How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog that can make money in 2020?
Who doesn’t want a life full of freedom? Everyone wants passive income right now in 2020.
Blogging is definitely a great way to generate passive income. But to start a money-making blog it takes a lot of time, effort and yes ‘Investment’
In this article, I will explain every single hidden cost associated to create a money-making blog that you can use as a side hustle, passive income source, or full-time business.
The costliest investments – The Mindset
Yes, you have heard it right. You must adapt the right mindset. I will directly come to the point and explain you why the mindset is important.
- A profitable blog takes time
- You must work hard for it
- It is not a get rich quick scheme
- It takes almost a year to earn a handsome amount
- You can’t earn from day 1 but you may start earning from month 1
- Blogging is a business; you must put time into it
- Nothing good comes for free
- Big things take time and effort
- Rome was not built in a day
Keep the above points in your mind when ever you feel negative. Yes it takes time and effort.
If you think you can start a blog and start earning in few weeks. Please stop reading this article because this business model is not for you.
My journey with blogging as a career:
I own a digital agency here in India, I help clients worldwide to grow their revenue using digital campaigns and social media management.
The earning is not bad at all. But I always wanted a life where I do not have to work everyday to survive.
I wanted a life that has freedom, a life where you can take breaks. Go on vacation and have fun without worrying about the business calls, client review meetings and sales calls.
I decided to start a blog and share my experience, my expertise and my journey with the world.
I did a lot of research and I finally created 2 blogs. One is related to tech and one is this.
I took a lot of courses, did hours of research on YouTube and LinkedIn learning. Then finally I came to a point where I was clear how I wanted it.
There are YouTubers who make videos with titles like
- How to create a blog for free and earn money
- How to make money making blog for free
- Make a free blog and earn $500 a day
I would recommend not to fall into that trap.
They will recommend starting a blog on a free platform and tell you to monetize with adsense.
Keep in mind that Adsense might be the best ad network but it is not the only way to monetize.
Apart from that if you use a free platform they will take a huge chunk of your monthly ad revenue when your website will be monetized.
For me it was an easy decision. I wanted my blog to be hosted in my preferred hosting and my preferred domain name.
I was not ready to share my profit to any free platform.
If you have a long term vision do not use any free sites or hosting provides.
And here are some main reasons to do that.
Why you should not use so called FREE platforms:
- They will charge later when you are monetized (Every month a percentage of revenue)
- Free hosting is very slow
- You do not have any authority
- You do not have flexibility of look and feel
- Free websites crash a lot
- Low security
- You depend on their platform
- They are not user friendly
- You won’t get a lot of returning visitors
You must understand that, when we are about to create a blog, we are creating a virtual space that will share information which is searched by people.
If real people will come to read the information, they must feel good and if they feel good, they will share it.
Let us assume you in a good weekend mood and you want to take your partner on a date.
What kind of place would you choose?
A premium, neat, clean and elegant place or a place that is dirty and looks cheap?
Now make sure that you create a blog which will make your readers keep coming back for more.
The main motive behind creating a blog is to create a tribe. A group of audience that will trust you, love your work and return for more.
That is the only way you can monetize that traffic.
But what if they come once and never return? Got my point?
That is why I am not in the favor of creating so called free blog.
Now let’s come to the main point
How much did it cost me to create this blog and other blogs that I have?
Domain & Hosting:
Domain and hosting both are the backbone of a website. There are few things you must keep in mind before purchasing the right domain and hosting for your blog.
- Short brandable domain
- WordPress hosting
- Fast and reliable server
- SSL or HTTPS enabled site
- DNS integration
- Easy to use dashboard and cpanel
Keeping the above points in mind I took Hostinger WordPress Hosting Premium Plan
As you can see in the above screenshot. They provide unlimited bandwidth from the basic plan and you will also get a FREE SSL for lifetime with a FREE Domain.
I took the premium plan because I wanted more space. The tech blog I have takes a lot of space because I share bunch of articles there every single day.
Remember if you want a blog that has thousands of articles and can take the load of millions of visitors every month; you need unlimited bandwidth and a large disk space.
Moreover you can host 300 website on the premium plan. I have been hosting several client websites on this. And I charge them for that. So basically I am using it for my business as well.
You can take any plan you want according to your choice.
If you take the $7.45 plan its about $90 a year.
Now if you think why I chose Hostinger:
- They are operating internationally
- They are an old brand
- They have great user interface
- Hostinger is easy to use
- The price is very reasonable
- It is damn easy to use Hostinger
- They provide FREE SSL and DOMAIN
- They provide 300 sites in the premium plan with JETPACK PERSONAL
Blogging Theme for WordPress
A theme is important when it comes to a WordPress site.
It will add the professional touch, the look and feel to your blog.
Currently I am using WP ASTRA theme. They do have a lifetime deal which is a one time buy.
If you do not have a budget you can take a yearly plan which costs around $47.
Astra Pro Lifetime costs around $249
The annual plan costs $47 (Which is a good plat to start with)
The calculation till now is $90 for hosting + $47 for one-year theme = $137
Once you have a hosting, domain and theme ready to go with SSL certificate attached, your blog setup is done.
The rest of the software and tools will be used in day to day work like keyword difficulty checking, sending newsletters etc.
Email Marketing & Newsletter :
Readers who come to a blog and find the topics interesting and helpful are more likely to sign up to the newsletter so that they can get frequent updates in their email.
Newsletter signup form is a must have for all the blogs. You can also monetize the email list once you have a large audience size.
For Email Marketing I use AWeber right now. They have just introduced a FREE version that is pretty good for starters.
They will allow you to send 3000 emails to 500 people which is enough for a start.
But if you want to send unlimited emails, choose the basic monthly plan to start with. It will cost you around $19 per month. They have discounts if you are billing yearly.
Expenses till now $137+19 = $156
Now that you have the blog setup and email marketing tool with you, it is necessary to find right keywords so that you can easily rank on Google.
I will share some pro tips while choosing keywords:
- Choose keywords with low competition & high cpc
- Choose keywords with 200 searches a month at least
- Choose keywords that has uptrend in Google Trends
- Choose keywords that has potential to grow over time
For keyword research I use SEM RUSH KEYWORD MAGIC TOOL.(OPTIONAL)
You might have heard the name SEMRUSH, the keyword magic tool by SEM RUSH team will show you the exact searches with their difficulty so that you can decide whether you can rank for the selected topic or not.
NOTE: If your blog is not ranking, there are 99% chances you won’t make any money.
Ranking is the KEY, and SEM RUSH KEYWORD MAGIC tool can help you with that.
I am using the $99 per month plan, if you do not have a budget you can choose any free alternative.
I do not want to take risks in choosing the right keyword so I pay this tool every month.
Because it will be a nightmare if you have written 50+ articles and non of them are ranking in the search engine.
This cost is 100% optional. You can find free alternatives if you want them.
$156+100 = $256
Advanced Blogging Cost:
If you really want an advanced blog where certain things are automated, then you need tools like Zapier and Pabbly.
I personally use Pabbly Connect that costs me $9 a month.
If you still have a lot of doubts about how you can create a blog from scratch them, I would advise you to purchase a advance blogging course.
I won’t promote my own course here as it is currently in processing stage.
You can find many professional blogging courses from $250-$1000.
Let’s assume $500 which can also be an optional expense.
Make sure you enroll into a course where the trainer can at least go on a live call session each week for one hour at least.
It really helps to demolish your day to day hurdles and doubts.
So, let’s make the final calculation
Domain, Hosting and SSL = $2.15 or $7.45 (Let’s take the premium plan)
ASTRA Theme = $47
Email Marketing = $19
SEM RUSH Keyword Magic Tool = $99 (Optional)
Automation tool = $9 (Optional)
Blogging Course = $500 (Optional)
Domain hosting – $7.45
Theme – $47
Email Marketing – $19
Total = $73.45
Hosting is recurring monthly, Theme is yearly and email marketing is recurring monthly.
If you have the budget to take the optional expenses the cost will be $681.45.
Let’s assume $680 overall.
If you already know WordPress setup, domain hosting setup and SEO you can ditch the optional expenses easily which I already did because I am in this industry since 2015.
If you are a newbie you should start under mentorship of experienced bloggers so that you can clear the hurdles easily using their experience and expertise.
I hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions connect with me on Instagram or LinkedIn.
If you have any suggestions to make this article better, do comment below.
Cheers! Happy Blogging.