When I first started blogging, it seemed like a big investment to me. I figured I had to register for a domain name and purchase a visually stunning WordPress to get anyone to read my blog. Then I would have to sign up for MailChimp and pay to have my Facebook posts boosted. I wanted to make the jump, but could I afford it?
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I scoured Pinterest for months beforehand, reading about how all these bloggers were making a ton of money, but it seemed like in order to get there, I was going to have to spend tons of money.
I was so, SO wrong!
It turns out there was only one thing I needed to purchase to get my blog going, and that was a domain name.
Setting Up a Domain Name
Nothing screams “rookie blogger” like a website that ends in blogger.com or wordpress.com. Purchasing a domain name makes your blog look sleek, official, and creates brand recognition – which, when it boils down to it, is one of the building blocks of a successful blog that gets lots of traffic.
After reading many MANY reviews online, I decided to go with SiteGround as my host provider. The reason I chose them was their highly rated customer support. If I can email or do an online chat as opposed to a phone call if I have a problem, I am all over that. When I was signing up, I DID have a small hiccup, and I was able to get the matter resolved in less than 10 minutes. It was all through chat, and the customer service rep was so knowledgable and friendly! It was so simple and easy. They have highly rated speeds, and very few server crashes, so I decided to dive right in and get started.
It’s Quick and Easy
Nervously, I submitted my payment info, and there it was – my own site! SiteGround also helped me get set up with a free WordPress account, seamlessly integrated into my SiteGround account, and later than night, I had a blog up and running! In fact, I had my first post up and running less than an hour after I signed up!
That’s right, for less than a caramel macchiato a day, you can have your own website!
If you are new to the blogging scene and you’re scared that you might be too overwhelmed, trust me when I say that a domain name is all you need to get started. No need to dump hundreds of dollars in to a hobby you’re not sure you’ll enjoy right away!
Do I Need To Purchase a Theme?
First off, WordPress has plenty of beautiful, FREE themes to get you started. Eventually I invested in a professional, premium theme, but starting off, the free themes were just fine. Widgets and plugins make it extremely easy to customize your blog, making it personal to YOU. When you’re just starting off, you want your blog to look eye catching, but this can easily be achieved by playing around with themes and making sure you put effort in to it to make it unique. When you’ve got a strong following, you can upgrade to a pro theme that has all the bells and whistles you need to run a business – but if you’re just getting started, and have only a few pages or posts, there’s no need to dump money in to your layout JUST yet.
But What About Pinterest?
You’ve probably heard by now that Pinterest is the absolute KEY to getting traffic. You’ve probably also heard of Tailwind, which is a Pinterest planner and also a way to connect with fellow bloggers. These bloggers can then repin your pins and drive traffic to your blog. I’ve been using this tool for just a short amount of time, and I’ve already gotten TONS of clicks on my pins – something I didn’t even think possible last month! Before Tailwind, I had ZERO exposure to my blog via Pinterest – now, with the help of Tailwind and Tailwind “Tribes” (groups of fellow minded bloggers in your niche) my potential exposure has gone up into the THOUSANDS!
Best Part? It’s FREE to start!
Tailwind also requires ZERO dollars to get started. You get your first 100 pins free – which, using the scheduler tool, translates out to a few pins a day. So you essentially get an entire month of scheduling pinning for free when you’re first starting up. It also determines WHEN you should be posting pins to hit the highest number of readers. Finally, get access to 5 tribes for free, which is the REAL game changer when it comes to bringing traffic to your blog.
See? Yet another tool to help grow your blog, with ZERO investment needed up front!
Facebook Is Your Friend
Finally, you should create a Facebook page to get your site exposure. Promote your page ON your personal Facebook, and invite everyone you know to like it. You should also be joining Facebook groups dedicated to blogging in your specific niche. For example, I am a member of a few Disney blogging communities, where we can geek out over the parks and share our posts with each other to help drive our traffic up. General blogging groups can also help you promote, but be careful with these groups. They often accept all blogs, which can make it hard to get lasting readers interested in your content.
I was super worried I wouldn’t be able to break in to my desired niche. That wasn’t true at all! Bloggers want to help other bloggers, and if you put in the time and effort to get to know other bloggers, you can get traffic to your blog and have others advertise your blog to their Facebook friends and so on. Eventually, you’ll be getting more clicks than you ever dreamed of!
I also stumbled upon a nifty little course called Pinterest Primer from Moms Make Cents. This course is a 5 Day direct-to-your-email class that walks you through the steps to make your Pinterest profile stand out in a crowd. I learned SO much from this course and it really helped me step up my Pinterest game! My monthly engaged viewers went up by THOUSANDS – yes, you read that right, THOUSANDS – after I completed this course! If you want to check it out, click this link here and see what Pinterest Primer is all about. Best of all? It’s TOTALLY free.
As I said earlier – eventually, you WILL need to invest a bit if you want to make your blog a viable business. However, it’s never a good idea to jump in to something blindly, investing hundreds of dollars on a site that you might lose interest in within a few months. This is a great way to just test the waters and learn what you’re doing while building a base. Once you upgrade your site and start polishing it up, those readers you gained during this time will hopefully stick by you and become your loyal fanbase.
When you’re ready to take blogging serious, be sure to bookmark my Blogging Resources page to have this list of blogging products right at your fingertips!
Don’t let fear keep you from starting your blog – jump on in!
Questions? Other helpful tips for bloggers on how to save money when starting up your site? Feel free to comment below!