This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I make a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Disclosure here.
So many people are looking to start an online business and they wonder:
- How much does it cost to start a blog?
- Can you start a blog for free?
- How much can you expect to pay monthly as your blogging business grows?
Today I’m going to walk you through exactly how much it costs to run a blog (or a YouTube channel as well). If you’re a content creator in general, you will need at least some of these expenses at some point in your journey.
There are a few things i want to share with you today:
- How much it costs to start and run a blog if you are on a super tight budget and you just want to pay the bare minimum in the beginning. I’m going to share with you how much that would be. That’s pretty much how I started as well.
- What my monthly expenses look like now – as a full-time blogger, YouTuber, content creator. My monthly expenses now look completely different than when I first started, because obviously as I do this full-time, I reinvest money in certain things for my business to grow.
- The things that I’ve already invested in as one-time payments, like equipment and software programs that are not recurring every month.
How much does it cost to Start a blog?
Depending on the type of blog you’re looking to start, the cost of running a blog can be $0 per month if it’s purely a hobby blog, or around $3-$21 per month to start a blog for business. That means a blog that you can monetise down the line and turn into a profitable business.
For full time bloggers, the costs of blogging can be much higher, depending on their goals and investments they want to make in their business. Let’s dive into the details of how much it costs depending on your goals.
Feel free to watch this video or keep reading to get all the deets:
Can I start blogging for free?
If you’re starting a blog right now, I wouldn’t recommend starting it completely free, because if you start it on a free platform you don’t actually own that blog. This comes with a lot more hassle to deal with in a few months or years when you want to transfer to a proper website that you own.
It’s much easier to start the right way.
If you have no idea where to start, I actually have two freebies for you that I think you might find useful. Thousands of people have downloaded these, so do give it a go if you feel like you’re a bit stuck on where to start or grow.
I’ve got the Blogging Made Easy free mini course which has video lessons where you can follow through on how to start your blog click by click and learn the basics for a successful blog.
I also have for you the free 12 Month Blog Plan. A lot of people have been loving this one because it walks you month by month, every single step that you need to take in order to grow your blog.
It helps you know what to focus on each month and it makes the whole process less overwhelming.
What you absolutely need in the beginning as a blogger
1. Hosting + domain: $3 per month
The main thing that you would need to start a blog is to get hosting and domain. Hosting is basically your own little corner of the internet that hosts all of your content. And then the domain is the name address of your blog.
For example, my domain name is cappuccinoandfashion.com.
Hosting is the back end of your blog. I use WordPress hosting, which is what I recommend for everybody starting now.
The cheapest way you can get WordPress hosting is with Bluehost which is a good company especially if you’re just starting out. The more you grow, you can invest in higher end hosting and domain.
The more traffic you get to your blog, the higher needs you will have.
But in the beginning when you’re just starting out, this is going to be perfect for you and it’s only about $3 dollars per month. That’s less than a coffee depending on where you buy it from, haha!
For this price with Bluehost you get hosting and domain two in one for just $3, which is amazing to get you started on the right track.
2. Blog theme: free
A lot of people invest in these fancy themes for their blogs to make them look all pretty. And while there’s nothing wrong with that if you have the budget for it, it’s not necessary in the beginning.
For all of my students, I just recommend that they start with the Astra theme. It’s free and it’s a really basic theme, but it’s really fast to load.
Which is really good in Google’s eyes, because the faster your website is, the better it will do in Google search.If you need more customising options, you can also get the Astra Pro theme (which is what I currently have on this blog).
3. Email list: $19 per month (or possibly free)
One other thing I would recommend you start in your blogging business is an email list, if not in the first month then maybe in the second or third month of your blogging journey.
The sooner, the better.
This is something I wish I had done from the very beginning, because it’s the one thing that has actually helped grow my business the fastest and monetise it so much better.
To start an email list, you do pay a monthly fee.
You can start it for free on some platforms. I believe Mailchimp or Convertkit maybe have a free plan up to certain limits.
What I use for my email list is Flodesk and it’s really inexpensive. If you need more information on Flodesk, I have two blog posts that show you how to set it all up.
With the other platforms, the more you grow your email list, the more you will pay every single month.
I was with ConvertKit beforehand and my email list grew super fast at some point. The price I was paying every month for that was really high (hundreds of dollars per month).
So I switched to Flodesk, which is only $19 per month.
The pricing doesn’t grow with the number of subscribers on your list, which is awesome. Those are the things I would say you need to get started as a beginner blogger. Then obviously as your blog grows, you can invest in other things that help you out.
But those are the three main things you need to start a blog that you can eventually monetise and turn into a proper business:
- Hosting and domain, which is $3 per month with Bluehost.
- WordPress theme – Astra theme is awesome and it’s free.
- Email list, which you can either start for free or get Flodesk for only $19 per month.
This will get your business started on the right track.
My monthly expenses as a blogger
Here are my monthly expenses as a full time blogger. I have upgraded quite a few things, but this came in time over the years. I’ve broken down how much I pay monthly for these services, and I’ve rounded up some of them.
1. Hosting: $34 per month
For my hosting I don’t currently use Bluehost anymore, because I get a lot more traffic now and I do need something more powerful.
So I have upgraded to BigScoots hosting, which is more of a higher end hosting platform. And for that I pay $34 per month at the moment.
2. Flodesk: $19 per month
Then I’ve got my email list provider, which is Flodesk. For this I pay $19 per month.
I have on my list at the moment around 50,000 subscribers and if you go into any other platforms to see how much that would cost, it’s hundreds of dollars per month for an email service provider. For me, $19 per month is very inexpensive.
That’s a huge saving in my budget every single month. So that’s how much I pay for my email list.
3. Epidemicsound: $12 per month
Then I’ve got two things that are actually for my YouTube channel.
I run two YouTube channels: a vlogging motherhood cleaning channel and a blogging business tips channel.If you’re not a YouTuber you might not need these.
I use Epidemic Sound which is a platform where I get all of my music for my videos, especially for my vlogging channel with cleaning videos. That’s the one that I use Epidemic Sound the most, because I do need music for that. It’s the most reliable platform.
I’ve been using it for years and I haven’t had any copyright issues with it. It’s really amazing if you’re a YouTuber and need a good selection of sounds or songs. For this one I pay $12 per month.
4. TubeBuddy: $7 per month
I also pay for TubeBuddy and this is also something I use for YouTube.
It’s a YouTube extension and it helps you to find the keywords that you can rank for. It’s super helpful and they actually have a free version as well. I currently have the Pro plan and for TubeBuddy I pay $7 per month.
Those are the things that I use to grow my YouTube channel.
5. Teachable: $110 per month
I’ve also got Teachable that I pay for monthly. This is the platform where I hold all of my courses and programs.
It hosts all of the digital products that I sell in my business. It’s a really amazing platform, I really like using it as it’s really easy to set up and very reliable.
That’s where all of my students log in to get all of the video lessons, all of the worksheets and everything that’s included in my courses. I think this is the highest expense in my budget at the moment. For Teachable I pay $110 per month.
They have a cheaper plan of around $30 per month, but I needed more features than that, so I upgraded to this plan.
Paid Yearly: I’ve also got a few things that I actually pay for yearly. But I’ve shared below how much it comes down to per month.
6. PicMonkey: $14 per month
I’ve got PicMonkey which is a photo editor and design tool. It’s really helpful to create collages, pins or graphics for your business.
I mainly use PicMonkey to create my YouTube thumbnails. And for this one I pay yearly, but it comes down to $14 per month.
7. Canva Pro: $11 per month
Then I also have Canva Pro, which is also a graphic design and editing tool.
You might think it’s crazy that I have both of these, haha.I started with PicMonkey and then I wanted some more features that were only in Canva Pro, so I got both of them. And now I feel like I can’t get rid of PicMonkey, because I have a certain way of creating my YouTube thumbnails that’s not as easy to do in Canva.
I keep both of them because they’re really useful to me and it makes sense for me. For Canva Pro I pay $11 per month.
So I use PicMonkey for my YouTube thumbnails and then I use Canva for Pinterest graphics, my blog images, collages, Instagram stories, Instagram reel covers and so many more things. It’s a really helpful tool.
8. Tailwind: $10 per month
I also pay for Tailwind which is a pin scheduler app for Pinterest. It’s super helpful because it helps you pin automatically and saves so much time.
You schedule all of your pins to go out for the next weeks or months.
This is really helpful because I sit down for like an hour to create all my pins, then schedule them in Tailwind and I’m good to go for the next few weeks. For this one I pay $10 per month.
9. PopupAlly: $8 per month
I’ve got something called PopupAlly.
It’s an opt-in form service for email list. This helps you to put an email form on your blog to get subscribers to hop on there.
You don’t necessarily need this, you could just use Flodesk on its own, because it does have forms on there too. I just wanted a few more features, which is why I added PopupAlly to the tools I use and for this I pay $8 per month.
10. BigScoots Domain: $1 per month
Then I also pay for my domain which is also on BigScoots, just like my hosting.
But I do pay it separately and I think it comes down to $1 per month or less than that. I pay yearly for this one too.
11. Investing in courses, coaches, memberships, programs: varies per month
Every single month I set aside a part of my budget to learn.
Even though I am doing this full-time, I’m constantly learning about new things, new strategies and more. So I do pay for things like coaches, memberships, courses, and trainings from other people who are obviously more experienced than me.
I think it’s so important to keep learning regardless of where you are in your business. There’s so much to learn about this online space.
I feel like every single course that I’ve bought has propelled my business even further and it has opened my mind to things I never would’ve thought of otherwise.
So I really make it a point to invest in things like this and to keep learning. I don’t have a set budget because obviously it depends on the course or the program, but that’s something I do put in my monthly expenses.
Total monthly expenses for my blogging business = $226 per month
The total for everything that I just shared with you is $226 per month.
Those are my monthly expenses for my online business and that includes my blog and YouTube.
Again, this doesn’t include the courses and programs I invest in.
One time expenses in my business
Astra Pro theme – $40
There are also a few things that I already paid for as a one-time thing. One of them is the Astra Pro theme.
Again, there’s the free Astra theme that you can use for your blog, but you can also upgrade to the Pro one which obviously has more features.
That’s what I currently use and I paid $40 for it.
Final Cut Pro – $299
I also invested in Final Cut Pro to edit my YouTube videos. If you’re just starting out on YouTube, you don’t need this.
You can simply start with the free iMovie software.
There’s nothing wrong with iMovie, I used it for years and it’s really amazing. I just wanted more options.
I think that’s what happens when you start growing, you want to do more things, to upgrade your tools, to level up. So you invest in more things.
Final Cut Pro is $299, that’s a one-time payment and you can use it forever. The software is really helpful because you can actually create shortcuts on your keyboard and it makes editing so much faster for me.
It was really worth it for me, as it saves me time.
You can also do things like adjust the lighting and colours much better and overall there are more editing options than in iMovie.
Filming and photography equipment
There are also a few things you may need to invest in, depending on the type of blog you have or whether or not you run a YouTube channel.
Obviously, you will need a computer or laptop to work on.
For filming, you can simply use your smartphone if you’re just starting out, as they are really good quality nowadays.
Further down the line, I invested in things like a good camera for photos and videos, ring light etc.
If you were curious about how much it actually costs to start and run a blog as a beginner and also as a full-time blogger, then I hope this monthly expenses breakdown was helpful for you.
Don’t forget to check out the freebies I’ve got for you to help you grow your blog: the Blogging Made Easy mini course and also the 12 Month Blog Plan.