Of the many different ways to create something of your own on the internet, a blog has to be one of the most fun and effective options out there. At the same time, there are actually many ways to accomplish this, such as creating a site with a free platform like Blogspot or going with a professional hosting plan and domain of your own. No matter what option you choose, blogging is something that will grow over time as you put more effort and focus into it.
With billions of active websites and blogs on the internet today, the process is easy enough to get started with, but who wants to just start a site and stop there? To create a blog that really stands out from the crowd and can turn into much more, you will need to have a content creation, marketing plan and monetization play in the process. This is something we continually talk about on this blog, but not so much the associated costs that may come with them.
The good news is that many of these costs will be low for bloggers in the beginning, so there is no need to look for outside funding or getting a loan. Instead, many of these initial costs are simply placed on personal credit cards, or even a business card if you have one. For newbie bloggers and those without a business, the initial investment for starting a blog is usually under $100 a year, so there is no need for concern when first getting started. However, if blogging is something that you are planning to get more aggressive and professional with, content creation and marketing costs may soon add up. If this is the case, you may want to think about forming an LLC and picking up a business credit card. With so many different cards on the market today, it’s easy for anyone to get approval, then also have the ability to increase their spending limit as their credit history improves.
With all of this in mind, now let’s take a look at five different expenses every blogger is eventually going to come across.
Web Hosting and Domains
Before starting a blog, you will need to decide if you want to go the free or paid route. With a free blog through a platform like Blogspot or WordPress, you are going to be limited on your site options and won’t have complete ownership over your content. This is specifically why we don’t recommend going with a free hosting platform.
At the same time, the costs associated with a blog that you have complete ownership over, set up with a shared hosting plan and a domain name are quite minimal. In most cases, a domain name is only going to run $10 per year to register, while web hosting plans start around $3-$7 per month depending on who you go with. When creating your hosting account, most providers will offer a big discount on longterm plans, so be sure to factor this into your costs as well.
Premium WordPress Theme
As with many options and features that are found with blogging, you will often have to decide between free and paid options. Having a great looking site is another cost that you will have to bring into the equation. The good news is that WordPress makes it extremely fast, easily and often affordable to have an amazing looking site, while not having to spend a lot of money in the process.
Through the WordPress Theme Directory, you can choose from a number of free WordPress themes for your site. However, free themes also have their own downsides, as they might be slow, clunky in coding or even unsafe for your site. We recommend going with a premium WordPress theme provider like MyThemeShop, which costs less than $80 per year, which also gives you access to more than 50+ different themes and plugins on their site. Blogging.org is actually running off one of their themes right now.
Outsourced Content Creation
Again, choosing between the option of free and paid — content creation is something that is going to play a pivotal role in the success of your blog. While anyone can create content for their site, it definitely does take a time investment. If you are going to blog for a brand or business, you will also want your content to be professional and read well.
When it comes to content creation, you have a lot of options to choose from. You can hire someone directly or use a content creation marketplace like TextBroker or Contentmart, where you can posts article jobs for other freelance writers to complete. Depending on the word count and quality of writers you want to hire, the average cost per word is usually in the .03 to .20 range.
Building a Mailing List
When looking to grow your blog and build a mailing list, this is one area that you will definitely have to invest some money in. Again, as with most areas of blogging and starting a business online, the costs are usually low in the beginning, then increase as your needs grow.
Aweber, MailChimp and ConvertKit are three of the most popular list hosting companies in the world today. They each have their own pricing plans in place, but most are under $29 a month for lists up to 1,000 subscribers in size. The great thing about the costs associated with a mailing list, is that these low investments are usually dwarfed by the earnings and ROI that can be generated from sending out mailings to your list.
Social Media Marketing
With over two billion users across all of the major social networks, it’s extremely important to focus on this area of promotion for your blog. While most site owners and bloggers will rely on free traffic methods by simply posting updates and shares to their profile pages, the real value comes into play if you have some advertising money to spend.
One of the most effective ways to set this up is through Facebook Advertising, which offers advanced demographic targeting and various ways to grow out your fan pages as well. It’s also important to note that nearly all social network have some type of advertising platform in place, but they also have low daily spend requirements as well. This means you can get started with as little as $1-$3 a day to see if paid social media marketing is a good option for your blog.
My Recommended Tools and Solutions to Maximize Blogging Results
As someone who has personally created a wide range of blogs and have successfully turned many of them into authority sites, I know what tools and services work best when it comes to effectively creating content and marketing your site. For a full list of my recommended tools and solutions, be sure to check out these blogging resources.