Have you ever looked at a blog and thought, “Wow, this blog is beautiful and has its stuff together. It’s pristine”? And then immediately thought, “Wow, I wonder how much it cost to build this blog and keep it this way”?
I have, and I think those two things almost every day. How do those people blog on a budget and do it so well?
The good news is, you can blog on a budget and still get a lot in return.
Blogging requires a lot of time, work and resources. Sometimes it looks like an expensive venture, and it certainly can be. But blogging doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ve been doing it for more than five years, anyway, without breaking the bank.
Even if you’re trying to stay on a budget, there are a couple of things that are worth spending money on and getting a good value.
Buy Your Domain
I blogged on a “blogspot” site for almost three years, and let me tell you I was so happy when I switched and bought my domain. Owning my domain means I own my site; all the content on it is mine (thanks, WordPress). Even if you buy your domain on Google, technically Google still “owns” your content. With my domain through WordPress, my blog is mine and only mine.
As far as hosting services go, there are several great options:
These are some of the most popular hosting sites, and the ones I hear the best feedback about. They’re all very conducive to keeping your blog on a budget.
A Solid Theme/Design
There’s a lot you can do with a free template or theme, but more often than not, buying a well-made framework or theme is well worth it. My blog is on the Genesis framework (through StudioPress) and it’s been great so far. Admittedly I only use the “child theme” that came with the framework; I’m in the market for an actual Genesis theme. Any recommendations, send them my way!You don't have to spend a ton of money on your blog! Here are some tips for blogging on a budget. Click To Tweet
Other sites with great WordPress theme options:
Once you’ve got those two items nailed down, many of your other blogging resources can be found online for free. Or, you may already have some of these things at home, and in that case, even better. Free is always helpful when you blog on a budget.
Photo & Image Editing
Photoshop and Lightroom are fabulous, but aren’t exactly budget friendly. A monthly plan for a single Adobe program is $20/month! I’m a huge believer in Picmonkey and Canva. Both of those provide everything I need to make my blog photos look nice. You can get a paid version of each, but the basic offerings are all I need.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Photoshop (the entire Adobe Creative Suite, if I’m being honest) and I’ve used it many times. But when you’re blogging on a budget, $20 a month can add up really quick!
While I always recommend taking your own photos, sometimes your post or content just calls for a stock photo instead. There are plenty of sites where you can find great free stock photography:
Check out these posts for more stock photo resources:
Social Media Scheduling
I swear by Buffer; it’s super streamlined and user-friendly, and you can link all of your social media pages to your account. My only gripe with Buffer is that, while you can link your Instagram account, it still doesn’t automatically publish to Instagram, like it does for Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. Aside from that, Buffer is my blogging lifesaver.How to blog on a budget Click To Tweet
Hootsuite is also fantastic. Both scheduling tools have paid plans, which may be good choices if you’re producing and managing a ton of content. But the basic “free” plans are completely sufficient. Additionally, Tailwind is a popular (paid) choice for managing and scheduling content for Pinterest and Instagram.
Props for Photos
What’s a blog post without some pretty photos? I use a lot of items around my apartment as props for my photos: pens, journals, coffee mugs and books are some of my go-to photo props. Flowers also make great photo backdrops and accents, as does glitter, sequins and confetti. The $1 bins at Target are great spots to look for cheap but cute photo accents. For backgrounds, I use my favorite blankets, my bare coffee table or a blank wall.
Pro tip: take your own stock photos! I try to freshen up my own little “photo library” every few months with some new basic shots I can use for just about any kind of post. With your own props and backgrounds, you can create whatever kinds of photos you need and not have to scour other sites to find exactly what you have in mind.
And lastly, because I feel like giving some of my favorite blogs some love, here are some that I think do a GREAT job, all the way around:
- Helene In Between
- Coming Up Roses
- It Starts with Coffee
- Seersucker Sass
- Hello, Her
- The Fashionable Foodie
- Eat Drink Frolic
- Allie Explores
- Love Bailey Jean
Eventually, your blog will get to a point that you want to invest in some better tools, a new design, a better camera, a different scheduling tool or what have you. And that’s perfectly okay and you should invest in your blog when you feel comfortable and ready to do so. But it may not be an immediate investment, so knowing how to blog on a budget until you’re ready is an important step in the process.
What are your favorite tips for how to blog on a budget?