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 a $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 how to start a profitable blog on a budget.
*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 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 when I first started. 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.
But now I do have my blog on WordPress.
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:
- Canva ( use it to create your social media graphics, blog graphics, and more)
- Tailwind for Pinterest (free for your first 100 pins)
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 recommend installing the Rakuten Chrome extension. Then click on the Canva Pro link. That way the 40% cashback will automatically pop up on your screen.
Related post: 10 Blogging Myths That Keep Your Blog from Growing
Can I start a profitable 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.
Related Posts: The Best Free Courses for Bloggers
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, creating a profitable blog is possible. 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. They had a blog before. So, they knew right away what to do with the new blog.
My point is it takes time to make money blogging. It doesn’t happen overnight. But yes, it is possible to make money blogging.
Here’s how you can really make money blogging:
- Affiliate marketing
- Sell your services
- Sponsored blog posts
- Sponsored social media posts
- Selling ebooks
- Selling online courses
- Selling other digital products like printables
To learn more about how to make money blogging take this free course!
How to Start a Profitable Blog on a Budget
1) Pick an affordable blogging platform or host provider
This is the main cost you’ll face when you’re about to start 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 recently switched both of my blogs to WordPress using Siteground. So far, I have no complaints with Siteground.
All of these companies give you the option to pay monthly or annually. I paid for the year upfront. I didn’t want to worry about the monthly bill. Right now, you can pay as little as $3.99 per month.
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.
Take some time to research other blogs in your chosen niche. Look at their themes and layouts to get ideas.
Pick one that stands out from your competitors. Make sure it has a home page, about me page, or that you can easily customize. I recommend avoiding Divi and Elementor because they’re expensive. Go with Genesis themes. They’re more affordable.
Check out my blog post all about the best themes for your blog 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 you’re 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) Use Free WordPress Plugins
One mistake that many beginner bloggers make is installing too many plugins. You don’t need a lot. Just stick to the ones that are needed. Most importantly use the free plugins.
Then once you have some blogging experience and money coming in you can invest the paid ones. The success of your blog doesn’t depend on using paid plugins.
Plugins are there to make the tech side of blogging easier. Here are a few free WordPress plugins I recommend:
- Thirsty Affiliates: Cloaks affiliate links and stores them in one place
- UpdraftPlus: Automatically backup your WordPress site
6) 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.
Making sure that you’re blogging legally is very important. It needs to be on the top of your to-do list. There are legal pages you need on your blog to prevent you from potentially being sued.
It’s not something you can figure out on your own. I recommend this free legal course for bloggers. It’s created by actual lawyers.
7) Monetize Your Blog
Affiliate marketing for beginner bloggers
One of the best ways to create a profitable 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.
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 sign up 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. I recommend these affiliate networks:
You can get sponsored posts as a beginner blogger. I got mine within my first 6 months of blogging. But never write a blog post or create a social media post just for a free item.
Always make sure you’re getting paid with money. To protect yourself legally I recommend this sponsored post template.
Here are a few networks to help you get started:
8) 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.
I recommend picking your categories first. Pick at least 4 but no more than 8. Then start writing your blog posts.
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, or signup for your email list?
Be sure to grab my FREE BLOG PLANNER which includes a blog post checklist, SEO checklist, and blog promo checklist!
9) 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
- 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!
10) Start your email list
I know many bloggers say you don’t need an email list. I recommend one if you plan on selling your own digital products. Digital products can help you build a profitable blog.
If you want to start your own email list then you need a professional email that’s like firstname.lastname@example.org. But it’s really cheap. You can get one for like $2 a month from Google.
Now I don’t recommend starting an email list until you start getting good consistent traffic. When you’re just starting your blog you aren’t going to get a lot of traffic. You need the traffic to grow your list.
The email service provider I recommend for beginners is Mailerlite. I know a lot of “experts” recommend Convertkit. But when to me when you’re just starting a blog, investing like $40 a month isn’t worth it.
It takes time to build your list. It takes just as much time to monetize it. Once you start making money from your list then you can switch.
No matter what niche you’re in I highly recommend having an email list. I know many bloggers who only promote affiliates and their own blog posts to their lists. To help you create your freebie I recommend this set of lead magnet templates.
11) Sell your own digital products
Selling a digital product is another way to build a profitable blog. There are a few options when it comes to selling your own products.
You can sell templates, svgs, workbooks, and printables on sites like Etsy, WooCommerce, or Gumroad. You can also sell printables, templates, etc. to your email list too. But if you want to sell eBooks or courses you need an email list.
Don’t try to create an eBook or course until you have a good size email list. The two go hand in hand. Make sure your digital product is related to your niche and freebie. You can’t sell a cookbook if you don’t talk about food.
This also means don’t create a course about blogging if your blog is about travel, beauty, food, etc. Your audience won’t be interested. They don’t go to your blog for business and marketing strategies. Stay on topic.
Resources to help you on your journey!
This is how you start a profitable blog. Not only is it possible to start a blog but make your blog profitable 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 sign up for my email list by clicking here!