how much does it cost to start a blog - the unavoidable costs

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Blog? (The Unavoidable Costs)

So, you've made a really important decision - you'll own a website! Congratulations, you're one step away from joining those of us who already have it.  There is just one tiny tiny thing, though - do you know how much does it cost to start a blog?

If you've done a bit of research, you have some idea about how much you'll have to spend.

Then again, an idea and reality happen to be 2 very different things where blogging costs are being concerned.

Let's talk about that!

This post may contain affiliate links, here is my disclosure.

Why Do You Have To Pay To Be A Blogger?


Actually, the answer to that question is anything but complicated:

In short, once you build a website, you don't just own a blog, you own an online business.

And just like any other type of business, this one requires a start-up investment as well.

Now, you've probably read plenty of stories coming from people who swear that you can become a blogger for no cost whatsoever.

I'm sorry, but that's just not true!

For instance, even if you spend just $15 for a domain name, that may be a low cost but it's still a blogging cost.

Ultimately, the majority of people are launching their blogs with a singular goal in mind:

how much does it really cost to start a blog

To make money online and to turn their website into a passive income machine.

That being said, there is a simple truth in life that we all know too well:

By all means, you gotta give money to make money!

Recommended: How To Start A Blog To Make Money - The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide

Is There Any Way To Start A Blog For Free?


If I have to guess, you're having a bad taste in your mouth after reading the previous paragraph, aren't you?

And that's to be expected:

Generally, it's human nature to avoid investing in something if there is no guarantee for a return of that investment.

However, if you want to become a money-making blogger, that's a risk you must be willing to take.

But just in case you're still wondering if there is a way to start a blog for free:

Yes, there is, you can use a free blogging platform to build your site.

there is no cost to start a blog on a free blogging platform


Make no mistake, though, you won't be able to monetize your blog if you do that.

Like it or not, none of the free blogging platforms will allow you to:

  1. Earn an ad revenue
  2. Customize as you see fit with premium themes and plugins
  3. Do an affiliate marketing
  4. Have any control over your site

Actually, I don't have to tell you all about it here, you can just read my article on the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

The bottom line is, a free platform will work for you only if you want a hobby blog, not a profitable online business.

How Much Does It Cost To Start A Blog Site?


Alright, now that the question "Does it cost to start a blog?" is already answered, let's talk numbers, shall we?

To clarify, my list of blogging expenses won't include only the cost of launching a blog.

No, what I'll share with you is the amount of money you'll have to spend to build a successful, profitable, and powerful online business.

After all, that's the whole point, isn't it?

I mean, why should you put your time and effort into developing a brand if that brand doesn't become a force to be reckoned with?

1) Blog Hosting 


First thing first, you need to be very careful when choosing a hosting service for your blog.

The quality of hosting has a huge impact on the future of your site.

Meaning, if you want your blog to have a chance for success, you'll need a hosting that will:

  1. Make your blog load super-fast
  2. Has a great customer support
  3. Help you if you're not tech-savvy
  4. Go easy on your bank account

My recommendation for a first-time blogger is to go with BlueHost.

bluehost blog hosting service


It's the number 1 choice for millions of bloggers, officially recommended by WordPress.org, and will give you a domain name for free.

Plus, it's more than affordable - $3,95/month through this link.

However, this best deal is only available if you choose the 36-month plan and that will make the price of your hosting $47,40/year.

That price needs to be pre-paid!

In case 3 years with BlueHost sounds like a big commitment, you can pick the 12-month plan.

But then the cost per month will become $5,95 or $71,40/year.

P.S. - you don't want to miss reading my article on the best hosting services - it will tell you how I'm having a top-notch hosting completely for FREE!

Estimated Blog Hosting Cost - $47,40/year

2) Domain Name


Once you've decided on a hosting, your next step is to buy a domain name.

Considering your domain name will also be the name of your site and the address where Internet users can find it...

You see, it's kind of important to spend a bit of cash on it!

Here, the good news is that purchasing a domain name won't do a lot of damage on your credit card.

On the contrary, you'll not be spending more than $15/year.

the cost to start a blog - $9 for a domain name with namecheap


My advice to you is to visit NameCheap.

It will allow you to buy a dot com domain for a really affordable price.

Again, the whole paying for a domain name thing won't happen to you if your hosting site is BlueHost.

May I remind you, BlueHost will give you a domain name for free!

Estimated Domain Name Cost: $8,88/year with NameCheap

3) Website Theme


More often than not, the website theme is not considered a part of the average cost to start a blog.

Simply because the majority of newbie bloggers begin their journey with a free theme.

To be honest, that's what I did as well - a decision that right now I consider to be a blogging mistake and here is why:

Above all, time is money, can you argue with that?

So, why should you waste days customizing a theme that you're destined to replace with a paid one anyway?

Eventually, that's what you'll do if you're serious about your business.

Like it or not, the free themes come with a lot of limitations and could never do what a premium theme can do.

the price of a thrive theme is $49 per year


That being said, I had the Divi Theme for a while, it's a part of everything Elegant Themes have to offer.

Don't get me wrong, Elegant Themes are pretty awesome.

But I need a theme that focuses on converting readers into subscribers and later into customers.

And nobody can do that better than Thrive Themes - they are all about increasing your site's conversion rate fast!

Plus, keep in mind that a Thrive Theme ($49/year) is almost half the price of Divi ( $89/year).

Related: Thrive Themes - The Ultimate All-In-One Toolbox For Bloggers

Estimated Website Theme Cost: $49/year

4) Lead Generation Software


First and foremost, it's not only that a lead generation software should be included in the total cost to start a blog.

In my opinion, it's the kind of blogging expense your business won't survive without!

Therefore, don't try to cut back where your email list is being concerned.  

If you do, you'll end up regretting it in the long run.

Honestly, I have no idea how many times I've written on this site that money is in the list.

And I'll keep repeating that because that's just the way it is!

When you own an online business, your email list is and always will be your most precious asset.

thrive leads - $67 per year


On that note, a simple opt-in form that invites your readers to subscribe to your email list is as good as not having an opt-in at all.

You need to lay your hands on as many opt-in forms as possible that you can place anywhere you see fit on your blog.

Personally, to grow my list I'm trusting Thrive again.

Because Thrive Leads means access to popups, "sticky" ribbons, in-line forms, 2-step opt-in forms, slide-in, screen filler, content lock, scroll mat...

Basically, any kind of an opt-in form that will advance your email marketing!

Estimated Lead Generation Software Cost: $67/year

5) Email Marketing Software


Obviously, we're not done talking about your email list!

That being said, to be able to work with it, you'll need an email autoresponder.

Let me cut to the chase real quick:

Generally, 90% of the bloggers start with MailChimp because it's free.

But here is the thing:

It's free only until the number of your subscribers hit 1,000.

Not to mention, MailChip is not big on giving you a lot of options with opt-in forms.

As a result, I've looked into ConvertKit and that's one of the smartest blogging moves I've ever made.

the cost to start a blog - $29 per month for convertkit


To say that ConvertKit is awesome will be the understatement of the year:

Firstly, because this company was created specifically with the bloggers in  mind.

Secondly, because it's surprisingly beginner-friendly and simple to use.

Lastly, it offers a free trial as well!

Estimated Email Service Provider Cost: $29/month

6) Keyword Research Tool


Hey, I almost forgot to talk about SEO...

And you'll never get a full idea about the cost to start a WordPress blog unless I mention the keyword research tool as well.

Now, you have a couple of options that will help you do keyword research in order to rank your content on the search engines.

Unfortunately, most of them are not free of charge.

I, however, am having the sweetest deal ever:

As a member of Wealthy Affiliate, I'm enjoying unlimited access to a premium keyword research tool for FREE.

jaaxy keyword research tool - $19 per month


It's called Jaaxy and you can try it for free thanks to its trial.

Or you can have it for free all the time just like I do if you create a free account on Wealthy Affiliate.

Also, to learn everything about it, just read my article that will explain why Jaaxy is the master of keyword research tools.

Estimated Keyword Research Tool Cost: $19/month

7) Social Media Tools


Wait, you don't believe that you should count Social Media tools into your cost to start a blog?

Well, you kinda have to!

Above all, it will take a while until Google starts to send a decent amount of organic traffic to a brand new website.

Until then, your best shot to grab an audience is Pinterest.

There are tons of reasons why you should drive traffic to your blog from Pinterest.

And that's why we need to discuss Tailwind.

the cost to start a blog - $15 per month for tailwind


In short, Tailwind is an automated tool that you can use to schedule your pins.

Meaning, it will pin your content at a time when most users are active on Pinterest while you enjoy a good night's sleep.

Moreover, it will give you access to features like SmartLoop and Tailwind Tribes, both of which will skyrocket your traffic.

Not to mention, Tailwind offers a free trial too!

Estimated Social Media Posting Tool: $15/month

The Cost To Start A Blog - Additional Expenses


To sum up, the list of expenses when building a website will never be complete unless I talk to you about blogging courses.

I know, I know - it looks like your costs are quickly piling up!

However, if you're a first-time blogger, you'll need a lot of help - there is no way around that!

Now, here is the good news:

The blogging course I have in mind won't cost you anything!

On top of that, it will provide you with 2 free websites and free hosting.

Of course, I'm talking about Wealthy Affiliate University.

That's where I got my blogging and affiliate marketing training and where this blog came to life.

Plus, that's where I'm getting tons of help and support from the awesome blogging community inside, around 2 million people so far.

Wealthy Affiliate offers a paid membership as well, but you can stay a free member for as long as you like.

And you'll still receive your 2 free websites and the free hosting!

The Total Cost To Start A Blog At A Glance


Finally, let's calculate everything together, shall we?

This way, you'll be able to see the real number of your expenses for the first year as a blogger.

  1. Blog Hosting - $47,40 if you choose BlueHost or $0 if you join Wealthy Affiliate
  2. Domain Name - $0 with BlueHost, $8,88 with NameCheap
  3. Website Theme - $49 with Thrive Themes
  4. Lead Generation Software - $67 with Thrive Leads
  5. Email Service Provider - $29/month with ConvertKit
  6. Keyword Research Tool - $19/month with Jaaxy, free if you join Wealthy Affiliate
  7. Social Media Tools - $15/month with Tailwind
  8. Blogging Course - Free with Wealthy Affiliate

So, without Wealthy Affiliate, you're looking at nearly $1,000 in blogging expenses in just your first year ($919,40 to be exact).

But as a member of Wealthy Affiliate, your blogging costs will be reduced to $700.

My Closing


What can I say?

Blogging doesn't come cheap, that's for sure!

Still, the cost to start a blog is nothing compared to the money you'll earn once you develop your online business.

Nowadays, to make a full-time income blogging is not just a dream, but a reality for many.

Whether you'll become one of them, it's entirely up to you.

Now, do you have any questions about today's topic?

Ask me anything in the comments section below.

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