You’ve decided that you want to start a blog, but you’re trying to figure out if you can start a blog with no money?
Yes, you can.
But before you do that, I want to share some things with you that I believe will prepare you in advance and help you to move faster once you start your blogging journey.
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Starting a Blog
I started a blog a few years back and I couldn’t figure out how to do anything. Seriously, I had nothing.
I read all the posts I could on “how to start” and realized they basically all said the same thing, so I signed up for a hosting platform and started.
Big mistake, I felt like I blinked my eyes and it was time to renew my hosting service.
Well, that was a big waste of money!
So what was the problem? I had no idea what the heck I was doing and when I figured something out, rarely, along came another post about something completely different to throw me off track.
Well, I love research but the problem was, the research I thought I was doing was all I needed to do and that was start a blog and make money because I’m tellin’ you, I never read anything about an email list or creating products, or legal templates or how hard dang themes were or what the heck was a page builder.
How I never came across those types of posts? I have no clue but that’s what brought me this far.
Long story short, I cried and I was frustrated and my hosting renewal came along and I let it go.
Why did I let it go? To do research and because of what I went through, I created a list of 30 things for you to do for free prior to starting your blog.
If you’re a new blogger, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get some blogging knowledge, it doesn’t have to be a lot just enough to help you know what is what.
Starting a Blog with No Money
A lot of people want to start a blog with the hopes of making money, and lots of it, but they don’t want to spend money to get started.
You know the saying, “to make money, you need to spend money”, and it’s true, you need to invest in yourself.
But until you can do that, there are a few things that you can do to prepare ahead of time before you start shelling out that dough.
Hosting with No Money
You can start a blog with no money by going with a free blogging platform.
The most popular free blogging platform is wordpress.COM, don’t confuse it with WordPress.Org, which is also free, but to use WordPress.ORG, you would need a paid hosting platform.
But right now we’re talking about the free WordPress.COM.
WordPress.COM is a hosted blogging platform, which in other words means they control it, you do not and you will be limited in the things you are able to do to your site unless you upgrade.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are some bloggers who really love the free .COM, but you won’t see those big bloggers on this free platform or any free platform.
Bloggers make money in all kinds of ways, and ads are one of them.
WordPress.COM will put ads on your site, for them, not you.
Meaning your site is free and someone has to pay for it, so they’ll get the money from those ads and you do not.
Now if you want to put ads on your site and control what type of ads show, you would need to upgrade from free to a paid plan.
In April 2022, WordPress went from 5 plans to 2, you either get free or you pay $15.00 a month and it’s billed yearly.
All you need to do is take a look at the side-by-side price comparison available on WordPress.com’s site to see what you can and can’t do.
And then there are also free blogging platforms like Wix, Weebly, Blogger, and a few more.
We all have to start somewhere and if starting free is a must for you, do your research and know what you’re able to do on these free blogging platforms.
Now with that being put out there for you, let me tell you that a lot of beginners start with free, and then when they want to try to make money they move to WordPress.ORG.
When you start with free, you do not control it, and yes, when you’re ready you can move, but know that the only thing you’ll probably take with you is your content and your domain name.
You will basically be starting over with a new site.
And let me share this with you, for when you’re ready to invest because a hosting platform is not as expensive as most think and it’s way cheaper than $15.00 a month from a free blogging platform.
If you start with a self-hosted site like Namehero.com, which is highly recommended for beginners, you will use WordPress.ORG, and 1 year of Namehero’s Starter Cloud is $1.79 a month at the time of writing this, because prices change but the more years you sign up for the lower it gets.
Namehero basically comes with everything you need except a domain name and domain privacy, if you want a free domain name you would need to sign up for the 2 or 3-year plan.
WordPress.Org is free inside of a paid hosting service and you have control over your site from day one and how it’s created and what goes in it and on it.
Just do your research on hosting, and just for the record, I do not recommend Bluehost, not even for a newbie.
With your site, you will need a Domain Name, SSL Certificate, and Domain Privacy.
You can find out all about domain names here.
Now that we’ve talked about free and paid web hosting, I have written a list of 30 things that you can work on for free before starting your blog.
If you decide to do these things, when you do get a site you will move so much faster than getting in there and not having a clue what to do.
Ready to start a blog the right way? head over to How to Start a Blog in 19 Steps
30 Free Things You Can Do to Start Your Blog with No Money
Set Your Start a Site Date
You already know you’re going to blog, and if you plan to do a little research first and get some blogging knowledge, good for you!
But go ahead and set your date, not a launch date but your, “I’m going to sign up to a blogging platform and start building my site by adding my posts” date.
If you’re going to start a blog with the goal to make money, you need to set a goal and follow through.
So, break out your calendar and set a date for the day you will sign up for a free or paid blogging platform.
And remember, you’re at your own pace here, so even if it’s next month, 6 months from now, or next year, set your date.
Set your Launch Your Blog Date
Set a realistic date that you know you can hit that publish button and release your site for the world to find. If you get ahead of schedule, then go for it.
But put a day in your calendar to do this and really try to stick to it.
Choose a Niche
You need to know what you’re going to blog about, what the topic of your blog will be that will bring readers to your site.
As a beginner you should blog about one thing and one thing only to build your audience.
A niche is one topic that you can write about many things.
If you want to blog about multiple things you can start that later, but choose a niche and narrow down if possible but not too narrow.
You do not want to hold yourself back from adding more topics later, if that’s the plan, as long as the topics make sense to be on the same blog you can expand later, but for now focus on one topic.
You can read this post about Choosing a Niche
Pick a Domain Name
Your domain name is what will be entered into a browser bar or search box to find or be taken to your blog, this is your home address.
You can read my post, what is a domain name, and tips on how to choose a domain name.
Come up with more than one domain name, you need to have backups because sometimes that name you love is already taken.
Search Domain Name Availability
Pull up Name Cheap and see if your domain is available.
Click on Domain Names in the top navigation bar and then click on Domain Name Search, enter the name into the bar and it will open a new page and tell you if it’s taken or not.
You’ve got to come up with a tagline.
A tag line tells readers in a few words what your blog is about and if there was no domain name they would know what your site was about by reading the tag line.
How can you do this for free? You research it. There are hundreds of themes out there.
There are themes like Astra, Divi, Restored 316, ThemeForest, Kadence, free and premium WordPress themes, and more.
All you need to do is research. Why research themes?
Because their all different, they each have a name and a different layout, then there are child themes, some come with a child theme, and some you need to purchase separately.
Some themes are free and then there are extra $$ for add-on’s, to give you more control to design how you want it.
If you don’t find the right theme and layout that you want, you will spend your time changing theme after theme after theme and changing themes constantly is not a good thing.
And every time you change your theme it affects your crawl rate.
Take your time, look at themes, then see what YouTube videos and tutorials are available on them.
Know your theme, before you start designing it.
Knowing the basics of your theme before you start with it, will save you many days of heartache.
You want to choose a theme that is easy, responsive, ready for mobile, and is compatible with page builders.
Some free themes to check into are Astra, Divi, and Kadence.
Developers of themes have instructions, how-to’s, videos, blogs, and even YouTube to help teach how to use these themes.
There are a lot of hosting companies to choose from.
A hosting company is something you need to invest in and start with, if you’re serious about making money.
Trying to figure out exactly which hosting company that’s best for you is hard.
And if you ask fellow bloggers what they think of so and so, you’ll get 50 responses telling you about other companies.
Great, just what you needed another company or 50 to know about.
You’ll have to do your own research on this because everyone is different and everyone likes what they like, here is a post from my number one go-to site about how to choose the best hosting provider.
My recommendations for paid hosting providers are:
After you sign up for hosting, you’re going to need to install plugins. There are a ton of plugins from tons of developers.
With some free blogging platforms you will not be able to use plugins.
If you get ahead of the game, by knowing what plugins you’ll want or need to add to your site, then when you get into WordPress, all you’ll have to do is upload, activate, and configure.
This is going to require research and keeping notes of what plugins you’re going to use.
When I was trying to figure out what plugins I needed, I came across site after site about the best plugins, what I needed was a site that told me as a newbie what plugins I should start with and why, but I never found one.
There will be plugins that will need to be configured to work properly, this is something else that you can do, by watching YouTube videos and tutorials or even checking out the developer’s blog.
Just keep notes of the sites that you want to go back to later when you’re adding your chosen plugins.
Learn Basic WordPress
I’m going to tell you right now that WordPress for a beginner is not easy, learn the basic’s now of how to get around WordPress and what you can do in it.
This was one of the major issues that held me up my first time around and I found this awesome free starter WordPress Course from IMarkinteractive, that will help you navigate WordPress.
When you sign up for Google Analytics and Google Search Console, you will need to have a Gmail/Google account to activate them and it needs to be a professional email.
Google Docs/Google Drive
You can access this from your Gmail account, you can create your posts in Google Docs.
Google Drive is cloud-based storage.
When you sign up for a Security plugin, it will ask you where do you want to send your backups to, and it will give you a lot of options, and email is one of them, do not use your email, it cannot handle it or hold it because there is not enough storage. And if you don’t have one of the other options available from their list you can send backups to your Google Drive in the professional email account your created.
If you decide not to write your posts in Google Docs, create a folder for all your posts to keep in one place, and write in a Word Document, it is easier to create your posts in Google Docs or Word and copy and paste them into WordPress.
You should keep copies of your posts, you never know what could happen.
Canva is something free you can do and will take some time to learn if you’ve never used it.
You can find some free tutorials on YouTube or check out your favorite blogger and see if they have a post about it.
Canva will help you to create a ton of stuff for your blog, you just have to have patience to learn to use it and create.
Create a Logo
A logo would be nice on your site, and some bloggers use their name as their logo, written pretty and fancy.
Once you master Canva, you can create a logo there for free.
Social Media Platform
You do not need to be on every social media platform out there unless you want to.
The best thing to do is only focus on which platform you want to use, which platform that you can actually get engagement from. Go where your audience is.
Whichever social media platforms you decide to use, you can go ahead and create your business account to get your name.
But on some, you won’t get far, because you will need to insert code into your site to connect it. But you are able to get started in most and at least you’ll have the name that you want.
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
You’re going to need to know Search Engine Optimization (SEO) before you start blogging.
There is so much information on SEO.
SEO helps you to get ranked on Google and all other search engines.
Dictionary defines Optimization: to make the best or most effective use of a situation or resource.
There is so much information out there, and you needed to start learning SEO like 2 weeks ago.
Do not overlook this step. If you get on it now, you’ll know how to optimize (make better) your posts and your site for search engines.
So you’ve figured out that SEO is about making your site better for search engines and while you were researching that you should have come across Keyword Research, which is part of SEO.
If you’re reading this before you’ve actually written a post, good for you, because you need to apply your keyword research skills to your posts, starting now.
Using keyword research plays a big big huge part in whether your post will be on page 1 or 25.
And this is something you don’t want to put off.
Another thing you can get started to help with SEO is adding chrome extensions.
Ubersuggest is free, just sign up to get the extension, read how to use it and you’re good to go.
Another extension to add is Grammarly and it’s also free, and there is a paid version. Grammarly checks for punctuation and spelling errors.
Now that you know your niche, it’s time to research your competition and see who you need to write better than.
This is also a way to get some ideas for posts but read this first about Bloggers Etiquette.
Start Brainstorming Post Ideas
After researching the competition, the creativity should be flowing, start brainstorming some future post ideas and write them down with notes, trust me: write your notes, if you think it, write them down.
Create Your Post Outlines
Now that you’ve got some post ideas, if you want to, you can create some post outlines.
Basically taking your notes and organizing them, so that when you’re ready to start writing you’ll remember exactly what you wanted to write about.
Write Your About Me Page
Just start it, just create the page with a title, if that’s all you’ve got.
An about page will tell:
who you are
why your blogging
and what you want to do for your visitors
Plain and simple.
I know writing about ourselves is hard, but you really should start it.
Is your about page important to readers? Probably not, but it may be read by a few and when you start reaching out to other bloggers for whatever reason, most will want to know about you.
Sometimes those creative juices just start flowing, happens to me all the time, when I’m in the wrong place. But the point is it happens.
If you haven’t started writing some posts yet, you should. Especially after reading about SEO, checking out your competition, and brainstorming post ideas.
Of all things to do in blogging, this is your number one focus, right here, writing content.
If you haven’t started your site yet and you want to get a few posts done ahead of time to have ready to put up as soon as you can, aim for 10-15.
If you’ve started your blog and it’s up and running, just start writing and keep going, because whether you have 0 or 15 posts, you’re going to need to keep writing consistently.
Now that you have some ideas about what your blog will be about and what you want to put in it, you can start thinking about how you’re going to structure your menus. Meaning organizing your site, like a table of contents.
Creating your Strategies
To get started on the right path and head in the right direction instead of constantly taking backward steps, you need a plan, a path, a map with a direction and that’s what strategies will help you with.
Create your strategies, your plan for success and put it up in your face so that you know what you’re supposed to be doing.
You can start here with a blog strategy.
Join some blogging groups, but know, you do not need to join every single blogging group that will take you.
Yes, you will come across questions that as a newbie, might be useful to you and you can ask questions but blogging groups are a big distraction because now it’s basically like being up in everyone’s business and that can take up a lot of your time depending on how many groups you’ve joined and you could be using that time focusing on your own business instead of everyone else’s.
Just because a group has thousands of people doesn’t mean that there will always be an answer, the most comments I’ve ever seen posts get, is the famous always asked question, “how much money can you make and how long?” or about how someone stole someone’s content or someone got an ugly comment on their tested tried and true 5-star recipe, then everyone has an opinion.
But ask how to do something and you get crickets!!!!!
Find some blogging groups that are active and when you start in it, go thru the posts to learn what you can and use them when you need it just don’t let it distract you from what you need to be doing with your site.
Final Notes for Starting a Blog with No Money
Wanting to start a blog can be very exciting, but having limited funds is a bummer, life happens.
Don’t let that discourage you. Use this list to get some blogging knowledge and get some work done before starting or use a free blogging platform.
Pencil and paper along with Google are your friends, don’t be afraid to look something up, that’s why bloggers blog, right?
So, that you have have a place to find information.
If you get ahead of the game now by reading, learning, and watching, when you sign up for hosting, you’ll be ready to roll.
Have you started on your 30 things to do before starting your blog with no money?