I have invested a great deal of time AND money in my blog and social media presence since I first set up my original website in 2012. It definitely hasn’t come cheap, and eats into my life as well as my purse. Aside from the creative gains, for most people there is very little financial profit. So can you keep a blog going without losing too many pennies? Let’s get down to the real cost of blogging.
BLOG SET-UP COSTS
When I first set up my original blog 5 years ago it cost me £45 for a premium theme on wordpress. I can’t remember the price for just a standard theme but I think it was around £20. However you couldn’t do much with it so I opted to invest a little more to get things going.
I then paid a further £11 for domain mapping to get rid of the wordpress.com bit and a few weeks later another £20 for some extra custom stuff. Fast forward a couple of months and I forked out £64 for a wordpress value bundle that I now can’t remember what on earth was for!
From looking at my accounts, in 2014 I paid £70 (plus a bit more for mapping etc). Then in 2015 I paid £85!!! (This was actually for my other website www.thegreekwivesclub.com). But thankfully since moving to self-hosted wordpress thanks to Phil from pipdig, I now pay around £40 (a year) for jetpack stuff and domain mapping.
However I also pay Kualo £86.26 for multisite webhosting and various domain renewal payments which you can opt to pay in bulk for say 5 years to cut down on cost.
Looking back I am absolutely aghast at the amount of money the blog has cost me, particularly as it has made practically nothing. It has only been recently that I’ve started taking it more seriously and now use affiliate links and ads to at least cover the maintenance costs.
So what else have I spent money on?
EXTRA SEO AND PHOTO STUFF
Last month I was doing some research on SEO and decided to bite the bullet and pay for Yoast Premium which is meant to help with…well…SEO and also sort out broken links, add more focus keywords and so on. That cost a whopping £73 for the year. Not sure if I can say it’s been worth it just yet!
Now and again I use stock images for my blog post headers. These I purchase from Shutterstock – a 5 image download plan costs £38.40. Of course you can just save money and take your own photos, but you might find that sometimes the topics you cover are a bit more complex and need imagery that you just won’t be able to create alone.
Alongside the pics, programmes such as Canva charge if you want to use one of their specific templates or backgrounds. It’s around a few dollars (which obviously then converts to your own currency) but this can all add up if you use their stuff a lot.
If you have a youtube channel there’s the background music to think about. Thankfully youtube has it’s own Audio Library which is completely free to use as long as you credit where required. However, I have purchased music from companies such as Pond5 because sometimes, the right track you are looking for just doesn’t come free.
Then there’s all the equipment. By this I mean equipment that you might need if you want to take better pictures, or you want to film for your youtube channel. If you want to present yourself as at least a semi-professional blogger, standards are now very high. Photos need to be clear, lighting needs to be good and so on.
Despite many bloggers now investing in the latest photographic technology to take pictures for their posts, I still rely heavily on my iPhone 6. Personally, I think the picture quality is fine and I can then use all the editing apps and upload straight to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. However, I do own a second-hand SONY NEX-5R (from CEX) which I use for big events or when I want to take a crystal clear picture. I originally used the Sony to take video as well but the format of the clips is not compatible with Mac so I would end up converting each clip in order to import them into iMovie, which just proved such a hassle. Again the iPhone takes great videos and you can upload the clips easily.
For lighting I invested in a Neewer Dimmable Ring Light (£80). The alternatives to the ring light are umbrella lights/soft box lights but you need a lot more space for these and let’s face it, I’m not about to become the next Rankin. The ring light provides enough light to take decent shots and video at night although I have been mainly using it to pluck my eyebrows…
So far I have managed to get away with using all the editing programmes that my laptop originally came with such as iPhoto and iMovie. Many bloggers and youtubers now use the magic of Adobe Photoshop Elements (£99.99) and Final Cut Pro (£299.99) to get that Hollywood movie perfection but I absolutely draw the line at this. It’s fine if you’re making good money from your channel or blog, but if you’re not then don’t even go there.
You can read more about my blogging equipment and software here.
Then there is the cost of your content. By that I mean the topics you write about. For example, I’ve written a few posts on days out I paid to go on. Ok, so I chose to write about them and actually I didn’t go out for the sole purpose of writing up a blog post on it BUT still it is a cost.
I’ve also run a few competitions to win giveaways that I’ve paid for. Again this is by choice, but giveaways and competitions are quite popular and as a blogger you try your best to please your readers.
Of course there are absolutely ways to create a good blog, take good photos and videos and write amazing content without digging too deeply into your pockets. These include:
Make use of natural light when taking video or photos.
Use tables, chairs, books and whatever else is lying around as a tripod.
Use free editing programmes you can find online.
Buy everything second hand.
Go on trips that are free!
Make money from your blog.
Aside from sponsored posts and all the ways that professional bloggers make money, you can earn a few bob even if you are just blogging as a hobby. Things like using affiliate links or signing up to ads might just about cover the cost of your yearly blog payments. And that’s definitely good enough!
So I’ve rambled on way too much in this post but I think we can safely conclude that I’ve definitely spent far more than I should have on my blog over the years. Whilst some of it has indeed made my blog better and gained me more followers, most of it has been a complete waste. Naturally if your blog is your career then investing time and money in your work is an absolute must. The same could be said if you WANT your blog to be your career! But I would (and will!) definitely be a bit more cautious with splashing the cash on the little extras that might seem important but really you don’t need. And get creative instead.
Have you spent a lot of money on your blog? Do you think it was a waste or worthwhile? Any tips most welcome!