Every Blogging Task You Need to Do (In Order!) to Build A Profitable Blog
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The Eye Opening Costs of Starting and Running A Blog
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If you've ever wondered how much it really costs to start and run a blog, you might be in for a big surprise!
I spent close to $300 to get my blog set up in the very beginning!
On top of that, my monthly blogging expenses come out to around $225 per month. Some months have been more, like when I hired my VA, and some months have been less.
The cost for you to start a blog will really depend on the results you want to see from it. Writing a hobby blog is easy to do for free. You don't need any special software or hosting when you just want to write for fun.
Most of my readers on this blog, however, want to turn their blog into a business and see some profit!
This is the important thing to keep in mind about blogging for money.
Your blog is a business.
Businesses cost money to start and operate, and blogging is no different.
However, I've run a number of businesses in my life and I can tell you that blogging is hands down the cheapest business I have ever started.
The overhead costs are just incredibly low compared to almost every other business out there.
With many businesses, people will take out loans of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars just to get started, with no guarantee of success. Even my simple pet sitting business from back in the day had start up costs of around $1200!
It's important to keep in mind that if you want to start a profitable blog, you WILL have to invest some money into it.
I see tons of bloggers trying to start a money making blog completely for free, and it's a huge mistake.
Let's look at the different pieces to the blogging puzzle and go over some of your expected costs.
Blogging Cost #1. Your Domain Name and Blog Host
The number one thing you absolutely have to have to get started blogging is a domain name and web host.
I purchased my domain name and web host simultaneously through Siteground. Siteground makes it super easy to buy your domain name and hosting as a package, and it also connects them to WordPress.org for free.
Your domain name is the URL of your blog.
One of the biggest problems with choosing a free blogging platform is that you don't get your own URL.
You always get something along the lines of “yourblog.blogger.com” or “yourblog.wordpress.com”.
These are neither professional nor easy to remember, so don't do it!
Purchasing your own domain name only costs around $10 per year, so it's a very worthwhile investment.
Note- WordPress.com and WordPress.org are NOT the same service. WordPress.com is their free blogging platform, which I do not recommend for business owners. WordPress.org is their fully functional professional program that links with your Siteground account. It's free with your hosting plan, so use it!
So how much does a Siteground hosting plan cost?
I paid about $65 for my first year. This included my domain name, hosting, and WordPress.org. I've tried other web hosts such as Bluehost in the past, but Siteground is by far the most affordable and well-supported host I have used.
Blogging Cost #2. A Blog Theme
The theme for your blog is a template that makes your blog look the way you want it. There are literally thousands of themes to choose from, so you should be able to make your blog look almost anyway you would like it.
Of course, themes come pre-made. If you want your blog to be highly customized, you will need to hire a web developer to create one specifically for you. I haven't done this, and I don't recommend it until you are making good money from your blog. Hiring a web developer typically cost between $3,000 and $10,000 for a full site design, and it really isn't necessary for most bloggers.
The most cost-effective way to design your blog is to purchase a theme. Of course, there are plenty of free themes out there to, but I don't recommend them.
What's wrong with using a free theme?
- They usually lack support and there will be no one to help you if something breaks.
- Free themes tend to be glitchy and have frequent down time.
- Free themes rarely integrate well with the plugins you will need to use to operate your business.
If you need to use a free theme for the first month or two of your blog's life before you can purchase a theme, by all means go for it! Lust remember to come back and get yourself a good one, because you really can't build a business on a foundation made of sand.
How much do blog themes cost?
The price tag on blog themes is really all over the place, and correlates strongly with the quality of the product and how much support you will get with it.
There are plenty of $30 blog themes out there if you are just getting started. Personally, I went for something that cost a little more but that came with some great support. Because the reality is, unless you are a tech wizard, you are going to need support staff to help you get back on track if something goes haywire with your theme.
I have used Thrive Themes to build this blog, and I love them!
Not only does their membership come with all of the themes for you to choose from, but it also includes their Architect feature which makes everything drag and drop. I'm not a techie, so this saves me SO much time and frustration!
If you want to make building your blog super easy and completely drag and drop, I recommend Thrive.
I've talked to so many people who purchased other themes and feel so confused when they open WordPress and have to build it from the ground up. They end up getting a refund so they can purchase Thrive instead.
The Thrive membership also comes with a ton of other useful features that you'll use in your business like the Quiz Builder, countdown timer, headline optimizer, etc.
Thrive Themes is $19 per month billed annually or $30 per month billed quarterly.
Blogging Cost #3. Email Marketing Service
If you've been around on this blog much, you've heard me wax on about how amazingly important and wonderful email marketing is.
It's the backbone of your business and the number one way you are going to make money from your blog.
So, you need an email marketing service.
What the heck is this?
An email marketing service is essentially a piece of software that allows you to automate emails to your list, create email sequences, send broadcasts to your entire email list at once, tag subscribers for a variety of things, etc.
Email marketing services exist because it simply isn't reasonable to manually email 300 people every time you want to send out an email, especially if you want to send different emails to different people.
There are a couple of different email marketing service providers I recommend. Personally, I use Convertkit.
Convertkit as well known for being the best email provider for bloggers.
It was created by a blogger who wanted to see certain features available for his business, so he created his own software.
Convertkit costs $29 per month up for your first 1,000 subscribers.
If this stretches your budget too thin, the next product I would recommend is Mailerlite.
Mailerlite offers many of the features that Convertkit does, but for a fraction of the price. Mailerlite is free for your first thousand subscribers and starts at $10 per month after that.
There are a few downsides to using Mailerlite, however. There have been some claims of deliverability issues from other bloggers using it, and the platform doesn't show you how many daily subscribers you will get.
You also have to apply and be approved to their program, and many bloggers are denied. With Convertkit, anyone can sign up without needing to be approved or going through a waiting period.
One thing to keep in mind is that it becomes incredibly hard to switch your email list from one email service provider to another once your list has grown 50+ people.
With an email sequence, all of your subscribers will be at different stages in the sequence on any given day, and importing this into another email service provider is nearly impossible.
Because it's unlikely you will be able to put each subscriber back in their spot in the sequence, I would definitely recommend that you plan on sticking with the provider you choose in the beginning if possible. (Of course, if it really isn't working out then you should definitely switch providers!)
Free Resources to Build Your Blog
Now that we've covered the three things a professional blogger must buy for their blog, let's talk about all of the awesome free resources that are available too!
One great thing about the blogging space is that there are a ton of free images that you can use on your blog, social media, Pinterest, and more. Of course, you can't simply take images you find on Google or Pinterest and use them.
That will get you a DMCA copyright infringement notice!
But there are some awesome sites like Pixabay and Unsplash that allow you to download beautiful images 100% for free and use them in your business.
While there are some great reasons to purchase your own images (heck I've even created my own with the Sassy Styled Stock collection!), If you are on a budget or just starting out, these free images will do just fine.
#2. Image editor-
Probably my most used free software of choice is my image editor, PicMonkey. PicMonkey is amazing because it comes with so many image editing features that are crazy easy to use.
Any beginner can use it easily! I highly recommend it for creating images for your blog, Instagram, and Pinterest.
#3. Sources of traffic-
Here's one big thing you do not have to pay for, but will benefit your business immensely: traffic! Between Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter, there is so much free traffic to be had that will help you build a profitable online business.
I recommend starting and getting really good at just one of these platforms in the beginning before moving on to a second and then a third.
#4. Creative market branding elements
Here's an awesome little secret I have discovered.
Creative Market has a free goods section that gives out a handful of free branding elements, fonts, and photos every Monday to anyone who would like to download them. I've found some beautiful fonts and other elements this way, so I highly recommend checking it out.
#5. Plugins for WordPress
Plugins are little pieces of software that help expand the functionality of your blog. There are thousands of them out there, and each of them does something a little different.
Some of them help you SEO your site, optimize your images, prevent spam, create no-follow links, and the list goes on and on… The best part is that the vast majority of plugins are completely free! You'll find them inside of your WordPress.org account.
While there are some costs that come with starting and running a blog, keep in mind that this is one of the cheapest businesses you can start and run (not to mention the most profitable!)
Make sure to grab my Profitable Blogging Blueprint below! It will walk you step by step through every action you need to take, in correct order, to make money from your blog.
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