How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog: The Hidden Costs You Need to Know About

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The question ‘how much does it cost to start a blog?’ is a common one, but luckily for you, it’s one we’re well-equipped to answer. After all, Website Builder Expert started as a small blog many moons ago! Things have changed since then, but the process of starting a blog remains pretty much the same.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to pinpoint one concrete cost when it comes to starting a blog. On average, you can expect to spend anywhere between $50 and $200 getting your blog set up. After that, your monthly costs should sit at around $20 to $60 per month. However, it really depends on what kind of blog you want to run, and what your long-term goals are.

How Much Does Building a Blog Typically Cost?

Website Feature Monthly Cost
Platform Subscription $0 - $49
Website Hosting $0 - $5.45
SSL Certificate $0
Website Template or Theme $0 - $200
Domain Name $12 - $60
Apps and Integrations $0 - $250
SEO and Marketing $8.99 - $150
Hardware Costs $0 - $2,500

As with any new project, doing your research and getting a general sense of how much starting a blog could cost you is a good idea.

Your overall outgoings will depend on how you choose to create your blog. If you’re planning to do it yourself, you have two main options: a website builder such as Wix or Squarespace, or a Content Management System (CMS), such as WordPress.

Alternatively, you can hire a designer to do it for you, but that could cost $5,000+ depending on your requirements. If you’re looking to keep costs down, we’d recommend avoiding this route when you first start out.

Using a website builder is the cheapest way of getting your blog up and running. This is because your costs will remain consistent thanks to the pay-monthly plans on offer.

If you don’t want to use a website builder, WordPress is a popular platform for blogging that’s technically free – but you’ll have to pay for hosting, themes, and plugins, all of which can ramp up your overall outgoings.

Website Builder WordPress Website Designer
• A fixed price
• Easy to use
• Harder to scale
• Less creative control
• Easy to grow and scale
• Option to code the site yourself, if you have the knowledge
• Offers total creative control
• Time consuming
• Steeper learning curve
• Deceptive pricing
• No hassle
• Everything’s done for you
• Very expensive

Choosing the right platform comes down to personal preference. In this article, we’ll talk you through the costs associated with each method, so that you can choose the one that’s right for you.

What Type of Blog Are You Going to Build?

Unsurprisingly, the costs for beginning a casual hobby blog are wildly different to those attached to starting a blog that you hope to monetize, or turn into a business. For example, if you want to make money from your blog, you’re more likely to need better hosting and additional app support, and may even need to hire writers to produce content for you. All of these things cost money.

As a hobby blogger, running your site is more about sharing your passion than boosting your traffic and conversions, so you’re less likely to invest in these added extras, which will ultimately make your costs much lower.

Mike Nicosia“If you are creating a blog without a specific business plan or without the intent to gain financially from it, then starting a blog can be quite cheap. However, if you plan on earning, you’re going to have to invest quite a bit of money into blogging.”

Mike Nicosia is the founder of Conquerwild, a blog that focuses on camping and hiking. He’s been hiking for around seven years, but writing for his entire life. Conquerwild is a combination of his two greatest passions.

As the old saying goes, you need to spend money to make money. If you aren’t willing to invest some of your own cash into your blog, the likelihood is that it’ll never graduate beyond the hobby stage.

If you’re happy with this, that’s great! Your spending will be minimal and you can focus on running your blog as a space to nurture and share your interests. However, if your long-term plan is to turn this into a business, we recommend taking some time to think about how much you’re willing to spend to get there.

Can I Build a Blog for Free?

The short answer to this is yes. There are plenty of ways to build a free blog, especially if you’re using a website builder. Wix and WordPress.com offer free plans to help you get started without spending a cent.

However, the more important question is, should you build a blog for free? In general, we don’t recommend using a free plan if you want your blog to be taken seriously. You’ll often find that your site will be peppered with unwanted ads, and the website builder you’re using will add its own domain name to your website address.

The same can be said of other costs, such as email marketing and apps or plugins. Usually, you can sign up for a free plan with these platforms, but the features you get will be limited, meaning you won’t feel their full benefit. We recommend opting for the first paid tier at least, if you truly want to build your blog’s success.

“Many people think blogging is free. But if you want to be serious about it, there are numerous costs for both maintaining your content and improving it. For example, domain registrations are typically relatively cheap, but hosting fees can vary depending on how much space or how many tools you need – for example, if you want to integrate a note-taking app like Evernote into your blog, it will take up more space.

There’s also the cost of buying high-quality stock photos – nothing says amateur like using grainy royalty-free images from the internet! If you want to be taken seriously, once you have a little experience, you may consider investing in an ad campaign or affiliate program to make some extra money.”

Jamie Hickey is an SCA-certified barista, and the founder of Coffee Semantics, a blog run by a team of coffee lovers who perform product reviews, teach brewing techniques, and review coffee gear.

How Much Does a Blog Cost Using a Website Builder?

Website Builder Cost Breakdown Price Hobby Blog Monetized Blog More Info
Monthly Subscription $6 - $49 ✔️ ✔️ This cost covers all the basics, such as hosting, security, themes, and more. You can pay for your platform monthly or in one upfront annual cost. You’re likely to get a discount if you opt for the yearly option.
Apps $0 - $20 (per month) ✔️ Investing in additional apps will help more ambitious bloggers monetize their site.
Themes $0 Your website builder will provide a range of free themes for you to choose from.
Hosting $0 Hosting is taken care of by your website builder.
Domain Name $10 - $20 ✔️ ✔️ If you want your blog to be taken seriously, we recommend buying your own domain name. Usually these come free with your website builder for the first year.
Security $0 All of your security features come included in your website builder package.
Email Marketing $0 - $50 ✔️ Hobby bloggers won’t need this, but email marketing will help you monetize your blog and build traffic. Email marketing packages can cost up to $2,000, but you won’t need this kind of plan to start with.
Professional Help $0 The whole point of website builders is that they’re easy DIY solutions – no external help necessary!

Who Should Use a Website Builder?

Website builders are so versatile that we believe pretty much anyone can use them. However, they’re particularly well suited to people who:

  • Have no or limited technical skills or experience
  • Don’t want to spend a ton of money getting their blog up and running
  • Want to get their blog started quickly
Pros Cons
Easy to Use
They’re specifically designed to get anyone and everyone online.
Templates Can Be Restrictive
It can be difficult to put your own spin on the options available.
They Don’t Require any Coding Knowledge or Tech Skills
Website builders normally use a ‘drag-and-drop’ builder or a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor, so there’s no need for coding knowledge.
Can Get Expensive
Overall, website builders are the cheapest way to get online, but it depends on the plan you need. Some of the advanced ones are pricey. However, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue when you’re first starting out.
Good Customer Support
If you find yourself stuck, website builders come with a team of people ready to help you find a solution.
Less Overall Creative Freedom Than WordPress
It can be tricky to make your website stand out from the crowd when using a website builder. Unless you know code, you’re limited to the boundaries the builder sets.
Apps and Plugins Are Usually Included
You might have to pay for some of them, but generally, apps and plugins come included in the price of your plan.

Which Website Builders Do We Recommend?

Selecting a website builder can be a tricky choice because there are so many out there to pick from. Each has its pros and cons, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed! Luckily, most of them come with either a free plan or a free trial, so you can take a builder for a test drive before committing.

To help you make your final decision, we’ve done the hard work for you and narrowed it down to three options. These are our top website builders for starting a blog:

4.7

out of 5
Top Choice
Overall Rating

4.65 out of 5 stars

Ease Of Use

3.5 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4.4 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

4.6 out of 5 stars

Features

4.6 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

3.7 out of 5 stars

Nicole Carlson Squaresapce Blog

Given Squarespace’s reputation for offering stunning templates that support high-resolution, quality images, it’s no wonder that it’s the best platform to support visually rich blogs. There are a huge range of template options to choose from, but we recommend Brine, Farro, or Skye, because they each include a search feature that will be useful as your blog grows.

Squarespace offers strong blogging functionality, and although it may look daunting at first, the editor is simple to use. You’ll be able to design and build a blog in just a few hours! It also boasts powerful SEO tools to help you work your way up the search engine rankings for increased traffic.

The only downside to this platform is its lack of blog analytics, however, you can integrate your site with Google Analytics to enable a more hands-on approach to blog management.

Read our full Squarespace Review for more information on why it’s the best option for bloggers.

4.6

out of 5
Overall Rating

4.55 out of 5 stars

Ease Of Use

4.3 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

4.3 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

4.6 out of 5 stars

Features

4.1 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.3 out of 5 stars

Sonja Van Dulman Wix Blog

Wix runs a very close second to Squarespace, and it excels in its ease of use. In fact, our users rated this as the easiest platform to get to grips with. On top of that, Wix has really stepped up its game in terms of its SEO and overall blogging features.

Plus, Wix also offers a diverse range of templates to choose from, and its app library is one of the best on the market. No matter what you want to add to your blog, there’s probably an app that can do it for you!

As much as this is a positive, Wix’s reliance on apps can also be counted as a downside. It could be argued that Wix is overly dependent on apps – you’ll even need one to add a search bar to your blog! Plus, it doesn’t offer as good value for money as Squarespace does. In fact, it has the most expensive introductory price out of the three builders we recommend.

Read our full Wix Review for more details on what this website builder has to offer.

4.2

out of 5
Overall Rating

4.15 out of 5 stars

Ease Of Use

3.3 out of 5 stars

Design Flexibility

2.4 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

4 out of 5 stars

Customer Score

3.2 out of 5 stars

Features

4.5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.3 out of 5 stars

Kelsey Montague Art WordPress

Like its more technical sibling, WordPress.org, WordPress.com is practically built for bloggers – blog-specific features are something that this builder does really well. It’s jam-packed with fantastic tools that allow you to set up writer profiles, access blog-specific analytics, and get on top of your posts with advanced scheduling. Like Squarespace and Wix, WordPress.com doesn’t come with an inbuilt search function, but adding a plugin will solve this issue.

The main drawback of WordPress.com is how complicated it is to use. The editor comes with a steep learning curve, and, because you can’t edit the code, you’ll only be able to access limited customizations unless you upgrade to a more expensive plan.

What’s the Difference Between WordPress.org and WordPress.com?

Don’t worry, you’re not going crazy – there really are two different WordPress options in this post! It’s important that you know which is which when deciding how to start your blog.

WordPress.com is WordPress’s version of a website builder. That just means that it’s a hosted platform, so you won’t have to worry about organizing hosting for your WordPress.com blog.

WordPress.org, however, is a Content Management System (CMS), and you’ll need to sign up for a hosting plan separate from your WordPress account to start creating your blog.

If you want to find out more, we’ve written a guide specifically to explain the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

How Much Do Website Builders Cost?

Website builders are the cheapest way to get a blog up and running quickly, but their starting prices vary. Wix and WordPress.com both offer a limited free plan, whereas you’ll need to pay to use Squarespace – although it does have a 14-day free trial to get you started.

Because we don’t recommend using free plans for your blog, here are the starting prices for each builder’s paid packages:

Squarespace: $12 per month

Wix: $13 per month

WordPress.com: $3 per month

When starting your blog, we don’t recommend choosing anything too advanced. The basic plans are the cheapest available, and they usually do exactly what you need them to, especially when your blog is in the early stages of growth.

However, there are a few exceptions to this. Firstly, although WordPress.com’s cheapest plan is only $3, this excellent starting price comes with a caveat. The plan is designed specifically for bloggers (perfect!) but if you want to take advantage of the free domain name offer, be aware that it’ll come with a ‘.blog’ subdomain attached. If you don’t want this, you’ll need to plump for the premium package, which costs $8 per month.

Secondly, if you want to sell products on your blog, you’ll need to pay a bit extra to access your builder’s full suite of ecommerce tools. Squarespace, Wix, and WordPress.com all come with dedicated ecommerce plans that range from $29 to $45 per month.

Further Reading

Squarespace Pricing – We’ll help you find out if Squarespace is worth keeping beyond its 14-day free trial.

Wix Pricing – Should you invest in a Wix plan, or choose the free package? We’ll dig into Wix’s pricing to help you decide.

Costs to Factor In When Using a Website Builder

Usually, website builders include a free domain name as part of their plans. However, this is usually only valid for the first year. After that, you’ll need to cover the cost for your blog’s custom name, which will usually set you back between $12 and $20 per year.

It is worth noting, however, that if you opt for the free WordPress.com plan, you’ll need to buy your domain name right off the bat. They don’t offer a free branded subdomain, either.

Some website builders, such as Wix and WordPress.com, come with a vast library of apps and plugins that you can download and attach to your blog. These cover a range of functions, including social media integration, SEO, and contact form building. Squarespace also offers a limited range of apps (or ‘extensions’), although most of these are aimed at ecommerce sites.

Whilst many of these apps are free, you’ll still have to pay for some. Prices range from $5 to $60 per month, depending on whether you decide to plump for the more advanced add-ons. Fortunately, though, apps aren’t a ‘must-have’ item, so it’s completely up to you how many, if any at all, you decide to invest in.

Any blogger will tell you that email marketing is the single most important way of connecting with your audience and building a relationship with them. Some will swear that if you’re planning to monetize your blog, it’s the one thing you need to invest in.

There are plenty of email marketing services out there to choose from, and, unsurprisingly, their prices vary. However, you shouldn’t need to pay more than $50 per month, especially when you’re first starting out. Mailchimp even offers a free plan, so you can begin building your email list without spending a penny.

You can connect Wix and WordPress.com to email marketing services via an app or plugin. Squarespace, however, has its very own email marketing software, which is available from $8.99 per month. Squarespace Email Campaigns has been designed to fit seamlessly alongside Squarespace’s website builder, so you can keep everything under one roof.

Starting a Blog With a Website Builder: Overall Cost

What Are You Paying For?

Website builder subscription:

Between $3 and $13 per month

Domain name: From $12 per year

Apps and plugins (optional): $5 – $60

Premium email marketing (optional):  $0 – $50

Total Cost Estimate

Average monthly cost: $10 – $140

How Much Does a Blog Cost Using WordPress?

The cost for building a blog with WordPress can vary, but you can expect to pay an upfront price of $150 – $200. After this, your monthly costs will depend on the optional extras you decide to invest in. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $5 – $200 per month.

WordPress Cost Breakdown Price Hobby Blog Monetized Blog More Info
Monthly Subscription $0 It’s free to use WordPress.
Apps/Plugins $0 - $250 (per month) ✔️ WordPress offers a range of free and paid plugins to help increase your blog’s functionality.
Themes $0 - $200 ✔️ You can choose from a limited number of free WordPress themes, or splurge on a paid one.
Hosting $2.95 - $50 per month ✔️ ✔️ Every WordPress site needs hosting, so you’ll have to pay for this. Usually, you’ll need to pay hosting costs upfront, rather than monthly.
Domain Name $10 - $20 per year ✔️ ✔️ You’ll need to purchase a domain name for your WordPress site. Unfortunately, there’s no free alternative.
Security $0 - $200 per year ✔️ ✔️ You’re responsible for your security costs. Some will come with your hosting plan, but you may have to pay extra for beefier protection.
Email Marketing $0 - $50 ✔️ Hobby bloggers won’t need this, but email marketing will help you monetize your blog and build traffic. Email marketing packages can cost up to $2,000, but you won’t need this kind of plan to start with.
Professional Help $80 - $180 per hour You don’t need to pay for professional help – it’s possible to build your WordPress blog yourself – however, it’s a more complex platform, so you might want some extra support, particularly if things go wrong.

Who Should Use WordPress?

Compared to website builders, WordPress offers a much more hands-on experience for you as a user. It is one of the most popular blogging platforms out there, and it’s best suited for those who:

  • Want complete creative control over their blog
  • Don’t mind overseeing all aspects of website management, including hosting, security, design, and construction
  • Are willing to invest money in additional plugins and nicer themes to increase functionality and professionalism
  • Have some technical or coding experience

Pros and Cons of Using WordPress

Pros Cons
Complete Creative Control
You can build a blog that looks exactly how you want it to, with no limitations or compromises.
Can Get Technical
There’s no hand-holding here – WordPress has a steep learning curve, so it’s best if you have some technical experience.
Extensive Plugin Library
There are over 54,000 WordPress plugins to choose from, all of which will increase the functionality of your blog.
Hard to Pin Down an Exact Price
It can be hard to pin down an overall price for WordPress due to hosting, security, and plugin costs.
Excellent SEO
WordPress has been designed with SEO in mind, so it’s a great option if you want to rank in the search engine results faster.
No Dedicated Customer Support
WordPress doesn’t have a specific customer support team for when things get complicated.
Popular and Reliable
There are around 60 million WordPress blogs on the internet – and all those people haven’t chosen it for nothing!

Because there aren’t any set subscription plans that come with WordPress, it can be tricky to pin down exactly how much you can expect to spend each month. It will vary from blog to blog, and ultimately comes down to what you choose to invest in, and what you don’t.

One cost that is pretty consistent, though, is hosting. Hosting companies offer a pricing structure that’s similar to those used by website builders, so it’s an easy element to budget for. There’s a whole range of hosting providers out there, but we personally recommend Bluehost as the best for WordPress websites.

Choosing a Hosting Provider

Bluehost ranks as the best WordPress hosting provider in our research. It tops the chart thanks to its unmetered bandwidth, generous storage, frequent backups, automated software updates, free SSL certificate, and one-click installs. Bluehost will even throw in a free domain name for your first year!

Best for WordPress hosting

4.4

out of 5
Overall Rating

4.35 out of 5 stars

Uptime

4 out of 5 stars

Types of Hosting

4 out of 5 stars

Help and Support

5 out of 5 stars

Value For Money

4.6 out of 5 stars

Hosting Features

4.25 out of 5 stars

How Much Does Bluehost Cost?

Bluehost offers a number of different plans based on the type of hosting you require. Here’s a breakdown of its main three WordPress plans, along with their starting prices:

Hosting Plan Starting Price Total Upfront Starting Cost
(without the optional extras)
Term Length Renewal Price Total Upfront Cost
(without the optional extras)
Shared WordPress Hosting $2.95 per month $106.20 36 Months $8.99 per month $323.64
WooCommerce Hosting $6.95 per month $250.20 36 Months $13.99 per month $503.64
Managed WordPress Hosting $19.95 per month $718.20 36 Months $29.99 per month $1079.64

In the long run, Bluehost’s plans are quite expensive, but its $2.95 introductory price is pretty hard to beat, making it one of the cheapest hosting providers to get started with.

Most bloggers usually start with a shared hosting plan, as this is the cheapest. However, you might find that an advanced plan will eventually be needed as your blog starts to mature. Upgrading will offer a more comprehensive package, but it’ll also come with a steeper upfront cost.

Hosting – Introductory Prices

Introductory prices are a common feature of the hosting world. On the surface, they look like a great deal (and, often, they are), but that starting price is usually only valid for the first year, or term. Take Bluehost, for example. You can sign up for its shared hosting for as little as $2.95, which is an upfront cost of $106.20. However, when it comes to renewing for your second term, the price more than doubles.

This isn’t something that can be avoided, but it is something to be aware of. Make sure to budget accordingly, or you could find yourself feeling a little short-changed.

Bluehost Alternatives

Although we recommend Bluehost as the best hosting provider for WordPress, there’s a whole range of other options to choose from. Below, you can compare our top three WordPress hosting providers to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your budget.

Money Back Guarantee Cheapest Shared WordPress Hosting Cheapest Managed WordPress Hosting Cheapest WooCommerce Hosting Total Number of WordPress Plans
BlueHost 30 days
$2.95 per month $19.95
$6.95
9
HostGator 45 days
$5.95 per month

7
GreenGeeks 30 days
$2.49 per month

3

Additional WordPress Costs

Unlike a website builder, WordPress doesn’t offer a free subdomain to keep your domain-related costs down. This means that you’ll need to purchase one for yourself, so that users can find your blog online! This is definitely one purchase worth making, because it’ll set the tone for your entire brand.

Domain names vary in price depending on a few factors. For example, domain names ending in .com can be pricey because they’re more popular. Typically, though, you shouldn’t need to pay more than between $10 and $20 per year.

If you’re looking to save a bit of cash, we recommend looking for a hosting service that provides a free domain name for your first year, like Bluehost. You’ll need to pay for the domain name eventually, but it helps to spread your costs out a little.

WordPress has a variety of themes to choose from, offering free and paid options to help your blog look its best. Paid themes are available for between $50 – $200. Some of these are one-off charges, but others are available as part of an annual subscription. Although this is an extra cost to factor in each year, it does mean that you won’t have to worry about updating your theme, as your subscription will normally take care of this for you.

Paid themes often look more professional, and usually come with a more extensive set of features. That said, they’re really more of a ‘Nice to Have,’ rather than a ‘Must Have.’ Although the free themes are more basic, they also won’t cost you a single cent, which is why starting off with one of these can help you keep your costs down initially.

Plugins are the lifeblood of WordPress functionality, and even hobby bloggers should take advantage of the 55,000+ options available to download. After all, the more your blog can do, the higher your chances of standing out from the competition will be!

Like themes, there are a number of paid and free plugins on offer. Some of them require a one-off payment, whereas others work on a subscription basis. You can pay anywhere between $5 and $100 for plugins, so if you end up selecting a choice few, the overall costs can quickly rack up to over $250.

Here are a few plugins that we particularly recommend for blogs:

  • Yoast SEO

This plugin is a must if you want your site to rank well in search engine results. It does offer a free plan, but the more robust premium plan costs $89 per year.

  • WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the best WordPress plugin to help you sell products on your blog. It doesn’t cost you anything to use, unless your sales volumes are off the charts, or you want to access some of its more advanced features.

  • Everest Forms

This useful plugin is completely free to use, and allows you to create different types of forms for your blog, including contact forms.

  • WP Rocket

No one is going to stick around for a blog that’s slow to load, and lags when moving from page to page. WP Rocket maintains your website speed so that it can keep up with lots of traffic. It’s not free, though – it’ll cost you $49 per year.

When you opt not to use a website builder, the security of your website sits entirely within your hands. Basically, that means that you’re responsible for protecting it against potential digital threats.

Luckily, most hosting providers offer some security measures as part of their plans, or for a small extra cost. However, we think it’s worth investing in some additional security plugins just to be on the safe side.

There are a number to choose from, and most of them come with a free plan if you don’t want to splurge the big bucks just yet. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • Sucuri – $0 – $199.99 per year
  • iThemes Security – $80 – $200 per year
  • JetPack Security – $0 – $299 per year
  • Cloudflare – $0 – $200 per month
  • All In One WP Security & Firewall – $0

Email marketing is one of the best ways of building a relationship with your followers and, as already mentioned, it has a killer ROI if you want to monetize your blog.

There are free email marketing tools out there that you can take advantage of whilst you’re getting started, but you’ll find that it’s very easy to hit the limitations of what they have to offer. Mailchimp, for instance, provides a free plan, but you won’t be able to automate any of your sends, and you also won’t be able to access A/B testing without upgrading to a paid plan.

Email marketing can cost you anywhere between $8 and $50 depending on how many emails you want to send per month, and the size of your contact list. Of course, there are some plans that can cost over $1,000, but you’re unlikely to need this type of cover when you’re first starting out.

We’re not saying that if you choose to build your blog with WordPress, you’re going to need to also hire a WordPress developer. There are plenty of people out there who have successfully done it by themselves, so there’s no reason why you can’t either.

However, WordPress is a more complicated platform than website builders like Wix and Squarespace, so if you want to save yourself some time and energy, you might consider getting someone more qualified to do the hard work for you.

This can be costly though, and hourly rates for WordPress developers average anywhere between $80 and $180+. This kind of expenditure is more applicable to those of you hoping to eventually monetize your blog, but it’s worth bearing in mind in case you want to hire a specialist in the future as your blog grows.

Starting a Blog With a Website Builder: Overall Cost

What Are You Paying For?

Hosting subscription:

From $2.95 per month (with Bluehost)

From $106.20 (upfront cost)

Domain name: From $12 per year

Premium security: $0 – $299

Premium themes (optional): $50 – $200

Premium plugins (optional): $5 – $250

Premium email marketing (optional): $0 – $50

Total Cost Estimate

Average upfront cost: $150 – $200

Average monthly cost: $5 – $200 (depending on optional extras)

How Much Does a Blog Cost Using a Web Designer?

If you don’t have the time or inclination to build your blog yourself using either a website builder or WordPress, hiring a web designer is a third option you could consider. Plenty of blog owners opt for this route, but there are a few things to consider before you make a final decision.

Pros Cons
Takes the Pressure off of You
You don’t need to worry about anything – your designer will handle it all for you.
Limited Creative Control
You can tell your designer what you want, but they’ll have a different vision than you do, so you’ll have to give up some creative control.
Quality Website Design
The end product will boast a high-quality finish.
Expensive Fees
Hiring a professional is not a cheap way of getting your blog up and running.
Faster Than Doing It Yourself
If your website design is particularly complex, a web designer will be able to have it up and running faster than you could.
Harder to Fix if You Don’t Like It
If you don’t like your new design, it’s a lot harder to resolve the issue, because you might not have the technical knowledge to change it.

We recommend using a website designer if:

  • You have a big budget to spend
  • You want to build a very complex blog
  • You don’t have the time or technical skills to design things yourself

Although there are some big advantages to hiring a web designer, it’s not something we recommend when you’re first starting out. If you’re daunted by the technical complexity of doing things yourself, don’t worry – website builders make the job fairly painless. Plus, we think that the templates offered by Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress.org allow you to tick that all-important aesthetic box without having to part with a large chunk of cash.

Prices for hiring a web designer start at a not-so-modest $5,000, and that’s only the minimum. Depending on your requirements and the experience of the designer you choose, you could end up spending closer to $30,000.

We’re not saying that you should never hire a designer. In fact, we believe that sometimes this is the best option. However, it’s not necessary when you’re at the start of your blogging journey. If you’ve got your heart set on it, we recommend waiting until you’ve gathered a large following, and have successfully managed to monetize your blog.

Additional Costs

Whether you choose to use a website builder, WordPress, or a web designer to create your blog, there are a few extra costs that you might not have considered. We’ll take you through these below so that you can factor them into your budget, too.

Hiring Content Creators

Hang on,’ you might be thinking, ‘Aren’t I the one that’s going to be doing the writing?’

Usually, if you start a blog, it’s because you like to write, and you want to use this skill to share your passions. It might sound counterintuitive to pay someone else to do it for you, but remember – maintaining a blog is about more than just creating posts. There are a dozen and one other little jobs that will prey on your time, and distract you from content creation.

Sure, you can try to do it all yourself, but if you want to increase your traffic and inch your way towards monetization, you’ll need a pretty constant flow of new and engaging content. It’s going to take a lot of time and hard work. Realistically, you aren’t going to be able to achieve it on your own.

Luckily, there are tons of excellent freelance writers out there to help with this. Like website designers, though, their rates will vary depending on their experience. You can expect to pay anywhere between $10 – $75 for a single blog post.

While there’s no concrete rule as to when you should start hiring external writers, it’s not something you’ll need to worry about until your traffic starts to grow. As a beginner blogger, or a hobbyist, you can ignore this cost for now.

Blogging Courses

Blogging courses aren’t a necessity, but if you’re the kind of person that likes a little guidance, you might want to invest in a workshop or crash course to get you on track. There are hundreds of blogging courses out there, where you’ll be able to pick up some gems of knowledge to help make your blog a success.

These courses usually cost between $100 and $500, depending on which one you choose. However, there are also plenty of free options out there that will introduce you to the basics of blogging and help you get started. We recommend opting for one of these first.

If, after this, you still want to invest in one of the more expensive options, make sure you do your research and find one that’s going to be most valuable for you and your blog. You don’t want to pay for knowledge you already have!

Hardware Costs

This one might sound a bit obvious, but you’ll struggle to start a blog if you don’t have regular access to a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection. These should be your first port of call when calculating overall costs for your blog.

These aren’t the only pieces of hardware you might have to invest in though, particularly if you’re looking to grow and monetize your blog quickly. Take a look at the table for a quick breakdown of other items you might have to purchase.

Hardware Breakdown Price Hobby Blog Monetized Blog More Info
Laptop $200 - $2500 ✔️ ✔️ A laptop is a must to get your blog up and running
Reliable Wi-Fi connection $35 - $60 per month ✔️ ✔️ Unless you’re planning to use public wifi to maintain your blog (not advised!), you’ll need a robust internet connection.
Camera $40 per month or $450+ upfront ✔️ ✔️ Even beginner blogs need high-quality images, and search engines will penalize you if you only use stock images. You can opt to use a smartphone for your photos, or invest in a pricier, premium camera.
Microphone $50 - $150 ✔️ Monetized blogs often offer podcasts or vlogs to complement their posts.
Webcam $40 - $100 ✔️ A must-have if you’re planning to release vlogs as part of your blog.
Headphones $50 - $150 ✔️ These are optional, but they’re good if you’re working in a public place, or need to edit vlogs.

Expert Insights

Gabby James“Starting a blog in itself I would consider cheap, but running a blog as a business will cost some money. I believe that smart investments in your blog are critical for long-term success. The more your blog grows, the more money you’ll need to pay for things like a larger email service and more expensive plugins.

“When you make more money blogging, you might also pay employees for certain things like writing content, managing socials, or sending emails. More experienced bloggers are going to pay for things that make their blog better, and as a result, grow their blog even larger.”

Gabby James is a lifestyle blogger, who started blogging around a year and a half ago. She runs her blog, Gabby James, but also helps others get started on their own journeys.

Our Top Tips for Starting a Blog

When trying to work out how much it’s going to cost to start your blog, there are a lot of things to consider. Ultimately, it depends on the type of blog you want to run, and how you choose to build it.

Whether you’re going to stick to hobby blogging, or venture out into the big bad world of digital monetization, we all start from the same point – so take a look at some of our top tips for starting a blog below.

  • Start Small

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your blog isn’t going to be topping the search engine rankings within an hour of being published, either. These things take time and patience, so we recommend starting small. Monetization can come a bit later, but it’ll ultimately fall flat if you haven’t built a sturdy set of foundations first.

  • Invest in ‘Must-Haves’ Over ‘Nice-to-Haves’

You might think that having the most expensive apps and themes is the key to unlocking blogging success, but when you’re just starting out, these aren’t a necessity. Make sure you take some time to reflect on what’s important to you, so you can invest your money in a few crucial purchases, rather than blowing your budget on things you don’t need yet.

  • Stick to Your Budget

Speaking of budget, make sure you have one and then stick to it. Budgets are there for a reason, and will stop you from getting carried away and spending all of your money in one go. Be strict with your spending, and make sure you plan it all out so you know where every cent is going.

  • Plan For the Future

It’s okay to have an ambitious vision for your blog – it gives you something to work towards. It’s also helpful to know where you want your blog to go when making decisions now. For example, if you know that you’re going to need more intensive SEO support further down the line, choose an app or plugin that has an upgrade option and good advanced features for when you need it later on.

Further Reading

If you want more help on blogging best practices, we’ve got a post for that! Take a look at our helpful guide on how to start a blog, where we’ll go through everything you need to know to get started.

How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog: Summary

We’ve covered all of the potential costs that come with starting a blog, and given you a breakdown of the various ways you can go about getting your site up and running. You now have everything you need to make your blogging dream a reality without obliterating your life savings.

To give you a recap, here are the three ways of starting a blog, along with how much each will cost you:

Using a Website Builder

Estimated Cost: 

$10 – $140 per month

Use a website builder if: 

  • You have no or limited technical skills or experience
  • You don’t want to spend a ton of money getting your blog up and running
  • You want to get your blog started quickly

Using WordPress

Estimated Cost: 

Upfront cost: $150 – $200

Monthly cost: $5 – $200 per month

Use WordPress if: 

  • You want complete creative control of your blog
  • You don’t mind overseeing all aspects of website management, including hosting, security, design, and construction
  • You’re willing to invest money in additional plugins and nicer themes to increase functionality and professionalism
  • You have some technical or coding experience

Using a Website Designer

Estimated Cost:

$5,000 – $30,000 per month

Use a website designer if: 

  • You have a big budget to spend
  • You want to build a very complex blog
  • You don’t have the time or technical skills to do it yourself

It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact cost for starting a blog because it ultimately depends on the kind of blog you want to create. It also depends on whether you want to monetize your blog or keep it as a hobby, as well as on your technical skills and confidence.

However, it’s important to remember that starting a blog doesn’t need to be expensive. Make sure you have a good idea of your budget, and don’t forget that where you start is not always where you’re going to end up. Your blog will grow in new directions, but it’s important that you build a solid (and affordable!) foundation first.

FAQs

If you’re using a website builder, it’s possible to build a blog for free if you choose a free plan. We don’t recommend this, however, because you won’t be able to use your own personal domain name, you’ll only be able to access limited features, and your blog will be littered with unwanted ads.

We recommend opting for the cheapest paid plan if you want your blog to be taken seriously. This way, you won’t have to deal with a branded subdomain, and you’ll be ad-free.

WordPress as a platform is technically free, but you can’t use it without hosting. Because of this, it’s impossible to build a free WordPress blog, because there aren’t any free hosting plans available.

Absolutely not – we believe that anyone can build a blog without having to pay out for a designer! Website builders are exceptionally easy to use, and even WordPress allows you to pull a professional-looking blog together in no time – after you’ve dealt with the initial learning curve, of course!

We only recommend using a website designer if you want to build a particularly complex blog, you have a big budget to play with, or you have absolutely no time or technical confidence. Otherwise, we’d advise that you save yourself a chunk of money and do it yourself!

This is a great question, and it’s one that we get asked often! It’s always a good idea to choose something that interests you, so you don’t lose your motivation when things get difficult. We also recommend writing about a topic that’s evergreen, meaning it’s popular now, and it always will be!

If you want some more pointers, take a look at our guide on how to choose what to blog about. We’ve compiled six great tips to help you narrow down your options and find your starting point.

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