. You have successfully set up a blog that looks great and is optimized for search engine traffic. 

Feels good doesn't it?

Step 9. Create an Editorial Calendar

One of the fatal mistakes bloggers make is to blog only when they "feel like it."

They forget that new fans want more content and they fail to deliver.

Unforeseen circumstances will arise. You'll let a new Netflix series take up the amount of time you could have spent blogging.

Whether you start blogging or not, life will keep throwing curveballs at you.

Consistency is not evaluated and it has to be something that you prioritize.

I've written over a thousand articles and it's not because I type 7,000 words per minute.

This is because I follow the editorial calendar without any compromise.

Schedules aren't just for big publications like The New York Times and Huffington Post. They are for regular people like you and me.

Think about it like this.

If you have a doctor's appointment on your calendar or even a lunch date with a friend, you're going to honor that. In the worst case, you will reschedule for the next available time-slot.

Editorial calendars work in a similar way.

They make offensive targets achievable in subtle steps. They keep you organized. They streamline your social media and email marketing efforts.

And, you'd be surprised how an editorial calendar can help you grow in character and integrity.

We are creatures of habit.

The better you keep your dates, the faster you will grow your audience.

So, how do you get started and how much will it cost?

Simply open a new Excel spreadsheet. If you have multiple authors, you can share sheets using Google Drive.

Start with four columns - publication date, title, keywords and notes.

Example Editorial Calendar for How to Start a Blog

Your needs may differ from mine, so feel free to add additional columns. Common additions can include "author," "category" and "personality."

The simpler you keep it, the easier it will be to digest and follow.

Check out the calendar hanging on your iPhone, Android, or your fridge. How many times can you post?

Monthly? weekly? Daily?

Be conservative towards your goals, as consistently missing deadlines can lead to quitting altogether.

Next, look at the answers you provided in your brainstorming session and add them under the "Title" column.

Your titles don't need to be perfect yet. Throw in a working title that you can prepare before publishing.

Sometimes, the best headlines come after you've written your article. You will have a clearer picture of what your story is about and who it is for.

The "Keywords" column is for SEO purposes. If you're targeting specific keyword phrases you want to rank for, add them there.

If nothing comes to mind, you can do some keyword research later.

Finally, there is the "Notes" column.

This section is a perfect place to write down the brilliant ideas that come to mind. Notes also serve as a great tool for focusing on the topic at hand and tackling it coherently.

You should be able to write a set of 25 blog post topics with a deadline that you are confident about keeping.

That's almost half a year's worth of blog posts for a weekly writer.

Well. You have the editorial, but you are still missing the calendar.

Go to Google Calendar and set up a new calendar. You can do this by clicking the down arrow to the right of "My Calendars."

Click "Create New Calendar" and add a name, description, and time zone. You can share this calendar with other participants on your team.

If you don't have team members, share it with your spouse or a good friend who is willing to hold you accountable for your goals.

Create a New Google Calendar for How to Start a Blog

After filling in the required information, click "Create Calendar" and get acquainted with your new best friend.

Make sure your calendar is selected in the left sidebar and change your schedule view to Weekly.

Click on the time slot within a day and add the title of your blog post as "Event Title". I recommend that you set a notification a few days before the publication date.

If you only write when it's convenient, you're going down a dangerous path.

You will eventually run out of ideas, lose inspiration and forget about the drive you once had to start your blog.

The editorial calendar is a quick fix for a blogger's procrastination.

Step 10. Monetize Your Blog

The last step is to monetize your blog.

You may not start your blog with the intention of monetizing it immediately. If that's you, that's a good thing.

Listen to me.

The traditional sales style used looked something like this:

  • a thought
  • create a product
  • try and sell products
  • file for bankruptcy

This method has failed for so many individuals and businesses because they did not build an audience before selling.

They take away sentiments based on market demand.

Hence blogging is the perfect channel for monetization. You will build an audience through your blog posts, email newsletters, conversations in the comments and through social media channels.

Want some pointers on turning your blog into a money making tool? read on.

ask your audience

Blogging brings people into your life through conversation. If you think about your favorite bloggers, you might feel like you know them on some personal level.

Better still, your market research becomes quite easy. I put the question at the end of my blog post which generates hundreds of comments.

Alternatively, you can also send an email blast with a survey, using something like a Google Form, to get valuable information about your target audience.

By creating a blog, you open doors to talking with potential customers. People who will give you honest feedback on what they want from you.

If 90% of your survey respondents told you they would like a formal course on digital marketing, what do you think they would want?

A digital marketing course they'll happily pay for.

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