Many people think setting up a new blog will cost them hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. While that can be the case, there are much cheaper options. I set up this blog over the weekend for just $33.
Before I explain the setup, there are a few things you should know
When I create new blogs and websites, I aim to spend as little as possible. Some will work and some will fail, so there’s no point in spending a lot of money upfront to get the perfect site with the perfect logo.
What I prefer to do is build a site that’s good enough. Then I start adding content and see how much traffic I get. If the traffic is too low, I can just dump the site easily.
If the site gets traction and starts earning money, I can pay to upgrade the site if I think that will help.
So, don’t expect my site to be perfect. It’s not. And it’s not meant to be.
Why have I built this site?
I’ve been writing on Medium for the last year, but at the moment it feels like a dying platform. The majority of my posts have earned $0 this month. Out of 419 posts, only 135 have earned any money this month. Many only earned $0.01.
That means that I have almost 284 posts just sitting there, wasted. Earning nothing.
Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be transferring many of these posts to this site. This should give them a new lease of life.
Building a valuable asset
Building my own site also means I’m building a potentially valuable asset. Websites and blogs that earn money can be sold for around 30-50 times their monthly profit.
If this blog earns me $100 a month, I could sell it for $3,000 to $5,000.
If it earns $1,000 a month, it could be worth $30,000 to $50,000. I had a travel blog that earned $1,000 a month that I sold for $25,000. Prices have risen since then.
Buyers are queueing up to buy sites that earn money every month. They offer an excellent return for investors.
Building the site
To get started with your own blog or website, you generally need three things.
- A domain name.
- Hosting – the site needs to be hosted on servers so that the general public can access it.
- A website – for most people, this will be a WordPress site.
Here are the services that I used
I usually buy my domain names from Namecheap.com. I’ve used them for years and have always had great support when needed. Their prices are very reasonable. A domain generally costs around $10.
I just checked the current prices and they show as $9.58 for the first year for a .com domain. Renewals will cost $13.98 a year. If you’re new to Namecheap, you can use discount code NEWCOM698 to get the domain for $6.98.
For the hosting, I chose Bluehost. Their current best offer is $2.95 a month. You have to pay for the first year in advance though, which makes the price $35.40 for the year.
This is the offer I chose. I then clicked around and a pop-up window showed a reduced price of $2.75 a month if I bought it right away, which I did.
That means I paid just $33 for a year’s hosting. You should note that this is shared hosting. After the first year, the cost will rise to $9.95 a month. Hopefully, your site will be earning enough by then to justify the cost. You’re free to move the hosting and find another starter offer if you prefer.
This Bluehost offer includes a free domain name. I didn’t take up that part of the offer, as I prefer to keep my domain names with different companies than those I host with. I’ve heard too many horror stories of people wanting to change hosting companies but having a problem with accessing their domains. These are general stories and not specifically related to Bluehost.
The above is an affiliate link and I’ll be compensated if you buy hosting via this link.
I am recommending them because I use them myself.
Once you have your domain and hosting set up, Bluehost will automatically set up a WordPress site for you. They offer a few basic themes, but I didn’t like any of them. You can use them if they suit you, but it’s easy to find and install a different theme.
I used a free WP theme from ColorMag from ThemeGrill.
I’ve found the theme fairly easy to use and think it looks pretty good for a free theme. There’s also a Pro version that has more features.
Whether you use a free or premium (paid) theme is up to you, but as I mentioned above, there’s no need to go spending money on a premium theme right away. You can easily upgrade later.
Once you’ve chosen your WP theme, you need to install it onto your WordPress site. This is very straightforward.
After that, it will need some customizing. This can be a bit of a learning curve if you’ve never used WordPress. I’ll write another post that shows how I got my set up.
One thing I’d suggest before customizing the theme is writing a few blog posts. Or just copy posts you already have on Medium. This will make the customization easier. If you don’t have any posts or if you just have one, the site won’t look good and it will be difficult, or impossible, to see what’s going on.
I would suggest one post for each of your categories. As you can see from the top menu on my site, I have seven main categories. I may add more later though.