What’s the cheapest way to start a blog? How to do it for $20 (really)

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If you want to make money blogging, but you're on a budget, you're probably wondering what's the cheapest way to start a blog? You're in the right place. I just started my sixth niche site/blog for less than $100 (what other business is that cheap to start??). So keep reading to find out how you can start one TODAY and pay only $19.95.

Before you do ANYTHING else, let me be clear:

  • You do NOT have to pay for a website theme or Content Management System (CMS)—you can get those for FREE!
  • Also, do NOT pay more than $12 for a domain.
  • And lastly, when you buy hosting, realize that most host services trick you into thinking it's cheap by giving you 70% off the FIRST YEAR only. It's a ripoff. I use one of the cheapest (yet high quality) annual hosting service out there.

Can I start a blog for free and make money?

Contrary to popular belief, yes, you CAN start a blog for FREE and make money with it by monetizing it—it will just be a LOT tougher.

Here's one way to do it through WordPress.com's FREE plan. With WordPress's free plan, you are permitted to:

  • Publish sponsored posts. This means you can work with a company and publish a blog post on your blog on behalf of them for a fee. Sponsored posts are a great way for companies to get more eyeballs on content that promotes their product.
  • Put affiliate links on the site. Affiliate links contain a unique tracking code so that if someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you get a commission of the sale. These are permitted on free WordPress.com sites.
  • Sell products. Yes, these too are allowed on free WordPress sites. You would just need to link externally to PayPal or something, as the WordPress site itself would not be able to be the payment platform.

BUT with a WordPress free plan, you CANNOT:

  • Place ads.
  • Install plugins.
  • Customize the theme.
  • Have your own domain.

IF you can invest just $100 for the ENTIRE year in your blog business (which I think most of you can), then this is what I highly recommend doing:

The 4 elements you need to start a blog and how much each will cost (some are FREE!)

The 4 elements (which we'll go into detail about below) are:

  1. Domain (+ Domain Privacy) = $12
  2. Website hosting = $7.95/month
  3. Website theme = FREE
  4. Content Management System = Free

Total cost to start a blog TODAY: $19.95

1. Domain + Domain Privacy = $12

What's a domain?

A domain is the address of your blog. For example, this blog's domain is solopreneurssuccess.com.

I've looked into tons of domain registrars (the sites where you buy domain names), and by far, the very best is Google Domains.

Why?

  • Google Domains is owned by a legitimate company (Google) that will be around for a longgg time.
  • It's the simplest to use.
  • It provides Domain Privacy for FREE. Other domain registrars CHARGE for Domain Privacy!

What's Domain Privacy?

Domain Privacy keeps your contact information private. When you register a domain, your first and last name, email address, mailing address, and phone number become publicly available through a simple search in the WHOIS directory online. You'll also get a ton of spammy emails.

BUT, when you purchase Domain Privacy, the registrar will put their contact info—instead of yours. It's a must!

Google Domains provides Domain Privacy with each domain purchase—free of charge.

2. Website hosting = $7.95/mo or $83.40/year

What is website hosting?

Website hosting is the “plot of land” upon which you'll build your blog. Think about it, though your blog isn't a physical space, it contains files (text, images, videos, etc.), and all those files need to live somewhere, right? That's why you buy website hosting.

The web host I recommend for the cheapest way to start a blog is BigScoots. I use BigScoots to host two of my blogs, and I've never had any major issues.

Get a BigScoots promo code for web hosting

Get 15% off BigScoots monthly shared hosting plans by using promo code SABFP15 at checkout.

3. Website theme = FREE

A website theme is your business storefront (your blog's design). It's a pre-made design template that you can customize by changing out colors and photos.

When you use WordPress, you can find a library of FREE themes. I highly recommend Kadence.

4. Content Management System (CMS) = FREE

The Content Management System (CMD) is your blog's “warehouse.” It's where you get the work done, such as typing the blog posts and uploading photos. But, like a warehouse, your customers never see your CMS.

A peek behind the scenes at my WordPress CMS!

Thankfully, WordPress offers its CMS for FREE. It's the number one most popular CMS, and it's the one every blogger should use. Yes, there's others like Squarespace, but nothing beats WordPress. Trust me on this one.

Optional add-ons for your blog

Stock photos

For bloggers, I highly recommend Ivory Mix. Ivory Mix offers 550+ free stock photos that are very high quality. It's also worth paying for the VIP membership if you use stock photos regularly; I used to pay for this one when I was making a ton of Pinterest pins and needed fresh photos often.

Logo

You can create a logo for free using Canva. By signing up for a free trial of Canva Pro, you can even get very, very nice logos for free (just remember to cancel before it charges you, if you don't plan to continue!).

What to do once you've bought/signed up for the 4 elements described above

Now that you have all four elements, you need to connect them. This gets slightly technical, but don't worry, I've got you covered. I've written a detailed blog post on how to start a blog. Just follow the instructions there.

Okay, this sounds great! But how can I start a blog if I'm not technical?

I hate when people write blog posts about how to do something, and they make it sound SO simple—but they don't tell you HOW to do it if you don't have technical expertise.

Here's how I do blog things if I hit a wall: I pay Grayson at iMark Interactive to do it. His prices are super affordable. All you need to do is purchase the domain and hosting (remember, it's only $19.95 to do that), and then contact him to get a quote on how much it'll be for him to connect the two.

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