14 Pro Blogger Tricks You Should Use To Reduce Your Blogging Expenses

Pro blogger tips to save money blogging

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Find free images or take your own photos instead of paying for stock photos.
  5. Use free email list management tools like Feedburner or MailChimp (while your email list is relatively small).
  6. Use the free Google Keyword tool for keyword research instead of expensive programs like Market Samurai and Traffic Travis.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Instead of hiring a staff writer, ask for guest posts or build a community of contributors to write for your site.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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).
  14. 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, seokeyword research, drop shipping, financial planning, taxes, and monetization.

Got any other tips to reduce blogging expenses?

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14 comments on 14 Pro Blogger Tricks You Should Use To Reduce Your Blogging Expenses

Jeffrey February 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Great list of ideas! I’m not so good at following these, but I’ll definitely work on it (although I do have a developer’s license for Headway, and it’s worth every penny!)

One thing: I don’t think Aweber is ever free. I think it’s $1 the first month, then $19+ after that. I could be wrong, but I’ve considered switching to Mail Chimp for that reason.

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ddiy February 3, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Hey Jeffrey, looks like you are right, Aweber is not free, oops! I thought they had the same model as MailChimp, but I guess not, I’ll have to remove that, thanks! I’ve heard Headway is a good alternative to Thesis, but have never tried it myself. Forest also swears by WooThemes premium themes as another alternative.

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Marissa @ Thirtsyixmonths February 3, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Great list.
I have Mailchimp and the only thing that the free version doesn’t offer is autoresponders.

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ddiy February 3, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Good to know Marissa.

I actually still use Feedburner myself. Mainly because the only emails I currently send out are new posts. At some point I may consider sending separate emails to my list (and then I’d probably start using MailChimp), but until then Feedburner is sufficient for the little email activity I have.

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Juan February 4, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Learning to effectively us social media to drive traffic can be an effective way to get those first page views, but it can certainly eat up alot of time and resources.

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ddiy February 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Hi Juan, You’re right, you definitely have to learn how to effectively focus social media efforts, otherwise it’s easy to burn up a lot of time/expense.

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Michael February 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm

The local public library may have some surprisingly current resources so checking with them saves having to buy.

Thanks for the tip of buying a developer’s license–I’m just starting to build multiple sites, so that was valuable!

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ddiy February 8, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Michael, Yeah, not many people consider the developer’s license until they start building their second site. Although for Thesis in particular, they do allow you to upgrade to the developer’s license later for the same total cost which is nice.

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retirebyforty February 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Nice tips! I’ll have to think about sharing a VSP with a fellow blogger.
I got a developer’s license for my theme too. It’s a good buy.

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ddiy February 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Thanks Joe. I know a few big timers (some of the guys linked above) that share both the cost of hosting and the effort to do security stuff. Makes a lot of sense.

And yeah, you’re another great example of a good Thesis layout!

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Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter February 13, 2012 at 10:17 am

Thank you so much for posting this. I am always trying to find ways to improve the blog and how I operate it. We are actually looking into to what I can write off for tax time. Hopefully I can get a bit of a break. Great idea on the vacation overlap too.

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ddiy February 13, 2012 at 10:57 am

Hey Miss T, As you well know, a dollar saved is much better than a dollar earned….because you don’t have to pay taxes on it!

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youngandthrifty February 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Great tips! Learned a lot from this post- thanks!

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Jai Catalano February 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm

You can also ask photographers like myself for images. :)

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