The Hidden Costs of Blogging and Rarely Discussed Money-Saving Measures

4 years ago

So, let's talk cold, hard cash: how much does it really cost you to blog once you factor in the necessary (computer), the wanted (pretty blog design), and the reality (nothing is free: when you're taking time to blog, you're taking time away from something else).  Blogging can quickly become a very expensive hobby.

I have to admit that when I add up my blogging costs, I always have a difficult time counting the computer.  After all, when I add up how much it cost to make a recipe, I don't add in the cost of my oven and the stand mixer.  Those tools are both integral to making bread, but it would be strange to claim that the loaf of bread cost $2000 to make.  My computer is used for work, the kids' homework assignments, and a bevy of other activities, so I decided not to count it when adding up my blogging costs.

I self-host but bought a long-term package, so it comes out to about $100 per year.  My domain name is $20ish, but I also bought up a very similar name and redirect it, so count another $20 for that.  I have a trademark on my blog name, which was mostly a one-time fee, but I still need to add that in.

And uh... my kids watched me blog which made them want to start their own, so tack on another $20 for their domain (see, the hidden costs of blogging!).

Image: 401(K) 2013 via Flickr

I didn't pay for a blog designer, choosing instead to ask friends questions and learn how to do it myself.  One of the best hidden money-saving things about BlogHer is that I save up all my questions and then unload them at panels, the GeekBar, or meeting techie people sitting at my table during lunch.  For the cost of a conference ticket, you can get all of your blog tweaks done in one weekend and meet up with friends to boot.  And if you bring your laptop with you, you can always find someone to sit beside you and help while you make the changes.

I don't have a fancy camera; if there are images in my posts, they've come from my phone.  I don't have backdrops or stylists.  There are no props to buy when you're simply telling your personal story.  I don't have to invest in ingredients or tickets to events or clothing.  For food, DIY, or fashion bloggers, there can be high costs as you purchase the necessary items to build a post. Though I do I go to BlogHer as my one conference every year, so throw in the cost of that too. 

Lovely Indeed went through the possible cost of blogging in a post, and while our lists are slightly different (I counted my trademark and the kids' blog, she counted photo editing software), they give you a small sense of what it costs to self-host a blog.  Even free spaces are rarely ever free.

Because there's that final point that we need to return to: if you're blogging, you're not doing something else.  In my case, writing my blog takes me away from freelance assignments.  There are writing jobs I've turned down because they didn't grab me as much as my personal blog.  But I believe that it balances out since my personal blog has opened the door for everything from book deals to freelance articles. 

What are other hidden costs (and money-saving measures) I missed, and how much do you spend on blogging?

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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