By Jerry Mooney

Since its inception, zenruption has been about great content but also run like a business. We have some great writers, stumble forward with new ideas and try to cover topics that resonate with our readers. Still, financials are tracked every month to see how the site is performing. It costs money to blog, host and promote a website but keeping costs low is incredibly important to a well performing business.

 Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

One cost to be avoided is monthly subscription costs. Using Microsoft Products, Adobe software, Corel, website hosting, stock image websites, etc., all can eat into your profits. zenruption has almost zero subscription costs as we search for the most cost-effective ways to do everything. Obviously, as zenruption grows ever larger, new initiatives come along and costs increase but there is no shame in being cheap and creative.

As a blatant plug, our book Do What We Did, also talks about ways to keep costs next to nothing while making money from your own blogging company. A well run, small blog can have monthly costs below $35 a month using a few of these resources. The business can be great when one has a company that has less than 3 tenths of a percent in expenditures.

Here are 10 online resources we strongly recommend:

Stock Photos

Photos can be one of the biggest expenses of blogging. Sure, you can write without including images but engagement will suffer. In a visual society, you must create any draw and look of professionalism you can. Luckily, tons of free stock photo websites exist. Many of them want to eventually get you into a monthly subscription but finding and saving great photos that can be reused saves money.

This Hubspot list provides a full 20 free stock photos websites. Chances are you’ll find some great stuff. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/free-stock-photos#sm.00001n52wyl73pe3xqths4sm9asyr

Deposit Photos will even send you 20 free images weekly. Sign up!

Flickr is also a great resource. 

Microsoft Office Replacement

Office is great but has either monthly or yearly subscription fees and products you’ll probably never use or use very little. When do you plan on needing an Access database? Is Microsoft Outlook really necessary in the age of online email and smart phones?

Skip Office and go straight to free Google Docs. Google Docs has the spreadsheet and word processing solution for almost everyone. You can easily save everything in your free Google Drive and use the free mobile apps on the go. Have a great idea for an article? Use your smart phone while out and about. Better yet, it is fully compatible with Microsoft Office formats.

There is no reason to pay for Office.

Email

At zenruption, we use custom email addresses to match our domain. It hasn’t always been this way. Custom email costs $5 a month with Gmail, unless you are in a bulk plan. A couple broke guys starting out worked just fine with a free gmail account. Yourdomain @ gmail is perfectly fine for a small blog. Save your money.

Making a Logo

A great logo for a blog doesn’t have to be hard or custom designed. Both Corel and Adobe offer free one-month trials of their design products. zenruption’s logo was made with a free one-month trial of Adobe Illustrator. It was the only real use we had for that product. Our graffiti photos were cropped with the free one-month trial of Adobe Photoshop, but numerous free basic photo editing software solutions are all over the Internet.

While not free, FIVERR is awesome. People all over the world will do a logo design for $5 - $10 and do a great job. This is the perfect go to if you are intimidated by design software which can be overwhelming.

Get Some Great Ideas

At a lack for new article ideas? Most people don’t know that there are free blog title and content idea generators online. While we have never used them for zenruption, because we are freaks like that, this are an awesome tool in a pinch.

Hubspot, SEOPresser and FatJoe, all have these resources for free. Try them out.

There are so many ways to find hacks to keep your blog site with minimal expenses. In fact, done right, a blog site can be one of the most low-cost businesses anyone can own with the largest monthly expense being the hosting payment. The zenruption crew is always on the lookout for ways to do things for less.

Here’s to happy blogging and happy profits!