Honestly, sometimes it feels like bloggers don’t share the whole story. Especially when it comes to how much it costs to start a successful blog.
When I started my first blog, I was totally clueless to the fact that people actually made money blogging until I came across an income report from a blogger who was talking about how they made enough money from their blog to quit their job. I was like, wait, whaaat?
One little thing most income reports fail to mention is how much it actually costs to start up a new blog and keep it running. Do you have to spend money to start a blog? Not necessarily. But if you’re looking to make money from your blog, it definitely helps to purchase helpful tools that’ll help you grow your blog.
I don’t want you to be as surprised as I was when you start your blogging journey, so today I’m going to tell you exactly what it cost me to start my blog, and what products I’m using to continue growing my blog!
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HOW MUST IT COSTS TO START A BLOG
Every great blog has a list of awesome tools that help make it amazing. While these are all tools that I paid/pay for to run my blog, a lot of these resources have free trials, so even if you don’t have the money right now, take advantage and test ’em out!
SITEGROUND– $3.95/MO | $47.40 FOR THE YEAR (+DOMAIN of $15.95)
Let me tell ya, choosing a self-hosting platform for my blog was a big decision, and also one of the best I’ve made. Whether you’re just starting your blog, or you’re switching from a free hosting service, this is a game-changer.
To those who are currently using a free hosting site, I get it. It’s hard to invest in your blog when you don’t know when (or even if) it’ll pay off. But when you use a free web hosting service to run your blog, one day you could wake up and your blog be gone. All that hard work, gone just like that. And there’s nothing you can do about it because with free hosting you don’t own your content. And yes, there ARE stories of bloggers who’ve had this exact thing happen!
And while you could start on free hosting and later switch to a self-hosted website, it’s a pain in the butt and there are plenty of bloggers out there who did just that who’ll tell you that the headache really isn’t worth it.
That’s why I decided to buck up and pay for a self-hosted blog upfront. There are other web hosting sites out there that I’ve tried, but I chose Siteground for this blog because not only are they super cheap (one of the cheapest I’ve seen at $3.95 a month) but they have ah-mazing customer service. So if you’re a new blogger and have no idae what you’re doing, they got you.
And okay, technically Siteground doesn’t have a ‘free trial’, but they DO have a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is a nice little peace-of-mind when you’re first starting a new blog, just in case it doesn’t work out.
TAILWIND– $9.99/MO | $119.88 FOR THE YEAR
Tailwind is something I knew would be a game-changer for my blog, mostly because I’d taken advantage of their 100 free scheduled pins with my first blog and it’s been a big success. Seriously, my growth has exploded on Pinterest. Not only did my follower count grow from a few hundred to literally thousands, my page views more than tripled.
Basically, all you gotta do is schedule the pins you want and it makes it look like you’re on Pinterest. All. The. Time. This allows you to reach more people and not have to spend time every day trying to pin throughout the day. Because, let’s face it, nobody wants to do that.
Plus, it’s easy to do! It takes me about 20-30 minutes to set up my pins for the whole month. Then I don’t really have to worry about them again until next month.
I’m going to be honest, it was hard to commit to ConvertKit at first, but I’m a big believer in good email lists and that having one in place from the get-go will save you a lot of headache and regret later. So, here we are!
Mailchimp was a real contender for me when I was implementing my email list, mostly because it’s free to start and I’d used it before with my first blog. But I’ve always heard (and now know) that ConvertKit has so many more capabilities when it comes to sending out different freebies to different lists. It’s definitely changed how I’ve tackled my mailing list and I’m really glad I got it.
ConvertKit also offers a 14-day free trial, so be sure to test it out!
Personally, I think one of the biggest investments in your blog should be in learning how to make your blog better. Whether it’s via helpful blog posts, free e-books, or paid courses, taking the time to figure out what works and what doesn’t from others is a great way to learn how to make your blog the best it can possibly be.
Most of the time I only take free courses (I’m on a college girl’s budget, okay), but sometimes I like to splurge a little and purchase a paid one. I’ve noticed that a lot of paid courses/e-books have more info than what’s talked about in free ones, so keep in mind that you get what you pay for and you may find paid courses more helpful than the free ones.
If you know pretty much nothing about affiliate marketing, this is a great course to invest in. It’s definitely for beginners, so if you’re already making affiliate sales (via Pinterest especially) then this may not be the right affiliate marketing e-book for you (in which case I’d suggest this e-book instead.)
Pretty much anything Ana from The She Approach writes is gonna be amazing, but this really helped me understand what it takes to get more eyes on my blog. I highly recommend it for anyone who’s just not getting any views and they’ve tried everything.
Here’s all the physical items that my blog couldn’t run without. If you’re trying to figure out how much it’ll cost for you to start your own blog, some of these items you probably already have, like the laptop and camera, so just keep that in mind!
HP LAPTOP– $219
I had so much crap on my old laptop that it eventually just kinda died on me. Which was depressing since I lost all of my files, but it also meant I got to get a new one! This laptop is pretty simple but it satisfies all my blogging needs, and I love how lightweight it is!
Guys, I’ve officially had this camera for 5 years, which is longer than I’ve been married. It’s been there for my trip to Europe, my wedding day, and now my blogging career. I’ve used it for everything, and it’s never let me down! Highly recommend as a starter blogging camera.
I’m a believer that crisp, branded images help readers immediately judge a blog, so it’s important to get a good-quality camera to make sure your photos pack a punch, but I’ll also say that most cameras on phones now are really good and could probably help you squeak by until you can afford a nicer one.
LEUCHTTURM1917 JOURNAL– $19.95
I’m a big believer that a bullet journal can change your life, and especially change the face of your blog. This is the current journal I’m using to keep up with organizing and tracking the growth of my blog, my goals, and all that jazz.
GRAND TOTAL= $1091.06 FOR THE YEAR
I hope you don’t let that number discourage you- that’s not why I’m telling you all this. I just want you to feel better prepared than I did when you begin your own blogging journey, and you can easily make that much and more if you invest in yourself and put in the work!
Plus, there are plenty of big-ticket items on my list that you probably already have! Like the laptop and camera (and like I said, most smartphones nowadays can help you squeak by until you’re ready to invest in an actual camera.)
It’s very important to keep up with your blogging income and expenses for the year. If you haven’t been doing this, I highly recommend it! And since you can download my blogging income and expense tracker for free, there’s no excuse!
And feel free to share this to Pinterest so others can find it!
Which blogging tool is your favorite? Let me know down below!
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