This is the ultimate guide that looks into the cost to start a blog in 2021. This guide covers everything from web hosting, domain name, email marketing, and customization costs of starting a blog.
It’s an easy question to ask, but it will have thousands of different answers, mainly regarding how much money you’re willing to spend.
How much you’re willing to spend on blogging also factors in whether you want to make money blogging or just want to do it as a hobby.
Let’s jump straight into the cost to start a blog in 2021.
How much does it cost to start a blog?
For the bare minimum, it will probably cost you about $130 to start a blog in 2021 (this is based on if you started on January 1st).
The hosting I use and love is paid month-to-month, so if you were to start a blog today, your out-of-pocket costs would only be $10 for the domain name. How good is that!
Below are all the aspects of starting a blog:
– Blog platform
– Web hosting
– Domain name
– Email marketing
Below is a quick rundown of blogging expenses.
Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links, where I may receive a small commission on purchases at no cost to you. All of these tools are ones that I thoroughly recommend. You can read my full affiliate disclosure here.
Estimated blogging start-up costs:
– Web hosting: $10/month, $120 for the year (pay month-to-month)
– Domain name: $10
Optional but highly recommended:
– Email marketing: Free (for up to 1000 – 2000 subscribers)
– Custom email address: $8.91
– Caching Plugin: $49
$57 $52 ($5 off with code PINNING5)
Total for the first year: $130 – 239+
I assume that if you want to start a blog in 2021, then you would choose WordPress org. Using WordPress is the best way to monetize and have complete control over your entire blog.
You can use a free platform like Blogger, Medium, or Tumblr, but you won’t be able to place ads, affiliate links, sell services and products however you’d like.
WordPress is also used by 455+ million websites which are 20% of all self-hosted websites (source: Netcraft).
The WordPress platform is entirely free, and you can get an easy, 1-click installation with Cloudways below 🙂
How much web hosting costs
For a beginner, intermediate or professional blogger, I recommend going with Cloudways.
The cheapest Cloudways plan will cost you $10/month. It’s the plan I’m currently on. I also run 2 blogs on the same server, so it costs me $5/month per blog.
It may be a steeper price compared to other hosting companies, but you’ll get blazing fast speeds and a solid foundation for your blog.
– Free SSL
– 1-click WordPress installation
– 24/7/365 customer support
– Month-to-month billing (no lock-in contracts)
– Free migration from another web host
– Multiple websites on one server
– Superfast hosting speeds (my blog loads in 1 second)
→ Join Cloudways Today ←
I have a step-by-step guide on how to start a blog with Cloudways here.
You can choose whatever hosting you want, but the cheapest hosting will come at a price of slower speeds and crappier customer support. I mistakenly selected an affordable hosting provider (Bluehost), paid for 3 years but left only 2 months later.
Next on the cost of starting a blog is to purchase a domain name. Domain names are the [websitename].com. A domain name will set you back about $10 for a year. I bought my domain name for multiple years at a discount and paid about $20.
I bought my domain through GoDaddy; below are also other domain registrars you can buy from:
So far, the main costs to get your blog started are the $10/month from Cloudways and the $10 for the domain name.
These are the two main components you need to start a blog with WordPress today, meaning that it will cost you a minimum of $130 for the first year.
Free Options of Starting a Blog
Below is a list of all the free options for starting a blog. I’m all about saving money online, so I’ve listed free themes, plugins, email marketing, and tools that I use all the time.
Here are two fast and lightweight free themes that have a lot of customization options.
Astra Theme (1+ million active installations)
Neve Theme (200,000+ active installations)
Updraft Plus – A backup plugin that will automatically send backups to your email daily. If you’ve purchased web hosting through Cloudways, they actually have dedicated daily backups (they once saved my 4,800+ word blog post after it got deleted, literal lifesavers).
Yoast SEO – Rank higher in search engines by using Yoast SEO. The plugin allows for one main focus keyword. It basically reminds you of the best SEO practices to implement in your blog posts.
Site Kit – Official Google plugin for analytics, search console, ad sense, and page speed. Connect your Google Analytics account & Google Search Console account to it for optimal insights and statistics.
Grow Social – A social media sharing plugin by Mediavine that adds sharing buttons wherever you’d like. I choose to always have Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook share buttons at the start of every post.
Create a free logo with Canva. Don’t get too strung up on creating the perfect logo at the beginning; just include initials or your blog name.
I created the logo for both of my blogs with Canva; you don’t need to get a custom logo made for you. A simple one will be fine at the start.
Grammarly – A grammar and spell checker tool that improves punctuation, sentence structure, and flow. I find it vital to write blog posts that are easy to understand.
Photo Resizing Tools:
Bulk Resize – Can resize large images to any width, height, or percentage you want.
Compressor.io – An image compressor tool to take the bulk out photos. It often reduces the image weight by 90-95%, a 30KB photo will load quicker than a 350KB photo. Speed is such a crucial factor in the success of your blog; a slow blog = a higher bounce rate.
ConvertKit – An email marketing software that allows you to build an email list as a blogger. Create popup forms, inline forms, and more! ConvertKit was made for bloggers by bloggers. The best part is that it’s free for up to 1000 subscribers.
Although Convertkit is free, you need to buy a business email linked to your domain name, like [email@example.com]. I purchased my business email from Namecheap ($8.91 for 1 year). An email like @gmail will not work correctly.
If you sign up through my referral link, I receive an extra 100 subscribers. Their referral program allows you to get an additional 1000 subscribers if you refer 10 friends!
Below is an example of an email opt-in I created with ConvertKit. If you’d like free savings challenge printables, sign up below 😉
Optional Costs of Starting a Blog
Below are all the optional costs when starting a blog. If you want to be serious about blogging initially, I recommend buying a few of these.
Salient Theme – $60. The theme I use for this blog, it’s an excellent customizable theme with great support. They’ve resolved over 10 of my questions within 24 hours. If you want to go with a great theme with tonnes of customizable features, choose Salient.
WP Rocket – The best caching WordPress plugin. Make your site load super fast! When you install WP Rocket, you get 80% of the best web performances already applied, 24/7 customer support & an instant decrease in loading times. It costs $49/year and is trusted by 1.5+ million blogs & counting.
Tested: ‘How to Start a Blog in 2021’ loading time with WP Rocket. This post has 28 images, over 3800 words, and scored 91 on Page Speed Insights.
If there’s something I would recommend to any beginner blogger, it would be to buy courses.
At the start of my blogging journey, I was always so hesitant to purchase courses. I learned over time that buying courses is the best shortcut to success, as you can understand the proven methods and ways that bloggers are making money online.
Pinteresting Strategies –
$57 $52 (with code PINNING5). A course on manual pinning to Pinterest that will help you drive traffic to your blog. Carly can drive over 100,000 visitors to her blog a month, just from manual pinning to Pinterest!
As long as you have a computer/laptop that turns on, you’ll be perfectly fine to start a blog.
You could spend a lot of money buying a new camera, computer, lighting and more but I honestly don’t recommend doing it as a beginner. Learn to make the most of the technology you already have.
I use my iPhone to take many photos and a trusty 8-year-old MacBook to write my posts (it’s slow, but it works).
You may think you need all of the newest technology, but trust me, you don’t. 🙂
As you can see, there are a lot of different options and costs to start a blog. The amount you pay is totally up to you. You can spend hundreds from day one or the bare minimum, whichever option is completely fine.
I recommend starting with a solid web host like Cloudways and an email list with ConvertKit from day one. It may seem daunting but trust me, you’ve got it!
– How to Make Money Blogging
– Best Themes for WordPress [7 Popular Themes]