Blogging // How Much Does It Cost to Blog?

moneymatters

Eeek! I’m scared to talk about this one! But I’ve had a few emails regarding advice on the financial end of blogging, and lots of questions about how much money it takes to be a blogger. So. Let’s get honest and just talk about it. Zoinks. How much does it cost to blog?

First of all, let me start by saying that I’m guessing I blog in a really cost-effective (read: cheap) way when compared with some of the bigger bloggers out there, and even probably with some of my contemporaries. I don’t have major expenses like an office space (I work from my home office) and things like that. But there are obviously expenses that do come along that I can speak to, so this information is coming purely from my own experience. The numbers below are based on the way my business functions, and the materials I use. These by no means have to be a part of your process. And I hope the other bloggers out there reading this leave bits of advice in the comments! And obviously, please don’t consider any of this official financial advice, as I’m no expert.

If you’re looking to start a blog and want to do it right from the get-go, there will be some startup cost involved. You can do it on the cheap, i.e. design your own site or have a friend help with code (I designed my own blog). But if you go the route of hiring a team, here’s a rough look at what you can expect.

Blog Design and Build……….$500 & up (way, way up)
Web Hosting Fees……….$350+/year (more for higher traffic volume)
Blogging Platform……….Free (WordPress, Blogger, etc.) or $8+/month (Squarespace)
Domain Name Fee……….$15/year

So now you’ve got your own little corner of the internet. Now what? Now you blog. And what do you need? (A good note on this section: be sure to hunt for deals on these items! There are often student discounts, refurbished materials, and sales that can save you hundreds of dollars. These prices are based on current retail numbers.)

A Good Computer (I prefer working on an MacBook)……….$1,200+
Photo Editing Software (i.e. Photoshop)……….$700+
Quality Camera (I shoot on a Canon 60D)……….$600+

After you’ve got all of your tech components, you start putting together posts. For me as a DIY and lifestyle blogger, that means I need to purchase materials to craft with, props and styling items to put together photos, and so on. Lots of bloggers now will also hire photographers, stylists, models, and assistants. Lovely Indeed is still run almost exclusively by myself and Mr. Lovely, so I don’t run into any of those costs. A few things to keep on your list:

Materials
Props
Setup and Styling
Photographer
Stylist
Model
Assistant

After all of that’s taken care of there are more advanced expenses like business cards, promotional materials, travel to conferences, and so on. When you are running your blog like a business, there will be expenses that surface constantly, just as in any business. But don’t be scared! It doesn’t have to cost piles of money to start to blog. Most of the bloggers I know, myself included, started on a wing and a prayer and a couple of bucks. I didn’t march out my first week of blogging and rack up debt buying everything on this list. Things come gradually. But to me, the bottom line is that if you want to have a successful business, you have to invest in it.

Another note: I keep track of the money that I make and the money that I spend every month on the blog. I have spreadsheets and programs that I use to keep track of all the financials involved in the blog. Once you’re at the point where you’re making and spending money, you should definitely track it, whether it’s in QuickBooks, Freshbooks, or just on an Excel spreadsheet.

Like I said earlier, I’d love to add knowledge to this post in the comment section, if any of you bloggers out there have things to add! Chances are I’ve forgotten something, so let’s keep it rolling. xoxo

  1. This is all great advice! Im really grateful i don’t have big overheads like pffice space and design fees too. I made a big investment when I started blogging in that I bought a really snazzy camera. I kinda thought if I want to break into a visual field I need good visuals! After that my biggest expense is definately materials for sure. Keeping track of them can be kind of hard and feel kind of annoying because I have to limit myself from doing the bigger projects but I suppose that’s all part of the practicalities of blogging like a business. I’m hoping that next year I can sell ad space to cover these costs though, being a craft blogger can be expensive!

  2. Kory on said:

    I’m so glad you shared this! I think a lot of people think that blogging is free and easy, but when you really get into it the costs get up there. I’m also happy at the price you set for the blog design! Too many people are under the impression that blog designs are dirt cheap (or should be)!

  3. Thanks for that info, it was helpful. I just started my blog recently and I’m going the shoestring route so it isn’t all that pretty yet, but I hope to get there. Thanks!

  4. Great info Chels! Tracking expenses is so important. I have a business account (+ debit card) that I use exclusively for buying supplies and that helps, and I use freshbooks (It’s awesome!) to log all expenses + income. A few investments I made about a year in that made my life easier… a 50mm lens and a tripod. Love this post!

    • Ooooo having a separate card is a really great idea. I might have to implement that one!

  5. I think another great option for people just staring is Photoshop Elements. It costs $100 and is great for editing photos and making moodboards. Other than downloading the free trial of Photoshop, I’ve found Elements has worked pretty well for most of my needs and has saved me $600 until I’m ready to invest more.

  6. Allison on said:

    This is a suuuuuper good topic. It actually costs a lot more than you’d think to run a blog! Especially if you’re doing shoots all the time!

    I will add one piece of info. If you use squarespace, the hosting and domain is taken care of in the $8 per month. Which is nice. Plus the design is included too. It is definitely the most cost effective to have a nice looking site, an actual domain, etc.

    This is a pretty big topic, especially when starting out. To have a chance at high quality posts, it takes a lot of shoots, supplies, nice cameras, etc!

    I’m terrible about the finances part, definitely going to check out freshbooks!

  7. So so true! just another reason people need to start acknowledging that blogging is indeed a (FULL time) job. Give us bloggers some credit. We’re not just sitting around in our jammies, eating ice cream and donuts, on our lazy bums and trying to get by on calling that, “working”. Well, not everyday 😉

  8. Alex on said:

    This is great advice, especially as a growing blogger who still holds a full time job (that will last a while). It’s a gradual process. My investments have solely been in my computer and camera but I know the whole site change is in the near future. That scares me, but it’s necessary as I grow and as the blog grows. Great advice!

  9. thanks for sharing! i just started taking blogging a little more seriously and updating more regularly. I’m a creative type, so it’s sometimes hard for me to remember the hidden costs.and even opportunity costs. you have a lovely blog! love the design and look of it. 🙂

*