Real Cost of Starting a Blog
Many of you are thinking about starting your own blog and are reluctant because you don’t really know the costs involved. Believe me the costs can range from a little to a lot and everything in between. But, like anything else you get out what you put in and you get what you pay for. These are clichés but they definitely apply to the world of blogging. If you really want to start your own blog read this article to learn the real cost to starting a blog and keeping it going.
Decide if this is a Hobby or a Business
The first thing you must decide before starting a blog is whether it will be a hobby or a business. If you are starting a blog as a hobby you can definitely do it on the cheap with blogger and free WordPress. But be prepared to have limited features, limited design options and no ads. In addition, they own your website not you. You will soon outgrow these options. But, if you want to start a money making blog be prepared to have some monetary outlay. How much will it cost? That depends on what you want to achieve and how much you want to promote it to get those elusive page views and ad clicks.
Choose your Host
Assuming you want to design your site the way you want it, add the plugins that will make it perfect and make money doing it you will need to decide on a hosting company like GoDaddy, Siteground or Blue Host. I use GoDaddy to host my site because they are inexpensive and have fantastic customer service for the first time blogger. They have free themes but you can upload any paid theme that you want. GoDaddy is the host for both of my blogs and I highly recommend them. They offer domains and hosting for as little as $0.99 and up. I pay $4.99 per month for my domain name and my hosting and I keep all the rights to my content. Definitely affordable and well worth the investment. Your cost may be more or less depending on your domain name and any add-ons you want to pay for.
Choose your Theme
You can choose one of the free themes if you are on a budget but keep in mind that they have limited features and very little if any support unless they are a GoDaddy theme or one provided by one of the other hosting services. The rest of the themes are free through WordPress.Org and aren’t really supported once they have been created. There are many places that you can find paid themes. I actually got mine at two different places. My main platform is Genesis from Studiopress.
It is the heart and soul of my website.. My theme was purchased separately from Pretty Darn Cute Design. I wanted something that was fun and colorful for my site. I paid $49.95 for my Adorable theme from Pretty Darn Cute. I was able to get a bundled price for less than $100 and I have been very happy with both the Genesis Framework and my Pretty Darn Cute theme. You can generally pay about $59.95 for most purchased themes. When it comes to themes you really do get what you pay for so if you are going to spend money to get your blog going I would spend it here. You will be glad for the customization options and the additional features. You don’t want to spend a lot of time working on your blog only to get tired of the theme or outgrow it within a month or two.
Customize your Blog
Customizing your blog should be free for the most part. A good theme like Genesis and Pretty Darn Cute are highly customizable but you will be adding plugins to get certain features on your blog and to help with SEO and security. These plugins all have both free and paid versions. I generally use the free versions of the plugins so I have no additional outlay here. If you want a plugin that has more features you will have to pay for that and it could run from a few dollars per year on up depending on the plugin and the features you want. You can read my top 10 free plugins for every blogger here.
You may want to invest in blogging courses if you don’t have the time for the trial and error process that I went through. I have written an e-book called Passion for Blogging 101 that walks you through the blogging process from creating your blog to monetizing it and tracking it with statistics. It is only $9.99 and you can purchase it here:
There are many blogging courses out there and they range from free to hundreds of dollars. I highly recommend that you invest in one to make things easier for the launch of your blog. Of course I highly recommend Passion for Blogging 101 as great resources for the beginning blogger.
Promote your Blog
You will need to spend some time and money promoting your blog if you want anyone to read it. I have found that social media and Pinterest are the best places to promote your blog. These options are both free and paid depending on the services that you want. It is free to set up social media accounts and a Pinterest account. I recommend setting up Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts to promote your blog. You can pay for advertising on some of these sites at a very reasonable fee but if you really want to grow your blog through Pinterest I recommend Megan Johnson’s course Pinterest Ninja to walk you step by step through how to promote your website for free using Pinterest. Her course is only $39.99 and well worth the money.
We both recommend Tailwind scheduler as part of a good overall pinning strategy. Pinning to Pinterest either manually or using a scheduler like Tailwind will definitely increase your blog traffic and increase sales. Tailwind will cost you $9.99 per month but is well worth it.
You will also want to create professional looking images and pins in the blog promotion area. There are many places to get free stock images but for millions of stock images I use Dreamstime. Dreamstime will cost you $25 per month. In order to make quality pin and post images I recommend PicMonkey and Canva. PicMonkey is $7.99 per month unless you buy it a year in advance at which point it comes out to $5.99 per month. Canva is free to use but they also have a paid program which has many more features and will cost you $12.95 per month. I use the paid version of PicMonkey and the free version of Canva to create my images. You will not regret paying the money.
The next area of blog promotion is the use of an email marketing service. I use Convertkit to send out emails and create incentives for mailing list optin forms. Convertkit costs $29.99 per month but using it is a great way to get people to sign up for your mailing list by offering a free download. Converkit offers the first month free to see if you like it so there is no loss to you by giving a go for a month.
Total Real Cost of Starting a Blog
- Blog Hosting with GoDaddy: $4.99+ depending on domain/month
- Blog Theme: $60-$100
- Convertkit: $29.99/month
- Tailwind: $9.99/month
- PicMonkey: $5.99/month
- Pinterest Ninja $39.99
- Passion for Blogging 101: 9.99
You can expect an initial outlay of about $200 with recurring costs of about $50 per month.
I hope this article helps you to better understand the costs of starting a blog for fun and profit. Although you can do it on a shoestring, if you want to be a successful blogpreneur these are the basic fees to start your blogging career.
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