I’ve been blogging since 2008 and it’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life. However, like all things, there is a price to starting a blog.
It cost between $120 to $459 a year to own a blog. This includes website hosting, domain name, website theme, website plugins, and even a logo. The cost varies based on what you are willing to pay for.
To get a complete breakdown of the cost I will share this all below. On top of that, I’ll also share with you were not to start your blog and some extra tools I use to run my blog.
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Blog?
1. Web Hosting
Cost: $3.95 if you pay for 36 months upfront, or $9.99 a month if you pay for 12 months upfront with Bluehost.
The first thing that you will need to pay, and it is totally not optional, is the hosting. You could build your website on SquareSpace, Wix, or various other websites and you will still need to pay to have hosting.
Website hosting is where a website provider stores the files of your website onto its server.
Think about it like renting an apartment and moving all your stuff in. You never own the apartment space, and if you stop making payments, then you are kicked out.
Website hosting is the same way. You are renting out file space from a hosting provider, and then those files are viewable online as your website. You also need to purchase a domain name, which is your website name. (More on that in a minute.)
While most people think that all website hosts are the same, I recommend that you start with Bluehost to act as your service provider.
The setup guide is very easy to follow, you can sign up without trouble, and eventually, you can upgrade to higher web hosting.
Bigger hosting websites such as WPX or SiteGround are all designed to handle larger amounts of web traffic and also to deal with bigger forms of media. These include videos, audio files, and other things that take up a lot of bandwidth.
As your website starts to grow, your needs will grow with it. Make sure you have a plan in place to keep the growth up with your blog.
No one likes having to realize that when the amount of people viewing your blog goes up, the resources that the website drains are also much larger.
2. Domain Name
Cost: Free for the first year on Bluehost and $8.88/year on Namecheap after the first year plus taxes and ICANN fees.
The domain name is the name of your site, such as Myblognamegoeshere.com. The domain name needs to be unique and can’t be taken from another website, and the hosting provider will be able to tell you if your domain name is taken or is available.
Bluehost will allow you to have your domain name for free for your first year.
Having a professional website is in your best interest. Additionally, after the first year, try to keep the domain name separate from the website.
That way, if you move away from Bluehost you can still take the domain name with you, rather than having to let that name sit in limbo while you purchase another one.
If you have multiple websites having a solid domain name host is the best way to manage all of your domain names. I personally use Namecheap to manage all of my domain names.
Finally, if at all possible get a .com domain name. These can be the hardest to get but are what is mostly deemed the most trustworthy.
3. The Website Theme
Cost: Free to $67 a year for Acabado.
The website theme is something that a lot of people don’t always pay for. Most of the time we think that the free theme from the WordPress library is good enough, and at the start, it is good enough.
However, you will need to upgrade to a paid theme eventually in order to make your website look even better.
Themes can be anything from color or texture that matches both the logo and the niche of your website, or something that draws the eye in and makes sure that you stay awhile.
I recommend a free theme in the beginning but once you get a little more established and you start to grow your traffic I recommend a paid theme.
One of the best themes that I would recommend is Aacabodo, which is a fast theme that not only looks good but also optimizes things that are going on behind the scenes.
With Aacabodo, your website will run much faster. If you can get a theme that will work for you, then you are all good. If the theme can optimize your website… even better!
Pick a theme that ties into your website, and with a bit of looking you will find one that is going to work for you! Also, don’t be afraid to change it as your website grows and evolves.
Plugins can give your website certain abilities, almost acting like apps on your phone. A plugin can integrate your website with Gmail, Mailchimp, SoundCloud, and other websites.
No matter what you want out of them, there are thousands of plugins that will allow you to do anything.
Still, they can slow down your website on the backend, and will also cost a pretty penny per month if you buy a lot of paid plugins.
One plugin you will need if you have a blog with affiliate links in it is the plugin ‘Pretty Links’.
This plugin lets you manage and change all of your affiliate links in one spot. Instead of having to go through every single article, you just need to go to the free plugin and make changes. It’s much easier.
Use plugins sparingly. It can be very exciting to get to the plugins list and see everything available, and then you start to install everything in sight.
The fewer plugins you have, the better, because then you can manage them easier and they don’t draw as much from your website or your wallet! Only get the plugins that you need, and you will be alright.
5. The Website Logo
Cost: Free to $240
A logo is a thing that people remember about your website, and you need a good one.
Unless you have some serious skills in art and design, then you need a professionally designed logo that makes sense for your business.
If you’re looking to get this done for free then Canva is the best option.
The logo should communicate what your business is about, and most of the time you can have people create logos for you for about $20-$30 dollars on Fiverr.com
Another great website is 24hourlogo.com, which lets a group of people create logo options for around $240 dollars.
Then you pick the best option for your business. No matter how you create the logo, having a bad logo doesn’t do any favors for your business at all.
Where You Should Not Start A Blog
Of course, there are dozens of options for starting a blog online, but some of those options have disadvantages that you need to think of.
For example, websites like WordPress.com, Blogger.com, and Medium are both free blogging platforms that are easy to set up, but you also don’t own them. That means that these platforms could shut you down at any time.
By buying a domain name and a hosting provider, your website will stay where it is and you don’t need to worry about it getting shut down.
You will own the website and the content, and it won’t go away unless something really bad happens. However, that doesn’t mean that a platform like Medium isn’t useful.
It can be a great branching-off point to get people to come and read your blog. For example, you could post an article on the website and then include a link to your blog down at the very bottom.
If interested, the readers can click on that link and learn more about your work and see more of your articles.
Free blog sites are great marketing tools and platforms to show your blog off on, but not a great place to host a blog. Instead, buy a hosting site and a domain name, and then it is yours.
Stay Away From Other Paid Platforms
Website builders such as Wix and Squarespace have been making waves in the blogging industry.
However, if you don’t own the website and hosting as you do with Wix or Squarespace then you’ll want to avoid thesewell.
It’s just like putting all your stuff into a rented apartment and then proclaiming that you own the apartment just because your stuff is there.
Plus, moving away from these websites can be a serious pain in the neck, and it can be hard to pull off your content and switch providers.
Sticking with WordPress.org is the best way to start your blog and ensure that the blog itself is yours.
Extra Things You Could Buy for Your Blog
You will not need any of these things for a beginner blog, but as you start to grow more followers and start expanding your reach, then you can consider some of these options you will need to pay for.
First, a backup of your blog done by a reputable service can be a lifesaver if your blog gets hacked.
That way, all of your content is saved and ready to be re-uploaded once the backup is complete. A tool like ManageWp.com is great for WordPress, and you should have a third-party tool even if the hosting platform does it for you.
Make sure to check and regularly update your backups, especially whenever you know about website updates or changes. You can backup every day, every week, every two weeks, or at any other time frame.
Just make sure to keep it consistent for your website, and make sure to delete old backups whenever they do not serve your purpose.
A Keyword Tool
Keywords are the lifeblood of SEO, which is what gets people onto your website.
If you have content that is stuffed with high-quality keywords and good advice, then you will be able to get more people to come to your website. Those keywords will cause your article to appear more on Google and other search engines.
Keyword and SEO tools go hand in hand and are two sides of the same coin. Finding a good keyword tool that won’t just tell you how good the keyword is but also how to use it will be great for you as well.
A website like Longtailpro.com is perfect for this, although any paid website will do.
SEO Rank Monitoring
Along with using keywords for search engine optimization, you will need to track the main keywords of your website to see how your ranking is doing.
Once you’ve got several articles written under your belt, you can track the keywords to see where you rank in the SEO. The higher that you rank, the more people will be coming to your website.
Keywords, especially high quality keywords are the bread and butter of your website.
They are what Google and other search engines look for and if you don’t have good keywords then your website will not be found online.
While you can guess on keywords related to your niche or use Google to find certain keywords, you might need a third-party website to truly help you rank up.
A great website for this is ManageWP, which costs $1 a month for 100 keywords. That’s a great deal, especially if you’ve got more than a few keywords bouncing around your website.
ManageWP gives you reporting not just on the keywords they have found for your website, but also the keywords that your competitors are ranking in.
You can’t skimp on monitoring your website’s security as you get bigger, because hackers can get involved.
They can remove content, infect code, and can do all sorts of other things. While being vigilant can prevent attacks, you can also use WordPress’s security plugins: WP security and Manage WP.
Both of these applications monitor the security of your website and will prevent hackers from getting inside.
They will also alert you if something has gone wrong, so you will be able to fix the problem without any trouble.
Ezoic Premium Advertisements
Finally, you might want to look at Ezoic Premium whenever you start to run advertisements on your blog. The premium deal costs $44 a month but will let you receive more opportunities with Ezoic.
Ezoic is a service that does several things for your website. It helps to analyze the variables that keeps people coming back to your website, all while getting you the most revenue.
First, it is optimized for every single visitor. Every visitor is a data point for Ezoic to be used with. Whenever someone visits your website, the advertisements displayed can adapt.
First, you choose the advertisement shape you want. For example, let’s say you pick a 300×300 foot square, Ezoic keeps that square for the first few visitors and notices almost no interaction with the tailored advertisement.
So the website automatically changes the shape of the ad to a 250×360 foot square.
More people start to notice the advertisement and click on it, and the machine continues learning as more and more people visit your website!
It also takes into account the number of advertisements they see, and where those advertisements are located.
The User experience is one of the best things that you can develop for your website, and you need to take it seriously.
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Blog?
Overall, you will have to spend money for the hosting to setup your website, all the rest of the stuff is free or at least free for the first year such as your domain name.
Most of this is going to depend on the specific blog, the website hosting, and what extras or plugins you have bought.
Still, it will cost about three figures a year to maintain your basic blog with very little extras.
If you get a blog that has more extras and paid plugins, it will of course cost much more to maintain.
Keep an eye on your blog budget during this time, as you don’t want to turn your blog into a money pit!