From a monetary point of view, starting a blog can cost you nothing. It can be free.
There are many free blogging platforms to choose from like www.blogger.com, www.typepad.com and even the mighty www.wordpress.com.
These free blogging platforms are fine for those individuals who just want to blog and NOT make any income.
You get to choose different layouts, different header banners (i.e. the photo or design, right at the top of your blog).
You can also choose what you’d like in the sidebars as well.
These are excellent if you just want to share your thoughts and opinions.
However, more and more people are turning to the web and blogging to make a blog income.
Some want to remove themselves from the 9-5 rat race and blogging can be one way to do that (like I did – see the 50 things you didn’t know about me). Others have suddenly found themselves unemployed and want to start something new, fresh and it’s their next journey in life.
Others simply want to carry on working the 9-5 and just want to supplement their income.
Housewives and househusbands want to work part-time from home and blogging can be a way of making some extra income.
So for those who do want to make a blog income, I don’t recommend a free blogging platform.
Using a non-free blogging platform will dramatically improve a blogger’s ability to earn money blogging.
These are the reasons why I don’t recommend you use any free blogging software:
Monetization and Advertisements: Many of the free blogging platforms do not allow you to include advertisements of any kind and by advertising you can make an income.
Customization: The free blogging platforms provide few options to change the design of your blog and a limited amount of internet space. The options to choose layouts, headers, etc as I state above are good but they are still restrictive.
Technical Knowledge: The free blogging platforms require much more technical knowledge than the non-free platforms and if you don’t want to get into the technical side, then ignore them.
Plugins: With the free blogging software you are restricted with what plugins you can use. Plugins are ‘add-ons’ that add functionality to your blog and there are thousands of free ones to choose from. Some will make your blog load faster. Others attract visitors, allows you to add photos, videos…the list is almost endless.
Here are some of my recommended plugins: 16 Mandatory WordPress Plugins Your Blog Should Have
If you want to make a blog income, I recommend you go with a non-free blogging platform like WordPress.
Hold On! I said WordPress was free!
There are 2 different versions of WordPress. Let me explain…
The WordPress software from www.wordpress.com is free. They provide everything, the domain name, the hosting and the software but I do not recommend you use them.
As well as the reasons I mention above about free blogging platforms, if you were to use WordPress.com you don’t own the blog, WordPress does and that means you are very limited in what you can do with the software.
The other WordPress software from www.wordpress.org is the one I recommend.
One more reason:
Google loves WordPress.org: Google has come out and stated that Google loves WordPress. WordPress makes it easier to gain more traffic and visitors to your blog. Here’s a video with Matt Cutts (the face of Google) explaining why Google loves WordPress. Click here: Matt Cutts video
Here are the small costs involved to set up your own blog:
1. A domain name and hosting. Check out my blog post on “How to choose a website name”
To make things simple you can buy the domain name and the hosting of the domain name with the same company. They do everything for you and it just makes things easier.
When you purchase hosting, you are basically buying some space on the internet for you to load your blog. That’s hosting in real simple terms.
A domain name and hosting for one month will cost as little as $4.95.
I use the following hosting providers for my clients and myself and they are excellent.
One more reason why I use one of the following is that two of them offer a facility called Fantastico and the third offers a facility called ‘Simple Scripts’ to automatically install WordPress in seconds.
Click on the link to find the best deals:
LunarPagesHosting (uses Fantastico)
HostGatorHosting (uses Fantastico)
BlueHost (uses Simple Scripts)
And that’s it.
You DON’T NEED to purchase anything else. You now have your own on-line blogging business that’s going to cost you approx. $60 per year.
Of course, just buying the domain and hosting isn’t going to make you a blog income, but I’m just talking about the set-up costs here.
These are some extras that I would recommend:
A Premium WordPress theme.
There are numerous WordPress themes to choose from. Here’s my previous post on the “Top 11 Premium themes”.
Why do I recommend a premium theme?
Mainly because the free ones are a little poor in their design, take time to understand on how to change things and the support if you have problems can be non-existent.
The premiums themes do cost but they save you huge amounts of time and the support is excellent. Expect to pay anything between $50 and $100 for a premium theme.
The ones I use for my clients and myself are:
bSocial Magazine Theme
A Header Banner
Some blog owners like to have a personally branded header banner.
Having your own personally branded header banner makes you different from all the rest.
The price for a unique header banner can vastly range, anything from $30 to $1000.
In summary, to make a blog for a blog income, the minimum cost is just a domain name and hosting ($60 per year) and if you want a premium theme ($80) and a personally branded header banner, that’s an extra $60.
In total $200 for your first year on-line costs. Then don’t forget in the second year you would only have the hosting costs of $60 per year.
That’s the cheapest business you’ll ever set up.
What’s your view on the set up costs for a blog? Which hosting or extra purchases do you recommend? Please share your ideas in the comments below.