Your 2012 Blog Budget

One of the things you should be thinking about during these first few weeks of January is your plan for your blog in 2012. What most of us don’t spend enough time on is forecasting the expenses required to maintain your blog all year long. In fact, we tend to just get from day to day. That’s why this post from Kim Gauthier is great. It talks about what she’s considering as she plans her blog budget for 2012. It’ll get you thinking, too!

If you’re like me, you just started blogging one day. I didn’t put too much thought into keyword research or monetizing my blog. It wasn’t until I heard about Bloggy Boot Camp that I stopped seeing my blog as a hobby and started to view it as a business.

As a business person, I decided to treat myself and splurge on my blog and saw how quickly the splurging could get out of control. I’m a fan of free, but sometimes spending is necessary.

Blog Budget
Let’s take a look at my 2012 Blogging Budget:

Required Spending – $176/year

Domain Name – $14/year. The shorter your URL, the easier it’ll be to remember, right? So why share your URL real estate with WordPress or Blogspot?
Hosting – $107/year. Because I’ve monetized my blog, I’m not eligible for a WordPress.com (free) site; I use WordPress.org. At this time, Blogger does allow users to monetize their sites.
Wordpress Theme – $50 (for 5). I pay for a theme, because it comes with support; as a technically challenged blogger, I need that extra support to help manage my sites.
Logo – $5. Yes, you read that right! Two of my logos were created by as part of a trade – two logos for promotion on my blog. My third logo was created by someone on Fiverr.

Optional Spending – $35/year

Domain Privacy – $9/year – the privacy is supposed to keep you from being spammed
Site Back up & Restore – $17/year – another treat offered by my hosting company; I prefer that the site backups remain on my host’s server than trying to save them on my own.
Pagemodo – $9/month – this site helps you create cool landing (and other) pages for your Facebook page.

And don’t forget about the things like internet service, notebook or desktop, and your business license. If you reach a point where you want to determine if your blogging business is making money, you’ll have to take these into account as well.

If you’re not 100% sure about any investment, don’t make it. Instead, take the time to do your research. Hosting companies are always promoting deals for your first year. Connect with a blog designer to dress up your site in exchange for free ad space. And don’t forget about Fiverr; I’ve gotten some great deals on that site!

What are your big expenses for your blog this year?

Looking For More Blog Tips?

If you are looking for more ideas on how to stay motivated both in blogging and in life, then you do not want to miss these posts:

About the Author:

Kimberly Gauthier is a prolific blogger who has rediscovered her love of writing and photography and is now the author of Through the Lens of Kimberly GauthierAdventures in Blogging, andKeep the Tail Wagging.  She’s excited to share what she’s learned about growing a successful blog at the 2012 Las Vegas Bloggy Boot Camp.

Want to Write for Us?

Are you interested in guest posting for The SITS Girls? Then let us know! Our super easy process is described in this post. We’d love to drive more page views to what you have to say.

 

Comments

  1. If you wish for to take a good deal from this paragraph then you
    have to apply these methods to your won weblog.
    Modesta recently posted..Modesta

  2. Great email! My sister works in advertising and I’ve now gotten inspired to have her create a logo for me. Any advice when thinking of ditching the “.blogspot” in favor of a personalized URL? I know blogspot will let you purchase through them, but does that limit your ability to customize your blog at all? Are there any advantages of purchasing through another channel?
    Nancy recently posted..To the Child with Many Siblings

  3. I’d really like to spruce up my blog – as in go all out: get my own host, use WordPress.org, get an all out custom design, and treat it more as a business, but I just can’t do that right now. I’m still in the basics of blogging, even though I’ve been doing it for a few years now. With school, I just can’t give my blog the attention in deserves. However, I graduate in May (finally!) so I’m hoping after that I will be able to spend more time making my blog into what I want it to be. This is a really good guide for doing that, too. It gives me a lot to think about in terms of what I want out of my blog, and what I need to do to get there.
    Lauren recently posted..I May Take A Break

  4. Wow, never even thought about a blog budget…
    Sylver Blaque recently posted..You’re Not a Corpse, Yet

  5. Great post!
    I need to get more organized with my blogging finances this year. What do you guys use to keep track of what you spend and what you earn? I know QuickBooks is out there but I don’t want to shell out the money for that just yet.
    I envision a spreadsheet where I can indicate the who owes me money, and when it’s received…

    I hate to reinvent the wheel. Does anything out there exist like that?

    Caroline
    Caroline recently posted..#SmartMamaLUTION #7 – Simple Delicious Dining, 20-Minute Lemon Chicken

  6. I’m confused…you said “At this time, Blogger does allow users to monetize their sites.” I know a lot of people who have monetized their Blogger hosted blogs (including us).

    When making out your blog budget, don’t forget the expenses related to your posts too (i.e. craft items and food items).
    Jamie and Lindsi recently posted..Borax Crystal Snowflakes…FAIL

    • Nope, you got it right. Blogger does allow users to monetize their site. The reason why I added “at this time” is because WordPress.com doesn’t allow and I don’t know if at some time in the future, Blogger will have a hosted vs self hosted version of their service the way WordPress does.

      That is a great point about the food and crafts. My blogs don’t require more supplies than what I have, but I also don’t do crafts – I’ve always wanted to – I’ve always wanted to scrapbook.
      Through the Lens of Kimberly Gauthier, Photography Blog recently posted..B&H Photo Published My Camera Gear Recommendations for Beginners

  7. I don’t believe I saw anyone mention ads to get more readers to their blogs – sometimes you can free coupons for a free trial like Web Magazine….I like those!
    Lisa recently posted..Has The Panda Affected Your Blog?

  8. I’m currently having a logo designed. I’m considering paying to have my Facebook page advertised. What are your thoughts on that?
    Monique recently posted..Year in Review 2011: Running

  9. I just recently made the jump to having my own domain name and it’s great. Only I realize that I’m not started back at zero with my page rankings. That’s a bit of a drag. But I love having my own domain name. Nothing like owning a little piece of internet real estate!

  10. Great post Kimberly, I definitely need to sit down and work out a budget this year!
    Jules from A Little Bite of Life recently posted..Champions For Kids: Child Hunger-My Challenge To You!

  11. Do you include a social/educational budget? (I would think this to include conferences, books, classes etc.)
    Life As Wife recently posted..When Will It End?

  12. I have just been blogging for the fun of it. I am so glad to get this article now, as I am thinking of expanding my horizons. I will refer to it again.
    Maggie S. recently posted..Relief

  13. Great tips!i just invested in a new theme :) I wish I had more of a business but now it’s just a hobby. Would love your next post to be about going from hobby to business, Kimberly!
    Hatton recently posted..Preppy iPhone Cases.

  14. Great post! Though of course you forgot to mention budgeting for blog conferences! ;) And don’t forget business cards.

    Another point to consider, depending on your personal tax situation, expenses related to your blog may be tax deductible!

    Chrysta
    Chrysta Bairre recently posted..Keep it simple with one word goals

  15. Great post, it helps me learn a bit more! :)
    Miss Angie recently posted..Direction

  16. Right now my blog budget is $0.00. I am taking time to see if I can keep up with consistent posting for(3 or more times per week, every week) for 52 weeks. If I do that, I am thinking of moving from Blogger to WordPress, so I can have a fully functional blog. My plan is blogging for pleasure, not business. So I am not sure if spending $$ to blog is feasible.
    Making Our Life Matter recently posted..My Have-To-Get-Done’s

  17. My big expense is hosting. But I also pay for a security site that scans my blog daily for malware. After a malware scare my first year blogging, it is worth the expense to me! I paid for my blog design once upon a time; a treat to myself:)
    Karen@WaistingTime recently posted..Ode to Cardio

  18. Excellent tips and I need to sit down and do this.
    Pamela list recently posted..Free Printable Daily Agenda Planning Sheet for Busy Moms with a Doodle Spot

  19. My blog spending is tempered by my business partner – my husband. It’s difficult at times for us to agree on what is worth investing the money in because he isn’t a blogger. But for the most part he understands the need to invest money in order to earn money. The biggest expense I have for this year is to attend Bloggy Boot Camp. I’m thankful to have won a ticket but now I have to cover the expenses of travel and hotel. Plus, hubby has to take a day off of work we have to pay for a sitter. I know that the expense is worth it! Just need to figure out the details. :)
    Stephanie’s Mommy Brain recently posted..Mistress Pat by L.M. Montgomery

  20. i’m lucky i don’t have any of this ecpense because my blog doesn’t make money so i have no worries
    becca recently posted..Talk To Us Tuesday 1-10-12

  21. I agree with JanMary – don’t forget the expenses to BBC… totally worth the experience.

  22. I am actually saving up my pennies this year as I plan to convert over to WordPress in 2012. Moving over is quite the ordeal, and I want it done seamlessly and to premiere my new and improved blog. I anticipate spending about 300 to 400 dollars on it and after that I don’t think I will spend anymore. I don’t mind spending money on my blog to a certain extent – everything in moderation.
    Mrs. Monologues recently posted..Let’s Talk Beyonce {Mrs. Monologues Soap Box}

  23. Wow! So much to think about!
    JDaniel4′s Mom recently posted..Pause Life for a Moment- Being Like Dad

  24. I like that concrete breakdown of what is and what is not a useful expense. At this point, I haven’t monetized my blog. I don’t feel like I have enough traffic yet to make the added expense and hassles pay for themselves. I do pay for my own domain name, but that’s it. So far.
    Jessie Powell recently posted..Bubbles

  25. Of course there is the cost of attending SITS bloggy boot camp but it gave me such an experience and connections that the benefits far outweighed the cost!

    :)

  26. You’re doing good. I think I’m spending more than that. I have 2 blogs and 2 web stores. The hosting on the blogs is real cheap thanks to Hostgator but my e-stores is $29.95 a piece each month. I just havent’ figure out how to migrate them without messing them up!
    Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty recently posted..Can’t Keep Up? 6 Ways to Cut Through The Natural Hair Noise This Year

  27. I really need to sit down and do this math. Thanks for the nudge.
    Amy B. recently posted..Sadness

  28. Does anyone have a blog just for fun anymore???
    S Club Mama recently posted..bye-bye pa-pa

    • Of course! But I know what you mean about so many people wanting to make money. It does seem to change things. That’s why I will only blog about things I love. I have three blogs, one about photography, one about blogging, and one about dogs. I have a blast writing them, connecting with people, it’s fantastic.

      What really changed for me was when Chevy contacted me, because they wanted a dog owner to test our their Equinox. I get dog food and toys to sample and review. I even got to try out a lens for a month. Some of these have tax consequences and with the IRS sneaking around our lovely blogging community, I thought I’d better be safe than sorry and started treating my blogs as a business.

      I work hard not to become a blogger who’s focused on sales – once it stops being fun, then I’m done or I’ll go back to the basics.
      Kimberly Gauthier, Adventures in Blogging recently posted..Monkey Balls and 10 Crazy Things Non Bloggers Say

  29. I do have a separate savings account I use to help pay for expenses like domain name and hosting. I haven’t tried tracking income since most of my blogging income is in the form of gift cards so far.

    PS – I had the same issue as Kacie. Every time I hit “tab” it moved me up to the top of the page. On this page and the Daily Blogger SITS post as well.
    Elizabeth recently posted..Hubby Update – 2nd Round of Chemo starts today

  30. The only money I’ve spent is for the .com and hosting. dear, there are so many more things I could invest in, huh? I’d need a serious budget monitor.
    MommaKiss recently posted..Did I hit the ceiling?

    • I know what you mean. It would be cool to have an app that beeped like crazy when I went too far. LOL

      One thing that I’ve had to watch are the webinars. They’re free and there are some good ones out there, but the point is to sell a product. I watched one about Facebook marketing that was AMAZING and when it was over, the product was only $97 – wow, that’s a deal. I turned off my computer. It would suck to spend $100 only to learn what I already know.
      Kimberly Gauthier, Adventures in Blogging recently posted..7 Things that Help Me Manage Multiple Blogs While Working Full Time

  31. My main investment this year will be educational books. I don’t think I’ll be making it to any conferences, so books will be how I gain a lot of needed information.
    Melanie recently posted..5 Reasons to Watch Season 2 of Downton Abbey

  32. I keep a low blogging budget, but I think I should increase it to account for outsourcing some tasks, if I can. When I think of my 2011 expenses to income, my expenses are less than 5% (not counting taxes).

    Site note — when I hit “tab” on this comment form, it kept taking me to the top of the page instead of to the next box.
    Kacie recently posted..How I’m automating our money so I save time and meet our goals

    • I’m having the same issue with the tab – glad it’s not just me.

      What I found most difficult was keeping track of what I was outsourcing so I started paying for everything through Paypal, because then I have all of my ins and outs on one report. Doesn’t work for vendors who don’t offer Paypal as a payment option and Paypal keeps a little when you withdraw, but it’s all I got for now. :)
      Kimberly Gauthier, Adventures in Blogging recently posted..2011 Tax Tips for Bloggers Who Make Money

  33. Good tips! Thx.
    alyce recently posted..BCS: Blue Cheese Spread, a dip for the National Championship

  34. My question is about stock photo services. My posts rarely have any pictures and I’m a terrible photographer, so i’d like to find a photo service to buy some stock photos. I think posts look so much more professional if there is a picture or two. Can anyone recommend one that isn’t too expensive?
    adrian recently posted..CHAOS: Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome

  35. Last year I spent about $350 total on my blog, including my domain (2 years), annual hosting, theme costs (Thesis) and paying a designer (a fellow SITS member!) to create my header and buttons. The total revenue I earned last year was $315, so I almost broke even. I hope to do better this year! I was proud of myself seeing as it was my first year blogging! This was good info, especially for those who have never invested money into their blogs. Great tips, thanks for sharing!
    Eve recently posted..Motherhood is a Dirty Job But I’m Happy to do It

  36. Hm….my blog budget is currently $0. I make no $$, so I invest not $$. I do invest plenty of time (which I suppose could be considered), but I can’t justify spending any cash when there is no return on investment.

    These will be great tips if and when my blog ever justifies some investment.
    Kerry Ann (Vinobaby) recently posted..Yes, It’s Too Sexy for ANY Yearbook

  37. Great tips!
    Lisa recently posted..Getting Into Your Bible

  38. My biggest expense right now is Aweber. It’s certainly not something I like handing money over for every month, but it is another “necessary evil” to protect yourself from potential disaster later on.
    Angie recently posted..Blogging for Profit News: Triberr, Business2Blogger and SocialSpark

  39. For years I had no blogging expenses because I kept saying it was a hobby. Now that I have a home office, it is clearly no longer ‘just’ a hobby so your post comes right at the best time!

    And 5.00 for a logo…I am impressed! :)

  40. I don’t usually think of my blog as a business, so thanks for the paradigm shift!
    Dee recently posted..Ditalini soup

  41. Great info, Thanks!
    Adrienne recently posted..mealtime #momfail

  42. I think the biggest investment I’ve made for my blog is a new camera. No more grainy photos to go with my writing. That said, if I stopped blogging tomorrow, I would still have a great camera to take family pictures so it’s not completely a blog expense. :)
    Barbara recently posted..Sometimes You Have To Laugh At The Mess

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