I’ve noticed there’s a lot of resources out there telling you “how to start a blog,” and while I love these resources I thirsted for some more content about how much it’d actually cost to start a blog and maintain it.
Now, I’m not talking about another income report, in which someone tells you how much he or she made this past month minus his or her monthly expenses.
I wanted to know the actual cost of starting a blog and how to budget said blog.
The belief of complete honesty being the best policy, ya know?
I’m putting it all out there in this post and telling you (the aspiring blogger, newby blogger, or seasoned blogger) how much I surprisingly spent starting this blog.
Some Background Info from Purposeful Writer
I started blogging in June 2016 under the domain purposefullivingblog.com. In August 2016 our little family moved a couple states over to live with my in-laws to save money to purchase our first home. From August 2016 to April 2017 I had a blogging hiatus.
May 2017 I decided to “re-launch” with a new purpose, new branding and new costs. I am now founder and owner of purposefulwriter.com- 6 months going strong. (signal happy dance)
The First Purchases When Starting A Blog
When I first started my blog I purchased the following to launch:
- A year subscription to self-hosting site GoDaddy = $1 per month for the first year (Deal offered through blogger’s affiliate program with the site)
- A domain through GoDaddy = Free for the first year with purchase of hosting
- The Genesis framework “parent” theme for WordPress = $59 one time purchase
- Theme from a person who makes WordPress themes = $20.00
My total expenses equaled $91.18 paid all at once. I thought that wasn’t too bad for starting a blog with plans of monetization in the future.
What I Learned From My First Blog Purchases
Well, if I’d start a blog all over again, then I would have done better research in terms of picking a self-hosting site and “parent” theme. I learned most of the blogging information from a couple popular bloggers who built their empires with children in the house.
I naively took every word for truth (not knowing about affiliate marketing quite yet) in one blogger’s “how to start a blog” post. The moral of my story is to do as much research as possible before choosing a self-hosting site, course, e-book, theme, etc. At the time I was staying home with my 9-month-old baby full time, so I understand how $91.18 can feel like $1,000 when you have a tight budget.
For example, I’ve had horrible customer service experiences with GoDaddy, and I hope to switch hosting providers one day in the future (That’s why you won’t see me posting a blog post with affiliate links for GoDaddy ever). Moreover, I don’t necessarily think I would have chosen Genesis framework theme as the “parent” theme if I knew of other options.
I am glad I chose WordPress to start with, because I had prior experience with WordPress and find it extremely easy to use if you’re a non-tech person like myself.
Annual Renewal Costs To Consider When Starting A Blog
If you sign up for a hosting site and domain name through another blogger’s affiliate link deal, then you must keep in mind the cost to continue running your blog after a year has passed.
To renew my hosting with GoDaddy cost $95.88 for the year. The domain name renewal through GoDaddy cost $15.17 for the year.
I also purchased a different theme for a more professional look after I rebranded that cost $39.00.
The total cost for another year of just having my blog up and running totaled $150.05. I’ll be honest with ya’ll, at the time I hadn’t made a cent from blogging in the past year, because of the hiatus, working outside of the home again and trying to balance life in general.
Not seeing a profit or even making money back yet scares me, because I’m not the type of person to invest in something without certainty of at least getting that money back. (Don’t worry, I don’t believe in that mindset for all aspects of life ;D)
Additional Costs to Consider If You Plan To Monetize
Email service: Due to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, one cannot use free email services to send mass emails to subscribers. Therefor, you must purchase an email service and connect your domain name to your email address. For example, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. I finally purchased G Suite in October 2017 and pay $5 per month for the email service. $60 a year total.
Email Marketing: The most important way to monetize your business is all in the list. Your email subscribers are more concrete than social media followers in terms of being able to contact and connect with them on a regular basis. Examples of a couple email marketing sites you may of heard of already are Convertkit and Mailchimp.
I began using Mailchimp first, because they offer an amazing free sign up for your first 1,000 subscribers. I was able to “make it work” with Mailchimp, especially since it was free. However, I purchased a product recently and a bonus offered was 2 months free of Convertkit.
I decided then and there I couldn’t pass up making the switch just to see the difference in embedded sign up forms, landing pages, and the use of email marketing to contact my list. I was hooked after the first week when I gained a good amount of subscribers with just a couple updated forms in past blog posts.
So, I fiddled with my blog budget and made it work to pay $29 per month (after the 2 month free trail ends).
Pinterest marketing: If you didn’t know before, you will know now. Pinterest is a great search engine that can drive traffic to your blog. Tailwind and Board Booster are the two Pinterest marketing companies I’ve heard of the most. I actually purchased a Tailwind account in June 2017 after rebranding, because I knew I wanted to make Pinterest one of my main sources of blog traffic.
I also knew I was way too busy to try and manually pin every day to not only my boards, but to group boards and Tailwind tribes. You can read more about my experience with Tailwind in this post. I paid for the entire year and spent a total of $119.00.
Additional plugins for WordPress: I haven’t needed to purchase any additional plugins for my blog; however, every blog and business is different. Keep in mind your blog budget may include purchasing specific additional plugins.
Learning resources: You must invest in yourself in order to invest in your blog and business. If you are like me, then you didn’t know much about blogging strategy, Pinterest, email marketings, etc. Leave room in your budget for priceless ebooks, courses, and resources to continue LEARNING. Again, research these well before purchasing to make sure it fits for your needs.
Free Resource I Use Almost Daily
I use Canva for all my photo editing needs and various amazing sites that offer free stock images. I haven’t even felt the need to purchase the paid membership for Canva, because the free version is all I need.
Definitely check Canva out if you’re looking for a tool to create pinnable and sharable images for your blog posts and social media sites. Also, you can create printables and opt-ins from Canva as well. It just takes some creativity and practicing if you’ve had no experience with graphic design in the past.
I hope by putting all my current expenses to run this blog of mine out in the open helps you decide your next steps for blogging and possibly your future business.
If this helped you in the slightest or you have questions, please send me a message at or comment below. I look forward to connecting with you!
Jessica Kromer – Purposeful Writer