These days it seems that everyone is starting a blog and attempting to grow it into a business. And while you can make a lot of money from blogging, you usually have to spend some money before that can happen. Many beginner bloggers or aspiring bloggers worry about the cost of starting a blog. The good news is that you can start a blog for a lot less than you might think! Keep reading to learn the real cost of starting a blog.
There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.
If you continue blogging for a long time and aim to turn your blog into a business, you’ll likely be investing a fair amount into it. However, the amount of money it takes to actually set up a blog for the first time is far lower. You can do it for as little as $10! Here are the bare bones expenses you may have while setting up your blog.
While I don’t think it’s necessary to spend much money at all to start a blog, especially in the early months when you’re just getting a hang of things, I do think everyone starting a blog should purchase their own domain name. It will give you more credibility as a blogger and will ensure that someone else doesn’t purchase the domain name for your blog name! When I purchased my new domain name last month for my blog rebrand, I purchased through SiteGround and got a great price!
Cost: $10-$15 / Year
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when starting your blog is what hosting company you will choose. There are multiple options available at different price points, so it’s super easy to fit this into your budget.
Save: If you’re not ready to pay for hosting just yet, there are free options available such as Blogger and WordPress (please note, this is the .com version, which is different than the self-hosted version of WordPress). If you choose a free option, I would consider this a temporary setup until you can afford to pay for hosting. But keep in mind that it may be a hassle to move your blog to a self-hosted site after the fact, so starting with a self-hosted blog would be the simpler and only slightly more costly option.
Splurge: If you want to start with a self-hosted blog right away, you’re in luck, because hosting plans are super affordable! My favorite hosting company and the one I currently use is Siteground. My site has literally never gone down since I started using their services, their customer service is wonderful, and they were super helpful with working out the logistics of moving to my new domain name. Plus, Siteground plans start at $3.95, which is a steal!
Cost: Free – $3.95 / Month
Once you have purchased your domain name and set up the technical elements of your blog via one of the options we discussed above, it’s time to set up the aesthetic elements of your blog, which means choosing a blog design!
Save: Every platform you choose from (Blogger, WordPress, etc.) will have free themes available. While you are free to use those and customize them (if you have the technical ability to do so), there are plenty of slightly more expensive but much nicer options available as well.
Splurge: For not significantly more money, you can get a much nicer blog design! Two of my favorite go-to sources for blog designs are Pretty Darn Cute Designs (the designer of my current blog) and Restored 316 Designs. The designs from both cost anywhere from $50-$75.
Cost: Free – $75
Once you have your blog set up and have begun posting regularly, you’ll naturally find other things you could spend money on that may help you to grow your blog. I definitely suggest starting slowly when it comes to taking on new blog expenses (I tend to avoid new expenses unless I can see how it would increase the amount of money I make from my blog), but investing in your blog can definitely be beneficial! Here are some of the things you may want to start investing in.
Social Media Scheduling
Social media is going to be essential when it comes to increasing your blog traffic and growing a real, dedicated audience. Unfortunately, it also consumes an incredible amount of time. Without investing in tools to help me schedule my social media, I could easily spend hours and hours each week sharing my blog posts and engaging. There are so many scheduling tools to choose from for so many different social media platforms, but here are my favorites:
Tailwind: If you are going to invest in only one tool to help you schedule your social media, this should be it. Tailwind is a Pinterest scheduler that is immensely powerful. It does everything from scheduling your pins at optimal times, providing analytics on all of your pins and boards, and helping you to find other people’s content to share. They have a monthly and annual plan. As you would expect, you’ll save a bit of money on the annual plan. If you aren’t sure you’re ready to make the leap, you can get a free trial of Tailwind here!
HootSuite: This is a great tool because I can get all of the features I want from it for free! HootSuite is the tool I use to schedule posts for Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Yes, there are plenty of more powerful tools I could pay for to schedule these posts, but Hootsuite honestly provides everything I feel that I need. Another free option is Buffer, though their free plan doesn’t allow you to schedule as many posts. If you’re willing to invest in a tool to replace these, I have heard good things about CoSchedule (though I’ve never personally used it).
Planoly: Instagram has become a must-have for bloggers, but it can definitely get exhausting trying to keep up with it. It makes a huge difference to make able to schedule your posts and write your captions ahead of time, and then press just a few buttons when it’s time to post (scheduling tools can’t post directly to Instagram for you). One of the great things about Planoly is that it’s free for up to 30 posts per month, which is plenty for a beginner. Give Planoly a shot for free here!
Once you begin to gain a following on your blog, you’ll definitely want to be collecting their email addresses! This is a great way of staying in touch with your biggest fans, especially when you start monetizing your blog. Like the other expenses we’ve discussed, there are both free and paid options available for email marketing.
Save: There are a couple of different free options available for email marketing. The first is MailChimp, which I used for the first year and a half of blogging. It is free up to 1,000 subscribers and very simple to use. Another free option (again, up to 1,000 subscribers) is MailerLite. I can’t speak much to this one because I haven’t used it personally, but I have read excellent reviews from other bloggers!
Splurge: If you’re ready to pay for your email marketing right away, ConvertKit is the way to go! I switched to ConvertKit a couple of years ago and have been so pleased ever since. Yes, it’s a bit pricey, especially if you aren’t making much money on your blog. But the number of options it has for automation, tagging and segmenting your audience, and so much more will make a huge difference in your business. ConvertKit was a game changer for me when it came to marketing and selling my eBook, Streamline Your Side-Hustle.
Cost: Free – $29 / Month
When you first start blogging, you’ll spend a lot of time on trial and error and educating yourself with free resources you find online. Once you start growing and are ready to skyrocket your traffic and start monetizing, it may be worth it to invest in some education to help you do that. The options are literally endless, but here are a few of my favorites.
How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul): This is the first book I spent money on when I started investing in my blog, and I have actually read it a few more times since! Each time I read it, I get something different out of it and find something new I can try. It is pretty comprehensive and beneficial regardless of what skill level you’re at.
Building a Framework: This eBook is ideal for beginners. It walks you through the basics of setting up your blog, choosing a niche, and really getting started with building an audience.
Traffic Transformation: This eBook is one of the best investments I have made for my blog. Even though I was more than two years into blogging when I read it, I took away so many new ideas and things I hadn’t even thought to try to grow my blog traffic.
Pinning Perfect: I’ve taken quite a few e-courses over the last several years, and so far this is the one I have found to be most beneficial and actionable. I didn’t take it until more than two years into blogging when I was already getting a decent amount of traffic from Pinterest, and I still couldn’t believe how much I took away from it and how much improvement I have already seen in my Pinterest traffic.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing: Early on in monetizing my blog, affiliate marketing is the one area of monetization that I didn’t have much luck with, so I knew it would be worth it to invest in learning from someone who has had lots of luck. This is a great investment if you’re ready to start monetizing or have been struggling with affiliate marketing like I was.
Now that we’ve made it through that entire list, you may be even more intimidated than you were before. I know, it seems like you could spend an endless amount of money building your blog – which you could! But I’m hoping the other takeaway you got from that list is that so many of these expenses are optional and can be invested in later when you’re making money. You can start a blog for free or as little as $10 per year with the cost of a domain name. Start with the essentials and work your way up!
What did you invest when you were just starting a blog, and what would you do differently now?
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE THESE POSTS:
TURN YOUR HOBBY BLOG INTO A SIDE-HUSTLE
This 7-day FREE email course teaches you how to turn your hobby blog into a side-hustle that brings in income each and every month!