It should be a simple question. Do you have an answer?
The costs associated with a blog are the costs associated with any website.
There is the cost of the domain name, if you choose to have a custom name. In general, it is about USD $15 a year, though deals range from $2 to $10 a year and goes up after the first year to as high as $35 a year. Services like Godaddy count on you buying in for cheap the first year and then nick you on transfers, private registrations, and other up-costs as well as annual fees which go up.
There is the cost of web hosting if you are using the self-hosted or managed version of WordPress or another publishing platform. Prices are by the month and range from first year specials to multiple year savings of $5-$35 a month for shared hosting, the bare-bones of web hosting. For more secure and better hosting services, the prices go up. WP Engine, a managed hosting service specializing in WordPress, charges $29 a month, a great price for stable WordPress-centric hosting at $248 a year.
Total these two up and you have the basic expenses associated with your blog.
What other costs are involved?
If you run ads to promote your site, add those to the price list. Do you pay writers and contributors? Add that cost.
Did you buy your design, your WordPress Theme? Add that.
Did you pay for any WordPress Plugins or other add-ons to your site?
If you make money, you must pay taxes on the income generated on your site. Add the cost of taxes, business licenses, permits, etc., associated with running your blog as a business.
Got business cards or promotional material? Those cost money. If you make your own at home, you still bought the printer, ink, and paper.
Firefox and WordPress are free, as are many of the tools necessary for blogging and web publishing, so what costs are left?
Consider the expenses associated with graphic programs and other software you may use that isn’t free.
Let’s say you paid for many of these things bringing your total annual expenses to $1000. That’s about $84 a month.
For this Blog Exercise, list and total up all of your blog costs. All of the expenses associated with your site.
Don’t consider your income yet, just your expenses. Get as specific and precise as you can, listing everything you pay for to support your blog.
Wish to take this a step further? Consider how you structure your taxes to write off your blogging businesses or hobby. Depreciation of laptops and computer equipment are part of the expenses, the costs associated with blogging. Office space, office furniture, equipment, etc., can also be depreciated, diving the expenses across their lifetime.
Look all around you, at receipts, equipment inventory, books, magazines, supplies, and all the other pieces of your blogging life. How much does all that cost?
There is the business of blogging, turning a hobby into a business thus you must track income and expenses. There is also the cost of your blogging hobby. Do you know how much it costs to run and maintain your blog? As a hobby, it is no different than quilting, sewing, knitting, painting, woodworking, or stamp collecting. There is some expense involved. How must does this hobby cost?
I go through everything in preparation for taxes every year. As a professional blogger, public speaker, trainer, and educator, travel expenses are part of my expenses as well, very high associated with my work when I’m traveling extensively, adding up to several thousand a month – one reason I’m thankful I’m not traveling as much. It’s expensive, and not much fun any more. I have many expenses associated with equipment, computers, office supplies, books, magazines, subscriptions, memberships, mail and shipping, printing, marketing, advertising…I’m always stunned at my list when it appears at tax time.
Want to share your numbers? Consider sharing them here in the comments or on your own site to help others understand how much it costs to blog. You might help them uncover some of the costs they hadn’t considered.
Remember to include a hat tip link back to this post to create a trackback, or leave a properly formed link in the comments so participants can check out your blog exercise task.
We’ll look at income in an upcoming blog exercise. In this one, focus only on money going out the door to pay for your blogging efforts.