How much does it really cost to run a blog? At first glance, it seems like a project with no overhead—there are a plethora of free website builders and personal blogging platforms you could utilize. And yet any professional blogger (or entrepreneur in general) will tell you it’s unrealistic to expect success without making some kind of initial investment.
Running a blog is an investment of both time and money. It’s not all that different from starting a business, and requires much of the same kinds of expenditures. Let’s look at the three most important blog-related expenses and discuss how to get the most bang for your buck.
Master of Your Domain: Why Having a Real Domain Name Matters
When we talk about running a blog on a budget, we aren’t talking about cutting corners—especially not corners this affordable. Like everything else that has a free alternative, it’s tempting to assume visitors won’t care about your funky freedomains.co.info/yoursitenamehere URL.
But when we’re talking about getting repeat visitors, getting ranked in major search engines, and getting a far reach on social media—credibility matters. Readers will be turned off because the URL is unprofessional or difficult to remember. Search engines will bury your site. Social media influencers are picky about the links they share. Purchasing a real domain name is like buying instant credibility.
That said, there’s no reason to spend thousands of dollars on a domain name. A good rule of thumb when launching a blog is to start with the domain name and work backwards.
For example, let’s say you’ve dreamt up the name New Premier for your blog. That domain will cost you $2,495.00, according to GoDaddy’s prices. Instead of getting too attached to a name, explore your domain options first. Play around with different wording and phrases or invent a new word if you’re feeling creative. A domain for a site called Old Hat News would only cost you $11.99 a year—and it’d be even cheaper if you opt for a .co or .info domain.
The Starving Blogger: Tips for Managing Cash Flow Wisely
Even going beyond business-related expenses, it’s essential to maintain health and happiness in your personal life. Some people leave behind full-time jobs to pursue their entrepreneurial passions, and that can leave you feeling a particular economic strain while you’re getting off the ground.
Using a personal finance or budgeting app is a great way to keep track of expenses and separate your personal budget from business expenses. Intuit has a popular one called Mint, available at www.mint.com. In addition, resources such as www.frugaa.com can help you get the most bang for your buck when times get tough.
Make no mistake: balancing your work and personal expenses properly is one of the hardest parts of starting your own blog. If you’re strapped for cash, create a strict budget and stick to it.
Web Hosting: Get What You Need Without the Frills
Determining what hosting plan to go with is a simple matter of examining your blog’s priorities. Ask yourself what kind of content you’ll be providing to visitors. If you’re envisioning a media-heavy blog then you’ll probably need plenty of server space for videos and high-res images.
If you’re planning on something simpler, like a news or opinion column, you’ll need significantly less server space. For aspiring bloggers on a budget, it’s all a matter of getting what you need without any expensive, unnecessary add-ons.
Why should you personally host your blog instead of using a free service? It all boils down to the freedom hosting provides. Most free services place their own ads on your site and won’t allow you to monetize your content. If you want to eventually cover the cost of hosting and turn a profit, you’ll need to be free to do so.