For most people, starting a blog is something they usually jump right into and don’t give too much long term thought to. However, if you are blogging with the sole purpose of making money online and creating a business that you can potentially sell down the road, this is definitely something you need to prepare.
Before we get started with the costs associated with starting a blog business, we first need to cover the concepts of how to make money with a blog and instantly stand out from the crowd in the process. Keep in mind, anyone can start a blog for just a few dollars — all it takes is a domain name, a shared hosting account and a free installation of WordPress. The real money comes into play when you start looking at content creation, advanced SEO, social media management, aggressive outreach/marketing… and also building a successful team of individuals around you. Once you start lining up all of these factors, costs can really add up quickly.
With all of this now in mind, you might start thinking that you will need some outside funding or capital to actually get the ball rolling. For times like these, you have plenty of options — especially if you already have an active business in place. There is no longer a need to walk into a local bank and beg them for their best loan rates possible and needing them to actually approve your business plan or idea. Now, most of this can be done online and you can even use these business loan calculators to give you an idea on how much money you might be able to get your hands on.
Now that we covered the basics of what you might need to consider when running a legitimate blog business, it’s time to break down the different areas of focus and the associated costs for each.
As mentioned earlier, WordPress makes the process of starting a website or blog pretty simple. Right out of the box it will allow you to go live with your site and start creating content right away. At the same time, WordPress also provides access to a world of Themes and Plugins that allow you to customize pretty much anything on your site. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd and look as professional as possible, you are going to at least need a premium WordPress theme, or a custom one to get the exact look and feel you are looking for. In most cases, a premium WordPress theme will cost around $50-$100. A completely original and custom WordPress theme can run anywhere from $500 to $5,000 depending on complexities and the designer you go with. Before jumping into a new site design process or hiring the first design agency you come across, be sure to read through this guide on starting costs for site design.
Content creation is something that many bloggers will take upon themselves. For the most part, this makes perfect sense — however, if you want to blog with the sole purpose of making money and turning it into a legitimate business, you will need to have a lot of content going live on your site and it’s going to need to be in the highest quality possible. The good news is that most of this process can be outsourced, whether that be an individual that you hire directly, or through any freelance writing job sites (like TextBroker or Contentmart). The important thing to keep in mind is that a typical article with 1,200-words, and written by a native English speaker, will likely cost you in the $80-$120 range starting out. With such a hefty price tag per article, it’s important to make sure that you are going to get the most out of each article you are paying for.
SEO and Marketing Services
When it comes to creating a blog with killer content that actually ranks in the search results, you will need to have an aggressive outreach and marketing campaign. This means always scouring the internet to find new opportunities for guest blogging, infographic sharing, media mentions and getting featured on other relevant sites within your industry. For the most part, SEO and link building is a full-time and manual process — which also means it can get quite costly in the process. In addition to the setup and design of your site, along with the content that will need to be created on a daily basis, the SEO and Google ranking aspect of your blog will likely also cost a few thousand dollars per month. This is more on the aggressive side, but it’s necessary to compete against the other billion active sites on the internet today.
If you plan to sell any products or services through your blog, this will likely be an additional marketing cost as well. PPC advertising in Google, media buying on other industry sites and social advertising through Facebook Ads can quickly add up to extra several hundreds of additional spending. It’s important to also realize that there might be a ‘floating’ period during the time when you have to pay for your advertising before getting paid by any customers or merchants. This is another reason to consider your options for getting some type of funding to make sure there is always a positive cash flow within the business.
The Difference Between a Blog and a Blog Business
As you read through this article, you might be thinking — what’s the difference between a regular blog and a blog business?
Well, for the most part… many bloggers are just creating content and letting it get shared around or rank wherever it ranks. This is why the typical costs of starting a blog are quite low. However, when running a ‘blog business’, it’s all about having a business model and goal for all of your content before it even goes live. A perfect example of this would be a financial review site or an entertainment blog that releases new content daily and knows how to use social media and YouTube to drive massive traffic back to the site (while monetizing visitors through premium ad placements). Blogging is a serious business, and while most sites you know are probably from individual bloggers who work on their own, there are many WordPress driven sites that are valued at several millions of dollars and run my big agencies and companies in the process.