“Did you hear about that lady down the street that quit her job to become a blogger?” Yes, I think we all have. Blogging has become so mainstream, that you hear or read stories every week about people who took the leap to be their own boss on the internet. Can it really be that easy? Yes, it can! Starting a blog is easy, and it can even be free with minimal to no blog expenses. But should it be? A lot of that depends on what you want to accomplish with it.
If you want to start a blog just for fun, family, and friends, you can blog for next-to-nothing. Often referred to as “hobby bloggers,” lots of people enjoy the process and use it just as a creative outlet. It’s a low-pressure and low-cost activity.
But if your dream is to do more with your blog, spending some money would be wise. Whether you envision it as a side-gig to bring in a little extra money, or you want to join that “lady down the street” and do it full-time as a business, it makes sense to invest financially in that dream. But it doesn’t need to be a lot.
Assuming you already have a computer, here are four blog expenses that you should strongly consider spending at least a little money on.
This is one of the most important investments you will make when owning a blog. This is the provider that is responsible for getting your blog onto the internet.
WordPress is the king of blog hosting. As their homepage states, “43% of the web is built on WordPress. More bloggers, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies use WordPress than all other options combined.” It was built with everyday people in mind, so it’s simple and easy to use and maintain.
But there are other options in blog hosting, and with a little research, you can find the one that best suits your needs.
There are many variables, but you can expect to spend anywhere from $5-$50 a month on blog hosting.
This is software that helps you design and customize your blog. You know, make it look cool! They deal with fonts, colors, and the overall setup of your blog.
One of the advantages of using a company like WordPress is that along with hosting, they also have options for themes, so you don’t have to deal with another company or site. The average theme on WordPress will cost you between $50-$60. You could pay more or less, depending on what you’re looking for.
Divi is another popular choice for blog themes. These are more expensive, but to many are worth the cost. They’re most popular plan is $89 per year, and they have a lifetime plan for $249.
Lots of different marketing trends have come and gone over the life of the internet, but email marketing remains among the best ways to help you connect with readers and build your brand.
A good newsletter can keep your readers up to date, and it also encourages more return visits to your site. It’s also a natural place to build some revenue with affiliate links.
Constant Contact, HubSpot, and MailChimp are popular email marketing tools, but there are others. Most companies have introductory prices or are even free, but the more contacts you create the more the price goes up. Constant Contact’s cheapest plan is $20 a month, and MailChimp’s is $9.99.
Investment in Continuing Education
It’s true that you can find nearly any information on the internet for free, but often you get what you pay for.
Many bloggers are experts on the topics that they cover, but not experts on the internet. And just because something comes up on the first page of a Google search, that doesn’t mean it’s good information.
Articles stay on the internet forever, and sometimes new information gets mixed in with old information. And with the rate of change in technologies today you want to make sure the information is up to date.
Plus, most smart business people don’t give away their best stuff for free, they save it for paying customers.
There are countless online options for courses, but there may even be local options in your hometown. These days career centers have lots of courses that are focused on the internet, web design, and more. Local colleges or junior colleges might also be an option.
As with any business venture, the more work you do on the front end the better off you’ll be. You wouldn’t open a hardware store or a coffee shop without doing a little research. You may be starting small, but the more you treat it and your blog expenses like a business, the better results you’ll get. No matter how much you end up deciding to spend.