Two Kids And A Budget came to fruition on July 4, 2014 and has become such a positive part of my life. It’s not only a creative outlet for me, but has connected me with so many wonderful people that I would not have otherwise met.
I started my blog as a way to share money-saving and budgeting tips with other families who are looking to live the good life on less. It is my goal to inspire other families to take control of their finances, become accountable to themselves, and finally become motivated to get out of debt.
Living on a single income means any time I spend money on a project or hobby I have to weigh it against other household expenses and the needs of our family. Is it truly something that is needed or can we do without, and that is how I looked at the prospect of starting my own blog. I knew that the time I had to spend on it would be “free” but time isn’t the only expense with a website, that’s why I had to make certain that every dollar was spent intentionally.
Setting out on a blogging journey can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time, but in actuality it is pretty simple and straightforward. If you are interested in starting your own blog on a budget then keep reading! Your new blog may only be 10 minutes away!
How to Start a Blog On A Budget:
The first thing you must decide is what you are going to blog about. That means finding your passion. If you try to start and maintain a blog on a subject you are not passionate about then eventually you will fail. The internet is littered with “dead blogs” because people didn’t choose the right topic for them. Instead they may have chosen a topic that they thought would be popular or profitable.
So, how do you find your passion?
Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
- What can you spend hours talking about?
- What do your friends ask you advice about?
- Do you have any talents that you would enjoy sharing with others?
- Most importantly, what is your story? What makes you, you?
Interested in DIY or crafting…then start a DIY blog. Have parenting advice you would like to share, then start a parenting blog. Do you love to cook? Start a food blog. Want to get out of debt, then personal finance may be the right niche for you. Whatever it is, the important thing to remember is YOU have to be happy writing about the subject day in and day out. If you’re not then your readers will know it.
Not sure which niche you may belong to, check out these examples.
- Lifestyle / Mom Blog
- Christian Blog
- DIY Blog
- Home Décor
- Frugal Blog
- Recipe Blog
- Personal Finance Blog
Whichever niche you decide to join the important thing for you to remember is that you need to be happy with your choice and should be able to write about it consistently for quite awhile. You don’t have to write every day (I only post 3 times a week) but you should be able to write on your chosen topic on a regular basis.
Decide On A Platform
It all starts with choosing the right blogging platform for you. There are a variety of them available on the market ranging from free like Blogger, and WordPress.com to a self-hosted version like WordPress.org which requires you to pay for your own hosting.
You can easily get started with one of the free blogging platforms but if you ever plan to make money with your blog it’s best to get started right away with WordPress.org as it is the industry standard. Many of the free versions including WordPress.com don’t allow you to earn money running ads on your blog.
Choose Your Domain
Once you have decided on a niche topic it’s time to start thinking about how you want to present yourself to the world. Their first impression of you will be the name of your blog (domain name), so you need to spend some time thinking about what would be a good fit. You will want to make sure that it is unique, will fit in well with the niche you are considering, and is easy for people to remember.
I suggest you think of a few names you would like, since it is possible that some of them may already be taken. It is easy to find out if your favorite domain name is taken with a simple search. Two Kids And A Budget was not my first choice, however today I can’t imagine it being anything else. Once you have decided on a name, take a day to mull it over and make sure your happy with it before purchasing the domain.
One final thought before we move on. Many people are now suggesting you purchase your name as the domain name. This gives you flexibility on subject matter and the name is as unique as you are.
Find Your Host
I did a lot of searching before deciding on a host. I finally settled on Host So and I am so glad that I did. I have been using them since 2010 and have never had a problem with their service. They have always been quick to respond when I have had questions and their staff have always been very helpful.
I use their Achieve plan which cost $3.00 a month or $33.00 a year. That includes the ability to host 5 different websites, a 90-day money back guarantee, and they promise their hosting prices will never go up. In the five years I have been with them I can honestly tell you they have held up to that promise.
Bluehost is another hosting company that a lot of bloggers use. I have never read anything negative about their customer service or the products they offer. They are however, are much more expensive.
Once you have purchased your domain name and hosting plan it is time to install WordPress. This is the content management system that 99% of the bloggers prefer to use. To be honest I am not the most technically savvy so have only set up WordPress by enlisting the technical support of my host company. They easily walked me through it and got me set up in just a few minutes.
Let’s Talk Themes
In simple terms your theme is what people see when they visit your site. It is the design, the layout, and even the fonts used throughout your blog. Don’t confuse this with the header however, which is found at the top of your site and is often referred to as the logo.
When starting your blog on a budget, spending $50.00 or more on a theme can feel like a lot of money. It is. Thankfully there are a wide variety of free themes for WordPress that you can easily use. In fact, for the first several months of Two Kids And A Budget existence it had a free WordPress Theme. Many of these free themes have a few features that are customizable. However, the customizations are typically limited to colors, what side your side bar is located and other minor features. Nine months into my blogging adventure I decided it was time to upgrade to a paid theme and finding the right one meant I needed to do some research.
Moving into the world of paid for themes things get a little more complicated. However, you are rewarded with the availability to make many more customizations. Right now, the important thing to know is that there are “parent themes” and “child themes” and when you finally purchase something you will need and want both.
For my “parent theme” I purchased the Genesis framework. I chose Genesis for a couple of important reasons. First they are very user friendly for people who are not technologically inclined. Second, the Genesis framework is also known to have better SEO (search engine optimization) capabilities. Genesis, however, is not the only game in town when it comes to providing the framework for child themes; the Thesis framework is another popular option among bloggers.
I fell in love with the Divine child theme created by Restored316. My child theme sits on top of the framework and gives my blog the layout and design you see. It is very customizable and will allow me to easily make changes if I need to. Both Genesis and Thesis also ll their own child themes and often at a discount if you purchase their framework software.
It’s Time To Write!
Now that you have the back end up and running it’s time to get your message out. Create your first post and begin your blogging adventure. Don’t worry about people finding you, or if anyone will read your work. They will. The more you get out and meet other bloggers you will find how friendly and supportive this community really is. The important thing is just write.
I know I have given you a lot of information to digest. However, this is the foundation of your blog and once it is set up you won’t have to go through it again.
Looking for more information? Check out my Blogging Resources post which lists plugins, information on easy to use graphic design programs, great books to read, and more. Coming May 30th, 2016.
DON’T MISS OUT ON ANY OF MY GREAT TIPS TO HELP YOUR FAMILY
SAVE MONEY, HAVE FRUGAL FUN AND ENJOY LIFE!
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