How much does it cost to start a blog in 2024?

On a basic level, it costs $97.69 to start a blog and run it for a year. But it’s not always easy to answer this question definitively, because there are so many different moving parts involved in blogging.

Keep reading to find out which essentials you absolutely can’t avoid paying for, which are the best nice to haves, and which ones I recommend you budget for as your blog grows over time.

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How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog in 2024 (Full Breakdown For 3 Different Budgets)

Your biggest initial costs will be your domain name and basic shared web hosting. Keep in mind that some of these are ongoing costs. Mainly, you’ll need to renew both your domain name (annually) and web hosting (monthly or annually depending on your plan).

Most other basic blogging tools will be free to start with. Here’s a handy breakdown showing the typical costs for the absolute blogging essentials for a year. For less than $100, you could be well on your way to starting a successful blogging business – pretty good value, I’d say!

ItemProviderCost (USD)
Domain name (1 year)Namecheap5.98 (with discount code)
Shared web hosting (1 year)DreamHost (Starter Plan)91.71
Blog platformWordPress (dot org)Free
Theme Kadence Free
Keyword researchGoogle Keyword PlannerFree
Images UnsplashFree
TOTAL 97.69
Breakdown of typical blogging startup costs

Can you start a blog for free?

Yes, it’s possible to start a blog for free, using a free platform such as Wix or Blogger. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. In fact, I really don’t recommend doing this.

Free blogging platforms are extremely restrictive, lack important features, and will hold back the success of your blog in the long run. They also have limited capabilities when it comes to critical blogging tasks, such as optimizing for search.

What’s more, blogging on a free platform will probably make you feel a lot less motivated (as we don’t value free things as much as those we pay for). I’ve been there before and it’s honestly not worth it.

Instead, just go straight for a WordPress (dot org) site and host it on low-cost shared web hosting like DreamHost or Siteground.

Even though you’ll need to spend a little bit of money initially, using self-hosted WordPress for your blog is well worth it. You’ll have total control over your blogging platform and the opportunities for growth are endless.

You can always upgrade your web hosting to a better provider or package later down the line, once your blog starts to make money. I recommend going for a month by month hosting plan, so you’re not stuck in an annual plan if you decide to change provider.

My personal top pick for web hosting is WPX.They’re not the cheapest, but they offer super fast site speeds and their customer support is exceptionally good).

#1. Low budget blogging ($10 per month)

To launch a new blog into the world, you need three essential things:

  1. A domain name (ideally a dot com)
  2. A web hosting plan
  3. A content management system

The good news is, these three things are super affordable. You can get a domain name for less than $10 for one year on Namecheap. Basic shared web hosting plans come in at less than $10 a month, such as this one from DreamHost.

And WordPress, probably the world’s best content management system, is completely free to install and use. It also comes with a wide range of free themes, to get your blog looking professional right from the start.

Here’s a bumper list of free tools to help your blogging business get off the ground:

  • Kadence, Astra, and GeneratePress (the top three free WordPress themes)
  • Unsplash (for free images)
  • Canva (for graphic design, you can start with the free version)
  • Autooptimize (for improving website speed)
  • ConvertKit (for building your email list, free up to 1,000 subscribers)
  • Google Keyword Planner (decent free tool for keyword research)
  • Ahrefs Toolbar (useful free Chrome extension from Ahrefs)
  • Detailed SEO Extension (another useful Chrome tool for analyzing competitors)
  • Claude or ChatGPT free versions (for AI-assisted writing, SEO, and ideation tasks)
  • Calendly free version (if you need to book calls for your business)

#2. Medium budget blogging ($50+ per month) 

If you have a little more budget to spend on your blog, then I recommend investing in a few more tools. They will make your life a lot easier as you grow your business.

Don’t forget, you’re still paying for web hosting every month and renewing your domain name every year. That’s a necessary expense in blogging and it never goes away.

These are the tools I’d add first:

  • Keysearch – user friendly keyword research tool ($17 per month)
  • Canva Pro – powerful image and graphic design toolkit ($12.99 per month)
  • Claude Pro subscription – advanced AI assistance ($20 per month)

#3. High budget blogging ($150+ per month)

As a professional blogger, my biggest monthly expense is my keyword research tools. I’m currently running active subscriptions to both Semrush and Ahrefs. But you absolutely don’t need to do this. You can pick one or the other, or even go for a more affordable option like Keysearch (which is perfectly adequate).

Another big expense is on-page optimization tools like Frase or SurferSEO. I tend to pick these up for a month or so, whenever I need to do some optimization work, then cancel them once the work is complete. That way, I don’t have an unnecessary subscription running in the background.

With a budget of $150+ per month, these are the tools I’d add to my blogging toolkit.

  • Frase – for AI-driven on-page optimization of your blog posts ($45 per month)
  • SavvyCal – smart scheduling tool for booking both free and paid calls ($20 per month)
  • Semrush – top-notch all-in-one tool for advanced keyword research, competitor analysis, backlink analysis and more ($129 per month)
  • Lasso – great for managing affiliate links ($24 per month for one site)
  • ShortPixel – WordPress plugin for image optimization ($9.99 per month for unlimited credits; there’s also a pay as you go option)

Other tools to consider

Pro WordPress theme

Once you get to this level, I’d also recommend investing in the Pro version of whichever WordPress theme your blog is using. I’m currently making do with the free version of Kadence, which is pretty good.

But at times it lacks certain capabilities and I think I ought to just get the Pro one. So far I haven’t done it, but I will at some point.

ConvertKit upgrade

Also, once your email list grows beyond 1,000 subscribers, then you’ll need to start paying for access to ConvertKit. This is essential in order to keep accessing the tool.

When this happened to me, my first thought was to jump ship to another email marketing tool that would still allow me to host over 1,000 subscribers for free.

But honestly, it wasn’t worth it. ConvertKit is the most user-friendly email marketing tool I’ve found (and I’ve tried lots of them).

Canva Pro

I briefly mentioned Canva Pro in one of the other lists, but I want to call it out in more detail here.

Yes they have a free version, but I strongly recommend just paying for Pro. You won’t regret it. Canva is honestly the most used tool in my entire blogging and online marketing tool kit.

You can use it to easily make beautiful images, amazing templates, videos, presentations, online courses, logos, and so much more. Canva is one of the only tools in existence where I actually enjoy paying my annual subscription. 😆

Publer

Social media is great for publishing related posts alongside your blog. But you’ll need a social media scheduling tool to keep everything organized. I use Publer (mainly for LinkedIn), but it works on other platforms too, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

A professional microphone

Depending on your blogging needs, you might want to invest in a professional microphone. This is important if you’re doing any kind of YouTube work, product demo videos, or participating in podcast interviews. A simple lapel microphone will be good enough for starters.

Next Steps

In a nutshell, it costs less than $100 to start a blog in 2024 and run it for an entire year, using just the essentials along with a range of free tools. That’s a pretty inexpensive business model to get started with.

However, successful businesses do require some investment. It’s not necessarily wise to run them on a shoestring budget (especially after you start making some money from your blog).

So I’d highly recommend increasing your budget to incorporate some of the more valuable blogging tools I’ve listed here. They will help you grow your blogging business faster, while making the whole experience smoother and more enjoyable.

I’m confident that investing in your blogging business in its early stages will stand you in good stead for growth over the years to come. That’s what I did, and it worked well for me.

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