This is my simple, step-by-step guide to learning how to create a blog for free and make money from it. I’ve been blogging and making money online for over 1 year – it’s the best way to start blogging (and soon to make money with your blog).
You’ll learn how to create a blog today in 6 easy steps that will take about 10-15 minutes.
Follow these 6 steps to learn how to create a blog and make money today:
- 1 – Choose your blog name and niche
- 2 – Get your blog online (web hosting)
- 3 – Design your blog with a free WordPress theme
- 4 – Write your first blog post
- 5 – Promote your blog and get readers
- 6 – Make money with your blog
A blog is a regularly updated website where new content is frequently published. Usually written in an informal or conversational style, often with the aim of attracting visitors and generating online income.
Choose a name and niche for your blog
First, it’s time to choose a name and niche for your new blog.
The name of your blog is what readers will see first (like yourblog.com), so it should ideally represent either the general topics you’ll be writing about, your own name, your company’s name, a clever combination of words, or otherwise.
Your blog’s niche is the general topic on which you will focus your content. Examples include topics such as travel, food, fashion, lifestyle, technology, and more.
Incorporating a word or two that clearly indicates what your content is about, into your blog name will be very helpful to your future blog readers.
If you lack ideas on what to name your blog, or what topics you should blog about first (i.e. your “blog niche”), start anyway!
If you’re like most of us, you’ll find clarity by taking action and getting started today, rather than spending time trying to find the perfect idea. You’ll find your rhythm as you progress.
When you start your blog with a hosting company like Hostinger, they allow you to choose your domain name later.
If the domain name you want isn't available, don't hang up at this point. Just select their option to choose your name later after you've set everything up and you can have more time to think (remember, execution is what you're here for, not perfection).
Put your blog online (web hosting)
The second step in creating a blog is to put your blog online. This is what a web hosting company will do for you.
In this step, you will select the blogging platform and web hosting plan that you will use to bring your blog online.
To make your website accessible to others on the Internet, you need a “web host“. The host keeps all of your website files safe and secure and makes sure that people can access your blog when they click on a link or type in your URL. Think of web hosting as your home. When someone comes (types in your blog URL), they will be able to see what’s inside.
Web hosting is offered at a low cost (around $3/month) with a quality hosting provider such as Hostgator. Having the right hosting company to host your blog is one of the most important investments you can make in the beginning.
The combination of blogging platform and web hosting that I personally use (and most other bloggers use) is a WordPress blog, hosted by Hostgator.
WordPress is a free publishing platform that has been around since 2003 and now powers over 60% of all blogs on the internet.
Hostgator is one of the most established and trusted companies in the blog hosting industry. This combination is what we will use to get your blog started. Now let’s set up your hosting.
Choose your plan
First, you will select a hosting plan (entering your blog name comes next). Personally, I recommend choosing the ”Baby Plan” because it comes with a free SSL, over unlimited websites and a free domain name.
Design your blog with a free WordPress theme
Now that we’ve gone through the crucial setup phase of creating a blog, it’s time to have a little more fun.
Designing your WordPress blog is where you might start to feel a little friction with this process (if you’ve never worked on a blog before), but I promise it won’t get too technical.
If you want to create a blog and make money, WordPress is your smartest option.
Let’s go over some basic terminology, so you understand why WordPress is the right platform (also known as a content management system or CMS) to run your blog.
Now, one thing you should be aware of is that WordPress is available on two very different platforms. There's WordPress.com and WordPress.org. They have almost the same name, but there are some very big differences between the two.
- Is free to use (with strong restrictions)
- Does not allow you to choose a custom domain name (i.e. yourwebsite.wordpress.com)
- Has very limited monetization options (you can’t sell your own ads)
- Does not allow you to download plugins (for email capture and other things)
- It has limited theme support, so you are stuck with very basic designs
- You have to pay to remove the WordPress branding and get your own domain like yoursite.com
- Limited SEO and analytics.
- Fully customizable design, unlimited plug-in options and no branding
- Full control over your own monetization efforts
- Powerful SEO features (so people can find your site more easily)
- Allows you to start adding an e-commerce store or membership site
- Small monthly fee (from the cheap hosting plan you use to get your blog online).
- While the choice is yours, if you want to get the most out of your blog, be able to grow it with you and eventually make money from it, WordPress.org is the way to go (and the exact process we’ve followed throughout this guide).
- It is the CMS of choice that will stay in the background and power your blog.
Choosing the best (free) WordPress theme
When you’re just starting out with a blog, I usually don’t recommend buying a paid WordPress theme right away.
Once you have traffic and can justify the investment, it’s wise to choose a premium theme with more features and options. For now though, a complex theme will be a distraction from your most important priority of getting readers to your new blog.
WordPress comes with a ton of free themes to choose from, so start with one of the options you like in Appearance > Themes > Add New Theme > Popular without spending a lot of time on it yet. You can always come back and change it later.
I recommend choosing Astra or Oceanwp (which are all 100% free, fast and have the ability to upgrade later).
Write your first blog post
You don’t read a blog because it looks nice or because it posts frequently. (Although both of those help).
You read a blog because you care about what it says. Creating strong content is what will bring you readers and help you eventually make money blogging.
Before you get too far into creating a blog business plan, laying out your content roadmap and writing your first blog post, you need to answer one simple question… Why?
- – Why are you interested in the topic you are blogging about?
- – Why should others listen to what you are saying?
- – Why is it a topic that you can add value to?
To answer these questions, I like to think of a blog as any other business and again stress the importance of choosing a clear niche.
Promote your blog and get readers
Here are some of the best ways to start sharing your blog posts and introducing them to new readers.
And if you want even more strategies, here’s my free book on how to drive traffic to your website, where we go even deeper into the tactics I used to grow my blog to thousands of annual readers.
Use social media to promote your blog
The first obvious place to turn when you want to find readers is social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok are some of the biggest networks today.
Whichever platform best suits your niche and your audience’s interests is the right one for you.
And that’s an important point. There’s no point in trying to promote your blog posts on every social media platform.
Make money with your blog
There’s a reason why making money with your blog is at the end of this guide to creating a blog. Unless you already have a huge audience somewhere, you can’t expect to make money right away – monetization shouldn’t be your first goal right now, but rather something to work towards.
It's good to have an idea of the ways you'd like to make money blogging as you embark on this new adventure. Some of these monetization strategies will be easier to implement than others as long as your readership continues to grow.
Freelance (Sell your services)
If you want to start making money on your blog as quickly as possible, selling your services (by landing blogging jobs, writing freelance contracts or selling your expertise as a service) is by far the easiest option.
All you really need to land a freelance client is a strong enough pitch, which is where choosing to create a blog (first) will help you considerably. You’ll want to create your key pages (About, Contact, Hire Me) and showcase at least a few examples of the type of work you’ve done that you’ll soon be pitching freelance clients on.
Each month you can earn a substantial amount of passive income from affiliate programs.
Most of the biggest brands have affiliate programs. Think of companies like Amazon, all the way up to key players in specific niches like online education where brands like Skillshare and Udemy have lucrative programs.
Sponsored Blog Content
Unless you already have a decent sized audience on your blog (or social accounts), it will take some time to build your readership to a point where sponsored content is a viable monetization option.
How to start a blog in 2022: final takeaways for new bloggers
Ultimately, developing a successful blog comes down to being excited and engaged with your new blog. If you want people to read what you write, you need to give them a reason.
Write exciting content, connect with people in your niche, and enthusiastically share what you’re working on. The traffic, monetization and everything else will follow.
I wrote this guide because starting a blog has been one of the most challenging and life-changing decisions I’ve made in my life. And I hope that now you feel confident enough to go out there and create your own blog.
How to start a blog? I get dozens of questions every day from readers (like you), who are learning how to start a blog for the first time. I hope this guide will help you in creating your blog and monetizing it.
If you think that the information contained here is useful, please share your thoughts in the comments.