How to blog without going broke? Blogging expenses was an area of my finances that I seriously had to revisit this year. Paying down medical expenses from my heart surgery became a top priority for our family finances, and my blogging slowed down while I was recovering, so I knew some of the things I spent money on to help my blog along would have to take a back seat. Today, I thought I would share what I let go of and how it affected my blog over this year.
HOW TO BLOG WITHOUT GOING BROKE
The first thing I had to let go of after my surgery was my VA, or virtual assistant. It hurt me deeply to do this because she was so amazing at helping me share my content across social platforms and share the content of others. If you have a busy blog and need the extra help, I highly recommend a good VA that can take some of those smaller tasks that come along with blogging and free up more time for you to concentrate on writing great content. Total savings- $30 a month/ $360 a year
Next, I had to think about other programs that scheduled blogging tasks for me and also helped my VA do her job more efficiently. There were also programs to look up keywords for SEO purposes and other various things, like stock photography and such. The stock photography subscription was something I intended to keep, but the website was taken over by another company, and suddenly my $9.99 a month subscription turned into $30 a month. Yikes and NO THANKS! So these expenses looked like this each month:
Tailwind Subscription- $9.99 monthly/ $120 year
Stock Photo website- $30 monthly/$360 year
SEO tool- $9.99 monthly/ $120 year
Total Savings- $50 a month/$600 year
I also have to add in various blogging courses, which I have completely given up on, and “expert” advice from blogging “coaches” and SEO “experts”. I put these words in quotes because it seems like almost everyone is trying to sell their services as an expert in blogging, but you can read my thoughts on all of that here. Total savings- $200 a year. (And yes, I am ashamed of this.)
Finally, filler content was beginning to be a very bad habit for me and actually hindering my creativity as a blogger. Lots and lots of bloggers purchase filler content, which can be anything from recipes, pictures, and articles written and sold by other people to fill in the gaps when your blog needs more content and you are short on time or you just lack those sort of skills in blogging. My personal weakness is printables and book roundups. I love offering printables and awesome graphics for a book roundup for my readers, but I absolutely stink at making these things, so I often purchase them. This is fine and a justifiable expense if your blog is making money, but since I had to cut expenses, this was definitely an expense that HAD to go for me. It also made me a little lazy in that if I didn’t feel like blogging, I didn’t necessarily have to some days because I had a printable or roundup I could add in. Total Savings- $500 a year
GRAND TOTAL SAVINGS= $1300 year
It’s no secret that you can blog for absolutely free using sites like Blogger, but I’ve been a self-hosted blog for awhile now and making the switch back to free would probably be expensive since I would have to hire someone to do that because it’s not in my skill set. Therefore, my monthly hosting expenses are something I won’t ever give up. I consider $10 a month a bargain and I’m satisfied with my host. Ditto for my domain name renewal, which is around $29 a year, I think? I’m also keeping my PicMonkey Royale subscription, which helps me edit photos and create pinnable images for my blog posts. It practically does all of this for me and this is another thing (graphic design) that is out of my skill set. It costs $33 a year and I use it for almost every single blog post, so it’s absolutely worth it and affordable.
TOTAL EXPENSES NOW- $182 year
WHAT I DID INSTEAD
Once I let go of those big expenses each month, I had to come up with a plan to substitute for some of these things, but at a cheaper price. I desperately tried to participate in blog hops and time consuming social shares like I used to when I had help, but I just couldn’t, so I let that go. If I happened to read a blog article I liked written by another blogger, I shared it, and I also shared my own content to multiple platforms when I had the time. I didn’t have content constantly being shared across my social platforms anymore, but I just had to let it go because I simply didn’t have the time for this anymore. Ditto for SEO. I don’t have the time to research keywords. I’m just writing about things I want to write about and letting the chips fall where they may, traffic-wise.
I’ve also been using free or super, super cheap stock photography websites, but mostly free and also trying to just use my own pictures. Photography is not my strongest area in blogging, but I’m making do and it works.
Since I don’t post as frequently, I’m also posting only my own content and no filler content. Giving up the filler content has made me want to blog more for some reason. I also took a little blogging hiatus this summer and I feel refreshed now and the ideas are starting to come back.
THE RESULTS OF BLOGGING CHEAPLY
I’ll admit that before I let all of these awesome blogging tools and services go, I panicked a little. I wasn’t rolling in the blogging dough to begin with, but it was a great little side hustle to provide the extras for our family and the thought of my blog losing traffic because I had to give up these things sent me into a little distress. Did I lose money? Yes, and I don’t care. This year my focus had to shift on recovering from a major surgery and building my strength back to be able to go back to my day job and caring for my family. I have accepted four paying blog jobs this year, but they were absolutely opportunities that resonated with where I am on my life journey at the moment. I’m completely satisfied with my work on the blog this year and had I kept all of these huge blog expenses, I would have LOST money blogging instead of made a little.
So how did this affect my blogging game overall? Yes, I made less money, but most of that was by choice. Traffic-wise, I have seen a small dip, but nothing major at all. I have to honestly say that cutting expenses and blogging cheaply without all of the various subscriptions and programs really didn’t make much of a difference, but it sure has freed up quite a bit of time. I realize if you have a big blog with huge traffic and a large following, getting drastic and cutting out these types of services (and many other) may not be practical for your situation, but it has helped me keep my little corner of the blogging world afloat for its tenth year and I plan to keep on going just like this. I’ve learned that I don’t need all the fancy bells and whistles to blog and I guess I just felt like I had to have them before in order to grow. I’m glad to see that’s not the case.
Photo: Jeff Prieb