Blogging Tips Elaine's Advice Column

How Much Does It Really Cost To Start A Blog?

If you want to start a blog with the ultimate goal of monetizing it and becoming a full-time blogger, you must treat it like an actual business.

While starting a blogging business is a LOT cheaper than starting a traditional business…

Cheaper doesn’t = zero investment. 

Investment also includes TIME investment.

But when you’re just starting to learn how to blog and bootstrapping it…

What tools do you truly need?

I’ve listed out the 7 tools you need (some free, some paid) then I’ve broken the dollar amount per month at the very end of the post so you know WHAT you should invest in and WHEN.

Here are the topics I am going to cover;

  1. Blog Host
  2. Blog Domain
  3. Blog Theme
  4. Email With Domain Name
  5. Email Service Provider
  6. Social Media Automation Tools
  7. Blogging Courses + Education
  8. Month-To-Month Blogging Costs

How Much Does It Really Cost To Start A Blog?

Before we dive into the 7 items that all full-time bloggers use and are mandatory if you want to make money blogging, sign up for my FREE 7-Day How To Start A Money Making Blog course below!

How Much Does It Really Cost To Start A Blog_ LadyBossBlogger.com

1. BLOG HOST

GoDaddy and BlueHost are the two most reputable shared hosting companies on the Internet.

It’s called shared hosting because they are sharing a little space on their platform for you to use.

Choose one of these companies to host your blog on, both are great.

But… what in the world is a blog host?

Hosting refers to the company (or host) that provides the space (domain) on its servers and equipment (WordPress) to store your blog.

There are free web hosting providers such as Wix.com and Blogger.com and then there are paid web hosting providers such as GoDaddy.com and BlueHost.com.

NEVER build your blog on a free platform.

Why?

It’s like building your house on sand, your foundations must be solid if you want it to grow, and more importantly, you can’t monetize a free blog.

Why?

Because you don’t own it. You can’t sell or rent a house that you don’t own.

50% of full-time bloggers use GoDaddy, the other 50% use BlueHost, they are equal in my opinion, I simply started with GoDaddy so I stuck with it.

Why are they the best?

I’ve tried all the rest, none compare to them in speed, reliability or customer service. Trust me and spare yourself the wasted time.

Also, I partnered up with BlueHost to get you guys the best deal on the web!

How To Make Money Using ShareASale Affiliate Links

WordPress.com v.s. WordPress.org? 

WordPress.com is free and WordPress.org is paid.

What is WordPress?

In order to host a blog, you’re going to need the WordPress platform because NOT ALL WEBSITES ARE AUTOMATICALLY BLOGS.

You need WordPress in order to make a website a blog.

100% of full-time bloggers use WordPress, 93% of all other bloggers also use WordPress.

Why?

Because it’s the best, most customizable, and most reputable blogging platform currently available to us.

Total investment for blog host:

Starts at around $3.95/month.

2. BLOG DOMAIN

Your domain is the name of your blog, but you need to purchase hosting in order for your domain to have a place to live on the internet.

Usually, when you purchase hosting, your domain name comes FREE.

Websites v.s. Domain?

You must have a domain in order to have a website.

Your domain is the URL (ex: www.LadyBossBlogger.com) and the website is what you visually see.

You can have a domain without a website because you first buy your domain then you design your website for what you’d like to show on that domain.

With FREE hosting, you get a name and space to use online but you don’t own that name or that space. With paid hosting you do.

Which is yet another reason why you need to pay for your blog HOST + DOMAIN.

Let’s say for example you started a free site on WordPress.com called www.ladybossblogger.wordpress.com and someone else bought www.ladybossblogger.com on GoDaddy.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been using that free domain, the person who buys the official name can shut your blog down because you have no rights to that domain name.

In addition to buying your blog domain name, I would also recommend getting your personal name domain (ex: www.ElaineRau.com) just so you can own it until you need to use it for your personal brand, it’s optional but I highly recommend it.

I recommend NOT building your initial blog with your name to start off with.

Why?

Because your name has no SEO juice.

What’s SEO?

Search engine optimization.

Your name probably isn’t currently a highly searched term in Google right now, because people don’t know you.

However, if you name your blog according to what you’ll be blogging about – in my case I blog about lady bosses and blogging – so when people type in “lady” or “boss” or “blogger” my site will pop to the top of Google searches (aka amazing ORGANIC TRAFFIC generator).

If you need help coming up with a blog name…

BLOG NAME GENERATOR

  1. Create a list of words associated with your niche.
  2. Run those words through thesaurus.com to come up with more words.
  3. Think of some slang, made up words, and phrases.
  4. Include a description of what you do.
  5. Put the words together in different ways.

Have fun with it, but purchase your name and host on GoDaddy or BlueHost before it’s taken! And GET BLOGGING already!

The hardest step is to start.

There is no better time to start than RIGHT NOW because you know what… there is NEVER an “ideal time” to start a blog.

If you don’t take any action, you can kiss goodbye to your desire to be a full-time blogger because bloggers are DOERS.

Plus if you need any help along the way, JUST ASK ME in my Facebook Group for Bloggers + Female Entrepreneurs.

Total investment for blog domain:

FREE, usually comes with blog host purchase.

3. BLOG THEME

Your theme serves as the foundation of your blog’s design.

The limits of your designing abilities hinge on your theme.

Additionally, a good theme is not only important for its looks, but also for its user-friendliness and searchability online.

  1. A well-designed blog will always outperform a poorly designed one.
  2. However, when you land on a blog that isn’t user-friendly, you probably don’t stick around too long.
  3. But what’s even worse than that is if your blog can’t even be found online!

You will automatically save your blog from falling victim to the 3 sentences above when you invest in a good theme because…

  1. You have the best design foundations already built in for you to build upon.
  2. It’s mobile friendly and you don’t have to worry about its usability deterring readers.
  3. It’s SEO friendly and is built to be found online by Google crawlers and indexers.

So what is the best theme for beginners?

Divi Theme!

What is the theme that most 6-figure bloggers use?

Genesis Framework!

You can’t go wrong with those theme choices… they are literally built for your success.

Ok fine, that may be a little dramatic, but they are definitely pretty powerful and do half the work for you.

How to customize your theme?

While you may have the same theme as other people, you can customize your site with PLUGINS.

If you ever find yourself wondering if you could add something to your blog like an emoji or social media sharing buttons…

There is a 99% chance that there is a plugin for that. Just like we have an app for everything, plugins are your blog’s apps.

Which is another reason to use WordPress, because they have the most plugins available which translates to better-designed blogs.

Total investment for blog theme:

Plan to spend on a one-time purchase of around $39-$50.

4. EMAIL WITH DOMAIN NAME

Why is it important to have an email address with your domain name? Mine is info@ladybossblogger.com.

  1. It’s more professional.
  2. Your email won’t get bounced out of people’s inboxes.

When you use your Gmail or Outlook email, your emails (especially mass emails) don’t get delivered into people’s inboxes because they are seen as spam.

Additionally, some services you may sign up for require you to have an email with your blog’s domain to determine the legitimacy of your blog.

Total investment for an email with your domain name:

FREE for a year, usually comes with blog host purchase, but depends on sales at the time.

5. EMAIL SERVICE PROVIDER

Every single thing you do on your blog should revolve around your email list.

Why?

Because it’s how you stay in contact with your readers. 

The majority of people, regardless if they are generation x, y or z, check their email every single day.

At first, especially when you’re starting out, followers seem so glorious, but if they aren’t in your email list, it’s worthless.

You don’t own your followers, but you do own your email contacts.

As you build your following, you’re building an asset for the social media platform such as Instagram or Facebook, when you build your email list, you’re building YOUR OWN ASSET.

Therefore, social media is simply a tool to get people into your email list.

And in order to build a list, you’re going to need an email service provider!

ConvertKit is the preferred email service provider for most bloggers, but when you’re just starting out I would just use MailChimp.

Total investment for email service provider:

Start with a free service to get used to having a list, then switch over to ConvertKit once you hit 1000 subscribers. It’s $29/month to start.

Additional reading: How To Get Your First 100 Email Subscribers in 30 Days Or Less.

6. SOCIAL MEDIA AUTOMATION TOOLS

SmarterQueue has literally made my life 10x more fulfilling because it has saved me SO MUCH TIME.

It looks like I’m online 24/7 when in reality, I haven’t touched my social media for over half a year!

I have everything scheduled to recycle itself every 90 days and it took me one full day to learn how to use everything then another day to set everything up.

Invest in a social media automation tool that RECYCLES your content like SmarterQueue does, so that you don’t have to manually input new content. That is the KEY to actually saving time with automation.

While SmarterQueue is great for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, I prefer to use Tailwind for Pinterest and Planoly for Instagram.

Why?

  1. Tailwind is the ONLY Pinterest approved scheduler.
  2. Planoly has a visual scheduler so you can plan out your feed.
  3. SmarterQueue recycles everything which works well for Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, but I don’t recycle any content on Instagram.

Total investment for social media automation tools:

SmarterQueue starts at just $20/month and you get a 30-day free trial to try it out.

Tailwind is FREE until you hit 100 pins.

Planoly is FREE and allows 30 uploads each month on the free plan.

7. BLOGGING COURSES + EDUCATION

There are 3 crucial things that you must get right in order to become a successful blogger.

  1. Start your blog on the proper foundations
  2. Monetize your blog
  3. Get massive traffic to your blog

And the best way to learn accomplish them is from those who have gone before you.

Below are the 3 best courses from 3 top bloggers that will help fast-track your learning so you can become a full-time blogger in half the time it usually takes.

  1. How to start a money-making blog (use promo code LADYBOSS50 for 50% off!)
  2. How to make money with affiliate marketing
  3. How to get massive + free traffic using Pinterest

What are the 2 ways 6-figure bloggers make 6-figures?

  1. Selling affiliate products
  2. Selling digital products

Therefore, taking a class to learn how to get started with affiliate marketing and learning how to create your own digital product should be your top priorities after building the proper base to your blog, then you need to focus on getting massive traffic to your blog posts so that your efforts aren’t futile and your traffic will actually generate income for you.

How to tap into affiliate marketing now?

How to get sponsored posts?

Below is the breakdown from month-to-month on what you should expect to spend.

You don’t have to follow my timeline, in fact, I would suggest spending more up front on courses, but I know that the timeline I have created is more realistic to what you may actually do.

NOTE: Prices can change or vary depending on the plan you choose or upgrade to.

FIRST MONTH BLOGGING TOTALS:

Plan to invest around $65-$75.

SECOND MONTH BLOGGING TOTALS:

Plan to invest around $25.

THIRD MONTH BLOGGING TOTALS:

Plan to invest around $40.

FOURTH MONTH BLOGGING TOTALS:

Plan to invest around $70.

FIFTH MONTH BLOGGING TOTALS:

Plan to invest around $80.

SIXTH MONTH BLOGGING TOTALS:

Plan to invest around $100.

SEVENTH MONTH BLOGGING TOTALS:

Plan to invest around $110.

EIGHTH MONTH BLOGGING TOTALS:

Plan to invest around $150.

NINTH MONTH BLOGGING TOTALS:

Plan to invest around $180.

TENTH MONTH BLOGGING TOTALS:

Plan to invest around $205.

ELEVENTH MONTH BLOGGING TOTALS:

Plan to invest around $350.

TWELFTH MONTH BLOGGING TOTALS:

Plan to invest around $350.

If you can, I would suggest purchasing courses early on, especially if you’re working a full-time job and can afford it because courses will slice your learning curve in half and allow you to become a full-time blogger in half the time.

Remember to use promo code LADYBOSS50 for 50% off when you click the photo below.

Become a full time blogger ladybossblogger elaine rau

Now that you know how much your expenses are going to be each month, all you need to learn is how to make enough money from your blog to cover those expenses… which honestly isn’t tough at all!

Learn how to monetize your blog by reading the following blog posts in order.

  1. How To Monetize Your Blog: The Secret Is In The Foundation.
  2. How To Make Money Blogging: The Most Comprehensive List Online.
  3. 12 Most Profitable Niches For Making Money Online.

Good luck and make sure to join my FB Group for Female Entrepreneurs + Bloggers.

If you loved this post, please pin the image below!

How Much Does It Really Cost To Start A Blog?

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Elaine Rau

Founder and CEO at LadyBossBlogger
Former National Wedding Sales Manager, Elaine Rau lost her brother-in-law, her job, and her home all in one week. Stuck in a third world country with no job opportunities, she had to learn how to make an income online... ASAP. So she spent her last bit of savings, $12.18 to be exact, and invested in a blog domain: LadyBossBlogger.com. Since its conception, LadyBossBlogger has garnered a massive audience of 150K in under 2 years. It's a platform that helps female entrepreneurs learn how to start, grow and scale their own online businesses and blogs. Email ladybossblogger@gmail.com to request the resources you need!

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