How much does it cost to start a self-hosted WordPress blog? Is it costly to start a WordPress blog?
It’s understandable for new bloggers to have such questions in mind since there are perceptions that starting a WordPress blog is a costly affair.
Figuring the cost of starting a WordPress blog is important as it helps you save a lot of money.
Well, WordPress is a free and one of the best blogging platforms that allow you to create and manage your blog with ease. However, you will need a place to run the blog- So your blog must be hosted somewhere on the web. Moreover, there are other costs to incur. Depending on your requirements, you can spend as much as you wish but you can spend less than you might have thought as well.
While it may not be easy to estimate the total cost needed to get your blog up and running, I have broken down the cost to help you understand what you may need.
Note that, blogging is like any other business. The more you invest in it, the more profits you are likely to reap. The same happens with blogging. If you think you are saving money using free stuff, then you may end up scratching your head hard.
Another important thing you need to know is that having a self-hosted blog offers you plenty of benefits than a free one.
Keep reading as I walk you through the cost to start a WordPress blog.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.”
How Much Does It Cost To Start A WordPress Blog?
The reason I recommend WordPress is that it does not cost you so much to start a blog. You can download the WordPress software free from the official WordPress site.
As mentioned earlier, there are other costs you will incur but all depends on your explicit requirements. For instance, you will need to register your domain name.
To make your blog findable online, you will need to invest in customization and SEO, which may cost you money as well.
If your aim is just to start a blog on WordPress, the minimal cost you may incur is around $60 for unlimited hosting. Bluehost offers a free domain for a first user. Besides, you will get WordPress software installed automatically for you.
Domain Cost (Around $12)
The first thing you need when starting a WordPress blog is to register a domain name. A domain name is simply the name of your blog. In my case, my domain name is bloggingpot.com. Simply put; it’s the name that appears in the URL of your blog that readers enter into their browsers to access your blog.
You know what? Choosing a domain name is one of the key things that you should never take lightly if you want to run a successful blog.
But wait. You don’t choose just a name. You must choose a domain name that is clear, easy to read and easy to remember.
Take an example with Entrepreneur.com. When you see this domain name, you automatically know that the site is made for entrepreneurs. That’s how your domain name should be.
What is The Best Site to Register a Domain Name?
You may either decide to register your domain name with Bluehost or Namecheap. With Bluehost, it’s free for a first user but Namecheap charges a fee although not costly.
These are the two most popular domain registrars I have used since I started blogging.
So what’s the first thing to do? It’s simple. Brainstorm as many domain names as possible. From there, go straight to Namecheap to check whether they are available. Hit the “Bulk Search” button in the search box paste your brainstormed domain name to check the entire list at once.
Follow the process of registering your domain to the end and you are done.
That’s how simple you can use Namecheap.
Web Hosting Cost (Around $50-100)
A Web host is an online server where your files including images and content will be stored so that users can access them via the World Wide Web.
Here, you can choose between Shared WordPress Hosting & Managed WordPress Hosting.
For a beginner, I would recommend you choose Shared Hosting since it’s easy to use and reasonably priced.
I have reviewed a list of the popular WordPress hosting providers you can choose from. In that list, I would recommend Bluehost as the best of all.
The best part of Bluehost is that it offers top-notch services to its customers. It is also officially recommended by WordPress.org.
Apart from their excellent customer service, you will enjoy an amazing performance at an unbelievable, cheap price. Moreover, it’s simple and straightforward to install even if you are new into the blogging world.
Only 10-minutes are enough to get your blog live.
In addition, you can start your blog with as low as $2.75/month on Bluehost. They offer billing of between 1 to 3 years which is payable upfront.
However, that’s cheaper compared to others which bill their payment monthly because they can charge even up to $11.99/month. That makes them more costly than Bluehost.
WordPress Installation Cost
Some web hosts install WordPress automatically while others offer 1-click installation. You just need to click the Installation button to complete the WordPress Installation process. There are other services sites that charge around $50 for installing WordPress.
But because it’s something you can do it yourself, you do not need to pay to have it done for you. Just do it yourself and save the cash. If you are unable to do it, you can still get help from your hosting company and they do it at no cost.
Email Marketing Cost
First things first; once your blog is up and running, the first thing you need to do is to create an email list.
Having an email list is especially important if you intend to monetize your blog. An email list will help you capture the emails of people who visit your blog who might not come back again. Once you capture their emails, you can still get in touch with them any time you create a new blog post.
Today, building an email list is not an easy task like it was some few years back. It requires you to invest in some software and other activities that’ll help you get as many subscribers as possible.
It’s worth to remember this. You are competing with gazillions of companies that also need email subscribers. So, you have to play smart than your competitors.
The truth is that most people won’t submit their emails to you. Yes, they fear that they’ll be spammed. They may not also need to see vulgar stuff in their inbox or phishing attempts to come their way. Others don’t want to add more conversation in their mail.
You will have to “bribe” them with a valuable product or service and create irresistible content that the readers can’t help but read. A good example of a “bribe” is “sign-up and receive a free eBook that teaches you A ways to do B (Even if you are C). “
Most importantly, you’ll definitely need technical support from an email marketing service. Sadly, you can spend weeks or months deciding which one to use because there are plenty of them out there.
The good news is that I have shared some of the best email marketing services that will keep your head above the waters.
Here are the best email marketing providers.
Choosing only one from the list below can satisfy your needs to create an effective mailing list.
Aweber (Starting at $19 /month 0-500 Subscribers)
Aweber is one of the oldest (18 years) yet popular email marketing services around the world. It comes with many different tools suitable for both large and small businesses.
With Aweber, you can access to readily built 700+ templates, unlimited emails, email tracking with comprehensive insights, list management as well as autoresponders.
Customer support: phone, live chat, and email
GetResponse (Starting at $15/month)
Here is another popular and easy-to-use email marketing service provider. Whether you are a beginner blogger or you are running a small business, GetResponse is there for you to simplify your email marketing campaigns.
What will amaze you is that GetResponse features awesome automation tools that assist you in creating brilliant automated campaigns.
From their website, they say that GetResponse is trusted by 350,000 businesses around the world.
In addition, GetResponse offers you 220 email templates, 180 landing page templates, 700 web form templates, 40 auto-funnel templates, and 5,000 stock photos plus plenty of other amazing features.
Constant Contact (Starting at $20/month)
Constant contact is no doubt the largest and fast-growing email marketing solution around the globe. What will make you love it is the way it’s user-friendly. This email marketing service has been the leading expert in email marketing for more than 20 years now.
With Constant Contact, you can manage emails, email calendar, contacts, email templates and more. It offers you with easy tracking and reporting, list segmentation, in-build social media sharing tools, Facebook Ads integration and more. You also get customizable templates, excellent features, maximum support to help you get the results you desire and the first month is free.
ConvertKit (Starting at $29/month up to 1,000 subscribers)
Another largest email marketing service is ConvertKit suitable for professional vloggers, bloggers, course creators, authors, Instagram stars and more.
One of the things that make ConvertKit unique is its simple and straightforward way of building email automation workflows.
It features in-built landing page editor, comprehensive subscriber management, advanced email segmentation, and tagging features.
MailChimp (Starting at $10/month)
MailChimp is a cost-effective and easy-to-use email marketing software best suitable for small websites and bloggers. Interestingly, it offers a free plan to the beginners for up to 2,000 subscribers.
It has incredible features including social media integration, service, and App integration, contact segmenting, time-based zone sending, autoresponders and many more.
Again, it offers you with ready-to-use templates that do not need technical support to customize.
WordPress Theme Cost (Free to $89/year)
Here is the secret. It’s human nature to be moved by the great appearance of a product. Take an example when you are walking and come across a well-designed and colorful house beside the road. You will definitely slow down to look at it.
Or even, when walking in the supermarket and see a colorful cloth. You’ll find yourself glued on the floor to take a glance.
Similarly, if you choose an awe-inspiring theme, the chances of attracting visitors to your blog are high.
The simple truth is, the market is saturated with free and premium themes. Admittedly, if you start testing one after another, you may take years.
Some of the free themes are great while others can disappoint you. I would recommend you to go with a premium theme instead of a free one, especially if you intend to monetize your blog.
Using a premium theme provides you will outstanding features, excellent customer support and craft exceptional site design. These are things you cannot get from the free themes.
DIVI is the most popular WordPress theme around the globe I would recommend you to use. It is designed by Elegant Themes. DIVI theme offers two plans: Yearly access at $89 and lifetime access at $249.
Check customer reviews to learn more.
Set-up Cost: (DIY) Free or $100)
With set-up, you may either decide to do it yourself or hire me to do it for you, especially if you are not a techie. There are plenty of WordPress tutorials on the internet you can use to get everything done by yourself.
Additional Costs to start a WordPress blog
Are there additional costs apart from the explained above?
Of course, there are other things your blog needs, to stand out from the crowd. These things also come at a price, although not too high.
Logo Design Cost
We all agree that every company has a logo. Take an example with the world popular companies like Mercedes Benz, Amazon, and many others. They all have unique logos to differentiate themselves from other companies in the same industry.
Your blog is your business. You need a logo to make it stand out from the rest. But see, not just a logo, but a professional logo that people can remember.
And for your surprise, a logo costs fewer dollars that you can never imagine.
If you are an expert logo designer, it can be a DIY task. Unfortunately, if you have not mastered the art, you have no option but to seek help from expert logo designers.
The good thing is that there are professionals charging as low as $5 for a logo design. But because you want a professional logo, you’d better spend some money on it than to get a poor quality logo at a cheaper price. There are plenty of sites with expert logo designers including Fiverr but if you need a more professional logo, you can visit 99designs.com and get an extraordinary logo.
You can also do without one until when your blog gets established but if you can, get one from the word go.
Content Creation Cost
You’ve spent your dollars and time in the domain name, WordPress, web hosting, email marketing, WordPress theme, and other few additional costs. That’s good of you.
But one thing for sure, the content you publish in your blog is more important.
Look at this. You can have a blog that is poorly designed, slow and clunky, but if you publish great content, you can still attract a lot of traffic.
Equally, you may have an attractive and user-friendly website that screams, but if your content is poor, no reader will want to visit your blog. They’ll head fast to the “back” button.
What does that mean? The trick is to focus more on your content and make your blog beautiful or unique later.
80% of bloggers create and publish content themselves without outsourcing any task. But if you can’t create great content, then you need to hire professional writers and editors to craft high-quality and compelling content that readers can’t resist but to slide down to the end.
Content creation is one of the most important things in your blog so you should not sacrifice quality for money. You get what you pay for. That means if you choose cheap content writing services, you end up getting below-par content.
Social media is one of the major sources of traffic. Think of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. In fact, 95.9% of bloggers publicize their work via social media.
While building these platforms, you should also be building your social network profile. With that, you can be sharing your latest work in those social media profiles or fan pages.
So, here is the deal. You need to invest in software that will help you to boost social shares, get more followers and schedule your content to various social media platforms.
There are tons of social media management tools that vary in cost depending on the role they play.
One of the tools is Sumo.me. This is one of the highly-recommended social media tools that allow you to add social media icons right in your blog so that people can share it, pin or like.
Similarly, Social Warfare tool can be used for the same purpose. They are both free.
For Instagram and Pinterest, Tailwind is the greatest.
Other tools include MeetEdgar, HootSuite, and SocialOomph.
WordPress Premium Plugins
The good thing about WordPress is that it packs a huge list of free plugins. Some of them are available in the WordPress plugin repo.
Similarly, there are plenty of premium plugins that are priced differently.
As a beginner blogger, you may not require premium plugins or services, especially if you don’t have sufficient budget. But if you can invest on some premium plugins, you’ll be better off. That will boost your blog’s functionality and increase usability as well.
Here is a list of plugins you can use:
- OptinMonster: Best for adding an email subscription box.
- Premium Yoast SEO: Best for Off Page and On Page SEO Optimization.
- Email Post Changes: Notifies you when an editor or author makes changes to your post.
- Akismet: Used to prevent spam comments.
- WP security audit log: Checks on the activities of your blog.
- Q2W3 Fixed Widget
- Clicktotweet, etc.
The Total Estimated Cost to Start a Self-Hosted WordPress Blog (Summary)
Here is a summary of the total cost.
WordPress: This is free if you have registered for a domain name and signed up with a web hosting company. With Bluehost, it is free.
Premium WordPress Theme: With Elegant Themes, it will cost you $89. However, if you are on a tight budget, you can opt for a free theme, although I do not recommend this, especially if you intend to monetize your blog.
Set-up Cost: You may decide to go the DIY way but if you are not a tech-savvy person, you can hire me to do it for you at around $100.
Logo Design: A logo will cost you from $5 and above. You can opt for more expensive ones if you need a more professional and unique logo.
Content Creation Cost: You can write the content yourself or hire a professional content writer to make every sentence to sing. You can opt to hire a writer starting at $0.05 per word. Remember, you get what you pay for. Pay cheap get crap, pay reasonably get excellent work.
Social Media Tools: The best social media tools include Social Warfare Plugins or Sumo.me. The best thing about them is that they are free.
WordPress Plugins: Depending on your needs, you can decide to opt for free or paid WordPress plugins. For paid plugins, it can cost you between $40 and $97 from a private developer. I would recommend you go for premium plugins to boost the functionality of your blog.
The Bottom Line
Up to this end, I hope you have a picture of how much it can cost you to start your WordPress blog.
As mentioned above, your blog is your business. You should never shy away from investing in it. The better you invest in your blog the better the results you get.
Although in the beginning, it may look costly, when your blog starts to generate income, you will love it. You will need to commit your time and effort to build momentum for your blog but it will take a few months or years and you will start to rip big.
With blogging, success does not come overnight. You will have to be patient and put more effort to see great results coming your way.