When many people think about how to run a blog, they often neglect to consider the financial costs of running one. People seem to think that a blog is a free endeavor, or that it only requires minimal, inconsequential funds to maintain a blog. But the truth is, starting and maintaining a blog can take a good deal of financial planning to pull off effectively.
Bottom line, if you’re thinking about starting a blog, or even if you already have a blog and you want to streamline the maintenance, it’s a good idea to create a budget for your blog. There are a lot of factors to consider when you sit down to plan a blog budget. For example, your budget might depend on whether or not your blog generates revenue, and if so, how much. Even if a blog does not generate any revenue, however, it’s a good idea to have a budget to keep track of the costs and keep things on schedule.
If you’re thinking about creating a budget for your blog, here are a few things to keep in mind:
If you plan on having a custom domain name for your blog, the unfortunate reality is that it will come at a cost. It is possible to have a blog with a free domain, but that likely means the blog’s domain will contain the name of the web hosting service used. For a flashier, catchier domain name, you will have to pay a certain amount to register the domain name, and usually, you will also have to pay a recurring charge every month to keep the domain registered under your name.
The actual amount of the fee often is determined on the domain name you choose. Some domain names that are more popular or more highly searched may be more expensive. By contrast, domains that are less used, including domains that end in .info or .biz or another less common suffix, may be more affordable.
Whether you choose to do the web design for your blog on your own, or if you choose to outsource it, there will probably be some type of cost for this vital part of blogging. Outsourcing web design obviously costs money, as you will need to pay whatever third-party you hire to do the design. But even doing web design yourself, although it may be more cost-effective, likely will require some investment. That investment could come in the form of design software, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign, premium webpage templates, or other tools. No matter how you decide to perform your blog’s web design, be prepared that it likely won’t be free.
Similar to the domain name, a web hosting service can be thought of as a type of “landlord” for websites. WordPress is a common example that is used by many bloggers because of its ability to customize sites. While WordPress does have a free option, to unlock the full range of tools and features available, you’ll need to pay a premium.
Depending on the size of your blog operation, you may or may not have employees other than yourself. Of course, if you do, that’s an expense you’ll want to factor into your budget. And even if you don’t have other employees currently, it’s a good idea to keep the possibility in mind if you plan on growing your blog in the future. Some tasks for which you might need additional employees include:
- Media buying
- Content writing
- Web design
For a blog that’s just starting out, it’s certainly possible for one person to handle most or all of these tasks at first. But as a blog grows larger and larger, especially if it starts generating revenue, there will likely be an increased demand for content and other resources, which may need the help of a larger workforce.
Depending on the goals for your blog, you may want to invest in some advertising to try and increase your audience. Especially if you are getting paid money to run ads on your blog for other companies, using advertising to increase the number of eyes on your blog can be a good strategy and a sound investment. Of course, advertising costs money, so you’ll want to factor it into your budget if you think your blog will require it.
Conventions and Conferences
It’s always a good idea to increase your knowledge however possible, and conventions or conferences about blogging and online marketing can be a great resource. Not only are these events great places to hear from experts about effective and emerging strategies related to blogging, but they can also be a solid networking opportunity. Meeting like-minded individuals who have similar goals or who operate in a similar space can help you take your blogging efforts to the next level. Conventions and conferences can be expensive, however, especially including travel costs if they are a long distance from where you are located. Keep some room in your budget open for these events if you can, because they can be invaluable tools.
Besides paid advertisements, there are other ways to draw people towards your blog. One way is to utilize social media channels to promote yourself and your blog to friends, family, and followers. Posting on social media doesn’t cost any money necessarily, but in some cases, you can spend a little bit to increase the output. For example, you could pay to “boost” a social media post, or you could pay an influencer to post about your blog on your behalf. If you plan on doing any social media outreach, be sure to include it in your budget. Even if it doesn’t cost you any money, it will still take time, which is also a valuable resource to keep track of.
Finally, perhaps the best part about a budget is factoring in any revenue your blog might be generating. If your blog makes money off advertisements, sponsorships, or products or merchandise sold on the blog, you should factor this income into your budget. Obviously, the ultimate goal with any business is to make more money than you spend, and keeping track of these figures in your budget is absolutely essential. Keep tabs on your income, so you know how well your blog is doing and how much breathing room you have to spend on expansion or improvement.
Although blogging is not necessarily as easy as some people might think, the beauty of blogging is that anyone with a computer can get started. There may be some expenses that many people don’t consider, but as long as you plan ahead with a solid budget, you’ll be off to a good start. If you have the right mindset and stick to your budget, you’ll be well on your way to running a successful blog.
Luke Loftin is a blog writer and an award-winning indie filmmaker. When he isn’t writing about himself, he specializes in finance and health, blogging about all sorts of topics including credit cards, personal loans, bank accounts, and the digestive system. He currently writes for LeadMarket among other sites, and his articles are scattered all across the information superhighway.