Cost of Running A Successful BlogI have recently been trying to “educate” readers on my opinion that starting an online business “free” isn't really viable.

There I've said it (again) and I do hope people will start to accept this.

But even I was a little startled at the excellent post by Laura Williams that you can read here: the true cost of running a successful blog. This is a real wake-up call and I think many of my readers will be as shocked as I was.

It is an excellent article, because it looks at blogging for three categories of blogger, classified as:

  • The Bare-Bones Blogger who is doing it just for fun and needing to keep costs right down
  • The Serious Hobbyist defined as someone who is working to make their blog into a proper business capable of support them (in time) and realizes that to grow their blog they need to spend some money
  • The Blogpreneur is not just a blogger but a business owner. Like any business owner they will spend money to increase profitability short-term or long-term.

Here's a quote from the article to give you a flavor, but DO read the original post, then come back here to learn how I make some savings of my own:

Too many bloggers, though, refuse to invest in their efforts at all – even to buy their own domain name – and then wonder why they can’t grow their following or struggle to get taken seriously.

I classify myself as a Blogpreneur. (Note to self: remember that word for next time someone asks that dreaded question “What do YOU do for a living”. It will either shut them up or be a great conversation opener….)

That doesn't mean I am currently spending the kind of money described in the post above, but it's a wake-up call as to what I should be expecting to spend. And believe me, that is CHEAP compared to the cost of running a bricks and mortar business. I've done that – and the figures mentioned in the post above are low compared to the off-line business.

What is the Purpose of YOUR Blog?

The first stage is to decide which category of blogger you belong to at the moment – and then decide which one you want to become.

It's no shame to stay as a hobbyist blogger, and you will save yourself much grief if you accept that's what you're doing and enjoy blogging with no expectation of making an income.

Can you Have a Successful Free Blog?

Of course it's POSSIBLE – see a real-life example below. I just think it's pretty unlikely because there are some serious hurdles to overcome.

Taking the pressure off yourself you may even find that you become an exception to the rule. One of the comments on the article above points to a successful blogger Linda Ikeji reputed to be making more money blogging on blogspot than many pro bloggers. It's certainly an attractive blog. Far too attractive, in my opinion to be trusted to a free service!

I'm guessing that Linda started off as a hobbyist blogger and worked damned hard to get to where she is today. She is to be congratulated for that, but would she be even more successful if she had lobbed out (say) $10 a year for her own domain name and “a bit more” for hosting? Imponderable questions LOL, but I would NEVER recommend anyone to skip these two basic costs.

Laura Williams' post (recommended above) gives you excellent savings tips, and explains how you can transition gently to blogpreneur, with no need to lob out all the expenses at the start.

My Own Cost Savings

I have cut costs by:

  • Using PLR graphics by PLR Productions that provide the “bare-bones” of images – such as the one on this post, to which I add my own text using the free tool
  • Using a service on to create an ebook cover.

The Cost of Free

Nothing is truly free – it is paid for either by Time or Money.

Never forget that the cost of running a successful blog does not only mean “money”. It includes time and, from my past mistakes, stress.

Time wasted doing something you could have paid someone else to do more quickly (and possibly better than you) is time you will NEVER regain. Could you have spent that TIME more profitably (in all sense of the word) than if you had done without a couple of designer coffees and spent the $5 “coffee savings” to get someone else to do it for you?

You'll probably never miss the $5, but missing an afternoon with the family can never be regained.

Would your business have got off the ground and into profit faster if you had wasted less TIME and spent a little MONEY?

Different Stages Of Life

Your available budget for blogging will vary, depending on the stage you are at in your blogging career.

For instance, I'm at the semi-retirement stage…. looking to build up my online income so that I will have a financially secure retirement. So I expect to divert some of my earnings into paid resources to make my blogging career easier, just as I spend some of my income on a gardener to do the “heavy lifting”.

At the other end of the spectrum could be student bloggers who think they don't have a cent spare to put into a paid blog  – although they would be wise to allocate as much as they can, if they see their blog as being a significant part of their life online.

In between is series of transitions. For instance….

Graduating from college, while a great achievement and cause for celebration, can put many young adults in a difficult position. Expectations are high for landing the right entry-level position, while for many the threat of student debt and rent create a feeling of financial instability. Source: Groom & Style

The article from which the above quote is taken has some excellent tips that can be used by anyone feeling insecure financially from student to retired and all stages in between. Check out the sections on “How Much Do You Spend Now?” and “Tips On Saving Money”.

Over To YOU?

Which category of blogger do you think you are currently, and do you plan to change that? Having read this post, please share your thoughts.