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The costs are beginning to add up and you’re wondering… But how much does it REALLY cost to start a blog? We’ve compiled all of the expected costs and organized it by type of cost as well as WHEN you should expect to incur the cost.
We’ll also discuss the mindset you should have when starting.
If you’re new to THIS blog, let me tell you a little bit about us first. We started our first blog in the health and wellness niche. It was focused on weight loss and yoga.
Alex was working full-time as a personal trainer, and I was working full-time as a certified public accountant. We worked nights and weekends on our new blog.
Just a few short months later, we quit our jobs to work on our blog full-time before we were making a dime. It was risky, but we wanted to give this thing everything we had.
Thankfully, we made our first $200 in that first month we quit. We went on to double our revenues for the first 5 months of business.
But we still made a LOT of mistakes and a LOT of bad investments in those first few months of blogging. So, I’m here to tell you what you SHOULD be investing in so you can hopefully get the maximum rewards from the minimum investment!
Before we talk about the actual costs, we want to talk briefly about the mindset that you should have before you begin. It will help you set the right expectations and intentions for your new blog.
Treat Your Blog Like a Business
It’s important to remember that your new blog is a business. It’s really not that much different than any other business start-up. There is always a risk that you won’t ever make any money, although we are of the belief that if you don’t give up, you can’t fail.
Blogging is not a get-rich-quick scheme, and we don’t ever intend for it to look like our success has come easily.
You can’t expect to start out spending zero dollars on your websites and make a bunch of money. It doesn’t really work that way. And if it did, everybody and their grandma would be doing it.
You WILL have to spend some money if you hope to make any money blogging, and it also requires a lot of time, focus, and dedication.
But you CAN make some serious income with a simple blog and without spending your life savings on it.
And you CANNOT CANNOT CANNOT have the mindset of “I”ll spend money when I make money.”
Good luck with that. You’ll be a broke blogger forever.
You’ll end up wasting the first few months trying to get away with “free” only to end up giving up and making the investment later on down the road anyway.
Don’t waste your time. Start the right way from the beginning and you’ll reach your goals much faster.
It’s important to begin your blogging journey with these things in mind so that you have the proper expectations of what it will take and what you will need to invest in your new business.
Why You Should Avoid Free Blog Software
We’re about to give you a little tough love here. Prepare yourself.
If you start on the cheap, you can also expect to get cheap results.
It will be tempting to start with free hosting, free themes, and try to send emails to your subscribers for free, but you’re going to come up short in a lot of areas.
Free Blog Hosting
Many of our readers creating a new website wonder about free hosting.
Why would I pay for hosting when I can start out on a free platform like blogger or free WordPress?
Because free blogging sites come with a TON of limitations, including:
- How you are allowed to make money (example: no ads allowed)
- Blog design (say goodbye to customizable, paid themes)
- What plugins you have access to
- Overall control of your site
- Bandwidth (how many visitors your site can hold)
- And more.
We have an entire article on the differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org (free vs. self-hosted) that you should read if you are considering starting out on a free platform.
Free Blog Themes
Next, you’ll be tempted to try to use a free theme on your blog because the average paid theme costs around $60-$90.
Free themes are also incredibly limited.
Most free themes don’t even allow you to make simple customizations like changing the color of your menu.
You also have to consider what your time is worth is here.
If you spend 4 days trying out different free themes looking for one that allows you to design your blog the way you want when you could have spent ONE day designing it with a very customizable (paid) theme, you’ve spent a LOT more than $60.
You could have spent the rest of that 4 days writing blog posts and getting ready to launch.
Free Email Marketing
The very next cost you’ll be looking at is related to email marketing. You’ll need to start building an email list right away if you want to propel your blog to success as quickly as possible.
Email is how you will begin to build a relationship with your readers and learn very valuable information, including what they are most interested in and how you can eventually monetize your audience.
Email is also one of the single most important tools you will use to make money.
Free email services are also very limited, especially with how you can monetize, and they are only free up to a certain amount of subscribers anyway. So, you can start out with a free email marketing service, but when you’re ready to make money, you’ll have to switch to a paid service anyway.
We have a review of the popular free service, MailChimp, compared to our favorite service, ConvertKit, below if you want to read more about the differences:
Expected Costs in the First 1-3 Months of Blogging
The following costs can be expected in the first 1-3 months of blogging.
You’ll incur most of them in the first month but it ultimately depends on how quickly you are moving with the start-up process. This is what we call the “newbie” phase and it includes setup and blog design. This process will generally take you a month or two.
Blog hosting is going to be your very first investment and one of the most important investments you can make in your blog. Your hosting provider is the company that basically takes your blog “online” so that it is visible to the rest of the world.
There are a lot of different blog hosting companies out there, but we recommend Bluehost.
It’s less expensive than the other companies and for better service, in our opinion. It’s also what we personally used for the first couple of years to take both of our blogs to six figures.
You can start for as low as $2.75/month Bluehost. That price is a special deal we get for our subscribers and is only available through our affiliate link.
This is the first investment you are making into your blog. Getting a paid plan represents the commitment you’re making to your new business.
Estimated Blog Hosting Costs: $33
Blog themes are software that allow you to customize the design of your blog, including changing colors, fonts, and the overall structure of the content on your blog.
A beginner-friendly and customizable blog theme will save you days of headaches of wasted hours, which ultimately ends up saving you money. This is why selecting the best blog theme you can is crucial to your blogging success.
Our #1 recommended blog theme for beginners is Divi.
It’s the most customizable and beginner-friendly theme on the market and also what we recommend to all of our course students.
Divi does come in at a slightly higher price tag of $89/year, BUT you also get access to the entire Elegant Themes market, which means over 70 other themes to choose from if you don’t love Divi!
Estimated Blog Theme Costs: $60-90
Email Marketing Service
As we said earlier, no email marketing software is free in the long run.
Our top recommendation for email marketing software is the company that we currently use: ConvertKit. The good news is: they also have a free plan that you can start with.
We’ve tried most of the others out there, including ActiveCampaign, GetResponse, AWeber, and MailChimp. We’ve now been with ConvertKit for years, and it was the best decision we ever made.
ConvertKit was designed specifically for bloggers and the simplicity of the platform saves you tons of time and helps you focus on what’s most important: content creation.
Not only that, but it now comes with a ton of really customizable landing pages that will save you $$$ on landing page software and help you get more subscribers!
Estimated Email Marketing Costs: $0 – $9/month (you can start with a free plan)
Investment in Courses
Now y’all… this one is totally optional but we highly recommend it, and not just because we sell our own courses. You don’t have to buy ours. Buy someone else’s if you find a better one. But this can make a HUGE impact on your new business.
Yes, the internet has a wealth of free information but it’s often outdated, sometimes untrustworthy, and very often fragmented.
The smartest bloggers and business owners withhold their best information for their paying customers. They don’t give all of their secrets away for free.
Good blogging courses will give you a step-by-step plan with actionable steps that tell you what you need to focus on every step of the way. Compare that to sifting through articles via Google search…
Blogging courses are generally priced anywhere from $49 – $1,000 or more. The more in-depth you get into the world of blogging, the more expensive it will be.
We have two options for beginners:
- Our Launch Your Blog Biz course.
- Our Pro Blogger Bundle, which is a discounted bundle of all 4 of our courses.
And if you aren’t sure yet, consider taking our free blogging bootcamp for beginners first!
Estimated Investment in Blogging Courses Costs: $297-1,000+
Total Estimated Cost to Start a Blog (1-3 Months):
- First Month: $93+
- 2-3 Months: $0-29+
- Optional Blogging Courses: $297+
Expected Costs After 3+ Months of Blogging
After the initial “newbie” phase, including set up and blog design, you will begin to focus on driving traffic to your blog and monetization.
You could be in this phase as soon as 1 month after starting, depending on how quickly you move.
At this stage, you will likely run into some additional costs to grow your blog. These costs will vary based on how quickly you grow your blog and monetize it.
Most software companies in this business charge you based on how many views your pages get or how many subscribers you have, so the costs will grow as your blog grows.
For example, your monthly costs for email marketing will increase as your number of subscribers increases.
At some point in these first few months, you’ll also likely want to invest in software like LeadPages or Sumo to help you increase your subscribers. But if you use Software like ConvertKit that already comes with landing pages, you can likely avoid some of those costs.
These expenses are harder to estimate because it depends on how quickly you’re growing and what areas you are focused on growing with your blog.
The key is to work on monetizing your site as quickly as possible so that you can generate enough revenue to cover these growing costs.
This is where HELP can really come in handy…
You might want to buy additional courses here, depending on where you have invested so far.
Our Pro Blogger Bundle is designed to take you all the way to six figures.
But other courses might come up that you want to buy depending on what kind of courses you buy and when.
I can tell you that we STILL buy courses — even after years of running our online businesses. Because the internet is always changing and there is always more to learn!
Total Estimated Blogging Costs After 1-3 Months:
- Regular software on a monthly basis: $50-$150/month
- Optional investment in courses: $300+
The key at this stage is to quickly begin monetizing so that as your blog costs grow, your revenues will begin to grow as well.
Again, you have to have the right mindset going into this.
Let’s say you have cheap landing page software and you make an average of 1 sale every day for $20.
If you spent an extra $97/month on better landing page software but it bumped up your sales to TWO every day, you would do it, right?
That’s spending an extra $97/month to make an additional $674/month. Yes, please…
This is generally how paid software in the blogging biz works and why it’s important to understand that you will often have to invest some money upfront before the rewards pay off.
Other Expectations and Costs
There are just a few other minor details that we want to address before we part.
You don’t need any special equipment to be a blogger except for a working laptop with a good internet connection.
If you don’t have regular access to a great Wi-Fi connection, you need to consider getting it or finding another career. Blogging requires you to be regularly connected to your work, your audience, and social media.
The good news is that you don’t need special cameras or any other kind of external equipment. Other than a laptop, blogging is more about the software that you use and that we described above.
Don’t forget that another huge investment is your TIME! If you currently have a soul-sucking 9-5 job, you may not attribute your time to being worth THAT much.
But when you’re a blogger, you do.
When you are in direct control of your income, every extra hour that you spend working on your blog matters.
When your blog begins to be successful and starts earning you income, you’ll find that you’ll start bouncing out of bed in the morning because you’re so excited to get to work!
I’ve always been a morning person, but I was NEVER super pumped about driving to my job as a CPA every day.
But now, I purposely set my alarm at 6:30 am most mornings because I LOVE getting up before the sun to work on our blogs!
Summary of Costs to Start a Blog
Expected Costs in the First 1-3 Months of Blogging
- Blog Hosting: $33 (averages to $2.75/month with our Bluehost discount)
- Blog Theme: $60-90 (#1 rec: Divi theme)
- Email Marketing: $0-9/month (start with a free plan)
- Investment in Blogging Courses: $300+ (Pro Blogger Bundle is our bundle of blogging courses)
Total Expected Costs in the First 1-3 Months of Blogging: $93+ upfront + $0-29/month after that + optional blogging courses.
Expected Costs After 3+ Months of Blogging
- Other Software: $50+
- Additional Blogging Courses: Optional
I hope this helped to address all of your questions associated with the cost to start a blog and run it, but if I missed something, please feel free to ask in the comment section below!