I see it all the time all over Pinterest and various blogs. Claims from mommy bloggers and even niche that promise you can start a blog for only $3.95 per month drive me absolutely crazy. As someone who has been dying to start a blog for well over a year now (yay! it finally happened), with a very low budget, these promises are soooo frustrating. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a different blog making the same claim, looked further into it, followed their exact method, just to end up disappointed by the actual start up cost.
I’m here to save you the frustration and disappointment. While I love the idea that bloggers are encouraging others to blog, I don’t love the idea that the process is being falsely advertised.
If you already know what you want your domain name to be, you better get that locked down. You never know when someone will scoop it up and start their own blog with it. A great way to see if your domain name is available for your blog and across all social platforms, is by heading over to NameChk. Don’t worry, it’s totally free. Like, actually, completely free.
The next obvious step is to actually purchase your domain name. I have purchased several domains through NameCheap. Hey, some people collect stamps or post cards, I collect domains… Anyway, you can usually grab a domain from them for less than or around $10! Pretty awesome right? I would highly suggest doing this if you want to secure your domain name but aren’t quite ready to pay for hosting.
Domain Name: $10 or Free (keep reading)
This is where is starts getting fun! And a little pricey. There are a lot of different hosting services out there from GoDaddy to Bluehost. Like many, many other bloggers, I use Bluehost. This where that misleading “$3.95 a month to start a blog” nonsense comes in. First, let me explain where everyone is getting this number.
If you make your way over to Bluehost.com, and click the pretty, green “Get Started” button, you can take a look at their pricing plans. Sure enough, there it is. The basic plan is $3.95 a month. Great. Now let me explain why this isn’t what you pay up front.
If you were to click on the basic plan and set up your free domain name, you’d soon find that the $3.95 a month price is only when you can afford to purchase a 36 month hosting plan. Break out your calculators folks. Without any additional services, that is already $142.20 up front. Right now. Pay up. Granted, this is a great price for starting a blog and having your hosting set for 3 years. There are even SEO benefits of purchasing a multi-year plan like this too.
But, that’s not the point I’m trying to make here.
My point is, if you were like me, on a very tight budget just trying to buy groceries every month and pay your bills on time, this might not be doable. You can read more about our situation here. And to make matters worse, you keep seeing the same false promise over and over on Pinterest. I thought we were friends Pinterest. WTH? The worst part, almost every other hosting service, charges the total cost up front, no monthly payment plans.
Let me break down what I actually ended up paying up front for hosting.
Basic Web Hosting $5.45/month for 12 months
Domain Privacy Protection $11.88/year
Domain Name Registration Free ($11.99/year value)
Site Backup Pro $2.99/month for 12 months
SiteLock Security $23.88/year
Grand Total: $137.04
Now you have your domain and hosting. If you’ve got your hosting situation figured out, then you have probably already installed WordPress. That’s really the only blogging platform I’d recommend for any somewhat serious blogger. Trust me, I’ve gone the Google Blogger route and it’s not very fun. Weebly, however is a good place to start for new bloggers who may not know their way around the ol’ computer as well.
It’s finally time to start building the blog of your dreams except it won’t look like much of a dream without a pretty theme. I got my theme from StudioPress, home of the must-have Genesis parent theme. That, paired with a child theme will give your blog personality, more so than a free theme from your blogging platform.
Genesis + Child Theme: $99.95
With hosting, you don’t have to worry about paying for the blogging platform like WordPress. You just download and start blogging. If you decide to just use something like WordPress.com and skip hosting altogether, the price is around $2.99/month billed annually.
So what does all of this add up to? Well, it’s quite a bit different than $3.95/month isn’t it? To be fair, you could get away with a free theme which would cut out about $100 of this cost but if you’re serious about your blog, I would find a way to invest in it from the start.
How much did you pay to start your blog?
Haven’t started your blog yet? Stop waiting and head over to Bluehost for an awesome hosting plan.