As strange it was, what the year 2020 did well was to give us that sweet time we all wanted to finally start doing the things we love but couldn’t find time to do. It was like we suddenly got the perfect opportunity to get creative and social media gave us the perfect stage to showcase it. From cooking to painting to dance choreography, we all have either brushed up our skills or have taken a plunge to learn something new. Amidst these, some found delight in literary pursuits. Countless people around the world have started blogging as a side career and there are even more who are mustering up the courage to take it up. If you are one of those who are thinking about starting a blog, then you have asked this question to yourself. How much it cost to start a blog?
We all want a platform that is easy to maintain, gives us professional assistance before publishing our articles and makes our blog stand out among the countless blogs out there. Many of us want a blog that is in our name to make us look professional. It also doesn’t hurt if we make some money on our blogs. So, the real question is, what do you need your blog to do? Starting your blog may cost you nothing to 100s of dollars based on the answer to that. Let us give you the ultimate guide to financing your blog.
The Zero Cost Option
If you are a beginner and want to gather experience in blogging, or if blogging is just a hobby for you, then perhaps you are looking to have a blog for free. Platforms such as Medium or Blogger give you a good place to start. You just need to open up an account and start blogging. Zero fees and zero hassles.
But these platforms don’t offer much when it comes to making money. Making money in Medium is near impossible and while Blogger does let you sign up for AdSense after 6 months, it has its limitations. Firstly, you don’t own your blog. This doesn’t seem a big problem for someone who blogs as a hobby. However, if you are planning to gradually improve and start earning money from your blog or if you are trying to build a home business, free blogs make you look amateurish. Moreover, they don’t provide you with enough controls or options regarding how your blog looks or what plugins you have access to.
Blog hosting is your first and most important investment choice if you wish to choose blogging as a career option or want to make some money on the side. If you want your own domain name, then you need to purchase hosting, for which you can pay monthly or annually. One great combination is WordPress with a hosting plan like Bluehost, HostGator, SiteGround, or WPEngine.
If you are a hobby blogger but want to make some money, Bluehost gives you one of the cheapest hosting options starting from $2.95/month. Bluehost is very user-friendly and has amazing customer service. But keep in mind that Bluehost requires you to pay upfront for a minimum of 3 years at this price. You can opt for payment options with a minimum of one year, which would cost you $4.95/month for the same plan. Bluehost also offers other plans with more features, which means more premium. They have a choice plus package at $5.45/month that provides unlimited website space, email storage, and security options, which fits well for those who opt for serious blogging.
HostGator can be your choice if you want to start small but wish to upgrade as you grow. Their pros include the ability to migrate from an existing site for free. HostGator starts with a $2.75/month premium and goes up to $5.91/month. Like Bluehost, HostGator requires you to pay three years upfront for this price. But multiple billing options ranging from 1 month to 3 years are available. You can choose to pay per month at $7.99/month for the basic plan.
If your blogging requires high speed and performance, you can opt for WP Engine. WP Engine provides Managed WordPress Hosting. It optimizes your blog for performance, provides security against attacks, and gives you several options and control to design your blog. Their support provides near real-time responses. However, WP Engine starts with a basic plan that will cost you $30/month. If you choose to pay for a year, it’ll cost you $300/year ie, $25/month. Depending on storage and bandwidth requirements, you can choose different plans.
Do note that while Bluehost and HostGator provide a free domain name along with their plans, WP Engine requires you to purchase a domain name separately.
Cost of Blog Themes
The next step is to choose a theme for your blog. There are free themes available, but they are mostly very limited and you would soon feel the need to upgrade to a paid one. If you don’t want to spend money on themes, then WordPress offers a range of very good free themes. But if you want a more customized look for your blog, you can purchase one. WordPress premium themes start at $39.
Another paid option is the Divi theme, which is great for beginners who are looking for ease of use and flexible customization. Divi provides yearly access for $89/year and lifetime access for $249.
If you are a pro or want more out of your blogs, then perhaps you’d prefer StudioPress, which provides premium WordPress theme packages along with their Genesis Framework starting at $59.95. If you choose WP Engine for hosting your blog, you get StudioPress themes and Genesis Framework for free.
Plugins are software that adds functionality to your blog. Depending on your needs, WordPress provides plugins that come free of cost (Instagram Feed, Google Analytics) as well as paid plugins like Yoast SEO ($89/year). You can start with the free plugins and then add them based on your need.
Cost of Email-Marketing
Collecting email lists helps to build a strong relationship directly with the readers of your blog. This directly helps in generating good word of mouth if you use the email list intelligently, like sending out freebies would, in turn, create a loyal fanbase.
ConvertKit is the most suggested email marketing software out there. Priced at $29/month, ConvertKit also provides free migration from another tool and is free for the first 1000 subscribers.
If you don’t want to pay for email marketing at all, then another option is Mailchimp that is free for up to 2000 subscribers.
Social Media Advertising
Once you have your blog up and running, the next step is to gain interest leading to readership and subscribers. You can do this manually at first utilizing social media platforms. Social media posts and organizing podcasts would help to garner an audience. But such tactics can only bring in so much and takes up a lot of time. You can use some tools to automate social media activities instead.
Tailwind allows you to schedule posts in advance and join Tribes, where you can share your blogs with fellow creators. Tailwind bills you starting from $9.99/month when you pay for a year. Billing is separate for Instagram and Pinterest. Another option is Social Welfare with a basic plan at $29/year. Shutterstock provides you access to high-res images at $49/month.
Optionally, you could choose to advertise your blog on these social media platforms (eg: Google AdWords) but will cost you a considerably large sum of money. If your purpose for blogging is running a business, then paid advertising can benefit your blog.
In addition to the above, you can invest in some blogging courses to improve your knowledge domain to run and maintain your blog. As your blog grows, you may want to employ content writers for you. You might also feel the need to upgrade your hosting plan to cater to the growing incoming traffic, implement security features and establish data backup options.
To summarize, to set up a blog that earns a profit, you’d incur the following costs.
Hosting – Bluehost basic plan for 3 years paid upfront, $106.20
Blog Theme – WordPress, free
Plugins – WordPress, free
Email Marketing – ConvertKit, $29 for a month, free for the first 1000 subscribers
Social Media Advertising – Tailwind + Social Welfare, $15-20 for a month
Depending on your needs and budgetary restrictions, you can choose to buy paid plugins or use a premium theme from WordPress or Divi. As your experience in blogging grows and you learn the tricks of the trade you can make profits and use them to invest more into improving your blog, much like a business.
This is all about the cost to start a blog, if you like the article do let us know!