Again and again, one of the biggest concerns I hear from bloggers about launching their first digital product is this:

I can’t create a digital product because I don’t have the right tech! All the software programs are too expensive, and I can’t afford it right now.

I completely understand this. I’ve been there! When you look at all the pros, like Pat Flynn, bringing in 6-figures every single month, it is impressive but also overwhelming. Pat Flynn spent almost $35 000 on expenses alone to bring in all of his revenue last December.

You do not have to spend that much. In fact:

Most of the products I use to run Fierce Blogging have been free or very affordable.

In fact, there are only 3 expenses that you absolutely MUST pay for. Consider these the non-negotiable costs:

  • Hosting for your website ($3-25) – If you are running a professional website and want to earn money from it, you MUST be using a paid platforms like WordPress or Squarespace.  You really can’t sell a digital product on a free platform like WordPress.com or Blogger. If you are currently running your blog on one of those platforms and want to move to to WordPress, I recommend Bluehost.
  • A digital product delivery system ($10+) – You can create your product using free tools but when it comes to delivering it to your customers, you should use a tool that looks professional and securely handles payment.
  • An email marketing platform ($10+) – There are some free options, but if you want access to tools such as automation (for creating a welcome email series, etc), then you will want to pay for an email marketing platform that gives you access to all those functions.

Everything else? You can probably find a free tool that gives you most, if not all, of the functionality of a paid platform.

Here are some of my favorite options:

1. Mailchimp

Cost: Free plan available, paid plan (with automation) starts at $10/month

Mailchimp is my current email marketing platform. I’m on the paid plan, so that I can use the automation features, but if you have less than 2000 subscribers and don’t want automation, you can use the free plan.

If you are just starting off with email marketing, Mailchimp is a great platform to use. It’s easy to navigate and simple to use. You can easily create beautiful product launch emails as well as regular emails to your email list.

2. ConvertKit

Cost: Starting at $29/month.

ConvertKit is another email marketing platform. It has more features than Mailchimp, including:

  • Automation
  • Integrates with 35+ platforms
  • Beautiful opt-in forms and landing pages

ConvertKit is a great option if you already have a large audience and are able to invest more into your blog. It is definitely pricier than Mailchimp, so it would likely be one of the most, if not the most, costly expense of your blog.

3. DaFont

Cost: Free

I use DaFont all the time for my design needs. If you’re tired of using the fonts pre-installed on your computer and want to use something unique, check out DaFont. DaFont is the perfect place to find free fonts.

The only catch is that you have to check the licenses. Some fonts are free for commercial use, while others are only free for personal use. If you are using them for your blog business or any type of digital product you would profit from, then you can only use the ones that have a commercial license. You can check this on each font’s page.

4. Canva

Pricing: Free plan available with most features

I love, love, love Canva! If Photoshop is too complex for you and you don’t need all the complicated features, Canva is an amazing online alternative. I use Canva to create my blog graphics and when it comes to creating a digital product, Canva can be great for designing:

  • Promotional graphics
  • Worksheets and workbooks
  • Free downloads (posters, etc)

When it comes to design, Canva’s got your back.

5. Picmonkey

Cost: free plan available

Canva excels at design, and Picmonkey is perfect for editing photos. Personally, I use Canva to add special effects and filters to photos that I use on Fierce Blogging, as well as on Instagram.

When it comes to creating your digital product, I often use Canva and Picmonkey together. I will design the worksheet’s template in Canva. Canva only allows you to use their fonts, so I will save it from Canva and re-upload to Picmonkey and add my own fonts on Picmonkey.

6. Teachable

Cost: Free plans available, paid starting at $39 a month.

If you are creating an online course, then Teachable is a must-have. While the paid plan may be pretty pricey for a beginner, you are able to access most of the features on the paid plan to start, and once you start making sales, you can afford to upgrade.

Teachable’s features on the free plan include:

  • Add coupons or discount codes
  • Pre-sell your course
  • Create a beautiful online school
  • Customize your sales page
  • Teachable handles the payment processing

7. Google Drive

Cost: free

Most of us already have a Google account, but have you visited your Google Drive yet? Google Drive allows you to stores photos, files, videos, and more online. You can also use tools like Google Docs to create files online.

Google Drive allows you to work on the go, wherever you are. You can use it on any computer and even download the app on your phone. Personally, I like to create a file on Google Drive for each digital product idea and save all related files to it.

8. Hootsuite

Cost: free
Hootsuite is a free tool that allows you to schedule posts on social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. I personally use Hootsuite to schedule my daily social media content on Twitter and Instagram.
Using a social media scheduling platform like Hootsuite allows you to always have fresh new content on your social media accounts, even if you are away from the computer or on vacation.  You can also use Hootsuite to schedule promotional tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram photos during the launch of your first digital product. For example, when I was launching my ecourse for authors, I co-hosted a launch Twitter chat and had all of the tweets scheduled in Hootsuite.

9. Gmail

Cost: free or starting at $5/month
If you are running a blog, you want to have a separate blog email address and personal email address. If your readers have question about your product on launch day, do you that having to email justinbieber4life@gmail.com is encouraging them to purchase your product? I don’t think so.
You can set up a free @gmail.com email address, or pay $5/month for an email that uses your website’s domain.

10. Hemingway

Cost: free
Nobody wants to buy an ebook full of spelling errors and grammar mistakes and with Hemingway, you have no excuse for it. Hemingway allows you to copy and paste your writing onto their website. The program will automatically check your writing for:
  • Spelling/ grammar mistakes.
  • Vocabulary level
  • Awkward sentences
  • Sentence structure

11. Pixabay

Cost: free
Pixabay is one of my top resources for free stock photos. I used to browse Shutterstock for stock photos, but I couldn’t justify dropping $100+ on a few photos with a commercial license.
Luckily, there are lots of amazing free stock photos out there and Pixabay hosts many of them. Be sure to check over the license before you download a photo because although most of them are listed under the public domain, some may not be. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

12. Bluehost

Cost: starting at $2.75/ month
If your blog is still being run on Bloggdr or WordPress.com, then it’s time to make the switch to something more professional. You are going from blog to biz, and a biz deserves a professional website.
The good news is your new professional website costs to same as cup of coffee. Just skip one morning coffee a month and you can afford to set up your new website. Bluehost plans typically also come with a free domain name, so you won’t even have to pay for that!

13. Creative Market

Cost: starting at $1+
It’s easy to DIY a lot of your design needs, but some things you just can’t do yourself. That’s where Creative Market comes in. Creative Market is an online marketplace for selling everything design-related, such as fonts, photos, design elements, filters, digital illustrations, and even website designs.
Creative Market is affordable (starting at $1+) and has everything you could imagine when it comes to design. When I was setting up a website for my bath and beauty business, I purchased the illustration element of my logo from Creative Market. The one thing to be aware of is the personal vs commercial licenses, so if make sure you know what you are going to use something for before you purchase it.

14. Easy Digital Downloads

Cost: Free

Easy Digital Downloads is the only free digital product delivery system that I know of. It’s a free WordPress plugin (so your site must run on WordPress to work) that accepts payments and automatically delivers your product to its customers.

I used Easy Digital Downloads when I was setting up a home decor blog and wanted to sell a Home Decor On A Budget e-book. It’s simple to set up, easy to use, and has all the basic features you would need to sell on WordPress. Unless you can code, it is hard to customize and match to your branding, but overall it is a solid plugin for most of the basics.

15. Delivery Product Delivery (DPD)

Cost: Starting at $16/month

DPD is “an easy to use digital publishing platform for helping creators sell and deliver downloadable content like ebooks, software, music, and more.” If you sell any of those products, then DPD is perfect for you. Its the features include:

  • No sale fees
  • Hosts and delivers your product
  • Integrates with 3rd party apps
  • You can bundle products and include upsells

It isn’t difficult to create and sell your digital product on a budget.

When I first started creating digital products, I wasn’t in a place where I could drop $100s on software each month for a business that wasn’t earning revenue yet. While I now have a few monthly expenses, I still like to keep my expenses as inexpensive as possible.

Using these free tools, there is no reason you can’t afford to create your first digital product and sell it on your blog. Unlike a physical product, there are no overhead or storage fees, and you won’t have to invest much to get your first digital product off the ground. It’s an easy and 100% affordable process.

What are your favorite blogging tools?

Author: Jessica Bernt

Ready to rock your blog? Jessica is the blogger and creative mind behind Fierce Blogging. Before starting Fierce Blogging, she worked on another successful book blog for 3 years, as well as multiple online businesses. She's passionate about helping others build profitable blogs, and hot chocolate.

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