If you’ve ever wanted to start a blog and be successful, it’s important to know that you’re going to have a few expenses in order to meet your blogging goals.
Blogging is a lot of hard work, and while I know it’s a popular side hustle option, most new and aspiring bloggers I talk to don’t realize that it costs money to get started and to keep going.
Let’s Face It
You can make a lot of money blogging each month. That’s the enticing juicy carrot that attracts many people.
However, you have to work hard, treat your blog like a business, and invest in it. This means you need to spend time and money learning about everything from:
- Marketing and improving your content
- Basic WordPress skills
- Creating graphics
- Learning SEO
I struggled a lot in the past with telling people ‘I’m just a blogger and I write online’. There’s nothing small about being a blogger. It’s hard work and often requires you to become somewhat of a content marketing genius if you want to have a profitable blog.
Most importantly, you can’t expect the reward of being able to monetize your blog without having an expectation that there are going to be expenses. If you’ve ever wondered: how much does it cost to run a blog? you’re in the right place.
In this post, I’ll break down my monthly, annual, and periodic blog expenses and why I have them.
My Monthly Blog Expenses
I’m pretty reasonable when it comes to my blog expenses, thought I’d share how much I spend monthly to keep my blog going. This will give you some great context if you’re looking to start a blog or already have one and are wondering how much you can expect to spend.
Tailwind – $19.99
Tailwind is an absolute must for me. I promote my blog’s posts on Pinterest and Tailwind helps me schedule pins out automatically 24/7. Pinterest has been one of the best tools I’ve used to grow my site’s traffic. Currently, it’s my #2 traffic source, right behind Google search.
Without traffic, my blog would cease to exist and make money. As a blogger, you want people to come to your site, read your posts, and get the help they need. No one will visit your site if they can’t find it, so marketing your content is super important.
Instead of sitting on Pinterest all day and pinning things one by one, Tailwind can help you schedule out your pins weeks in advance. It’s definitely worth the price, and you can even save money by purchasing their annual plan.
Freshbooks – $15
Freshbooks is actually a tool I used to send invoices for my freelance writing work. Sometimes, I also need to send invoices to brands for sponsored partnerships so this tool comes in handy.
When I first started blogging and using this platform to get freelance writing clients, I would invoice them on PayPal which takes a chunk out of your earnings. As my invoicing amounts got higher, PayPal’s fees got higher.
This is why I signed up for Freshbooks because they only charge less for PayPal transactions. Freshbooks saves me so much money and they also have other features including expense tracking.
Social Media Scheduling – $19
I schedule content for social media because it’s easy and I can map out my posts in just one weekly sitting. I use the Facebook scheduler or my Facebook page and Hootsuite schedule Twitter posts. Both are free to use.
However, I pay $19/month for Planoly’s premium plan to schedule Instagram posts and Instagram stories whenever I want to announce new blog posts and details to my IG fam.
Convert Kit – $50
If you’re a blogger, you’re going to need an email list. When I first got started, I used MailChimp to send out my email newsletter because it was free for the first 2,000 subscribers.
However, ConvertKit is a much better tool. It’s more user-friendly in my opinion and better for marketing. You can set up automatic email sequences tag your subscribers based on their interests, and ConvertKit even has landing pages and integrates with other programs pretty easily.
Contractors – $300 – $400 (on average)
This is only an estimate of my contractor expenses because it does vary sometimes. I work with two VAs who help me manage various tasks to run my blog. This includes things like creating Pinterest images, helping me with social media, editing content/videos, and more.
Ivory Mix – $10 (Stock Photos)
I use professional stock images within my blog posts and for my Pinterest graphics. There are lots of free stock photo sites (mentioned below) but sometimes I’m not able to find exactly what I’m looking for.
So I signed up for IvoryMix.com and only pay $20 every 2 months for a wide variety of stock images.
Web Hosting – $13.60
I recently changed my hosting over to Siteground and I paid for my hosting annually but this is how much it breaks down to if I were to pay on a monthly basis. I had Bluehost for about 3 years but wanted to test out something different for now. However, I still use Bluehost for my other site ChonceMaddox.com.
Both hosting companies are pretty good and affordable in my eyes, although it was a little challenging to make the switch to Siteground because I feel Bluehost’s customer service and tools are easier to use and access.
Related: How to Start a Blog
What I’m Investing In:
These are just my basic monthly expenses (on the low end) that I need to pay in order to keep the blog running. Sometimes I invest in courses, training, and even coaching to help me.
In the past, I’ve worked with a one-on-one coach and took a few blogging courses. This year, I’m talking an SEO course and learning so much valuable information.
Whenever I consider buying a course or paying for coaching, I always look at ROI. My budget is important too, but I try to consider where I’m at and where I want to be.
If I consider spending money on something, I like to map out how and well I’ll see a return on my investment.
I also like to be honest with myself about what I can handle and where my motivation lies. Recently, I had to pass on a course that seemed super valuable because I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to dedicate to it.
Information overload is real when it comes to this business so it’s important to be conscious of your goals and how much time and energy you wish to dedicate to certain things.
How I’m Saving
While I do believe it’s important to invest in your blog, I still think it’s always best to spend wisely and intentionally. That said, there are things I decided to insource while I grow my blog.
In the beginning, you will probably find yourself doing most of the work. Still, it’s best to set expectations that you will have legitimate expenses that can contribute to your growth and that’s okay – dare I say, great!
Here are a few things I choose to do/keep in-house to keep blog expenses controlled.
Free Stock Photos
Like I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to pay for stock photos, especially as a new blogger. Some of my favorite free stock photo sites are Unsplash and Pexels. I used both of these sites for blog post images and still use them occasionally today.
My husband actually does my Pinterest management for now, and it’s working out great. He schedules things in Tailwind for me and also helps create boards and pin them to my group boards. Since I started blogging, I have hired someone to help me with Pinterest because I’m not very good at it.
My last Pinterest VA resigned because she wanted to do more work with local clients, which was understandable. I was paying her $225 per month and wanted to see if my husband and I could pick up her strategy and do the Pinterest management on our own. So far so good!
I also recently paid another Pinterest VA for an audit of my account. The audit turned out great and we have a ton of things to work on now to improve my Pinterest profile, but we can save money by doing the work ourselves.
Listening to Podcasts and Reading Books
You can learn so much from reading books and listening to podcasts. I’ve decided to use these resources to learn more about marketing, sales, content, etc. as it’s not costly at all.
I personally love Bobby Hoyt’s podcast that he hosts with his business partner Mike. It’s called Laptop Empires. I’ve been following Bobby ever since he started his blog and paid off his student loans. Since then, he has created an impressive blogging business due to his advanced marketing skills, so this podcast always has some great stuff.
I’m sure there are other amazing ones as well, I just haven’t discovered them yet!
Signing Up For Other Blogger’s Newsletters
Speaking of email lists, joining other bloggers’ email lists can definitely help you as well. I am on a few people’s email lists and enjoy reading about their tips, advice, and resources. If you are interested in receiving my blogging tips on a regular basis, you can join the email list by signing up for free here.
Did any of my expenses surprise you? If you have a blog, what do your expenses look like?
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