Everyone knows that hosting your blog can be a costly affair, and the question of cost arises in every new blogger’s mind. How much is it going to cost to Set Up a Budget Friendly Self Hosted WordPress Blog?
There is no upper limit when it comes to blog investment, and in this guide I will share the minimum amount you need to spend to create a professional blog which you can proudly share with world, and make money from it.
How Much Does It Cost To Set Up a Budget Friendly Self Hosted WordPress Blog?
A lot of people have asked me to publish a comprehensive guide to Set Up a Budget Friendly Self Hosted WordPress Blog on a custom domain name. I have helped many people setup blogs. But surprisingly I never wrote an article about it, until now. Better late than never.
This simple tutorial will walk you through the steps of setting up a self hosted WordPress blog for a minimal cost.
01. Domain & Web Hosting: Cost – $24
This is where your blog will “live.” This is a server in the cloud (i.e., a remote computer), where you will rent space to install the WordPress software and manage your blog. It’s far easier than it sounds. Stay with me.
There are a hundreds of hosting services available—perhaps thousands. However, based on my experience and research, I recommend iPage.
I believe it is the best option for most people for the following six reasons:
Affordability. iPage is #1 budget hosting choice which, offers a free domain name. iPage hosting offers what most other shared hosting providers offer (in term of both quality and features), but it is 76% to 450% cheaper than the others. (about $1.99 per month)
Support. iPage has great 24–7 support via phone, e-mail, or chat. I have personally used it several times and found the support staff to be quick, courteous, and knowledgeable.
Reliability. iPage is super reliable. It boasts an uptime average of 100%. That’s about as good as it gets.
Ease of Use. iPage is super easy-to-use. (following video will prove it).
WordPress. Interestingly, It hosts over 100,000+ WordPress blogs.
No Limits. iPage offers unlimited disk space, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited domains (i.e., you can host multiple blogs or sites on one account), and unlimited e-mail accounts.
By the way, iPage offers a thirty-day, money-back guarantee, which is written into their Terms of Service. I have personally tested this and got my money back within a few hours. So there’s really no risk on your part.
Watch the following video to learn how to install WordPress on iPage.
02. WordPress Theme: cost $0 to $249
From my experience, the toughest task is to choose the right theme for your site in terms of speed, price, and functionalities. There are many free WordPress themes, but they are missing some of the important aspects of premium WordPress themes.
But, I don’t recommend you use a free theme.
The differences between free and premium themes are in the backend. While both may look good to visitors, free themes don’t come with a technical support desk and are almost always ignored by their developers when they move onto other projects, leaving you with an outdated theme that will become more vulnerable to hackers and more prone to break over time.
If you are looking for a low-cost solution, I would suggest trying Elegant Themes.
ElegantThemes is owned by Nick Roach, an expert WordPress premium theme developer who has created all of the themes found on ElegantThemes.com.
Compared to most of the top premium WordPress theme providers like StudioPress, ElegantThemes offers the most economical prices on the market today. For $69 (personal Membership), you will get access to all themes plus updates, support, and future releases for one year.
For $89 (Developer membership), you have access to all themes, plus all plugins, plus updates, support, and future releases for one year. And in early 2013, Nick offered a very reasonably priced lifetime option for the one time cost of $249 (Lifetime membership) that includes all themes, all plugins, plus all future themes and plugins, support, and updates without any further charges.
With that said, for just $69, you can get ALL of the themes developed by ElegantThemes until your membership expires — in this case 87 themes and future releases. No where else in WordPress can you get so many premium themes for such a low price.
Divi is the smartest, most flexible WordPress theme of ElegantThemes.
The Developer and Lifetime Access plans include access to all current and future themes and plugins from Elegant Themes.
Watch the following video to learn how to working with drag and drop Divi WordPress Theme.
03. WordPress plugins: Zero Cost
One of the major benefits of WordPress is its great list of free plugins, many of which can be found at the WordPress plugin repo. There are also many plugins that are available at varying costs.
Technically, as a new blogger wanting to start your blog with minimal investment, you may not need any premium services or plugins.
But if you have subscribed ElegantThemes Developer membership which costs about $89, you have two premium plugins:
Rember to use them.
A Basic Set of WordPress Plugins
Site performance: I recommend installing WPSuperCache to maximize the speed at which your blog’s pages load for a visitor. Consider it fine-tuning for your blog’s engine; knowing the technical details at this point won’t make you a better blogger but your blog won’t annoy your visitors.
Social sharing: Dozens of social sharing plugins are available for WordPress. I like the free Digg Digg plugin because it floats on the side of the screen and follows the reader up or down the page as they read, so it’s always visible.
Analytics: Be sure to get some form of tracking or analytics code on your blog from the start. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP is free and easy to install. This Google Analytics for WordPress plugin enables you to track your site using the latest Google Analytics tracking code and allows you to view key Google Analytics reports in your WordPress install.
SEO: The degree of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you need to implement generates intense debate among bloggers. For beginners, I recommend the Yoast SEO plugin to optimize the content on your site.
Back Up Your Site: Don’t tempt fate. Install a backup plugin. I use BackWPup and back up to our server, but you can back up to a DropBox or Amazon S3 account automatically.
04. Establish an Email List: Zero Cost
Building your email list should be your primary focus as a blogger from the day you start. Relying on RSS or other email collection programs to maintain your list is foolish. You should aim to collect emails from Day One, or earlier.
I recommend you start with the free version of MailChimp. It has a clean, easy-to-use dashboard and you can not only create multiple lists but also create segments of lists as well.
Mailchimp free version allows you to send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers monthly.
Their premium version allows you to create a series of autoresponder emails that will be sent out automatically when a visitor signs up to your list.
05. Install Google Analytics and Configure Webmaster Tools
Setting up Google Analytics and configuring Google Webmaster tools are a part of your blog setup. Without Google Analytics, you wouldn’t know who visits your websites. from where they come, how long they stay, what pages they visit, how quickly they leave your site and so on.
There are many other website analytics tools available but Google Analytics is what I recommend and what the industry recommends.
First, you have to create an account in Google Analytics. The steps are pretty simple and straight forward. Once your account is created you will get a code with a unique identifier like UA-XXXX. You have to include the code on every page on your website so that Google Analytics can collect data from your website.
And yeah, there is a WordPress plugin available for that too. It is called ‘Ultimate Google Analytics’. Some WordPress themes come with in-built functionality to include Google Analytics code and in such cases you need not install a plugin.
Google Webmaster Tools: Google Analytics helps you find out what happens on your website once people visit it. But Webmaster tools helps you find out what is happening outside of your website.
Mostly, webmaster tools has to do with the Google search engine. This is something you cannot ignore because Google has the largest share in the search engine market and you will get a lot of visitors from Google organic search.
Now let’s figure out the minimum cost for a Budget Friendly Self Hosted WordPress Blog where you will be doing everything on your own:
- Basic setup with free theme: $24
- Basic setup with ElegantThemes Personal Membership: $93
- Professional setup with ElegantThemes Developer Membership: $113
As a new blogger, one can also consider using a basic setup with a premium WordPress theme.
Let me know if you have any other questions regarding the setting up Budget Friendly Self Hosted WordPress Blog!
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