How much does it cost to start a blog? Is it free? Lots of people think starting a website is free. Nothing could be further from the truth! I’m not going to sugarcoat anything and will tell you the real costs of starting a blog.
Starting a blog can be cheap, but if you want to make money blogging, you need to spend money. It’s true in any business: if you want to make money, you have to spend money.
But don’t let this discourage you from starting a blog!
Building a blog is [by far] the cheapest type of business you can start.
Can You Start A Blog For Free?
Let’s get this question out of the way first. Yes, technically speaking, you can start a blog entirely for free.
You can go to wordpress.com and create a blog for free. You will be given a url like http://yourwebsitename.wordpress.com and you can start blogging right away.
Here’s the problem with that.
Nobody, and I mean nobody, will ever take you seriously.
You will never make money from affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, selling your own products or even display ads!
Why You Should Treat Your Blog Like A Business
A blog is a business, just like any other startup! If you treat your blog like a business, you will be rewarded. Treat it like a hobby? You won’t earn squat!
In order to make money blogging, you need to invest your time and invest your money in the best blogging tools.
You wouldn’t build a house today with your hands, would you? You’d go to the hardware store and find the best tools to help make your job easier.
The same applies to blogging.
The reality is that there is no such thing as a free lunch. If you want to create a money making blog, you need to start thinking of your blog as a business.
Can Anybody Make Money Blogging?
Blogging is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes lots of time and hard work. But yes, you, yes you, definitely can make big money with a blog!
I started a finance blog with zero budget and turned it into a six figure blog within 12 months!
I began working on my blog full-time before I ever made a red cent with it! After my first month, I made my first $1,000 and turned it into a six figure blog by the end of the year!
Your experience may not be the same as mine, but I know that if I can make money blogging, anybody can do it!
So how much does it cost to start a blog? Let’s find out the unfiltered truth.
Domain Name ($10 per year)
You can nab your very own .com domain at GoDaddy for about $10-$15 per year. A domain name is very important, as your blog won’t be taken seriously if you don’t have one.
Let’s make it even cheaper though, if you choose Bluehost as your webhost, they’ll give you a domain completely free.
I wrote a guide here on how to choose the perfect domain name.
Web Hosting ($47.40 per year)
Much like a brick and mortar store needs to pay rent, you need to pay for hosting for your blog.
I recommend to all my students to use Bluehost. Mainly because they are newbie-friendly and so very cheap (less than 5 bucks a month)!
In order to get the best deal at $3.95 per month, you need to pre-pay your hosting for 3 years. If you instead choose to only pay for 1 year up front, your monthly cost becomes $5.95 (or $71.40 per year).
If you’re ready to start a blog, follow my step by step guide here: how to start your first blog.
Cost: Bluehost is $3.95 per month or $47.40 per year when pre-paid.
The blogging platform I always recommend is WordPress. It’s entirely free to use, easy and there’s some great plugins and themes to really customize your site.
Cost: WordPress is free
Blog Theme ($59.95 one-time fee)
Yes, there are countless free themes available on WordPress. But they are severely limited in what they’re able to do.
Free themes won’t allow you to customize your blog enough, thus leaving your blog looking like the thousands of other people using that free theme.
When you use a paid theme like the ones from Studiopress, you can change the color, the font, the structure of your blog and more.
The best part of having a paid theme is that you have access to support, who can help you in case you mess something up or want to change something specific.
Email Marketing ($288 per year)
An email marketing service is what you use to send your emails, whether they be welcome emails, an email sequence or your latest blog updates.
Building an email list is extremely important. It’s the way many blogs actually make money. Rather than filling your blog up with ads and affiliate links, you can instead create a mailing list of devoted fans and monetize your blog through them.
An email list is the ideal way to build a relationship with your readers. Once you’ve established that relationship you can then recommend products (or sell your own).
Mailchimp is the leader in free email marketing. Mailchimp is perfect for newbies because it’s free up to 2,000 subscribers.
It’s great to start off with, since it’s free. But to create a six figure blog, you will need to switch to ConvertKit.
You will rarely, if ever, find a blogger making $10,000 or more with their blog using anything other than ConvertKit. It was made specifically for bloggers, after all.
Cost: ConvertKit is $29 per month or $288 when paid yearly
Lead Generation Software ($168 per year)
You need awesome optin forms to build your list. A simple form that says “Subscribe to my newsletter” isn’t going to cut it.
You need to be using the templates from OptinMonster to create your optin forms.
You can easily set up exit intent popups, slide ins, welcome mats, two step optins and more to get more email subscribers.
Cost: OptinMonster is $14 per month or $168 per year
Social Media Sharing ($99.96 per year)
Sure, you can post to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on your own. But that’s way too time consuming. The pros schedule their social media posts ahead of time.
Do you need a social media post scheduler? Yes! Nowadays, a lot of traffic comes from social media. If you’re waiting for Google to start sending you traffic, you’re going to be in for a long wait.
Social media is the way to get a steady stream of traffic coming to your blog and you need to post multiple times daily at optimal times to get noticed.
Personally, I use Social Pilot to schedule my Facebook and Twitter posts. I post 5-10 times every day and it’s all on auto-pilot.
On your blog, you also need to encourage social sharing. You can do this by adding share icons like the ones I have using Social Warfare, which is $29.
Pinterest Pin Scheduler ($119.88)
Pinterest deserves a section all by itself. It’s not really a social media site since no socializing goes on. In fact, it competes with Google as a visual search engine that lets you save links.
Cost: Tailwind is $15 per month or $119.88 paid yearly
Keyword Research Tool ($297 per year)
This one is entirely optional. I’m including a keyword research tool because I believe it’s essential to create content with a purpose. Otherwise, you will be writing for no one but yourself.
You see, in order to get traffic from Google, you have to create content that people are searching for on Google. With a keyword research tool like Long Tail Pro, you can see the volume of a keyword phrase and how competitive that keyword is.
In other words, it helps direct you to writing the content that has the highest chance of ranking on the first page of Google’s search results.
It’s the very reason why my keyword phrase for this post is “How Much Does It Cost To Start A Blog”. My research showed this is a search term Google users frequently search for and I’ve got a good chance to rank on the first page for the phrase “How Much Does It Cost To Start A Blog”.
Cost: Long Tail Pro is $297 paid yearly.
Advertising Costs ($300 per year)
Spending money to advertise your blog is optional. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend a new blogger dive into spending money on ads at all.
Before you spend a dime on ads, you should first have the following things ready:
- your blog has to be fully launched and full of content
- you need optin forms with lead magnets (freebies) to entice subscribers
- you need to be making money already with your email list
- and ideally, you should have created a product to sell
You should be able to accomplish all of those tasks before your first year of blogging. When you do, it’s time to venture out into paid ads.
I recommend starting with Facebook Ads, as you can drive traffic to your blog for as little as 5 cents per user. Then you can branch out into Google Ads, which can be a bit more costly.
Cost: $25 per month in Facebook Ads drives 500 visitors monthly
Blogging Courses ($97 per year)
This next one is entirely optional, but it’s important to make an investment in yourself.
Even now, I am still buying courses and learning new things.
I know that Google and Youtube are full of information. It’s what I use when I have a question I need answered. But the information is spread out, it’s good sometimes and it’s not in any kind of order.
With a blogging course, you can see the big picture and learn something new step by step.
I’ve taken courses on Pinterest traffic, email marketing and Facebook ads to name a few. I’ll be taking another course starting next month too, because learning never stops!
Cost: One $97 course per year
You can’t blog without a good quality computer. I use my iPhone for most everything, but not for blogging.
It’s important to have your own computer. Remember, your blog is a business, treat it like one.
Good Internet Connection
You need a reliable wifi connection that’s fast. I try and do everything as fast as possible, so waiting for a webpage to load drives me nuts.
Perhaps your most important investment will be your time. You can’t have a money making blog if you don’t devote time to your new business.
Most people who are starting a blog either stay at home taking care of their kids or work a day job. Either way, you need to find time if you want to make this work.
Total Costs To Start A Blog
- Domain name: $10 per year (free with Bluehost) *required
- Blog Hosting: $47.40 per year (Bluehost) *required
- WordPress: Free *required
- Blog Theme: $59.95 one time fee (Studiopress)
- Email Marketing: $288 per year (Convertkit)
- Lead Generation Software: $168 per year (OptinMonster)
- Social Media Sharing: $99.96 per year (Social Pilot)
- Social Sharing Icons: $29 per year (Social Warfare)
- Pinterest Pins Scheduler: $119.88 per year (Tailwind)
- Keyword Research Tool: $297 per year (LongTailPro)
- Advertising Costs: $300 per year (Facebook Ads)
- Blogging Courses: $97 per year
- Laptop: $1,500 one-time fee
- Internet Connection: $480 per year
So, how much does it cost to start a blog?
The bare minimum is domain + hosting + blogging platform, which in this case is $10 + $47.40 + free = $57.40 for 1 year.
And how much does it cost to start a blog that makes six figures per year?
That would be the grand total of $1,768.24 per year (not including the cost of a laptop).
Not a bad return on your investment, right?
Thanks for reading, hope this helped you determine how much it costs to start a blog… but one more thing.
It would totally rock my socks if you saved this post on Pinterest!U