Starting a blog is a gateway to a number of eventual online goals, from building a business to generating an audience for your upcoming books and longer content. You may even use it as a pastime.
Even though there are many website builders that allow you to start a basic blog for free, if you want to get serious about blogging, you’ll need to make a serious investment; not only will you need to spend money on better design, better hosting, and possibly advertising to generate initial momentum, you’ll also need to invest hundreds of hours of time to make your blog successful.
While you’re struggling with debt, making these investments can seem impossible; you won’t have much capital to spare, and you’ll seem too busy working your normal job to find time to produce new content. However, there are some strategies you can use to start a blog cleanly—even while you’re in debt.
For starters, you’ll need to get yourself in a reasonable financial position, so you can dedicate more energy to building your blog:
- Consolidate your debt. Different sources of debt, like credit cards, offer different terms and interest rates. By consolidating your debts to a single source, you can simplify your debt payments (since you’ll only need to worry about one standing debt) and simultaneously lower your monthly payments. There’s much to learn about credit card consolidation, however, so make sure you do your research before you pull the trigger.
- Establish a budget. Once your debts have been made more manageable, you’ll need to establish a strict budget for your life. Understand exactly how much money you make and exactly what your expenses are, and try to limit your expenses as much as possible. If you’ve never created a personal budget before and don’t know where to start, consider downloading a budgeting app like Mint or GoodBudget — they’ll help you analyze your current spending habits, and may be able to make recommendations on what to change.
- Secure a steady stream of income. Finally, you’ll need a steady stream of income to help you lock down that budget—and allow you to spend more time focusing on your blog. If you already work full-time, you’ll be mostly set here; otherwise, consider looking for a better-paying job, or one that can give you more consistent hours.
Build Your Blog Frugally
Once your personal finances have been stabilized, you can start working on your blog—and you’ll need to do so as frugally as possible so you can pay your debts off quicker.
- Pick the right website builder. There are many solid website builders to choose from, including standards like WordPress and Wix. However, each will come with different advantages and disadvantages, and will charge for different services at different rates (such as premium templates or higher-quality hosting services). Compare and contrast different providers based on what your needs are, and choose the one that best fits your blog.
- Invest in time instead of money. Early in your blog development, you won’t have much money to invest in infrastructure, so invest your time instead. For example, instead of spending money on a higher-quality site design, you could invest some time learning the basics of web design and altering a free template that already exists.
- Schedule small chunks of time to fit blogging into your schedule. Once something is on your calendar, you’ll be more likely to follow through with it. If your schedule is very busy, it will be easier to schedule short chunks of time—such as 10 minutes instead of an hour. Combining these strategies, schedule short chunks of time, every day if you can, to work on your blog. Eventually, your efforts will stack, and your website will start to take shape.
- Rely on free methods of promotion. Even if you have the best blog in the world, it won’t be able to be successful unless people are able to discover it. One of the fastest shortcuts to higher visibility is paid advertising, but instead of spending your budget on ads, you can rely on free promotional methods—such as social media marketing and guest posting on other publications—to spread the word about your blog and build that initial following.
Just because you’re strapped with debt doesn’t mean you can’t afford to build a website; it just means you’ll have a few extra hurdles to overcome in the process. Follow these steps, and you’ll have the foundation for a successful blog—and what comes after that is up to you.
Keep producing great content consistently, reward your readers for their loyalty, and there’s no upper limit to what you’ll be able to achieve.