A blog is a quick and easy way to start marketing an existing business OR start making money while you decide exactly what your business is going to be.
In terms of building authority, establishing and strengthening relationships, and providing a platform through which to sell, blogging is extremely cost effective.
That said, one of the biggest questions people have is, “How much is it going to cost me to start a money making blog?”
Can I start a blog for free?
Let’s first start with what they’re really asking, which is, “Do I really have to pay to start a blog?”
Well, no… but yes.
There are options for starting a blog for free. WordPress.com is a free blogging platform, Wix and Weebly have similar options, or you can take advantage of sites like Medium to publish.
There are a few reasons I don’t recommend this path.
Your URL will give you away. Free blogging sites include the name of the platform in the web address, which gives your blog an unprofessional feel. When I see myblogname.wordpress.com, I automatically (subconsciously) discount the information I receive and decide not to buy from them. If they’re not willing to invest in themselves, why should I invest?
There are limited monetization paths. While blogging offers multiple opportunities to make money, when you use a free blogging platform, many aren’t available to you. And the ones you can use are more complicated to get up and running.
It’s a pain in the patoot to switch. Some people think about starting on a free platform and switching to a paid version at a later date. First, let’s be honest. Later rarely comes. Especially when you set benchmarks like, “I’ll switch when I’m making money.” We’ve already established that it’s harder to make money on the free platforms, and the longer you go without making anything, the less effort and attention you’re likely to give your blog. Which means… you’ll never make money.
Additionally, switching your blog platform is not an easy task. You’re basically starting from scratch on a new system, but you also have to move all your old content over to the news site. It’s a lot of work, and oftentimes it just doesn’t get done, even if you hit that “when I do X” benchmark. You can pay someone to do this for you, but it’s expensive.
What do I have to pay for?
In my opinion there are 2 essential investments you need to make in your new blog if you intend to use it as a money making vehicle.
These 2 systems will allow you to start making money faster and build your know, like, and trust factor with your audience.
Domain & Hosting
When you pay for your domain and hosting, you fully own your website. Your URL will be simply yourblogname.com, which is much more professional (and trust inspiring), and paying for hosting is like paying rent on your little corner of the internet. It becomes your space to use as you see fit, with no interference from outsiders.
Note: There are terms of service for your website and what it can be used for, but those typically prohibit things like running a website like Alex Jones or instructing people on illegal activities.
Siteground currently charges $17.99 a year for domain registration. While you can find domains (literally) a few dollars cheaper, it’s worth having your domain and hosting with the same company for the sake of convenience. When SiteGround upgrades their service or platform, they automatically take care of any back end changes needed for my domain to remain functional without any extra work from me.
Hosting through Siteground is typically $14.99 a month. However, because they know that people starting out don’t have any money coming in yet, they have a significant discount for your first year of service. When you pay for your first year up front, your rate drops to only $3.99 a month. This makes your initial investment only $48.
All together, using SiteGround, your initial investment is $66 for your first year.
Email Service Provider
The other essential service you need to invest in as soon as possible is email. When it comes to growing your blog readership, nothing is as powerful as email.
When you start putting out content you should have a way to collect and manage email addresses, and email your list whenever you publish a new post.
While you don’t need to get your email set up the moment you purchase your domain and hosting – it’s going to take time to get your site set up – you should have it ready to go as soon as your blog is live.
As with web hosts, there are numerous email service providers (ESPs) to choose from. The email service provider I use and recommend is ConvertKit. There are 3 tiers of service they offer: Free, Creator, and Creator Pro.
I strongly suggest that you invest in the Creator plan. When you pay for the year it’s only $9 a month ($15 if pay month-to-month) and it provides you the ability to build automations, which are key for a stress-free business. Automations are what allow you to send a series of messages out automatically when someone signs up for your list.
If you go with ConvertKit, the cost for your first year would be $108 (or $180 if you pay monthly).
What other expenses are there?
There’s literally no limit to what you could spend money on when you start a blog. You can pay for programs, tools, and even people to execute tasks for you.
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of blogging is that it’s inexpensive to get started, so we don’t want to go all in on every shiny new tool that comes across our feeds.
Here are 3 things I recommend for new bloggers, but aren’t required from the start.
A Premium Theme
When using WordPress (.org) there are thousands of free themes to choose from, and generally any will do when starting out. Eventually you may decide to switch to a premium theme – I use and recommend the Divi theme from Elegant Themes – for more customization options and premium features.
Switching to a new theme can be a big undertaking (though not as big as moving to a totally new program), so if you’d rather just start with a premium theme, they’re typically reasonably priced. Divi is just $89 a year ($249 for a lifetime license).
Social Media Scheduler
The more of a social presence you have, the harder you have to work to maintain it. Schedulers can take a load off your shoulders and make this task easier. Since you’re not allowed to be scrolling your feed and replying to comments all day, schedulers allow you to assign prewritten posts to be published at a certain time.
A great beginner scheduling program is CinchShare. At only $100 a year, it’s a very affordable option.
A Trusted Step-by-Step Program
Getting a blog up and running has many steps, and some of them can be overwhelming. While there are lots of sources of information on starting a blog on the internet, not all of them are reliable, and many are even contradictory.
Additionally, the time it takes to sift through all the information available is time that your blog is not published and making money. In many cases this time and frustration lead many would-be bloggers to quit, leaving your potential unmet, and your readers without your guidance.
Teacher Blog Academy was created specifically to guide teachers through the process of building, growing, and making money through a blog. You could spend hundreds of hours searching for reliable information and how-to instructions with video tutorials, but who has time for that?
At $497, Teacher Blog Academy saves time, frustration, money (on stuff that doesn’t work), and gets you making money faster… and pays for itself over and over (and over).
In the end, starting a blog doesn’t have to be an expensive undertaking.
We’re so blessed to live in a time and place where making money is soooooo accessible. Thank you, internet!
You can sell basically anything from anywhere – including your own knowledge – without a massive investment in equipment, inventory, and staff. You just need the will to do it, a little bit of start up money, and a trusted guide.