If you started your blog as a side hustle, then it shouldn’t be consuming your income. Because a side hustle is meant to give you extra income. I have been blogging for two years now and I am doing it cheap. In cheap ways to run a blog on a very low budget. You will learn how to be frugal about blogging too.
However, if you started your blog as a business or as part of your business and you have a lot of money to put into it. Then maybe this post is not for you. But come to think of it, won’t saving some extra box help you out in your business?
You don’t have to answer me just read on
Cheap way to Hosting
Every very successful blog out there is self-hosted. When it comes to hosting I am not going to tell you free hosting is the best, however, I’ll tell you how to go about hosting your blog that will save you money.
As you can see my blog is not free hosted and it’s about the only thing I spend money on. It doesn’t cost me much either and I’ll tell you how.
The secret to spending less on hosting plans
Is by hosting for more months. This simply means that hosting for 12 months which is a year is cheaper than hosting monthly. Hosting for 24 months( 2 years) is cheaper than hosting for 12 months and hosting for 36 months( 3 years) is way cheaper than hosting for 24 months.
This is how it works and it is done by every hosting company I know. These companies give more discount for more months when you are buying a plan. If for instance hosting monthly with them is $4, when you decide to go for a 1-year plan which is 12 months. You can get a dollar discount making it $3 every month. If you would be going for a 3 years plan, 36 months you could get up to two dollars or more for a discount. So you would be paying $2 every month.
Why you should choose at least a 12 months plan and more
- Blogging doesn’t always make you money as fast as it’s portrayed. So by the time you have paid for 3 years of hosting plan. That expenditure is out of the way for 36 months and you can take your time and grow your blog without worrying about paying for hosting anytime soon.
- A lot of benefits comes with paying for more months with any company. You enjoy a lot of benefits. Like how I got a free domain name for one of my blogs because I paid for a 1-year plan (12 months).
- Hosting monthly is risky, if you don’t pay on time your blog can be taken off the web. And that’s bad for business.
Here are some few hosting companies I know gives very good offers and discounts. If you make any purchase Yes I will get a commission but at no extra cost to you. Hey! but are you concern about what I will be making or what you would be benefiting?
If you really want to start a blog, Hosting is the first step. So I created an e-book to put you through it. Get my free e-book HERE. Also getting the book means you get added to my mail list. Which means you would be getting awesome updates on how to spend less on your blog.
Cheap ways of getting good graphics
Having good Images on your blog is as important as the quality of your writing. Your Images are the perfect way of getting you the attention you need on social media.
If you came across this post on Pinterest or Instagram or Twitter or Facebook. Then it was the image that attracted you. It might not be the best or finest but it got you clicking on it. Now I have to share this with you
The characteristics of a good blog post image
Be it a blog banner, or a Pinterest image or a squared social media image, for Instagram and Facebook. It should have the following;
- Bold writings: Your fonts size don’t have to be huge but bold enough to be seen clearly. whether on a phone or a computer
- Good fonts: There are so many fonts types or styles to pick from. However, choose the ones with an easy to understand alphabets. I struggle with this all the time
- Good background Image: If possible let your background Image have a similar message in your text. I know getting good stock photos comes with a cost. I will soon tell you how I go about it.
- Your colour matters too, as they can affect how clear or dull your image can be.
- A clear message: Or better said straight to the point text. You remember your English classwork, which you were asked to summarize a paragraph in one sentence? Well, this time you get to summarize your 2000 words blog post in not more than two sentences. Just be straight to the point.
Make your Image a whole package. where a reader would click to read your content.
You can get affordable Images the way I do
When I started my blog I knew creating good images will need some good money. But I had no good money LOL! so I decided to browse where I could get free stock photos. Then I came across this blog that gave me 10 free beautiful stock photos for subscribing to their email list.
But we all don’t get so lucky to bump into such offers. However there is a way.
As clearly stated from the beginning this post is to help you blog a frugal way. I will try my best and show you how.
I get free amazing photos from Pixel. You can download them and use them without watermarks.
The picture below was created on my phone with a free app and that’s why it looks like crap. But guess what? People still clicked on it because it will show them how to blog cheap.
I use Canva a phone app to create my images for social media and my blog too.
Stencil has a free plan but you get to create only 10 Images every month and that’s really small. However as a new blogger, still finding his/her way and investing less on a side hustle. This is perfect for you.
But get this stencil is very affordable, except if you wanna be a cheapskate.
The other day I asked a friend of mine who is a photographer for some stock photos. For free for sure. Call me cheap I don’t care but I got free photos by asking.
My point is to try every idea that comes to your mind. I just thought of it and I asked. There is never one specific way to get things done.
SEO the cheap way
I won’t be telling you some crazy amazing SEO trick because I don’t know too many. Just the simple one I know and some few helpful tips.
Yoast SEO is what I use for SEO on my blog. It allows you put in key phrases that could make your post popup when that key-phrase is searched for.
So I just installed the plugin and that was all. Yes, just the plugin. Oh! Did I forget to mention plugins? Well, they Can get everything done for you on your blog. From technical to the simple things you just can’t figure out.
There are places you could check for what’s trending and the keywords to use to help your blog rank on a search engine. Such as;
Do you know what a Search Engine is?
You know Google right? With others like Bing and Yahoo? They are examples of search engines. Therefore a search engine is simply where people type in words or sentences to find contents, answers, products and services. Might not be the best definition you’ve heard but I’m sure you understand what a search engine is.
Cheap ways to get blog traffic
When it comes to generating traffic to your blog there are more than one ways to do so. But we are looking for cheap ways, right? So anything paid is out of our list.
My number one on this list is Social Media. Your post can literally go viral with just one share. So all you need to do is create contents that are share-worthy.
SEO which means Search Engine Optimization is another perfect way. But it kinda needs a lot of work. This means you getting traffic from search engines. Like, imagine your content coming up as number one out of 200000 results on Google. That must be one great, top of the chat content.
The above could be possible with the right keywords or trending topics as I have talked about
Guest blogging is a good way. Either you are the guest on the blog or someone is the guest on your blog. However, make sure you are inviting influential bloggers to contribute to your blog.
Info graphics are good for traffic too. Use them when necessary.
Update old post if you have been blogging for a while and share them again.
Social media is a free and affordable tool to use
When I say free and affordable I mean it. I will tell you simple ways to make all the popular social media gain you traffic. I will start with Pinterest because that’s where I get 50% of my traffic so far.
Is the social media for bloggers. You probably came across this post there but if no. How about you quickly open an account here before we proceed.
How to get good results on Pinterest
- Pin regularly. I read this somewhere, that one should pin at least 5 pins every day on Pinterest. Yes, I agree, pining often gets me more viewers, engagement and most importantly followers. Pinterest needs you to be active in it.
- Pin quality photos. Pinterest is not like other social media where you get to write long captions with hashtags for people to read. Your Images are what speaks for you. The kinda photos you pin determines the type of followers you get. And the images must be Vertical and long. Stencil allows you to choose canvas sizes that are perfect for Pinterest.
- Join as many group boards as you can. Group boards have a lot of members in it and have rules. One of the rules is that you must pin another pin when you post your pin. My English is failing me on how to explain this but when you find one, read the rules and understand. This rule is what gets your post a lot of impressions, saves and clicks.
Follow me on Pinterest here, send me a message to add you on all the group boards I’m in. This is a favour no one does, so you better take it.
Firstly, make sure your blogs URL is on your Instagram bio. Because that’s where you will direct your audience to click and read your new post. The link at the bio must be of the page where all your latest post shows on your blog.
Instagram loves quality pictures. Therefore, make sure you are uploading quality photos.
When I opened an Instagram account for this blog. I thought following bloggers alike will get me my right audience it doesn’t really work like that.
Hashtags do that. I just try to use as many related hashtags to the topic and that’s all. The best thing about hashtags is that it gains you more followers.
Use your Instagram stories too. It’s a tool no one says much about.
The secret ingredient in this entire post is my sincerity. When I could be making money by telling you all the good stuff you could buy to make your blog awesome I am here telling you how to spend nothing on your blog.
Therefore with all sincerity, I will tell you I don’t use twitter much. Since my niche for this blog is personal finance which is the reason why I’m showing you how to spend less on your blog as a side hustle, not social media management. I only know a little about Twitter.
And that is the use of hashtags. Hashtag is more popular with twitter.
The only reason I don’t use twitter much is that I don’t get fast results like other social media. But others have mastered it so well, it’s their number one source of traffic.
Facebook is where friends and family get to read your content LOL! Just kidding.
You can create a page for your blog and invite people to it. But you are looking for audience who are interested in your niche right? Not friends who want to read just for support sake. So invite people through your blog to be a part of the group.
Their friends would most likely see it as a suggested page and join. Then you grow.
Or you can join groups for bloggers. Here is a list of 12 Facebook groups for bloggers to boost traffic. Just so you know, Facebook gets me some good traffic too.
Plugins help you safe money too
Plugins are stress relief, this should have being the subheading.
They help with social media, SEO, affiliate marketing, inserting HTML codes, Image, cookies, spam e.t.c.
I can create an image for this post directly with the new stencil plugin. If you want to make creating your content easier then read how to install and use Stencil on your blog here
There are plugins that will automatically upload your post to any social media of your choice once you hit publish.
I once cracked my brain on how to insert an HTML code to get Pinterest and Google analytics to work well on my blog. Then I did some search and realized there is a plugin that could do that for me. A miracle was for me.
The best Anti-spam services are paid, but let’s not forget we’ve cancelled anything paid on our list today. However, there are plugins that do a really good job. I use free anti-spam and it has being good so far.
Cheap ways to email marketing
Speaking of the truth I almost forgot to write how important email marketing is and why it’s important for you to know how to start it without spending money.
As a new blogger, you need an email list. I’m sure you have seen lots of content emphasizing on its importance. However, the best email marketing service providers are not so cheap.
But you can start cheap till when you can start paying for it.
Growing an email list is not a days job. You need a strategy on how to get them and how to keep them. I am not here to tell you how to get them but how to start on a low key until you start making money from the little list you have to pay for a bigger list.
There are companies that allow you to have a maximum of 2000 subscribers and 12000 emails. However, you hope to grow bigger than just 2000 subscribers right?
You have to start somewhere though and before you could grow to 2000 subscribers I believe you must have started making some money with your list then you can start paying for more subscribers.
As I told you from the beginning blogging is not a make money fast scheme. On the good side, it’s a source for passive income because when the money starts coming it doesn’t stop. Even while you sleep you are making money. However, you need an email service provider to achieve that.
Here are the email service providers I use that allows you to start free without even putting in credit card details.
There are more of them but as I mention you can use this two without putting in credit card details. so you feel it’s really free.
That’s about all when it comes to cheap ways of running your blog. However, if you feel there is an area I didn’t touch and it’s important to blogging. Do leave a comment with your questions and I will tell you how to be frugal about it too.