How to Start a Successful Profitable Blog on a Budget

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

 

how to start a successful profitable blog on a budget

Starting a profitable blog doesn't mean you go into debt to do it. You don't have to buy the most expensive blog theme, or hosting plan. Many bloggers will tell you the opposite. It never made sense to me. Why would I invest in like $100 blogging tool when I haven't made that much yet? 


That's what I thought to myself when I first started my blog. I used a free blogging platform, spent $1 on my domain name, and spent less than $15 on my blog theme. It didn't prevent me from making my first $500 blogging. 


Keep reading to find out the exact steps you need to take to start a profitable blog without breaking the bank. 


*Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information.


how to start a profitable blog


How much does it cost to start a blog?


I started my blog for less than $25. All I bought was my domain name and blog theme. I choose blogger as my platform. I couldn't afford to pay a monthly fee at the time. I didn't mind setting it up myself. 

I didn't need all the plugins that WordPress has. I know basic HTML from my classes in college. So I didn't mind doing some DIY. 

How much it costs depends on you. What is your budget? Can you afford a monthly hosting fee? What are you looking for in a blog theme? Do you want a drag and drop platform? Do you know how to add HTML code yourself?  Do some research. 

Don't go into debt starting a blog. Stay within your set budget. When your blog actually makes money then upgrade. Like stick to a basic hosting plan, or only use free blogging tools. Cut corners where you can.

Here are the free blogging tools I recommend:


You can even get a free 30 day trial of Canva Pro. With Canva Pro you get access to more templates, features, stock photos, etc. I use Canva Pro and highly recommend it. Especially since you can get 40% cashback from Rakuten for it. 

I recommend installing the Rakuten Chrome extension. Then click on the Canva Pro link. That way the 40% cashback will automatically popup on your screen. 

Can I start a blog for free?


Yes, you can start a blog for free if you don't mind using a subdomain. But if you want your own domain then you need to pay for it. If you want to join affiliate programs you need your own domain. If you want to join FB groups for blogging you need one too.

A domain is like yourblogname.com. Whereas a subdomain is like yourblogname.weebly.com. If you want to be seen as a professional blogger then buying one is best. They don't cost a lot either. I bought mine from Go Daddy for only $1. 

Some blogging platforms charge an additional fee for bringing your own domain name. Others include it with the monthly fee. It depends on the platform or hosting provider you choose. 

Even if you get a free blog theme you still have to buy your domain name. You can't make money blogging without one. With Blogger you don't pay a monthly fee even if you use your own domain name. 


Is it worth starting a blog?

I can say that without a doubt it is. Starting my own professional blog was the best decision I made. I wish I did it sooner. The thing is it's your blog! You own it. No one can take it away from you. You can do what you want. 

Don't get me wrong it can be confusing at first. There were many times when I wanted to quit. I'm so happy I never did. Now I'm at the point where I'm going to launch another blog this year. Many six-figure bloggers have more than one blog. 

If you love to write and have a passion for blogging then you won't regret it. Don't start a blog just for the money. That won't be enough to get through the hard times. Do it because you genuinely want to help people, make money blogging, and love it. 


Can you really make money blogging?


Yes, you can really make money blogging. It's not a scam. Nor is it a get rich quick scheme. Anyone who says they made $1000 in their first month of blogging is hiding something. But it's definitely possible. I'm living proof that you can. Here's how you can really make money blogging:


  • Affiliate marketing
  • Sell your services
  • Sponsored blog posts
  • Sponsored social media posts
  • Sell ebooks
  • Sell online courses
  • Ads
  • Sell other digital products like printables

To learn more about how to make money blogging take this free course!





1) Pick an affordable blogging platform or host provider


This is the main cost you'll face when starting a profitable blog. There are so many different options to choose from. Here are the ones I recommend:

If you're going to go with WordPress.org I recommend Siteground over Bluehost. I don't use WordPress but a lot of bloggers in my niche don't recommend it. A lot of top bloggers recommend Siteground over Bluehost. For $10 a month you get a lot of features with Siteground. 

With all of these companies, they give you the option to pay monthly or annually. Weebly and Squarespace are very user-friendly. You won't need to know any coding to set up your blog. 

But with Blogger you will need to know a little bit. Most blog themes you buy for Blogger will tell you how to install them. With WordPress.org it depends on the theme. Some themes do require a lot of coding. But definitely do your research. See which ones are in your price range, and are easy to use. 


2) Pick your domain


When you pick your domain name it's important to pick one that represents your blog. What is your blog going to be about? Don't pick a name that's too long. Remember you'll also be claiming your blog name on social media. You can only use so many characters for usernames.

If you're clueless then take a look at others in your niche. What name can you pick that will stand out from theirs? How can you make your name different? You definitely want to be happy with it forever. It's a lot harder to change your name later. 

Like I said before some platforms or hosting providers include the domain. Meaning you won't have to pay an extra fee. A custom domain doesn't come with Blogger. You have to pay for it. 



3) Pick your blog theme


Creative Market and Etsy have tons of blog themes under $25. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg to get a good theme. When it comes to picking a theme you want one that's easy to install. Make sure it has the layout you want too.

Pick one that stands out from your competitors. Make sure it has a home page, about me page, or that you can easily add pages. 

Shop this page for blog themes under $25!


4) Install your blog theme and set up your blog


This is where you finally put it together. Add your domain if you haven't already. Then install your blog theme. If you decided to pick a hosting plan for WordPress I recommend this free course. You'll learn exactly how to set up your WordPress blog.

Setting up your blog can take a while because installing your theme also means:

  • You need to pick your brand colors (all I did was pick my favorite color blue)
  • Setup your blog pages (home page, about me, contact page, legal pages, topics)
  • Pick your topics
  • Install graphics/images
You also need to create your blog header. This usually goes on the home page. When your first starting out a text-based one is fine. You can use Canva to create it. You can even use it to create any graphics you need for free. 


5) Educate yourself on the legal aspects of blogging

This is so important. There are certain legal things you need to know. You need to know how to add affiliate disclosures, what legal pages you need, and more. Take this free legal course for bloggers. It'll explain what you need to know. 
 
Then once you're done do the next two steps. 


6) Monetize Your Blog


I think you should do this before writing anything. The best way to monetize your blog as a beginner is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you promote other people's products, services, or tools. You earn a commission when someone buys or signs up. 


When you are brand new, less than 10 blog posts on your blog, less than 500 pageviews a month doing sponsored blog posts is out of the question.


I don't recommend ads until you're getting like 50K monthly sessions. That's why you need to look for affiliates first. You can signup for this free course that shows you how to make your first affiliate sale!


This way you can monetize your posts right away. Plus you can get a better idea of what to write. You can write posts based on your affiliates. For beginner bloggers, I recommend ShareaSale and Awin. They're affiliate networks. They have tons of companies in every niche all in one platform. 


There's also Amazon. However, you need to make at least 3 sales within 180 days to stay in their program. To learn how to make money with Amazon I recommend this ebook the Amazon Affiliate's Guidebook to Making Money.  There are many bloggers who make thousands of dollars a month just from Amazon. 


You can create a work with me page to sell your services too. Create service packages with different pricing options. Use a free service like Dubsado to automate the process of booking clients. 


Then once you start getting more than 1000 pageviews a month look for sponsored blog post opportunities. 


This is how beginner bloggers make money


Once you have your own email with at least 300 email subscribers you can start selling your own digital products. I don't recommend starting an email right now. It takes blog traffic to grow one. I'll go into more detail about it below. 


7) Start writing your blog posts 


You can launch your blog either when you have 5 or 10. But don't launch it when you only have one blog post. You want at least 5. By this time you should've picked your blog topics and affiliates.


Don't make the mistake I made. For example, your first post is about fashion then the next is about skincare. Your first 5 blog posts should all be on the same topic. They should all be related. Your affiliates should fit in seamlessly. 


You can even write blog posts based on affiliates. By now you should've picked your niche and topics. If you're clueless as to what to write do some research. Go into the google search bar and type in your niche. See what questions come up. You can do this on Pinterest too. 


Blog posts are the backbone of your blog. You can't get good blog traffic or make money without them. Each post needs to solve one problem. Your blog isn't a diary. It's a way for you to help your readers. 


Be sure that each post has a featured image, one image sized for Pinterest, an attention-grabbing title, and a call to action. Let readers know what you want them to do. Do you want them to follow you on Instagram, leave a comment, signup for your email list, etc. 


Be sure to grab my FREE BLOG PLANNER which includes a blog post checklist, SEO checklist, and blog promo checklist!


8) Promote your blog


Don't think for a minute that you need to pay for ads to promote your blog. The best ways to drive traffic to your blog is:

  • Facebook groups for bloggers
  • Pinterest
  • SEO
  • Viral Content Bee
Most of my traffic comes from Pinterest and SEO. Both are free. Instagram and Tik Tok depend on your niche and goals. Your goal is to get your blog posts seen. To me, I don't see how dancing around in a video drives traffic to your blog. 


Followers don't equal clicks. If you want to be an influencer that's different. If you want to be an influencer too then join those social media networks too. For traffic Instagram, and Tik Tok isn't necessary. Many six-figure bloggers don't even have an Instagram. 


The more experience you get the more you'll see blogging is like 80% promotion 20% writing. Meaning you'll promote your blog posts more than you'll write new ones. I recommend implementing SEO right away. Many bloggers still don't do this. You'll find that many in your niche don't.

By implementing SEO you'll be way ahead of the game. SEO is a long-term game. By the time you're reaching your 1-year blog anniversary, you'll start seeing traffic from search engines.


I recommend this book called the Secret Sauce to Skyrocketing Your Blog Traffic. It helped me to learn how to write for SEO, why branding is important for blogging, how to write attention-grabbing titles, and more. I wrote a review all about it. Click on the link to read my review!



If you're looking for a no-nonsense step-by-step guide to starting a profitable blog you've come to the right place. You'll learn not only how to start a blog and make money but not go broke! Read my blog post to find out how. How to start a blog for beginners.#bloggingforbeginners



9) Email 


If you want a professional email that's like yourname@yourblogname.com then you'll have to pay for it. But it's really cheap. You can get one for like $2 a month. 


But it's not exactly mandatory unless you start an email list. For the longest time, I just used regular Gmail. I created a regular email address with my blog name. I do recommend doing at least that. I firmly believe in keeping business and personal separate. 


You want to create a way for potential brands, affiliates, etc. to reach you. Especially if you're like me. Like not the type to be on FB messenger. 



Now I don't recommend starting an email list until you start getting good consistent traffic. Plus it's hard to know what freebie to create when you don't know what your audience wants. 



By seeing what blog posts do well you can get an idea of what freebie to create. A freebie is something you give your audience for free in exchange for their email address. Focus on getting the hang of blogging first. Then tackle email marketing. 



Resources to help you on your journey! 









Conclusion

This is how you start a profitable blog. Not only is it possible to make money blogging but do it on a budget. You don't have to spend more than you have to. Use free blogging tools to help save money. Don't think that you have to go into debt to start a profitable blog. 


I hope this blog post helps you. Feel free to leave a comment below. Let me know if it did. Don't forget to signup for my email list by clicking here!

Take care!

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