What is The Cost of Running a Blog?

by Tamal Anwar on Monday, September 24, 2012

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what is the cost of running a blogBlogging is like building a business and unlike any other businesses, it needs some regular cash flow to keep it going. Running a blog needs more than monetary commitments. It needs time, research, technical support and most of all, your special attention.

In this article I will outline how much does it costs to run a blog. I will also share how much money I am spending to maintain this blog.

One of my blog readers Sam is starting out a new blog and since he is a complete newbie he asked me lots of questions regarding blog platform and the cost associated to blogging. I decided to address the issues on a fresh blog post.

Blogging can be done for free but when it comes to building a business and making it worthwhile, you will have to invest some money on a more reliable and professional platform.

no to free blog platformI don’t suggest a free blog platform because all the free platforms are owned by someone else and not you. When it comes to credibility in online business, hosting on a free site will make you look casual. Free platforms lack many of the top website features. However if you are short on money and you just want to test out the waters of blogging, then feel free to use a free provider.

Read: How to start a blog for free

The best platform for a blog+website is wordpress found at wordpress.org. This is an open source content management system that installs on your server.

After installing, it has an admin address like this: www.blogkori.com/wp-admin

And it looks like this from the inside:

wordpress dashboard looks like this

You will need a domain name for your blog. You can register from any domain registrar or if you have an old domain, you can use it on your new blog. This domain will cost you roughly $10 per year. I suggest you take advantage of some of the deals on GoDaddy or NameCheap

Next you will need a web hosting service. The one which is good for you is the shared hosting solution (on linux) server. My blog is hosted on HostGator for many years. I pay $9.95/month to host this blog. This account allows me to host another 4-5 sites that I own.

Read: HostGator Review

Modern web hosting accounts come with many new features and one of them allows you to install wordpress with few clicks. The steps to take here are,

  1. Get a domain name ($10/yr)
  2. Get web hosting ($9.95/mo)
  3. Link your domain to the web hosting account
  4. Install wordpress on your website (Free)

Once you have a fresh wordpress install. Now it is time to make it pretty. Now wordpress has a range of free and premium themes. For a starter you can have access to the hundreds or (if not thousands) of freely available designs. Just one click and you have new design for your blog.

For them who want to take their blog to the higher level, there are paid themes that offer better functionality and professional look.

Some of the pro themes I recommend,

  1. Thesis Theme ($87) –BlogKori is designed on this framework
  2. Woo Themes ($70) –Marvelous looking designs
  3. Theme Forest ($30) –Stunning designs to choose from

Every paid theme has some pros and cons and you have to get used to the learning curve. At first things will look a lot messy and confusing. You can take the path of trial and error or you can hire a technical person to do this job.

email marketing for blogWhen the design part has been sorted out you will need a system to capture leads. Lots of people will visit your blog and then never come back. Email marketing software will be the ideal tool to capture them.

BlogKori uses Aweber to manage the email marketing. Here are 3 of my recommended email marketing solutions:

  1. Aweber email marketing ($19/mo)
  2. MailChimp (Free)
  3. Feedburner email subscriptions (Free & no auto responders)

backup buddy for backupsWhen you have started building your blog, you will need to keep backups for your blog. Without taking backups your hard work can wash away very easily. Hackers attack, virus, server error –disasters happen!  I found a very good backup solution for my blog called backup buddy. Backup buddy automates the process of backup and it can send me a copy of my whole site via email. It puts the complete site, the content, comments, design and customizations in 1 single zip file. This file can be later used to restore or move to another server.

automated backups on my blog

  1. BackupBuddy plugin ($75)

Can I live without taking backups?

Yes you can but you won’t be able to sleep at night. Your blog is your online business and you cannot risk it being taken down.

Then you will need an additional server to host your extra content.

What extra content?

Amazon Web ServicesI offer a few ebooks from my blog. And when people download the ebooks I don’t want to put extra stress to my shared server. The shared server, hostgator is happy with my blog, but when so many people access so much content (downloading) at the same time, they will get unhappy at me. As a result they will pull the plug (my site will be down temporarily)

So to stay on the safe side, I have arranged a sub server to host the freebie downloads. On the other hand I have assigned the backup plugin to send the backups to this 2nd server.

Amazon S3 is a secure and cheap solution for this matter. I pay around 30-50 cents per month for the data I use.

  1. Amazon S3 (1GB free, then $0.120 per GB)

Read: How to host your ebook elsewhere with Amazon S3

Time to draw the line

Now the final question is how much I am paying for this blog?

These are my recurring costs,

  1. Domain name                                    – $10/yr
  2. Web hosting                                      – $9.95/mo
  3. Aweber email marketing              – $19/mo
  4. Amazon S3                                          – ¢50/mo

==============================================

Total:                                                     $39.45

So I am spending around $40 per month to maintain this blog.

The one time investments to this blog were,

  1. Thesis wordpress theme              – $164 (I bought the developers edition)
  2. Backup buddy plugin                      – $75

==============================================

Total:                                                     $239

Please excuse me if there are some errors in the above equation, I am not good at math. For promotion I spent around $7 in adwords and $10 in facebook advertising. That’s for the lifetime of this blog and I am not an ads person.

From time to time I needed some help for my blog so I have hired virtual assistants for managing the marketing of this blog.

I am paying $50/mo for a VA to manage the social media accounts of my blog.

This blog is having a custom design and I am a designer myself so I have designed it myself. But if you were to hire someone for a custom design, it would cost you around $1000 for a design like this.

Read: How to outsource your business

The main investment (above money) is the time commitment. I put hours for the content and learning from other blogs. The other time I spent tweaking and experimenting with the design and functionality.

As a return on investment I made money from my blog since the beginning of my blog. I took paid reviews, paid advertisements and sold affiliate products. This blog also helped me gain clients for my web design business.

Here are a few tips for the beginners to save money

1. Use coupon codes to buy your domain name. Here is a good site to find coupon code for your purchase.

2. When you buy web hosting, if you have money then buy 1 year advance. This will save you money. Also use this coupon code BLOGKORI25 to have 25% off or this one BLOGKORIFREE for having first month free. (Works on HostGator)

3. Use free email marketing software such as MailChimp if you are short on cash.

4. In the beginning your blog is small (5MB) so it’s easier to just copy everything to your computer to take backup. You will not need a professional backup plugin.

5. For blog design look at ThemeForest for some really nice but cheap themes.

6. Create another wordpress blog in a test domain; say demo.yourblog.com or yourblog.com/demo. And test everything here. And make sure you set this blog hidden for search engines in the privacy settings.

privacy settings in wordpress

What makes blogging a great online business is because you can really help people and make money from it. The entry level of blogging is very low meaning that it is much cheaper than starting a real business.

Let us continue the discussion, how much do you spend/planning to spend on blogging? How much resources are available to you for your next blogging venture?

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

iqbal

Simple and great article, Thank you very much

Reply

Tamal Anwar

Glad that you like it! Thanks for the comment!

Blogger kibria

Nice post. I guess your blog is pretty expensive. :)

Reply

Tamal Anwar

LOL Yes! If I had to pay myself then I had to pay a good amount for the design.

Mark

Nice post tamal bro. You are rocking….Thanks for share this helpful post. I am just your big casual fan…:)

Reply

Tamal Anwar

Ohh thanks a lot man. But why casual? Be a fulltime fan!

Istiak Rayhan

Hi Tamal,
Good to see you shared your costs. But what about your earnings from this blog? We want to know it ;) . And thanks for the post!

Reply

Tamal Anwar

I have shared my blog earnings before, but sometimes I feel that sharing one’s earnings is not appealing for all. Maybe it will be encouraging for some but will be discouraging for others. I have older pages with earnings, I will make them visible again. Also in the next I will post more regular posts on traffic and earning figures.

Catherine Daar

Excellent article Tamal.
Thank you for all the information.
Catherine

Reply

Tamal Anwar

You are welcome Cath and happy to see you on the comments + in the newsletter!

Chayan Barua

My blog is in free platform, I will invest on it after a few months. Your article is awesome in a word. Thanks

Reply

Tamal Anwar

Thanks a lot my dear friend, I appreciate it. Don’t worry if it is free, go up step by step.

Naga

Very clean and clear content from how to start a blog to launch a blog into market and also how to manage a blog after launching. Thank you for sharing with clear content. Thanks once again for sharing.

Reply

Tamal Anwar

You are welcome

shakil

Hello tamal bro,
Just launched my Internet marketing blog. Do you think IM niche is worth trying for beginners?

Reply

Tamal Anwar

Well why not? It is one of the biggest niches online. You can share tips from a newbie perspective for the newbies, just like I started. You never learn everything in IM so we all are kinda newbie.

Taswir Haider

Nice design with Thesis.. Got a new idea to host downloadable files with amazon s3. Thanks Bro. I read your several articles earlier, saw your blog and freelancing business both growing for last couple of years. Do you think that nationality has an effect on the online reputation and trustworthiness, specially for affiliate marketing where people need to trust your words?

Reply

Tamal Anwar

Hello Taswir, welcome to BlogKori. Nationality doesn’t matters. See the best blogger in the world is from Australia. Indians are working in top positions of Intel, IBM, Apple and Microsoft. It is your personality and skill, that’s all. People may have assumptions like hey this is a Bangladeshi, and they are not reliable people. But after working with me, people realize the difference.

Taswir Haider

Yap bro u r right. But u r thinking from freelancing perspective where the buyer has the chance to work with you after knowing your nationality. But when you are blogging and specially in affiliate marketing, buyer doesn’t has the chance to work with you directly. That time people know you by nationality only and reliability and trust might become a very good factor, isn’t it

Reply

Tamal Anwar

So what is your point?

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