Starting a blog is a really exciting time. It is a whole new platform and section the internet you probably didn’t know about before it. And when you start you get recommended all these free platforms that you can make your blog on. Great right? But not to be a negative Nancy or anything, but it isn’t all swings and roundabouts when it comes to blogging for free. There is a lot of hidden costs in blogging which I just want to make others aware of. Take this as a little helping hand. Not a ‘Stay Away From Blogging’ because its better to be aware than completely oblivious right?
Yes blogging is free. But is blogging really free? You can create a basic, free blog from a platform like wordpress.com, wix or squarespace. You can have a site, with a basic design and basic amounts of storage. This is all completely free and anyone can make a blog this way.
But what happens if you run out of storage, if you want to make your blog look better, change your domain name, look at SEO, own the rights to your own content or just expand it? Well then this is where the costs come into it.
To put it into perspective after about 9 months of blogging, my following was starting to grow, I started looking at other blogs and I wanted to better mine. When you sign up to a platform like WordPress you get the option of different themes but if you want a site that looks cleaner, more professional and more unique then you will have to buy them. WordPress sell themes for about £40 and they are good, smooth and professional themes. You can keep that theme for as long as you want. However if you want to change again then it will cost you money.
I also wanted to increase my following. One big factor of this is your domain name/URL. When you have a free WordPress blog you can set your domain however it must include ‘.wordpress.com‘ so mine when I first started was ‘www.emilyclarebeauty.wordpress.com‘. When you think about it this is quite a long URL and not the easiest to remember. By getting rid of the WordPress section your blog not only looks more professional but it is also easier to search for on Google and find. This costs about £14 a year, however you can get different prices from different companies.
After about a year of blogging, posting content, photos and links, I realised that I was running out of data on my blog. When you start a free blog you are given roughly 2GB of storage to post your content. Now when I post my images, they come from RAW files which take up huge chunks of memory. So it is super important I have lots of available data. But extra data means extra costs. At this point I joined WordPress Premium which gave me more data and allowed me to change the way my blog looked more freely. This was roughly £70 a year, and it worked really well. If you don’t want the hassle of running a blog full time. Or want something easy but slightly with slightly more freedom then I will always say this is a great option.
Now over a year ago, I made the decision to move my blog from wordpress.com to a self hosted blog. If you want to know why and how I did this then I have written this post about it. However in short it was because I wanted to own the rights to my blog, have complete and utter creative freedom over it, and because it was now turning more into a business rather than a hobby. It was a move I HAD to do if I wanted to progress. But it cost an arm and a leg.
There are multiple costs when self hosting that you have to repay annually each year. Keeping this as simple as I can, but basically when self hosting you have to pay for your domain/URL, a company to host your site, a new theme and any extras that your theme might entail. I chose Siteground to host my site because they seemed the best for what I needed. I got a really good two year deal at the time (which will run out next year so god forbid help me) and then I recently updated my domain which cost £11 for the year.
If you think about it though £11 for the year isn’t a fortune. However for some people this might not be affordable. I have paid for three themes since blogging all about £40-£50 each. My hosting cost me £80 for two years, but next year it will most likely go up. It ends up adding up, and if you aren’t 100% committed it is a lot of money to spend on something.
I really hope this has helped open up a few eyes. Not in a negative way but just for people to realise blogging is not free. If you just want a basic free blog then it is. However want the dreamiest blog and best looking one on the market? Then you will have to pay.