How much does it cost to start a blog? What is the cost of starting a blog? These are some of the questions I keep getting from my readers. Well, from a monetary perspective, starting a blog can be free. There are numerous blogging platforms out there such as wordpress.com, Blogspot and typepad that can allow you to start a blog for free.
But the truth be told, there are some downsides to using these free options. To start with, these platforms only allow you to have a blog name like yourname.wordpress.com or yourname.blogspot.com. You won’t get the privilege of having a site like yourname.com e.g. www.akenyanblogger.com.
These free blogging platforms also limit you on the customization options you can implement on your blog. For example, you will be restricted on the amount of internet space you can use and you may be restricted from using certain plugins.
Plugins are useful blog addons that enhance the functionality of your blog. Some plugins help you get more visitors. Others help you post videos on your blog. And some that make it easier for your readers to recommend your posts to their friends and social networks… The list goes on and on.
In addition, the free blogging platforms, notably, wordpress.com and typepad prohibit any type of advertising on your blog and this is contradictory to the very essence of making money with your blog.
For these reasons, the free blog platforms are ideal for people who just want to express their opinion and thought online by blogging, but are not the best choice for bloggers looking to make serious income online blogging.
So what blogging platform do I recommend?
I know that may sound confusing. Yes, we have already discounted wordpress.com if you are looking to start a serious blogging business.
The blogging platform I recommend is the self-hosted software available from wordpress.org, not wordpress.com. The blogging platform available at wordpress.com is 100% free. They will provide you with a free domain and hosting, but I don’t recommend it for the reasons that we have already discussed above.
In addition, if you were to start your blog on wordpress.com, you will end up with something like yourname.wordpress.com. You thus don’t own the blog, WordPress does and you will be restricted on what you can do to your blog.
Now that you know the best blogging platform to use (wordpress.org), how much does it cost to start a blog powered by wordpress.org? Here is a breakdown of the costs incurred in starting a self-hosted, professional blog powered by WordPress:
- Domain name
- WordPress software
A domain name is in simple terms the name that identifies your site on the internet. For example, facebook.com is the domain name for the popular social network that we have all come to appreciate.
I recommend registering your domain name with Namecheap.com. They have an easy to use interface and reliable support, and above all, they don’t impose any limitations on moving your domain name. A domain name costs about $10 per year.
I always recommend Hostgator for hosting. I have used their service for several years and I have found them very reliable and professional. They not only guarantee an uptime of 99.9%, but their customer support is one of the best (based on my own experience).
The hatchling package (one domain) is enough to get you started; you can upgrade later on when you decide to start your second blog or site. The hatchling package costs $8.95 per month, but you can knock it off to $0 for the first month if you use the coupon code XXX during registration. Hostgator also charges a one time set up fee of $15, but the coupon code XXX will knock it off to zero.
NB: I don’t recommend registering your domain name with hostgator. Order their hosting package only after registering your domain name with Namecheap.
WordPress is open source software which means that it is free to download and customize to your taste and preferences. Rather than install WordPress manually, you can install it in just a few clicks using a script called Fantastico Deluxe. You can access the script from the control panel of most reliable hosting services like hostgator
So what is the total cost of starting a blog? Here is the startup cost for the first year.
Domain name (10) + Hosting ($0 the first month with coupon code XXX, and 8.95 per month thereafter; i.e. $8.95*11= $98.45) + WordPress ($0) = $108.45 for the first year.
NB: You don’t necessarily have to pay this amount upfront. You can pay the hosting fee monthly, biannually, annually, etc.
As you can see, a blog is one of the cheapest businesses you can start. And the return on investment (ROI) for this minimal fee can be amazing. There are blogs online making in excess of $1 million per year. Above all, a blog gives you a communication channel where you can speak your mind out and share your thoughts and opinions with the rest of the world. And the sweetest part is: the internet knows no geographical boundaries. You can reach out to readers in Kenya, US, Canada and anywhere else in the world.
What are your thoughts about the set up costs for a blog? Please share your opinions using the comment form below.