Blogging as a business takes money. But after you’ve paid for domain registration and site hosting, you can get much of what you need to succeed for free. Tap these resources to control your costs on your path to profitability.
1. Free Plug-ins
You’ve likely heard, “There’s an app for that,” referencing various solutions to a myriad of problems. Almost as often, there is a free plug-in to automate a task for greater efficiency.
For example, you can find apps to facilitate social media sharing of your articles, create forms to gather information, and automatically recommend related posts to your readers.
Some apps are better than others in terms of integrating with your blog or website and consistently delivering the results you expect. But if you are just getting started and need some free help, search for free plug-ins on a topic of your choice and you are likely to find what you need.
2. Free Photos
Photographs that accompany a blog post are great for piquing interest among your readers, setting a mood, and depicting a concept succinctly. Fortunately, you can find free images in many places, starting with photos you’ve taken that now reside on your iPhone or Android device.
Review licensing requirements before you post photos on your blog. First, make sure the creator/owner of the image allows commercial use without financial compensation; second, provide attribution as stipulated; finally, follow any other rules mentioned in the terms of service or agreement.
Note that you are generally free to use your own photos, unless you have taken snapshots of copyrighted material (like corporate logos or a movie poster).
3. Free Expert Advice
Participating in private online forums is a great ways to get expert advice for free.
As a member of the closed FinCon attendee Facebook group, for example, you can easily lurk and soak up useful information. In addition, you can ask questions and receive well-developed insights based on personal experiences from a variety of sources.
Topics may include editorial calendar development, changes in Google algorithms, and technical troubleshooting. Participants often discuss pros and cons of specific vendors, tools, and work methods, helping you make an informed decision and often saving you money and headaches as a result.
4. Free Research
The best places to research complex topics are primary sources of information, kept up to date with the latest regulatory changes.
Whenever I write about taxes, for example, I like to uncover and confirm facts at IRS.gov. I can learn whether reinvested dividends are subject to income tax or pinpoint eligibility guidelines associated with funding a Roth IRA.
Other sites that are helpful in doing research include sec.gov and investor.gov (investing); consumer.ftc.gov (personal finance); and direct.ed.gov (student loans). I also like nolo.com for clarification on legal issues.
You don’t have to hire outside expertise to get programming code or uncover facts about a specific scenario. Use free resources available at your fingertips.
Julie Rains is a freelance writer/blogger. She writes about personal finance, fitness, and transformation at Working To Live Differently. Julie is also a senior writer for Wise Bread and a co-author of 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget.