What costs/expenses should you expect when running your own blog.
This list is not at all comprehensive, and is reflective of the expenses on 100Things2Do.ca, but it will give you an idea of the costs involved in running your own blog.
If you are considering starting a blog, or are wondering if you are paying out too little or too much, this might help you in your research. I’ll order them by “Necessary”, “Good-to-have”, “Optional” and “Extras”.
How much does it cost to run a blog?
Internet service provider: You have to have internet to write a blog. Sure you could go to your local Starbucks day-after-day for free wi-fi, but most of us prefer to be able to write when our schedule allows meaning unlimited internet at home is pretty much a necessity – especially if you have other family members using the internet as well. We use Rogers Cable in SW Ontario (for now) and I paid $1,080.30 for unlimited wi-fi, cell service (which I never use) and wireless service for when I’m out and about.
Domain name registration – your domain is the house that your website lives in (to give you a more visual metaphor). I migrated from Blogger (which was free) to my own WordPress domain because of the easier URL (.blogspot.ca versus .CA) and the many bells and whistles available through WordPress. GoDaddy charged me $22.59 last year for my domain name registration (although I actually purchased a 3-year contract for $67.77)
Website hosting: Once you have a ‘house’, you need a place to put it. Website hosting is the street your house is located on, or the server that your site is stored in. There are loads of different website hosting providers, for example, you could use someone like this HostiServer Hosting provider but there are loads of others that you could use. It just depends on what you want them for. Hosting can be cheaper or more expensive based on the amount of traffic your blog sees, but it is a necessity. My hosting – GoDaddy Ultimate Managed WordPress website – provides quick loading times for up to 400,000 visitors/mo, 30GB of storage (sort of like the square footage of your house – as you add more and more rooms/content) and I believe daily back-ups. This runs me $53.73/yr.
iCloud storage: I rank this as necessary because if you lose your photos, files and/or videos – you are pooched. A LOT of work goes into making every image and you don’t want to see any of it disappear. I work on a Mac so my monthly fee for 2 TB of storage is $12.63/mo or $151.51/yr.
SSL Certificate: Browsers made encryption mandatory in 2017, meaning that all sites have to have encryption via HTTPS – a secure/not secure binary that labels sites as safe or unsafe. If you want Google to find you – you need to have an SSL certificate (https:// at the beginning of your url) GoDaddy provided my SSL certificate and charged $88.41 for 1 year. TrustRadius can explain domain registration in more detail.
Good to have
E-mail: unless you want your hotmail or gmail account to represent your blog, which isn’t ideal if you ever want to see messages from your friends or family again and isn’t professional when dealing with brands, then it’s a good idea to set up an e-mail with your domain name in it. You may want to look into email hosting. This will keep your blog contacts and information easily organized and separate from your day-to-day jokes. GoDaddy provides my email service (with a back-up should anything ever go amiss) for $145.83 for 2 years – or $72.92 per year (although it’s cheaper to buy multiple years at a time)
Adobe Lightroom: this is a photo editing tool made by the makers of Photoshop. I found this last year and can’t recommend it highly enough. It has all the features you’ll need to edit photos for size, colour, contrast, exposure etc as well as a lot of extra features like adding your watermark and group editing to make your time in front of the screen quick and easy. I’d put this in “Necessary”, but I lived with PicMonkey up until last year, so I know there are workarounds. I pay $12.49/month for Lightroom, which comes to $149.85/yr (but I only began using it late in 2017, so it’s not a complete charge showing on my cost sheet)
PicMonkey: another photo editing tool that helps by adding text to graphics and collages for Pinterest etc. (Lightroom doesn’t add text or create collages.) There is a free version that you can use but the paid version (Royale) offers a lot more options in terms of fonts and extras. I have the Royale version and pay $9.99/mo or $119.85/yr.
QuickBooks: Most of your blogging transactions (fees and income) will take place online which leaves the typical box of receipts as a non-option for keeping track of your profit/loss. QuickBooks online allows you to do basic bookkeeping from any computer, anywhere to keep all the flow in check. Unless you like book-keeping, this is the least painful way to keep your blog finances in-check. This runs 164.98/yr.
Yoast SEO: There is a free version of this plugin, that helps you when drafting your blog posts, to keep Search Engine Optimization at the forefront of your mind. It calculates how many times you’ve used a keyword, makes recommendations for keyword placement and even proofs your articles before you publish. The free plugin only allows you to include one keyword per blog post, but often people search for the same topic using different phraseology, so I’ve upgraded to the premium version (which allows me to use several keywords/keyword combinations) to help get my content in front of more people. The Yoast SEO Premium version is $86.25/yr.
MailChimp: part of selling your blog is having an email distribution list. Potential sponsors want to know how many eyes have subscribed to see your (possibly their) content on any given day. It also provides you with an engaged audience should you ever decide to sell a product/service/e-book, so it’s a good thing to have. I have recently surpassed the free version of MailChimp and now have to pay $31.25 per month for the service or $375/yr (WOW! I’m really going to have to research alternatives!)
CinchShare: This is a social media distribution helper and really does cut down on your work time. Draft a post once and click a button to have it shared to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It also allows you to pre-schedule social media shares for weeks (even months) in advance, and to re-share content you’ve posted before. Cinchshare runs at 12.37/mo or $148.44/year but it’s worth it to get your content out there with the least amount of work.
Optin Monster: This is the pop-up window that people see when entering or leaving your website. It’s another way to capture email addresses for your email list. There are all kinds of providers for a feature like this so I’m going to put it under “extras” because an opt-in box on your blog sidebar could do the same thing (though not as effectively) for free. I pay $61.25/yr for the basic OptinMonster option.
That’s a total of $2,575.08 Cdn to run 100Things2Do.ca for one year and that does NOT include the cost of materials for crafts, recipes or builds or the marketing and promotion costs involved in promoted posts on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
This is not an inexpensive profession. Imagine if you didn’t have to pay to go to work each day? (like most of the world) Blogging really does need passion or you just won’t/can’t make it.
Now you also know why so many bloggers have ads on their sites and/or offer affiliate links to stores; this provides a small income to help offset all the expenses in providing you with new, inspiring, imaginative, and free content.
I’ve broken down the costs for you US readers – but they are based on a $1.25 exchange rate or the US prices listed on the various websites which may differ from my actual (Cdn) expense sheet. (eg. Optin Monster is WAAAY more expensive now than I paid last year).
How much does it cost to run a blog – US $
I really need a business manager to clean some of this up – if you are a blogger and can offer tips or suggestions on how to make running my business less expensive, I’m all ears!
Have a great one!