You might be surprised to hear this, but you can start a blog for nothing. As long as you don’t mind doing the writing yourself and posting images that you have the rights to, such as photos you took with your own camera, there’s no reason that you ever need to pay one red cent to start a blog up. There are plenty of services online that will host your content for free, so you shouldn’t even have to worry about footing the bill for server space.
That being said, many people aren’t exactly enamored with doing all of that on a personal basis. Few individuals have much time to devote to something that isn’t directly related to running the business they’re already involved with. Some might not feel comfortable writing material and posting it without getting some professional assistance with doing so. Considering that nearly 6 million blog posts are being published every day, you’ll certainly want to make sure yours are as clean as possible to help them stand out. That might mean you’ll need to hire some professionals to help out.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a blog going. Even if you planned to have everything professionally done, there’s no reason that you can’t get your ideas off the ground for less than a few hundred dollars spent over the course of a year. Before you start, though, you might want to look into ways to reduce any of the costs that you might incur.
Dealing with Costs Associated with Running a Blog
Unless you plan on using a free service to host your material, you’re going to need to calculate your overall website hosting costs and figure out how much of your potential budget these are going to eat up. The shared hosting industry is currently trading in something of a competitive market, so it’s certainly a good time to buy. There are a number of deals that can bring hosting costs down to less than around $36-60 annually.
That being said, you should still look into other types of services before you make a final decision. Renewal prices at freemium hosting providers tend to be the most expensive. A number of sites that aren’t run by truly free services will offer users two or three years at no cost. Once the time comes to finally pay for another year, however, they’ll normally charge much more than the market average. By that point, you might have already inked a virtual contract that requires you to keep paying for a certain amount of time before you can get out. If you’re going to opt for a free host, then make sure to go with something that’s actually genuinely free.
Regardless of what kind of service you work with, make sure that you’re regularly making backups because disruptions can make your overall costs go through the roof. In general, web hosting costs should be among the least of your concerns when running a blog. Most people end up spending considerably more on content creation and curation than they ever do on the actual hosting service itself.
However, if the company you’re working with goes out of business your blog could end up suddenly vanishing. You’d need to recreate all that content you lost in the process if you didn’t have backups, which can cost thousands. Keeping an extra copy on a local drive is free, and there are plenty of low-cost or free cloud storage services that will help you do much the same.
At times, you might consider plans that come with a number of freebie blogging tools. Some of these are just throw-ins to try and attract additional customers, but once in a while you might find one that can help you to reduce costs by eliminating the need to purchase some other piece of software. Pay special attention to hosting plans that come with some kind of advertising tool, since you’ll need to buy these later anyway.
Once you’ve had these issues sorted out, you’ll need to start looking at the possibility of hiring content creators.
The Cost of Freelance Writing in 2021
Due to the fact that more people are working from home these days, there’s a good chance that you could get a more competitive price today than you might have three or four years ago. However, there’s also a large number of unscrupulous services online that sell content that is either blatantly taken from somewhere or spun off of existing material by using a computer program.
You’ve probably started to read a blog post only to find that the content itself was incoherent. In many cases, this is directly related to a combination of these two unscrupulous production methods. The old adage about how you get what you pay for is never more true anywhere than in the world of content marketing.
On top of finding someone who can write decent content, you’ll also want to look for a person or organization that can produce quite a bit of it. Businesses that are able to increase blog traffic often blog 4 times per week, and to achieve higher search engine rankings, it is recommended each post has between 1,140 and 1,285 words (source). While you don’t want to create spam, you do want to make sure that you’re putting out something new frequently enough to attract attention from potential readers as well as the search engines. Depending on the type of blog you’re running, you may want to try automated social media technology to bring in additional readers. While you don’t want to rely on this kind of software to actually write anything, you can use it to attract people. Best of all, it generally shouldn’t run up your operating bill at all.
Your best bet is to work with an organization that contracts with freelance writers and photographers to provide content. These groups have sometimes been called content mills, but in reality they give you more than enough leeway to specify exactly what kind of writer you’d prefer. They normally charge a per-word cost of around $0.02-$0.05 for articles, so you can expect to pay around $20-50 for 1,000 words of well-written material. That’s quite a bargain when you consider how many people a single blog post can bring into your brand.
Depending on what your schedule looks like, you’ll more than likely want to supplement this with your own posts. Each article that you write is one more than you don’t have to order, which can lead to a fairly substantial savings in the long run. Those who need to purchase stock images or photographs on a fairly regular basis will also be able to save cash if they’re able to provide a few illustrations of their own. If you’re running any kind of ecommerce site, then you more than likely can use product images for some articles.
Now that you have a relatively good handle on what kind of costs you might be looking at, you should be able to figure out what it might take to mitigate them. Several options are available for any site owner who wants to do so, and you might even be lucky enough to eke out a small profit over time.
Monetizing Your Blog to Mitigate Costs
You’ll want to start monetizing your blog as soon as possible, which will ensure that you can recoup your initial costs quickly. The quickest way to do this is if your blog is already part of an integrated websites that sells your products and services. If that’s the case, then you’ll certainly want to use your blog as a way of bringing in customers to your main business. Make sure that you’re providing plenty of actionable information to your readers, and you’ll eventually start to bring in more sales than ever before.
If this is not the case, don’t be afraid to ask for donations, but remember that there are drawbacks to raising money in this way. If you’re providing useful content for your readers, then you might be able to use an online donation plugin to recoup some of the costs of providing this content. Keep in mind that there are fees associated with using these services, which will normally come out of the money that your followers are donating.
It can be difficult to attract donors, however, which can cause difficulties for those who need to recoup their initial investment quickly. If that’s the case, then your next best bet is advertising. Those who plan on going this route will potentially want to work with more than one organization in order to increase their chances of getting paid.
Naturally, you’ll want to make sure that you enter into agreements with the major ones, like Google. However, be on the lookout for individual advertisers and other smaller institutions that will pay you directly. Those who run popular blogs are often able to sell ad space directly to those who provide services in sectors that might interest their readers.
At the same time, you’ll want to leverage the power of your social media connections to raise cash. For instance, you can connect your blog to your company’s Twitter marketing campaign in order to attract advertisement dollars from multiple channels.
Finally affiliate marketing is another type of advertising that can attract income effectively when done right.
While running a blog in this manner can certainly be a challenge, it’s certainly worth it once you begin to really bring in money.
This is a post written on behalf of one of my marketing partners. All opinions are 100% mine.
Photo: Mika Baumeister / Unsplash