In 2006, I decided it was time to leave Livejournal and get my own .com (or .net, in my case, because I didn’t know better 9 years ago). I was a student with bad habits living on a PHP4000/month allowance so under the guise of something for school, I tricked my mom into giving me money for the domain name and hosting. You know you pulled that kinda shit on your folks, too!
That was nearly a decade ago. Today, most of my blog expenses come out of my own pocket.
Blogging costs money but it doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if it’s not your main source of income. As a general rule, I consider the ROI of something before deciding on how much money to spend. This is why I bristle whenever anyone suggests I buy a more expensive lens than my camera’s kit lens and 50mm f1.8. If I’m not going to be earning back my “investment,” I’ll pass up on the purchase or opt for something more budget-friendly. I think it’s a pretty good rule to live by!
Today, I thought I’d list a rough total of my blog expenses to give folks an idea of how much running a DIY personal blog costs.
The blog itself:
WordPress hosting – free
I’m currently hosted on my ex’s GoDaddy account though I’ll be moving to a new host soon (can someone do this for me, I’m lazy). I’m looking at spending anywhere from $40 to $80 a year on hosting.
Domain name – $11.99/year
I’ve had Ditz Revolution for nine years and my two other domain names for seven. Domain names weren’t always $11.99 so I’m pegging my total to roughly $270 for all three. I am seriously considering letting go of helgaholic.com!
Sabana theme – $43 (one time payment)
There are free WordPress themes out there but I decided a couple of years ago that it was time to go premium. $43 (around PHP1900) is a pretty small amount to spend on your blog’s look and I’m lucky that I come from a web design background so I can easily customize code and make graphics without having to pay someone.
Back when I used to freelance as a web designer, I charged $200-$1500 for WordPress sites. If you’re going to ask someone to help you with your blog’s design, please do not make them barat!
Macbook Pro – $1000+
I use a mid-2010 model and it still works beautifully. I need to start saving up to get a newer model, though, because material things don’t last forever.
NOTE: I upgraded from a Sony VAIO to my Macbook Pro for web designing, not for blogging. These days, I use it solely for watching cat videos on the internet. Or as a prop for Instagram.
Canon 700D – PHP26000
Any blog worth their salt needs a good quality camera— whether it’s point and shoot, a dSLR, a mirrorless camera, or your smartphone. It’s all about good lighting, anyway!
CONFESSION: I haven’t used my dSLR since April. It’s currently with Joey while he shoots his music production course so I’ve been using his Canon G16 and my iPhone 5C for blog and Instagram photos.
Materials and props:
Vinyl sticker backgrounds – PHP130-150 each (one time purchase)
I use this for photos and you can get them in all sorts of patterns (I have three: white marble, pink marble, and white wood). These are super convenient for me because I can just roll out the tube wherever there’s good daylight, arrange my things, and snap pictures.
Anything else my stupid idiot heart desires – PHP??? (most likely in the xx,000s)
We’re all guilty of buying or doing shit just for the sake of blogging. Fortunately, I’ve aged out of this but my house is still peppered with evidence of my ridiculous bad habit. I still waver occasionally but I can go inside a Saizen now and come out empty-handed (a good side effect of my 30-Day Shopping Ban).
VSCO Cam presets – $10+
I use VSCO Cam presets to edit my photos because it’s quicker, cheaper, and more convenient than Photoshop actions.
Adobe Photoshop CS5 – $0, came with my MBP
You don’t really need Photoshop to make attractive graphics for your blog but it’s what I’ve been using since 2001 and I’m very comfortable with it. Other (free) options you can try are Canva, Pixlr, and Picmonkey.
inLinkz – $19.99/year
Skillshare – $9.95/month with a free 2-week trial
Skillshare is a learning community where you can take online courses (most are under an hour) at your own pace. I especially love the courses on photography and writing.
Total – ???
It’s really hard to tally the cost of 9 years of personal blogging but if I were to eyeball my recurring expenses, I’d say it’s around PHP3000 annually and I expect this number to go up to ~PHP5000 once I get my own hosting. That’s not bad! Full-time bloggers can easily earn back that amount in one project or sponsored post.
In summary, here’s what’s worth investing in:
- a domain name
- premium theme/a designer
- a good camera
- online courses