5 Thrifty Ways to Start a Blog

It's been quite some time since the last time I published an organic post in this blog. And this time, I want to share some blogging tips to help you get started. I'm a thrifty blogger, so the cheap ways to start a blog are more like my jam to share today!

In case you didn't know, I've been blogging for as long as I remember. I had my first blog when I was around 13 (or 14?!); at the time I used Livejournal to share my random cringey teenage stories. And then I transitioned to Blogspot long before Google bought the platform before settling with Tumblr in my early 20s.

Looking back, it was actually quite funny that the thing I do to make money today is actually the thing I've done for years, and it took me a while to realize that there was, in fact, a potential to monetize it in the first place. But well, one just has to learn, I suppose…

When I decided to take blogging seriously by purchasing my own domain in 2017, I never thought I'd come this far, but I'm glad I did. If I gotta be honest, blogging is the business I started in which I spent almost nothing to get started…

So, how can we start a blog in the cheapest way possible?

The Cheapest Ways to Start a Blog

I'm a cheapskate who wouldn't spend money if I didn't have to. That's the reason why it took me years until I actually invested something for my blog. For years, I was comfortable enough to just blog on the free version of Tumblr. My only reason was that I needed a platform to write my thoughts, but I didn't necessarily need to spend money on that since I wasn't sure how to make money out of my blog at the time.

Come to think of it, I think I lost my opportunities to become an authority in some content. Around 2010 and 2011, I got so many e-mails responding to my summer experience in Turkey. At the time, Turkey wasn't as popular for Indonesian travelers as a tourist destination compared to now.

But hey, better late than never, so I'm trying my best to give some quality content in this blog now that I have it.

coffee, notebook, and tablet.
Source: Burst.

Now, if you're thinking about starting a blog, but you're not sure whether you want to spend money on it, I totally understand that. I was there too. But trust me, starting a blog doesn't have to be expensive.

1. Find the best blogging platform to get started.

Before I finally started The BeauTraveler from scratch, I used Tumblr for how easy the platform was. I was blogging on Tumblr for 10++ years, and the only reason why I decided to start my blog from scratch was that my old blog was full of reblogging stuff that it's not 100% authentic. The other reason was also that I was in the mood to upgrade my skill to find out how to work things out on a new platform.

In the past, I've actually had some experiences working on other platforms just for the sake of my curiosity. Other than Tumblr, I had a chance to play around with Blogspot (long before Google purchased it), Weebly, Wix, and even Squarespace.

Based on my experience, Tumblr is probably the most simple platform if you want to start blogging and you think you're not that savvy on the tech side. Even if you think about monetizing your blog, Tumblr can still be a good option to use since I know my blogger friend Shi Hui from IReviewURead also has her blog on the platform. You just need to purchase a domain for your blog, set it up on your Tumblr site, and voila!

For me, I stick with WordPress because it's evolving from time to time, which kinda gives me a chance to upgrade my skills periodically. Sure, something blew me on my early days of blogging when I didn't know the difference between WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress. However, once I found a cheap hosting provider that I could afford, that's all I need. Now that I've learned it the hard way, I don't look back! 😉

a dog blogger.
Source: Burst.

2. Learn some basic SEO and implement it into your blog.

When I just started blogging, my face cringed a little whenever I heard the term like SEO or SEM… Like, what the fuck is that?

Even when I tried out some free courses related to blogging and SEO, my head spun because there were too many technical terms that made my brain kind of frozen. LOL.

So, what I did was just write whatever I want and just see if it works. My only take from all the courses was to find the best keywords that could possibly rank on the search engine. In the beginning, that's the only thing that I focused on because I couldn't bother to implement other things since I'm not super tech-savvy myself.

Slowly, I'm trying to learn some more and implement it into your blog. The thing that I want to highlight if you're a beginner when it comes to SEO is to write for your readers. Yes, adding specific keywords is important to get you on the first few pages of Google, but it won't matter if your writing doesn't give value to your readers.

It will only give you a higher bounce rate for your blog, and the chance is thick for your potential readers to never come back.

And then, I started looking at more information about SEO and some tools that we can use to make sure that we provide high-quality content for search engines. One of the things that I found out was that most SEO tools are super freaking expensive!

So far, I haven't found an SEO tool that is more affordable than Neil Patel's Ubersuggest. Apart from the affordability, I also love that they offer a lifetime subscription option for their service too.

Unlike some high-tech tools like Ahrefs or Moz, Ubersuggest only costs around $12 USD per month or $120 USD if you choose the lifetime plan for the service. I was initially subscribing for the monthly plan, until recently when I decided to discontinue the service since I barely used the tool as I rarely update my blog these days. Guess what happened next?

They didn't want me to go that they basically offered me the option to take the lifetime subscription for only $40 USD!

notebook and coffee.
Source: Burst.

3. Start creating some unique content.

The term “content is king” when it comes to blogging is quite legit. You won't be able to grow your blog without a quality content, so the best effort you could do to do it is by creating unique articles that can give solutions or value to your readers. 

Start your blog with 2-3 articles in the beginning, and try to be consistent about updating it. I totally understand that sometimes you simply don't have time to update your blog, especially when your schedule is swamped by your full-time job or other projects. That's why I started the $10 weekly feature so that I can still update a new blog post at least once a week, even when I don't have time to write a new article sometimes. 

I recently started investing in Grammarly Premium to check my grammar and writing before I publish a new article. But even if you don't have a budget to upgrade to the premium plan, the basic plan of Grammarly is still quite helpful. You also want to make sure that your content is free from plagiarism, which you can check via some platform like Originality or Copyscape

4. Network with some other fellow bloggers.

Networking is still important, even if what you do is ‘just' blogging. Especially when you want to take blogging a bit seriously.

Back to SEO, one of the things you can do to improve your blog's online visibility is through external links from other websites. While it is possible to get the link from another website without networking, you may also want to connect with other fellow bloggers to support each other.

Whether it is by link swaps, collaboration posts, or writing for their website… You can increase your website authority by networking with other bloggers. It's a win-win for each one of you! 😉

saving money.
Source: Burst.

5. Try out some ways to monetize it.

My blog isn't my main income, but I generate at least $100 per month through advertorial. I used to rent some ad space in my blog as well, which I charge annually.

There are plenty of options to monetize your blog, from sending a pitch to your potential sponsor, renting some ad space, to affiliate links. Not everything is everyone's cup of tea, but you can also try to find the most suitable one for you and your blog.

You need to understand if you want to start blogging for the cheap because it takes some time to grow and see the return of investment since it required your consistency as a blogger. It's not an easy money for sure, but there's a possibility to rely on your blog for some extra cash. Some even have it as their main income, so nothing is impossible, my friend! 😛

Now that you know how easy it is to start a blog in a thrifty way, what stops you from starting your own blog? Drop a comment below and cheerio! 😉

the cheapest way to start a blog

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