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.
- WordPress Themes
- The Cutest Blog On the Block
- Go Themes
- WordPress Themes that Support Custom Header Images
- Free WordPress Themes Directory
- WordPress Themes Base
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 picnik.com.
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 freeconferencecall.com 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!
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!