Monday, 15 August 2016 15:30

How To Start A Website With No Money To Make Money

Starting a website or blog on no money can be done pretty easily, thanks to Wordpress.com.

Every day, thousands of websites are started but guess what? Less than 10% of those site owners will still be working on their sites after 30 days! 

It's true. There's a huge drop off of websites being updated after 30 days. Sometimes the owner moves on to other interests, other times, they lose interest when they see that there's no immediate gains.

In this post, I'm going to show you not just how to setup your website, but do it in a way that will increase your chances of success up to 30 days and beyond.

How To Start A Successful Website with No Money

It all starts before you even sign up for an account. Starting a website on the right topic is essential, and if you get this step wrong, your website will be abandoned very quickly as you relize your failing. Don't worry, I've had my share of abandoned sites. It took me years to learn this, and even though I am sharing it with you, you should still expect to start a few sites that you'll abandon due to the trial and error learning curve.

Successful blogs have two primary elements that make them successful

Almost every website that has massive success does one of two things, or both:

  • Addresses problems that people have and commonly look for answers to
  • Play to passions people have about the topic
  • Fufils a need that many people have

Choosing The Topic

I take a lot of notes, and I have a problem: All my notes are usually scrawled on post-it notes, random notebooks or napkins. They tend to get lost, put through the wash in my pockets (I'm horrible about checking pockets) or left at home because I dropped them on the dresser the night before.

I have a shelf on old notebooks... some of them used and some that are yet to be used.

I realized that creating a site that helped people organize their notes using waterproof notebooks addresses both success points above.

  • Rather than losing notes, all your notes go in one notebook that is weatherproof so that even if it goes through the wash, you'll still have all your notes. Additionally, it creates a single "go to" item where you know all your notes will be, and you'll be a lot less likely to forget your notes at home or in the car.
  • There are whole communities around the interenet that have a very big passion for notebooks and pens. Reddit has one of the largest communities out there for both. You might be surprised how paticular people get about their pens and paper.

In choosing your topic, it should make sense to you, address a need, fear or passion and be something that you're interested in. 

The 50 Post Litmus Test

I can't take credit for this. Pat at SmartPassiveIncome.com is the first person that came up with this to my knowledge:

 

The main idea here is to come up with 50 potential posts for the site. If you can't come up with at least 50 (which he does mention in another part of this post), then you might consider choosing something else for your topic. 

For my topic, it was fairly easy to come up with 50+ blog posts around weatherproof notebooks and pens.

When I use this method of creating potential posts, I almost always use Google Sheets to do it in because I can access the list from tablets, phone, laptop and chromebook. It's far easier than carrying a USB drive (make sure to go into the settings and enable offline use - Google help doc | PCMag tutorial).

Signup At Wordpress.com

Wordpress.com is one of the best sources to setup a free website at. It's fast, easy to use, and doesn't cost any money (although there are paid options for more functionality, none of which we use).

Setup time can be done in literally a few hours, and you can be up and running very quickly.

Another reason that I really like setting up free sites on Wordpress.com is that you're site is usually indexed within days, not months. 

Go To Wordpress.com and sign up now

Click the create website button to get started.

The first thing they have you do is choose a very broad topic. Just below the bottom of the screenshot above, there's the "BUSINESS" category. I always choose that one for these types of blogs, and I'm not really sure that this choice does anything more than select a few templates (in the next couple screenshots) that they offer for you to use.

Choosing a Post Format This only determines the templates that they will show you next. If you change templates, the post format might change as well depending on what template you choose, so this isn't really important either.

Note: I use the terms "theme" and "template" interchangeably. Wordpress will now show you a selection of templates based on the post format you chose. You Don't have to pick one of these, and later on, in the Wordpress dashboard, you can access all the templates for better choices. See next screenshot:

If you don't like any of the themes, or just don't want to select one right now, then click the "Skip for now" button at the very bottom of the page.

Choose Your Subdomain

This is the most important step out of all of them. Here you have to choose the subdomain for your site. You optionally could purchase a domain name (eg: yoursite.com) but if you want to keep to a free site, you will choose the part that comes before the wordpress.com part of the URL (eg: mysubdomain.wordpress.com). 

Here is what I get when I put in "weatherproofnotebooks" as my subdomain.

The next thing you need to do is select the FREE plan to the farthest left. You could of course sign up for a paid plan, but that's not what we're doing in this article.

Finally, create the account by entering an email address and password. Note that you have your ONLY opportunity to change your log in username on this screen. After this, you won't be able to change it without headaches, so do it now if you want to change it.

Wordpress will display the following confirmation upon successful signup. Click the Continue button.

(Make sure to go to your email inbox and confirm the message they send too.)

This is the Wordpress dashboard, but not the one we're going to use. Wordpress, right now offers two dashboards, and this is the "newer" streamlined dashboard. I prefer using the older one because it's what I know, but which one you use is up to you.

I put /wp-admin after the URL of my site to access the old dashboard (eg: mysite.wordpress.com/wp-admin).

9 old wordpress dashboard

Ah, much better... 

That's it for setting up your free website on Wordpress.com for this post.

In the next post, we'll go into basic configurations and how to post your first article! Stay tuned!