How much does it cost to start a blog nowadays?
It shouldn’t cost a lot. In the end, all you need is a website and a theme, and you’re done. Right?
Well, not exactly.
To make a blog and earn money from it, you’ll need to spend some in return for the domain, housing, theme, logo, marketing, tools, and much more.
That’s normal, but don’t be. All of these combined don’t cost as much as you think. Creating a blog at the start only needs around $200 if you already have a laptop, which isn’t a scary amount for a beginner. However, if you’re aiming at high professionalism, you’ll typically need to add some more money down the road.
This article will cover all costs associated with creating a blog, including the essential and non-essential ones.
A Break Down of The Essential Costs to Start a Blog
When thinking of starting a blog, you’ll mostly only think of the essential needs. That includes the domain, hosting, and theme. What you don’t know is, those are only a fragment of all the things you’ll need.
You may be missing a lot of details, and this list will help you. Here’s a breakdown of all essential costs included in creating a blog.
Web hosting is essential for anyone opting to create a blog or a website. There’s no way around it; you’ll inevitably need hosting for your blog, and you can’t avoid it unless you go for a really cheap subscription.
You’re basically buying a place for your blog; it’s the same concept of renting a place for creating a store or so.
The good news is, web hosting isn’t among the expensive costs. You can get plans starting from $3 a month, although these won’t perform as well as ones that cost more.
There are also some free options on websites like Wix or Weebly. However, if you get a free plan, you won’t be able to get a domain name. So, if your blog is named Foodies, for example, the domain will be something like foodie.wix.com. But, of course, that’s not ideal for SEO purposes, and it’ll affect the professionalism of your blog.
On the other hand, there are some affordable options, like Bluehost. It offers plans starting from $3.5 per month, and it can go down to $2.50 with this discount. Bear in mind that you’ll have to pay a full year upfront, though.
The domain name of your blog is the URL; it’s the web address that’ll appear in the browser’s bar. For example, the domain name for Facebook is facebook.com.
Just like hosting, the domain is an essential cost, and you can’t go around it. The good news is, the domain doesn’t cost a lot. You can get it for $15–$25 annually on average, depending on your hosting service of choice.
The domain cost needs to be paid each year, though, or else your blog will become out of service. Not only that, but someone else may buy the domain if you stop paying for it, which is an unfortunate occurrence.
You can get a domain at GoDaddy for $10–$20 per year, depending on the name you choose. More famous names typically cost more to acquire. If you want to pay less, you can get a domain name at NameCheap for an average of $9 per year.
The blog’s theme is its design template. It’s basically what the visitors will see when they visit your blog, and it dictates the shape of all buttons and plugins. It also includes the colors of your pages.
There are a lot of free themes on the internet, so it’s not exactly hard to ditch this cost. However, it’s not recommended to get a free theme because they’re, well, cheap! They’ll look a bit tacky compared to any professional blog, and they’ll often be poorly coded, so you’ll inevitably face an issue or two down the road.
It’s best to pay for a professional theme from the start, especially that themes usually don’t cost a lot.
One of the most popular themes of WordPress for bloggers is the Divi theme. Upon purchasing it, you get access to more than 800 premade layouts for websites. Plus, it’s pretty easy to use for beginners, thanks to its drag and drop features.
At the time of writing, acquiring the Divi theme for a lifetime costs around $249. If you want to get done with this cost and forget about it, I recommend paying for the lifetime subscription. It’s the more cost-efficient option. If you prefer paying month by month, the Divi theme will cost you nearly $90 monthly, which isn’t exactly affordable.
A logo isn’t essential per se for your blog, but it’s necessary to make your blog more professional and help you market for it. Creating a brand for your blog can help significantly with marketing, and it adds a professional look.
So, even if you don’t need a logo at the start, you’ll need one eventually if you want your blog to go places.
Luckily for you, there is a lot of design software where you can create your logo for free. The most popular one among bloggers is Canva. If you rather have someone create it for you, you can find designers on Fiverr that will do it for $5-50.
These kinds of services are essential for growing a blog. Without them, you’ll only stop to an extent.
Some of the most popular email service providers for bloggers are Convertkit and ActiveCampaign. The free trial of Convertkit is ideal for beginner bloggers who don’t have a list of email subscribers. It’ll allow you to grow your list and attract more people to subscribe.
ActiveCampaign is a more powerful option; it’s suitable for bloggers with more than 1000 subscribers or so. The service offers a lot of features you’ll need if you have a long list, including automated emails delivery.
The cost of the service depends on the number of your subscribers. Typically, as they grow more, the price gets higher. However, the starting price is around $84 annually for 5000 email subscribers.
ConvertKit also offers a free plan that you can get if you’re on a tight budget. It doesn’t provide the same features as the paid plans, but it still provides the basics. It’ll allow you to create sign-up forms, promote offers, send newsletters, and grow your list of subscribers.
Once you have a long enough list, you can convert to a paid plan.
Social Media Tools
Social media is now your best bet to market for your blog and get a solid fanbase. On top of that, some social media tools make your life much easier by offering facilities and features for monthly or annual subscriptions.
For example, Pinterest is now the leading social media platform for bloggers to attract viewers. If you want to get the best out of it, you can sign up for Tailwind.
Tailwind is basically a Pinterest app that gives you non-Pinterest features. For one, it allows for scheduling pins for days or even months. This way, you can plan your month ahead and get your posts ready without having to interfere yourself.
In addition to that, Tailwind allows you to join Tribes, which are online communities that let you share your blog posts with other bloggers, so they can promote them and vice versa. Of course, this can help expand the numbers of your followers to thousands or more.
Tailwind costs around $15 monthly, but there’s a free trial available if you want to try your luck first.
But Tailwind isn’t the only social media tool you can get. There’s also Buffer, which manages your social media for you. It allows you to publish your content across different platforms, and it starts at $15 monthly.
Moreover, there’s HootSuite, which is a more advanced social media management tool that costs around $30 a month or more. Lastly, if you need high-quality images for your blog, you’ll need to subscribe to Shutterstock, which starts at around $49 monthly.
Nearly all bloggers use plugins to add advanced functions and interactive gestures to their blogs. WordPress, for example, offers a ton of plugins for websites and blogs, and a lot of them are free.
If you’re on a tight budget, there are a couple of free plugins your blog could use. For starters, Instagram Feed allows you to show your feed on your blog, which is an excellent function to have if your blog depends on visuals.
There’s also Envira Gallery Lite, which allows you to create galleries on WordPress with more options than what the web hosting service offers.
Here’s a brief list of more free plugins and what they do:
- Yoast plugin: Allows you to check the SEO score of your posts
- Convertkit plugin: Allows you to add Convertkit forms to the blog
- Under Construction plugin: Alerts visitors that you’re designing your blog still
- MaxButtons: Allows you to add responsive and interactive buttons to your blog
- MonsterInsights: Allows you to connect Google Analytics to your blog
- Social Warfare: Allows you to add social media platforms sharing buttons
All these plugins are free, which is an excellent opportunity for beginners. However, if you’re already a professional and want to upgrade, you can opt for their paid plans. For example, the Yoast plugin offers a paid plan for around $89 annually. Additionally, MonsterInsights has a paid plan of $99.5 annually.
And, of course, if you want to add more advanced features to your blog, you’ll need to pay more. But in most cases, paid plugins only cost around $100 per year.
If you’re not familiar with the term landing pages, they’re standalone web pages that are created explicitly for marketing purposes. A landing page is an essential part of a marketing campaign, and it can be a call of action, a social media profile, or even an email address.
You can use landing pages for a lot of different purposes, such as converting a lead into a customer. The pages will show the customer a promotion, a discount, etc., to convince him to buy right away.
To add landing pages to your blog, you’ll need software that creates them for you. The most common one among bloggers is LeadPages, which offers a standard plan for $27 per month and a pro plan for $59 per month. If you choose to pay annually, you’ll save $120 per year for the standard plan and $240 per year for the pro plan.
If you don’t have a laptop, it’ll be extremely hard to manage a blog. You won’t be able to create it if you don’t have one. No matter how advanced, a smartphone isn’t enough to create a blog and keep maintaining it.
If you’re aiming high, you can get a Macbook Pro. It’s currently one of the best and most secure laptops on the market. And, its performance is unrivaled to the moment. You’ll be able to do everything you desire at once without a hitch.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can always opt for a budget-friendly laptop that gives you all the basic functions. The Lenovo Ideapad 3 is a nice option to consider. Its visuals are excellent, and the screen is large and clear. Plus, the keyboard is comfortable and high-quality, making the laptop one of the best options for writing.
Another affordable option to consider is the Dell Inspiron 15. Its Intel UHD Graphics card is quite decent, and it offers sufficient storage for your use.
Other Hardware Tools
Besides the laptop, you’ll need a couple of hardware tools to create your workstation. The word ‘workstation’ may imply that you’ll pay a lot, but that’s not necessary.
For starters, you’ll need an ergonomic keyboard and a mouse. You’ll be spending most of your time on your desk if you want to do serious blogging, so you’ll have to make sure you stay comfortable.
The Perixx Periboard is a nice option to consider for the keyboard. It’s quite affordable, and it features a smart design that ensures your wrist stays supported and comfortable throughout your working hours. If you like split keyboards, you’ll love this one.
As for the mouse, any option will suffice. You can go as low as you want with its cost.
In addition to the keyboard and mouse, you’ll need a webcam if you intend to upload courses or videos. The YQE webcam is a pretty solid option, and it won’t break the bank. Not only that, but it also comes with a built-in mic, so you don’t have to pay for it separately.
Summary of the Basic Costs of Starting a Blog
|Low budget||High budget|
|Hosting||$3 monthly||$15 monthly|
|Domain||$10 annually||$25 annually|
|Email software||$70 annually||$90 annually|
|Social media tools||$0||$100 monthly|
|Plugins||$20 monthly||$150 monthly|
|Landing pages||$27 monthly||$59 monthly|
|Other hardware tools||$60||$300|
A Break Down of The Optional Costs to Start a Blog
The previous costs are all essential. Meaning there’s no going around them. You’ll have to pay for them to start a blog.
On the other hand, these costs below can be delayed to a few months or even years after starting a blog. When you start to grow your blog and become more professional, you may need to start paying them.
If you want to share your expertise with your fans, you may be thinking of creating an online course. In the long run, this can help you earn loads of money. In this case, the first thing you’ll need is a solid online platform to host your course.
You can opt for Teachable, which is a website for coaching and online courses services. It allows you to upload all your course materials, including videos, comfortably without a hitch. You can also create sales pages with templates and attractive features.
On top of that, the website handles your payments for you. This way, you don’t have to suffer the hassle of signing up for payment gateways.
Teachable is pretty affordable, too. If you want to sell your online course using the platform, you’ll need to pay around $39 per month. If you want to pay annually, the cost will go down to $29 per month.
In the beginning, you may resort to writing your own content. It’ll allow you to engage with your fans and write your ideas exactly as you want them. However, down the road, you’ll need to hire content writers to help you when the load gets too much. In the end, you’re one person, and you can only write a limited number of posts per month.
You have a lot of options. For example, you may hire a freelance writer. In this case, you can share your ideas in an audio recording with the writer and let them implement them in the article. Then, you can edit the article to your preferred form.
In this case, you may have to pay around $50 per 1000 words, depending on the writer’s quality. Generally, high-quality content costs around $70–$100 for 1000 words, but that may be too much for a beginner blogger.
To find freelancers, your best bet is job-seeking sites like Upwork. If you don’t want to go through the hassle, you can always opt for a content writing service, such as ContentFly, for example.
The agency’s pricing starts from $250 per month for around 4000 words, but you can always explore your options and find the most suitable plan for your needs.
Courses may not be vital for blogging, but they’re an excellent way to invest your money and stop you from making mistakes. No matter how experienced you are, you’ll need to gain more knowledge if you want to get serious results with your blog and earn money out of it.
The courses will tell you exactly how to make more money, research keywords, rank in search engines, get more traffic, collect a fanbase, and keep your blog updated for the fans. You won’t find this advice in any other place.
The most popular courses platform for blogging is Udemy. The website offers courses of all kinds for blogging. The latest course yet is the 2021 Masterclass. It currently costs $9.99, but the promotion may run out soon.
If you want to explore your options, you can take a look at other courses platforms, such as SkillShare and PluralSight. To get some courses on SkillShare, you’ll have to make a premium subscription, which will cost you around $99 per year. The website also offers a two-week free trial plan.
Generally, getting a course for blogging won’t cost you more than $20 or an annual subscription of $100.
Once you start making money out of your blog, the work will typically become more. Eventually, it’ll be too much for you to handle. You’ll be too busy creating content and viewing the fans’ needs to do basic tasks like posting.
So, even if you have content writers for your posts, you’ll need any kind of assistance for the daily tasks. You can ask your virtual assistant to do the tasks that seem frustrating to you, along with the tasks that you simply don’t enjoy.
A virtual assistant can cost anywhere from $100 to $500 a month, depending on the kind of tasks they’ll do.
|Low budget||High budget|
|Course platform||$30 monthly||$50 monthly|
|Content writers||$50 per 1000 words||$100 per 1000 words|
|Assistance||$100 monthly||$500 monthly|
How Much Does It Cost to Maintain a Blog?
You may think you’re done paying for your blog once you start it. Well, you’re wrong!
If you want to keep your blog up and running, you’ll have to pay more money. And if you ask any experienced blogger, they’ll tell you that consistency is key.
As long as you’re paying and posting, you’ll keep getting visitors and expanding your fanbase. Once you stop doing so, the fans will stop coming in.
So, whether you’re a hobbyist, a standard blogger, or a professional one, here’s a brief overview of the maintenance costs.
If you have a blog merely to fill your free time, you may have around 100–200 monthly visitors. In this case, you’re a hobbyist blogger, and you’ll only need to pay $5–$25 a month to maintain your blog.
Your money will be going to the basic essentials, such as domain registration and hosting. You’ll be basically paying to stay on the internet, which is the most basic cost of all. You won’t have to pay for content writers, designs, etc.
Any basic hosting package you choose will be enough to keep your blog running, and it’ll offer you all the functions you need. Not only that, but it’ll also do so for a pretty low cost.
To maintain the low costs, make sure to go for free plugins and tools. Paid tools will be of no use if you don’t intend to give the blog much of your time.
Here’s a brief list of the average maintenance costs you’ll pay:
- Domain registration: $1 per month
- Hosting: $10–$15 per month
- SSL License if not included in hosting package: $10 per month
If you’re a standard blogger, that means you give your blog enough time to make money out of it. You’re in the exact middle of the scale between hobbyists and professionals. In this case, you’ll need to pay around $20–$60 per month to maintain your blog.
Standard bloggers usually don’t pay much for advertising, which is the aspect that costs the most. Instead, they pay for advanced hosting, which gets them some additional functions that raise them a bar over hobbyists.
Some bloggers also use anti-spam tools and plugins.
Furthermore, standard bloggers may need content writers to write their posts, but those don’t cost much. As for photography, posting, and similar tasks, they’re usually done by the blogger or the site owner to save costs. And, the themes are mostly offered by web hosting services for free, which typically saves more money.
So, we can say a standard blogger pays for the following maintenance costs on average:
- Domain registration: $1 per month
- Hosting: $10–$20 per month
- Technical maintenance: $20 per month
- Plugins and tools: $10 per month
- SSL License: $10 per month
Professional blogs have thousands of visitors coming in every month. Of course, this means they need more maintenance and more advanced options than their counterparts.
The largest expenditure goes to marketing and advertising, whether it’s through Facebook, Google, or other social media platforms. After that comes photography, content creation, writing, and similar costs.
Professional bloggers often hire licensed photographers and freelance writers for content creation. These add to the cost as well.
That’s in addition to the social media tools and plugins that these blogs need to keep the visitors engaged. Professional bloggers will have to pay to get the advanced versions of the plugins that hobbyist bloggers get for free.
Generally, professional blogs need around $300 per month for maintenance, or less depending on how much money the owner is willing to pay.
Here’s a brief list of the average costs:
- Domain registration: $1 per month
- Hosting: $20 per month
- Theme and design: $50–$100 per month
- Technical maintenance: $50–$100 per month
- Plugins and tools: $20–$50 per month
- SSL license: $10 per month
Can You Start a Blog Without Money?
Well, you can. But the real question isn’t whether you can do it or not. It’s whether it’ll get you the desired results or not.
It’s generally not a great idea to start a blog for free, or do anything for free, really.
For one, it’ll be extremely hard to make money using a blog you made for free—almost impossible. The blog will look unprofessional and a bit tacky, and you’ll be limited as to what you can do.
You won’t be able to add advanced plugins or interactive buttons. Plus, you won’t be able to use smart social media tools that make your life much easier when it comes to managing your posts.
There’s also the fact that free blogs aren’t even as free as you think. You’ll find yourself paying for a lot of extras you didn’t know you needed. Those will appear over time when you’ve already spent a lot of effort on your blog.
Aside from that, you’ll have to pay for the essential costs, including domain registration and hosting.
Moreover, free blogs don’t grow as exponentially as professional blogs do. You’ll have to wait for a long time if you want to see real results or an expansive fanbase. Some bloggers may not see that at all if they keep the no-paying policy.
So, a free blog will eventually lead to you giving up because you’ll be frustrated by how slow everything is going. Or, you’ll realize that you need to start paying to upgrade your blog. In both cases, it’s better to pay from the start.
Starting a blog is a great way to build a passive income source but is not easy or for everyone. Ultimately a blog is a business and as such, it requires some initial and ongoing costs.
If you want to make a profit out of it, you’ll need to put money and time to make sure you get the results you desire.
Luckily for you, we compiled all the necessary and unnecessary costs above, so you probably have a good estimate of how much you’ll need to start your blog.
What’s important is, only opt for free tools and plugins. When it comes to themes and hosting, it’s better to pay to make your blog as professional as it can be.
As long as you have a good laptop and a solid plan, you’ll be just fine!
If you are ready to start your blog and make money with it, make sure to check out this article for a step-by-step guide.