One question many people ask is, “How much does it cost to start a blog?” That’s a great question.
In all honesty, the cost of starting one depends on your budget and blogging goals. You can spend as much and as little as you like to develop a successful blog.
Some people invest a lot of money upfront, while others start them for very little and slowly add to it as they earn an income from it.
Starting a blog doesn’t have to be expensive if you don’t want it to be. You can publish your content and build a community of like-minded people that’ll grow with you.
So, I put together this post to help answer all of your big blogging questions, like, “How much does it cost to start a blog on WordPress?”
I’ll also explain how to avoid overspending and stick to your budget for your new blog.
Ready to get started? Let’s go!
In This Guide:
- What EXACTLY Do You Need to Start a Blog?
- How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog? (The Basics)
- Hosting Cost With Bluehost
- Domain Name Cost: $0
- WordPress Theme Blog Costs: $0 – $49
- The Hardware Costs of Blogging: $0 – $2,000+
- WordPress Plugins Cost
- Email Marketing Tool Cost
- How to Cut Down Cost for Your WordPress Blog (Checklist)
- Final Question: Is Blogging Worth It?
What EXACTLY Do You Need to Start a Blog?
You don’t need a lot of technical skills or the help of a professional developer to build your blog. You can build one on any kind of budget thanks to the various tools available online.
To start your blog, you need 3 important things:
- A Domain Name
- Web Hosting, and;
- Website Builder/Theme
You can get the first and third item for free, and only have to pay for web hosting and get a website builder/theme (free or premium).
So, keep reading!
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Blog? (The Basics)
Straight to the point, it all depends on what type of blogger you want to be.
There are 3 different group of bloggers:
- Hobby Bloggers (blogging solely for fun or as a creative outlet)
- Side Hustle Bloggers (blogging on the side of your day job to slowly build a business)
- Full-Time Bloggers (blogging as a full-time business).
Starting a new blog on a tight budget will have a different threshold for costs compared to someone who’s running a blog that already generates a little income when it makes sense for them to upgrade into more premium expenses like faster web hosting, better plugins, or themes, and more robust email marketing tools.
To get straight to the point though…
- It will Cost At Least $83.40/year to Start a Hobby Blog
- It will Cost At Least $107.4/year to Start a Side Hustle Blog
- It will Cost At Around $941/year and more to Start a Full-Time Blog
NOTE: I assumed you’ll want to purchase a 1 year plan to test the waters and not 3 years on the go.
Discerning The Type of Blogger You Are
The Hobby Blogger
This type of blogger has little to no interest in ever monetizing their blog—they just want a creative outlet to share about their life, practice their craft or keep family up-to-date on local happenings.
Hobby bloggers are usually on a tight budget, want low upfront costs, and skip on any paid blogging tools that can accelerate growth.
The Side Hustle Blogger
The next category of blogger, the side hustle blogger, definitely has the goal of building a profitable blog within their niche, but they’ve got other commitments in their lives (like a full-time job, family, or otherwise) that don’t yet allow them to work full-time on growing their blog today.
They’re able to publish content with some frequency, and they do plan to make money from their blog eventually, but they know it’ll take some time to get there while they maintain other key responsibilities.
This category of blogger is willing to spend a little more money upfront to get the right blog setup that’ll ensure long-term growth & success, but don’t want to make a huge investment right away.
The Full-Time Blogger
The final category is the blogger that’s all-in right now—ready and willing to spend a meaningful amount of capital upfront in order to grow as quickly as possible.
They have a clear idea of what they want to do with their blog and they’re comfortable with higher costs because they understand how they’ll translate into blog revenue. This category of blogger sees their blog primarily as a business.
So, how much does it cost to start a blog?
It cuts across some major financial aspects while taking into consideration the type of blogger. We’ll talk about:
- Hosting Cost
- Domain Name Cost
- WordPress Theme Cost
- Hardware Cost
- Plugin Costs
- Email Marketing Tool Cost
- Security Cost
Let’s look at the real costs to start a blog—for each type of blogger.
Hosting Cost With Bluehost
The first thing to consider when determining how much it costs to start a blog—is your blogging platform and web hosting plan you’re on.
While there are free (no hosting required) blogging sites that you can use to test the waters into writing as a hobby blogger, I can’t recommend enough that new bloggers use the combination of WordPress with a Bluehost hosting plan.
There are more than enough reasons why Bluehost is the best, and one of it is that WorPress.org has recommended Bluehost as the #1 WordPress blog hosting service since 2005!
Wix and Weebly are popular choices for free blogging platforms, but they’re pretty limited and you don’t actually own the rights to your blog.
Even if you’re choosing a hobby blog, I still suggest paying the low cost of hosting to have total freedom with your content.
Plus, if you ever want to get more serious about blogging and making money with your blog, you won’t have to go through the hassle of moving your site later on.
Moving forward, we’ll be breaking down the costs of blogging using the combination of WordPress (as your content management system) and a Bluehost hosting plan.
Important Note: Billing for hosting plans are usually annually. But let’s be realistic, you’d want to test the waters with the basic plan for at least 1 year, right? For a year basic plan with BlueHost, the lowest pricing is $5.95 per month, that’s why if you want to enjoy Bluehost cheapest hosting pricing, the 36 months plan is locked at $3.95/month.
Hobby Blogger Hosting Costs: $83.4/Year
Want to blog as a hobby? A year (12 months) Basic plan will cost $5.95/month (meaning $71.4/year) + $0.99/month domain privacy which I recommend, it translates into a total of $83.4 yearly.
WordPress is a 100% free content management system (CMS) to use for managing the content on your blog, so the only thing you’ll need to pay for is hosting.
When it comes to getting your blog hosted on a budget, Bluehost is what I recommend.
They also come highly recommended by the makers of WordPress themselves, and they’ve built their business around offering reliable, inexpensive hosting plans to new bloggers.
For a hobby blogger, you really only need to purchase their Basic plan, which gets you everything you need for $5.95/month (meaning $71.4 yearly + an important domain privacy service at $0.99/month, which translates into a total of $83.4
Bluehost hosting is paid up front in a single payment (that secures your hosting price and a complementary domain name for a minimum of your first year).
Side Hustle Blogger Hosting Costs: $107.4/year
For a side hustle blog that you’re taking seriously and hoping to grow into a source of revenue for this side business—I recommend springing for Bluehost’s faster hosting plan that comes with a few more features—called the Choice Plus Plan.
A year (12 months) Choice Plus plan will cost $8.95/month, meaning a total of $107.4/year. This comes with a free domain privacy service for a year.
Their Choice Plus Plan comes with a lot of features beyond what you’ll get in their lowest-cost plan, including free domain privacy, automated backups and more disk space (to get your site running faster).
That being said, the full-year payment does lock you in at one of the lowest-cost hosting plans for the number of features, value, and reliability—especially because you’ll be blogging for the long haul.
Remember: If you’re going for their 36 month plan, it will mean $6.95/month, saving about 59%
Full-Time Blogger Hosting Costs: $107.4/year
In my opinion, even if you’re diving into blogging as a full-time endeavor, you don’t need a hosting plan more robust (or expensive) than Bluehost’s Choice Plus Plan until you’re attracting thousands of monthly readers to your blog.
It’s only at that level of readership that it makes financial sense to upgrade to a more robust hosting plan, either with Bluehost or from one of the other best web hosting providers.
So for now… stick to the Choice Plus Plan from Bluehost that’ll cost you just $6.95/mo and you’ll be good to go for a while as you focus on more important matters (like getting readers).
Bluehost does offer what’s called managed WordPress hosting, for when you are ready to upgrade (read these Bluehost reviews about it when you’re ready).
These plans are usually on sale for existing customers and range in cost from $19.95/mo to $49.95/mo which unlocks more great features for active blogs—like unlimited web storage, unlimited domains, and much higher levels of hands-on technical support.
Domain Name Cost: $0
A domain name, your blog’s address on the Internet, is another relatively small expense that bloggers have to pay.
Thankfully, if you choose Bluehost for your hosting plan, you’ll get your domain name included free for the first year—and it’s around $10/year to renew it after that.
So, for getting your blog started, your domain name cost will be $0 if you host with Bluehost. You can search for (and secure) a domain name with Bluehost right here:
Check if your domain name is available:
If you don’t want to use Bluehost for your hosting and domain name—or if you want to switch later—here are some other options:
DreamHost — Just like BlueHost, DreamHost has all similar features like 1-click WordPress install, a free SSL certificate, and site security.
Another powerful edge Dream host has when compared to other hosting platforms is they offer a true pay-per-month plan that allows you to pay for the cost of your blog hosting each month with no strings attached.
HostGator — Great customer support really makes HostGator stand out. They also have a monthly billing option available. This really helps those learning how to start a blog to minimize cost.
If you still want to evaluate more of the top blog hosting providers as you learn how to start a blog, then head on over to my breakdown of the best web hosting plans for bloggers to review this year.
WordPress Theme Blog Costs: $0 – $49
Picking a WordPress theme for your blog is an extremely important step in the process of building your blog.
While you can change your theme in the future, it does take some reconstructing your website in order to do so—which is why I highly suggest picking a great theme from the start, so you don’t have the hassle of multiple theme changes in the future.
Hobby Blogger WordPress Theme Costs: $0
There are quite literally thousands of free WordPress themes available today, but if you’re looking for a free theme that’s easy to use, ultra-fast, and offers beautiful design layouts, my #1 recommendation is the Hello Theme from the team behind Elementor.
This free Hello Theme was created to be fully compatible with the Elementor Page Builder, which also starts fee and will extend your functionality significantly—giving you a ton of visual editing and creation features.
Minimum Cost for a Hobby Blogger WordPress Theme: $0
Side Hustle & Full-Time Blogger WordPress Theme Costs: $49
As either a side hustle or full-time blogger, you’re out to grow your blog into a source of revenue. You’re taking your blog very seriously.
And if you don’t come from a background in web development, you’ll find it extremely beneficial to use a premium theme and visual page builders like Divi Elegant themes, or Elementor on top of your Hello Theme.
Premium page builders like Elementor offer a lot more customization options and the freedom to tweak the design of your blog exactly however you want.
While Elementor does technically start out as free, the personal plan of Elementor’s PRO Page Builder unlocks all of the features you’ll want as a serious blogger (for $49.00/year):
Pairing their free Hello Theme with the Elementor PRO Page Builder is the way to go—and it’ll keep your cost to start a blog nice and low.
Eventually over time, it might pay off to start investing in a fully custom-built theme that can suit your very specific needs.
Here are more best free WordPress themes to style your blog.
Minimum Cost for a Side Hustle & Full-Time Blogger WordPress Theme: $49.00
Hiring A Custom Web Developer to Build Your Blog
One step up from a premium WordPress theme is a custom-designed theme and blog.
When you build a custom blog, you hire a WordPress developer to create a unique design and build specific features.
A standard custom WordPress theme can start at $5,000, while ones with custom features can start at $15,000, so it’s usually not an option for beginner bloggers.
The high cost of a custom-designed blog is why we recommend starting with a free or low-cost premium theme for your WordPress blog.
You can hire me to setup your free or low cost premium theme on Your blog. Also, I can suggest some cool themes.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to start your blog.
The Hardware Costs of Blogging: $0 – $2,000+
If you already have a computer and smartphone, you can skip the hardware costs of blogging
While many aspiring bloggers probably already have a computer, it’s still something to factor into the cost of starting a blog for some.
Not only that, but consider that you may need to upgrade from your current computer if you’re serious about blogging.
- Laptop Computer
If you’re a hobby blogger, you really don’t need a lot of hardware. A decent laptop and a smartphone will do it.
In fact, you may not even need anything beyond a computer as far as hardware costs are concerned
If you don’t already have a laptop, you can get one on Amazon for less than $200. You’re probably going to use the laptop for more than just blogging, so it’s a worthy investment to make.
At the side hustle blogging level, you need a laptop that’ll give you more functionality, dependability, and processing power. A laptop is more preferable to a desktop because you can take it anywhere.
Depending on the make and model of the laptop you choose, you can expect to pay anywhere from $600 to $2,000 dollars for a fast computer that’ll last years.
If you’re a full-time blogger, A fast, reliable and top of the line laptop (MacBook Pro): $1,300 to $2,600
Other Hardware costs can include:
- and more..
WordPress Plugins Cost
With nearly 60,000 free and thousands of premium plugins available, there are many you can download and install on your blog to add a contact form, photo gallery, slider images, blog masonry layout, or additional font choices.
I’ve gathered a quick list of both best free and premium plugins you can use to upgrade your WordPress blog according to your budget.
- WPForms Lite – Add a contact form to your blog.
- Smash Balloon (Free) – A social media plugin that makes it easy to display feeds from your social media accounts.
- Shared Counts – A social media sharing plugin that won’t slow your site down and is spam compliant for many different global laws.
- All in One SEO Pack – Improve your WordPress SEO and get more traffic from Google.
- MonsterInsights – Track your website analytics and visitor stats.
- UpdraftPlus – Free WordPress backup, a vital maintenance task most people forget.
- Sucuri – Free website security plugin to keep your blog safe.
- WP Forms (Pro) – A drag-and-drop form builder to help you create advanced forms on your website.
- WP Rocket – A premium caching plugin that’ll speed up your WordPress blog. Very useful if you have a media-heavy website.
- Smash Balloon (Pro) – Social media plugins for all the major platforms that’ll help you display your social media content in advanced ways.
- Beaver Builder – A drag-and-drop WordPress page builder to help you create custom layouts and pages for your blog.
- OptinMonster – A conversion plugin that’ll help keep readers on your blog and convert readers into subscribers.
- MonsterInsights (Pro) – In-depth insights into how people find and use your website.
- BackupBuddy – For automatic WordPress backups.
Premium plugins are usually sold through annual subscriptions, so you’ll need to budget for them every year. Look to spend anywhere from $15 to $200+ per year per plugin.
Should You Spend the Money on Premium Plugins?
At this point, you may think that starting a blog will cost you a lot of money, but remember, these are recommendations. You don’t have to pay for any premium plugins to start a blog.
Premium plugins can help extend the features of your blog and give you more opportunities to monetize it. They’ll save you time and effort as you manage your blog, but they also tend to make their cost back pretty quickly for you.
For example, OptinMonster might seem expensive even with its cheapest plan ($14/month.) You might wonder if OptinMonster is really worth it?
When you look at the options you get with it compared to its competitors, how easy it is to customize your campaigns, the detailed analytics reports you get, and the proven results people have with it, it is.
Email Marketing Tool Cost
An email list can be a great way to grow your audience and earn money from your blog.
It’s one of the first ways people “upgrade” their blogs because it lets them connect with their readers directly, promote their latest blog posts, and more.
Email is still the #1 communication channel around the world. People may not use social media, but they use email. And people who buy products marketed through email spend 135% more than those who don’t get email offers.
If your site sells products or publishes reviews of affiliate products, you could be missing out on those extra purchases.
Email marketing software can be expensive, so if you’re just starting out with it, I recommend Aweber.
Aweber’s free plan lets you have 500 subscribers, send 3,000 emails monthly, and enjoy most of the Pro features. On the other hand, Aweber Pro let’s you enjoy all pro features for just $19/month, and you can send Unlimited emails.
That price typically gets you access to advanced marketing features like landing pages, integration with social media platforms, and personalized support options.
No matter what you spend on your blog, be sure you get a high return on your investment. Otherwise, the economics of blogging just doesn’t make sense.
Other blog setup cost may include;
- Advertising cost
- Content creation cost
- Writing cost, etc.
To keep your spending on track as you start your blog, I’ve gathered some of the best advice on how to keep your costs down.
How to Cut Down Cost for Your WordPress Blog (Checklist)
As you can see, you can spend a little or spend a lot when starting your WordPress blog. I recommend that you start small and then scale your blog as it grows.
When starting, you won’t need all the premium features you see on the well-established blogs.
In fact, you can be assured that they started small too. It likely took them a few years to figure out how to manage their blog and manage costs so their blog could grow nicely.
Use this quick checklist to get a handle on your blog spending before it gets out of control.
1. What’s the budget for your blog?
There’s no sense in building a blog you can’t afford, so before you build it, sit down and create a budget.
Know how much money you have to invest, and if you have any contingency money, you can add in if there’s an emergency.
2. What features do you want on your blog?
When you start your blog, you won’t need all the fancy features more established blogs have.
Take a look at the blogs you like and features you think you’d like on your blog and write them down. Then, research to see what plugins are available and if there are free versions you can start with.
Note which ones have premium versions so you have an idea of what you’ll need to spend in the future if you grow your blog to that point.
That way, you can use your blog’s earnings to pay for them and save your money.
3. Do you need a custom-built WordPress blog?
For most people, the answer will be ‘no.’ However, if you think you’d want some advanced features or a unique design for your blog right away, you’ll need to budget a few thousand dollars to hire a WordPress developer.
I recommend going with a standard blog to start and then saving up your money for a custom one if you really have your heart set on it.
4. Are you very tech-savvy?
It’s important to understand your comfort level with technology since you’ll know if you need more help with your blog or not.
For example, if you’re not familiar with how web hosts work, you’ll want to choose a host that has good support and great documentation.
You might even want to start off with a managed host since they’ll take care of a lot of the maintenance stuff you’re not comfortable with.
Likewise, with plugins and themes. The more comfortable you are, the less support you need, which can change how much you pay for them.
That said, you can start a blog even if you don’t know much about technology and how it all works.
WordPress makes it very easy to do and I’m here to answer all your blogging questions.
Final Question: Is Blogging Worth It?
After reading this far, you might still be wondering if the cost of blogging is worth it.
Blogging can be worth it from both an experience perspective and a financial one.
Yes, it’ll cost you a little bit of money to get started, but with my tips, you can keep your initial investment low until you start making money online.
Then, you can re-invest your earnings into your blog for premium WordPress themes and advanced plugins that will help you grow.
I hope this post helped you understand how much it would cost to start a WordPress blog and answered your most pressing questions about it.
For more beginner blogging information, read out how to write the perfect blog post headline.