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This post may contain affiliate links, meaning that if you choose to click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.

If you want to learn how to start a blog on a budget and make money, this blog post is for you. 

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Can You Start a Blog for Free?

Let’s get this question out of the way first. Yes, you can start a blog for free.

You can use WordPress.com, the free version of WordPress. If you want to test out WordPress and practice, you can start with an account here to test out the software.

If you are blogging for business and use free accounts nobody will take you seriously. I would recommend free accounts for bloggers that want to journal and not monetize blogging.

Why you don't want to use free blogging services:

  • You WON’T own your blog content if you use a free blogging service.
  • You can’t monetize your blog freely (every service has its restrictions). You will never make money from affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, selling your own products or even ads. 
  • You can’t customize your blog design to match your business and aesthetics.
  • You will have limited support to help you.

To make money with a blog you need to invest in your business with your own domain name and web hosting. In short, you need to spend money to make money.

PIN blogging on a budget 9

Start Your Blog Today on a Budget

In this free guide, you will learn how to start a blog on a budget:

  • Start a blog with Bluehost
  • Design your blog using Astra (free) and Elementor (free)
  • Write content with the help of Grammarly (free)
  • Create a logo with Canva (free)
  • Build an email list with ConvertKit (free)
  • Get traffic to your new blog using Tailwind (free)

1. Choose Your Blog Domain Name - Only $0.50 per Month

If you want to start a blog you need your own domain name. There are tons of places to register a domain name, I recommend Namecheap

Note: If you choose Bluehost as your hosting provider, they will cover the domain registration fees for you.

Instead, I register my domain names at Namecheap. Their domain registration and renewals go for $5.98 and come with free domain privacy.

Namecheap

Cost: A dot com domain registration at Namecheap is $5.98 per year or $0.50 per month.

2. How to Choose a Web Host for Your Blog - Only $2.95 per Month

Much like a brick and mortar store needs to pay rent, you need to pay for hosting for your blog.

I recommend Bluehost for new blogs because they're newbie-friendly and provide the best value.

Additionally, you get a free domain name with your hosting account if you use this link.

In order to get the best deal at $2.95 per month.

If you're ready to start a blog, follow my step by step guide on how to start a blog.

Bluehost -Blog Hosting Service

Bluehost comes with the WordPress blogging platform pre-installed so you can get your blog started from day 1.

Cost: Bluehost is $35.40 per year or $2.95 per month

3. Use WordPress (free) for Your Blog

The blogging platform I always recommend to start with is WordPress. The other popular blogging platforms you may be familiar with are Wix and Squarespace. While those other platforms aren't bad, per se, they are more tailored to ecommerce stores, rather than blogs.

WordPress powers an impressive 63.6% of all websites (source) whose content management system can be detected.

I recommend WordPress for new bloggers because it's entirely free to use, it's lightweight (loads fast), powerful (tons of great plugins), and there's endless customization options (blog themes and page builders).

WordPress is the best platform to start a blog on. While there may be a learning curve to start, it's well worth getting to know how to use it.

Cost: WordPress is free

4. Choose Your Blog Theme

Yes, there are countless free themes for WordPress. But if you're serious about treating your blog as a business you should not use a free blog theme.

Free themes won't allow you to customize your blog, leaving your blog looking like the thousands of other people using that same free theme.

Then, if you ever want to change anything, you'll need to hire a designer to do it for you. The cheaper alternative is to use a visual blog builder.

The blog theme I recommend is Divi from Elegant Themes. With it you can change the color, the font, even the entire structure of your blog using their drag-and-drop interface.

The WordPress theme I use on this blog is Thrive Theme Builder. The reason I don't recommend it off the bat for new bloggers is because there's a learning curve to using it.


And as a new blogger, your focus should be on setting up your blog (even with a template), writing blog posts, and trying to reach monetization as quickly as possible.

Divi is the WordPress theme I recommend new bloggers get. It is newbie-friendly and simple to design on your own (or with a pre-made template).

Cost: Divi from Elegant Themes is $89 per year or $7.42 per month

5. Use a WordPress Page Builder

If you end up starting with a free blog theme you will need to at least use a page builder.

Page builders are plugins that let you build better blog posts. Without a page builder, you risk creating boring pages that are just text and images.

Not only do you want pages with rich content you also want to add stunning visual elements.

The page builder that comes with WordPress (Gutenberg) leaves a lot to be desired.

Here are the page builders I recommend instead:

These page builders work with any theme, free or paid.

Thrive Architect

Every blog post or page on dwainiagrey.me was built using Thrive Architect.

Cost: Thrive Architect is $99 per year or $8.25 per month or get the whole Thrive Suite for $299 per year or $24.92 per month.

6. Write Easy to Read Blog Posts with Grammarly

Grammarly is a free Chrome/Firefox browser extension that helps you write better. The free version catches common spelling and grammar mistakes while the premium version helps with more complex issues like the tone and conciseness.

Grammarly

Cost: Grammarly is free, although I use the premium version for $11.66 per month


7. Create Stunning Images for Your Blog

Canva is a drag-and-drop graphic design tool that makes it simple to create graphics for your blog. I use Canva to create logos, social media images, pins for Pinterest, ebook covers, ads, and more.

Canva

While I have Photoshop, I find myself creating all of my design elements for my blog in Canva instead. Note: I use the pro version of Canva.
Cost: 
Canva is free, although I use the Pro version for $9.95 per month

Start Your Email List on Your Blog - Use Email Marketing

Up to this point, you already have all of the tools you need to start a blog. But if you want to make money and not have this be a hobby blog, you need to keep going.

If you want to make money blogging, you need to start an email list with content upgrades. I know it sounds "icky", but the goal here is to make money. And people don't really buy things directly from blogs.

ConvertKit is what I use and recommend for email marketing. They will store the emails you collect and send emails to your list.

Use your blog post to capture readers attention, convert them to subscribers and later convert them to buyers.

Always provide value to your email list to build trust and a solid relationship. Once you've established a relationship you can then recommend products (or sell your own).

Without that crucial link of email marketing, you're going to be missing a really important step in monetizing your blog.

ConvertKit

When you use my link to sign up to ConvertKit, you get to create unlimited forms, landing pages ,and send emails to up to 1,000 subscribers.

Cost: ConvertKit is free up to 1,000 subscribers

Grow Your List with Blogging - Master Email Marketing

You need awesome email opt-in forms to grow your email list fast. A plain form in the sidebar or footer that says "Subscribe to my newsletter" isn't going to cut it.

In order to truly grow your email list you're going to need high-end templates and multiple opt-in form types with a plugin like Thrive Leads.

The forms I use are in-content, a lightbox that displays when visitors open a page, and exit intent.

Where a list-building plugin truly shines is with the reporting you get. With Thrive Leads, I can see which form converts best, which page converts best, and which referring traffic source works best.

It's a dream come true if you want to create a profitable high-converting website.

Thrive Leads

This is the list-building plugin I use to create the opt-in forms you see on this page.

Cost: Thrive Leads is $99 per year or $8.25 per month or get the whole Thrive Suite for $299 per year or $24.92 per month.

Optimize Each Post with SEO

At this point, we've got a blog set up and an email list ready to go. But what about traffic? The next few tools will help to get traffic to your blog.

Connect your website to Google Analytics with Google SiteKit plugin to receive up-to-date stats. Find out where your visitors are coming from, how long they stay on your blog, what pages they visit and much more with Google Analytics. 

Then optimize each page and post with a tool like Yoast. With Yoast SEO, you can effortlessly enhance your website's on-page SEO elements, ensuring your content is fully optimized for search engines. Its user-friendly interface makes it accessible for beginners, while its advanced features cater to the needs of experienced SEO professionals. Optimize each page or post, providing real-time feedback and suggestions for improvement. It analyzes your content's readability, keyword usage, meta tags, and much more. Yoast SEO also generates XML sitemaps, which help search engines understand your website's structure and index your pages effectively.

Are you looking to boost your website's search engine visibility and attract more organic traffic? Yoast SEO is the ultimate tool to optimize your website's content. By following Yoast SEO's recommendations and implementing its suggestions, you can significantly improve your website's visibility and rankings in search engine results.

Use Pinterest to Drive Traffic

Every blogger will tell you that Pinterest and Google are their top 2 drivers of traffic to their blog.

Facebook and Instagram, while wildly popular, don't send as much traffic as Pinterest and Google. The reason being that Facebook and Instagram are social media while Pinterest and Google are search engines.

I use Pinterest to drive traffic to my blogs with the help of Tailwind.

While their main feature is their Pinterest scheduler, the real benefit of Tailwind is SmartLoop and Tribes.

With SmartLoop, your pins are posted on a repeating schedule. It's not quite hands-off full automation, but it is close to it.

With Tribes you and your tribemates share each other's content. This is a great way to bring added exposure, especially if a popular account shares one of your pins.

Tailwind

The best way to get traffic to a new blog isn't Google or Facebook, it's Pinterest! And there's no better Pinterest scheduler than Tailwind.
Cost: Tailwind is $120 per year or $9.99 per month

Use a Social Media Scheduler to Promote Your Blog

Social media is not as effective as Google and Pinterest to generate traffic. 

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all designed to keep you on the platform and to get you to pay for promotion and getting people to leave their platforms. 

There are few ways I use social media to promote my blog to not only get traffic but also for brand recognition. Read How To Promote Your Blog On Social Media .

The trick to social media is to create and share awesome content consistently. The easiest way to share your blog posts on social media is with a scheduler like Buffer or Hootsuite. 

Using PromoRepublic I'm able to queue up thousands of updates and have them sent on my schedule for months in advance. This strategy allows me to be "present" on social media without actually wasting any time on the platforms.

Get More Engagement with Social Sharing

You know what's better than posting your posts on social media? Having others do the work for you.

To get any kind of traffic from social media you need to not only post your content but you need others to share your content as well.

Every blog needs to have share icons to encourage readers to save and share your content.

I use Social Warfare to add the share icons you see on this blog. Here's what this WordPress plugin can do.

  • Add share icons for all of the major social media platforms.
  • Option to add share counts for social proof.
  • The share icons hover on the page as the user scrolls down.
  • Icons look great and load fast on smartphones and tablets.
  • Lets you add UTM parameters so you can see how this traffic performs on Google Analytics.

Get Social Warfare and watch as your content goes viral, driving more traffic, engagement, and ultimately, success to your website.

Social Warfare

Social Warfare empowers you to take control of your social sharing strategy. This plugin seamlessly integrates with your website and allows you to add eye-catching, customizable social sharing buttons to your content, making it easy for your visitors to share your blog posts and drive more traffic to your site.
Cost: 
Social Warfare is $29 per year or $2.42 per month

Don't Blow Your Blog Budget on Advertising

If you want to start a blog on a budget, look at affordable advertising options. Spending money to advertise your blog is entirely optional. In fact, I wouldn't recommend a new blogger dive into spending money on ads at all.

Before you spend a dime on ads, you should first have the following things ready:

  • Your blog has to be fully launched and full of content.
  • You need to have opt-in forms with lead magnets (freebies) to entice subscribers to join.
  • You need to be making money already with your email list.

You should be able to accomplish all of those tasks before your first year of blogging is up. When you do, it's time to venture out into paid ads.

Always have a purpose. Why are you advertising your blog? With Facebook Ads, you can choose from the following campaign types:

  • Getting likes to your Facebook page (to build brand exposure and social proof)
  • Get email subscribers (to nurture leads, for people not ready to buy)
  • Traffic campaign (to make sales)

Each one serves its own purpose so it's important to set your goals beforehand.

To Monetize Your Blog Quickly Take the 30 Day Prosperous Blogger Bootcamp

The 30 Day Prospersous Blogger Bootcamp is a comprehensive 30-day challenge specifically crafted to equip you with the essential tools, strategies, and knowledge to create engaging and captivating blog content. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced blogger, this bootcamp will help you refine your writing skills, spark your creativity, and attract a loyal audience.

Each day, you'll receive expert guidance and actionable tasks that cover various aspects of blogging, including content planning, writing techniques, SEO optimization, audience engagement, and monetization strategies. You'll learn how to create valuable and shareable content, and leverage social media to expand your reach.

Join our supportive community of like-minded bloggers who will cheer you on and provide valuable feedback throughout the challenge. By the end of the 30 days, you'll have a collection of high-quality blog posts and the skills to continue creating exceptional content long after the challenge is over.

Don't miss this opportunity to turbocharge your blogging journey and unlock your full potential as a successful blogger. Take the Prosperous Bloggers Bootcamp: 30 Day Blogging Challenge today and start creating blog content that captivates, inspires, and drives results!

Getting your blog set up ($17.66 per month)

Email marketing ($5.58 per month)

Traffic generation ($212.41 per month)

  • Pinterest scheduler: $9.99 per month with Tailwind
  • Social sharing icons: $2.42 with Social Warfare
  • Advertising costs: $150 per month

Blogging tools ($49.75 per month)

  • Graphic design: Free with Canva
  • Writing and editing: Free with Grammarly
  • Blog course: $8.08 with Prosperous Bloggers Bootcamp
  • Computer: $41.67 per month

Total cost to start a blog: $285.40 per month

Just Start!

Set Up Your Blog in 20 Minutes

Create Your WordPress Blog

Just Start 20 Minute Blog  Set Up

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Dwainia


Dwainia Grey empowers the Empowerpreneur ™ to use online marketing to successfully reach their preferred client.


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