You have heard it umpteen times that a blog can be started for free. Also, those YouTube videos have shown you how to monetize a blog without spending a dime! Right? And after hearing it so many times, you have actually started believing it. However, the fact is you are often given a rosy picture that never reveals the actual cost of running a blog on WordPress.
Over the past few years, blogging as a way of earning money, has become extremely popular. Perhaps this is why there are new bloggers who often take the plunge without understanding the complete picture of blogging. They tend to overlook the fact that apart from the growing competition, the costs of running a blog are growing too! And this misunderstanding often leads to heartbreak and unsuccessful blogging venture. No wonder then that, only 5-6% of bloggers manage to run their households with blogging income (1).
So without further ado, let’s head straight to our topic, i.e. what are the necessary costs of running a blog.
How Much Does it Cost to Start A Blog on WordPress?
Buy A Domain Name and Hosting Service- The Key Cost of Running a Blog on WordPress
Can you start a blog for free? Oh, yes, you can! But, can you make money (consistently) from your free blog? Ah, that’s the big question that needs an honest reply, which mostly is “No!” Because most of the free blogging platforms won’t even allow you to run your own advertisements. In fact, some of these platforms run their own adverts on which you have absolutely no control. There are many more disadvantages of free blogging platforms (2).
So, to start making money blogging, you HAVE to invest money to buy a domain name and hosting service. Usually, this cost varies as there are so many web-hosting companies, offering plans at different rates. So, it is up to you to do a comparison of the most trusted hosting providers and decide the right plan for yourself.
Here I would like to suggest that you shouldn’t compromise quality to settle for cheap hosting which lets you down at a later stage. Remember, once you buy a hosting service, it is not so easy to shift to a different hosting platform. It might affect your blog’s performance and SEO too. Also, the important thing to remember is that most hosting companies offer a big discount if you buy the hosting service for 2-3 years.
Personally speaking, I am paying around $200- $250 a year for my Siteground hosting including domain name. Yes, it might sound pricey. However, the fact that my blog is in safe and competent hands, gives me complete peace of mind, which is priceless indeed!
Remember the hosting cost varies widely, based on your specific requirements. So, if you are settling for an advanced plan or dedicated hosting, then the price will shoot up accordingly.
Costs Related To Blog Design and Development
Unless you decide to self-host your WordPress blog, you may need to hire a web designer to do the job for you. There are many freelancers who can design and host your blog at cheaper rates. You can find them on freelancing platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer. Even social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram are reliable places to connect with competent blog designers. You can try LinkedIn as well.
Now coming to the cost, a freelance designer may charge you anything between $500 to $2000, depending on the type of design and customization you want. For instance, if you want them to design a completely new theme or font for you, which looks unique and different from others, then the price will shoot up.
However, there are bloggers who totally avoid this cost of running a blog, by designing and hosting the blog on their own. Make sure you have done enough research and study, watched lots of YouTube videos, before taking the plunge. You can surely self-host the blog, but remember, the design blunder can prove to be quite costly and irreversible in the long run!
WordPress Theme Cost
When it comes to calculating the cost of running a blog on WordPress, many may like to give it a miss. Simply because there are so many beautiful WordPress themes available for free, for almost every blogging niche. So why spend money on a paid theme?
Right! The fact is initially you may settle for a free theme but as your blog starts growing, you have to consider a paid theme that renders a professional touch to your blog. More so, if you have self-hosted your WordPress blog, which means you have already saved money on blog designing. So, now is the time to spend a part of it on a paid theme.
A good idea is to start with a Freemium WordPress theme which you can use for free. And then you can switch to the Paid version when you are ready with the money. The price of paid WordPress themes for blogging ranges between $30-$60.
WordPress Plugin Cost
This is also a variable cost for running a blog on WordPress. There are so many plugins available for free that you won’t even feel the need to buy a paid plugin. However, if you are serious about monetizing the blog, then you have to consider a few paid plugins. For instance, if you want to send automated emails or newsletters to your subscribers, then you need newsletter plugins like Constant Contact, MailPoet, Sendinblue, and the like. Their prices range between $12-$20 a month. A few newsletter plugins like MailPoet can be used for free if you have less than 1000 subscribers
There are plugins that offer a trial period to use for free. Again many plugins come with both free and paid versions, the one which deserves a special mention in this category is the Yoast plugin. So, it is up to you to decide precisely what types of plugins can help your blog function efficiently. Accordingly, you can decide whether you are ready to go for the paid version or settle with the free ones.
Few Other Costs of Starting and Running a Money-Making Blog
Workspace Setup- The Often Ignored Cost of Running a Blog
Without a proper workspace setup, you will never feel motivated to work seriously on your blog. So, yes, to become a serious blogger, you do need to invest in a proper setup. This means you need a branded laptop that not only supports blogging but graphic designing and video editing too. The price of such a laptop may range between $400-$600, if not more.
Besides the laptop, you may need a quality webcam and powerful microphone, in case you plan to go live for your audience. Depending on the brand you may have to spend around $60-$100 for the webcam and microphone. Also, it is highly recommended that you get a proper laptop table and a straight-back chair. Last but not the least, is a reliable internet connection, which doesn’t ditch you at crucial moments!
So the overall cost of setting up a proper workspace for your blog may vary between $600-$800.
Blogging Resources You May Need For Graphic Designing
If you are going to do graphic designing for your blog, then you need proper software that makes the task easy for you. There are lots of high-quality software available for graphic designing (3) purposes. However, none of them are that cheap! For instance, Adobe Photoshop charges around $120-$600, depending on the plan you chose. Canva, another popular graphic design platform costs around $13 a month i.e. around $160 a year, which is quite reasonable. The best part is that it offers lots of features for Free!
Then again if your blog is too image-dependent, then you may sometimes need to buy stock photos that are far better than the free ones. Again stock photo subscription can be quite expensive. For instance, Shutterstock charges $29 a month for 10 images or $199 per month (to be paid yearly) for 750 images.
In case you are not yet ready to invest in graphic designing, then look for free options, many of which come with amazing features almost at par with the paid ones.
Software For Better Writing and Editing
Wondering how much does it cost for a blog post? The answer is, it varies, depending on the software you chose for writing and editing. Remember the ulterior purpose of running a blog is definitely about better writing and flawless editing, isn’t it? So, it would be foolish to not use software that renders a finer touch to your writing!
Talk of an online writing editor and you have to consider Grammarly, It is the most preferred editor which comes with a free version. You can upgrade it in case you want to avail advanced features, the price of which is $25 per month for one user. There are many more reasonably priced writing-editing software programs (4) available which can take the stress out of blogging.
The other writing scenario might be that you decide to hire a freelance writer for your blog. Then you need to pay him/her on an hourly basis. Else if you need assistance with a complicated writing project, you can definitely hire a subject-matter expert. Any experienced freelance writer now charges a minimum of $20-30 an hour. The rate may shoot up for Case Studies, White Paper, and Finance/ Tech writing.
Resources/ Apps For Better Management of the Blog
If you want to run your blog like a business, then you need a few more apps/ software programs to handle multiple tasks. For instance, it might be impossible to manage and monitor tasks like project management, billing, and accounting, if you are too busy writing the whole day. You can use some of these business apps, many of which come with Freemium versions.
QuickBooks, the most popular accounting software, often used by professional bloggers, costs around $10-$13 a month, depending on the plan you chose. Asana, a preferred project management software comes with a price tag of $11-$26 per month (billed annually), based on the specific plan you buy.
Additional Costs of Running a Blog on WordPress
Now that you have considered almost all the costs related to blogging, here’s one more aspect which demands attention too.
You simply can’t ignore the marketing and promotion of your blog. Perhaps you have already worked out ways to promote your blog for free which is perfectly fine. And yet there are moments when you may need to spend money on paid promotion.
Let’s say, you plan to monetize your blog by selling e-books, online courses, or printable. And this is when you may consider running paid advertising on Facebook, the cost of which is around $0.20 to $1.00 per click. The other most popular form of online advertising, i.e. Google Ads costs a minimum of $1 per click, depending on the keyword you have chosen.
The other popular form of blog promotion technique that serious bloggers often chose is guest blogging. While there are a few sites that allow guest blogging for free, most high authority websites charge a hefty amount to publish your guest blog. The sponsored post price may vary between $25-$70, sometimes even higher!
While the above-mentioned costs of running a blog on WordPress just offer a rough picture, you need to do your own price research and comparison to find out the best options for your blog. And finally remember, it is your hard work that can ensure a quicker return on investment.
So, buckle up for a challenging yet exciting blogging journey!