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What are Your blog Expenses?

What have you paid for when it comes to your blogging?

One of the things that I hear a lot of people talk about when speaking about the virtues of blogging is that it has such low overheads and barriers to entry in terms of cost.

In many ways I agree with this – I look at my own experience of blogging and I started out with free blog platforms and hosting and apart from my internet access costs (which I was paying anyway) there were no other expenses for some time.

However the more serious you get with your blogging the more temptations there are to upgrade aspects of your blog and to pay for the privilege of doing so.

For me this has included paying for blog design, hosting, training/learning (books and courses), advertising (not much but I’ve experimented), blogging tools, new computer equipment etc.

My accountant still can’t believe how little I spend and all but begs me to create some more expenses to create some tax deductions.

It’s got me wondering what others pay for when it comes to their blogs? What sort of things have you spent money on to improve your blog? You don’t need to put figures on it (although you’re welcome to if you’d like) but it’d be interesting to know just how many bloggers do still do it on the smell of an oily rag.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Hey Darrin, This is an interesting question, because its tax season here is my recommendations for my fellow bloggers to spend some dough! The best money you will ever spend, believe it or not is the Yahoo Directory fee of $299…it jumped my PR from 1 to 4 almost overnight!
    Not one Blogger recommends this, but I do!

  2. Brad V. says:

    The money I spend for my blog is domain, hosting and then I pay fees to Typepad so I can have a custom design. At first I thought I was spending too much money for what has been mainly a hobby, but I’ve since realized it’s totally worth it. Plus, there are other hobbies which are way more expensive!

    The biggest investment I make for my blog is time. I’m spending more and more time posting, moderating comments and other tasks. I’ve also implemented a monthly email newsletter which takes quite a bit of time to prepare. But I’m having a blast with it right now and I don’t mind that my blogging expenses outweigh my income.

  3. Frugal Dad says:

    So far my only expenses are hosting with HostGator. They offer unlimited hosting for blogs which helps when creating multiple niche blogs.

  4. Uanz says:

    This site is amazing. You got a great site here.. anyway.. The only expenses that I have on blog is the hosting, my internet access & my autoresponder charges..

    Another big cost just anyone else is Time. Lot of time needed for ideas which I don’t really have since I’m married & the recent birth of my daughter. Guess I need a time management crash course to overcome this.. Hahaha.. Keep it up..

  5. Chetan says:

    $10 for domain and hosting is provided by my brother’s web host company, so no much expenses till now. I am sure it will cost me few dollars for theme etc. but am sure it wont count a lot..

  6. Jody Mitoma says:

    Thus far for Touch Podium I’ve paid $8 for the URL, and $10 to have that URL transfered over to wordpress.com’s stupid system… I couldn’t believe I had to pay $10 to get that done.

    And now I’m going to be stuck having to transfer over to wordpress.org, restarting everything because I see wordpress.com doesn’t allow you to have Google AdSense… *sigh.

    Blog was only started just under 3 weeks ago, but already getting ~2,500 views/day. :]

  7. I have just launched my third blog and I plan on getting up at least two more. I have made just under forty dollars to date and I haven’t spent a dime. If you were to compare the value of my time to the monetary value and learning experience from blogging. I am sure I am still undercompensated. This all given my goal is to make money.

    I say this considering to date. I feel that wholeheartedly I will end up making a log of money blogging. I have used blogger for all of my sites thus far.

    By the way Darren I am an accountant and assure you that you accountant was only joking. Just make sure you report every legitimate expense you have. Don’t go looking for expenses your government can use those taxes. By making things up your stealing from your country. I consider that just as bad as stealing from your Mom or Dad.

  8. So far, I’ve just spent $10 on my domain (bought it through Google Apps). However in the future, I plan to pay for web hosting (most likely mediatemple), and run my own WordPress.org blog. The level of customization is just sky-high!

  9. Domain Name: $10/year
    Wordpress Theme: $0
    Hosting: $0 (set my blog up as an add-on domain on a hosting account I already had).
    Logo: $25 at Gotlogos.com
    Images: $0 (I use flickr pix, legally)

    The biggest “expense” is the opportunity cost of my time when writing posts or tweaking the style sheets, but I don’t count that since I enjoy it.

  10. Well Lets see…
    $10 on domain name
    $6.99 Hosting
    $25 at Goclick Ads( I tried it once it is good for traffic but not solid)

    I think for now it is just that

    Felippe Oliveira
    http://www.gphonemodules.com

  11. MR says:

    One year of expenses is paid off in less than 1 month of Google AdSense revenue for me.

  12. Web Hosting: $24.95/month
    Advertising: $0
    Profit: $6,500+/month from my blog

  13. arshad says:

    i have just started blogging via blogger ——– no expenses —- except some precious time ———- though i have not yet got 100′s of dollars , yet i feel this is the best method way of earning online —- instead of adbux and others —— this surely pays off ! hope to get a decent PR in the coming years .

  14. Maria Palma says:

    I’ve paid for my domain names, monthly hosting, and stock photo account. That’s about it!

  15. jamie says:

    Hosting $6.95 a month (had it anyway) $10 for a domain name. $79 for Michael Pollock’s magazine theme (‘cos it’s so cool and easy to use) $100 for Angsuman’s Translator – which is just amazing – and membership to Yaro Starak’s Blog mastermind.
    Time – Lot’s of it.
    Last year I spent $8000 on a Franchise that failed, so the costs of a blog are negligible in comparison. I don’t run adsense on my main site as I think it detracts from the experience, but do Affiliate – earnings are low at the moment, but that’s not really the point – I hope to still be blogging in 10 years time!

  16. m07 says:

    only hosting

  17. Mrs.W says:

    Okay, I have no business answering this query because my blogging is free for now. But here are some things you could deduct if you choose to:

    - a new camera/video camera for posting purposes
    - magazine subscriptions to trade mags/applicable subject matter are a legitimate business expense
    - travel to cover a meeting/conference
    - conference fees
    - how about some jazzy software for editing pics/videos, or creating flash animations, provided you know or learn how and use them in your blog posts. Even photoshop to just watermark your pics would work.

  18. Adkins says:

    Zero so far. But as soon as I attain economic independence (being a minor sucks) I will buy my own domain name, hosting etc. Some serial bloggers might have spent more, but I am just serious about my writing.

  19. I pay $80 a month for hosting.

    No doubt all the $5 folks think that’s insane, but it isn’t and if you don’t already know why, my explaining it isn’t going to change your penny pinching mind :-)

  20. Jacky says:

    $12.5 / year for domain, $8 / month for hosting.

  21. I learnt something this month: that old adage, “spend money to make money” really works.

    The start up and running costs for my fresh-faced blog have probably been more than most — I commission good illustration, pay for WordPress templates (and help!) and am not afraid to outsource other bits when needed.

    The other start-up expense most bloggers seem to overlook is targeted advertising. A lot of bloggers soldier away trying to generate traffic and gain subscribers without paying for advertising. It can and does work, but I’ve found that taking out just a few 125px ads on up-and-coming sites in my niche has really boosted my subscriber count and traffic. It’s not too expensive, is a big confidence boost and it pays dividends!

    What’s the real truth about blog expenses? Spending money carefully is worth it! While my start-up costs were more than my income this month, the scales look set to tip in February and March — income from affiliate sales and advertising is now coming in and the initial expenses have proved worth it.

    I agree with what others have said — the biggest non-balance-sheet expense is certainly time! I’m religiously tracking my income, expenditure, and time spent on PTO and intend to share it all in July after 6 months of blogging.

    Yes, blogging can be free and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be. But if you’re determined to do it for a living, don’t let anyone put you off dropping some cash on promotion and great design.

  22. If you accountant wants you to have more tax deductible expenses, consider buying property and call it an office. It can be a good pension plan!!

  23. After two cases of outgrowing my hosting arrangement I don’t mind paying for reliability. The .tv domain I’ve suppemented with a couple of .com addresses. On top of domain name, hosting and occasional advertising on Adwords, I’ve been investing in trade magazines (paper and online), books, professional MyBlogLog, Sitemeter, Akismet.

  24. Roni says:

    Hosting & TIME! That’s about it. But I have a question if you have a minute…

    Are other outside “tech” expenses still counted as expenses? For examples, I post short cooking videos on my blog. If I purchase specific items for that video is that a business expense??

  25. Andrea says:

    I always compare the cost of whatever feature or add-on, to whether I can do it myself.

    Domains names and webspace I pay for, because it’s hard to DIY that. ;) I averaged between $5-$10/month for webspace, which was more than covered by some advertising on just one blog.

    Templates I’ve hardly ever paid for any, preferring to design my own or tweak an exisiting one. For the casual blogger, paying for a custom template can be quite an uneccesary cost. Sure, it look pretty, but it mostly supports someone else.

    I’m willing to go pretty far before I pay for things like design. :) Recently I have, although it will be for a professional blog network, not my own personal site.

  26. Mitch says:

    Yep, toss me into the bunch with hosting and domain fees. That is pretty much it.

  27. eve says:

    I spend about 7 on hosting, about 25 for my domain names. An average of 15 dollars a month on promotion experiments, about 20 on IStockPhoto every few months, about to spend about a hundred on new logos for my two blogs and lots and lots of time.

    I also spend about 9 dollars a month on good stats reporting and misc site fees.

    I bring in about 900 a month right now from my 2 blogs (only one monetized at the moment) and have been blogging for a little over 2 years.

  28. Azhar says:

    I am a beginner. I am experimenting with blogging.
    I have just spend 5$ for domain and 10$ For hosting.

  29. Side-Line says:

    I have a dedicated server which costs me 400 dollar a month, I share it with some 10 other buddies which makes it quite cheap.

    Apart from that, there is only income :)

  30. xlt says:

    i pay for hosting (4.50$/month), domain (8$/year) and my free time. thats it.

  31. Scott says:

    With my sites and blogs, they now pay for themselves and are continuing to grow in the black. The actual expenses can range from domain/hosting to design to promotion (SEO/Marketing). I’m now helping others with blasting traffic to their blog and getting more money.

    See: http://www.howbloggersmakemoney.com if interested in blogging stuff and for general blasts I’m also doing a combined PR/SEO burst and that’s starting to be a real resource for my clients.

    Thanks,
    Scott

  32. I have never really had to think about it until this year because of having to report my adsense/blogging income. It was one of your own posts that got me to thinking about it.

    I know that I can deduct blogging-related things – like you said – computer equipement and the like. I haven’t taken any deductions yet but I still have some time before I have to file my taxes -

  33. Tom Hanna says:

    Domain names. Multiple hosting accounts: My big one is technically capable of handling everything, but I’ve been burned three times by excellent hosts suddenly turning to *!($. Having three accounts means I always have two alternatives for a midnight move. It also means three different IP address classes.

    BTW, I keep getting this error message intermittently:
    Forbidden

    You don’t have permission to access /wp-content/cache/supercache/www.problogger.net/archives/2008/02/04/how-to-herd-organic-search-traffic-to-your-blog/index.html on this server.

  34. Shawn says:

    $6.99 for each domain from Godaddy, and I have my own servers in a mates data center, so it cost’s me practically nothing.

  35. suresh says:

    Well I agree with many fellow bloggers.

    It is the valuable time that costs for running a good blog.

    It is the content and preparing it makes a difference.

    Regards.

  36. Kiltak says:

    Something that a lot of people don’t consider when looking for tax deductions is the devaluation of their equipments..

    A computer devaluates about 30% per year.. When you’ve got a $2000 box, this could make a nice difference.

  37. Zach Smith says:

    Because I write a blog about the sports at one particular school (Wake Forest) I actually have some pretty significant expenses, but they aren’t the usual ones associated with blogging.

    For example, when I started writing the blog pretty seriously I invested about $70 in a nice digital voice recorder for press conferences and interviews and that sort of thing.

    Another somewhat unusual blogging expense has come from traveling to see the games. This weekend I drove a total of 200 miles to and from a road game and also had some other miscellaneous expense (food/parking etc.). Although I didn’t have to pay for a ticket to the game (thanks to a press pass) Travel and related expenses cost me close to $50.

    Clearly these expenses aren’t the norm for most bloggers, but they are part of this particular niche.

  38. June Walker says:

    ProBlogger is a great resource for writers of the web. Yes, bloggers, for business reasons, may classify themselves as freelance writers.

    Bloggers are self-employed business people — I call them indies — and bloggers may deduct all the same expenses as any other indie. Consider expenses such as: a portion of ISP cost; a portion of hardware; trips to BestBuy; publications or subscriptions related to your blog subject; your desk chair.

    Read more at my blog post Bloggers, designers, inventors: 3 Ways to Expand Business Deductions .

    I have been a tax consultant to indies for more than 25 years and I know that most indies cheat themselves by not taking every deduction possible. If you want to get an idea of the deductions available to bloggers there’s a complimentary list of business expenses for the indie available at my blog and my website.

    June Walker
    http://junewalkeronline.blogspot.com

  39. DonCoryon says:

    I started blogging last month. I used Blogger for two days but then I found a hosting company that gave me 3 domains and hosting for $70. I did it so I could use WordPress, Blogger left me wanting more.

    I made $2 of that back from AdSense in my first month, so we’ll call it $68. =)


    Brass Poker – blog written by a Las Vegas Poker Professional

  40. Curtis says:

    Started out on blogger then dabbled in wordpress.com now am currently on a free host. Just yesterday I purchased hosting and fixing it all up before going live with it.

    Domain $18, includes privacy guard
    Hosting $25 a year with A Small Orange

  41. Michael says:

    Other than hosting ($10/month), I don’t really spend a whole lot, I have an occasional contest on my blog, the prize is usually between $30-$100 but that is only every 3 months or so. I have been looking around for someone to do a blog design for me, I’m not sure how much that is going to cost but I’ll probably be doing that in a few months.

    Blogging is a really cheap hobby, it also kills a lot of time.

  42. Kate Hudson says:

    I pay about $10 for my domain name and $15 a month for a VPS which I use to host my blog and several other sites. Blogging is very cheap.