Apr 21, 2016

What Does It Really Cost To Run A Blog?

How much money do I spend running my blog?  Hosting, social media, legal and financial expenses answer the question "What Does It Cost To Blog?"

I am constantly asked about what types of resources I use when I blog.  My blog is a little unusual because I am self-hosted on Google and thus my blogging expenses are vastly different from many other mid-sized bloggers who are self-hosted on Wordpress. So for fun I thought I would create a quick guide to all my favorite blogging tools and how much I spend on them every month.
This post will include my ENTIRE OVERHEAD (other than supplies I use in the posts themselves) for my blog. Hopefully this will give non-bloggers (and even fellow bloggers) and idea of what it costs to run a successful blog.   And in case you are wondering, right now my blog gets between 250,000 and 300,000 page views a month.   That is about 300% more than it was a year ago, when I was averaging only 100,000.

I know for sure that investing in the resources I will talk about below is one of the reasons I have seen that growth.   It wasn’t until I started really INVESTING in my blog and treating it as a business did I earn a full time income, since now my monthly revenue is significantly more than these expenses.

Technical/Back End: These are the expenses of the actual online blog itself. If I was writing a hobby blog and didn’t want to monetize or have an income, this would be the only category of expenses I would have.  

Platform: Blogger.com
Cost: Free 
If you “know” me from anywhere on social media, you probably  know what a big cheerleader I am for this platform.  For the price, it is FANTASTIC. You often hear that it blogger is only for ‘beginner’ bloggers, but I have never once been held back nor felt inferior for using Blogger.   I would strongly recommend it for any blogger.. new, old, small or large.  
There are a lot of myths about using Blogger, and I have addressed them elsewhere.  
The Blogger platform provides it’s own hosting (both the blog and my photos which are also hosted by google) and these services are FREE.  Not only that but it also includes unlimited bandwidth and no need to buy plug-ins.  So much of the financial burden of blogging is gone since I am on this platform.   No matter how large my blog grows, I will not have an increased cost.  It is fixed at zero.   You can spend money on custom templates or graphics etc, but I haven’t done that.

It is possible I could one day exceed my photo hosting limit and then I would have to buy additional photo storage.. but that is a LONG LONG LONG way off. 
Domain: GoDaddy
Cost: $1.84 ($10.95/year x2)  
You may notice I don’t have the .blogspot subdomain on my blog. That is because I do own my own domain.  I actually have multiple domains:
TheKimSixFix.blogspot.com (default from Blogger)

Despite their stupid sexist Super Bowl commercials, I’ve never had any complaints using GoDaddy for my domain (and for setting up other bloggers.) If you want to transfer your blogger blog to your own domain via GoDaddy I have a great tutorial for it.   They almost always have specials to buy your domain for 99 cents for the first year. Then it is around $10/year after that.  (Although some more ‘in demand’ domains may be more)
I also own two domains via GoDaddy for my blog consulting site:  Kim-Six.com and Kim-Six.net  

Technical and Backend Total: $1.84


This is the expenses associated with actual content generation on the blog.  I am not including the cost of project supplies and things like milage, travel, conferences etc since those are dynamic expenses.  These instead are the regular re-occuring blog expenses associated with the post content on the blog. 
Cost (Linky): $0.80 ($19.99/6 months split with Kathe)
Cost (Galleries): $1 ($12/year)
Kathe and I host our weekly linky party using Inlinkz. She actually has owns the linky account and we split the cost.  I run all my project galleries using inlinkz (they are all the pages in my drop down menus).  
Cost: $100/month (average)
This is a relatively new expense for me, since I’ve only recently started having guest bloggers write posts on my blog. I do compensate my contributors (I know not all bloggers do that), and because the frequency and rate varies it isn’t always the same every month.  Guest bloggers have allowed me to share a wider variety of content on my blog, and gives my readers access to ‘experts’ in other fields.  
Cost: Nothing
I know many bloggers pay for photo processing software (such as Photoshop and Lightroom Creative Cloud) and/or they pay for a subscription for stock photography. I don’t. I own an old version of Photoshop CS3 that I’ve used for 8 years and I get royalty free images from the flickr Creative Commons.

Content Total: $101.80

Marketing and Social Media

Ironically, the vast majority of my expenses when it comes to my blog (in volume, not monetary amount) have to do with marketing, social media and running a small business. Very little of my overhead is actually directly related to my blog.  And you may think “why spend money on stuff like social media?” but what I learned after finally getting serious about earning a living as a blogger was: You have to spend money to make money.  

Many of these tools make my life easier, and allow me to quickly and easily market my content to potential readers. Not only does that mean that I can generate more income (from the page views) but it also means I have more time to focus on my content.  

Newsletter: MadMimi
Cost:  $42
 Mad Mimi Email Marketing
Since I have between 5-10,000 subscribers, my newsletter cost me $42 a month.  This is one of those “must have” expenses since I love being able to connect with readers directly.  I really LOVE MadMimi since it is easy to use, inexpensive and has great tech support. I have also tried a newsletter with Feedburner, Mailchimp, and Feedblitz and MadMimi was the best.   If you want to see a sample of my newsletters, you can sign up here
Cost: $10/month ($120/year annual plan)
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I do all my new pinning through the tailwind app. I love it! It is integrated into Pinterest itself and I use the applet in Chrome. The analytics are amazing, it tracks your engagement and sets a schedule for the right time to pin. It is easy to upload large numbers of pins at once and quickly spread them out so they aren’t all pinned in succession.  I really love using it.  I have previously used Ahalogy, and Viraltag and I like Tailwind the best.  I send out about 1000 pins a month, but it is unlimited so I could do more if I wanted to.
If you want to try out Tailwind for yourself  you can get a free month long trial when you sign up. 
Logo E beta2

This is another pin scheduler that has been a game changer for me. I use it to recycle all my old pins out to large group boards over and over and over.  I only use it for my own pins and I am currently sending out 4000/month.
Images 1
I am pretty active on Facebook and I only use the built in Facebook scheduler to send out all my content.  I have tried schedulers like Buffer before, but l actually like Facebook's own scheduler the best and have seen the best engagement with it.  I do have the Facebook page manager app (which is free) for my phone and I like that too. 
Cost: $12/month
Manageflitter logo
I use manage flitter to keep track of my followers.  I actually have been following the advice in this “How To Grow On Twitter For Bloggers" Ebook for about 6 months and in that time I have grown by more than 600% on Twitter.  Using manage flitter to follow and follow back only tweeters who engage and are in my niche has been a game changer for me.  
Twitter: Tweet Deck
Cost: Nothing
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 I use tweet deck for all my live tweeting and tweet scheduling.  It is also great for twitter parties, using lists and following a hashtag.  It costs nothing.

Instagram: CrowdFire
Cost: Nothing
Download  1The same method I use to engage the right type of followers on twitter is also how I’m growing my Instagram following. I use Crowdfire as a way to see who is and isn’t following me and to quickly follow and unfollow large number of accounts.  I use the free plan since I don’t really keep blacklists or whitelists.  
Instagram: Iconosquare
Cost: Nothing (Soon to be $2.40/month) 
Iconosquare logo

Iconosquare has the best Instagram analytics out there.  It used to be free, but they have recently begun charging for this information.  I will probably get an annual subscription, just because it is so easy to manage my instagram feed from my desktop (and without a phone) using Iconosqure.  It also has the ability to unfollow non-followers or unengaged followers, but I like crowdfire better for that. 

Marketing and Social Media Total: $104

Business and Finance:

These are some of the less fun parts of blogging.  The business and legal expenses.  Since I make enough money to have to deal with taxes, I consider the blog a small business and therefore have to pay the costs associated with a small business. 

LLC: State of California
Cost: $66/month
I formed my LLC this year for a little extra business protection. I used Legal Zoom to set it up.   In the state of California there is an $800/year “Tax" to maintain it. 

Trademark: United States Patent Office  
Cost: $0.83  ($100/every 10 years) 
I actually have the trademark for “The Kim Six Fix” and I used Legal Zoom to do the foot work for me.  Once you have the mark you only need to re-register it every 10 years. 
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When I finally started earning 5 digits I decided it was time to stop doing my own accounting (which previously consisted of a google spreadsheet). I couldn’t keep track of everything and I didn’t want to.  So I hired a small business accountant to do my reconciliation and tax preparation.  Lori charges me hourly, but I only send in my receipts every few months, and she balances my books quickly. Again, this expense may vary depending on just how many bills you have and what type of services you need. 
I use Wells Fargo business services for all my blog accounts.  As long as you direct deposit into the savings account every month (in my case I just have an automatic transfer from checking to savings) the accounts are free. My account is a savings account, checking account, debit card and credit card.  I also have a designated paypal account just for blogging.  

Business and Finance Total: $106.83

Average Monthly Blog Expenses:  $314.47

And that is about it!   A little under $4000 per year to run my blog!

In the past I have had a VA (virtual assistant) who helped with my social media and Pinterest, but I just didn't think it was paying off, at least for now.   Which reminds me, that is another thing I have learned.. If you try your hand at something new, and it isn't working out, don't feel bad about changing it up.  That is why I have tried so many different Pinterest apps.  Until I found one that worked for me, I wasn't going to throw my money at the wrong one.

Keep in mind this is only my personal experience with the expenses of blogging. Every blogger is going to have their own priorities in how they spend their money, and total costs for running a blog can vary widely.  But these numbers are mine.  The costs behind The Kim Six Fix.

Title Image Courtesy of Got Credit


  1. Hi Kim, thank you for sharing these details. It proves that blogging doesn't have to be expensive! I was on Blogspot for years as a private journal. Then I started publicly blogging and switched to WP. However, the cost is just too much for me and I hate dealing with hosting/bandwidth issues as my blog has grown quickly in the last couple of months. I'm thinking about switching back to blogger, but can't find a good tutorial for going from WP to Blogger. Do you happen to know of any? I'm feeling very lost and am not sure what to do with my site. Thank you for any help you can give!

  2. Hey Kim, a good breakdown. I think that point of if you want you blog to be a business the you need to treat it like a business is key. Thanks