It would seem that, on the surface, blogging is a relatively inexpensive hobby. The same applies if you intend to make your blog into a business, too. There’s no shop to rent, no products to buy; it’s all about you, your life, and the experiences that you would have had anyway.
While it is possible to blog for free on one of the free platforms, if you want to be taken seriously, blogging does have its expenses. Now, that’s not to say it’s the kind of activity that only the rich can afford. Especially when compared to other types of business, blogging is indeed as inexpensive as it initially seems. However, it’s dangerous to say it’s inevitably cheap. Established, professional bloggers incur costs and have to spend money just the same way as any other business person does.
You may be familiar with the concept that you have to spend money to make money. That’s an old saying, but it still has its place in a new industry like blogging. At times, you will need to make investments so that you can continue to grow your blog – things that will take you to the next level. Perhaps even expenses that can help your blog take the leap from a small, residual income into a full-time job that you love.
The Importance Of Record Keeping Finances
None of the expenses we’re going to discuss are going to impoverish most people. The sums, relative to other business endeavors, are still small – much to the relief of those considering spending them. It’s worth thinking about how you will finance these changes and if you are really cut out for the life of a full-time blogger. Various challenges such as changing Google algorithms and a relatively saturated marketplace for blogs are aspects you have to consider, and see if you’re ready to roll with them.
If you think you are and can handle the challenges it poses, then secured loans carry the advantage of you being able to separate “blogging investment” from the rest of your finances. Keeping things clean and knowing exactly what you have invested in your blog is important, so if not a loan, then a dedicated credit card or savings account from which you withdraw your blog expenditure can help massively. Use this as a basis for your record keeping; otherwise, you can spend a little cash here and there for the sake of your blog, without realizing what it’s all adding up to. This is a business proposition, so treat it like one.
So, with that said, let’s progress.
The Basic Expenditure
While you could try and turn your blog professional on free platforms, it’s a lot more difficult to do. For one thing, you won’t have control over the ads that are shown, and you might be unable to join certain affiliate networks.
Therefore, a basic expenditure should be on a domain name (which you will renew every year) and your web hosting. This doesn’t have to cost a lot, especially if you research web hosting forums for good deals, but it’s definitely something you need to budget for. Many of the prices are listed in USD, so look to spend around $50 per year (depending on the plan you choose) for these services.
The secret to most bloggers’ success is their photographs. The style of the photographs may vary – some emphasize color, others go for a sparse or minimal look – but one thing remains: the quality of the photographs. A quick snap with your smartphone camera is unlikely to be enough for a professional blog.
You can look for point-and-shoot cameras if you’re new to photography. If you want to learn more, then investing in a DSLR can be expensive, but you’ll be paid back in your photography quality.
You’ll also want to edit those photographs so they look their best for publication. You therefore need to factor the costs of a PhotoShop subscription, which vary depending on your circumstances. If you know someone who is a student, there are substantial discounts to be had. There are also plenty of good quality free programs for image editing, but PhotoShop is the gold standard for a reason.
The most successful blogs are successful because they have something to offer the reader. While you can just write a blog as an extension of a diary, to really make it big you need to offer something back. No matter what your niche, reviews and how-to guides are the key to gaining traction in the blogging world.
You’re therefore going to need to purchase items (or go to destinations, if you’re a travel blogger) to review. Don’t be fooled into thinking you can obtain most of these items through sponsorships; for one thing, readers don’t like it when every product is sponsored by the company. They feel like they’re not going to get an honest review. So sometimes, the purchase price is going to have to come out of your own pocket.
As a blogger, you probably know how important social media is. You also likely know how incredibly time-consuming it can be. That’s why many bloggers turn to management and scheduling tools which help them to automate their social media accounts.
Some of these tools will be free, helping you to schedule posts and promote old content. Others will have a subscription charge, which you will need to factor into your costs should you decide to use them.
Finally, as a professional blogger, you will always need to have access to a few basics. You need electricity to plug your computer into, the computer itself, and a recent smartphone to manage your blog on the go. You might have these items anyway, but you need to be ready to replace them at any time if your blog relies on them. It’s therefore wise to insure them in case of accidents or breakdowns, giving you an extra monthly cost to add to the list.