Whether you are new to the blogging game or an old pro, the cost of running a blog is probably always on your mind.
Sometimes I can be a bit trial-and-error with my finances so I’ve learned the hard way how to waste my money on my blog. I’ve bought plugins I never use, layouts that have long been forgotten, and services that just didn’t cut it for me.
Instead of letting you flounder your way around the cost of starting a blog, I thought I’d share with you some paid-for blogging tools you definitely need as well as ones that you can easily use for free!
Blog Price: What To Pay For
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On the web, you’ll find many ideas when it comes to how to start a blog for free. However, depending on where you want to take your blog, there are some things that are definitely worth paying for:
Sure, you can get a free blog up and running through Wix or SquareSpace but it all depends on what it is you want to do with your blog.
If you’re looking just to run a hobby blog, free platforms are perfectly fine. However, if you are trying to monetize your blog and establish yourself as an expert in your niche, you need to have your own domain name.
Why? Because it looks professional and it comes off as more trustworthy. It also makes your site easier to find.
Depending on the type of domain you go for (.com, .ca, .online, etc.), they can be relatively cheap. I believe I only pay around $15 per year (that’s per year, not per month!) for my domain name.
A domain name is simply a web address. In order to create a blog, you need to store it somewhere.
Again, you can opt for free platforms but there are definitely limitations when it comes to these:
- They require a subdomain so your URL will look something like www.wix.com/mysitename.
- Free platforms use ads – and sometimes lots of them. You have no control over what appears and where it appears on your site. Ew.
- They are limited when it comes to storage space and how much you can customize the look.
On the other hand, paid web hosting allows you to create a recognizable brand and take advantage of lots of nifty options.
Cost-wise? Most packages will only cost you around $3-$7 a month (on top of your domain fee) and providers such as HostGator sometimes have introductory rates as low as $3.50 per month!
Okay, to be fair, you really don’t need to pay for Canva. You can sign up for free to use their services.
Canva Pro is amazing! Out of all the nonsense things I have paid money for when it comes to my blog (I’ll mention one later), Canva Pro was an unregrettable purchase that I will continue to use forever!
What does Canva Pro give you? For one, access to tons of stock photos that you can use for your featured images and pins. I used to go to free stock sites but finding something that related nicely with my content was near impossible – the selection just wasn’t there.
Canva Pro also lets you create unlimited folders to organize your designs (crucial), resize designs (crucial), and download your creations with a transparent background (also crucial).
I’m going to suggest that you go check it out but I’m not going to let you walk into a sticker shock. It is $150 per year but, if you’re going to invest in anything for your blog apart from a domain name and hosting, Canva Pro is all you need!
Blog Price: What Not to Pay For
Building a blog is a labor of love and finding financial success with one will not happen overnight. While there are things I will suggest you spend money on, there are certain things you shouldn’t bother with.
Some may make sense later on and some are just useless.
So before you get sucked into the rabbit hole and skyrocket the cost of running a blog, here are some things you shouldn’t bother paying for:
I’m going to make a no-shame admission: I paid for and use the Divi Theme and I have no regrets. To be honest, it was a pandemic purchase and I love playing with web design – so it made sense.
However, as someone just looking to blog, you don’t need to pay for fancy layouts and themes. There are a ton of amazing and free themes out there and, with a little CSS knowledge, you can easily customize any theme to suit your personality, brand, and niche.
“But CSS is scary!”
In the world of WordPress, there is literally a plugin for E V E R Y T H I N G!
And the best part? Most of them are free!
When you’re starting out with your blog, there are more than enough free plugins to get you started. Once your blog gains momentum and you start making money, there are also some cool paid-for ones you may want to invest in.
Until then, stick to the freebies!
Email Service Provider
An email service provider is what you use to collect email addresses and build subscriber lists.
To be honest, you may have to pay for this one later on down the road. ESPs like MailerLite let you sign up for free until you reach 1000 subscribers – then you have to pay.
So, for now, sign up for the free account and only pay when you absolutely have to.
I can feel your mixed emotions from here.
Tailwind is a great program for automating your pins and gaining traffic through Pinterest – so why did I include this on the list of things not to pay for?
Because, technically speaking, you don’t need to pay for Tailwind to use it and the paid-for version will not guarantee an increase in your blog’s traffic.
This was one of those things that I threw money at because I thought it was the secret to building traffic. In all honesty, I realized that there are many factors that contribute to site traffic (SEO, good content, etc.) and paying for Tailwind was not one of them.
I do still use Tailwind, but I figured out how to use it for free. Is the free method as beautifully synergetic and time-saving as the paid-for version?
Oh, heck no.
But it works and it cuts down the cost of running a blog.
Check out my article about using Tailwind for free!
Keep the Blog Price Down!
Blogging for money is an investment but you don’t want to sink a lot of money into it when you’re just starting off.
While I don’t believe you can really start a successful blog for absolutely free, there are ways to do so cheaply so that you’re not tanking your bank account while building up your site.
Is there a free tool you use with blogging that you can’t live without? Share it in the comments!
And don’t forget to pin!