First, it’s the essentials. If you believe it’s free to start blogging, you’re wrong. There is a cost, it’s not much, but we help to break down what essential tools and platforms you should purchase right away. We put the initial expense and the estimated annual fee, so you know what to expect.
Second, it’s the smart options, but not a must. These are options that you should consider if you’re smart. If not when you start your blog than at least in the first year as you gain traffic. Since many of these items are smart, but not essential, we put a timing or condition when you should invest in the options. It is our opinion, it’s always best to wait for a few of these until you start getting traffic. Content is the most critical focus the first year.
Third, it’s the luxury options. These are the options that are nice to have, but you can build a successful blog without them. But they are sure nice if you’re doing it right. The luxury items are also what you may need to consider when you start generating a lot of traffic and money.
At Becoming a Millionaire, we’re developing a level of honesty on what you should expect to pay in reality. There are plenty of free blogs and free other tools, but it’s only a taste to get you started. If you’re serious at all, we recommend skipping some of the free items and merely buying what you’re ultimately going to need anyway.
Imagine if you’re going backpacking in the woods for an overnight stay. Someone with experience tells you what you’ll need. You don’t listen, build your pack, have a horrible time and learn for yourself that you should have listened to the experienced backpacker. And even in backpacking, there are the essentials, smart and luxury options. Maybe it’s time to accelerate your learning.
We’re going to provide you with our thoughts on essentials, smart options, and luxury options. And of course, we attempt to explain our reasoning.
Last point, we at no point consider advertising costs. Those costs should be blended in the expense of your product sell, not in the base cost.
Important Note: We’re estimating all retail costs, almost ALL vendors may give you a discount on the annual price. And these are ALL estimates. We esimate a 40% discount just to show you price reduction. We know some of these price discounts get to 50% for annual purchasing.
Here is the list of items we believe you should invest in if you’re serious about building a successful blog. Please be aware; the essentials are for you to spend right away. Future investments are in smart options. And even future, future items are in luxury. We’ve taken a minimal approach to the essentials. If all you’re doing is blogging, writing content for affiliate marketing and getting comments to help drive traffic, these are the basics. Anything less, it’s just harder, and honestly, you’re going to take a long time to develop traffic.
For the essentials, we have three essential items that we highly recommend to purchase immediately. It’s like water on a long hike on a hot day. It’s essential.
Web hosting/Community to Join
You need a hosting company. There are ones like Bluehost, Godaddy, and Startlogic. Those are all decent and have different options, but it’s more burden on you to set up WordPress, the plugins, privacy, and SSL certificates. Yes, at some point you need SSL certificates for your blog (it’s saying your blog is secure). It’s essential as you grow and customers begin to trust you more. But it’s incredibly painful to buy and setup. Even with the easy discounts you see for the web hosting when adding the options like privacy, domain registration, hosting, SSL, and the rest of the options, you end up paying a several hundred dollars up front for the year.
Also, you do need specific tutorials and a supportive community. As you need comments on your blog and sharing, these communities help accelerate your website ranking and give you feedback. That is important as you start.
We highly recommend Wealthy Affiliate. They have a free option but upgrade to Premium; you need that to build a site correctly. It costs $49 per month. Annual fees would be $588 for the year, but there are good discounts to upgrade. With discounts, you could estimate about $349 annually. Every website you purchase could cost around $15 for the year with hosting included. They have many features we’re not even discussing. Overall, the best investment you could make if you actually want to make money at blogging.
Grammarly is a grammar and spell check app that plugs into your browser and has a web view. Unless you’re an accomplished writer/editor, it’s essential you have an app that checks your grammar before you post. We love Grammarly because it plugs right into your WordPress editor, the comment section on your site and when you’re commenting on other sites plus your social media feeds minimizing your spelling errors and grammar errors is a plus. The monthly fee is $29, estimated annual costs at $348.
Almost every tutorial you read tells you to use some of the free WordPress templates. And there are some great ones. But from our experience, we always have ended up switching to a paid version of WordPress templates. Here are a few reasons why we believe this to be essential. Once you start using a free template at some point, you want to change your site. Changing once you have a lot of content and reformatting is painful. But if you start with a great template, changing is just using the templates customize options. Some templates are very powerful, and if you’re not ready for all the power, that’s fine. Wait until you are ready, but start with a set template then modify as you grow. But we almost guarantee that at some point you’ll want to learn how to have different menu options, change the widgets, start to want pages to look and feel amazing. Switching templates once you start getting a lot of traffic, honestly is more pain than we like to experience. One other thing that’s nice about paid themes, they support you.
Our go-to themes are Elegant Themes – we love Divi and Extra. It costs $89 annual or the lifetime option is $249. They have some beautiful themes and plenty of options.
Here is the recap of the first year cost. We recommend you do a little research as these are all estimates, many give you better discounts than we even estimate. We want to provide you with guidance and prepare you with knowledge on the costs of blogging for money.
|Tool||Vendor||Est. Annual Cost||Link|
|Web Hosting/Community||Wealthy Affiliate||$588.00||Click Here to Join Wealthy Affiliate|
|Writing Spell Check and Grammar Editor||Grammarly||$348.00||Click Here to Purchase Grammarly|
|WordPress Template||Elegant Themes||$89.00||Click Here to Purchase WordPress Templates|
|Estimated Total without Discount||$1,025.00|
|Estimated Discount (35%)||-$410.00|
|Estimated Total with Discount||$615.00|
For smart options, we identify the items you need to truly consider purchasing and we point out items you are going to need and the conditions that you need to purchase the items. We believe you don’t need to buy these items until you’ve reached a level of content and traffic.
Unless you’re going to do all the art yourself in Adobe Photoshop, Inkscape (open source), or any of your creative outlets, you’re going to need images. You may have some for yourself, in that case, you’re all set. Make sure you take high quality and maximum resolution. The next option helps you optimize the images
We recommend two options here: Shutterstock or Pixabay. For either solution, you’re ranging from $3-5 an image, cheaper if you buy in bulk. Pixabay has some free images. If you were like us when we started, you’ll pay $20 or more a month.
But, guess what! If you did what we recommended with using Wealthy Affiliate as your hosted solution and if you start every post or page with their site content writer you get a massive library of high quality, high-resolution images. Once you post to your blog, they upload the images to your site. And you can use them as you need. It is probably one of the most essential, hidden features from their view. So for now, we’re going to say, images – FREE.
When you have a helpful website, your imagines can slow down a site significantly. The plugin called “EWWW Image Optimizer” helps compress the size and the keep the quality. There is a paid option, but you won’t need it for a while. We recommend considering purchasing the upgrade once you begin receiving around 50 visitors a day. You’ll lose visitors with a slow site. But don’t waste your money until you get traffic. It’s maximum $9 per month, but super cheap if you don’t have images.
In the beginning, don’t worry about creating a logo for yourself, use text and a title for a while. Unless you have some art skills, wait. Again, when you’re getting traffic, you may want to update the logo. We recommend going to Fiverr but upgrade to a few iterations. You should budget around $20 to $50 for a logo. You may get lucky at $5, but most likely you’ll go through a few iterations. And make sure to check the potential person that you hire for their references and see their art examples. Find someone that you like their designs first.
At some point, you’ll need to capture emails for a list. We recommend Aweber. It starts at $19 to $59 a month based upon how large the list gets. Don’t worry; if you get a list that’s big enough to pay $59 a month, you’re crushing it. If you’re creating advertising to an email capture landing page, you’ll need to purchase AWeber right away. But again, we always say, wait to do that when you’re generating real traffic to your site.
Jaaxy is an excellent keyword optimizer. It allows people to do some fantastic searches and find keywords that can rank high with real traffic. Since it has a great free option, we do not recommend purchasing this program for at least six months. The premium is amazing, and we absolute use the premium service often. We like it because it can also do keyword and page rank checks. Upgrade to the pro. It’s $19 a month and worth it!!
Smart Options Recap
The smart options are for you to consider as your blog and traffic grow. We list the estimated annual costs, but we also list when you should wait to purchase these items. When your blog grows, you do need to make sure you’re growing it.
|Tool||Vendor||Est. Annual Cost||Est. Time to Wait||Link|
|Images||Wealthy Affiliate||FREE||N/A, or 6 Months||Click Here to Join Wealthy Affiliate|
|Site Speedup||EWWW Image Optimizer||$81.00||6-12 Months||Click Here to Purchase EWWW|
|Logo||Fiverr||(one-time) $50.00||6-12 Months||Click Here to Purchase Grammarly|
|Email Marketing||AWeber||$228.00||3-6 Months||Click Here to Purchase AWeber|
|Keyword Search||Jaaxy||$228.00||3-6 Months||Click Here to Purchase Jaaxy|
Luxury Options (Or when you generate a lot of traffic)
Luxury options happen when you’re business is booming. We do not recommend using any of these until you making money regularly and you intend to keep growing to the millionaire mark. And if you don’t think you’re ready, you aren’t. If you’re reading the items below and say, “Wow, that would really help me.” then you’re ready. You’ll understand when you get there. You’ll know when are ready because you’ll be so busy, you’ll need the help and problems will begin to show up for you within your business.
Web Hosting Dedicated Servers
When your website starts getting high traffic, say 10,000 visits a day or maybe a bit less, you’ll notice the performance of your site starts to decrease significantly. A dedicated server means your site receives all the performance and not shared with other websites. If your not technical at all, this is the time to contract with someone to help you. Our recommendation, contact us, we’ll give you some pointers or do a search”dedicated servers web hosting companies.” Rackspace and Amazon’s AWS are great options, those would be our first recommendations.
Based on your needs, it could be anywhere from $200, $500, or even $1,000 a month. And make sure you ask about redundancy and backups.
Make Your Business Official
Probably up until now, you’ve been a sole proprietor or maybe had a partner. That means you’re operating your business as an individual(s) and everything you do is under you personally. That includes liability, income, expense, and tax. If you’re starting to generate a lot of traffic, you have a product now, you may consider incorporating as an LLC or Inc. Do some research, and if you don’t already have an accountant, this may be a time to hire one. Take your time deciding, and if you have friends involved, just read through the structures together and talk with people. Figure out what is the best benefit to you from reducing risk, tax liability and double taxation, and using your business to accelerate revenue and profit. Be sure to ask your accountant or find some business person to ask about where to register your company. Many people register their companies in Delaware and Wyoming, but some states make you register where you live anyways. Trust us, it can get confusing very quickly.
Again, take your time, talk with people, and make sure you ask a lot of questions. Once you have done some research, save some money and use LegalZoom. It’s cheaper, and more importantly, takes care of a lot of the documentation and documents you need to run your business. Again, don’t do this too soon, but keep it in your plan.
As you grow and you’re making money, here is a list of contractors that you may consider to hire for specific situations or on a part-time basis. Part of making money is optimizing your time. For example, if your value is writing blogs and you’re darn good at it, don’t spend 50% of your time trying to do web graphics. It’s a time/cost equation now. Alternatively, if you’re great at ideas and web design, but you’re not great at writing blogs, then hiring someone to take your ideas and generate written content. Also, this may be the time to consider a contract with experts like accountants, legal advice, and IT experts.
The cost is going to vary. Honestly, check out Fiverr, Upworks, do searches online or ask in your community. Most importantly, check references.
- Accountant: Helps with your finances and taxes
- Legal Services: Helps with legal forms and business review especially if you begin partnerships
- Web designers: Helps with updating your website if you need
- Graphic Artist: Helps with updating any graphics or doing customized art
- Editor: Helps with editing your website and blog posts
- Blog writer: Helps with generating content
- Admin Assistant: Helps with scheduling if you’re starting to meet with people directly or doing trips
- IT Monitoring: Helps manage your website to ensure it’s up and not getting hacked
- IT Experts: Helps if you’re moving your website or setting it up on dedicated servers
- Support: If you’re getting a lot of support questions, getting someone to help answer emails and respond to basic questions
- Social Media Person: Someone to help with expanding your social media reach
As far as costs, this is all over the place in ranges. Our advice here is to use your profit, take your time, and invest in services the either mitigate risk or accelerate profit for your business. Once you’ve become a millionaire online, just having help means you have more time to enjoy the money you’re finally making.
Our three options are meant to show you some of the real costs building a blog. In addition, we are trying to make it simple for you in your decision-making process. We’ve screwed up enough and been successful enough to duplicate what we do each and every time. It makes it easy for us to focus on the content and customers. If you do not like our choices, we absolutely could be wrong, but you still need all of those items we suggested.
Comment below, we’d love to hear alternatives or your experiences. Or comment and ask us questions, we do reply.
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