Photo from Stock That Rocks
If you’ve tried your hand at blogging, you’ve probably found that some expenses are involved. When you’re first starting out, this may come as a surprise! If you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for in a blog, it can be hard to justify spending your pretty pennies on something you won’t see the return for right away.
But no need to worry! By keeping your goals in mind, you’ll be able to determine where you need to spend money, or if you even need to spend any at all! Read along as we walk you through the steps of starting a blog and how you can save money along the way!
Picking Your Domain Name
When people think of the costs associated with starting a blog, the first thing that comes to mind is often purchasing a domain name. So what is a domain name? A domain name is the web address people will type in to navigate to your blog. For example, our domain name is “bloguettes.com.”
Typically, domain names cost anywhere from $3-15 a year. To keep it simple, we recommend purchasing your domain name through the host you’ve chosen. This will save you the time and stress of connecting your domain to your host! Committing to a domain might seem scary, but remember that you can always change it later down the road.
Similar to choosing a host, deciding whether or not you want to purchase a domain name depends on your blogging goals. Is blogging just a hobby you do during your spare time? Then sticking with the domain that comes with your free plan might be all you need! Just remember, your URL will also have the name of your host in it, like so: yourblogname.wordpress.com.
On the other hand, if you want to achieve your blogging dreams and possibly make an income from your blog, purchasing your own domain is definitely worth the investment! This will give you credibility and will also give you a great platform to set yourself apart from the competition!
Quick tip: Is the domain name you want already taken? Whois.net is a great source that will tell you who currently owns the domain. You can then contact the owner and you might be able to work out a deal and purchase the domain from them!
Choosing a Host: Paid or Free?
First things first, you’ll need to choose a host for your blog. Essentially, a “host” is a company that houses your online content and makes it accessible for your readers. Blogging hosts can provide a variety of services, and sometimes they even provide blogging software!
When it comes to choosing a host, there are both paid and free options. With options like Blogger or the WordPress.com free plan, you can get started right away without having to pay a penny. However, there are both pros and cons to taking the free route. Of course, the biggest benefit of choosing a free host is obvious, but on top of this, there are a ton of free hosts out there that make it easy to customize your site with great templates!
On the other hand, there are definitely cons that come with choosing a free host. First, you might be stuck with a not-so-original domain name like “yourblogname.blogspot.com.” Not only is this unoriginal, but it’s difficult to remember and type into a browser. Plus, when it comes to designing your blog with a free host, your customization options will definitely be limited. However, if you are someone who already has a domain name, it is possible to find a free host, such as WordPress.com or Blogger, and avoid having the platform’s name in your domain!
If you’re looking to blog as a hobby, a free host may be perfect for you. However, if you have dreams of taking the blogging world by storm and eventually turning this into a career, you’ll definitely want to consider a paid host! Here are just some of the benefits that come from self-hosting:
The Benefits of Using a Paid Host:
It might be a lot more affordable than you think! With a starter plan, you can pay as little as $3.95 each month. Some great options are GoDaddy, WordPress.org, and Squarespace. With Squarespace, you pay a monthly fee that includes your hosting, so you don’t have to calculate it every month!
Your blog will rank in search results much better than with a free plan.
Customization is a breeze—you can design your site exactly the way you want it for your audience!
More options will be available to you make income through products, ads, and sponsorships.
At the end of the day, you’re the one in control of your content!
Choosing Your Theme
When setting up your blog, you’ll need to decide on a theme! Your theme is what controls the way your blog looks. You can choose different page layouts, colors, fonts, and more! This will help you to determine the overall look and feel of your blog and brand.
Of course, there are both paid and free themes. If you’re new to blogging and are trying to save money, this can be an area to do so, at least until your blog is up and running! WordPress.com and Squarespace are both great platforms for free themes! However, if you want to have full control of the appearance of your blog, a paid theme is probably a good way to go! With WordPress.org, you can buy a template and then install it in your hosting plan. Here are some of the benefits of having a paid WordPress theme:
High quality design that will give your blog a professional feel
Updates for web changes
Security features for your site
Support from professionals
There are so many sources out there for WordPress themes, and one of our faves is BluChic! Whether you consider yourself to be tech-savvy or not, Bluchic is a great place to go to find the perfect theme. Typically, great themes range anywhere from $29 to $79. Bluchic even offers an installation service, where they will set up your site for you and all you have to do is start adding content!
Other Expenses to Consider
While choosing a host, domain, and theme are some of the most common expenses associated with starting a blog, there are others that might pop up along the way! Consider the following:
If making your blog visually appealing is a priority, you may want to invest in purchasing a camera, tripod, and other photography equipment. A great way to cut down costs in this department is to rent your camera lenses! However, if you don’t have the time or funds to take your own pictures, a great alternative can be signing up for a stock photography membership, like our Stock That Rocks membership! As a member, you can choose from a library of professional, practical, and functional photos to give your blog the look of your dreams! Plus, our photos are very minimal, so you can easily edit them to give them a personal feel.
While we’re on the topic of the visual elements of your blog, you will most likely want a logo and other designs for your blog. If you’re not a graphic designer or Photoshop queen, hiring a pro might be a necessity! However, if you’re looking to save here, there are plenty of ways to make a quick graphic yourself, even if you don’t have Photoshop! Ideally, you will want these elements to be prepared before buying your domain name and setting up your blog, as everything having to do with your brand will be based on this.
Knowledge is power, right? If you want to stay in-the-know when it comes to all things blogging, it’s wise to invest in your education. Here at Bloguettes, we offer all kinds of tools, such our webinars, workshops, tutorials, and our online classes (coming soon!). This way, you’ll be able to keep up with tech world trends and have a cutting-edge blog! 90% of bloggers tend to give up because they don’t see results right away or they become overwhelmed with the upkeep for their blog. For this reason, it’s so important to stay motivated and empower yourself with knowledge!
Last but not least, as you gain readers, you’ll want to keep them in the loop whenever you upload a new post! When designing your blog, be sure to give your visitors the option to “subscribe” by providing you with their email address. Then, you can use an email marketing provider like MailChimp to send out weekly or monthly newsletters!
In the end, launching a blog is all about your goals and how serious you are about it! While there are definitely costs that can be involved, there are also ways to save!
To help you get started, we’ve put together a Blogging on a Budget Worksheet that you can download for FREE! Customize it for your budget, print it out, and reference it throughout the year to stay on track!
Wanna learn how to take your blog from a hobby to a business? Sign up for our Nashville 3-Day Branding Workshop! You’ll learn all about the business of blogging, how to kill it on social media, and how to become a Photoshop pro! See you there!