Beginner Blogger: Free Resources to Launch Your Blog

launch a blog: find your way through the mechanical maze of setting up your wordpress blog!Most marketers who want to launch a blog, struggle with two big challenges: limited technical knowledge, and limited financial resources.

If you are a home based business owner who is stuck in the mechanical maze of launching a blog, today’s post will help.  It’s a map showing you where to put your money, and where you can cut costs, plus it’s packed full of low cost and free resources to help any beginner blogger launch a blog successfully!

Have you ever been inside a corn maze?  Before you laugh…I grew up in the rural Midwest and visiting the corn maze at the pumpkin patch was always a highlight of the harvest season. So much so that a clever entrepreneurial couple rented an empty store-front and hung tarps to create a maze that wound it’s way through the store and back out the front.  For a while it was the hot-spot hang-out in high school. It was pitch black, a little scary, and the perfect place for kissing!  SWAK

When I was starting my blog last summer, I often felt like I was in a maze, running in circles trying to navigate my way through the technical hurdles of launching a blog.  I couldn’t afford to hire it done, but I couldn’t see my way out of the technical challenges of getting it all set up.

I spent an hour and a half today on a conference call with a bunch of home based business owner women who are overwhelmed at the thought of trying to find their way through setting up a blog.  Their struggles inspired this post.  Obviously, it is a HUGE hurdle for many people, and I want to help!

There are components that you will have to pay for even if you are a do-it-yourself marketer.  There are areas where you can cut corners and save a buck, and areas where your money would be well spent.

I’m going to break those down for you in this post today as well as pack in the resources to help you launch your blog on a budget!

Some of the links in this list of resources are affiliate links.  It is my mission to help you achieve success in your business and I promise I will only ever recommend products and services that I have used and that have helped me in launching a blog and building my business.  You will never pay more for the services by purchasing them through my link than you will through the website directly.

The Essentials to Launching a Blog: Things You’ve Gotta Buy


My top pick is hostgator for beginners and experienced bloggers because their technical support is incredibly helpful!

  • Cost: A the time of publishing this post hostgator hosting starts at $3.96/month if you pay annually or $7.16 a month if you pay monthly (20% off your first month)

***Special Offer: If you purchase hosting through my affiliate link, as a thank you I will install wordpress for you for free, through April 30th, 2010! ($60 Value!) You need hosting anyway, it doesn’t cost you anything extra, you still get Hostgator’s awesome support, and I will take away the technical headache of installing wordpress for you, so you can be up and running in a hurry!


Once again, my top pick is hostgator because it makes it easier for a beginner!  When you purchase your domain through the same site as you purchase your hosting, you end up saving a step of having to link your domain to your server.

  • Cost: $15 per domain annually

GoDaddy is a great optoin as well, and what I’ve used myself, but it will require you to set your name servers.  (If you’re loyal to Go Daddy, you’ll want to check out Attraction Marketing Maven, Mavis Nong’s post on where to find GoDaddy Coupons!)


There are a million autoresponder companies and my preference for most people is Aweber.  They are reliable and easy to use, plus they also have great customer service!

  • Cost: It’s going to cost you $1 for the first month and then prices vary depending on the size of your list, starting at $19 per month.

I’ve just recently discovered ComF5 which is a company that offers a great autoresponder, video emails, video landing pages/squeeze pages, video broadcasting and webinars. It is more expensive than aweber, but contains many more features that may be beneficial to you.  If you’re looking at doing video and webinars, it will probably be a more economical choice for you in the long run.

  • Cost: $50 a month ($40 if you sign up before April 15th!)

The Essentials to Launching a Blog: Where You Can Save Money:

If you’re working on a budget, you’re in the right place because launching a blog with wordpress is very inexpensive, once you get past the essentials above.  Eventually you will want to upgrade to more professional paid versions of themes and graphics, but these suggestions will give you a start to your blog without breaking the bank!


Fortunately there are a TON of free wordpress blog themes available for you.  Google free wordpress themes for a ton of resources.


I would recommend you include your photo in your header to help you brand yourself as well as the name of your site.  The websites below have a large selection of generic headers that you could download and manipulate.

You don’t have to have a fancy photo editor software like photoshop to create your own header.  I started off using PowerPoint and/or Microsoft Publisher because it was on my computer.

Select a background you like, layer on top of it your photo, signature (if you wish), tag-line, etc.  When you have a design you like, group all the items together, right click and save as a photo. I prefer .png photos because they show up online with better resolution.

If you need to edit your photo’s size to make it fit the blog header dimensions, you can use the free site

Blog Post Photos:

I wrote this post on finding great blog post images and photos that you may enjoy if you’re looking for images for your blog posts, or for images for your header! 🙂

Your Irresistible Offer:

Create a free gift to give away to entice your readers to subscribe for your email list.

  • PDF document: Turn your document into a PDF using this free tool.
  • Audio: Record an audio and have an mp3 available for download using which will allow you to record an audio from your phone.  Otherwise you can use audacity to record to your computer with a microphone, or if you have a droid phone, download the Hi-Q MP3 Recorder App (I LOVE this app and use it all the time!)
  • Video: Upload a video to youtube as a private video to embed on a blog post for your free gift.  You can record your screen sharing video using the free programs: camstudio or jing.  And if you want a video of yourself, I use a logitech webcam sometimes and my flip camera sometimes as well.  When I first got started I used the video function on my digitial camera! 🙂

Protect your free offer from people who will download it without opting in with these two free plugins:

If you’d like more information on how to set up your blog, create content, and generate traffic to your blog, I highly suggest you check out the MLM Blog Secrets and MLM Blog Code!  They were the training programs that really helped me to put the pieces together with my blog and help me get off to a great start.

I also have a launch a blog checklist as part of my free clever marketer kit which will help you too!

Photo Credit

P.S. If you’ve been wanting to launch a blog to market your home based business, now is the time!  Let me help you with a free wordpress installation! Many web designers charge $60 to install wordpress…and you will receive it for free if you purchase hostgator hosting through my affiliate link! 🙂  If  there are several of you who take me up on my offer, I’d also be willing to do a training webinar covering the blogging basics to help you in launching a blog for your business!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Heather, this is an awesome post, particularly for those who are struggling to get started. I sure wish I had these instruction when I started out! Even so, you have given me a few pointers that I wasn’t aware of. That’s what I love about you Heather, you always over deliver.

    Thanks for all you do!


    • Wow, that’s great Jayne!

      Glad I could give you some pointers, even though you’re a rock-star blogger! 🙂


  2. Hi Heather!

    This is really going to help beginners as you have outlined a very comprehensive and useful guide for them.

  3. You really spelled out what it takes to get started. That’s what I love seeing, even breaking it down to costs. Wish I had found this type of information when I was starting out. Someone who would advise me on exactly what I really needed. You’ve done an excellent job here Heather.

    Very well done!


    • Thanks Adrienne!

      Glad you approve of my post. I can’t count how much needless money and time I’ve spent along the way, because I didn’t know where to put my efforts. My hope is to help other bloggers make progress online without breaking the bank or wasting time on projects that aren’t going to pay off in the long run. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!

  4. Hi Heather,

    This is extremely helpful, and a great to-do list that simplifies the process. It has always seemed so confusing (which is partly why I stuck with Blogspot all this time).

    Your offer of installing WP for free is an amazingly generous one, as well! Oftentimes, what prevents people from going ahead with something is the time they know they’ll spend trying to figure things out on their own.


    • Hi Delena,

      I think that if you’re focusing on learning the things you’re going to have to do over and over again, you’re spending your time well.

      Things like uploading your content, videos, photos, perfecting your writing style, participating in social media, etc…are worth investing the time into learning.

      However, many of the technical things like setting up your blog are not necessary to spend tons of time learning.

      WordPress is very easy to use and to mold into any type of site you want…that’s why it’s my choice for beginner bloggers. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment! I so appreciate it!


  5. Hi Heather,

    This is really great help for any beginner. I too looking to start my own blog and collecting all important info. This will really help me a lot. Thanks for sharing such useful info!!

    • Hi Sam,

      Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you! 🙂

      Good luck launching your blog,


  6. So helpful. I (for some stupid reason) have a website and then my blog is off of that. So my website is and then my WP blog is – I wanted everything to be moved to the so that people didn’t have to go to the /blog/. Thank goodness I had an old website and blog I could practice with, because I really messed it up. Never did figure out how to fix it.
    Anyway – Starting a new blog is sometimes painful and I love the way you described it here. So helpful.

    • Hi Tammy,

      I’m glad that I was able to help you through starting your new blog. I know that there are so many challenges we all face when we’re getting started online, but I’ve been amazed at how helpful people are when I’ve asked.

      I hope your new blog is much less painful for you to launch than your first one. I suspect it will be! 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

  7. Hey Heather,

    Once again, you have over-delivered! I wish i got hold of this information when I got started.

    This will definitely help people to get started with their blogs.

    Thanks for sharing the PDF tool ;). How does it compare to Adobe?

    Have a great weekend my friend!


    • Hi Mavis,

      The PDF site I should work fine for anyone to convert their documents to PDF. It’s not going to have all the features, bells and whistles that Adobe has, but it should do the trick! 🙂 There are many other options online if for some reason it’s not a match for what you’re trying to accomplish.

      Thanks for your comment!

  8. Hi Heather,

    I love it when established bloggers share stuff for newbies. It shows that we don’t forget that we were once newbies. Love your post and as Mavis says, you have over delivered.

    Regarding the pdf converter, I just type in my word (Office 2010) and click on save as to save it as a pdf document. It keeps the links intact and everything else is fine.

    I have used this for my free giveaway documents; since I have not developed a paid product through this method, I would like to ask if it is OK or am I missing something by not using a software to convert?


    • Hi Jane,

      I was there such a short time ago, that the beginner feelings are still fresh in my mind. 🙂

      I use MS Word as well, but many people don’t have that option and the adobe software is expensive. It’s nice to know that there are free options for the beginner to use.

      I think that using MS word is perfectly fine for your products! You’re not missing anything…I was just giving options for people who don’t have a way to convert their files to pdf. 🙂

      Thanks for the comment and for asking a question to help me clarify my post! I appreciate you!

  9. Hi Heather,

    This post is an awesome resource for anybody starting a blog.

    Where were you when I started? I wasn’t only continually in a maze but the light was continually off too! 🙂

    Anybody not taking you up on your generous offer to install their new blog for them is crazy.

    You continue to offer top value Heather. Thank you for your leadership.


    • Thanks Marcus!

      Being lost in the dark is the way many of us feel when we’re just starting out online.

      I found that following you and several other marketers who were teaching on their blogs helped me to work my way through the challenges.

      Thank you for YOUR leadership! 🙂

  10. Two thumbs up for this post Heather! I guess newbie bloggers would love you more than what you could expect! Your article is one great advice that any beginner blogger should not miss. Aside from that, I also acquire additional information though I’m already on my intermediate level. Thanks a lot!

    • Thanks Justine!

      So glad I could deliver helpful information for you! I hope it helps beginners as well.

      Have a great day! 🙂

  11. Dev says:

    Hi Heather,

    Great Post with so much awesome information and resources. Very useful for beginners. Thanks for sharing !

  12. Darren Spruyt says:

    Hey Heather!

    I hope you’re doing great! There’s only one word I can say about this post and it’s “WOW!”
    It’s seriously a bulk of information (A TON OF VALUE I might add)

    This post is definitely a bible to all people starting out marketing on the internet and using blogging as one of their strategies. In fact, I learnt something NEW! So it’s definitely for people who are a little more experienced. Guess it’s true that we all can never stop learning will we? 🙂

    I loved this post as this really highlights what every person should be striving to aim for in their blogs. I have my irresistible offer and will be adding it to my blog soon, which I have been taking a really long time to do, but at least I have got it done! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this treasure chest of information Heather! I look forward to your next post! 🙂

    Darren Spruyt

  13. Nice post Heather ! Thorough and helpful indeed. Joanie

  14. Wow Heather,

    Wonderful work – I think you’ve covered all the bases for setting a blog up! I would have happily taken you up on the offer of set up if I’d read this post when I was launching mine!

    Yet again, a post crammed with value over and above the call of duty. You provide very well for your readers! I have some content with a similar aim in the pipeline at the moment, but you’ve left me wondering quite how to cover the subject of setting up a blog as thoroughly as you have!

    Good job Heather, well done and thanks!

  15. Hey Heather,

    These are some awesome tips you provide. Very useful!

    Cant believe you are installing for free and might even do a webinar. Great stuff!

    That’s truly leading with value. (((kudos)))

    Thanks for sharing this list, Heather!


  16. Thanks Heather for sharing this resources.

    My blog is just about six months old and there are a number of resources here that i am going to start tapping into.

    Thanks for providing so much value.

  17. Hi Heather,
    It is a very nice and informative post for neophytes.You explained it very well.Your offer of installing WP is great.

  18. All the information that you have posted are very useful for me, as a new to blogging I currently gather more information to learn. Thank you Heather for this wonderful and useful tips.

  19. Wonderful work! That is the type of info that are supposed to be shared around the web. Shame on Google for now not positioning this publish higher! Come on over and discuss with my site . Thanks =)


  1. […] Beginner Blogger: Free Resources to Launch Your Blog by Clever […]

  2. […] in launching a blog for your business! Beginner Blogger: Free Resources to Launch Your BlogRelated posts:Where online can I find a legitimate home based business?Does anyone know of any […]

  3. […] This next post is about Free Resources to Launch Your Blog. Thanks to Heather Stephens, you’re covered on hosting and themes. (A special thanks to […]