Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
Building your own little corner of the Internet is fun and has the potential to bring in some money. Who wouldn’t want to get paid for doing what they love? So, what does it cost to create a blog in today’s market?
Actually, it’s not as expensive as you might think.
While there is a bit of upfront cost to get the ball rolling, there are a lot of things you can do for free in the beginning.
And once the website starts bringing in some money, you can always expand.
What Does it Cost to Create a Blog?
To set up a basic blog website, it can cost you less than $110 for three years if you pay for the site in advance. This is if you do all the work yourself, including content writing and marketing.
I’ve seen some investment groups say that it could cost nearly $2000 per year for a single blog setup. This is completely ridiculous, depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
Don’t get me wrong, you can easily rack up the total if you buy as many premium services as possible. But since most things can be achieved using free tools, you really don’t need the extras when you start.
Creating a blog website doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, I spend just over $14 per month for five total blogs while using unlimited hosting. Though, you don’t have to go to such lengths if you only want a single blog.
These are 7 things that will affect the cost to create a blog, or any type of website for that matter.
1. What Are You Creating and Why?
Your overall goals for the blog are going to directly affect how much you spend. For instance, if you just want to share your day and have a more personal experience, then a free system like WordPress.com is best.
But, if you want to build a site that generates income from home with the potential to expand even further, you’ll want to dump a bit of money into development.
Answer these questions before committing to building a blog:
- Do you want to monetize your blog?
- Do you plan on selling goods from your website?
- Are you looking to replace a full-time job by blogging?
- Do you want access to customize the entire site to make it look better?
- Would you like to network with others and collaborate on future projects?
- Are you willing to put in a lot of time to create an amazing website?
If you answered, “yes” to all of these questions, a free blog isn’t going to work well for you.
2. Web Hosting Options
A good web host is a valuable commodity on the Internet. And, it’s going to be your first real expense when setting up the blog.
Depending on how much money you want to put up front, this can cost you a little over $100 per year if you pay for several in advance. This is because most web hosts will reduce how much your “monthly” bill comes to if you pay for three years or more upfront.
For example, GreenGeeks will only charge you $106.20 for the first three years of your blog through its EcoSite Lite plan. This breaks down to $2.95 per month, which most of us spend more buying coffee at 7-11.
Yes, this is an affiliate link. But, I am also a GreenGeeks customer. And I can say that the servers are indeed as fast as they claim. In fact, I migrated my sites from Hostgator and saw a vast improvement in performance.
At any rate, the first cost to create a blog is your web host. Because without them, there is no website.
3. Using WordPress
When it comes to blogging software, no system is as intuitive and customizable as WordPress. And I’m not talking about the WordPress.com open hosting platform. The actual system of WordPress is incredibly easy to use.
This is one of the reasons why one-third of the Internet is driven by the WordPress content management system.
It’s very easy to install on a new web hosting account. And not to sound too salesy, but the Softaculous installer in GreenGeeks’s cPanel lets you install it within a couple of minutes.
The reason why I suggest WordPress is because it’s a free blogging platform that has proven itself time and again. It costs nothing extra to get a decent website up in mere moments.
I made the move from Joomla about 8 years ago, and I’m glad I did. It is so much easier using WordPress as opposed to many other CMS platforms out there.
4. Optional Add-Ons
Now, even though WordPress is free, some of the tools you’ll want will cost you to create a blog centered around a specific purpose. However, most of these add-ons have free versions you can try before committing to buying the premium software.
In fact, most of my blogs use free plugins and themes. I have purchased a few tools after several years of using them. But, my blogs also bring in enough money to justify the expense.
In WordPress, you have two add-ons that can cost you money…
Plugins are small scripts that run on your site to provide a specific purpose. For instance, within seconds, you can install a weather widget to show the current temperature to visitors.
And with more than 55,000 widgets available in the WordPress repository, you can find plugins for just about anything.
Another example is how I use the Yoast SEO plugin to help create content for all my websites. I recently purchased the pro version, and it was well worth the money.
Themes control the layout of WordPress. It’s how your website appears to visitors, and it can be customized to fit virtually any purpose. Even the free themes can be changed to fit your exact needs.
Not all themes are created equal, and it could take you a while to find the perfect layout. But, that’s one of the awesome things about WordPress. You can instantly change your site’s appearance by activating a new theme.
And then, you can customize it with the built-in Customizer tool or learn a bit of CSS and PHP really take the site further.
This is one expense I haven’t added in the cost to create any of my blogs. That’s because I want to make sure it fits exactly what I want before paying the money for a premium theme.
5. Costs of Marketing
So, once you have your website set up, it’s time to market the blog. This is where a lot of you might dump quite a bit of money. Then again, it also depends on what kind of a blog you’re building.
If you creating a website for a small business, then yes, you’ll want to put some money into a marketing campaign.
But, what if you have a small blog that you’re trying to make into something great? Perhaps you’re a freelance writer and want to help people learn how to do what you do for a living.
Or, maybe you have a gaming blog and want to share your love of entertainment with the world.
In any case, your needs will dictate the kind of marketing methods you’ll use at first.
For instance, I don’t buy Google or Facebook ads for WriterSanctuary. This is because I don’t really have a product to sell and only get by with ad revenue. So, it would cost me more in marketing than I would make.
Free Marketing Methods
To start, you can always put effort into free methods of marketing your website. This can cut a lot of the immediate cost when creating a blog.
For instance, you can:
- Set up a free page on Facebook.
- Start a Twitter account specifically for your blog.
- Set up an Instagram profile for your website.
- Add a sign-up form on the blog for newsletters.
- Use free push notification platforms like OneSignal.
- Set up a YouTube channel that accentuates what you blog about…I did.
The truth is, there are a lot of ways you can market your blog online that won’t cost you a penny. Crossing Colorado is set up to use Blogarama to share any post I publish. And it draws in a bit of an audience.
Just remember to share your blog posts on those social media accounts.
6. Investing Your Time
The biggest cost to create a blog that is successful is your time. Regardless of what some “experts” say, you’re not going to create a blog that is instantly successful overnight.
It can take several months to several years for a site to generate a great deal of income. And this depends on the niche and how you monetize.
Creating content, marketing strategies, engaging social media, and more can easily tap your time throughout the day.
However, it’s important that you don’t give up on the process. When it comes to anything in life, effort dictates success. Don’t have too high of immediate expectations of setting up an amazing blog.
Here’s an example for you to consider. What would have happened if I gave up blogging back in 2016? In this example, you can see the impact over time. And this year isn’t even over yet.
I created this blog at the end of 2013. I connected it to my WordPress.com account in 2016, and it has grown ever since. Each year is better than the last, and it’s like this with all of my blogs except Crossing Colorado.
But, that’s because Google sunk it in 2019 after the algorithm change.
It’s a long story.
7. OPTIONAL: Outsourcing Content
Outsourcing is when you pay someone else to do things related to your blog. For instance, a lot of people and small businesses will outsource the content itself. This frees up your time to do other things for your website.
I call this an optional cost to create a blog because it’s one that you don’t necessarily need to be successful. Lately, I’ve been outsourcing a few things to friends and family because, simply, I don’t have time to do everything for five growing blogs.
Outsourcing is something I wouldn’t suggest until your blog starts bringing in enough money to pay. For example, I used the money my blogs bring in to pay for the premium Yoast SEO plugin.
I only buy things that the blogs can afford, not myself. Then again, I probably could have grown faster over time if I put some of my own money behind the sites.
However, I run the blogs like a business. And a successful business is capable of paying for its own growth.
What Are My Costs to Create a Blog?
Personally, I pay for unlimited domains at GreenGeeks, which is the Pro account. This lets me create as many websites as I’d like while being able to scale as each one grows. It’s a bit more expensive, but it’s worth the cost as I operate a lot of different sites.
And all of them are continuously growing, save for the health and fitness site that I’m working on rebuilding.
So, my total for the three years of web hosting is $214.20. Then, I have to pay for the domain names each year, which comes out to $15.95 each.
In total, for all five blogs, I pay $533.20 every three years. Or, $14.81 per month.
Once I get a payout from Google or the affiliate links, I donate some of it to charities and then spend the rest on upgrades for the website. This includes paying for premium plugins or buying new equipment for the YouTube channel.
Because the YouTube channel is a great marketing tool for my blog, I want to keep it maintained. And it’s free to start creating video content.
But if you just want a single blog, you’re costs are significantly lower than mine.
Can a Free Blog Perform as Well?
Free blogging platforms are helpful to get your name out there on the Internet. However, they are incredibly lacking when it comes to a variety of things compared to paying for self-hosting your own blog.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with using these kinds of systems. But if you’re trying to build a blog that makes money or promotes yourself as an expert, it’s not nearly as good of a platform.
There are three very distinct issues when using a free platform to avoid paying the cost to create a blog.
1. Free Blogs Get Far Less Attention in Google
For one thing, a free blog isn’t as prominent in Google search as a self-hosted site.
Sure, you might occasionally see a few posts here and there from Medium or even WordPress.com’s subdomains. But, it’s not nearly as common as seeing self-hosted sites in search results.
Consider how Google organizes content. On a shared domain, such as these blogging platforms, a wide scope of content is created spanning many niches. This means the Google algorithm isn’t quite sure what the site is about.
Unless you create some amazing content, it’s far more difficult to rank in Google. And this is where the majority of your traffic is going to come from.
2. More Difficult to Market as a Professional
What looks better, “MichaelBrockbank.com” or “michaelbrockbank.wordpress.com?” That is the difference between owning your own domain name and using a free blogging platform.
It’s more difficult to market yourself as a professional or expert in your niche. Sure, these alternative systems can help you avoid the cost to create a blog. But they also help you avoid practical use for a myriad of purposes.
Many blog owners, myself included, don’t take inquiries or collaboration requests seriously from free email accounts. Gmail, Yahoo, and others are constantly used by scammers. So, if you want to be taken seriously, using your own domain is key.
3. Unable to Fully Monetize or Customize
Free systems only allow for certain monetizing methods, if they are supported at all. This means you don’t often have access to a lot of things that can help you make money from a website.
For instance, some available eCommerce systems only allow up to so many products listed. Therefore, if you have a lot of things to sell, you have to pick and choose what is listed.
With a self-hosted blog, you can do whatever you want and monetize in any way that doesn’t go against the web host’s rules and guidelines. And these are far more relaxed than you would see on a free blogging platform.
The Cost to Create a Blog Depends On You
In the end, the overall cost to create a blog depends more on what you want to build than anything else. If you just want a self-hosted blog with a single domain, it could cost you less than $150 over the next three years.
But then you can expand and spend as much, if not more, than I do. It all depends on how far you want to take your blogging.
For more information about blogging, check out WriterSanctuary’s YouTube channel.
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