Starting a blog on a budget can be a difficult task. From hosting to marketing, there are a number of things just waiting to ambush your bank account. But I’m here to tell you that blogging doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor.
In fact, if you’ve been dreaming about starting a blog, I hope this article will provide you with enough encouragement to finally take the leap.
And seeing how our entire website revolves around budgeting, I thought I’d put together a list of powerful resources that will help you start and grow your blog, without breaking the bank.
So, without further ado, here are my 10 favorite low-cost essentials for new bloggers.
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If you want your blog to exist on the internet, you will need to host it on a server. And in order to do that, you will have to pay a hosting company for server space. Now, don’t let the techno-babble scare you. Website hosting has become very intuitive over the last few years.
In fact, the hosting companies I recommend make the process of launching and operating your blog about as easy as it could possibly be.
One more thing, If you are going to start a blog, I firmly believe that WordPress is the best possible platform. I have tried working with website builders and other platforms in the past, and none of them come close to competing with the combination of ease and power that WordPress provides.
With that in mind, here are the only two hosting companies I recommend.
Side Note: You should know that in addition to a personal finance blogger, I am actually a full-time web developer with years of experience. And after all these years, these 2 hosting companies have never disappointed me.
No matter your web development skill level — from beginner to advanced — I highly recommend Bluehost. First off, their customer service is incredible! So, if you ever have any technical trouble, you can get ahold of somebody quickly to resolve the issue. Plus, in my experience, their customer service reps are all extremely knowledgeable. (Please remember, this is all coming from a professional web developer.)
If you sign up for Bluehost through any of the links in this post, you can get hosting for as little as $3.95 per month.
Bonus: Bluehost will also include a free domain for a year if you choose to host your blog with them.
If I had to describe SiteGround in one word, I would choose fast. Their hosting is just plain speedy! And to top it all off, their customer service is incredibly responsive and knowledgeable. So, technical problems aren’t anything to stress about.
If you’re going to entrust your WordPress blog to a great hosting company, you won’t go wrong with SiteGround.
Once again, if you click through the link on this you can sign up for hosting with SiteGround for as little as $3.95 per month.
If you want to start a blog, you are going to need a domain. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, a domain is just the name of your website. For example, the domain for this website is BeTheBudget.com.
The following resources will help you choose and secure a domain name. The best news is that domains are not very expensive, so this won’t be an area of your blog that’s easy on your budget.
If you have already purchased a domain name, that is great. You can probably just skip this resource. But, if you are struggling to come up with a name for your blog, I recommend spending a little time on LeanDomainSearch.com.
This tool is basically a domain name generator that helps you come up with a ton of different ideas. All you have to do is enter a word you would like to include in your domain, and it will generate a long list of potential domains you can choose.
This was actually the tool I used when I decided to start this blog. And I have used to come up with the name for a number of other websites I run as well.
This tool is completely free, so be sure to check it out! Even if you have a website name in mind, I still suggest trying out Lean Domain Search. You never know, you might just find a better one.
Side Note: Lean Domain Search is not a domain registrar. It is just a great tool to help you come up with a domain. So, if you find one you like, you will still need to check it’s availability, and purchase and register it on a domain name registrar.
There are any number of domain name registrars out there, but GoDaddy is by far my favorite.
They have made the process of purchasing a domain name and connecting it to your website an absolute breeze. Plus, they have great prices, some pretty useful add-ons, and a number of other great features that will make your life easy.
Important: As I mentioned earlier, if you purchase hosting through BlueHost, you will get a free domain registration for a year. This is a perfectly valid alternative to GoDaddy if you want to save a few bucks. Plus, if you host both your domain and your website on BlueHost, connecting them is seamless. That said, if you prefer to use GoDaddy for your domain registration, pointing it to your website on BlueHost is still very simple.
If you have spent any time researching how to start a blog, you have probably heard someone say, “build your email list.” And they are right. (In fact, you should sign up for the Be The Budget email list right now.)
But there is no rule that says you need to pay through the nose for email services.
If you want to create an email address that matches your domain name, GSuite is my favorite resource.
I will add that this is not an absolute necessity. If you have secured a domain name, and don’t want to pay for a business email, you can just create a gmail account for free instead. You can always add a business email later on. But, if you like the professional look of a business email address, then take a look at GSuite.
At the time of writing this, it costs $12 per month.
MailChimp is a great place to start your email list. They have every tool you need to get started collecting email addresses through your website, and sending professional-looking emails to your subscribers.
The best part is that you can sign up for free. And, until you have 2,000 subscribers, you won’t have to pay a dime!
ConvertKit is an email marketing service designed to connect with your subscribers. It is very similar to MailChimp, but has one major differentiator — it was designed specifically for bloggers.
ConvertKit knows exactly what bloggers need, and they serve those needs beautifully.
From simple automations and email sequences to professionally designed landing pages that will help you convert website visitors into subscriber, you can’t go wrong with ConvertKit.
The best news is, ConvertKit just recently launched a ‘freemium’ version of their software. Now, you won’t have access to some of the key features that make it so powerful, but it will let you dip your toe in before you sign up for a paid account.
Getting The Word Out
When you first start your blog, you should be laser-focused on developing content. That is by far the most important thing you can do. Though, if you want to shorten the time it takes to start making an income through your blog, you will need to get the word out through marketing.
But there is no need for high dollar ad spends, and expensive marketing campaigns. Instead, whenever you aren’t writing content, you can use the following resources to expand your web presence without blowing your budget.
One of the first things you should do when you create your blog, is head over to Pinterest and create a business account for your new website. Then, you should sign up for Tailwind.
Tailwind is a scheduling platform for Pinterest that helps you post and curate pins, as well as leverage a vast network of bloggers to share your content.
Tailwind has been a game-changer for Be The Budget. To give you an idea, before we signed up for tailwind, we had 3 followers on Pinterest, and only a handful of people coming to our website from Pinterest each month. Now, we get thousands of users per month that come to our website from Pinterest. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you discovered this article on Pinterest.
If so, you are proof that tailwind works.
Tailwind also gives you access to what they call tribes. Tribes are essentially a grouping of bloggers on Tailwind that share each other’s content. In other words, Tailwind allows you to leverage an entire network of Pinterest accounts. So, instead of your pins showing up to your followers only, somebody else with a much larger following can share your pin and drive traffic to your website.
Tailwind is only $15 per month, and you can try it out for free. There is really no downside.
If you want to develop shareable images and infographics, Canva is the only resource I recommend. It will come in handy when you want to create Pinterest pins, Instagram posts, Facebook ads, or any other imagery for your blog.
You can sign up for a free Canva account, which is great when you are just starting out. However, as your blog grows, I highly suggest upgrading to a paid account.
This will be one of your most valuable resources as a blogger. It is for me.
I saved this resource for last, because it is the most expensive. But, even at the price of $197, I still believe it is a bargain.
Pinterest Traffic Avalanche is a Pinterest marketing course for bloggers, and a great one at that. You see, there is a lot to learn when it comes to promoting your blog through Pinterest. And, the way I see it, you could spend countless hours trying to figure it out on your own, or just spend the money and learn how to get it right the first time.
This course will teach you how to set up your account properly, leverage Tailwind to get the most traffic possible, and much much more.
If you are serious about growing your Pinterest account and driving traffic to your blog, this is hands down one of the greatest resources I have found.
Starting a blog on a budget is a challenging, but very realistic goal. In fact, it would be silly to go out and spend a ton of money on a brand new blog.
So, to review, the ten resources we recommend when you want to start and run a blog on a budget are: