Blogging tips

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog in 2021? 

how much does it cost to start a blog

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How much does it cost to start a blog? The answer could range from $0 to hundreds of dollars, depending on your goals for your blog.

If you’re looking to start a hobby blog for fun, you could get up and running with zero financial investment.

But if your goal is to make money blogging, you’ll want to purchase a hosting plan at the very least, which typically starts around $50 per year.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend much beyond that when you’re in the early stages of blogging.

If you’re looking to keep costs as low as possible, here’s the bare minimum it costs to start your blog.

How much does it cost to start a blog?

It doesn’t cost very much to start a blog. The main expense will be your hosting plan.

You could use a free hosting plan, such as Weebly or Wix, but then you won’t get a custom domain name. In other words, instead of mycoolnewblog.com, your domain would be something like, mycoolnewblog.weebly.com or mycoolnewblog.wix.com.

Not having your own domain name doesn’t look very professional, and it’s not helpful for SEO or ranking on Google.

So if you want your own domain name, you’ll need to purchase hosting. Your hosting platform is basically the house your website lives in, and you’ll need to pay your hosting “rent” on a monthly or annual basis.

How much it costs to host your blog

For beginning or intermediate bloggers, I have two main recommendations for hosting services.

The first is Bluehost, which is a popular and user-friendly hosting service with great customer service.

At the time of writing, a 36-month Bluehost plan costs:

how much does it cost to start a blog

If you don’t want to commit to 36 months, you can also choose a 12-month or 24-month plan for a dollar or two more per month. Bluehost often has discounts, so your blogging costs could be even less.

When you sign up for a plan, you’ll get a free domain name included. You can choose any domain name you want, as long as it hasn’t been taken already.

You can learn more about Bluehost’s plans and sign up for one here.

My other recommendation for a hosting plan is SiteGround. SiteGround’s website isn’t quite as shiny as Bluehost’s, but it offers the same reliable hosting and has very prompt customer service.

Similar to Bluehost, you’ll get a free domain name when you sign up for a SiteGround plan. Here are the plan costs:

how much does it cost to start a blog

 

You can learn more about Siteground and purchase web hosting at this link.

Once you’ve purchased your hosting plan, install WordPress to create your blog. The WordPress platform is free, so you won’t have to spend a dime to use it. 

If you’re looking to keep costs as low as possible, this is the only expense you have to pay to get started with your blog.

How-To-Start-A-Blog

Depending on which hosting plan you choose, the answer to “how much does it cost to start a blog?” could be as low as about $50 per year.

Ready to start your blog? Head to my guide on how to start a blog to get your blog up and running ASAP.

Other costs to start a blog

While a hosting plan is the one essential expense for your new blog, you might run into other costs as you grow your blog.

None of these are absolutely crucial when you’re in the beginning stages, but they can be helpful pretty quickly, especially if your goal is to run a blogging business.

By the way, thinking of your blog as a business can be an important mindset shift. If you’re serious about making money blogging, you should allow yourself to invest in the right services to aid your blog’s growth.

But you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make money. At first, your focus should be on writing blog posts and growing traffic.

When you’re ready to spend some money on your blog, these are the main costs to consider: 

1. Blog theme

WordPress comes with a ton of free, easy-to-use blog themes, so you don’t need to spend anything upfront to design your blog.

However, if you want even more design and customization options, you could purchase a theme.

One great blogging theme for beginners is the Divi theme. Not only does it have a lot of flexible customization, but its drag and drop features make it easy to use. Plus, purchasing the Divi theme also grants you access to over 800 pre-made website layouts.

At the time of writing, it’s on sale for $67 per year or $187 for lifetime access.

costs of starting a blog

 

You can check out the Divi theme here. 

Again, you don’t have to pay for a theme right off the bat if your budget is tight as a new blogger. But if you want more customization and flexibility in your website theme, you can get that by paying for a theme.

You can also pay developers and designers to create your website for you, but this will likely set you back hundreds or even thousands of dollars. It’s definitely not a necessary expense when you’re starting a blog, since you can design a great-looking site with a free or affordable WordPress theme.

At the beginning of your blog, focus on making money rather than spending it on web design.

2. Blog logo

A logo can be a useful branding tool for your blog, but again, it’s not 100% necessary at the beginning.

You can create your own logo simply by using a fancy font in Google docs and taking a screenshot of it, or using a free service such as Canva.

If you’d rather leave the logo-making to the professionals, however, you could hire someone to design your logo on a site such as Fiverr or Upwork.

As you can see from this quick search in Fiverr, you can hire someone to design a logo starting at just $5.

How-To-Start-A-Blog

2. Email marketing software

Next on the list of costs of starting a blog is email marketing software. As you’ve seen, lots of websites and blogs collect your email via a popup or other form.

Often, a blog promises a freebie, such as an ebook, cheatsheet, checklist, discount code on its products, or another free gift in exchange for your email.

Collecting emails can be a very valuable part of your marketing strategy. Not only will you own your email list, but you’ll also gather a group of fans who are interested in hearing from you and returning to your blog.

You can send valuable free content to your email list as a way to help and nurture a relationship with your readers. Once you start doing affiliate marketing or even selling your own products, you’ll have a loyal customer base that’s interested in what you have to sell.

So how much does it cost to collect emails on your blog? Well, you can use a free service, such as the free plans on Sumo or ConvertKit.

But if you’re serious about starting a blogging business, rather than just a blogging hobby, I recommend investing in ConvertKit’s paid plan for $29 per month

ConvertKit is a super user-friendly email marketing provider that was made by bloggers, for bloggers. It offers really well-designed popup, slide in, and other forms for collecting emails.

Plus, it lets you create email sequences, broadcasts, and automations, meaning you can create a series of emails that automatically sends to certain subscribers without having to put in any extra work.

It’s never too early to start collecting emails, since your email list can prove to be very lucrative. If you’re going to spend on one other blogging expense than your hosting plan, I recommend making it ConvertKit’s email marketing software.

3. Social media tools

Another blogging expense you could consider has to do with social media. Ranking on Google takes months, so if you want some immediate traffic to your blog, you could harness the power of social media.

But posting on social media can be time-consuming, so there are a few tools that can automate things for you. A few top social media tools for bloggers include:

  • Tailwind (starting at $9.99/month when billed annually): Allows you to schedule Pinterest pins and Instagram posts in advance and join Tribes, where you can share pins with other creators
  • Buffer (starting at $15/month): Allows you to plan and publish your social media content across different platforms
  • HootSuite (starting at $29/month): Another social media management tool and dashboard
  • Shutterstock (starting at $49/month): Access to high-resolution images you can use on your blog

Note that some of these services also offer basic free plans.

I don’t recommend spreading yourself too thin on social media at the beginning, though. Rather than signing up for every social media channel, you’ll have better luck if you focus on just one.

To choose, think about where you spend most of your time, where your skills lie, and which channel would work best with your blog. If you’re running a lifestyle or travel blog, for instance, you might have more luck on image-heavy Instagram.

If your focus is personal finance, though, you might do better on the visual search engine that is Pinterest. And Facebook can be effective if your goal is to bring people together in a community.

Whatever you choose, you could invest in one of these social media tools to make your life a little easier. But again, if you’re trying to keep costs down, these tools don’t need to be a priority.

And for open-source images, you can check out free sites, like Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay.

4. Additional plugins

Whether you want to insert an affiliate disclaimer at the top of all your blog posts or create a “Purchase on Amazon” button, WordPress has a plugin for that.

WordPress has a lot of free plugins that make it easy to add various features to your blog without knowing a thing about coding or HTML.

costs of blogging

Some free plugins I recommend to new bloggers include: 

  • Under Construction plugin, while you design your blog
  • Yoast plugin, to check each blog post’s “SEO score”
  • MonsterInsights, to connect your blog to Google Analytics
  • ConvertKit plugin, when you want to add ConvertKit forms to your blog
  • MaxButtons, to create responsive buttons, such as a “Buy on Amazon” button
  • Social Warfare, for social media share buttons

While these plugins are free, others cost money. For example, you can upgrade your Yoast plugin for $89 to get additional insights into your blog posts’ SEO.

You can also upgrade MonsterInsights to a premium version. Its plans start at $99.50 per year.

If you need a special feature, you might need to purchase a plugin for your blog, meaning your blogging costs go up.

But before you buy one, search around for recommendations to see if you could find something that works just as well for free.

5. Landing page software

We talked about collecting emails on your blog with an email marketing platform such as ConvertKit.

ConvertKit’s forms can be really effective for turning blog visitors into email subscribers, but if you want to boost conversions even more, you could invest in landing page software.

One example is LeadPages, which has plans starting at $27/month.

how much to start a blog

As with the other products and services on this list, most brand new bloggers don’t need to worry about purchasing landing page software at the beginning.

But if you’ve built up traffic and decided to sell your own digital products, this software could help turn more of your blog visitors into paying customers.

6. Online course platform

Online courses can be a great digital product to sell on your blog. You can share your expertise with your readers, help people solve their problems, and turn a sweet profit.

But before you can share your online course with the world, you’ll need a platform to host it.

My number one recommendation for an online course platform is Teachable.

start blog how much

Teachable makes it easy to upload your courses videos, PDFs, and other materials. You can easily make sales pages with its templates, and it has a great user experience for course creators and students alike.

Plus, Teachable handles all payments and transactions for you, so you don’t need to worry about setting up payment gateways.

If you have an online course to sell, you can get started with Teachable for $29/month billed annually or $39/month billed monthly.

If you haven’t started recording your course yet, you could use a video editing and screen recording software such as ScreenFlow ($129) or Screencastify ($49/year).

7. Paid ads

As a blogger, you can bring in free organic traffic through SEO and social media. But you can also use paid ads to gain visitors.

The cost of paid ads has a wide range. You can set your daily budget and decide how long you want an ad to run for.

You can set up ads on Google, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram…you name it. Before spending money on ads, though, take some time to learn about best practices.

Each platform is different, so an ad that works on one might not work on another. Before increasing the costs of your blog by purchasing ads, you want to make sure the ads are worth it.

8. Ghostwriters or content writers

When you start your blogging business, you might assume you’ll be spending the majority of your time writing.

But you’ll quickly learn that there are lots of other elements to blogging than writing blog posts.

If you want to boost your site’s SEO and make money on your blog, for instance, you may also need to:

  • Gain backlinks to your site. This could include guest posting, contributing commentary to journalists, or performing outreach to other sites about link exchanges.
  • Grow your reach on social media and Pinterest.
  • Do keyword research and create an editorial calendar.
  • Create digital products.
  • Hone your big-picture vision for where you want your blog to be in 6 months, one year, etc.

With all these things competing for your time and attention, it can be tough to produce blog posts on a regular basis.

To ramp up your production, you could consider outsourcing your content writing to professional writers. 

If you want your name on all your articles (perhaps you’re building your brand or establishing your area of expertise), you could hire ghostwriters.

The cost of writing services varies widely, but you can usually expect to spend somewhere around $70 – $120 for a high-quality blog post of 1,000 – 2,000 words.

You can find writers on a site like Upwork or have writers apply by posting a job on a site like ProBlogger.

Another option is ContentFly, a content writing service that charges a flat monthly fee for content. Its pricing starts at $250/month (or $208/month if billed annually), which includes 4,000 words of content per month.

You might be surprised to learn that bloggers don’t always write their own blog posts, but outsourcing can save you time while you focus on other aspects of growing your blogging business.

But as with everything else on this list, it’s not necessary, especially when you’re just starting out and learning as you go.

9. Blogging courses

When it comes to the question of, “how much does it cost to start blog,” a final consideration is blogging courses.

Building a blogging business has a lot of moving parts. Besides learning how to write great, SEO-optimized blog posts, you might also need to learn about designing your website, affiliate marketing, email automation, and more.

To avoid wasting time, you can learn from blogging experts with a blogging course.

One of my favorite blogging courses for beginners comes from Alex Nerney and Lauren McManus, and it’s called Launch Your Blog Biz.

This course guides you through how to start a blog, step by step, as well as how to monetize it with affiliate marketing.

how much does it cost to start a blog

 

Another great blogging course is The Profitable Creator by Melyssa Griffin. This course is best for bloggers who already have some experience and are ready to build an online course.

how much does it cost to start a blog

 

A final course I recommend is Mike Pearson’s Niche Site Academy. Unlike some other bloggers, Pearson doesn’t recommend going after traffic on social media. He’s all about harnessing the power of SEO to bring in organic traffic from Google.

how much does it cost to start a blog

There’s a lot to learn about blogging, especially when you’re just starting out. Although taking a blogging course can increase the cost of starting a blog, the lessons you learn could save you time and money.

Don’t forget about hardware

We’ve gone over the software costs of starting a blog, but there could also be some hardware costs involved in blogging, especially if you need any of the following:

1. Laptop

As a blogger, your laptop is your most important asset. If you don’t have one, or if your current one is freezing all the time, it could be time to invest in a new laptop.

Whether you go with a $300 Chrome Book or a $1,300 MacBook Pro, it’s important to have a laptop that works well as you build your blogging business.

2. Ergonomic keyboard and mouse

Once you start spending a lot of time on your computer, you’ll soon realize the importance of ergonomic equipment.

For our top recommendations, head to:

3. Microphone

how much does starting a blog costIf you decide to create an online course for your blogging audience, you’ll likely want to purchase a microphone for the best sound quality.

My number one pick is this microphone from FIFINE. It’s super easy to set up and will make any recording you do sound professional.

 

 

4. Webcam

how much does it cost to start a blogAlong with improving your sound quality, you could also make better videos with an external webcam, such as this 1080P webcam for $24.99.

This is useful is you’re going to be on video for a webinar or as part of your online course.

5. Ring light

You’ve probably seen those images and live videos on Instagram where influencers seem to glow. They achieve this effect with a ring light.

Ring lights are a relatively inexpensive way to bring professional lighting into your home office.

Here’s a popular option for just $21.96: cost of starting a blog

 

Keeping costs down when you’re starting your blog

As you can see, there can be a lot of costs associated with starting a blog, but the amount you spend is totally up to you.

If you want to keep costs as low as possible, your answer to “how much does it cost to start a blog?” could be as low as $50 per year, or whatever similar amount you pay for your hosting service.

If you’re going to invest in other software, I recommend ConvertKit, so you can start collecting visitor emails on Day 1.

And if you can afford it, my next recommendation would be to buy a blogging course so you can learn all the things you don’t know yet from successful bloggers.

But I don’t recommend increasing your costs of blogging by hiring an expensive web designer or buying complicated software you don’t need yet.

Before investing in an online course platform, for instance, you could try your hand at affiliate marketing for free.

Once you have some more practice with online marketing — and have made some money from your blog — then it could be time to invest in additional products and services.

Hopefully this put your mind at ease that you can get your blog up and running with very little spending on your end.

Although your initial costs may be small, your earning potential is endless. Head to this guide for all the ways you can make money off your blog.