So you want to start a blog. Great!
What’s your first step? If you’re a smart blogger, it will be to create a blog budget.
While many people mistakenly believe that launching an online business (or blog) requires little or no start-up cost, this isn’t the case, and if you proceed into blogging without a clearly defined budget, it’s likely that you’ll blow through all your extra funds in no time at all.
When you take into account things like hiring writers, paying for advertisements, purchasing software to help you check your spelling and grammar, and developing high-quality visuals for your blog, it’s clear that blogging can be expensive!
Luckily, a good blog budget can help you keep your expenses in check.
Do you Need a Blog Budget?
No matter what type of blog you are planning on starting, the answer is an unequivocal yes! Even if you’re just running a personal blog that’s not meant to make money, you’ll still need to consider things like hosting and domain names, and a blog budget is critical.
Regardless of whether your blog is meant to drive people to other parts of your website, sell a product, build a subscriber list, or just share pictures from a recent vacation, every blog on the web needs a few things that will cost money. Including plugins, a theme, hosting, and a URL, so building a blog budget will help you keep your expenses in check.
If your blog is meant to drive sales and produce income for you, you may also need to consider expenses like conferences, advertising, employee payments, business cards, and additional software or plugins to help your blog run more efficiently.
While it may seem like developing a blog budget is a complicated process, it’s quite simple, and it can save you time and energy down the road.
How to Build a Blog Budget That Works for You
While building a blog budget is critical for all bloggers, there is no one-size-fits-all formula for a successful budget. Instead, you’ll need to evaluate things like your available finances, goals, and the state of your current blog.
According to SmartBlogger, one of the best ways to build a blog budget is to categorize yourself in one of the following three groups:
- The “Bare-Bones” Blogger. The “Bare-Bones” blogger is mainly blogging for fun. The blog is not meant to drive a serious profit and, as such, the owner of the blog wants to keep the costs associated with it as minimal as possible.
- The Serious Hobbyist. The Serious Hobbyist blogger wants to grow their blog but isn’t planning on making their full living off of it just yet. These bloggers are happy to spend their time and money on the blog, but they don’t want to sink all of their available income into it.
- The Blogpreneur. The Blogpreneur blogs as part of his or her business. They’re willing to spend as much as is needed to drive profits and results, and they believe their expenses today will drive ROI down the road.
Does one of these categories sound familiar? Good!
Categorizing yourself into one of these three groups right from the get-go is one of the best ways to ensure you’re building the right budget for your circumstances and goals.
What Should You Include In Your Blog Budget?
Now that you’ve determined what type of blogger you are, it’s time to consider what you’ll need to include in your budget.
Here are some examples:
- The Bare-Bones Blogger won’t need much to get started with his or her blog. While a decent computer is a must, most of the blog can be built on the free services offered by platforms like WordPress. This blogger will need to consider expenses like domain hosting, of course, but these are minimal.
- The Serious Hobbyist will need just a bit more equipment than the Bare-Bones Blogger. For these bloggers, who want room for their platforms to grow into a full-time gig, a powerful laptop is essential. Not only will this make the process of writing and editing blogs simpler and more efficient, but it will also ensure that you won’t have to swap out equipment (which can be costly) as soon as your blog begins to grow. In addition to a good laptop, bloggers in this category will also need some minimal advertising and may want to shell out some funds for content creation.
- The Blogpreneur. If you’re a Blogpreneur, you’re the most serious blogger of the group, and you’ll need the equipment to reflect it. In addition to a high-powered laptop that can run several programs at once without slowing down, you’ll also need some software, such as Grammarly, Copyscape, and Canva, to help you build out your blog content. While all of these platforms have free versions, the paid versions are the only ones that are powerful enough to truly support the growth of your blog. What’s more, you may need to consider things like admission to conferences and events in your budget, as these will help you grow your business in the long-term.
Additional Factors to Consider in your Blog Budget
When it comes to building a blog, the expenses don’t stop with a laptop and a domain name. Depending on the type of blogger you are, and the direction in which you want to take your blog, you may also need to consider the following expenses:
If you’re looking to build your blog into a full-time business, you’ll need to invest in email marketing. Services like MailChimp offer paid features that can help you segment your audience lists, send out targeted marketing emails, and save templates for a faster, more streamlined email experience down the road.
In addition to the email marketing platform itself, you may want to consider writers or designers to help you build out an email marketing strategy and grow your blog’s following.
Custom email addresses
While [email protected] may be acceptable for a bare-bones blogger, it just looks unprofessional for a Blogpreneur. With this in mind, consider shelling out some additional money to get a personalized email, such as [email protected]. In addition to helping brand you as a serious, full-time blogger, this will also make it easier to separate your blog emails from your personal emails.
Custom emails are available through dozens of different services, such as G Suite, and can often be rolled into the cost of your domain and hosting for just a few extra dollars a month.
Plugins and Tools
If you’re using WordPress to run your blog, you’ll have the option to use thousands of free or paid plugins. While the free plugins, such as Yoast SEO, can go a long way toward improving your blog, there comes a time when it’s wise to start shelling out for paid plugins too.
There are also a number of other paid tools that can help improve the performance of your blog, such as social media scheduling tools like Buffer.
In addition to making your responsibilities as a blogger easier and more streamlined, these paid tools may also make it easier for you to track your results.
Finally, if you run a self-hosted blog, you may also want to invest in a premium backup service. When you’re earning money from your blog, few things are more devastating than losing all of its content to a technical glitch. In light of this, a paid auto-backup service can save you time, energy, and stress, that may be a whole lot of heartache down the road.
Custom blog design
Regardless of what type of blogger you are, custom blog design is a good idea. Whether it’s a custom header or logo, or an entire website that was built for you from scratch, custom blog design is essential to help you stand out from the crowd and provide a recognizable brand for your audience.
Luckily, the costs of custom blog design vary widely. If you’re a Bare-Bones Blogger, you can grab a simple logo on Fiverr for just $5.
While this may tide you over for a while, it won’t cut it when you become a serious Blogpreneur. At that point, you’ll likely need to upgrade to an experienced design company, which will cost you more but will also provide a higher ROI.
Content creation and marketing assistance
If you’re a Serious Hobbyist or a Bare-Bones Blogger, you may be comfortable creating all of your content on your own. As your blog grows, though, you’ll likely need some help. At this point, you may consider investing in an employee or freelancer to help you with your content creation and marketing.
In addition to taking some of the burden off of your shoulders, outsourcing some of your content creation can also go a long way toward improving your blog’s content and drawing more customers to your platform.
5 Critical Considerations for Building a Blog Budget
Now that you know what to consider including in your blog budget, let’s talk about some essential guidelines to follow when building your budget.
1. Adjust your budget on a regular basis
No matter what type of blogger you are, it’s unlikely that your blog will just maintain its current status for years and years. Blogs grow, they change, they lose followers, they gain followers. Bloggers become more competent, more efficient, and more adventurous. With this in mind, it’s essential to revisit your blog budget on a regular basis.
In addition to ensuring that your budget always supports your blog as it is today, this step will also contribute to ensuring that you’re not cheating your blog out of the resources and foundation it needs to grow and change.
2. Define your “must-have” spending categories
Your “must-have” spending categories will come down to your biggest pain points.
Having a tough time balancing writing your blog while also living your life? Consider putting some resources into a freelancer or a content creation company.
Having a tough time with web design? Hire an experienced company to help you.
By defining your primary spending categories based on the things that are most difficult for you, you can easily improve your blog and your life all at once – without going over your blog budget.
3. Track your budget carefully
Whether you use an excel sheet or a payment software like FreshBooks to track your expenses, it’s essential to monitor them closely and be acutely aware of the times when you come near your blog budget or begin to exceed it. This helps you stay between the lines and makes it easier to avoid budget-based shock and distress.
4. Cut corners where you can, but don’t sacrifice quality
If you’re trying to make any money from your blog, quality is essential. While it’s all well and good to make attempts to save money, you cannot afford to sacrifice quality. The moment you sacrifice quality, you’ll find yourself losing readers and money.
With this in mind, think twice before you start cutting corners. Would you be better off just shelling out the money and enjoying a higher ROI in the long-term? If so, take that path.
5. Hire quality services and assistance
Before you spend money on a company, plugin, or software, do your research. Look for reviews, testimonials or recommendations.
A little due diligence in the beginning to find the right match, will save you time, money, and effort down the road.
A Blog Budget: One Essential Tool Every Blogger Needs
Regardless of whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, a blog budget is a critical resource that can help keep your blog fun, successful, and stress-free.
By factoring in expected expenses, such as domain names and hosting… and unexpected expenses, like email marketing and custom blog design, you can put together a blog budget that truly works for you and your company – regardless of what your goals may be.