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How to set up a blog for free and earn money

There are many ways how to earn money online but here are 3 main categories.

  1. Working online as an employee for a company
  2. Being a freelancer, meaning working on a small project for other companies, or being a writer, or video creator
  3. Owning a blog or website, driving traffic to that website, and monetizing that traffic.

In this post, we are going to focus on the 3rd category.

So, how to start a blog and make money online?

Recently more and more people start to think about making money online.

In my opinion, it is the best way how to become financially independent. You don’t have to worry about waking up in the morning, being on time in the office, not mentioning the day commuting.
And of course, many people would love to “fire their boss”.

With all the available sources and technology today, it is very easy to start a blog in 2021.

There are also downsides to this and I want to share with you the Cons as well as the Pros of having a blog in 2021 (or a simple website).

I am going to outline for you the basic steps of creating your blog, from the very beginning to the monetization phase.

The following article contains terms, Blog, and a Website.
For the sake of simplicity, both mean the same. The website you are currently on is also a blog. 

Create Your Own Blog (Website)

You may have heard that to make money online, you don’t need a website.
This is already an obsolete statement.

The bottom line is that you want to have as much control as possible over your blog.
Therefore the first step is to create your own website.

These days it is very easy to create a simple website. The question is where to find the best service, meaning hosting, that doesn’t wipe out your credit card.

The basic hosting ranges from about $4 per month to more than $80 per month.
Many companies offer their hosting service but for the sake of this article let’s keep it simple.

For instance, you want to have:

  • Fast Web Hosting – you want to have a great performance, so your blog post will load in a matter of milliseconds
  • At least 30GB of website space
  • Site Builder is included – so you don’t have to code or anything like that
  • Site Security – The website security must contain, hacking, malware, and bot-net attack protection
  • and so on

These features are very important and they play an important role when it comes to technical SEO.

With a good hosting service, you don’t have to worry about technical SEO.
I also will include the service I personally use since 2017.

Let’s steer away from the technical jargon, and let’s have a look at what it takes to create a simple WordPress blog, just like this one (you are currently on).

Just check the short video below:

The website is created within one educational platform called Wealthy Affiliate, which contains a plethora of training, including:

  • Weekly love classes (that are recorded and can be watched over and over again)
  • The 24/7 support
  • The tools
  • The websites/hosting
  • The Mentoring
  • Network
  • Exclusive access to all updates.
  • Great community

The legit question is, how much does it all cost?

Without any fuss, let me tell you that the price is $49 per month (with a yearly option the price is discounted at $495 for the year).

As you know, “Nothing of value is free”. 

Let me ask you a question though: Would you try such a platform for free, if you have a chance?
Well, it is possible and at the bottom of this article, there is a link with more details.

OK – Enough of the shameless plug;
Now let’s get back to our blog and let’s touch on a crucial aspect of it and that is – traffic.

Traffic Equals Visitors

I would like you to imagine that you own a restaurant or a store.

You want people to come in and make sure that they have a great experience.
If they are satisfied with your service they most likely make a purchase, right?

In the online world, the purchase is called a conversion.

Your website/blog is your store, but unlike the brick-and-mortar store, you can create a website within minutes.
Of course, your website needs content and that requires time and effort.

And having good quality content means a good visitor experience.

So how to get visitors to your blog?

Traffic to the Website

how to start a blog and make money online

Without traffic, our website is like an abandoned restaurant in the middle of the desert. Even if we build a nice restaurant close to the highway, it does not necessarily mean that we get customers.

We need to find a way how to get visitors to our website.

There are two major categories of traffic:

  • Free – also called Organic
  • Paid – where we pay for a service to get the traffic. For example by running Google Ads and/or Bing ads.

The second option is not recommended for beginners.
Of course, it is the fastest way how to get on the 1st page of search engines (whether Google or Bing), but in most cases, newbies have a tendency to set the campaign incorrectly and that leads to losing money.

In the next chapter, we will be focusing on organic traffic only.

Getting Organic Traffic

When I first started I had no idea how to get free traffic. I thought it had to be some magic formula or how the heck can I get free traffic to my website?

Let’s break it down so we will understand the principle of the “secret” formula.

I am going to use an extreme example, but in my opinion, it is the best way how to understand the principle of organic traffic.

Imagine that in the entire world, there are only 20 websites that deal with one niche and that is “losing weight”.

Out of these 20 websites:

A) 10 of them are focused on people from 20 to 45 years old. Websites are mostly focused on fitness and how to exercise.

B) The other 10 websites are focused on diet and proper food.

Now a 35 years old person would like to know how to lose weight but does not have time to do fitness.
So he goes to Google and asks/types: “How do I lose weight without exercising”:

how to start a blog and make money online

Results (Please note that these results are just theoretical and the purpose is solely used for explanation):

He sees 10 websites of the B) kind.

Here is what happened: Google recognized that the B) kind of website is the best result for the query this person asked.

This person should find his answer somewhere within these 10 sites.

But we are here to learn how to build an online business, so we want to know how it works from the website’s point of view.

The first thing we need to understand is that there are people who want to lose weight.

We need to come up with information or content that will be interesting for these people. We realize that it might be a bit difficult to copy the same concept since there are already these websites type A) and also B), which Google can choose from.

Let’s think about a specific audience (the potential visitors to our blog):
Let’s say we have a newborn in our family, and for whatever reason, we are close to the mother who happens to gain quite a bit of weight during pregnancy.

how to start a blog and make money online

We just learned that she is not happy with that and at the same time, we realized that there are probably millions of such mothers.

That sounds like a great niche for the following reasons:

  • 1) We are familiar with this niche firsthand
  • 2) There is no competition in Google – so whoever asks google how to lose weight after pregnancy, google has no other option than to use our website as a result in the search engines.

What we just did?
We took an existing broad niche “losing weight” and narrowed it down to “how to lose weight after pregnancy”.
This is the technique of how to rank well in Google with a new blog (or website if you will).

Of course, this is an oversimplified example but in principle, this is the fastest way how to find your audience.

By now, you realize that the most important thing is that have to choose a specific niche.

Ideally, it is the passion you have or it could be also something you have an interest in.

Don’t worry about the competing sites

Whatever niche you choose, there will be competition.

But it is a good thing.
It proves that people are interested in that specific topic and now you only need to find a way how to get there too.

Check similar websites and find a way how to make our website better.

Please Note:
It doesn’t mean copying already existing content. There is no point in doing this.
Google can find out and eventually will punish such a blog.

Consider the competing sites as a baseline and do your best to create better and more interesting content.

How to create content – Keyword Research

In principle, our content is delivered as a post(s). For each post, we have one keyword we try to rank for. This keyword is crucial for our post and it is one of the important keys to how our post can be ranked well on Google.

Let me share with you a little old technique, that used to work but it was part of the so-called “black hat SEO” (- unethical way of ranking.)
Why am I mentioning this old technique?

We will understand better the importance of the keyword.

This technique I am going to mention is not recommended.
It simply does not work anymore.

In the past, to get to the 1st page of Google, it was pretty much enough to use the specific keyword within the post 50 times.

The search engine determined that this is the post with a good value for the visitor since it contains the keyword.
The content was not good, but it tricked the Search Engine algorithm, so the website got ranked well.

It is called “keyword stuffing“.

Again this does not work anymore.

What works these days, is making sure that we deliver real value to our readers.
On top of that, we still use the keyword but in a let’s say natural way.

Just briefly, you want to use the keyword in:

  • Meta Title
  • Meta Description
  • In the 1st Paragraph of your article

and that is pretty much it.

There are other aspects that play a role in ranking, but that is for another article.

The Easiest Way to Monetize the Blog – Affiliate Marketing

Once we know how to get free traffic we can focus on monetizing our page.

One of the easiest ways is to become an affiliate partner with one or more companies.

In principle, an affiliate marketer connects potential customers and vendors.
So if a potential customer wants to find out what kind of coffee machine is the best for his office, he goes online and searches for more information.

He sees a lot of pages, most of which will be probably blogs that contain a lot of useful information about this specific niche – coffee machine for office.
In principle, if this person buys the coffee machine on Amazon, using the affiliate link within the blog, the owner of the blog gets a commission.

In a nutshell, this is how affiliate marketing works.

A person who starts out with a blog and has already some traffic doesn’t have to go to a specific company (or their website) and ask for a partnership.

There are many affiliate programs with hundreds of companies, so it is convenient to choose a specific affiliate program.

Another Way to Make Money Online

The more traffic you have, the more options for monetization you have.

One of the best ways how to have a passive income is by posting ads on your site.
I know they might be annoying, but with a proper vendor, it is possible to have a couple of hundred per month as an extra income.

Here is a screenshot from the Mediavine Dashboard and earnings for one month:

how to start a blog and make money online

Another example;
What is also very possible is that a specific company will ask you to post their article on your site.
Depending on the company (and the authority of your blog) it can be a few pennies, dollars, or even a couple of hundred.

Also, once your site has a consistent income and you feel tired of that niche, you can sell the site.

how to start a blog and make money online

(The screenshot is from a Blog Section of one particular educational platform)

Before We Wrap Up

We have covered the basics of how to start a blog and make money with it.

After choosing the hosting for our WordPress site, we need to find a proper niche and then create the blog, in other words, content.

By now you know in principle how to drive free traffic to the blog.
And eventually, by choosing the appropriate affiliate program (that is related to our niche) we can monetize the blog.

In order to have this properly done it is recommended to gain some knowledge.
I remember when I first started, I had no idea about how to properly structure the blog, how to organize the work and there are many other details.

I am glad I found a great platform that teaches what works.

Being a member of that specific platform has other advantages.
For example, the feedback from already experienced marketers.

It is possible to ask for feedback, and having constructive feedback helps the website.

There are many blogs out there that make thousands of dollars per month and I am glad that my blog earns 4 figures per month as well.
(Despite being in a very competitive niche).

To me, this is the best way how to have an income.

And Some Personal Thoughts

The advantage of having a website is that you can work anytime you want from any place on the earth with a good internet connection.
Your online store (website) is open 24/7/365 so the chance that you make money while you sleep is pretty high.

It doesn’t happen overnight though.
I hope you realize that since blogging is a long-term game. This might be a Con for many aspiring bloggers.

But still, it is doable.

Less than 2 years ago, I was a person who did not know how to create a post on a website, or how to manage the material before posting it.
I mean I used to have questions like:

  • Where do I find a relevant picture
  • Where do I write – in Word first and then copy the text into WordPress?
  • What are plugins, how to use them… and how many of them?
  • How to create a link in my content
  • How to add a picture
  • Do I share my post on social media or not; if yes which one
  • What is a call to action
  • etc…

These were open questions for me.

My point is that having a blog that makes consistent income online is not rocket science.
What it takes is really some time, patience, and the proper knowledge.

You may have some questions and now is the perfect time to ask you use the comment section below.
I will be more than happy to help you.

Thanks for the reading and wishing you a lot of success

14 thoughts on “How to set up a blog for free and earn money”

  1. I just started a new blog and am already stuck on the darn photos!  I am a member of Wealthy Affiliate and I have went thru the training and have a great blog.  This is my second one.  I guess I just need to start the training all over, so I make sure I cover all of my bases.  But the main photo has been an issue ugh!

    • Hello,

      thank you for stopping by and leaving the comment. 

      While going through the training it is important NOT to rush things. 
      There are some details that need to be followed but I believe you will be back on track in no time 🙂 

      Wishing you a lot of success

  2. helllooo Mike Bahno Mudesi, thanks alot for sharing such an amazing content with us all, i was actually doing some research online when i saw your post and i must really commend your effort in bringing up these site together, i believe these exactly what everyone needs in progressing in the online business, thanks alot for the info

    • Glad you Like the article. 

      There are many ways how to start with the online business. It is essential to choose one direction and stick to it. 
      It may sound easy but in my experience, there are so many shiny objects out there that it is easy to get distracted. A year pass by and nothing has happened because we did not stick to one thing/niche. 

      That’s why I decided to join a platform with step-by-step training and that keeps one on the right path. 

      Thanks for your comment 

  3. Hello there! this is an amazing review you have got here. I am very sure the quality informations here will be of great help to anyone who come across it. Driving traffic to my website has been my major issue since I started my personal blog. Thanks for educating me on this today, it will go a long way.

  4. Thank you for sharing this information as it really puts things in perspective when it comes to working online.  You cover every aspect of starting and promoting a website for the purpose of having an online business. It does sound easy, but it does take time.  I love the fact that with proper training and help form others, it may be mastered within 10 to 14 months.  This is also a reminder that making money online rarely if ever, happens overnight.

    • Appreciate your comment, Patricia. 

      You are absolutely right. 
      The only people who make thousands overnight are those who are already well established and they are the authority in their niche. 
      It takes time to get there and if anyone wants to achieve such a success, it requires patience and action towards that goal. 

      I believe more and more people will realize that so they don’t have to waste their time on the next shiny object they just spotted around the corner. 

      Thanks again

  5. I also have been hearing about affiliate marketing as the best way how to start an online business. 

    A friend of mine has a website and he makes about $1,000 a month just from Amazon. I did not really understand the nuts and bolts… but it seems that that platform you recommend has the answer I need. 

    • If you want to find out how to start as an affiliate marketer – sure just click on the link at the bottom of the post and I will guide you through the platform.

      You only need your email and you get 10 lessons for free. 

      Let me know if you need anything else

  6. Thank you for a very interesting article.  I have recently started an online business, but I am really struggling to get traffic directed to my website.  I was considering paying to get onto page 1 of Google and Bing, but I see that it is something that you would not particularly recommend for newbies.  I will have to keep working on the first strategies.

    You state that on average to get organic traffic to your website, one should be writing approximately 4 posts per week.  May I ask how you come up with new and interesting ideas for your niche?  I would love to hear your thoughts.

    You have given me invaluable information. Thank you so much!


    • There is not really a point of spending money on advertising (for beginner) 

      I mean you can try to spend let’s say 20 bucks, to see how many visitors you can get. But it can easily happen that you get 10 visitors, 80% of them will just leave without any action and the rest might check another post within your article. 

      So it is really not a good investment. 

      I would suggest sharing your post on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) to see what the reaction is. 
      After a week or two, you share it again – there is nothing wrong with that. 

      Regarding the ideas for a niche – Once I published around 50th post I realized that there so much to write about – literally I can come up with 1,000 post – only if I had more time:) 

      I don’t know what kind of niche are you in. 
      You can go check Amazon – There is a sort of “overview” page you can check out:

      Or just google anything within your niche and check what Google spits out. Go through the website on 1st page of search results and take a look at what others write about. 
      Go to YouTube and check what kind of content is there. 

      Hope it helps, otherwise, let me know.

  7. Thanks Mike for this helpful and honest review. If someone wants to start a business online then they should be willing to offer helpful content too and learn how to be outstanding. I started learning how to build a business online with WA in 2018 April and have been through some lows and highs and can say since I started to see the results I am convinced very soon I’ll be earning even more money. The only mentality that needs to be rid off is the thought of quick money. 

    • Hi Donny,
      thanks a lot for your comment.

      You are definitely right about the proper mentality. Get-rich-quick schemes never work.

      One must be patient and consistent and after that, results will come. 

      We all have our lows and highs, it is just part of the business. That important thing is to get back on track and forget about the downs.
      It is always advantageous being part of a helpful community as WA has, so we can pass the low parts faster.


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