It takes money to make money. Even for bloggers. If you’re trying to start blogging for business and turn your content into income, take note of these expenses.
As I transition over from focusing solely on freelancing as a revenue generator for See Girl Work, to looking for opportunities to exploit our content as a source of income, I thought it would be interesting to share just how must it costs to run the See Girl Work blog.
Everybody knows it takes money to make money. There’s certainly a cost to do business. Even as a blogger.
Website hosting, themes, newsletters and online ads are not free. Attending events, hiring freelance writers and photo shoots don’t come cheap. Blogging for business can certainly be pricey.
But through freelance marketing clients, hosting workshops and moderating events, I am able to pay for these things and invest back into my business.
If you are just starting out or blog only as a hobby or creative outlet, then this post might not apply to you. However if you’re looking to create a thriving blog that you can leverage for income, then you might want to take note of the expenses below.
Hosting with Bluehost on a shared hosting, three-year plan costs $285.96. My package includes five websites and site backup pro. It’s important to have backup. Anything can happen to your site, so you want to be able to get it back up and running without any technical glitches. Especially once you start trying to earn income from your site.
The See Girl Work domain name costs $15.99/yearly and I have unlimited email capacity. Domain name and email are a separate cost. This is in addition to my website hosting.
A premium blog theme can run anywhere from $60 to $150. But it’s a must if you want your blog to be taken seriously and look professional.
I pay about $70 US for premium themes that I purchase on Creative Market. Ultimately, when I get big enough with See Girl Work, I’d like to have a custom blog site created, which might cost a couple thousand dollars.
But it’s worth it if your blog is your source of income. I want See Girl Work to become big enough that it looks unique and not a replica of anyone else’s site. It’s an investment I’m willing to make.
Creating and Publishing Content
Our contributing writers only get paid only if they attend events or conduct interviews. Otherwise, our writers act as guest bloggers and they do not get paid. However, this is an area that I would like to invest more in.
More affluent niche bloggers pay all their writers and even staff out blog posts to freelance content writers on Fiverr and other such sites.
I like having various writers contribute to the blog as they offer a different perspective, their own unique experience and I think that having different writers and bloggers keeps See Girl Work fresh and interesting.
The other neat thing about incorporating guest bloggers and writers is that we can often receive exposure to new audiences that we might not have reached before.
Photographers that I’ve worked with in the past cost about $250/hour. I don’t work with professional photographers that often. But when I do, I try to get at least 15 shots that I can use on the website, in blog posts and on our social media feed.
This may seem like a wasted expense, but professional photographers invest in thousand of dollars worth of camera, lighting and lens equipment in order to get your perfect shots. They also spend a tonne of hours processing photographs to make them look even better than real life.
No filter app can dupe what a professional photographer can. I’ve never regretted hiring a professional photographer.
Depending on what kind of blog you have (i.e fashion, travel or food blogger), you might be better off investing in your own camera and lighting equipment in order to capture original photography for your blog.
Since See Girl Work is a marketing blog, I really only depend on free, high-end stock photography. However, I’m hoping to be able to invest in more original photos later this year.
Adobe Photoshop CC costs $11.29 US/month. Whenever I do need to figure out my own photography or even for something simple like cropping or image re-sizing (especially for social media feeds), it’s always good to have Photoshop or something similar.
Most bloggers — especially those that create e-books, templates and print-outs, also invest in InDesign and sometimes even Adobe Illustrator as well.
Social Media Management
A 1-year subscription for Hootsuite costs $135.46. I manage most my social media profiles from the Hootsuite dashboard including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Instagram.
It would be nearly impossible to run a successful blog without some sort of social media assistance. Using a social media scheduler makes managing our feeds a lot more efficient and accurate.
A basic monthly subscription with Later (Instagram) costs $29/month. The one thing missing from Hootsuite is that it does not have the visual planner for Instagram that Later does, so I still use Later as a separate visual planner for our Instagram.
The amount of planning, syncing and automation that it takes to publish and market each blog posts takes a lot of organization.
But my very first freelancing client came through via the See Girl Work Instagram and I continue to receive other opportunities through this social channel as well. That’s why it’s worth the added expense to have a separate tool just to help me plan out our visual grid.
Advertising & Marketing
Mailchimp newsletter service subscription costs $10/month. This is only because I have less than 500 subscribers. The more subscribers you have on your mailing list, the more it costs to service them.
If your blogging business is new you can have a newsletter account on Mailchimp for free. A free account includes up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.
However, since I use the mail automation feature as part of my email marketing strategy, I need to have a paid account.
It’s worth it for bloggers who do it as a business to pay for the email service because that’s how they sell and promote their products or services. If you make your money as a pizza delivery driver — you need a car that works. Public transit just won’t do it!
Facebook ads costs as little as $7.00. About twice a month I do a boosted post — especially if we have a really good guest blogger coming up. But the more followers you have, the more you might have to spend in order to reach them. That’s why it’s more cost efficient to have a mailing list.
LinkedIn ads cost a little bit more. I cap mines at $40 a month and that’s only because I’ve been promoting our events on LinkedIn. Otherwise, I wouldn’t typically do ads on LInkedIn for See Girl Work.
Keyword and SEO tools like SEMrush can cost up to $99.95/month. But serious bloggers with millions of monthly site traffic who generate thousands of dollars of revenue a month, require this level of search engine optimization management.
I use Keyword Tool, but I only use what I can get for free.
As you can see, once you start creating content in order to generate an income, it becomes easy to rack up expenses.
Researching, blogging, photographing, planning and managing social media takes a lot of time and real effort. I didn’t even mention additional costs such a landing pages, photo filters and commerce plugins.
That’s why bloggers and other content creators charge a premium for branded content, sponsorship and other forms of brand partnerships.
It’s their business. And just like any other business, the point is to earn more than you spend.
The beauty of earning money through blogging is that you can do it from just about anywhere in the world. You can create your own blogging schedule. You meet tonnes of people. You start getting invited to attend events you wouldn’t normally even know about.
You can blog and create at your hearts desires. What’s not worth it about that?!