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Have you been thinking about starting a blog but you’re worried about the cost? The truth is that there are a lot of free blogging platforms out there. You can start a blog for absolutely nothing. But the recommended way to go is a self-hosted WordPress blog. Especially if you want to monetize your blog in the future.
Today we’ll talk about how you can start a self-hosted WordPress blog on a budget. But first, let’s take a look at why you should start a blog and some of the things that might be holding you back.
WHY YOU SHOULD START A BLOG
There are many reasons a person might start a blog. Some blog as a way to share special insight on a topic they know well so that others can benefit from it. Others use it as a way to keep family and friends up to date on their life or to stay accountable.
Blogging is also a great way to improve or learn new skills. If you’ve always dreamed of being a writer, blogging is a good way to start. Blogging is also a great way to bring in some extra income. It’s not a get rich quick scheme, you have to put in the work, but many have even replaced their full-time jobs with blogging.
Now let’s address some of the issues that might be holding you back from starting a blog.
I’m NOT A GOOD WRITER
Many hesitate to start a blog because they think that they need to be a good writer. They don’t. Once you have an average grasp of grammar and your reader can understand what you’re trying to say, you’ll be alright.
And even if you don’t there are apps like Grammarly to help you with Grammar errors and spelling. You can install it in your browser. I’d also recommend getting the book, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation.
Writing is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets. Your skills will develop along the way. If you create a daily writing habit you’ll become a better writer bit by bit. Sure you’ll cringe a few months down the road when you look back at your first posts (I sure did). But the great thing is that you can always go back and update them.
You can also benefit from reading blogs in the area that you are interested in. This will not only give you ideas of what to blog about but also show you how to effectively structure your posts.
A couple of other books that helped me improve my writing are Lifelong Writing Habit, The Writer’s Process and You Are a Writer.
I’m CLUELESS ABOUT TECH
If you choose to go with a free site like WordPress.com or Blogger.com you don’t need to know much about the technology behind blogging. These sites handle all of the maintenance for you. You’ll only need to decide what you want your blog to look like and write your posts.
That said, starting a self-hosted blog doesn’t require that much more tech experience. Most hosting companies (more on that later) can do the set up for you. Just make sure that you choose a company that has good customer support.
You can learn as you go. Google and YouTube will be your best friend. There are loads of websites for beginner bloggers like WPBeginner to help you out.
Ok now let’s get to what you really want to know about. The cost.
how much does it cost to start a blog?
One of the reasons that you might be hesitant to start a blog is the cost. So how much does it cost to start a blog? Well, it doesn’t have to cost anything at all. You could start a blog for free today if you wanted to. Just choose one of the free blogging platforms mentioned above.
But while it’s easy to get started on these platforms, there are some disadvantages to using them.
One of the main issues is the domain name(web address). Let’s say I signed up at WordPress.com. My domain name would look like deborahruck.wordpress.com instead of deborahruck.com. Everyone can tell that you’re using a free platform and that may not be the image you want.
Another issue with using a free blogging platform is that customization options are limited. Blogs use themes to change the way the blog looks and plugins to add features (like a store). But on a free platform, you can only use the themes and plugins provided by the platform. This increases the likelihood that your blog will look and function very similar to someone else’s.
On a free blogging platform, you also have no control over the ads that will appear on your blog. Additionally, because the files for your blog are stored on the free platform, if it shuts down, you could lose all of your work.
If you’re just testing the blogging waters, then a free platform is the best way to go. You can always move your blog later. But if you want to blog for the long term, the recommended platform is a self-hosted blog using WordPress.org.
WHAT IS A SELF-HOSTED BLOG?
What do I mean by self-hosted? Well as I mentioned earlier, when you use a free blogging platform, all of the files that you need to run your blog are hosted on the servers of the free platform.
With a self-hosted blog, your files are hosted (stored) at a hosting provider like Siteground or Hostinger. This means that you have absolute control over every aspect of your blog. You can install any theme or plugin that you want to and even make code changes to your files (or pay someone to have it done).
To create a self-hosted blog, you’ll need to purchase a domain name and hosting. Then you need to install WordPress (from WordPress.org) on your hosting server.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WORDPRESS.ORG AND WORDPRESS.COM?
Wait a minute, you just mentioned WordPress.com as a free platform, what’s this WordPress.org?
Well, WordPress. com is a free blogging platform that uses the WordPress installation files that you can get from WordPress.org. The difference between the two is that WordPress.com is free but controls what you can or cannot do with your blog.
WordPress.org is also free to install but you need to buy a domain name and a hosting package so that you can install it yourself and have full control over what happens to your blog.
IS IT EXPENSIVE TO start a SELF-HOSTed WordPress BLOG?
The cost of a domain name is usually about $10 USD and a hosting package can run anywhere from around $8 USD per month for a single website to $16 USD for multiple websites. The monthly cost decreases significantly however if you purchase at least a year of hosting.
It’s recommended that you purchase your domain name and hosting package separately. But many hosting providers offer a free domain name with their premium packages and up.
The hosting company, Siteground, is recommended by many in the blogging circles but I did some research and chose to use Hostinger for this blog as well as my other website.
The main reason was that Hostinger’s pricing is beginner-friendly. I knew I was in this blogging thing for the long haul. I didn’t want to start blogging on a free platform and then have to switch. But I also didn’t want to have to pay almost $150 USD ($300 BDS) just to get started.
In addition to reasonable pricing, Hostinger offers fast load times (important to your blog visitors) and guarantees 99.9% uptime. They also have 24-hour support and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Check out this review for more info.
HOW DO SITEGROUND AND HOSTINGER COMPARE ON PRICING?
Right now, Hostinger is offering up to 90% off of all of their packages. There are four plans to choose from, each providing different features. At this time, all plans come with a free domain name. I recommend the Single Shared Hosting plan. You can always upgrade later if you need to.
Right now, you can get 12 months of hosting for $35.88, but if you purchase 48 months, you pay only $47.52 (90% off).
With the Single Shared Hosting, you’ll still need to purchase a domain name. That will cost around $9. However, if you purchase the Premium package, you’ll get the domain name for free. All packages come with a free lifetime SSL certificate.
So if the cost has been holding you back from starting a self-hosted WordPress blog, you have no excuse now. Go ahead and click on the button below to get started.
P.S Visit my Start a Blog page if you need step-by-step instructions on how to set up your account and get your site up and running.
Afraid to set up your website yourself? I can set up the basics or build your full website for you. Check out my services on my Work With Me page or contact me over at Quick Launch Websites. Let’s talk about how we can work together.
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