If you plan to start making money blogging, one of the most important questions that you should be asking yourself is how much does it cost to start a blog, right?
The truth is that starting a blog is very cheap, but not sooo cheap like some people will say.
You can find countless articles saying that it is possible to start a blog with $50 or less and earn thousands per month, but is it true or not? In this article, I’ll explain the real and exact costs of running a successful blog and the most essential blogging tools that you’ll need and how much they will cost.
But before writing about the total costs of starting a blog, it’s also important to say that if you think that you can start a successful blog completely for free, you must change that mindset.
Many newbies think that if they can start blogging for free why the hell would pay money every month for hosting?
But this is by far, the biggest stupid mistake can you can do if you are starting a blog to make money.
And why it is a stupid mistake?
While you can start a blog 100% free using a platform like Wix or Blogspot, there are countless reasons why it’s totally not recommended.
Remember this phrase that applies to the economic theory and everything on life:
“There is no such thing as a free lunch.”
The same thing applies to blogging if you want to start an online business for free. Below are just a few reasons to avoid free blog hosting:
- You don’t own your blog on free hosting: for several reasons you can have your blog closed at any time by Blogspot or Wix (if you choose them).
- You don’t get a real domain name: your domain name, it’s essentially the name of your site, for example, www.myblogname.com. If you choose Blogspot to host your blog, the name will be something like myblogname.blogspot.com. I don’t need to say that this is horrible for someone trying to build a business. It’s very amateur hosting your blog on free platforms.
- It’s hard to monetize: Do you want to collect email leads to promote your product or service? Sorry, but it will be very difficult because you can’t install plugins and extra tools.
- Slowness and instability: your website needs to be as fast as possible and need to be online at least 99.8% of the time. You are not paying one cent, so don’t complain if your blog takes 20 seconds to load and is always getting down.
- Impossible to customize: do you want to make your blog look more pretty or just improve your layout? Almost impossible… because there are just a dozen pre-installed themes that you can use.
There are countless other big reasons why you should stay away from these crappy free hosting.
Treat it like a real business
If you want to be a professional blogger that makes thousands per month, you should treat it like a real business. And business will require some money invested.
The point is that like any other business you’ll need to spend a determined amount of money and only after a determined period you’ll recover what you invested and will start making profits.
And you CANNOT have the wrong mindset of “I’ll invest money on my blog only when I start making money”. If there’s a tool that will help your blog in any way, you should invest in it as soon as possible.
But the good news is that if you work hard and don’t quit early, odds to make money with your blog are big.
But don’t worry if you think that you’ll need to spend much more than what you have been told.
The total costs to start a successful and profitable blog in the first months
OK, now you know what you should run away from free hosting platforms and you know that to make money with your blog, you must treat it like a real business and not a hobby.
And finally, I’ll answer how much does it cost to start a blog and the blogging tools that are 100% necessary to make money blogging in the first months. Below are the 100% essential investments to make your blog successful and profitable:
Your domain is the most basic and initial thing. You’ll need to create a beautiful and easy domain name. And remember you CAN’T change your domain name after you chose one”.
So it’s important to choose a pretty and easy to remember domain name. Also, avoid more than 3 or 4 words and hyphens. And always choose the “.com” domain. Avoid “.info” or “.biz” extensions, because these last ones can be considered spam by some email providers and other services.
Average cost: $12 per year.
This is the second and one of the most important investments you’ll need. You’ll need to pay for the company to host your blog. A trusted and reliable hosting company will take care of all that ultra-complicated technical stuff of putting and keeping your site or blog online.
If you don’t know, it’s necessary a computer (aka server) working 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, with an operating system and many other countless softwares to run your blog. And smart people to make it work.
That’s why there’s a monthly cost. Because it’s not so simple as you can imagine.
You should always choose a hosting service that has great customer support, fast servers, and reliable service. And please avoid those crappy $0.99 per month hosting companies. Because those services are run by kids or not trusted people.
Getting a high-quality domain name for a new blog with low traffic already is damn cheap. Some old and trusted companies like BlueHost have plans starting at only $4.95/month.
The only catch with BlueHost is that to get the $4.95/month plan, you need to pay for 12 months upfront. But this is one of the cheapest prices for reliable hosting.
As you can see the real cost to host a blog is very low and everyone can afford it.
Average cost: $60 for one year.
Premium Blog Theme
There’s an old phrase saying to don’t judge a book by its cover.
Sorry to disappoint you, but in this case the first thing that your potential users will see and judge it’s the design and layout of your blog. You’ll also hear a lot of gurus saying that content is king. But if the content is king, then the design is the Queen.
So there’s no option, just getting a decent and pretty design to your blog.
And how do you get a beautiful design?
With your Blog theme. A blog theme is the “software” that allows you to customize the whole design of your blog, including changing layouts, fonts sizes, and colors, columns sizes and positions, sidebar, etc.
There are hundreds of blog themes available on WordPress and many of them are free. But again I don’t recommend free blog themes for several reasons. Most of these free themes are very limited and don’t have a good layout.
Also, a good and beginner-friendly theme that is highly customizable will save you time and headaches to design your blog the way you want.
My #1 recommended blog theme for beginners is Divi.
Divi is one of the most customizable and easy to use Premium themes on the market.
The only downside is the price of $89 per year. If you don’t want to pay for a premium blog theme for the first months it’s fine. But as soon as you can afford it, I recommend that you pick a good paid blog theme.
Average cost: $90 per year.
Email Marketing Service
With zero doubts, this is by far the most important tool to make money with your blog. Do you dream of making thousands of dollars promoting affiliate products or other services or products? Then you can’t live without your email list.
And while there are good free email marketing options like MailChimp, it is only free until you reach 1,000 subscribers. It’s has also limited features, for example, you can’t build an automated email series to send to your readers with the free version.
My #1 recommendation for a reliable and cheap email marketing service is Aweber.
Aweber cost is $19/month, but if you join using this link, the first month is free.
Average cost: $19/month (first month free).
Email List Generation Tool
This is optional but highly recommended. An email list genera plugin is very important to collect email info from your readers. Many Premium blog themes already come with opt-in forms to collect email from your visitors, but a plugin that gives you countless options and analytics tools is very important.
My #1 recommendation is ThriveLeads. With ThriveLeads you have dozens of opt-in form templates and many great customizations. You also get A/B tests, so you can test and discover which opt-in forms are converting better.
Average cost: $67
Social Media Tools
Regardless of which social media platform you plan to use to drive traffic to your blog, it’s important to purchase software to help you schedule posts and help you get more traffic to your blog.
But if I would recommend the best social media site, my option is Pinterest.
And the best social media tool for Pinterest with no doubts is Tailwind, with this tool, you get amazing analytic tools and other great features that will help boost your traffic from Pinterest.
Average cost: $15/month.
Traffic is the oxygen of your blog. If you don’t get people visiting your blog is impossible to make sales, get clicks and money.
Basically, as a blogger you only have 2 options to get traffic:
- From search engines: From sites like Google or Bing.
- Social media sites: From sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.
SEO drives the majority traffic for most of the blogs, however, getting traffic from search engines is not a simple task. You have to search for easy to rank keywords and much other technical stuff.
In the end, you are forced to use a good SEO tool.
Fortunately, there are good options both free and paid.
I use a lot and recommend Ubbersuggest from Neil Patel.
Ubbersuggest is a very complete SEO tool, you can find tons of analytics from your competitors, the best keywords to rank, etc, etc.
And the best thing is that Ubbersuggest is completely free!
Average cost: $0 if you use Ubbersuggest
Optional Blogging Courses
This cost is totally optional and it’s up to you decide if you want or not. But some blogging courses can accelerate a lot of your learning and make a huge impact on your profits.
You can indeed find tons of free information online, but very often you’ll find outdated info from 10 years ago that doesn’t have a positive impact now on your blog nowadays.
The smart bloggers and business owners will always withhold their best information and advices, and if you open your mind, in some cases paying for that expensive $1,000 course can be worth 50x your investment.
Other Expected Costs
There are other obvious costs involved to start a profitable blog, that other people don’t talk a lot, but are important to talk here:
- Good laptop or computer: while you can do a lot of things on your smartphone, many small but important tasks will require a laptop or a computer with a big screen. For example, if you need to design or edit some images, a good computer with a big screen will help you a lot.
- Fast internet: you must get a decent internet connection because you don’t want to get irritated when you are uploading an image or saving something and your connection goes down.
- Time: time is priceless, so it’s SUPER important that you invest as much time as possible on your blog if you want to be successful.
Summary of the costs to start a blog
Blog hosting: $60
Premium blog theme: $50-$90
Email marketing: $0 the first month, then $19+/month
List building tool: $67
Social media tools (TailWind): $15/month
SEO tools: free
The total expected cost to start a blog for the first 2 months = $251
This is the average cost to run a blog for the 2 months, but considering that you’ll not pay for courses and will only use free SEO tools. For the subsequent months, your costs will be $19+/month for Aweber (email marketing software) and TailWind (Pinterest marketing tool).
As you can see the real cost to make a blog is a bit higher than some bloggers are talking, but it’s still super cheap if you compare it to a traditional business that can cost a small fortune.
I hope that now you know the truth you still get motivated to make a blog or website because even if you needed $1,000 to set up a blog, this is still a very low cost to have a blog if you consider all the potential income.