One of the most common questions to ask when trying to decide if you want to start a blog of your own, is what are the associated costs involved? Depending on how simple or complex you want to get with your blog, the actually start-to-finish costs can vary. To make this process as simple as possible, we are going to cover the most important aspects of blogging, while also trying to make it as simple and to the point as possible.
As always, if you don’t already have a blog of your own, you can follow along in our how to start a blog tutorial that walks you through the easiest way to setup a blog of your own in less than 10 mins.
The Costs of Starting a Blog
We’ve broken the list of costs down into two categories — the necessities and the bonus material. The “necessities” are what you need to get your blog launched and live on the internet and the “bonus material” is everything you can do to your site to improve content, traffic and it’s appearance.
It doesn’t take much to get started with a blog of your own. In the “blogging necessities” list below, we cover everything you need to start your blog, along with the associated costs for each.
Domain Name – $15/year
Your domain name is how people are going to find your blog on the internet. Not only is it the name and address for your blog, but it’s also the first and last thing people will remember about your site. The cost to register a new domain name is usually in the $7-$15 range. To register a domain name with GoDaddy, you are looking at a cost of $9.99 per year. Another domain registrar, NameCheap charges $10.69 per year. When you register a domain name, you will have to pay an annual fee to renew the domain each year. This fee is usually the same amount that you paid for the domain in the first place.
Web Hosting – $10/month
Every blog needs web hosting to store the site content on the internet and make it accessible to everyone else in the world. As a blogger, you don’t need to know the technicalities of hosting, but instead that the majority of web hosting companies on the internet will be more than fine for your blog. It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t have to pay more than $10 a month for your domain name. Web hosting is usually paid on a monthly basis, though some hosts offer discounts with annual billing.
WordPress – Free
WordPress is the platform that powers the great majority of blogs on the internet today. You can download the WordPress software for free from wordpress.org and install it onto your server. The option is also there to create a site using the WordPress.com platform. Another option is to sign up for web hosting through a service like HostGator, which offers one click WordPress installation. Wordpress is free and you will never have to pay to download it or any associated software updates.
Blogging Bonus Materials
Getting your blog live should be exciting enough, but turning your blog into something amazing is quite a journey as well. You can use free methods to grow out your blog, or jump start the process by investing in premium services, tools and software… many of which we will cover below.
Content Creation – Free to $$$
Without content, there is simply no purpose to blog in the first place. The content of your blog is why people visit, what they read when they get there and hopefully provides them with some value along the way. As a blog owner, you can create the content for your blog yourself, or you can outsource it through sites like TextBroker, Fiverr and iWriter — all decent micro-job / writing sites. Obviously if you are writing your own content it’s free. If you are outsourcing the content, then you could be look at anywhere between .02 to .20 per word depending on quality, length and article topic.
WordPress Themes – Free to $$$
The look and feel of your site is also something you will want to invest some time and money into. WordPress makes it extremely easy to customize the look and feel of your site, through the use of their Themes. The WordPress Themes Directory has thousands of free themes to choose from, but there are also Premium Themes out there that have more customization options and simply look much better. Premium themes usually cost around $37-$97 each. If you want a completely custom WordPress Theme for your blog, you could be looking at costs of $500 to $5000 depending on your designer and the complexities of your blog design.
WordPress Plugins – Free to $$$
Just like WordPress has Themes to help you with the look and feel of your site, the software also has Plugins, which allows you to customize the experience. With plugins you can setup contact forms, automate content updates, add social sharing to your site and much more. In addition to the WordPress Themes directory, you can also find one for WordPress plugins as well. Plugins come in all shapes and sizes. Some are free and some you will have to pay for. Depending on the plugin task and it’s industry, you may need to spend anywhere from $17 to $97 for a WordPress theme from a private developer.
Logo Design – $37+
When someone visits your blog for the first time, you want to give a great first impression. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of your own custom logo. In the past, a logo design might have cost you $399+, however with more competition and designer marketplaces opening across the internet, it’s now much easier to find a high quality designer and also a fraction of the cost. Sites like Fiverr offer logo design services which can range from $5-$40 depending on quality and there are many independent design services that charge anywhere from $37 to $299 for a logo design. When starting out your first blog, it’s important to have a good name and logo, but definitely not a necessity to spend a lot of money on it in the process.
Social Networking – Free with Paid Premium Services Available
The majority of us are already on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn… all of which are free. When starting a blog of your own, you should be creating a social networking profile for your blog as well. This way you can start building a separate following for your blog and you can post your latest content right to your social media profiles and fan pages. There are also many social media management tools out there to help you increase social shares, scheduling content to your social profiles and also the ability to get more followers. All of these services vary in what they do and how much they cost. Some of the most well known services for social networks are HootSuite, MeetEdgar, and SocialOomph.
SEO / Traffic – Free with Paid Premium Services Available
Google, Yahoo and bing are the only three search engines that site owners and bloggers need to worry about. When a site ranks organically (free listings) in the search results, there is a potential for a limitless supply of incoming traffic. While this sounds amazing, it’s actually quite time consuming, frustration and just tough to get a site to rank at the top of the search results. Yes, with time and effort your site will rank organically and deliver traffic back to your site at no cost, however, with a few dollars you can invest in SEO / keyword tracking software to measure your results and give you an idea of what type of keywords to go after and how to create content that ranks the best. A ton of free information is available through tools like Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, but there are also premium tools like LongTailPro ($97), that can really dive into traffic and keyword data to give you that edge you need.
Estimate of Costs to Start a Blog Today
No matter what type of blog you are creating, anyone can get started with a professional blog of their own, with just a domain name and web hosting for just under $100 a year. This would break down as $15 for the domain name and roughly $7 a month for hosting ($84 annually). So you are still looking at under $10 per month to have your own little spot on the internet, which could evolve over time into much more.
Whether it’s for fun, profit, business or just to see how blogging works, every new blogger should walk through out 9-step blogging process to decide on the best niche for their blog, how to create content and also map out where they would like their blog to be 3, 6, 9 months down the road. One of the biggest reasons why bloggers fail in their mission to create a successful blog or even make money with their site, is that they start off in the wrong direction.
If you haven’t already, click here to follow our step-by-step guide on how to setup and launch your own blog today!