If you’ve ever wanted to start a blog and be successful, it’s important to know that you’re going to have a few expenses in order to meet your blogging goals.
Blogging is a lot of hard work and while I know it’s a popular side hustle option, most new and aspiring bloggers that I talk to don’t realize that it costs money to get started and to keep going.
Let’s face it, you can make a lot of money blogging, each month. That’s the enticing juicy carrot that attracts many people.
However, you have to work hard, treat your blog like a business and invest in it. This means you need to spend time and money learning about everything from marketing and improving your content, to basic WordPress skills, creating graphics, and learning SEO.
I struggled a lot in the past with telling people “I’m just a blogger”. There’s nothing small about being a blogger. It’s hard work and often requires you to become a content marketing genius if you want to have a profitable blog.
Most important, you can expect the reward of being able to monetize your blog without having an expectation that there are going to be expenses and budgeting for the right blogging expenses will help you become more likely to succeed.
My Monthly Blog Expenses
I consider myself pretty reasonable when it comes to my blog expenses but I thought I’d share how much I spend monthly to keep my blog going. This will give you some great context if you’re looking to start a blog or already have one and are wondering how much you can expect to spend.
Tailwind – $15: Tailwind is an absolute must for me. I promote my blog’s posts on Pinterest and Tailwind helps me schedule pins out automatically 24/7. Pinterest has been one of the best tools I’ve used to grow my site’s traffic. Currently, it’s my #2 traffic source, right behind Google search.
Without traffic, my blog would cease to exist and make money. As a blogger, you want people to come to your site, read your posts, and get the help they need. No one will come to your site if they can’t find it, so marketing your content is super important.
Instead of sitting on Pinterest all day and pinning things one by one, Tailwind can help you schedule out your pins weeks in advance. It’s definitely worth the price and you can even save money by purchasing their annual plan.
Freshbooks – $15: Freshbooks is actually a tool I used to send invoices for my freelance writing work. Sometimes, I also need to send invoices to brands for sponsored partnerships so this tool comes in handy.
When I first started blogging and using this platform to get freelance writing clients, I would invoice them on PayPal which takes a chunk out of your earnings. As my invoicing amounts got higher, PayPal’s fees got higher.
This is why I signed up for Freshbooks because they only charge $0.50 fee for PayPal transactions. This means, I can literally send a $2,000 invoice with Freshbooks and only pay $0.50 if the client pays from their PayPal account. Freshbooks saves me so much money and they also have other features including expense tracking.
Social media scheduling – $9: I schedule content for social media because it’s easy and I can map out my posts in just one weekly sitting. I use the Facebook scheduler or my Facebook page and Hootsuite schedule Twitter posts. Both are free to use. However, I pay $9/month for Planoly’s premium plan to schedule Instagram posts and Instagram stories whenever I want to announce new blog posts and details to my IG fam.
Teachable – $39: Teachable is a platform that allows you to create and sell your own digital course. Last year I launched my Love Your Budget course and it costs $39 per month for Teachable to host this course and keep it active for me.
Convert Kit – $50: If you’re a blogger, you’re going to need an email list. When I first got started, I used Mail Chimp to send out my email newsletter because it was free for the first 2,000 subscribers.
However, ConvertKit is a much better tool. It’s more user-friendly in my opinion and better for marketing. You can set up automatic email sequences, tag your subscribers based on their interests, and ConvertKit even has landing pages and integrates with other programs pretty easily.
Contractors – $442 (on average): This is only an estimate of my contractor expenses because it does vary sometimes. I have two staff writers that I work with monthly. You’ve probably seen some of their posts on this site 🙂 I also have a VA and outsource the creation of Pinterest images for my posts.
Personally, I’ve never felt like I was pretty good with graphic design so I’ve always looked to other people for that service. Sometimes, I may design an image for a last-minute blog post, but the convenience of hiring this task out has always been worth it to me.
Web Hosting – $13.60: I recently changed my hosting over to Siteground and I paid for my hosting annually but this is how much it breaks down to if I were to pay on a monthly basis. I had Bluehost for about 3 years but wanted to test out something different for the time being. Both hosting companies are pretty good and affordable in my eyes, although it was a little challenging to make the switch to Siteground because I feel Bluehost’s customer service and tools are easier to use and access.
Related: How to Start a Blog
What I’m Investing In:
These are just my basic monthly expenses (on the low end) that I need to pay in order to keep the blog running. Sometimes I invest in courses, training, and even coaching to help me.
Recently, I made a big investment by hiring a one-on-one coach to help me understand my market better so I can reach and help more people with my mission to help others improve their lives.
Every time I consider buying a course or paying for coaching, I always look at ROI. My budget is important too of course, but I try to consider where I’m at and where I want to be. If the product or resource can help me bridge the gap quicker, it could be worth it. If I consider spending money on something, I like to map out how and well I’ll see a return on my investment.
I also like to be honest with myself about what I can handle and where my motivation lies. Recently, I had to pass on a course that seemed super valuable because I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to dedicate to it.
Information overload is real when it comes to this business so it’s important to be conscious of your goals and how much time and energy you wish to dedicate to certain things.
For example, right now social media is not a huge focus for me so I probably wouldn’t invest more money in a social media resource/tool for bloggers. If you know you’re not going to focus on something or make the time to work on it, don’t buy it.
That said, you may not get the results you’re looking for as quickly as you want but it’s all a tradeoff.
How I’m Saving
While I do believe it’s important to invest in your blog, I still think it’s always best to spend wisely and intentionally. That said, there are things I decided to insource while I grow my blog.
In the beginning, you will probably find yourself doing most of the work but it’s best to set expectations that you will have legitimate expenses that can contribute to your growth and that’s okay – dare I say, great!
Here are a few things I choose to do/keep in-house to keep blog expenses controlled.
My husband actually does my Pinterest management for now and it’s working for now. He schedules things in Tailwinds and tribes for me and also helps create boards and pin to my group boards. Ever since I started blogging, I had hired someone to help me with Pinterest because I’m not very good at it.
My last Pinterest VA resigned because she wanted to do more work with local clients which was understandable. I was paying her $225 per month and wanted to see if my husband and I could pick up her strategy and do the Pinterest management on our own. So far so good.
I also recently paid another Pinterest VA for an audit of my account. The audit turned out great and we have a ton of things to work on now to improve my Pinterest profile, but we can save money by doing the work ourselves. I plan to use the same person who did my audit to do a quarterly review of my Pinterest account so we can keep our strategy updated.
Quarterly Pinterest audits is a great alternative to someone who wants to take a more DIY approach with promoting their blog on Pinterest but still needs help with a strategy.
Listening to Podcasts and Reading Books
You can learn so much from reading books and listening to podcasts. I’ve decided to use these resources to learn more about marketing, sales, content, etc. as it’s not costly at all.
I personally love Bobby Hoyt’s podcast that he hosts with his business partner Mike. It’s called Laptop Empires. I’ve been following Bobby ever since he started his blog and paid off his student loans. Since then, he has created an impressive blogging business due to his advanced marketing skills so this podcast always has some great stuff.
I’m sure there are other amazing ones as well, I just haven’t discovered them yet!
Another resource I was more than happy to pay for last year was an e-book called Date Your List by Rosemarie from The Busy Budgeter. I literally read it one or two days and applied it immediately. This book is super helpful to anyone looking to nurture their relationship with email subscribers and write better emails that are more effective.
When I first started emailing subscribers, my emails were horrible. Shout out to anyone who was around during the early stages and actually witnessed my horrible and out-of-touch email newsletters. My emails are more refreshed and way more intentional now and I’ve gotten much better feedback from readers as a result.
Signing Up For Other Blogger’s Newsletters
Speaking of email lists, joining other blogger’s emails lists can definitely help you as well. I am on a few people’s email lists and enjoy reading about their tips, advice, and resources. If you are interested in receiving my blogging tips on a regular basis, you can join the email list by signing up for my free here.
Did any of my expenses surprise you? If you have a blog, what do your expenses look like?
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