One of the things I hate most about the blogging world is watching bloggers take advantage of other bloggers, especially new bloggers. There are so many successful bloggers out there telling you that the only way to succeed is to pay for tons of expensive services, buy their blogging success course, and sign up for pricey yearly memberships. That just isn’t true!
Any business requires some kind of investment to start up. If you have the financial means to do so, and you are positive your blog can turn a profit, then by all means, start shelling out. But if it’s your first time blogging, or your spending power is limited, you can still build a successful business!
Read also: Why you need a blog budget
When starting this blog, the only thing I paid for was my domain name. I paid $8.99. That was my entire startup cost. You can startup for cheap to! Here are eight things that you don’t need to pay for when you start your blog!
Hosting is the backbone of any blog. So many bloggers make money by recommending blue host, but my personal experience with blue host is okay at best. When starting this blog, my husband had just lost his job and my goal was to spend zero dollars. But I couldn’t find a way around buying hosting!
At first it seemed like we were out of luck, but then my husband struck gold. We found someone who offered free hosting! It doesn’t come with any extras, but it was enough to get my site off the ground.
Once your blog is generating more traffic, you will need to upgrade to higher-quality hosting. Hopefully, you will be making money by then, so you can reinvest your profits to pay for your hosting.
2. Tailwind or other scheduling services
The best explanation here is, what to you have more of? Time, or money?
If you have money to blow, then by all means, pay for tailwind. Otherwise, wait until you are earning money.
I do recommend looking into a scheduling services when your blog starts to grow. If you are making money, this is one of the first things you are going to want to invest in.
3. A virtual assistant
Do VA’s make your life easier? Yes. Do they do anything you can’t do yourself? Absolutely not. Anything you hire a virtual assistant to do, you can learn to do yourself. It will take way more time, but learning those valuable skills will help you way more in the long-run than hiring out the “hard” work will.
If you know what strategies get the best interaction on Instagram, you will know when your VA is or isn’t doing a good job. Having a working knowledge of how things work is pivotal to managing your site if/when you start outsourcing work.
4. Blogging classes
There are blogging classes out there that will teach you valuable skills. If you make money of your blog, it’s a great idea to use some of your earnings take a highly recommended course that will help you grow your site.
When you’re first starting out though, you can find so much information for free, it just doesn’t make sense to pay for a class, download, or e-course.
When you get to a point where you really can’t find what you need for free, then it may be time to pay for a course.
5. WordPress plugins
Again, you can find free alternatives for almost anything you need.
Just like with the hosting, once your site traffic gets bigger, you may find yourself outgrowing the capabilities of the free plugins available to you. For starting out, however, free plugins work just fine.
6. A P.O. Box
Unless you are an existing business who actually uses the mail system, it makes no sense to get a P.O. Box. There aren’t many reasons why a blog needs a mailing address at all, so your personal address isn’t even at risk unless you start listing online for fun (which you should not do).
7. Mail list services
Mail lists are (supposedly) the bread and butter of blogging. I hate spammy emails with a fiery passion and have not yet started my own mailing list so don’t take my word for it.
If you really want to start a mailing list, you should! But don’t pay for it unless you can pay it out of your blog profit. Use a free service, like mailchimp.
8. Guest posts
If you really want someone to write on your blog, offer a post swap! When your blog is brand new, you really want to be creating your own content and branding anyway, so save the guest posts for further down the line.
In the mean time, it does make sense for you to guest post on other blogs! Getting your writing out there is a great way to grow your exposure.
Change your mindset (and your label)
A successful blogger is an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs want to keep profit margins big and investment costs low.
For blogging, that means only paying for what you have to so that your biggest investment is your time alone.
Don’t think of yourself as just a blogger, thing of yourself as a business woman. Your blog isn’t just a blog, it’s a website. It’s a business. It’s a brand.
Once you realize that, you can go beyond simply blogging and start growing your business.