Starting a new blog on a tight budget? You need some cheap blogging tools to help you get started. I remember those days, but now that I’m making actual money, I’m able to invest in better tools. But I wanna help you start a blog even if you’ve got a shoestring budget. People ask me – can I start a blog for free, but that’s not usually an option, but sometimes you can minimize the costs in the early months.
The good thing is that I’ve used a wide variety of both cheap blogging tools AND the good ones! I’ll be honest, a lot of the cheap blogging tools are CRAP. Don’t be mad – they are specifically designed that way because the whole purpose of having cheap blogging tools is to encourage you to BUY the paid versions. Right? I actually have a whole post about the free tools to AVOID and better paid alternatives, but today we’re going to focus on the cheap blogging tools that are worth bothering with.
Getting Your Headlines and SEO/Keywords Right
One of the most important tasks of blogging is to get your SEO and keywords set up properly. I spend a huge amount of time on each post checking my headlines, researching my keywords, and getting my SEO done properly. That’s why it usually takes me 3-4 hours to create each blog post. I actually used all these tools to create THIS post.
Headline Analyzer – This is a super helpful (and free!) headline analyzer by Co-Scheduler. You do have to sign up for it, but it’s pretty handy. You can put in your headline and then tinker with it until you get a score about 70. My headline for this post scored a 71 on the 2nd try – yay me!
Email Headline Analyzer – I use a similar tool to double-check the headlines for my Emails as well. It’s a smart thing to do because a bad headline will lower your open rate drastically. Here’s the Email Headline Analyzer I prefer.
SEO/Keyword Tools – First I use Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest to plan out at least 3-4 high-ranking keywords that I will sprinkle throughout the post. I use the paid version, but on the free version you can get 4 searches per day and Rank Math has a built-in keyword tool that is considerably more limited, but still helpful.
Many bloggers prefer Yoast, but I prefer Rank Math rather than Yoast. Why? Yoast only has red, yellow and green lights to tell you how you are doing. Rank Math gives me a numeric score to see when I make even the slightest improvement. Right now, it is 82 out of 100, but I will get it up into the 90’s before I publish. Naturally, I use the paid version, but the free version is pretty darn good.
Graphics Tools for Your Blog
Making graphics is such an essential part of blogging. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t have to make pins, Facebook images, graphics for newsletters, and Instagram. I also make pin images for clients sometimes, so I’m not exaggerating that I’ve got more than 600 completed designs in my Canva Pro account. There are several different programs you can use like PicMonkey, Adobe Spark and probably others, but I think Canva is the most versatile and easiest to use. And Canva Pro offers you thousands of free images and premium templates, graphics, etc. That’s a cheap blogging tool that’s mucho effective!
I don’t remember if it’s $12.95 a month or $14.95, but it is one expense I don’t even think twice about! Canva Pro for the win!
Hosting – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly
One thing I see people trying to skimp on is their hosting and blogging platforms. This is one area where you do NOT want to go cheap. Save money on other stuff, but pick your platform carefully and pay for quality hosting. See my post on Squarespace vs Wix vs WordPress, but the short answer is WORDPRESS and not the free version.
Sidebar: There is WordPress.org (the good one) and WordPress.com (the cheap knockoff). They try to confuse you that way, but the .com version is sort of a version with training wheels and has some definite limitations. WordPress.org is the gold standard and it’s what the majority of bloggers use. I know first-hand because I started with Blogger and then switched to WordPress and had to migrate over 800 posts, comments, and photos. Ugh.
And as for hosting, I STRONGLY recommend Siteground. They aren’t the cheapest and they aren’t the most expensive, but here’s why I like them. When I have a problem (which is rare), I can speak to a REAL PERSON within about 10 minutes. None of the other hosts I’ve heard of can provide that. I have four sites with them and I have renewed them for a 3 year period. That tells you how much I like them.
In any case, I strongly suggest that you stay AWAY from GoDaddy or Bluehost. They both have a TERRIBLE reputation and are a nightmare to deal with!
Best, but Cheap Newsletter Tools
Every blogger should have a Email list. I’ve used several providers over the years I’ve used Active Campaign, MailChimp, and MailerLite. I also needed to use Aweber for a client – ugh. Hated that one and I’m not a big fan of MailChimp. Because it’s mainly a free platform, I think it has a bad reputation and doesn’t have a great open rate.
MailerLite is the clear winner – hands down, especially for a tight budget. It’s not only one of the most affordable, (free up to 1,000 subscribers and just $10 up to 2,000) but it’s also the most feature rich and easiest to use. If you sign up using my link, I’ll be happy to set up a free Zoom call to show you around MailerLite and show you some of the things you can do with it.
I think this is definitely one of the blog tasks that new bloggers struggle with the most. If you decide you need help getting your newsletter or popups set up, just leave me a comment and I’m happy to help.
Free Security Tools for your Tight Budget
Security is no joke. I see hacker attempts on my site just about every day. I had one guy who was trying to crack my site 3-4 times a day for MONTHS. These people have nothing better to do than site around all day trying to take over people’s sites for their own purposes.
Check out my helpful post about WordPress security.
A combination of the free plugins Akismet, Updraft, and WordFence is the minimum I recommend, but there’s a lot more you can do. It’s worth spending a bit of time and money to protect your site. Check out my post above for more info.
This is another area where you really shouldn’t skimp. I see comments all the time asking where they can find free or cheap legal pages, which if you think carefully is kind of a silly idea. Bloggers get sued ALL_THE_TIME for all sorts of stuff. When the lawyers start getting into the game, do you really want legal protection that is sketchy? That doesn’t seem all that smart, does it??
Even though it costs a bit of money, investing in legal pages written by an actual lawyer is the smart thing to do. I use ones created by Amira Law, a lawyer who specializes in various aspects of internet legalities.
Bonus Tip: Free WordPress Course
One of the things I spend the most money on is courses. There are so many people selling courses and coaching. Some of it is wildly expensive, some of it is moderately priced, and some of it is free. For what it’s worth, here is my opinion – the price of the course is determined more by the marketing expertise of the individual rather than their actual knowledge.
If someone has had a reasonable amount of success and has some natural sales ability, it’s easy to slap a thousand dollar price tag on their course and call themselves a five-figure blogger or even a six-figure blogger. Just because they are able to put an irresistible sales pitch together doesn’t mean that they can guarantee YOUR success. And that also doesn’t mean that the lower priced or free courses aren’t worthwhile. So at least try the cheaper alternatives first before you slap down your hard earned money for a pricey course.
– cheap blogging tools cheap blogging tools cheap blogging tools –
Here are some other posts you might enjoy: