If you’ve done your homework then you know that there are some expenses that go into starting your blog. As with any expense you want to be able to justify the money that you are giving up. For a blog, it can be even harder to justify putting your money into a blog or website especially when you won’t see a return on it right away.
You’ll be able to make decisions for yourself by keeping your goals in mind and really know when you do need to spend money (if any at all) with this guide! This post will walk you through the steps of starting a blog and saving money throughout the process!
Getting Started – Choosing Your Niche
The first thing that you’ll have to do is to choose a niche. What’s a niche? Well, that’s the topic that you plan on blogging about. It can be anything that you want. A good topic to choose as your niche is something that you are truly passionate about.
For instance, the niche of Living as Elise is all things digital marketing, social media, and blogging. I am extremely passionate about those topics and love sharing my knowledge about them with people. One thing you should know is that when I originally started my blog I wanted to be a lifestyle and fashion blog. I started off flaky to begin with by not posting frequently. I was not fully passionate about that niche so I made the smart decision to switch to my current niche that I love to blog about. Moral of the story is blog about something you are passionate about and love!
How do you find your niche?
An easy way to find your niche is to turn your hobbies into full blown interests. It’s so much easier and authentic when you blog about something you already and know and love. Your readers will feed into you passion for your niche and reward you as a recurring visitor.
The thing not to do is to choose a niche based on what will be easiest to make money. Be warned, if you choose to blog about something you don’t have a personal connection with will be draining to keep up with. You might be able to keep up with it for a little while, but your lack of passion isn’t there and you’ll end up abandoning your project down the line.
Choosing a Name
You might already have a name picked out or you might not. Before you choose, remember that your name will stick with your blog for a long time. The name of your blog will be what your readers relate to and remember. To say the name of your blog is important is an understatement. The name of your blog will be the first piece of your new online brand. The right name will make all the difference to how your blog to perceived by your audience. No pressure, right?
So how do you even choose a blog name that is both 1. Memorable and 2. Sets the tone of your entire blog?
Brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm!
Simply grab a pen and paper and write down words that are associated to your chosen niche. Try to come up with at least three names just in case your top choice for a domain name is already taken. With two others in mind you won’t feel as let down if your top pick is already taken.
Purchasing a Domain Name
One of the first costs that you’ll have when starting your blog is getting you domain name. The domain name is the website address that people will type in to get to your website. For example, mine is LivingasElise.com.
On average, domain names will cost you anywhere between $3-15 a year. An easy way to bypass this expense is to get your domain name with the host provider that you plan on using. This saves you on having to connect your domain to your host if you purchase it elsewhere. Also, most hosting providers will give you your domain name for free if you sign up for hosting services with them. A scary thing about choosing a domain name is the commitment that comes along with it. But, don’t worry because you can always get a new if you really want to down the line.
One thing to really consider before purchasing a domain is what you’ll want out of your blog or website. If it’s just a hobby that you do in your free time? If this is the case then sticking to the domain you get with your free plan may be all you need! Do keep in mind though that your URL will have the name of whatever host you are using. For instance, a free WordPress plan domain name would be yoursitename.wordpress.com.
On the other hand, if your website or blog is something that you are really passionate about and wanting to make money from down the line, then purchasing your domain is TOTALLY worth the investment. Also, having your own custom domain name gives you credibility and the ability to shine through the rest of the competition.
PRO TIP: Is the domain name you want already taken? Use WhoIs as a easy and quick way to find who owns it and get in contact with them. You can possibly make out a deal and purchase the domain from them.
Choosing a Host – Free or Paid?
An important thing to do is to choose a host for your blog. Basically, a “host” is the company that will house your website online and make all your content accessible to your readers. Blogging hosts can provide a variety of different services to you.
When it comes to choosing a host, there are both paid and free options for you to pick from. Some free options include Blogger https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g#welcome and WordPress.com. With the free options you can easily get started without having to pay a cent. The biggest benefit of having a free host is the most obvious, but other benefits include having easy to use site templates.
Cons of a Free Host
But do keep in mind, there are cons that come with having a free host. One of the first cons include having an unoriginal domain name. For instance with the free WordPress.com plan your domain name will look something like YourDomainName.wordpress.com. Not only does this domain name come across as unoriginal, but it’s also hard to remember when typing into your browser. Also, these types of domain names don’t rank in SEO results which means you won’t pop up in search engine results. Another downside to having a free host is that there are a many limitations when it comes to customizing your site. If you so have a domain purchased you can use a free host but may have to pay a fee to map the domain to the host. I know with WordPress.com it will cost $13 a year to map a previously purchased domain. This is an easy way to get out of having to having the unoriginal domain name that free host plans come with.
If blogging is just a hobby for you then having a free host is perfect for you and will just do the trick for what you need. However, if you want to really get serious about blogging and eventually turn it into a career then paying for a host is what you’ll want to do.
The Benefits of a Paid Host
- It’s more affordable than you think! With most paid hosting services, a starter plan will only cost you $2.95 a month. Some great options are Bluehost, iPage, and Hostgator.
- Your blog will rank in search results! Unlike with free hosting plans you have the ability to rank in online search results.
- Customization, you can make your site just the way you want in a breeze!
- Monetization options become available for products, ads, and sponsored sponsorships. Most free hosting plans don’t allow you to monetize your site.
- You’re the sole owner and in charge of all your content! With free hosts like Blogger and WordPress.com they are the sole owners of all your content so if they want to they can shut down your site at any time!
Choosing a Theme
The theme is essentially the layout of what your blog will look like. You can choose what page layouts, colors, fonts, and more! You can determine the overall look of your blog with your theme.
There are both free and paid themes that you can choose to have on your blog. Free themes normally do not have as many customization options as paid themes do. The good thing about free themes is that they can be a good way to save money early on in setting up your blog. If you want full control of the way your site looks then I highly recommend getting a paid theme.
Benefits of a Paid Theme
- High quality design that will give your blog a professional and clean look.
- Regular updates for web changes.
- Security features for your site.
- Support from the pros, most paid themes come with support from the designers.
Other Blogging Expenses
- Photography equipment – If you have a fashion blog or share a lot of pictures on your blog it maybe a good idea to invest in some good photography equipment. A way to avoid this expense is just using your phone for pictures. Most phones now have really powerful cameras that are great for taking quality pictures.
- Stock photos – If you rather not take images yourself you can save by using stock images. There are a number of great free stock photo websites. You can even pay for a stock photo membership if you rather pay for high quality styled photos. Check out this post that has a list of my favorite free stock photo sites.
- An email address with your domain name – You can get an email address with your domain name like firstname.lastname@example.org for only $5 a month from Google G Suite.
- Training – Knowledge is power when it comes to having a blog. You’ll want learn as much as you can on how to expand your brand and optimize your site for more traffic. Trainings normally come in the form of workshops, webinars, eBooks, courses and more. There are many free options as well if you aren’t wanting to pay for these.
- Email provider – As you gain readers you may want to send out a newsletter and other email blasts. There are many free email providers like MailChimp (free up to 2000 subscribers) and MailerLite (free up to 1000 subscribers). Paid plans for larger email lists start as little as $10 a month.
In the end, starting a blog will take some work. Depending on how serious you are about blogging and what your goals are for it can make it all worth the upfront expenses, but as this post went over there are ways that you can save throughout this process.
I hope this post helped you with getting your blog started. If it did be sure to comment and share!