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10 steps to a monetised blog (without much investment)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

You don’t need to be rich to start a profitable blog. You need less than £100.

I do have a small disclaimer: it can take a long time to make money from a blog. I’m talking months/years. But if you follow the principles I teach, then you’re building a solid foundation to make a lot of money in the future.

Basically, if you need money in the next few weeks, maybe blogging isn’t for you.

Onto the good stuff!

Here’s an outline of the stuff we’re going to cover in this post:

  1. Pick a niche
  2. Find some keywords
  3. Assess your competition
  4. Pick a domain name and set up hosting
  5. Set up your WordPress website
  6. Grab a theme and some plugins
  7. Design a header and logo
  8. Write content
  9. Set up some monetisation strategies
  10. Wait (write more content whilst you’re waiting)

Step 1: Pick a niche

Don’t waste too much time here. Just pick a topic you love or know a lot about. it can be anything: tennis, embroidery, coding, rocking chairs. ANYTHING.

Step 2: Find some keywords

You don’t need a fancy SEO tool here – just use your brain. Imagine you were brand new to your topic – what questions would you be asking Google? Make a list of about 100 possible blog topics.

Step 3: Assess your competition

Google all of those blog topics that you thought of, and see who pops up.

It’s at this point that you may need to consider narrowing (or widening) your niche. if your niche is dominated by big name websites, then it’ll be hard to compete.

Use Google’s autocomplete feature to narrow down your topics further.

Look for queries that only have short blog posts answering them or even just forums like Quora and Reddit.

If you think you can write a much better article than the one that’s currently ranking on page one of Google, then have a go.

***Google isn’t the only search engine out there. I quite often use Bing and Ecosia to conduct keyword research. I start with a query like ‘how to start blogging when’ and see what the search engine suggests to autocomplete.***

Step 4: Pick a domain name & set up hosting

I buy my domains from Google Domains because they’re CHEAP.

I recommend Siteground, because their customer service is really good. If you’re pretty competent when it comes to websites, then pick another, but Siteground is great for people like me that just want to get on and write.

Step 5: Set up your WordPress website

I know, I know, it can be a bit of a learning curve. Ok, a lot of a learning curve, but I love it (here’s a Medium post that explains why) and it’s super powerful and just…the best.

Disclaimer: I’ve only ever used WordPress. I’ve heard too many good things about it and too many horror stories about Squarespace and Wix et al.

Go to Siteground, select the StartUp package and follow the instructions. If you have any issues, contact their customer service team, and they’ll either help you or, in my experience, so it all out for you.

Meet me back here where you’re at your WordPress dashboard (which you access at wwww.yourdomain.whatever/wp-admin)

Step 6: Grab a theme and some plugins

I recommend GeneratePress because it’s super fast and has a decent amount of customisation options. The plugins I use are all listed on my resources page.

Step 7: Design a header and logo

I like to use Canva for basic graphic design. Again, there’s a learning curve. You can either do a simple text logo or add a graphic and put text on top.

Header dimensions: 1200 x 300 px

Logo dimensions: 512 x 512 px.

The logo goes in the site icon part, and is also called a favicon. It’s the little logo you get in the tab at the top next to the name of the website.

My header and logo are the same design, just in different sizes. You can pay for Canva premium and you can automatically resize all your images, but I just made two separate graphics FOR FREE.

Step 8: Writing content

This is what’ll make you your money.

Spend as much time as possible writing articles, not wasting time with comment threads on Facebook.

Your writing needs to be better than whatever’s ranking number 1 in your chosen keyword. There are a few ways you can make your article the absolute best:

  • Find unique case studies
  • Use unique stats (or compile existing stats in a table) – Google loves stats. And tables.
  • Format your posts properly – lots of short paragraphs, subheadings (I love a H2 tag), and lists.

Ok, I’m going to dispel some myths here.

Myth #1: you need a consistent posting schedule

You absolutely don’t.

No offence, but…no one’s reading your blog yet.

Write as often as you can, and publish your posts when they’re finished.

Aim to write 10 articles a month. It doesn’t matter when you publish them.

Myth #2: You should spend 80% of your time promoting your posts

NO.

NO.

NO.

This can ABSOLUTELY wait. Get your content out there.

Promoting and marketing your blog is a whole different ball game to writing content.

Work as hard as you can on making your articles are good as possible: helpful information that’s clear, answers the query, and is well-formatted, especially on mobile.

You can start promoting the hell out of your posts (if you so wish) when you have 50 of ’em.

Myth #3: You need to spend money on a course or social media scheduler

If you have the money to spend go ahead, but courses and schedulers won’t improve your blog.

What will improve your blog is you adding more content to it. If you love to research, research your niche and find your potential client’s pain points. reading about blogging for days on end won’t replace actually putting the work in.

Myth #4: You need to be good with a camera

This totally depends on your niche, but you absolutely don’t need to be a photographer.

Use stock photo sites like Unsplash and Pexels for things like social media and featured images.

If your blog post requires photos to make illustrate a point (say, how to hold a golf club), just take a photo on your phone.

As long as the photo shows what it needs to show, it really doesn’t matter.

9. Set up some monetisation strategies

The main three I talk about are:

  • Affiliate links
  • Ads
  • Info products

If you’re new to blogging, I’d wait until you’re totally comfortable with the whole WordPress side of things before diving into monetisation.

If you’ve been blogging for a while, then feel free to add affiliate links right from the beginning.

I would advise against adding ads straight away on a new site. Ads can significantly slow your page speed, so it’s better to wait until they’ll actually make you some money.

You can start thinking about info products from the moment you start blogging. When you launch it is entirely up to you, but I’d wait until you have some traffic – enough that you can get a feel of what your audience might actually buy.

I have a whole post on how soon you can monetise your site here.

10. Wait

Obvs you can be writing more articles whilst you’re waiting (and I suggest you do), but patience is an annoyingly large part of blogging.

If you’re after a predicted timeline, there’s one on the Income School website, which I found really helpful (and pretty accurate).

It’s important that you wait it out. Don’t be tempted to pull the plug, delete all your posts and start again.

Should you decide that your niche isn’t profitable, please please please don’t delete your work.

Chances are, you just haven’t given it enough time.

Upgrade your hosting so that you can host multiple websites and start afresh. That way, when you have that eureka moment about your first site, it’s still waiting for you.

This is something I learned from experience. I deleted hundreds of thousands of words. Cry cry cry.

Conclusion

Yup, it’s a lot. And I’ve skipped over how frustrating WordPress and Canva can be.

You knew it wouldn’t be easy though. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But if you put in a tonne of work at the beginning, the rewards will be big (in like a couple of years).

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