How to Blog: Starting a Niche Site on Budget From Scratch

Starting a niche website and then hopefully turning it into an authority has been on my to-do list since 2017.

Unfortunately, due to lack of funds, time and obviously the knowledge required to turn this dream into a reality, I was not able to create one.

Being a broke highschool senior, doesn’t really come with a lot of perks.

Fast forward to 2019. My situation was still the same. No money, not much knowledge and time? Well, it was far limited than before. With 3 hours of daily travel for college, 5 to 6 hours of classes, and 2/3 hours of socializing, there was not much time left that I could dedicate to creating a side hustle.

If I’m being honest, I had almost even forgotten about it. Then came 2020, a very challenging year for a lot of us, including me.

My mental health was derogating, I started getting insomnia, my interest to do anything was lost and every single day felt like the same loophole repeating itself.

Finally after months of torment, in July 2020, I was done with this self loathing behaviour. I acknowledge the fact, that If I want something, I’ll actually have to go get it. No, I still didn’t start a niche website, dedication doesn’t pay for a hosting plan or domain, I was still broke.

What did start was my journey to find platforms where I can actually begin my writing journey.

A platform with an inbuilt audience and something that is absolutely free to get on as I still was broke and those other bunch of things.

Found what I still believe was God’s greatest gift to me — medium. Started writing on it. Continuously read a lot. When I say a lot, I mean, a lot.

These great stories helped me become a better writer, increase my horizons, get all sucked into the side hustle club and gain a better understanding of creating a writing business in general.

Within a few months, I created my first publication, Got my first Viral story (90k) views and still counting, then second one (105k views) and a few mini (25k,15k,10k,5k) virals. Let me know if you want a breakdown of these articles.

Get unlimited access to all my and millions of other stories written by thousands of writers at one platform : Support me directly by subscribing to Medium here. It just cost $5 per month and you get the chance of making money via your writing as well. I have personally made $9000 in 7 months.

Creating my niche website : March 2021.

Photo by Photo by Plann on Pexels

Just a mini disclaimer : This article series (monthly updates) are meant to let you know my progress in the particular months as mentioned in the title, I.e my accomplishments, insights the things I did right and wrong (as I made a lot of mistakes on the way), earnings and future plans.

I had actually noted down all these things in the past. But I decided to only publish them if my website did well. As of now my niche site is 17 months old and it’s safe to say, it’s going pretty great.

This article doesn’t include the deep details of how to start a blog, I’ll be creating a different series for that if you want.

My purpose of creating these articles is to document my journey as I created my niche site on a tight budget without putting tons of articles (the total count hadn’t even touched 110 articles yet), no big softwares, no backlink outreach and still ranking on number one page of google for a lot of keywords and top 3 position on plenty of them.

You’ll get the latest traffic and earning details with proof on the month 17 update of this series. My main purpose of creating these articles is to let others, who are in the same situation as me know if I can do it, you can too and show them exactly how.

Just a few months on medium gave me all the resources that I required to create my own niche site. I now had access to my own moneytree funds as well as enough knowledge. And time? Well I had more than enough to spare due to the ongoing lockdown.

Deciding a Niche.

person using black and white smartphone and holding blue card
Photo by PhotoMIX Company on Pexels.com

I went with the usual advice on this topic. Go with a niche that you’re passionate about, a type of topic you can write about without quickly getting fed up of it.

Even though my views on this matter are completely different now, back in the day I ate this advice up and went with it. Given I was writing all my articles myself at that time, it doesn’t seem like a really bad advice either.

As of now my recommendation for you in your journey of choosing a niche would be — Go for a niche which lies in the middle of traffic, competition and profitability. Other things to consider :

  • Select a niche that goes well with the working class of society i.e the age group of 25-40.
  • A topic which has good scope for affiliate marketing i.e conversion rates are high and variety of programs are available.
  • Whose add EPVM or RPMs are High.
  • Has untapped audience for other type of product sales i.e digital products, podcasts, membership groups, b2b sales.
  • Has a good amount of monthly search volume.
  • The competition is not really High, like that of health, finance, travel etc.
  • It isn’t too broad. Remember, it’s a niche site. Therefore, make sure to narrow down in the beginning with plans to diversify in the future.

On the other hand, if you’re on a tight budget like I was, and have to write your content yourself. I would recommend going with something the also co-adjoins with your interests apart with following the above details.

You may also find a niche that fits somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.

Name of the website.

person sitting facing laptop computer with sketch pad
Photo by OVAN on Pexels.com

For the name of my website, I went with my own alias. My recommendation on this front would depend on your long term goal.

If your long term goal is to stick with a small niche then you can go with a niche specific name, if you’re long term goals include diversifying your blog into a broad niche, them go with a broad name.

On the other hand, if it’s in your cards to diversify even more, i.e go from a niche specific blog to a general lifestyle blog then scrap a niche specific name all together and go with a generic name.

In short, the name of your website is completely in your hands. if you’re into creating a brand image for your Website, then I would recommend picking up a unique name.

Honestly, even if you aren’t into branding or standing out (which you should) I would still recommend doing a little research beforehand to make sure, the name you choose isn’t already taken up by somebody else.

Don’t forget to consider the below mentioned points before choosing a blog name :

  • Your Future goals.
  • Your audience.
  • The vision/mission of your blog.
  • Brand image.
  • Uniqueness.

Domain availability.

close up shot of a typewriter
Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

As mentioned in the above point, domain name availability is one of the most important reasons to make sure your blog name is unique and not already taken up by somebody else on the internet.

After picking up a blog name, the most important follow up step is to check the domain name availability. You have to make sure to pick up a name who’s .com is available for you.

You’re can also get an already established website from Flippa — It’s the most popular website buying & selling platform on the internet today. If you have the required funds, you may find a nice, already growing or even earning website. It all depends on your pocket.

We acquired a top-tier site for mid-seven figures, and Flippa made the process seamless.

Hosting.

Blog hosting is easy words is — Space for your website to live online. Depending upon your choice, pocket and future plans you may get it for free or invest in a paid blog hosting provider.

I initially had blue host as my hosting provider, as I started my second blog, I had to switch my blog plan from basic to plus, which I found a little bit expensive for my budget. Therefore, I switched to WPX Hosting. For $20 per month, I can now host upto 5 websites together, at the same cost. Other options include hostinger, WordPress, GoDaddy etc

Setting up my website.

laptop computer showing c application
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

After getting the hosting and domain, it’s now time to set up your blog in order to make it more inviting. The way to get this over with is by buying an attractive, inviting and fast loading theme. Unless ofcourse, you’re a graphic designer.

If you’re broke, you may even totally skip this cost by getting a free theme, there are many themes available on the internet that are decent, give your website a warm look and are light with no complexity as well. Therefore, you don’t necessarily need to spend some more bucks here.

Are paid themes nice to have? Yes. Are they a necessity? No.

Make sure to choose a theme that not only is easy on the eyes, but has the features you need. The articulation of the theme should not be overly complicated since the main purpose of your website is to help users find the content they want as quickly as possible, so try to make it simple and easy.

Before getting a theme, make sure :

  • It is inviting and warm.
  • It doesn’t slow down your website.
  • It’s highly customisable.
  • It has dedicated space for adding your newsletter or other CTAs.
  • It goes well with your colour scheme.
  • It’s not too complex.
  • It has a variety of readable inbuilt fonts.
  • It’s not too expensive.

Elementor provides some of the most fast loading themes on the market. You can even search about it. Although, I personally started with ashe themes, which was indeed very appealing to eyes, but it drastically slowed down my website.

Slow websites are a big no for SEO. Therefore, it’s a recommendation to go for elementor if you must, or just skip this step al together.

Setting up the menus, widgets and important pages.

After launching your theme, it’s important to customise it according to your likings and needs. It’s a necessity to set-up your menus and widgets before launching your website.

Legal pages like, terms and conditions, privacy policy and disclaimer should be created before you even thinking of publishing your first post on your website.

Number of posts.

In the first month of my blogging journey, apart from getting a hand over the WordPress dashboard, customising the site, setting up the important plugins, settings up the menus, widgets, legal pages and successfully launching the site, I was not able to do much in the content department.

In the first month of my blogging, I was able to publish only 4 posts in total. I know, it sounds like a disappointment, but this is all I was able to do, with no keyword research if I may add.

Stats from month one.

The users were at a whopping number of 99, just one less from 100. That’s something to be proud of. The sessions were at 130. With majority of my audience coming from my medium account, a few from Twitter and a couple of them from my pinterest account.

Earnings for month one.

person putting coin in a piggy bank
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

The earnings were at zero, given I had not even thought of monetization yet.

Future goal.

My major focus for the next few months was only content creation, therefore my primary goal was to publish atleast 30 Posts in the next few month.

Conclusion.

Over 3.5 billion searches take place on Google every single day, and It’s also estimated that 77% of internet users read and interact with blogs.

Therefore, if your steps have been halted by statements like blogging is dead, there’s no future in blogging, it’s too late to start a blog, it’s impossible to grow your blog without heavy investment etc know that it’s not true.

I’d not sugar coat the reality, yes blogging isn’t easy but what in life is? Yes the competition is high but so are your chances to grow in the market. As long as you’ve the access to right knowledge.

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