How To Start A Blog On A Budget
Foundational Blogger Series Part 1
Starting a blog is easy. All you need is a platform, a name, and some words... but what if you want to add a professional twist to the equation. Well that comes with some expenses "or so say the internet" Get convert kit, get instantpage, get a buffer for business, get this and get that...but hold up... You can't bare that expense right now because you see.."You want to be a budget blogger who means business".. No worries. In this series of foundational tips on creating a blog from scratch with nothing but a piggyback and spared monthly change, your dreams of setting yourself apart on the www is closer than you think. Today we will cover "SETTING THE STAGE", getting everything you will need in sequence and strategy.
YOUR BLOG NAME!!
I created a survey which I circulated across the www's social platforms, asking my fellow ultra newbie bloggers what their biggest challenges were. Well, there seems to be an equal share of starting a blog, choosing a name, finding time, and marketing amongst the many responses. Who knew.. well, I did as you see when I first started there was so much I was oblivious too including those. Until one year ago I really decided to be more "professional" and structured with my blogging endeavours. And when I chose that path, I knew that the name I picked should be something I will not regret, as I would be sending the majority of my "out of the 9-5" time building a brand around it. Success.. as small is they may come.. but I think that picking the perfect name for your blog makes you stand out. How? Well there are couple of ways to do so
- Use a random blog name generator
- Use random words
- Use a thesaurus
- Use your own name
- Use books as inspiration "one of my fav techniques when consulting with new bloggers
Selecting your blog name should belike setting it in stone.. but sometimes, you may need to play around with is a bit before you come up with something that rolls off the tongue like Nothing But Velvet....
After picking your name, if you would like to seal the deal.. purchase your domain name using a service provided from Godaddy, Namecheap , Hostgator & the many more other options starting at 2.99 onwards... which you would have to renew annually, or sell if you decide to change direction. Currently, I use GoDaddy for both my sites.
Well, this is definitely one area I struggles with A LOT. If you were to visit a few top,mid and new blogger platforms you might notice that majority of them tend to talk about everything under the sun from Beauty to Travel.. not that this is an entirely terrible thing, but as a starter selecting 1 or 2 niches to focus on can save you plenty of burn-out periods.Been there, Not fun. But how do you narrow down your blog focus when you are passionate about sooo many things. Well for starters,
- Get out your pen and pad and start writing down a few blog post ideas for a week. This will not give you somewhat of an editorial calendar to prepare your launch with, but it will give you a somewhat solid base of what you naturally gravitate towards. Example myself.. I LOVEEEE spending time filling up my Pinterest boards with interior design & travel destinations.. but is that something I will enjoy blogging about... ehh not really.
- Using inspiration from bloggers you love. Naturally, there are certain blogs we love reading. Why? It's because we have a keen interest in their topics of choice. I love beauty..but for the life of me I cannot watch or read past one beauty related blog post per month... Love the content you absorb, try to come up with blog post titles based on that inspiration
Oh & at the end of the day.if you are truly passionate about it.. the words will flow like hot rice out of your mouth... " a gruesome image I know...". And when you have chosen your niche, write down your labels or "categories".
DOWNLOAD THE CHECKLIST FOR YOUR ADULT HOMEWORK!!------------------------->>>>> CLICK IT!!
Well up until now you haven't spent a cent on starting your blog launch process, but now comes change.. but don't worry. it's a good change. Before you invest you should probably ask yourself are you really ready to start this journey..My 5 things to know before you start blogging post will help you finalise your answer before you take out your credit cards or PayPal account login info.
I am sure that you are very aware of the many platform choices to launching your blog. And since we're focused on budget blogging I will start with Blogger.. I know.. It's dead but NOT REALLy. I think that blogger is the perfect place for someone who wants to start a blog on literally zero dollars.. ZILCHHH .. All you need is your name, a Gmail account and a free theme for now, or a $5 theme if you got some of that spare change to invest....Take a look at these blogs I built. Nothing But Velvet, Melanin Obsession. Sleek and clean & they each cost me & the owners $5.usd... But how..
Blogger is a free google powered platform, perfect for ultra beginner bloggers who aren't ready to go full on business with their blogs. It is filled with guides to help you get started, forums, blogger communities to engage in on google+ & gives you the option to use their built in simple themes, BUT if you are looking for a more minimalist, modern, site like feel to it the power of themes makes a whole lot of difference. And they come in both paid & free version. As a budget blogger, I would suggest using a free theme first to figure out if it really suits your palette, and then purchase a more responsive, professionally created theme as you grow. The thing about free things though is that they have a few restrictions which are expected, but you do not want to invest a ton of money into something you are unsure of. True Story... when I wanted to go premium, I spent 50.00 on a theme for this business blog "when it was still on blogger". guess what I HATED IT!! and I kicked myself not because I hated it, but because of the currency conversion rate I suffered. I could have bought shoes with that... But at the end of the day, it did teach me the valuable lesson I am now sharing with you...shop around first!! Tips
- Take a look at sites you love and see if the layout is something you will love using fir your own. Do you want a slider? do you want full page, magazine style do you want a sidebar? etc etc..I played out with probably 10 themes before I finally made my final pick & I love it.
- Shop Etsy. There are quite a few talented web developers sharing their themes on Etsy at budget prices "starting at $5 upwards". And each of them gives you a live demo to their product. Make great use of that. The live demo is set to give you an idea of what your blog will look like if you were to purchase that theme.. so again, shop around, Before you press buy,,, be 100% sure of your pick.
- Depending on which supplier you purchase your theme from, your package may or may not come with free installation. If it's free definitely don't expect that to be added, if it's paid you are most likely to get support..The one thing you don't want to do is spend hours trying to figure out what to do, when you are just starting, especially if you don't have the time.. because it can be frustrating.
Of course, bearing in mind that you are creating a branded type of blog, pay attention to colors ,responsiveness, and ability to customise themes to suit your personality & brand.
On the other hand, Squarespace requires a bit more of an investment, so if it's something you can afford let say a monthly budget of $18usd, then it's a perfect fit. With already built in themes, easy customisations in terms of styling your fonts, colors, layout etc. Squarespace if suitable for any blogger ready to launch a more "business feel" type of blog in site form. But of course if you're a regular blogger, it's also for you, so don't rule the option out.
Good news - you can create one this very instant with a 7 day free trial, which you can then ask for an extension of an additional 3 days. My advice for using Squarespace is that if you are not ready to make the monthly commitment to it, don't use it. YET, as your site will be made inactive come collection day, after which deactivated after 30 days. Who wants to waste all that work...
Another great plus is that the support system is super effective. The support system is amazing as it walks you through every single process with pictorial guides.. how cool is that.
Since this is a foundational series, we will be taking it step by step, so today we have Blogger Homework. Now that you have consolidated all that information into summary form, comes action.
- Come up with a blog name and a domain name
- Come up with 10 blog posts ideas in 3 areas you are passionate about and then pick you focus niche from that
- If you decide to use the blogger powered blog - create a gmail account and then create a basic blogger blog using This How To Start A Blogger Blog Video
- If you decide towards Squarespace, use this tutorial on how to start a squarespace blog. .
No pressure though, you don't have to complete all of these in one sitting, but having a strategy sur helps. Start with the blog name & blog posts topics first & work your way up to the other sections. In part 2 of the foundational series, we will focus on setting up your layout for your new blog, creating pages, and the structure to use for publishing your first post. P.S. Comment below with your new blog links, so that I can check out what names you came up with & how your progress goes... See you next post.