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Helllooooo! Ohhhhh my gosh. I am SUPER excited to step out of my regular posting skedge to share a resource rich post to help you with your own journey into this fabulous (and profitable) blog-o-verse. I’m assuming if you’re reading this post, you’re (a) incredibly curious about this blogging thing I’m doing; (b) on the fence about creating a blog; or (c) standing on top of that fence ready to jump into blogging head first. Either way, yay!
I’ve recently hopped back into the blogging game after a couple of years off, so the costs to create a blog are super fresh in my mind. And, if you’re brand new to blogging (or the concept of it), you’re probably wondering what kind of dough your gonna have to shell out to launch. Truth is? It’s not that bad. And, much of it depends on how far you want to take it.
If you don’t feel like reading through each of the topics, feel free to skip to the bottom of this post to snag your check out a bullet point list of everything ya need.
SO, HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO CREATE A BLOG?
Well, it depends. I know you want a dollar amount (and we’ll get there). There are ways to create a blog on as little as zero dollars (yes, zero!). And, on the flip side you could spend lots of dollars (not like billions or anything, but like, way more than you should, especially if you get lost in the research spiral). Just remember, no matter which direction you head , it doesn’t have to cost a boat load of money to be a killer site. Here’s what you’re gonna need:
You’ve got to have a way for people to get to that fabulous website you built right? Purchasing your domain name will be one of the first things you’re going to need to go live. But, I encourage you to spend a great deal of time brainstorming your brand first. I made the mistake of purchasing my first domain on a whim (i.e. I went to bed one night and thought I’d start a blog the next day, purchased the domain and then 5 minutes later hated the name I came up with!). Anyone looking for www.icantbelieveididthatwhatismyproblem.com?
Ha! I joke, but I actually did do that and although it wasn’t a huge expense, I could’ve put that money elsewhere if I had taken the time to digest my ideas and strategize.
INVESTMENT: Typically less than $20 bucks per year. The cost for your domain depends upon the actual domain name you’re purchasing. I’ve seen them as cheap as $.99 and as expensive as several thousand.
WHO DO I USE: I use GoDaddy as they provide you the domain for free (first year) when you sign up for their WordPress hosting package (which I also use). But, they do also offer domain purchases a la’ carte if you’re going to host elsewhere.
WHO DO OTHERS USE: In addition to GoDaddy, many bloggers rely on Bluehost, Hostwinds, and Siteground. Google has is also apparently offering domains (or will be as it’s in Beta). I encourage you to check out all of the plans and discounts each company offers to determine the best for you!
I touched on self-hosted and free platforms when I shared the Beginners Guide to Blogging post a while back and want to dig in a little deeper here.
When I first started blogging (like the first month I blogged around 5 years ago) I read that you could start a blog for FREE and I felt like I had won the lottery. So, I hooked myself up with a free WordPress hosted site and typed away with little dollar signs and hearts floating around my head. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly when the record came to a screeching halt and I realized I needed to make a change. Now, a self-hosted blog isn’t the answer for everyone. But, there are a few compelling reasons to consider it, especially if you plan on turning that fabulous blog into a money making machine (here’s 5 common ways to do that, PS).
Some stuff to consider when making your choice: Free platforms are FREE, yes but all of that content you spend researching and writing and perfecting might not be totally yours. Yes. I said that. It might not be yours. Read this blog post by A Royal Daughter – she has a great way of breaking it down. But beyond that, free platforms can limit your abilities to monetize, they can appear unprofessional to potential partners, negatively impact your SEO and limit your space, design and functionality. Self-Hosted Blogs cost money (not that much, as you’ll see below) and for the minimum investment, your content is yours, you can build it the way you want, monetize it the way you want and, you run the chance of looking more professional to brands you’re pitching to. So what’s it cost?
INVESTMENT: You can get hosting from as little as $48 to as much as $150+ per year depending upon what your needs are (like bandwidth, storage, etc.).
WHO DO I USE: As mentioned above, I use GoDaddy for my domain and hosting. I have felt their service and customer service when needed to be really great. Their managed WordPress Hosting package ranges from $3.99 / month to $13.99 per month and they pretty much always have coupons, deals and freebies that make it even cheaper. And – you don’t have to be using WordPress to purchase a hosting package. There are tons of options available if you are using other platforms.
WHO DO OTHERS USE: Same as above. I know bloggers who use Bluehost, Hostwinds, and Siteground as each offer similar packages whether you’re using WordPress or another platform like Squarespace. Again – research and compare to find your best fit. You can create a blog with any of these services and it will be a win.
In this day and age you don’t have to invest anything in a great looking theme for your blog. Buuuut, in my experience I prefer to purchase my theme as they tend to be more feature rich and easier to navigate.
I used a free theme for my first ever blog. In my mind, I thought that I would be just doing something simple, so I had no need to dig into my pockets for bells and whistles. I ended up purchasing a theme anyway because my ideas and needs evolved as I became more comfortable in my blogging shoes. I could’ve kept the same theme when I relaunched a couple of months ago, but I opted to purchase a new one as it was optimized for all types of devices and browsers, responsive, simple to use and feature rich.
INVESTMENT: Free 99 to $100+. I’m not sure why anyone would by a theme over $150 bucks, but I haven’t been faced with that decision. I’ve searched thousands of themes and have found um…thousands that were AWESOME costing anywhere from $50-75 bucks. I spent days (weeks, even) researching themes. They almost all of demos so you can mess around with the features and brainstorm how you’ll re-purpose it for your own vision.
WHO DO I USE: The theme I use is Brixton and I’m so in love with it I can barely breathe. It’s a super basic site, which allows you to really make it your own. And, it’s super easy to navigate (I’ve worked with some themes that felt like they needed 4 years of schooling to use). Check out the demo to see how I modified it to make it work for my blog. It ran me $46 bucks and was worth every.single.penny.
WHO DO OTHERS USE: With so many sites out there it’s hard to give examples of who is using what. The Envato market (Theme Forrest) is a gigantic directory of themes for sale, built for all types of platforms. If you’re looking for a free theme, you can always google it. Lots of options and lists for you to peruse.
Plugins are another thing to consider when creating your blog. Most platforms offer some pretty awesome ones that both make your blogging life easier, and assist in blocking spam, perfecting your SEO strategy, etc.
If you’re not familiar with Plugins – they are very similar to an app you download to your phone – they are basically mini programs that you add on to your site in order to achieve a certain objective. For example, Yoast is a plugin I use and it helps me with SEO. All of the ones I use are FREE (stay tuned for a follow up post on the best plugins to be using), although there are some that you may choose to purchase depending upon your needs. Maybe set aside $50 bucks or so for the year and at the end of the year buy yourself something really cute instead because legit, most of the plugins you’ll need and want are totes free 🙂
TOOLS + SOFTWARE
The types of tools and software you need to purchase is really up to you. And, it totally depends upon the type of blog or small business you’re starting. I have a couple of tools I use on the daily and will list them below.
For domain and WordPress hosting…GoDaddy powers the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures. They offer domains, hosting, security, online marketing, email and more. Check it Out
For web analytics…Google Analytics is a FREE web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. Check it Out FREE
For tracking income, expenses & invoicing…FreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting software service designed for owners of the types of small client-service businesses that send invoices to clients and get paid for their time and expertise. Check it Out Starts at $15 / month.
For designing just about everything…Canva lets you easily create beautiful designs + documents. Use Canva’s drag-and-drop feature and professional layouts to design consistently stunning graphics. Check it Out FREE (paid versions availble)
For email marketing…Mailchimp provides email marketing for more than 14 million people globally. Send better emails, connect your e-commerce store, and sell more stuff. Check it Out FREE (I opt for email automation which costs $10 / month)
For social media scheduling…Buffer is a social media scheduling tool that makes it super easy to automatically schedule and share to multiple social media accounts. Check it Out I pay $10 / month
For Pinterest Scheduling, Looping & Campains…Boardbooster is a pin scheduling tool for bloggers. It helps manage Pinterest accounts by automatically spreading new pins over ideal pinning hours, and posting to group boards. Check it Out I pay $5 / month
I’m sure I’m forgetting something. I started a resource directory which lists a bunch of other tools, accessories and places to get stuff for your bloggity blog.
CLASSES + WORKSHOPS
I have been rocking the workshop lately and learning SO, SO MUCH. I strongly recommend finding time (and if necessary, money in your budget) to attend as many workshops in as many areas you can, both before and during your blogging career. The information is priceless. Every single one I’ve attended has been free and FULL of helpful stuff – but, the paid workshops are on my radar and in my budget for this year, because if the free ones are as awesome as they are, the paid ones have to be like finding a pot of gold. Stay tuned for a follow up post with links to a ton of awesome bloggers who are offering seriously awesome classes & workshops. Melyssa Griffin is a great place to start!
OFFICE SUPPLIES & OTHER MISC. EXPENSES
This is probably the most open ended expense if you’re considering creating a blog – You may need to purchase a laptop, printer, camera and everything in between. Or, like most, you probably already have those things and may decide to buy a really fun planner or cute pencils. I’d recommend sitting down and thinking about what you really need (I mean really need) and setting a reasonable budget for misc. crapola you may feel like buying to treat yourself throughout the year.
It’s a lot to think about, I know…but once you get it all on paper and have your plan in mind, it won’t seem so daunting. And, because I covered a boat load of things in this post, I’ve included a bullet point list below to keep things simple. Note: These estimates are based upon what I spent to create my blog (including first year expenses) and may fluctuate depending upon what you choose.
- WordPress Hosting& Domain for 1 year ($90)
- WordPress Theme, 1 time cost ($46)
- Plugins ($0)
- Web Analytics ($0)
- Accounting Tool / Freshbooks ($15 / month or $180 / year)
- Design / Canva ($0)
- Email Marketing & Automation / Mailchimp ($10 / month or $120 / year)
- Social Media Scheduling / Buffer ($10 / month or $120 / year)
- Pinterest Scheduling / Boardbooster ($10 / month or $120 / year)
- Classes + Workshops / various ($0)
- Office Supplies ($100)
So, as you can see my first year of blogging, the bare bones “things” needed to create and maintain my blog ran me around $775. And, this is based upon the tools and services I personally chose, so you could end up spending less or more depending upon what your needs are. Either way – YOU’VE. GOT. THIS.
Let me know if you take the leap into blogging! And, if you’re interested in reading more blog + work life posts, click here. Happy day!