How Much Does It Cost to Start a WordPress Blog?

Wondering how much it costs to start a WordPress blog? Since I began blogging back in 2009, I’ve seen all sorts of costs and setups, from shoestring budgets to more substantial investments.

Now, since I’ve grown this blog and started several others, I’ve learned what it really takes, financially, to get a blog off the ground. Let’s dive into what you can expect to spend to start a brand new blog on WordPress.

How Much it Costs to Start a WordPress Blog

The quick answer is that starting a WordPress blog can range from about $50 to $200 in the first year. But remember: this isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. The cost varies based on choices you make about hosting, your domain, and other tools you might pick up along the way.

Here are typical costs for a new wordpress blog for the average blogger:

Blog FeatureAnnual Cost
DomainFREE – $20
Hosting$36 – $60
Template or Theme (Design)$0 – $50
Plugins & Apps$0
Graphics & Photos$0
TOTAL$36 – $130

In this post, I’ll guide you through each of these, so you can understand where your money might go and how to make smart choices for your blog.

Want to skip reading and just get started?

If you don’t want to read every detail of what goes into the costs of starting a blog, I recommend just signing up with SiteGround. They usually have really good introductory prices if you sign up for hosting for a year. So you’ll pay that plus the cost of a domain. This will easily come in at under $100 for your first year.

SiteGround is super easy to use and makes installing and setting up WordPress easy. I’ve been with Siteground for several years and have set up several blogs via Siteground so I know first hand that it’s a great company. I recommend them to pretty much everyone.

Now if you do want to dig a little deeper before you make any decisions, let’s get started!

What Type of Blogger Are You?

Personal Blogs: Self-Expression and Sharing

If you’re thinking of starting a blog as a personal space to express yourself, share life stories, or explore hobbies, you’re starting a personal blog. Personal blogs are more about the joy of sharing and less about making money, so you can generally go for free or low cost options and don’t have to worry about taking on too many extra expenses.

Side Hustle Blogs: Stepping Stone to Monetization

If you’re looking to turn your blog into a side hustle, then you need to consider this when you go into choosing a domain, host, and any extra expenses for your blog. This path is for those who want to gradually step into the blogging world with an eye on eventually making some income. It’s a mix of passion and profit.

Full-Time Blogs: Blogging as a Career

Ready to dive in headfirst? Full-time bloggers see their blog as more than a passion project; it’s their plan for a full time income. This means you’ll be investing more time and resources upfront but with the potential for significant income. That also means that you need to consider where you want your blog to go when making choices on where to host it, what additional features you need to pay for, etc.

Essential Costs for a WordPress Blog

Domain Name

Think of a domain name like your home address, but on the internet. It’s what people type into their browser to find your blog. For example, when you type ‘hustleandslow.com’ into your browser, you’re directed to this blog. You want your domain name to be easy to remember and reflect what your blog is about.

Now, about the cost – you’ll spend around $10 to $20 per year for this. Prices vary depending on where you register your domain and what extension you choose (what follows your blog’s name like ‘.com’ or ‘.net’).

You will register your domain where ever you sign up for hosting and I always recommend getting a domain with a .com if you can.

Web Hosting

If your domain name is your address, web hosting is like renting the land where your blog lives. Your blog needs a spot on the internet, and hosting companies provide this space. They ensure that when someone types your blog’s domain name, your blog shows up.

The cost of web hosting can be cheap or expensive, depending on how much space you need and how many visitors you expect. If you’re just starting, shared hosting, where your blog shares space with other websites, can cost just a few dollars a month. Especially with hosts like SiteGround that offer significant discounts for paying annually instead of monthly.

As your blog grows and gets more visitors, you might need dedicated hosting. This costs more but gives you more space and better performance for all your site visitors. This usually won’t be needed until a few years down the line so unless you can easily afford it, it’s not a necessity.

Optional Blog Costs: Enhancing Your Blog

Premium Themes and Design

Imagine walking into a room that’s beautifully decorated – that’s what premium themes and custom designs do for your blog. We’ve all come across amazing designs, and some bad ones too. Premium designs can help you look like you had a professional designer without paying one thousands of dollars.

There are lots of free themes out there, but sometimes a premium theme has advantages. A premium theme is a pre-made design that you can buy and apply to your blog to make it look professional and appealing. Prices for these themes start at about $30 and can go up to a few hundred dollars.

Some great places to buy premium themes are Etsy and Envato.

Premium Plugins

Plugins are like add-ons for your blog, giving it extra features and abilities. For example, some plugins help your blog show up better in Google searches (that’s called SEO), and others let you sell products directly from your blog (e-commerce capabilities). 

Think of plugins as tools or gadgets that make your blog more powerful and versatile. Some basic ones are free, but more specialized ones come with a price, either a one time fee, monthly, or annually.

Email Marketing Services

Having a list of email addresses of your readers is like having a direct line to your audience. Writing on your blog is great, but they actually have to show up at your blog for you to access them.

Email marketing services let you send newsletters, updates, or promotions straight to their inboxes. These services vary in price pretty significantly. You can start with free options, but as your email list grows and your needs become more complex, you might want to upgrade to a paid plan with a reliable, feature-rich provider.

Best budget option: Mailerlite (free available then affordable pricing)
My recommendation: Convertkit (free available, a little more expensive but worth it)

Graphic Design Tools and Stock Photos

Just like in a magazine, pictures and graphics in your blog make it more attractive and engaging. Most people don’t want to just look at a wall of text. Graphic design tools help you create these visuals, and stock photos provide high-quality images you can use. Some tools and photo libraries are free, but paying for them usually gives you more options and better quality.

Canva is a great graphic design tool for most bloggers. For stock photos, you can find a good amount on Canva. But websites like Pexels are also a great place to start.

Computer Requirements

Your computer is your main tool for blogging. You don’t need the newest or most expensive model, but it should be reliable and quick enough to allow you to get posts up with ease. Think of it like a chef’s knife – it doesn’t have to be the fanciest one, but it needs to be sharp enough to do the job well.

The Cheapest Way to Start a WordPress Blog

Starting a WordPress blog can be budget-friendly with the right choices! Let’s take a look at some tips to keep costs low:

  • Affordable Hosting: Your hosting doesn’t have to be expensive. SiteGround is a wallet-friendly option many new bloggers choose (with room to grow and upgrade as your blog gets more traffic!)
  • Free WordPress Themes: There are plenty of attractive, free themes available on WordPress.
  • Use Free Plugins: You may not need any to start anyway, but once you start getting the hang of blogging, there are plenty of free plugins available for most of your basic needs.
  • Keep It Simple: Keeping it simple to begin with will keep your from adding too many expenses before you even know what you’re doing.
  • Take Your Own Photos: Depending on the topic of your blog, you may need photos. You could use free stock photos, but you could also use your own photos and know that 100 other bloggers aren’t using the same ones you are.

Best Setup for Bloggers Who Want to Monetize

If your goal is to turn your blog into a profitable venture, starting with the right setup is key. Here’s what I recommend for bloggers focused on eventual monetization:

FeatureAnnual Cost (First Year)Why
Site Ground (domain & web hosting)$50-$60 depending on current deals (choosing annual plan will save you the most)Easy to use, affordable, plenty of room to grow & upgrade as your blog grows
Yoast SEO (plugin)FREEHelps new bloggers understand how to use keywords in their posts to rank in Google.
ConvertKit (email marketing)FREE for up to 500 subscribersTo grow your email list for future marketing, promotion, etc.
Canva (graphic design)FREEEasy to use and thousands of templates for graphics
Google AnalyticsFREETo see your growth and analyze which posts are getting traffic, where visitors are coming from, etc.
Keywords Everywhere (keyword tool)$15 for 100,000 credits (google searches/keywords)To help you pick keywords to write blog posts about based on search volume and competition
SEO BootcampFREE (it will offer you a paid product after, but it’s up to you if you want to purchase)Will teach you SEO basics for bloggers (learning SEO will help your posts show up in search results)

Why I Recommend SiteGround:

  • Exceptional Performance: Ensures your site loads quickly, improving user experience.
  • Enhanced Security Features: Protects your blog from various online threats.
  • Outstanding Customer Support: Responsive and knowledgeable support, usually within a 24-hour timeframe.
  • Regular Website Backups: Keeps your content safe with daily backups.

Investing in these tools from the get-go sets a solid foundation for a blog that you can work towards monetizing. With SiteGround as your host, you’re equipped with a reliable, secure platform that supports your blog’s growth and revenue goals.

Years ago, I would have recommended BlueHost as a cheap option and SiteGround as the next step up. But these days, SiteGround’s pricing is pretty similar so it’s the best place to start in my opinion!

For those committed to making their blog a success, investing in a host like SiteGround can be a game-changer. It provides not just a platform for your blog but a suite of tools and services to support your blog’s growth.

Free WordPress Alternatives: Who Should Use Them?

Exploring free WordPress alternatives is an option many new bloggers consider. However, understanding who these platforms are best suited for—and who should steer clear—is key to making the right decision for your blog.

Free Blogging Platforms:

  • WordPress.com: A user-friendly version of WordPress.org, ideal for beginners. It offers free basic plans and is a good middle-ground between flexibility and ease of use. However, this isn’t your own website, it’s hosted on WordPress.com. Scroll down for a comparison of Self Hosted WordPress vs WordPress.com.
  • Wix: This one tends to draw a lot of people, who eventually need to move to WordPress for the features they want. Wix has well-designed templates and is easy to use, but isn’t good for a professional appearance or monetization.
  • Medium: A free platform with more of a community feel. It’s great for reaching a wider audience. Medium is easy to use, but you don’t fully own your content, and it lacks personalization options​​.
  • Blogger: Known for its simplicity and integration with Google services. It offers basic customization options and is free to use, making it ideal for simple, personal blogging projects.

Who Should Use Free Platforms:

  • Hobby Bloggers: If you’re blogging as a hobby or personal outlet, and not concerned about monetization or brand building, free platforms can be a good fit.
  • Beginners Testing the Waters: Those new to blogging who want to get a feel for it without initial financial commitment might find these platforms useful.
  • Temporary Projects: For short-term projects or blogs with a limited lifespan, a free platform can work.

Who Shouldn’t Use Free Platforms:

  • Any blogger who wants to monetize: If you want to grow your blog into any sort of income source, free alternatives can be limiting.
  • Bloggers who want full control: With free platforms, you don’t have full control and may not even fully own your blog or it’s content the way you would with a self hosted option.
  • Branding-Conscious Bloggers: Those who want full control over their site’s look and feel will find the customization limitations of free platforms frustrating.
  • Growth-Oriented Bloggers: If you plan to expand your audience significantly, the scalability limitations of free platforms will become an obstacle.

While free platforms can be a good starting point for certain types of bloggers, anyone serious about blogging for their business or monetization should honestly steer clear.

A self-hosted WordPress site, though it comes with initial costs, offers more flexibility, control, and scalability. It’s an investment in your blog that can pay off in both growth and monetization potential.

Self-Hosted (WordPress.org) vs. WordPress.com

Choosing between WordPress.org and WordPress.com comes down to how much control and flexibility you want. WordPress.org is the self-hosted version where you have full control over your site. You fully own it. You’ll need to purchase hosting (like SiteGround) and manage updates and backups yourself. It’s ideal for those who want complete customization and the ability to add powerful plugins.

WordPress.com, on the other hand, is hosted on WordPress’s servers. It’s easier to set up and manage, with free plans available, making it great for beginners and personal bloggers. However, it’s less customizable and has limitations on monetization.

Pros and Cons of Using Self Hosted WordPress

Pros:

  • Flexibility: Highly customizable with thousands of themes and plugins.
  • SEO-Friendly: Great features and plugins to optimize for search engines.
  • Monetization: Wide range of options to monetize your site.
  • Tons of Free Tutorials: It’s been around for a long time so there are plenty of tutorials on how to do things via YouTube, other blogs, etc.

Cons:

  • Learning Curve: May be overwhelming (at first) for absolute beginners.
  • Maintenance: Requires regular updates and backups.
  • Cost: While WordPress.org is free, associated costs like domain, hosting, and premium themes can add up.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I Invest in a WordPress Blog or Start on a Free Platform?

Choosing between investing in a WordPress blog or starting on a free platform depends on your blogging goals. If you’re serious about blogging, especially for business or monetization, a WordPress blog is your best choice.

Can I Build a Blog for Free?

Yes, you can build a blog for free using platforms like WordPress.com, Blogger, or Medium. These platforms offer basic blogging capabilities without initial costs, but they have limitations in customization and monetization.

Is it Free to Start a Blog on WordPress?

Starting a blog on WordPress can be free if you choose WordPress.com’s basic plan. It allows you to create a blog without upfront costs, but with limitations on customization and a ‘wordpress.com’ subdomain. For full features and custom domain, a self hosted blog using WordPress.org requires web hosting and domain name purchase.

Is it Worth it to Start a Blog in 2024?

Yes, starting a blog in 2024 is still worth it! Especially if you have valuable content to share or a specific niche to target. There are so many reasons to blog whether it’s just to share and document your life, turn your blog into a business, or blog to get traffic to your businesses website.

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