How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog in 2020?

How much does it cost to start a blog?

Blogging is booming! Thinking of starting a blog, but not sure how much it will cost you to get started? You’ve come to the right place!

So, how much does it cost to start a blog?

It’s possible to start a blog for free using a free blogging site such as WordPress.com. This isn’t an option I would recommend if you want to be in full control of your blog.

We can categorize the costs of starting a blog into three categories, namely:

Lowest Cost – The lowest cost to start a blog without using a free blogging site is about $68, payable annually. That’s less than $6 a month!

Slow But Steady Growth – It costs on average $157, payable annually, start a blog if your goal is slow but steady growth.

Fastest Growth – If your goal is to achieve the fastest growth it will also cost $157 pa. to get started. However, you would need to invest in more resources afterwards to grow your blog quickly.

The Cost to Start a Blog

When you ask a question, the last thing you ever want to hear is “It depends.” But with something like blogging, there really are a lot of variables that can affect how much you end up spending.

Ultimately, the costs of starting a blog depends on two factors:

1. Your goals.

2. Your resources.

After reading this article, you’ll know YOUR answer to the question: how much does it cost to start a blog?

But that’s not all…

We’ll also look at what the costs are if you want to grow your blog and make money from it.

How much does it cost to start a blog?

Let’s start by looking at what your goals are.

Your Goals

The first step is to identify what goal(s) you wish to achieve through blogging.

Typical goals include:

Blogging as a Hobby

You love your full-time job and don’t care about making money from your blog. You’re passionate about a certain topic and want to share your knowledge or skills with the world. You want to spend as little money as possible, if any, to start your blog.

Blogging as a Side Hustle

You have no intention of quitting your job or, if you’re a student, your studies. You want to make money on the side. You’re prepared to invest a bit of money to get started, but only if it’s really necessary.

Part-Time Business

You want to start your own part-time business, making money online. You’re prepared to invest the necessary time and/or money to get started. You hope that one day you’ll be able to quit your job and blog full-time.

Full-Time Business

You dream of being a full-time business owner and making money online. You don’t like the idea of making other people rich. You’re prepared to invest as much time and money as it takes to get out of the rat race. If it were totally up to you, you would blog full-time starting tomorrow!

Your Resources

The second step is to identify your resources, or lack thereof.

Resources needed to start a blog

Blogging typically requires three types of resources:

Time

Time is your most valuable resource. It’s the only resource that, once it has passed, can never be regained. Nobody can turn back the clock.

It takes time to start a blog from scratch. Even though many tasks may not cost you money, they will cost you time.

And again, time is more valuable than money, especially when you start turning a profit. A task that requires time to complete is never really free.

Only you can decide what your time is worth!

NOTE: At BrandBuilders, we encourage bloggers to think like business owners and to outsource whatever they can. We specialize in creating websites that are ready to make you money on Day One, from affiliate websites to ecommerce websites. Feel free to book a coaching call with us to see how we can help you make money online!

Money

Starting a business, even a small home-based business, requires money.

According to business expense statistics, most microbusinesses cost around $3,000 to start, while most home-based franchises cost between $2,000 and $5,000.

One of the reasons why it has become popular to start a blog is it can be started for much less.

As with any business, it will require some time, money, and hard work to grow your blog.

Knowledge and Skills

Your knowledge and skills will play a big role in determining the success of your blog.

If you’ve never started or managed a blog before, it can be a steep learning curve to become a successful blogger. If you don’t have the required knowledge and skills, it will cost you more to get started – assuming you want to do it correctly.

One of the mistakes I often see is people trying to do everything themselves.

Instead of playing to their strengths, such as their knowledge on a topic, they try to do everything themselves instead. Months later, they finally give up as they’re not seeing any results. All the hard work and effort they put in have been wasted and they have nothing to show for it.

In Britain, there’s a common saying: “Penny wise and pound foolish.” The same idea in America would be: “Cent wise and dollar foolish.”

Basically, an example of this in the real world would be someone who isn’t good with cars trying to fix their own car because the mechanic would charge $100 for labor. It makes no sense if they ruin their car and end up having to pay even more at the shop to get it tuned up properly.

The same goes for business. Saving a couple of bucks now by trying to do everything yourself will cost you a LOT more over the long term.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog?

Time, cost and quality

To make it easy, we’ll separate the cost of starting a blog into three categories:

Lowest Cost

Your goal is to treat your blog as a hobby or side hustle. You don’t want to invest any more money than is absolutely necessary. At this level, the one thing you must be prepared to invest in your blog is your time.

Startup Costs – Can be started for $0 using a free blogging site. Registering a domain name and paying for a year’s hosting costs $68.

Ongoing Costs – No additional costs during the first year.

Slow But Steady Growth

You see blogging as a part-time business that may one day provide you with a full -time income. You don’t have a huge budget to invest in your business, but are prepared to invest the necessary time and money.

Startup Costs – Between $68 and $157 (Includes annual hosting fee)

Ongoing Costs – Between $397 and $1,361 per year

Fastest Growth

You want to turn your blog into a full-time business in the shortest period of time. You’re prepared to invest as much money as is necessary to get your blog into the fast lane. You have limited time and since you’re not an expert at everything you understand the value of outsourcing.

Startup Costs – Between $68 and $157

Ongoing Costs – Between $1,823 and $5,483 per year

Let’s take a look at what you’ll need for the above categories and how much it will cost you.

First, we’ll start with the costs to start a blog:

  • Domain Name
  • Hosting
  • Blogging Platform
  • Blog Theme

Domain Name

Domain name

Your domain name is what gives your blog its identity. It’s the name people use when referring to your blog. It should be short and easy to remember.

Your options are:

Use a Free Blogging Site

If you’re not prepared to spend any money, you don’t have to, as long as you’re using a free blogging site.

Some of the most popular free blogging sites are:

– WordPress.com

– Medium.com

– LiveJournal.com

You don’t need your own domain name to use their free blogging feature.

NOTE: Tumblr.com is a very popular microblogging site you can also consider for short posts.

The URL path to your blog will look like this:

myblog.wordpress.com

medium.com/@myblog

myblog.livejournal.com

You can register a domain name and point it to your WordPress.com or LiveJournal.com blog. For example, instead of myblog.wordpress.com, your URL will be myblog.com.

NOTE: This option isn’t currently available for Medium.com blogs, although it’s expected to be in the near future.

However, the option of pointing your domain to WordPress.com or LiveJournal.com isn’t free.

WordPress.com calls it domain mapping. You’ll have to sign up for a Personal Subscription which will cost you $4 per month, billed yearly. This excludes the cost of the domain name.

LiveJournal.com will charge you 2,900 LJ Tokens ($29) per year. This excludes the cost of the domain name.

Register a Domain Name

Whether you want to achieve slow but steady growth or the fastest growth possible, you’ll need a domain name.

Registering a domain is inexpensive. One of the best registrars is Namecheap.

Namecheap domain name registrar

For as little as $8.88, you can have your own dot-com address. Annual renewal fees are a bit higher and will set you back around $10.98.

Summary & Recommendations

Lowest Cost

You don’t need your own domain if you’re using a free blogging site.

Should you register a domain name and point it to your free blog?

It can be good for continuity should you decide to use a self-hosted platform like WordPress.org in the future.

NOTE: If you’re going to register a domain name, you might as well use a self-hosted platform from the beginning. It won’t really cost anything extra as you’ll see below when we look at hosting options.

Slow but Steady Growth & Fastest Growth

If you’re serious about blogging, you need your own domain name. I highly recommend you register a dot-com domain with Namecheap for only $8.88.

Hosting

Hosting

Every blog needs to be hosted somewhere. Your blog can be hosted on a free blogging site or you can have a self-hosted blog. Let’s look at your options!

Free Hosting

We already touched on the subject of free blogging sites when we looked at domain names.

The most popular free blogging site based on the number of visitors they receive every month is WordPress.com. According to SimilarWeb, they get an estimated 424 million visits per month. This is followed by Medium.com (193 million visits per month) and LiveJournal.com (94 million visits per month).

In case you’ve heard of Blogger.com and are wondering why they’re not on the list, it’s because they’re not that popular. They only get about 66 million visits per month and nobody knows when Google may decide to shut it down.

Using free blogging sites is the only option you have if you don’t want a self-hosted blog.

Expect to find ads on your free WordPress.com or LiveJournal.com blog that make the host money, not you. If you want to get rid of the ads, you’ll have to purchase a paid plan.

Below is what WordPress.com charges.

WordPress.com charges

You can host your blog for free on their platform. If you want it to be ads-free and have access to useful features, it will cost you.

Self-Hosted Blog

There are many hosting companies to choose from. You need to work with a company that will give you excellent support with a good uptime record.

Two of the most popular hosting companies are Bluehost and SiteGround. They’re both recommended by the #1 self-hosted blogging platform WordPress.org.

NOTE: Don’t confuse WordPress.org (self-hosted blogging platform) with WordPress.com (free blogging site). WordPress.org is not a hosting provider.

Bluehost hosting service

Bluehost works well with WordPress.org and has a very good reputation in the industry. You can start off from as little as $2.95 per month if paid in advance for 3 years. A 24-months hosting plan costs $3.95 per month, and a 12-month hosting plan costs $4.95 per month.

Bluehost offers a free domain for the first year. Taking them up on their offer of a free domain name may not necessarily be a good idea.

In our experience, it’s better to separate your hosting provider from your domain name registrar. It gives you more flexibility if you want to change your hosting provider. It also offers you better protection should a claim be filed against your blog when your domain is registered elsewhere.

SiteGround hosting platform

SiteGround specializes in hosting WordPress (WordPress.org) sites. They’re a highly respected hosting company. Their WordPress hosting pans start at $6.99 per month if paid in advance for 12 months. If you want to pay monthly, it’ll cost you $19.99 per month.

Summary & Recommendations

Lowest Cost

If you don’t want to pay for hosting, use a free blogging site such as WordPress.com.

Unfortunately, using a free blogging site has many disadvantages, such as:

Ads – Ads can be distracting. Unless it’s ads you’re being paid for, you want your site visitors to be 100% focused on your content.

Looks unprofessional – A myblog.wordpress.com address looks unprofessional. If you want to be seen as an authority in your niche, your blog shouldn’t look amateurish.

You’re not in control – By posting your content on a third party site, you have to comply with the rules of that site. You always run the risk of losing your content.

Many limitations – With a self-hosted blogging platform such as WordPress.org, there are many useful plugins you can use. You don’t have the same options with free blogging sites.

I highly recommend you use a self-hosted blog, especially if you want to register your own domain.

If you want to point your domain to WordPress.com, you have to pay $48 ($4 per month, billed yearly). It costs $8.88 + $0.18 (ICANN fee) to register a dot-com domain with Namecheap. Your total cost will be $57.06.

A 12-month hosting plan with Bluehost costs $59.40 (hosting costs $4.95 per month, billed yearly). If you add the cost for a domain registered on Namecheap, the total cost will be $68.46.

Based on the above, your own self-hosted blog will only cost you $11.40 extra for the first 12 months! That’s less than $1 a month you have to pay extra!

If you’re serious about your blog, it’s worth hosting it yourself.

Slow but Steady Growth & Fastest Growth

At these higher levels, you can start off with the same 12-month hosting plan with Bluehost that we covered above. As mentioned, your total hosting costs will be $59.40 ($4.95 per month, billed yearly).

You can upgrade your hosting plan at any time should you need a more robust hosting solution.

Blogging Platform

Once you have your domain and hosting set up, it’s time to start building your blog.

Start by installing WordPress.

WordPress

All further mentions of WordPress in this article will refer to WordPress.org, a platform that lots of people use to build their blogs and websites.

According to Kinsta, WordPress powers 37.6% of all sites! It’s the world’s most popular and widely used content management system (CMS). There are currently 57,747 WordPress plugins to choose from.

The good news is, if you have a self-hosted blog, it’s free to install WordPress. If you’re not sure how to install WordPress, hosting companies like Bluehost and SiteGround will gladly assist you.

Summary & Recommendations

WordPress is free to install and is perfect, whether you’re after slow but steady growth, or the fastest possible growth.

WordPress Theme

Once you’ve installed WordPress, you need to start looking for a great theme for your blog.

WordPress themes

Your theme is the first thing people see when landing on your blog. First impressions count!

Every year since 2010, WordPress launches a new default theme, named after the year.

The default theme for 2020 is called Twenty Twenty. It’s free to use and it isn’t a bad theme. With that said, it’s definitely not everybody’s cup of tea. There are many other free and paid themes worth considering.

Always use a responsive theme. A responsive theme automatically adjusts its appearance to the device it’s being viewed on. This gives your blog visitors a good user experience whether they’re using a desktop or a mobile device.

Here are some of the most popular free and premium themes.

Divi

Divi theme

Divi is a premium theme by Elegant Themes. It costs $89 per year, but for a one-time payment of $249, you can get lifetime access.

OceanWP

OceanWP theme

OceanWP is a very popular WordPress theme that can be downloaded for free. It does have a premium version which costs $39 per year or $159 for lifetime access.

Astra

Astra theme

Astra has a great reputation for being a lightweight theme that won’t slow your blog down. It can be downloaded for free, but has a premium version that offers more features. Astra Pro costs $47 per year or $249 for lifetime access.

Neve

Neve theme

Neve by ThemeIsle is a very modern-looking lightweight theme. It can be downloaded for free. It has a premium version that costs $68 per year or $217 for lifetime access.

Summary & Recommendations

Choosing a theme will depend on your personal preferences. There’s no one size fits all.

Choose a theme that’s:

  • Responsive – You want your blog to look great on desktop as well as mobile devices.
  • Lightweight – Your blog should load as fast as possible.
  • Customizable – The look and feel of your blog should be unique.

Lowest cost

If cash is tight, there is no need for you to spend money on a theme.

There are many free themes that will do the trick, including the WordPress default theme.

Slow But Steady Growth

You can work with either a free or premium theme, depending on your requirements.

If you can find a good free theme that works for you, there’s no need to pay for a premium theme. If you have limited funds my recommendation would be to get a free theme such as Neve and rather invest money in a page builder like Elementor Pro.

Fastest Growth

I recommend you invest in a premium theme for between $39 and $89 per year.

To achieve the fastest growth possible, you want to use top tools to boost your blog. This includes your blog theme.

An option worth considering is Thrive Themes. Thrive Themes is more than just a premium WordPress theme.

ThriveThemes

Thrive Themes includes a number of premium themes and plugins. These can be bought individually. However, the most cost effective option is to buy a membership that’ll give you access to all their themes and plugins. This costs $228 per year ($19 per month, billed annually).

The above costs are all that’s needed to start a blog.

Next, let’s look at the costs of optimizing and growing your blog.

WordPress Plugins

As previously mentioned in this article, there are currently 57,747 WordPress plugins to choose from. The more plugins you have, the slower your blog will run. There should be a good reason behind every plugin you install.

Below are some of the best WordPress plugins I highly recommend. They are by no means the only plugins you can install, but should be given priority over other plugins.

Page Load Speed

A slow loading blog can cost you dearly. Not only will you lose visitors if your blog is slow to load, but it’s also a ranking factor for Google. Google wants users to have a positive user experience, so they aren’t shy at all about penalizing slow loading blogs.

You can test how fast your blog loads – and what you can do to improve it – using GTmetrix.

GTmetrix website load speed

GTmetrix is free to use and very helpful.

WP Rocket

The best WordPress cache plugin to help your site to load faster is WP Rocket.

WP Rocket WordPress plugin

The cost to start using WP Rocket is $49 per year. That’s only $4.08 per month. Your license will automatically renew at a 30% discount after one year but you can disable auto-renewal.

WP Fastest Cache

WP Fastest Cache is a free alternative to WP Rocket.

WP Fastest Cache plugin

The free version of WP Fastest Cache is enough to speed up your site. They also have a premium version you can get for a one time payment of $49.99.

Autoptimize

Unlike WP Rocket and WP Fastest Cache, Autoptimize isn’t a cache plugin, but it makes optimizing your site easy.

Autoptimize WordPress plugin

Autoptimize is free to download and works well together with WP Fastest Cache.

ShortPixel

One of the top WordPress image optimizer plugins is ShortPixel. Large images can slow your site down. ShortPixel compresses your images to make pages load faster.

ThemeIsle compared the most popular image optimizer plugins and ShortPixel is one of the best plugins you can get.

ShortPixel WordPress plugin

ShortPixel gives you 100 free credits per month. Additional credits can be purchased for as little as $4.99 for 5,000 images.

Summary & Recommendations

You want your pages to load as fast as possible. Using a caching plugin and compressing your images will go a long way in speeding up the loading time of your pages.

Lowest Cost – Install the free plugins ShortPixel, WP Fastest Cache, and Autoptimize.

To get the most out of all three plugins, do the following:

ShortPixel – Leave it fully optimized.

WP Fastest Cache

Unclick the following:

– Minify HTML

– Minify CSS

– Combine CSS

– Combine JS

Autoptimize

– Don’t activate any options under Images

– Tick the following under JS, CSS & HTML tab:

–Optimize Jave Script Code

–Optimize CSS Code

–Optimize HTML Code

I have tested the above configuration on a number of sites and it works well.

Slow But Steady Growth

You have two options:

Install the free plugins ShortPixel, WP Fastest Cache, and Autoptimize. Set them up as explained above.

Or

Install WP Rocket (costs $49) and ShortPixel.

Fastest Growth

Install WP Rocket (costs $49) and ShortPixel.

WP Rocket will automatically detect ShortPixel and eliminate any possible plugin conflicts.

Security

According to website hacking statistics, 30,000 new websites are hacked every day on average.

Protecting your blog against hackers and cyber attacks is critical. Here’s how to do it.

Wordfence

Wordfence is the most popular WordPress firewall and security scanner. I highly recommend it!

Wordfence WordPress security plugin

Wordfence has a free version that will protect your blog against most attacks. They also offer a premium license for only $99 per year that has additional security features.

Summary & Recommendations

It’s essential that you protect your blog from hackers.

Lowest Cost

The free version of Wordfence will provide you with a lot of protection.

Slow But Steady Growth

The free version of Wordfence should be adequate, but if you have the budget for it, get a premium license.

Fastest Growth

Upgrade to the premium version of Wordfence for $99 per year.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

There is nothing better for your blog than getting lots of free organic traffic from Google.

Using a good SEO plugin can help to boost your site in the search engine rankings.

For many years, Yoast SEO dominated the SEO plugin space. It has a free version, and a premium version that costs $89 per year. With over 5 million active installations, it’s still the #1 WordPress SEO plugin.

However, Yoast is fast losing ground to Rank Math, which is the SEO plugin I recommend you install.

Rank Math

Rank Math WordPress SEO plugin

Rank Math’s free version is seen as far superior to Yoast’s free version. Rank Math is planning to launch a premium version in the very near future. Initial indications are it will be better and cheaper than Yoast’s premium version.

If you want to learn more about Yoast vs Rank Math, Matthew Woodward wrote a good article about it. It’s called: Rank Match Review: Why I Ditched Yoast For Good. As pointed out by Matthew, in comparison to Yoast, Rank Math is faster, easier, and more intuitive.

Summary & Recommendations

A good SEO plugin can help a lot to make your blog rank higher in the search engines.

Install Rank Math regardless of whether you’re looking for the lowest cost, slow but steady growth, or the fastest growth.

Consider upgrading to the premium version of Rank Match when it’s launched, especially if you’re after the fastest growth.

Page Builder

When you build a blog, you want as much flexibility as possible in deciding which content goes where. Do you want a section with two, three, or more columns? Do you want to change the background color of a section?

By starting a blog with a good page builder like Elementor, you can do all of this with little in the way of design skills!

Elementor

Elementor WordPress page builder plugin

With over 5 million active installations, Elementor is the most popular WordPress page builder. It has a free version with over 40 drag & drop widgets. It also has a pro version with over 90 drag & drop widgets and many additional features.

Elementor Pro costs $49 a year for a single site and it’s worth every cent!

Elementor Pro costs

NOTE: By using Elementor, you also don’t need an additional social media plugin.

Elementor features social media

Being active on social media is a must. It’s one of the best ways you can drive traffic to a new blog. Elementor makes it easy to get new social media followers through their social media widget. Your blog visitors can also share your content on social media sites.

Summary & Recommendations

Using a page builder like Elementor gives you the flexibility to design a beautiful blog without a lot of technical or design skills.

Lowest Cost

The free version of Elementor should be more than sufficient for your needs.

Slow But Steady Growth & Fastest Growth

Invest in Elementor Pro for only $49 a year.

Visitor Insights and Analytics

How would you like to be a fly on the wall to see how visitors interact on your website? Imagine being able to see what they look at, click on, and where they get stuck.

Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg comes with heatmaps, scrollmaps, and click reports. See what visitors do on your blog and make adjustments to improve interaction with your visitors.

Crazy Egg software

For $24 per month (billed annually), you can sign up for their entry level plan. It will give you access to 30,000 tracked pageviews and 100 recordings per month. They offer a free 30-day trial so you have time to evaluate if it’s the right tool for you.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool from Google that gives you helpful statistics about your blog.

It shows how many visitors your blog gets, where they’re from, and how long they stay on your blog. I highly recommend you take full advantage of this free tool!

Summary & Recommendations

The better you understand people visiting your blog, the better you’ll be able to cater to their needs. Identify potential problem areas and make the necessary improvements.

Lowest Cost & Slow but Steady Growth

Make full use of Google Analytics.

Fastest Growth

Use Google Analytics and sign up for Crazy Egg at $24 per month, billed annually.

Keyword Research

It’s important to choose the right keywords to focus on and optimize your site content for them. It will play a big role in how well your pages rank in Google.

There are many keyword research tools on the internet. It falls outside the scope of this articIe to go through all of them. Two of the best tools, for different reasons, are the following:

Ahrefs

Ahrefs has one of the most helpful and accurate keyword research features on the market.

Ahrefs keyword research tool

Ahrefs pricing starts at $99 per month. If you pay in advance for a full year, you get 2 months free. As can be seen on their pricing page, keyword research is only one of many features they offer. You can start a 7-day trial for only $7.

Their main competitors are SEMrush and Moz. These tools offer similar features and pricing for their entry level plans. Personally, I prefer using Ahrefs, but feel free to check out SEMrush and MOZ as well. They are all good tools for keyword research, as well as rank tracking, link building, site audits, and competitive analysis.

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest has one of the best free keyword research tools on the market. They’re not in the same league as Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz, but they’re not far behind – especially for the price! If you have a limited budget, Ubersuggest is a good choice.

Ubersuggest keyword research tool

Ubersuggest comes with a free plan that allows you to do a limited number of searches every day. They also have a paid plan that only costs $29 per month, way less than their competitors. With the paid plan, you can do more searches and see more keyword suggestions.

Summary & Recommendations

Keyword research tools can provide you with information that can help you rank better in the search engines. However, this doesn’t mean the information is 100% accurate. If you’ve ever used more than one keyword research tool, you’ll know there can be huge discrepancies.

For example, researching the same keyword in Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz, and Ubersuggest can give you different results.

Use keyword figures as ballpark (and relative) figures. If you see that a certain keyword gets 10,000 searches a month, this doesn’t mean it’s an exact figure. The actual figure can be quite a bit lower or higher and will obviously differ from month to month.

But some data is much better than no data when you’re deciding which keywords to target!

Lowest Cost

Use the free version of Ubersuggest.

Slow but Steady Growth

If you don’t do a lot of keyword research, the free version of Ubersuggest can work for you. If you publish content on a regular basis and want access to more keywords, sign up for the paid version. It’s only $29 per month.

Fastest Growth

To achieve the fastest growth possible, you need a more comprehensive SEO tool than Ubersuggest. Sign up for Ahrefs for $99 per month.

Content Optimization

Keyword research is only one part of the SEO puzzle. Many years ago, you only needed to optimize a page for one keyword to rank for that keyword. All you needed was to find a high volume keyword with low competition. Times have changed!

Today, search engines like Google are more interested in how well you cover the whole topic you’re writing about. Keywords still play an important role, but only within the context of the subject you’re covering.

That’s why optimizing your content is one of the best ways to rank well in Google!

The best content optimization tools are Surfer, PageOptimizer Pro (POP), and MarketMuse. These tools look at what keywords are used by the top ranking pages to cover a topic. Based on this information, they make suggestions on what topics and terms your content should cover to rank on the first page of Google.

So, how much do these blog on-page optimization tools cost?

Surfer

Surfer provides you with a list of relevant keywords and how often you should use them in your content. It also gives you an estimate of how many words a blog post should be. All of this information is based on what your competitors have already done to rank well!

Surfer content optimization tool

To get the most out of Surfer, sign up for at least a Basic plan of $59 per month. If you have a limited budget, they do offer a Hobby plan for $29 per month. Buying an annual plan will save you 20%. It has a 7-day trial for $1.

PageOptimizer Pro (POP)

POP is a popular alternative to Surfer. It’s a good tool to use for optimizing your existing content so you can rank higher in Google.

PageOptimizer Pro content optimization tool

Pricing starts at $20 per month. This will give you 12 reports and you can purchase additional reports for $1.65 each. POP has a 7-day free trial.

MarketMuse

MarketMuse is a top-of-the-range tool that uses AI to give you a competitive advantage.

MarketMuse content optimization tool

MarketMuse is a premium tool that comes with a premium price. Their entry level plan costs $499 per month, $325 per month if paid annually. It does have a 30-day free trial so you can test it out before subscribing.

Is MarketMuse worth it? The short answer is it’s worth it for what it does, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right option for you. This is especially the case if you have a brand new blog.

If you have an established, profitable blog but can’t get ahead of your competitors, MarketMuse may be the answer.

Authority Website Income tested Surfer, POP, and MarketMuse. Based on their results:

“In the end, Surfer and POP achieved similar results while MarketMuse outperformed both.”

Their results showed the following:

Surfer SEO – 61% traffic increase

POP – 64% traffic increase

MarketMuse – 78% traffic increase

Summary & Recommendations

Ranking well in Google isn’t only about finding low competition keywords and optimizing your content for them. It’s about how well you’re covering the topic you’re writing about too.

The top content optimization tools can give you a huge advantage over your competitors.

My recommendation is, try out both Surfer (7-day trial for $1) and POP (7-day free trial) before deciding which tool to use. If you’re on a tight budget, POP is the cheaper option.

Lowest Cost

If you can’t or don’t want to invest in a content optimization tool, you’ll have to do it yourself. The easiest, albeit time consuming, way is to manually review the top ranking pages in Google for your target keywords.

Make a list of relevant keywords they’re using by looking at their page title, headings, and content. Your goal is to publish better, more comprehensive content, so you’ll want to be in the ballpark of the top posts’ word count and cover the same kind of information in greater depth, keeping searcher intent top of mind.

Slow But Steady Growth

Choose between either Surfer ($59 a month) or POP ($20 a month).

Fastest Growth

Choose between either Surfer ($59 a month) or POP ($20 a month). If you have the budget for it, consider investing in MarketMuse ($499 a month).

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to get more traffic to your blog. By capturing the name, email, and other relevant information from a visitor, you can contact them at will. Your email list is a good way to make money from people that have already visited your blog in the past.

Email marketing can also help you build a relationship with your target audience and learn valuable insights about which topics they’re interested in. I recommend you start building your email list as soon as you can.

If you want to start building your email list, have a look at ActiveCampaign and ConvertKit.

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is one of the best email marketing companies on the market.

ActiveCampaign autoresponder

ActiveCampaign has a solid reputation in the industry and is known for their excellent client support. Their pricing depends on how many subscribers you have. The cost to start is $15 per month (or $9 per month, billed yearly) for up to 500 subscribers.

ConvertKit

ConvertKit is very popular with bloggers due to its simplicity and free email marketing plan.

ConvertKit autoresponder

ConvertKit’s free plan allows you to manage up to 1,000 subscribers, but has some serious limitations. It doesn’t allow automated email funnels, sequences, and integrations.

To get access to these features, you have to sign up for a paid plan. The cost to start is $29 a month for up to 1,000 subscribers.

Summary & Recommendations

It’s in your best interests to start building an email list as soon as possible.

Lowest Cost

Use ConvertKit’s free email plan. When you reach 1,000 subscribers, you’re hopefully making money from your list and can upgrade to a paid plan.

Slow But Steady Growth & Fastest Growth

Sign up for ActiveCampaign’s Lite plan starting at $15 a month ($9 a month if paid yearly).

Hardware

In answering the question, “How much does it cost to start a blog?”, there is one important topic we haven’t covered yet: your hardware costs.

Chances are you already have a computer and access to the internet! If what you have is sufficient for your needs, then you have everything you need to get started.

It falls outside the scope of this article to start reviewing computers, smart phones, and internet service providers. However, you definitely need a fast, reliable computer, as you’ll be spending many hours in front of it doing your work!

If you’re in the market for a computer, my recommendation is do your research on Amazon. Have a look at the bestsellers in your budget range and read the user reviews.

You may also want to invest in a good microphone and webcam should you wish to make YouTube videos. Logitech makes great webcams and my favorite USB microphone is Blue Yeti. There are many available options on the market.

Always go for the best quality you can afford if you’re planning on making online videos. The professionalism in your videos will dramatically improve your reach and success.

Content

Your blog won’t mean anything to anyone if it hasn’t got great content, and creating great content takes time. It’s very difficult to put a monetary value on time, which is why many people mistakenly believe it’s free.

Time is your most valuable resource, and in business, time equals money. It’s not something to be wasted. Spending hours behind your computer creating content isn’t the best way to grow your blog.

In addition, not everyone enjoys writing, is good at writing compelling content, or has the patience to do thorough research.

If you want to achieve the fastest growth possible, you’ll have to outsource most of your content creation. The cost will depend on how much content you wish to publish and the expertise of the people you’re using.

Hiring help / delegating work is where many if not most full-time bloggers invest their money.

At BrandBuilders, we can provide you with premium quality SEO optimized content for your blog. Don’t hesitate to contact us with your requirements!

Make Money With Your Blog

If anything is clear from this article, the real question isn’t how much does it cost to start a blog. The real question is: Is it worth it?

In another article, I covered the top 10 benefits of blogging. Blogging has many benefits, and one of those benefits is that it gives you a great opportunity to make money online.

Starting and running a blog can cost a lot of money and take a lot of time. So, not using your blog to make money is a wasted opportunity.

One of the best opportunities for making money with your blog is affiliate marketing. With the right affiliate programs, you can profit from all the time and hard work you put into your blog.

NOTE: At BrandBuilders, we specialize in pre-made affiliate sites and custom affiliate sites that have a 96% success rate. If starting a blog from scratch seems like a daunting task, these sites may be the perfect solution for you!

Conclusion

We covered a lot of ground in this article to answer an important question: “How much does it cost to start a blog?”

And we didn’t only look at how to start a blog, but also how to grow a blog!

So, how much does it cost to start a blog?

To summarize:

The costs to start a blog are:

Lowest Cost: $68 on average, paid annually.

Slow But Steady Growth: $157 on average, paid annually.

Fastest Growth*: $157 on average, paid annually.

* An additional investment will be required to grow it, as detailed below.

You can start a blog for free using a free blogging site but it’s not recommended.

The costs to grow a blog are between $0 and $5,483 per year.

WordPress Plugins: $0 – $197 per year

Visitor Insights & Analytics: $0 – $288 per year

Keyword Research: $0 – $990 per year

Content Optimization: $0 – $3,900 per year

Email Marketing: $0 – $108 per year

If you’ve never started a blog before it can seem like a lot to take in!

We’re here to help you!

Book a FREE no-strings attached coaching call with one of our experts now to find out how we can help you start a blog that’s built to succeed.

Best of luck on your blogging journey!