Are you considering starting a blog to make money from home, but wondering how much does it cost to start a blog?
I started blogging 10 months ago and gave myself the goal of earning $1000 per month by the end of the first year. I’m excited to say that I was able to reach that goal in 10 months, and I want to share with you how you can start a blog on a budget. I only spend $23 per month on my blog right now, but I didn’t start that way.
I was spending $30 per month with Convertkit email service, subscriptions to Tailwind ($15) and Boardbooster ($10), buying stock photos, and more. In all I was spending about $60 per month and I was making $0.25 in ad revenue!
That’s crazy right?! I realized that I was going to have to cut back and find free alternatives. So I’m hopefully going to save you some cash and help you start a blog to make money before you are spending more money on your blog!
How much does it cost to start a blog?
~ This article may contain affiliate links. I only suggest product or services I believe will benefit my readers. All opinions are 100% mine! ~
I think the most responsible way to start a blog is to create a budget, and then save up your money to start your blog. If you are starting a blog to make money from home, you need to think of this as a business not just a blogging hobby.
That means that you need to plan for the cash and time investment it will take you to start your blogging business.
You can start a blog for about $150. Here’s how:
Tailwind (Pinterest scheduler) $15
- Free stock photos (Pexels and Pixabay are my favorites)
- Graphic design Canva.com
- Email Platform (Mailerlite)
- Blogging Professional Development ebooks/courses (a full list of excellent resources reasonably priced to help you grow your blogging business below!)
Here are the details!
#1 Webhosting (Free vs. Self-hosted)
I could write an entire blog post on why you need webhosting, but ultimately it comes down to the fact that you want to make money blogging and having your own domain (www . YOUR BLOG NAME . com) makes you look more professional.
People tend to trust someone who looks authoritative in their field, and a professional looking blog gives you that very important visual online.
A self-hosted site has more options for you to customize your blog. Free sites like blogger.com are SLOW which hurts your pageviews, ranking in Google, and your overall business.
I started with Bluehost as my webhost, and had a great experience. I purchased the 1 year subscription to give myself one year to see if I could make blogging work as a side hustle. Even though you save more money the longer the contract you sign-up for I wanted to give myself a time limit so I didn’t waste money.
TIP: Use Bluehosting or Siteground (similar companies with similar pricing) to host your website. Install WordPress as your platform to write your content. WordPress is the standard platform for the blogging world. I have heard SO many people have problems with sites like Wix.com. Although I have seen successful blogs from SquareSpace, but most of the successful bloggers I know use WordPress!
Difference between Bluehosting vs. Siteground
Bluehost had some problems with sites going down about a year and a half ago. I never experienced that myself when I was on Bluehost. I did have my site go down occasionally, but only for about 4 minutes at a time.
Bluehost has since claimed they have fixed their problems and is working hard to keep all their bloggers and website owners happy.
I switched to Siteground because I needed to move up to a higher grade (because of pageviews) and they were offering a special discount at the time. I have been happy with both services. They both have excellent customer support and will walk you through every step of setting up your blog.
I think for my first year of blogging Bluehost was perfect because it included a free domain name in the package. I don’t think Siteground has that option right now.
TIP: They both want your business so if you hang out on the site for awhile and then select a program you think you want to purchase, but don’t purchase immediately a pop-up will appear with a special discount 😉
#2 Free WordPress Themes
Themes are the design of your website. You can upload themes onto your WordPress platform to customize the look of your blog. There are many free WordPress Themes available, but they are not all equal!
I have a selected a few free WordPress themes that other bloggers are using with great success. I think starting with a free WordPress theme is a great idea, because you can monetize your blog without making a huge investment.
Free WordPress Themes to Try
If you want to get a paid theme, then I highly recommend the Genesis framework. Many bloggers use this to create their blog and it has everything a blogger needs to make money blogging. It’s also easy to find designers who can customize or redesign your blog in the future.
So what do you need to look for in a theme?
#1 Must be responsive
Responsive means that your blog will go from desktop computer to mobile device by adjusting the layout. This is hugely important since almost 90% of traffic is coming from mobile devices!
#2 Browser compatibility
Make sure that the theme layout works on a variety of different browsers; Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.
Make sure the theme you choose supports popular plug-ins.
Yoast plug-in for SEO
Pretty Link (free version) for affiliate links
Easy Azon for selling on Amazon
#4 Always check Ratings and Reviews
Ratings and reviews are important! Read through to see if there are any major concerns. I also like to ask for opinions in blogging Facebook groups. You can find blogging Facebook groups by using Facebook’s search bar.
#3 Graphics and Blog Promotion on Pinterest
In this section I’m going to cover the following:
- Tailwind (Pinterest scheduler) $15
- Free stock photos (Pexels and Pixabay are my favorites)
- Graphic design Canva.com
The fastest way to grow your audience is by using Pinterest. I went from 7000 pageviews per month to over 21,000 pageviews by using a Pinterest strategy! I tripled my pageviews in 1 month, and my pageviews have been increasing since then too! (Pinteresting Strategies is the book that has changed my pageviews!)
In order to have success on Pinterest, I think it’s a good idea to use a scheduler.
But the key to major growth is being active on Pinterest daily. I love Tailwind because it has changed the trajectory of my growth!
In order to get traffic from Pinterest, you need to use beautiful photos. Now you may have time to take your own awesome photos, but I don’t have time to take pictures. I barely have time to shower most days!
I love using FREE photos from Pixabay and Pexels. I also use free photos from Ivory Mix. You can sign up for her free library and she gives away 5 – 10 free photos each month!
Before you use free photos make sure that you can use them without having to show the copyright. Pixabay and Pexels only use picture that are allowed to be used by anyone for any reason. You can’t use any picture you find on Google because that is considered someone else’s property and you can get in big trouble over the pictures! Be careful!
I am technically challenged! Graphic design is not my gifting, so I need something that is easy to use and FREE makes it even better. Canva.com is where you can go to create the “Pins” you will use on your blog post to pin to Pinterest.
It’s super easy to use and you can upload images from Pexels or Pixabay or your own images and then create text overlay for the images. Here is a recent image that I created in Canva.com.
They have templates for everything from Pinterest pins, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, and Ebooks!
#4 Email Platform
You need an email platform because you are going to be collecting thousands of emails! Your email list is one area that you have totally under your control and doesn’t risk algorithm changes like on Google or social media.
I prefer Mailerlite because you can get free service up to 1000 subscribers! It includes landing pages, email automation, forms, and more. I also think Mailerlite is the easiest platform to use. You can customize your emails easily and there is support available all the time if you ever get stuck like me!
Mailchimp is another free resource, but I think the landing pages are SO much better with Mailerlite.
#5 Blogging Professional Development Courses & Ebooks
I am a life-long learner. I love blogging because it is constantly challenging me to learn something new everyday. You don’t have to buy any courses or ebooks in order to start a profitable blog. BUT if you are looking to make money as soon as possible with your blog, then I highly suggest learning from people who have already done it!
Michelle of Making Sense of Cents makes $50,000+ per MONTH as a blogger! That’s crazy to me! I love her style of teaching, no fluff it’s just straight forward information you need to know. The Facebook group with the course is extremely valuable as well. Michelle is very involved and shares student content on all her social media channels!
This course is $197 but goes on sale every few months for about $169. You don’t have to buy this course, but I just wanted to give you an idea of how I started investing in courses!
Ebooks & Courses that I highly recommend!
#1 Pinteresting Strategies by Carly of Mommy on Purpose
This book is Carly’s Pinterest strategy that has taken her to over 252,000 pageviews per month. She helped me triple my pageviews in one month with Pinterest. You get lifetime access to the upgrades she makes as Pinterest changes it’s algorithm. This book is a CRAZY value for only $32! She is SO good at researching Pinterest and finding out what works. I love it and re-read it several times!
#2 Blogging by Number E-Course by Suzi of Start a Mom Blog
Suzi is an amazing blogger that gives you so much helpful information. You can go over to her blog and get her 12 month plan for creating a profitable blog! She is so dedicated to giving you a quality product for a reasonable price, because she knows we don’t have hundreds of dollars to throw at our dream right now!
She walks you through step – by – step how to start a blog and make it profitable from the beginning.
#3 How to Blog for Profit without Losing Your Soul by Ruth Soukup
Ruth Soukup is the blogger at Living Well Spending Less. She has a full time blogging business with a staff and is also the creator of Elite Blog Academy ($750 blogging course!!). She gives you a great outline for all the things you need to do to start a profitable blog in the book How to Blog for Profit without Losing Your Soul. You can seriously learn almost everything you need to from this book, but it doesn’t come with support like the Blogging by Number E-Course.
So you can get your profitable blog started for as little as $150! What do you think? Are you ready to start your blogging business?