A beginner blogger’s lifeline is their budget – 90% of us are NOT millionaires before starting a blog. Surprising? I doubt it. I was on a tight budget when I started The Comma Mama Co., and I STILL spent $500+ (I did NOT know what I was doing). But did you know that you can start a blog for less than $100?
Before you get on me, yes, I am talking about a self-hosted blog. Now, we will create substitutions where we can – but it’s just to save a lil’ money.
Here are my secrets:
If you’ve already fallen down the blogger rabbit hole, you’d know that you need a hosting service. Sadly, the cheapest way to pay for a service is by paying for a year or two in advance, which is not budget friendly when you have to pay the $2.95 for 36 months upfront ($106.20 btw).
Luckily, I’ve discovered two hosting services that allow you to pay monthly, keeping your start-up budget intact.
Siteground is a great long-term option that allows you to pay monthly or yearly. With an abundance of add-ons and features, it’s definitely one of the top choices. Siteground is going to run you about $19.99 per month.
Lyrical Host is going to be the cheapest option, costing you $9.99 per month. While it offers more options, it DOESN’T have the background that Siteground has.
*I will be basing this budget on Lyrical Host, so take into consideration that using Siteground will add $10 to your start-up cost. Also, you can get an additional 10% off your first Lyrical Host plan payment by using the code COMMAMAMA10!
Both systems will help you get started with setting up your website on WordPress, which is what I suggest using for your blog.
There are tons of FREE themes, but I don’t recommend them! You want to be unique and stand out! How do you do that?
Buy a theme!
You don’t have to shop through WordPress; there are thousands of themes out in the world. You can shop through Creative Market, Etsy, or even find one on Pinterest!
A paid blog theme can range anywhere from $15 to $65 depending on what features it offers (aka blog & shop, minimalist style, full blogger, blog & portfolio, etc.). For our budgeting purposes, we’ll use this Light Theme for Bloggers for $15.
Not gonna lie, this is where you can choose to spend or save – either way, you’ll need to establish a brand. A brand is what people will recognize as your blog or ‘you.’ (btw, I’m working with the assumption that you’ve already decided on a blog name)
Personally, I hired a professional to do this for me – brand specialist Camille from Souliere Design. Mood Board below for inspo:
You have three options, you can:
Doing it yourself will be the most affordable but time-consuming. The only thing I recommend you get is Canva Pro ($12.95 per month, what I’ll use for this budget example) so that you’ll have access to all their design elements.
Purchasing a kit or premade logo can vary in price. My personal favorites are these Floral Logo Templates for $22 – you’re not going generic, but you’re also paying more.
Hiring a brand designer will cost the most but will offer the best return. You’ll have a logo customized to you and a color palette to use for your socials, website, and future graphics. Trust me, if you’re looking to make your blog your main source of income, it’s sooo worth it.
*If you’re interested in a full branding package, Souliere Design is offering 20% off her “Glow Up” package – just mention CommaMamaCo when ordering!
Don’t take the magical powers of email marketing for granted! Email marketing is a necessity for bloggers – it’s what delivers your freebies, blog updates, and offers!
It’s the way you develop an audience that is focused on YOUR CONTENT! And it is a reminder for viewers to come back and read more!
Obviously, I’m going to suggest you invest when it comes to email marketing. There are tons of free email services that you can use, but I’m going to suggest a paid one. Why?
Free versions are EXTREMELY limiting. They restrict your workflows (no welcome sequence) and freebie delivery, limit subscribers, and more. Plus, most options that start out free will make you pay more and more as your subscriber list grows.
On your blogging journey, you may have noticed that there are a few tools and resources that you’ll need (or at least appreciate), such as:
There are so many things that go into creating a successful blog, and the fact that you get what you need and start for less than $100 is crazy!
I’ll go ahead and let you know now, the MAIN REASON this is possible is thanks to a membership called She’s Blogging. She’s Blogging is a $35 monthly membership that takes you step-by-step through creating, marketing, and writing your blog. How does this help you?
It comes with social media templates, outreach templates, how-to guides, exclusive deals, and FREE stock photos! *She’s Blogging is included in this start-up budget!
You can join She’s Blogging here.
I’m going to make your life a lil’ easier and introduce you to blogging tools that I didn’t even know existed until almost HALFWAY through my blogging journey:
Blog Planner: Download this FREE blog planner to keep up with your content, marketing, and more!
Tailwind: Tailwind is essentially a ‘Pinterest Planner’ that allows you to make the most of your Pinterest marketing. You can schedule your pins in advance and link your posts and pages! It takes out 90% of the time needed to successfully use the platform for only $9.99 per month. (Trust me, you NEED it.)
Tailwind Smart.bio: You know how you’re limited to one link on your Instagram account? Well, Tailwind’s Smart.bio introduces an easy way to add multiple links to your one spot! The best part? It’s FREE!
Trello: Everything I do is planned through Trello: my blog posts, my social media posts, my daily tasks – everything!
Dubsado: If you’re looking to offer services through your blog I recommend you use Dubsado. Dubsado can send and track invoices, contracts, proposals, leads, and everything else under the sun. And guess what? It’s FREE for up to 3 clients!
Grammarly: There is this handy-dandy tool called Grammarly that basically goes behind you and checks your punctuation, grammar, and spelling – ALL FOR FREE. Of course, there is a paid version, but if you’re looking for something more detailed hire an editor or proofreader like Red Ink & Bylines.
Blog like a Boss with the Ultimate Blog Planner
Become a blogging boss with a free post planner, blog checklist, marketing planner + checklist!
This whole post is about blogging on a budget, which I didn’t actually do (but definitely wish I did). So, why did I pay $500+ for my site?
Mostly, I didn’t know anything about the technical side of having a website. I don’t know code, I didn’t know hosting, and most importantly, I didn’t know my options.
Instead of researching and dedicating the time, I hired out. I hired a wonderful web designer and brand strategist and ended up with a website that I’m extremely passionate about! That’s the end goal: to have a blog and website that you love and are passionate about.