Throughout this post, there are links to various blogging resources that I highly recommend, and have personally used in the past, or I’m currently using in my blogging world.

***Below are affiliate links, which means when you click on a link, it will take you to the affiliate site where you can read about the product, and if you make a purchase using any of the links, I will make a little bit of money from the sale. However your price remains the same and I only promote products that I highly recommend. See my full disclosure here.

I’ve had a few things on my mind lately. One in particular is that I want to answer a few questions about how I started my blog, how I decided what to use my money on first, how much I spent, and other such blogging questions.  As you may already know the Lord put blogging in my spirit back in 2015, so I’ve had quite a bit of time to research some things out for myself before I ever took my first step.

As you might also know, (because I mentioned it in my 5 Reasons I Chose to Blog post), finances have always been a consideration and a limitation in doing just about anything.

So, when I finally decided to take the leap and just do it, I had to figure out how to make it fit into our budget. I’m not going to lie about it and say it was no big deal, because the fact is, it was a very big deal. I needed to do it as I could afford it. I’m still very new at this and I’m still learning new things all the time and that will probably continue for a long while, considering technology is always growing and changing.

 

Start a blog, blogging, how to start a blog

 

Here are the 10 Steps I took, what it cost me, and how long it took me to get it going.

It’s all my truth.

 

 

1. Sometime in early 2015, God told me to start a blog…

I actually started a free site on Wix, without my own purchased domain name, because I was cheap like that… well, and honestly had no clue what I was doing. They also have great pricing options for sites if you are looking for something more professional too. My intention was to slowly build my counseling business as a means of referral. After I built the “drag and drop” site, I realized people didn’t find it that easily because, well, it’s hard to find on a free site without SEO being managed. At the time, I had NO IDEA what SEO was about. (Maybe you don’t either right now… and that’s okay. Don’t let it intimidate you.) My Wix site looked pretty though, and I had 2 or 3 posts along with all my counseling services and such listed. I think I had a few visitors, which was likely my Mom. Haha! I spent $0 on it.

Another option with a variety of pricing plans is Weebly, which also have a free option. I have used them when making my husband a website for his business during the same time frame. He chose it, so I went with it. They are drag and drop too and very easy to use. You can also search for domain names with them too. (It’s okay if you skip this step.

2. In mid to late 2015, I got serious about it.

I mean REALLY serious. I went out on a limb and bought my domain name on Go Daddy, SincerelyChristi.com, but had no clue what to do with it. I mean, I knew I should get hosting or quite possibly attach it to my Wix website but as for the details of how to do that; I had NO CLUE. I spent a whopping $16 for 2 years. I got overwhelmed after a few weeks of trying to research what to do, got really busy in the counseling business and quit. Yep! Winner, huh?

3. By early 2016, I knew without a doubt God was prompting me again.

Yes, again. Well, I guess he never really stopped. I just ignored Him. I admit it. I did. By January, it was time to get back on track with the Lord. New Year’s reset. A new opportunity to do it right. So, I decided to work on something else to get me clear on my plan. Yep. I created a business plan for SincerelyChristi.com with goals, vision, short-term and long-term plans and how it could grow. It took me several weeks to tweak it and get it right. $0 Do you sense a pattern yet?

4. Guess what’s next? I stopped. Again.

Why? Fear. Hands down. I could see what the Lord wanted me to do. I had the vision for it. The reality is that I knew the very first item on my agenda was to write the story about the loss of our firstborn son, Joshua Caleb. You can read that series here. I had been fighting that one for many, many years. I was afraid nobody would see it the way we did. I was afraid nobody would read it. I was afraid that my writing wasn’t good enough. I was afraid that my story wasn’t finished and I wasn’t sure how to end it. I was afraid of so. Many. Things. Insecurities. Big time. I fought God on it. Yep. I admit it. Have you read any stories in the Bible where someone fought God and won? Yeah. Neither have I. I lost. Over the course of 2016, my counseling appointments began dwindling. Now let’s talk about insecurities. Satan had me second-guessing myself so much 2016. The reality is that my clients were terminating because they were doing better! I was the “newer kid on the block” at my office and yet other counselors were coming to me for my input in their client sessions! I didn’t pay attention much to that, except it was finally pointed out to me at one point by one such counselor as he rolled his eyes at me… “Christi, stop second-guessing yourself. There’s a reason I come to you.” I get it. Then it clicked in me that Satan was attempting to stop me, and God was allowing me to become uncomfortable for a reason. I was in the wrong. I was walking out disobedience and I knew it. (Yeah…you can skip this step too.)

5. Now it’s January 2017, and once again, I’m ready to go.

I still had my domain name from Go Daddy, but it was about to expire. I renewed it. I paid $16 for a year.

6. Now I really started researching other successful bloggers and reading their blogs.

I began reading a lot of how-to blogs to understand all of the different components. For instance, I had to figure out the difference between using Blogger or WordPress. I researched various hosting sites. I had to learn what people were talking about when they said they picked a theme. Etc. I didn’t have any money after I bought my domain name because… Christmas was the month before. You follow me? Haha! So research didn’t cost me anything and I learned a lot. After seeing so many great reviews through research, and of course, going over what they offered, I decided on Siteground for hosting, but needed to save for it. $0

7. In February, I couldn’t afford to get hosting… again.

But, I was committed in a different way. I knew my steps were being ordered by the Lord and that meant He would make a way where there seems to be no way. I researched more and I started writing blog posts. These were my very first posts: How to Create a Meaningful Blog Name in 7 Easy Steps, 5 Reasons I Chose to Blog, and Are You Looking for Your Purpose? I am. I also wrote my About Me, and Disclosure Pages. I used this time to create my Gmail account (imsincerelychristi@gmail.com) and set up Facebook and Pinterest for SincerelyChristi, (on a side note, I love my readers, so please consider clicking on those last couple of links and following me). I also began joining several  Facebook Groups for blogging, which helped me learn so much more. I spent $0 during this time too.

8. By the end of March 2017, the Lord had blessed me with some extra work so I was able to splurge and pay for my SiteGround hosting for 1 year.

They actually have great plans that start at $3.95 per month, which is sufficient just starting out and then you could upgrade any time you want!! I got the GrowBig plan because I planned on making a business through my blog, and I was contemplating the option to create another website as a more professional website with my name. The jury is still out if I will ever do that. But, it’s an option. I spent a total of $71.40 for it. I also bought my very first blogging course by Suzi Whitford, Blog By Number Course + E-book for $47. She is a stay-at-home mom that started her blog and was able to go from $0 to 11,000+ per month (YES, PER MONTH) within a year. Her more recent income reports are in excess of $39,000 per month.

Now, I will say, that isn’t typical although there are a lot of bloggers out there earning nice incomes from blogging and affiliate marketing. She worked really hard to get there and that wasn’t necessarily my expectation when I purchased her course. What drew me to her course was that she was successful and she was clearly doing something right, and her course was within my budget while a lot of other courses I found were not. I will say that I learned a whole lot from that course to get me set up quickly. At this point, she has a lot of other blogging courses that she has created, as well as some really great free resources as well.  One thing I really liked about her was that she simplified everything, just like a paint-by-number. Total invested this month was $118.40.

9. By the last day in March, I began loading my already written posts on and setting up my pages but I wasn’t pleased with how my site looked.

It didn’t look bad, but it didn’t look really great either. I was using WordPress with a FREE theme ($0) with my Siteground hosting, but I was struggling to get it to look good. When I had made the Wix website it was drag and drop, but with WordPress, you can’t just drag and drop. There is code you have to learn to put in to make it look right. I was driving myself crazy for several weeks here.

10. In April, I bought my logo on Etsy for only $15 (and I still Love it) and upgraded my theme!

By this time I had driven myself crazy for far too long. I was getting frustrated with how my site looked and now that I had my new logo, I couldn’t figure out how to make it look right in the header. I had learned about the Divi theme by Elegantthemes.com, in Suzi’s course, Blog By Number, and was dreaming of an easier way to make my site look more professional. One day I just happened upon a coupon code for it, and just absolutely splurged the $70. It was exactly what I needed. It’s drag and drop saved my sanity!! I tweaked my web-site and within a few hours had it looking exactly how I had imagined. WORTH EVERY PENNY to me! A few considerations to consider though is that it is a yearly subscription at that price. However, they do offer a lifetime package. Also, I have read that it’s very challenging to change to a new theme from Divi so do your research. As far as that goes, I really don’t care because the Divi theme is so flexible that I can make any page look any way I want it to. I don’t imagine that I will be wanting to change anytime soon. One thing I do along the way though is that I write all of my posts in a Word document and keep them organized just in case I ever want to change in the future. After I post it, I also copy and paste every post including pictures just as a back-up. Total amount spent April was $85.

These are all links to blogging resources that I highly recommend are linked below.

***Below are affiliate links, which means when you click on a picture, the link will take you to the affiliate’s website where you can read about the product, and if you make a purchase using any of the links, I will make a little bit of money. However your price remains the same and I only promote products that I highly recommend. See my full disclosure here.

Web Hosting
Wix Image
Tailwind Visual Marketing Suite

Just a little something to ponder …

To recap, this was an incredibly LOOOOOOOONG process for me to work up the courage to create my blog, but I did it for under $220 total spent over 4 months, once I got more serious about it. How else do you start a business for so little? One final point I want to add is that I did eventually add a company that is approved by Pinterest for pinning, Tailwind. I only added Tailwind about 2 months ago because I was spending so much time pinning, that I was feeling overwhelmed and needed to focus on other things. I am starting to see more traffic coming my way, and I believe it has a lot to do with the consistency in pinning that Tailwind helps me with. I’ll give you an update later about that.

Oh… and one other point. There are a lot of important details I left out, so there will be other blogging posts to come with more details. I promise. Of course, I’m sure you know that. I mean, I didn’t even tell you to pick your color scheme or anything like that!! Haha!! 🙂

Now I want to challenge you a little bit. Do you have a story to tell? Has God been prompting you to start your own blog? I believe He’s given us each our own story, but it’s not for us to keep. I think, in time, He gives us all opportunities to share with others in various forms. Maybe it’s through a conversation. Maybe it’s through how we live. Maybe it’s in writing a book. Maybe it’s in a blog.

Whatever the way He has shown you to tell your story, I challenge you to do it. Don’t waste time. We don’t have time on our side anymore as the world looks different every single day. We need each other’s stories so it builds us up, so we can learn from one another, and grow our faith. My blog holds my business, but it’s very much so my ministry too. I would compel you to trust the one who created you. Step past your fear. If He is leading you, then JUMP! He’s waiting on you. Click on one of the links above and get started.

 

Sincerely, Christi

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