Most bloggers are a frugal bunch, but especially those in the personal finance niche. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know a lot of these PF bloggers over the past couple years and they’ve taught me a few things about keeping costs down.
Here’s a collection of little known tricks used by professional bloggers to reduce their blogging expenses. Try these out for yourself and if you have other tips of your own, please add them in the comments.
- Share a hosting account with a fellow blogger. As your traffic grows, hosting can get very expensive (ranging from $200-$1000/month). So consider teaming up with another blogger and splitting the hosting costs for your blogs. Even if you’re just starting out, basic shared hosting plans will cost at least $100/year. Since most hosting plans offer unlimited domains, why not split the cost with a blogging buddy? Just make sure you trust each other and agree in advance how to handle things if one person wants to stop blogging or needs to scale up to a more expensive plan.
- Buy the developers license for a premium theme. Free themes are good at first, but you’ll soon realize the benefits of paying a little extra for a premium theme. And if you start with one up front, you’ll save yourself the headache of switching themes down the line. Bloggers that run multiple sites will often buy the developer’s license that allows you to install a theme on an unlimited number of blogs. Premium themes like Thesis (which I use) cost $87 for one blog, but $164 for unlimited. So if you build more than one blog you start saving money. By the way, reusing a theme doesn’t mean your blogs will look identical. Most premium themes are completely customizable. For example, my blog runs on Thesis and so does this one and this one (and of course they look nothing alike).
- Ask for free books. Instead of buying ebooks or hardcover books to research a topic, send the author an email and offer to do a review on your site. Many times you can not only request a free book for yourself, but you can get a few extra copies to giveaway to your readers in a contest. After a while, the offers may start coming to you without you even having to ask.
- Find free images or take your own photos instead of paying for stock photos.
- Use free email list management tools like Feedburner or MailChimp (while your email list is relatively small).
- Use the free Google Keyword tool for keyword research instead of expensive programs like Market Samurai and Traffic Travis.
- Use your own affiliate codes. If you do any affiliate marketing, drink some of your own Kool-Aid and try out some of the services you are promoting the next time you need one and earn a commission at the same time. Keep in mind that not all affiliate programs allow this, but some do so read your T&C.
- Build your own backlinks. Become active on social media sites and write your own guest posts rather than paying someone to create backlinks for you.
- Instead of hiring a staff writer, ask for guest posts or build a community of contributors to write for your site.
- Trade services instead of paying for them. If you’re a skilled writer, offer to do some staff writing in exchange for technical help. If you’re good with graphic design, offer to do a logo in exchange for ad services.
- Invest some of your earnings back into your blog. Use some of that ad revenue to pay an affordable web designer to redesign your theme with a more professional look. Money you put back into the blog can usually be used to reduce your taxable income.
- Use your home office as a tax deduction. If you have a dedicated space in your house used for blogging work, you may be able to write off a portion of your home expenses as a tax deduction against blogging revenue.
- Piggy back your vacation on a trip to a blogging conference. Again, you may be able to write some or all of the trip off on your taxes (just check with your accountant before deducting any blogging expenses).
- Develop relationships with other bloggers that you can go to with questions. You’d be surprised how many expensive and time consuming mistakes happen as you learn the in’s and out’s of blogging. Time is money and you can save both if you have a few good resources to ask about social media, seo, keyword research, drop shipping, financial planning, taxes, and monetization.
Got any other tips to reduce blogging expenses?