How much does it cost to start and run a blog in 2021?

A comprehensive guide to give you a rough idea of how much blogging costs in 2021 for a hobby, side hustle, and full-time bloggers.

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A woman runs a blog

Back in the day, blogging was looked at like a pass time activity. However, nowadays it’s a lucrative business which people are making 1000’s from each month. Because of this, many Centennials and Millennials have hopped over to this new and exciting opportunity.

It’s evident that blogging will become a popular career path in the future because, in 2019, it was estimated that 500 million blogs were circulating online.

To make creative individuals aware of how much blogging costs, I’ve decided to develop this comprehensive guide to give you a rough idea.

NOTE – The costs within this post are only rough estimates. Expenses associated with blogging will range massively depending on your requirements and budget.

Costs to Start a Blog – Quick Summary

As a blogger myself, I’m aware there’s an abundance of different people within the industry. That’s why I’ve categorized them into three main blogging-types, these are:

  • Hobby
  • Side hustle
  • Full-time

This is because costs vary massively depending on your end goal. By splitting them up this way, you’re able to grasp a general idea of the costs from amateur to professional bloggers.

Hobby Blog Cost

If you’re a hobby blogger, you can expect to pay anywhere between $30 to $60, which is a rather inexpensive cost to start a blog.

Side Hustle Blog Cost

As a side hustle blogger, you should expect to pay a little bit more. This is around $60 to $100, but you’ll be looking to grow and monetize your blog.

Full-Time Blog Cost

If you’re already established within the business and have a successful blog, making another “professional” site can cost anywhere between $900 to $2,000.

Your Blogging Purpose

From the above, you can start to understand how much it costs to start a blog, depending on your requirements. See the below examples for those who don’t know what a hobby, side hustle and full-time blogger is.

Hobby Blogger

As a hobby blogger, you’re doing it for sheer fun. You’re not looking to optimize and monitor your process. You simply want to type away because you enjoy doing it. Typically, a hobby blogger will create posts about their lives, interests or share debates on current situations.

Just like any hobbyist, you don’t want to spend a lot of money. Therefore, investing in the cheaper blogging tools is more suitable for what you want to achieve.

Side Hustle Blogger

Being a side hustle blogger is a highly demanding and popular job. Without a doubt, it can be highly lucrative and rewarding if you can establish yourself correctly.

Because it’s a side hustle, you’ve probably got another full-time job during the day, and you write at night or in the morning.
Because it’s a side hustle, you expect to receive some returns back from your efforts. Therefore, you’ll optimize, monitor, and try to scale your blog to the moon in hopes it’ll overtake your primary income.

Full-Time Blogger

As a full-time blogger, this is your means of living and earning an income. Because of this, you need to become established within the rankings fast. Full-time bloggers usually have expertise within the field and understand the fundamentals of blogging. Because of this, they feel comfortable investing in the best equipment.

Now you understand what I mean, we’re going to reference back to these three categories throughout the blog.

Hardware Costs

The hardware depends on what you currently have. The more you have accessible, the cheaper it’ll be. Hardware will include such things as laptops, smartphones, headphones, and microphones, etc.

For Hobby Bloggers

Being a hobby blogger, you really don’t need much hardware. All you need is the below:

  • Laptop or desktop: £200+

For laptops or desktops, prices can vary massively. Considering most people already have at least one of the devices to hand, you may not even have to worry about this.

If you already have this device, it may be beneficial to invest in a smartphone or camera. Neither of these is a “must-have” for blogging, but they can certainly make the process much easier. With a smartphone, it’s a more straightforward method to check if your blog is mobile optimized. With a camera, you can take your own photos instead of using stock imagery.

For Side Hustle Bloggers

If you’re a side hustle blogger, I expect you to pay more for your hardware. This is because you’re hoping for a return on your investments, and providing yourself with valuable equipment will undoubtedly help.

  • A powerful laptop or desktop: $500 – $2000
  • Smartphone with good camera: $40/month
  • Camera: $200 (if you don’t want to use a smartphone)
  • Headphones: $30-60

As you can see from the above, it depends on what you already have at your disposal to how much your overall cost will be to start a blog.

For Full-Time Bloggers

A full-time blogger will want something extremely reliable and the best equipment to date. This is because a full-time blogger is aware of how lucrative this business can be and feels comfortable with their skills, knowing they can become successful.

  • Top of the line laptop or desktop: $1,000 – $3,000
  • Smart phone with good data plan: $50 – $100/month
  • Noise-cancelling headphones: $250+
  • Microphone: $100+

Being a full-time blogger, you’re probably self-employed and may be able to write most of this off under business expenses.

Blog Hosting Costs

Hosting is what allows you to show your blog to people around the world on the internet. Although there are “free” no-hosting blogging sites, typically, someone else owns the rights to your content. Here’s how much hosting will cost:

Hosting Costs For Hobby Bloggers

Luckily for all bloggers, whether you’re doing it as a hobby, side hustle, or full-time, hosting is pretty inexpensive. It goes without saying there’s one major player within the hosting industry. This is Bluehost.

Bluehost only supply fast hosting speeds at a great price. For a hobby blogger, you can enroll with their basic plan for around $2.95 per month.

Hosting Costs For Side Hustle Bloggers

As a side hustle blogger, you’re going to want more than a basic plan. This is because you’re expecting your site to grow, and that’s typically your end goal. Failing to have suitable hosting for your site and visitor capacity will make it slow, causing people to leave your website.

For a side hustle blogger, a good hosting company to opt-in for is, again, Bluehost. Instead of using their basic shared hosting, you’ll want to opt-in for their VPS package, which is $29.99 a month. However, I’d only choose this when your site is generating traffic.

Hosting Costs For Full-Time Bloggers

Now, as a full-time blogger, you’re going to want a dedicated server. If you’re full-time, I expect you to understand the basic fundamentals of creating a successful blog. At the end of the day, you’re going to need to make an income from it.
Again, the undefeated champion, Bluehost, is a perfect choice. They provide a dedicated server host at $149.99 a month. But this is only for websites that are well established.

Domain Costs

Domain cost, whether you’re a hobbyist, side hustler, or full-time blogger, is precisely the same. If you’ve chosen Bluehost as your hosting provider, they’ll offer you a free domain name. So, essentially this will cost you $0.

However, if you don’t choose them, here are some prices from other domain providers.

Namecheap – This domain provider has been around for some time now, and as suggested by the name, they’re cheap. Depending on the domain you want, you can be expected to pay around $5 to $9 for the first year of ownership.

Google Domains – Unlike Namecheap, Google Domains offers a standard $12 flat fee for any available domain name. Getting a domain from Google is also good as it’s from a reputable brand.

GoDaddy – If you haven’t heard or seen a GoDaddy advertisement, you may have been living under a rock. Without a doubt, they’re a well-known brand within the domain industry. With them, you can expect to pay around $10 – $20 for most .com domains.

Design and Website Costs

Now onto the main cost to run a blog. When it comes to blogging platforms, there are a few to pick from. However, I would stick with WordPress. They’re the most prominent within the industry and house over 64 million websites. But, there are different packages depending on your requirements, let’s find out which one you need.

For Hobby Bloggers

As a hobby blogger, design and website costs can seem expensive. But it isn’t that bad if you break it down. Here’s what you’ll need:

For Side Hustle Bloggers

Again, as a side hustle blogger, you’re going to want a theme with a bit more wow. Here’s what you should invest in if you’re a blogger of this type:

  • Premium WordPress account ($8/month)
  • WordPress theme $50 to $100, here you’ll want to invest in a good page builder and theme to ensure you’re able to create a good-looking and responsive website.
  • For plugins, you should consider installing the following onto your website: Yoast SEO ($89/year), WooCommerce ($0).

For Full-Time Bloggers

Now, if you’re a full-time blogger and you have access to a sizeable budget, you can invest in the best quality tools. See below:

  • Business ($25/month) or eCommerce ($45/month) WordPress account.
  • A full-time blogger should also opt-in for a good page builder and theme. This will again cost around $50 to $100.
  • Full-time bloggers can get some really great plugins that’ll excel their websites. Here’s what you should opt-in for: Zero BS CRM ($204/year), LiveChat $192/year, WPML $29/year, and lastly, an SEO tool like Yoast SEO ($89/year)

All of the above plugins are entirely optional, and you don’t necessarily need to choose them. However, if you want to increase your website’s revenue, they’re more than worth looking into.

Marketing Costs

If you’re going to scale your blogging site, you may want to consider marketing when budgeting the costs to run a blog. To grow and expand your business, you’ll want to develop a marketing plan. This usually consists of a budget with various tools, advertising platforms, and so on. As a blogger, the main marketing tactic will be SEO. But here’s what you should consider depending on what type of blogger you are.

Hobby Blogger

As a hobby blogger, you’re not really looking for profits, and you’ll typically just be writing for fun. Because of this, you won’t need to spend anything on marketing.

Side Hustle Blogger

For side hustlers, you may want to opt-in for both SEO and email marketing tools. With an SEO tool, you’ll be able to identify low keyword difficulty words, spy on your competitors, and compile meaningful research about a chosen topic. Something like Wordtracker($27/month) is perfect.

Now for email marketing, you should be thinking about ConvertKit, as they provide a service that easily connects you with your customers via email.

Full-Time blogger

Lastly, for a full-time blogger, you should be using both SEO and email marketing tools like the side hustlers. However, instead of Wordtracker, you should consider Ahrefs ($99/month). They offer a much more comprehensive package, and although it’s much more expensive, you certainly get more out of it.

Again, for the email marketing tool, ConvertKit is the go-to for many professional users.

Conclusion

As you’re able to see from the above, the cost to start a blog isn’t a ridiculous amount of money. The main cost to run a blog is time, as creating meaningful and shareable content will take hours. However, if you can produce this at a reasonable rate, you’ll be on your way to a successful blogging career.

Undoubtedly, blogging is becoming more known as an actual career path, rather than just a hobby. If you’re beginning, I would try investing in all the side hustle suggestions. Doing this will provide you with a sufficient number of programs and equipment to get you started without burning a hole in your pocket.

Now you have a basic understanding of the costs, why not start budgeting and see if you’re able to start a blog?

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