So you’re thinking about starting a blog. There’s a lot to think about for sure. One of the biggest questions most “pre-bloggers” have is how much does it cost to start a blog?
I’ve helped set up dozens of blogs and started several of my own. As a result, I have pretty good handle on the costs of starting up.
So today I’m going to outline the costs of starting blog for you. Hopefully you can then make an informed decision about starting your own blogging journey.
But before I do this, I’ll answer one of the questions pre-bloggers ask most frequently…
Can You Start a Blog For Free?
It’s a great question actually since we all need to look after our pennies!
Many people want to start a blog as a money making enterprise. In this case it’s natural to consider if it’s possible to own a blog that costs nothing to run.
There are a bunch of blogging platforms, which you can use to start a free blog. They can be very appealing because:
- There’s no cost outlay, so there’s very little risk.
- If you have no experience of blogging, a free blog seems like a great way to learn.
- You don’t have to look after blog software updates and many other adminstration responsibilites… a free blog handles most of these things for you.
At first, these benefits can be a great pull. However in my experience, your learning soon outgrows the cost benefits of a free blog. At this point, you arrive at a place where a free blog limits you severely.
I’ve actually written a detailed post on this subject so I won’t repeat myself In detail again here. If you want to know my opinion about free blogs, read this post: Can You Start a Blog For Free?
If you opt not to run your blog from a free blog service, below is my outline of how much it costs to start a blog.
Blog Costs to Consider When You’re Starting Out
If you’re serious about starting a blog, buying your own domain and paying for hosting is a better long-term option than running a free blog.
Of course this means you’ll need to factor how much it costs… which is why you’re reading this after all!
You’ll need to think about:
- The cost of purchasing a domain name.
- Monthly blog hosting fees.
- Possible CMS and theme costs.
I’ll tell you what I’ve paid for SideGains for each of the above and total them together at the end. This will work as an example of how much it might cost you to start a blog.
The Cost of Purchasing a Domain
Domain prices vary quite a lot… it really depends upon the type of domain you want to purchase.
If you’re starting out, I’d recommend you purchase a domain with a .com extension, like I did for SideGains.
You can buy cheaper extensions, but the received wisdom is to always buy a .com if you can.
There are several reasons for this:
- In general, people see .com blogs as more prestigious than most other domain extensions.
- People almost always assume that a domain is a .com, so this can help to maximize direct traffic to your blog.
- There may be a small SEO benefit in purchasing a .com domain.
Just to be clear, domain purchase really means domain rental because you buy the right to use the domain for the time you specify when you purchase it.
In general, you can buy the right to use a domain for up to 10 years, but whichever term you choose you get first dibs on whether or you want to buy (renew) the domain again.
The length of time you choose dictates the cost. The longer you choose the more it costs overall, but the price per year tends to decrease for longer periods.
To give you a rough estimate of domain prices, I purchased sidegains.com from Namecheap for a 5 year period at a cost of $52.90.
It’s a pretty reasonable cost in my opinion.
If you’re interested, you can purchase domains through my affiliate link, which generates a commission for me at no cost to you: Namecheap Domain Registration.
Monthly Hosting Costs
If you purchase your own domain, you’ll need to find a host, from which your blog will run.
For SideGains I use SiteGround (a hosting company I highly recommend).
Read more about why I use SiteGround: A Review of SiteGround (by Someone Who Uses It!)
SiteGround offers the the following packages for bloggers:
For most new bloggers the StartUp package will be ample to get you up and running. It offers enough bandwidth and storage to start your blog off on the right foot.
When your blog traffic had grown to a sufficient enough level that you’re hitting the limits of the StartUp package, you can simply upgrade to the next level.
SiteGround offers a first-year introductory offer for new bloggers, with pricing for teach of it’s three packages presently looking like this:
I presently have the GrowBig package, but you wouldn’t necessarily need this as the StartUp deal would likely be perfect for getting you started.
If you were to opt for the StartUp package, your monthly cost for the first year would be $3.95 per month.
CMS and Theme Costs
The CMS (Content Management System) is the actual tool that will run your blog. It’s software that you install on your host that handles all the technical aspects of your blog so you can publish it to the Web.
I always recommend WordPress because it’s one of the most widely used blogging tools used in the World. It offers a great range of benefits, is highly supported and extendable and best of all… it’s completely free!
WordPress is public domain software, meaning it costs you nothing to use. After having used WordPress myself for around 15 years now, I’m still amazed it doesn’t cost a penny.
For new bloggers, I’d recommend using one of the many free themes available to download and install into WordPress itself, or use the ones WordPress comes pre-packaged with.
Themes customize the look, feel, layout and some of the functionality of your blog. You can choose one that takes your fancy from the WordPress Themes Directory.
You can pay for premium themes too. I use the MH Newsdesk theme, for which I paid a one off cost of $49.
Premium themes tend to offer more slick designs and more functions to your blog. However, it’s not necessary to buy a theme at all because you can use a free one when you’re starting out.
Total Year 1 Basic Cost to Start a Blog
Using my examples above, and assuming you use WordPress as your CMS, the cost of starting a self-hosted blog on your own domain would cost you:
- Domain (5 Year Purchase): $52.90
- Hosting (1st Year Introductory Offer on SiteGround StartUp Package): $47.40
- WordPress: $0.00
- Total 1st Year Price: $100.30
Year two would look like this:
- Domain (4 Years Remaining): $0.00
- Hosting (Year 2 of SiteGround StartUp Package): $143.40
- WordPress: $0.00
- Total 2nd Year Price: $143.40
SiteGround hosting of course can always change in the future, but for now this is how the pricing works.
Bear in mind that after your first year you could always move your blog to another host, if costs became an issue. However, you need to make sure you find a host that offers at the very least as good a service as SiteGround.
There is a Personal Cost to Start a Blog
It’s worth mentioning that there is a personal cost to start a blog: your time.
The time it takes to physically set up your blog is pretty small: you could purchase a domain, set up hosting and install WordPress in an hour or two… I kid you not!
The real cost comes in terms of creating content and promoting it. This is something you shouldn’t take lightly because you’ll spend many hours working on it as the months roll by!
Your time and effort is worth something and of course this is difficult to factor: it’ll be different for everyone.
Obviously you’re probably reading this post to find out how much it costs in financial terms… but it’s just worth noting that blogging will require the investment of your time too!
- If you really want to make a good start to your blogging journey, the same choices I’ve made for SideGains would be a good way to kick off.
- How much it costs to start a blog can vary according to the choices you make for your domain purchase, hosting package and CMS tools.
- Using what I’ve done for SideGains will cost you $100.30 in the first year and $143.40 each year from year two until the end of year 5.
- The hidden cost of starting a blog is your time investment!
That’s all for now.
I hope this gives you some idea about how much it costs to start a blog. If you need anything clarified or want to ask me a question, drop a few lines in the comments below!