How I Blog Without Spending Any Money! // Free Resources That Helped Me & My Experience

One of my biggest misconceptions as a newbie blogger was that I had to spend money to be successful.

Even years after I started blogging, when I decided I was going to start taking it seriously, I constantly questioned whether or not I should be spending money on different parts of my blog- did I need my own domain name? Could I get a better theme if I spent money? How would I ever find fonts and graphics I liked without spending money?

And the biggest question of all: how was I going to be successful without spending money amidst so many other bloggers who did spend money?

I can truthfully say that five years of blogging later (three of those years were ones where I was seriously blogging), I have never spent a cent on my blog. Have I spent huge amounts of time, love, and (at times) tears? Yes, definitely. But never have I spent physical money.

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In this post, I’m going to talk about how you can blog without spending money, share some of the resources that have helped me do this through the years, and just overall outline my experience. My hope is that this can help anyone who is on the fence about whether or not they’d like to invest in their blog make the decision for what works best for them. Plus, I would love to hear about the experiences of any other bloggers out there and talk to people who both have and haven’t invested financially in their blogs.

As a disclaimer before I get started, I wanted to clarify that this is a chance for me to talk about my personal experiences and help others in my situation, not belittle anyone who does spend money on their blog. I personally see nothing wrong at all with investing in your blog- in fact, I often wish I could, as I’ll talk about later.

All right, now let’s get into the post!

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To start off, I want to talk about my experience as a book blogger. I have a fairly typical story, as far as finding blogging and growing with my blog is concerned, but it really shaped my decision to not invest money in my blog.

I first began blogging about five and a half years ago, and back then, I didn’t know anything about design, engagement, interaction, niches…nothing. It was purely for fun, so of course I wasn’t thinking about investing money in it. Not that I had any money at the time anyway?

When I started to take blogging more seriously, which probably happened around 2017, I learned all the things that I hadn’t known before, and blogging became even more enjoyable because now I was getting a response from people and I loved that.

That’s when I realized blogging was something I wanted to do for a long time, and when I started trying to create a blog design I loved and find fonts and graphics and themes, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do it for free. As a high school student (then and now), investing money into my blog just isn’t feasible. A lack of money is my reason for not investing in my blog, but some other reasons could be~

  • Lack of time to dedicate to your blog (would the money spent be worth it?)
  • If you tend to move from hobby to hobby quickly
  • Not being super passionate about blogging (maybe you’re more into sharing your content on another platform, like Instagram or Twitter)

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After coming to the conclusion that I would be blogging without investing any money whatsoever, I had to figure out how to do that. I remember spending tons of time reading articles about free resources to use! I wish I could recall which ones I looked at so I could link them here, but that was so long ago, I couldn’t tell you anymore.

It quickly became obvious to me that free!! design!! options!! existed!! And this opened so many doors and is something I hope everyone knows. A few of my favorites that I use all the time include~

  • Angie Makes– This website isn’t entirely full of free graphics, but there is a handy section at the top that says “blog,” and if you hover over it you’re taken to “freebies”- and the graphics included there are gorgeous and FREE. There are tons of watercolor backgrounds (which I have on my blog), flowers, icons, etc. The thing that’s great about these is that you can change the color of them in design websites, so even if it doesn’t initially fit with your blog scheme, you can alter it (also for free).

Free Girly Graphics

  • The Hungry Jpeg– This is definitely the spot to go for all your font needs. Yes, there are options that cost money, so it’s important to be careful to look at what you’re downloading, but there are SO many good and free options too! All the fonts I’ve used for headers and buttons over the years have been downloaded for free from here. Again, you just go to the freebie section and explore all the options.

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 11.32.32 AM.pngThis is just an example of the awesome fonts you can find on this website. Sometimes you’ll have to sign up for a newsletter or something to unlock a font, but it’s beyond worth it to get the free resources.

  • Unsplash– This is my go-to resource for all the photos I use in my featured images. It’s a gigantic library of really awesome photographs (and when I mean huge, I mean endless amounts of professional pictures) and they’re all free for downloading and free to be used both for commercial and personal use. I can’t recommend this website enough!

https://unsplash.com/

  • Befunky– If you’ve been designing a blog for a while, you probably remember how sad it was when Picmonkey wasn’t free anymore. But don’t worry, because Befunky is pretty much the same and it is free! I like it because you don’t have to have an account if you don’t want to, you can still design and create graphics for your blog.

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Canva is another popular design site that’s also free, but I prefer Befunky because you’re able to upload your own fonts, whereas on Canva you’re limited to their font library. I used Befunky to make my header, featured images, and all the graphics used in my posts.

Between these four resources, I’ve been able to find the proper materials to design my blog and design any graphics I’ve created for my blog. I’m sure there are tons of other free resources out there (and hopefully I will continue to discover more in the future), but these have really helped me out and I hope they can help you too.

As a side note, it’s important to make sure any images you use are free for personal use. That means you can have them on your blog. Some images (like the ones on Unsplash, I believe) are also available for commercial use, meaning you could use them in something you sell. Some freebie sites require or request that you provide credit for whatever you used as well. It’s not difficult to find information about these policies, but it is important!

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The final thing I want to do in this post is to remind you that you are doing amazing, whether or not you’re spending money on your blog.

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Dumbledore’s proud of you and I am too. While I know firsthand choosing not to invest in your blog can sometimes lead to feeling like you can never measure up to those with their own domain name, more customizable theme, or a super pretty blog design, please don’t forget that your blog is special, unique, and that free, quality resources do exist.

Investing money doesn’t make you more or less of a blogger, and neither does not not investing money. We’re all valid, we’ve all worked hard, and we’re all a part of this amazing community.

Someday I hope that I can set aside money to invest in this hobby because I’m truly passionate about it, and I admire those who have. But for now, this is my situation, so I’m going to be grateful for the opportunities that do exist!

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Thank you all so much for reading this post! I hope these resources can be helpful, and maybe you’re able to relate to my experience. Maybe if someone out there reading this is a new blogger, this helped you realize that you don’t have to spend money right away if you don’t want to or aren’t able to.

I might want to do a pro vs. con post on this topic in the future, potentially? I’m not sure if that would be too repetitve, so possibly not. Let me know if you think that would be helpful or if you’d enjoy reading it! It would also be interesting to get thoughts from a lot of different bloggers about this topic (would anyone want to do that?) to compile in a post.

Wishing you all a great week! I hope 2020 has been treating you well so far. (Personally, I’ve been drowning a little bit due to school, but I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel. When spring break comes around.) Have a very happy Monday, friends!✨

What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any free resources that have helped you? What’s your experience? I’d love to talk with you in the comments.

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Photo by Katie Harp on Unsplash

52 thoughts on “How I Blog Without Spending Any Money! // Free Resources That Helped Me & My Experience

  1. Thank you for sharing this list. I really think it’s important for people to know that you don’t have to ‘go for broke’ in order to run a successful blog. I love this positive juju you’re putting our with this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post, Olivia! (I especially loved the part about having blogged for a long time and being sad about having to pay to use Picmonkey — I miss my Picmonkey days!) I definitely hate that Canva doesn’t allow you to upload your own fonts, but for some reason all the times I’ve tried designing my own thing on Befunky, it always downloads a little blurry! (though it’s been a while, so I might have to check again)

    I’ve always felt a little sad I can’t afford things like my own domain name, because it felt like I was less of a blogger, or things like a nicer theme, simply because I just wanted it. but it’s definitely not true that not investing money makes you any less valid! I definitely want to look into it in the future, but right now as a high school student, I just can’t, like you! great post ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, May!💖(Oh yes, the old Picmonkey days.) I’ve never had a problem with image clarity with Befunky, that’s so strange- or maybe all my images are slightly fuzzy and I just haven’t been observant enough to notice. XD Either way, I hope if you try again, it works better for you!

      Me too, I completely understand feeling that way. I have to remind myself that that’s a normal, human reaction, but that it doesn’t affect my validity as a blogger. Yes! I hope we both get to a place in the future where we can invest in our blogging passion. Thank you again!

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  3. Thanks for this post! I have been blogging for about ten years now, but more recently I was considering actually putting money into my my blogging. However, I decided not to for the time being (because same as you, I really don’t have the money to do that right now). But I am glad to have some other options for finding free recourses. I have mostly only used canva and Unsplash, but I might check out some of these others. Right now I am keeping my blog a fairly simple lay out, but I do want it to be attractive at the same time. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank YOU for reading this post!💛Wow, that is so amazing you’ve been blogging for 10 years. I hope to reach that milestone one day, and I really admire you for doing so! I hope these resources helped you out- Unsplash is incredible, and I do like Canva, besides the font aspect. Wishing you the best of luck with all your blogging endeavors!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, I’ve saved just this post, it’s super helpful!! So far I’ve not spent any money on my blog and I plan to keep it that way for now as I can’t really afford it, but I might invest into my blog in the future if I run out of storage space or I want to start selling some of my crafts and sewing patterns etc through my blog 💛

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think this is great because I have never wanted to spend money on blogging, it just isn’t on the table for me at the minute!!
    I have been thinking about looking into blog design lately as I would love to redesign it and find new ways to make graphics, I mostly use Canva at the minute and like you said it is slightly limiting!!
    This post has been so helpful for me so I can’t thank you enough. It is great to see all the free resources that are available and the different sites to explore to get the best for my blog!! 🙂
    You described it so well too!! Thank you again!! ❤
    I would love to see a pro vs con on the topic if you would want to!! Great post Olivia!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same here! Well, with the part about it not being an option, rather than the “I haven’t wanted to” part. 😉
      Your blog design is already gorgeous, but I’m sure a redesign would be amazing as well! I get so excited when bloggers redesign, I love seeing the new results, haha. I’m so happy that these resources have given you some new places to find or make graphics, and I hope all your redesigning goes amazingly.
      Oh, thank you for the feedback about the pro vs. con post! I appreciate that a lot. Thank you, and thank you for all your kindness!💓

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I totally agree! You definitely don’t have to spend money to be successful at blogging. Personally, I did pay for my own domain, just because I didn’t like how mine looked with “.weebly.com” at the end of it (I also moved to wordpress when I chose to buy my own domain). But other than that, I haven’t paid for anything else. Canva and Unsplash is my main go to for all my pics, and then I use the free option for mailchimp for subscribers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so true! Oh, that’s awesome, I hope to someday pay for my own domain as well- that’s definitely a blogging dream of mine. Canvas and Unsplash are both amazing resouces! Unsplash especially, it’s incredible how many free photos they have out there. Thank you for your comment, Julia!

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  7. Oh my goodness, Unsplash and Canva are my ultimate go-to blogging resources!! When I was a newbie blogger, Canva was so precious to me haha 😅 And the other resources you mentioned sound really helpful! *goes to check them out* I love that you can upload your own fonts to Befunky!

    Lovely post, Olivia ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes!!! I’m also (mostly) a book blogger, and the only money I’ve spent blogging was buying books, haha! I usually take my own thumbnail photos now (I used to just use stock images), and I tie them back with my Instagram; I think it makes me look more coordinated! Does anyone notice? Probably not, but I still like imagining 😂. I use Canva to edit my photos: I’m happy with the fonts they have, and I also don’t really want to dive into the world of fonts, hahah!

    The only thing that I might be persuaded to spend money for would be getting my own domain. That would be SO COOL, and honestly probably a pretty worthwhile investment! As it is right now though, I’m not consistent enough of a blogger to have a custom domain blog, haha!

    Great post! Thank you for sharing your experiences!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, well, I guess I’ve bought books as well, haha, though I don’t exactly count it since I feel as if I would have bought the same amount of books whether or not I was blogging. 😉 The image coordination with your Instagram is next level!! You should be very proud of that accomplishment. XD In my dreams, I am that organized and on top of things…

      I agree! That’s something I want to invest in the future, since it’s not feasible now. It would be awesome to not have the .wordpress.com!

      Thank you so much! Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Olivia, I love this post so much!! As a high school student like you, I really do not have the resources to invest in my blog.. and I honestly have better things to do with my money. I think that it’s so important to know that there are such GREAT free sites out there that are just as awesome as stuff that you have to pay for!
    OMG, I love Unsplash so much!! I love that everything is free, but also high quality 🥰 And I’m so thankful to you and this post for introducing me to BeFunky, because the fact that you can’t add your own fonts to Canva irked me so much!! So far BeFunky has been a gem to use :))
    One of the free resources that I use the post for my blog is Phonto, which is an app that sadly can’t be downloaded into a computer. But I’ve been using it for *years*, and even though it has its flaws, I’m so used to it already! It’s an app that allows you to put text on photos, but it’s actually way more useful than that and super versatile—it’s where I do all of my featured images!
    Again, I love this post so much, and it’s something that I think every newbie blogger should read, especially the ones like us who sometimes feel self-conscious that we can’t spend money on our blogs!
    This is kind of an unrelated topic, but because we’re discussing free resources–I feel like whenever we think of a blog, something like [domainname].com comes to mind, and that’s already disheartening because most of us have a wordpress.com or blogspot.com in the URLs of our blogs. But I constantly have to remind myself that I’m not less of a blog because I don’t own my domain name, and bloggers that don’t own their domain names are so valid! I’m actually content to not own my domain name for the foreseeable future, because though free WordPress is a little annoying, I make do with it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Caitlin!💖That’s so true, I wholeheartedly agree. I’m so grateful to all of these free resources for allowing people to personalize their websites even when they don’t have the means to buy graphics and fonts and whatnot!
      Unsplash is amazing…I can’t believe something like it exists. Also, yay, I’m SO happy Befunky is working well for you! The lack of fonts on Canva irked me as well, so I’m super glad other resources are out there.
      Oh, I’ll have to check it out, thank you for the recommendation! I like to do my images on a computer usually, since that’s where I have my fonts downloaded and pictures saved, but it could be super useful for when I’m making things on the go.
      Thank you, ahh!! I’m truly so glad this post could help you and anyone else.
      For sure! You’re right, most bloggers do actually still have .wordpress or .whateverbloggingsitetheyuse in their URL, it’s pretty uncommon to see one without it. Yes, yes, yes! You’re completely right. And honestly free WordPress is pretty customizable and easy to navigate, and I’m grateful that it still allows me to see so many statistics and do a ton of things without paying.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Olivia!! I absolutely loved this post, and this is something that I know will be just so, so helpful (myself included, since blog design and graphics is not a strength of mine). I’ve been using Unsplash for a while and love how easy and great it is, we stan and appreciate! I … had no clue that Angie Creates had free resources? I’ll definitely need to check it out, along with all the other resources here! You are an absolute lifesaver and angel, thank you so much for this post ❤

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    • Taasia, thank you!! Okay, you’re the absolute sweetest.😌I’m super happy to hear that this will be helpful for you! That was the goal. I so agree, Unsplash is like THE most amazing resource ever?? God bless whoever decided to make that a thing. Angie Makes does have free resources and they’re pretty awesome! To get some you have to join an emailing list, but you can always unsubscribe later if you aren’t interested. Thank YOU for reading this, you’re definitely the angel here!!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is such a brilliant post! It’s easy to think that you have to invest money in your blog because everyone else is but that’s not the case! And it doesn’t mean you like blogging any less! The resources you shared look amazing and i’ll definitely use them! I really want to try out more graphic design but its hard to know how to start! Awesome post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so, so much, Kerys! I really appreciate you reading and commenting.💛I’m so glad that some of these resources are ones you find helpful- they definitely were what enabled me to create my blog design for free, and I couldn’t recommend them enough.

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  12. Definitely bring out a pro & con list post in the future!! I’m sure that would be super helpful for people who are still looking for guidance on this. I personally didn’t financially invest in my blog until July/August of last year, and I’m glad I did! However, I still had a nice site that I liked beforehand & was able to have pretty graphics, a pretty theme, and all of those aesthetic things. It’s definitely not necessary; I was able to gain a bit of an audience even with my old .blogspot.com site :’)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for this feedback!! It’s good to hear that is something you would enjoy, and I’ll definitely be drafting this in the near future. ☺️ Also, thank you for sharing your experience~ I’m so glad you got to do what you wanted with your blog! I aspire to invest in mine someday.

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  13. Wonderful post, Olivia!!! ❤ I barely started investing money into my blog last year when I went self hosted, but prior to that, I never spent a cent on my blog! There are so many great, free resources out there, and I definitely agree that you don't need to spend any money to have a "successful" blog or anythign of the sort. Thank you so much for sharing all these awesome sites! ❤

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    • Thank you so so much, Kelly!💛Ahh, I admire bloggers who go self-hosted so much. I’m interested in potentially making that change in the very far away future, if blogging is still something that’s important to me (which I hope it always is). Thank you for sharing your experience!

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  14. Olivia, this is everything I ever needed and more. I can’t wait to go devour every single website you listed! I’ve been holding off on really blogging because I feel like the design on my website is so blah, and that in turn makes me hesitant about posting anything because I don’t want readers to be turned off by how bland it looks. You have been such a life saver! 🙌🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness, thank you, Ericka! That is so kind of you to say. I’m truly so, so happy that this could be a helpful resource for you. (But for the record, I do not think your website design is blah!❤️) Seriously, this comment means the world to me. I really appreciate you reading this post!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. This was an amazing post, thank you so much for sharing your tips!! ^^ I also agree that there’s this misguiding idea that, in order to be successful (what is that, anyway), you have to spend tons of money. I always worked the best I could with the resources I had, but I was very happy when I found out most people in the blogosphere do the same. I think it’s really important to let others know they’re good enough whatever they work with! I’ve always used Photoscape for editing (free to download) and I’ve recently started to use Canva, and I use Dafont for fonts 😀

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    • Aww, thank you so much, Marta! I’m so sorry I’m replying back so late, but I really appreciate your comment.❤️Yes, I completely agree with you! That is such a great way to put it. Ooh, thank you for the new resource recommendations, I’ll definitely look into Photoscape and Dafont!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. This is such a good resource Olivia! I think the only thing I pay for is a Canva membership but that’s because I’m wanting to make other things for different projects on there.

    I’ve been able to upload fonts on there but that could just be because of my membership though. I’m hesitant to use other sites just because I get comfortable really easy and so tend not to stray from things once I get the hang of them ahah

    But wow! the graphics from Angie makes are so beautiful I wish I knew about them earlier! Especially since I just changed the look of my blog too but knowing me I’m sure I’ll change it again soon so I’ll have to save that for later ahahah

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so, so much!❤️Ahh, Canvas is amazing and has so many opportunities for different types of graphics.

      I think it is a premium feature! I very much understand staying with what’s comfortable- I recently realized one of the resources I use has changed what you can do for free, and now I’m stuck trying to decide what to use now because I’m so used to my old ways. XD

      I’m so glad I could introduce them to you! They’re amazing, and it’s incredible that they’re free as well. Good luck with all your designing endeavors!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Ah I LOVE this post so much, such an incredible resource, thank you SO much for writing it down! I have to say that I always had this idea that I had to invest in my blog and buy designs and domain and such to be considered a blogger, AT ALL. But it took me like, 3,5 years to decide to buy my domain name and just that. I feel like there’s so much you can do without having to pay anything, there are such incredible free resources online that are wonderful. We don’t need to spend anything to be real bloggers. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marie!! Thank you, you’re the kindest. This comment made me smile so much. ❤️I love what you said, that is spot on! I love that everyone in the blogging community has different experiences and we can talk about them and support each other.🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hey Olivia!
    Wow thank you so much for these tips. I’ve been blogging for years now but I haven’t heard of some of the resources that you’ve mentioned. I’ve been struggling with finding good handwriting fonts but I’ll definitely check out the site that you’ve pointed out. Thank you 😀 I also love your blog’s design!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sophie!
      Thank you so, so much for this thoughtful comment and for reading my post.☺️ I hope my resources could help, and yes, if you’ve been looking for handwriting fonts I’m sure The Hungry Jpeg will be able to help you out! Thank you so much, and I also apologize for the lateness of this reply, your comment is very much appreciated. :))

      Liked by 1 person

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