The Hidden Costs of Running a Blogging Business
This post was contributed.
Blogging has helped us reshape a lot of what we do.
This is because blogging has helped to democratize information. Back before the internet and blogging, people had to rely on relatively few sources to find out not only what was going on in the world, but also which products to buy and how to live life.
However, blogging and the internet has allowed anyone who wants to share their viewpoint the ability to do so. And those who are good writers, and who are able to market their content, can gain rather large followings that can be turned into customers or followers, effectively turning your blog into a business. And the advantages of this are numerous. Not only do you now have an outlet to share your thoughts and opinions, but you also have a source of income that is relatively passive and also completely mobile.
For some, this is a dream. But for it to become reality, then you need to be good at managing both the tangible and intangible costs associated with running a blog.
Typically, the costs of running a blog are low, but the nature of blogging also tends to hide some of them away.
So to help you keep expenses low and maintain a profitable blog business, consider the following hidden costs.
Content Creation Versus Your Time
The backbone of your blog is ultimately its content. Your thoughts, opinions, data, advice, etc. are useful and relevant to people, and this is why they come to you. As a result, it’s important you create and distribute the best possible content to your audience. However, creating good content can be very expensive, especially if you’re working on stuff that requires a good amount of research. As a result, many bloggers try to do this all themselves, thinking this saves them money.
But this approach hides another cost: the time you spend creating content. Trying to do it all means that your content is going to suffer, especially because your blog will require several different types of content. Specifically, you will need content that’s meant to engage, some that’s meant to acquire followers, and some that’s meant to drive sales.
And chances are there is one type of content you excel at more than others. So if this is the case, then the most efficient way to use both your time and resources is to focus on what you do best and outsource the rest. This will allow you to produce killer content in all areas, helping to make your blog more successful.
Most people go through a similar progression when they begin blogging. They start by registering a free domain name, and then after a while, when they get more serious, they put down some money for a more personal domain name, and then maybe at some point, they upgrade their hosting plan to handle more traffic.
This progression, broken up into small pieces, doesn’t seem like a major extra expense, but when taken all together, it is, and this can have a significant impact on the profitability of your blog. So it’s smart to stop and look at your website hosting plan to see if you’re getting the most value. Look for things such as:
- How fast is the load time? This is a significant factor in Google’s algorithm, so you want to make sure your pages load as quickly as possible.
- Is the site optimized for mobile? This is another big SEO factor, but it also just makes sense. Most people access the internet from their phones, so you want to make sure that experience is as pleasant as possible.
- How many email addresses do you get? When you bring people onto the team, it’s more professional to give them an email address that’s associated with your domain. Make sure this feature is included in your plan, and that you have enough email addresses to give them out liberally.
- How much storage do you have? You don’t want to worry about having to take content down because you’ve run out of storage. Most hosting services will give you plenty of space, but just double check to make sure you have everything you need.
Another expense we often don’t see is the cost of accessing the internet itself. If you’re constantly online working on the blog, you want to make sure you have the fastest connection possible, but you also don’t want to overpay. Consider searching for service providers in your area to see if you can find a better deal.
Many of us work on our blogs from home, so we don’t see the internet as a business expense. But it is, and it should be treated this way, especially when we consider that in many states you can claim a portion of your utilities on your tax return, especially if you run your blogging business out of your home.
Consider speaking with whoever does your taxes to find out your potential savings, as this could allow you to get a faster connection, or something with more features, such as internet voice calling (VOIP), for the same price or less than what you pay now.
If your blog is earning money as an online store, take a look at what you’re being charged for each transaction. You may be getting hit with fees depending on what type of credit card people are using, or you may be charged by the service running your store, such as Shopify.
To a certain extent, these costs are unavoidable, but you want to make sure you’re paying attention to them because if you’re spending more than you need to, then it might be worth it to explore other options.
You’ll always want to keep an eye on how much money you’re spending to market your content. You probably already have an idea, but to really know what’s going on, you need to compare it to what that content is doing for you. Paying for some sponsored guest posts, or buying some advertisements on social media might bring you some traffic, but is that traffic sustainable? And are you getting a good return?
Consider an example:
If your goal is to get people to sign up for your newsletter, as this is where you’ve found your sales copy to be the most successful, then find out exactly how many people that see your content become subscribers. Then, multiply this by how much money you make from each subscriber, and compare this to what it cost you to create and market the content. This will tell you for sure whether or not your efforts are worth it, making it much easier to avoid spending money you don’t need to spend.
Don’t Get Caught by Hidden Blogging Costs
The expenses involved in running your blogging business only become hidden if you stop looking. As a result, the real lesson here is that at some point you need to truly start treating your blogging as a business. You need to constantly manage and reduce costs by optimizing for efficiency and value. So, start by looking at the things we’ve mentioned today. But don’t stop there. Keep looking at where you can save so that you can keep growing your blog into a successful business.
About the Author: Kevin is the founder and CEO of Vast Bridges, a customer acquisition and lead generation service. His passion is in helping companies of all sizes to devise and execute a strategic growth vision. But he started his career as a blogger, which is why he is always looking to offer his business expertise to other bloggers looking to get their projects off the ground.
Readers, please share so bloggers don’t get fooled by hidden blogging costs.
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