What Blogging Will Cost You In Hours And Dollars

Last week you read about why blogging is such an asset to business. But because we are taking the business perspective, the expense has to be weighed as well as the return. Only then can we see the true business value of blogging.

I’ve identified the primary elements of blogging and examined both the dollar and hour cost for each. Many of the figures in this post are from my own experience and research. They may not represent your experience.

The time investment for most of this will be high because blogging is a huge priority for me, but it should give you a better idea of what to expect.

Content Creation

Creating content is a time consuming process. I love it. Writing may not be your thing though. Or you may not have the time that is required. I generally spend 16 hours a week creating content for the blog.

To hire a writer, you will spend any where from $10 – $150 per blog post. Some people will write for pennies, but you’ll get content worth pennies. Others write well researched, thoroughly edited, search engine optimized blog posts, but they are going to make it worth their time.

Especially if you’re looking for blog posts built on “direct response marketing” principles. Professionals who craft content to provoke a desired reaction will charge a premium, but it’s an investment. You should be able to see a direct return from those posts.

Community Relations

One of the strengths in blogging is the community you can build. Building a community with your blog means you are encouraging and responding to comments. In the beginning you may not get much interaction, but as interest builds along with your reputation, the community will demand more of your attention.

Having said that, you can control the amount of effort spent on your community. Limit it to 5 hours total a week. You aren’t obligated to respond to everyone, but you want to be as welcoming and engaging as possible.

The trick is monitoring your community for abusive people. Keeping out abusive language is pretty easy with WordPress, but there are different ways to word abuses that WordPress will not recognize. As your blog grows in popularity, you may want to hire a moderator. I’ve seen average yearly salaries from $30 000 to $50 000 for “Community Managers,” as they are known.

Analytics

Marketing is nothing without measurement. You need to know how your blog is performing, or it’s not really a marketing effort. This takes time on the front end to set up the analytics. Google Analytics is free and does well for basic metrics. Give it at least an hour a week to review your analytics. Take longer in the beginning to tweak your program so you are getting accurate data.

You could pay for more in depth reporting, but unless you want blogging to become your primary business, it isn’t necessary. In any case, you can buy off-site software (that runs from your desktop) for $30-$300. Online options range from $4-$17 per month.

Advertising and Audience Building

Another strength in blogging is it’s social nature. You don’t have to spend a cent on advertising to grow your blog. Network with other bloggers and write excellent posts for their blogs. Share your posts on social media. Ask others to share your posts. Comment on other blogs. Be useful, serve your audience, and the word will get out.

I spend about 1 hour a day on LinkedIn, participating in group discussions, reading posts, and connecting with business owners and professionals. I will also give a little time to Twitter, but that’s for market research mostly.

Audience building is generally a long term mission, however, if you want to speed up the process, there are advertising options. You can spend $25 to boost a post on Facebook and reach a larger, targeted audience.

Advertising on Google or Bing is fairly inexpensive as well. You set your daily budget and pay for each click on your ads. Once you reach the daily budget, the search engine stops displaying your ad until the next day.

If you’re advertising your blog directly, make sure there is an avenue for return on that investment.

Example: Craft a special offer and write a series of blog posts to lead into it and pump it up. Set up those posts as a content landing page (a web page that acts as a hub for your promotional / educational blog posts). Your ads can direct prospects to this content landing page. Make the offer and use the blog posts to help each prospect through their purchase process.

Another worth-while investment would be an email auto-responder, a program that allows you to build a list of emails and send updates and newsletters as often as you like. Auto-responders also let you schedule emails to send at a later date and you can create a series of emails that will send in sequence.

Example: If you want to promote one offer each week leading up to Christmas, you would create the emails, select the list of subscribers that you are targeting, and schedule each email to send at one week intervals.

Most of the good email programs such as Aweber and MailChimp are $20 per month. As you send more emails and to more subscribers, it gets more expensive. However, MailChimp does have a free option. It doesn’t let you schedule emails, but you can still build a list and email them all at once.

Technical Details and Web Development

These expenses indirectly apply if you’re already running a business website.

Here’s what I’m paying right now.

Hosting: $222.00 for 3 years.

Domain Name: $177.00 for 5 years.

Website themes are easy to get your hands on. I’m particular to themeforest.net. You can find themes with all sorts of functionality and designs. A decent theme will cost anywhere from $40-$100.

No matter what theme you buy, making it look exactly the way you want will be tricky. If you know CSS, then it isn’t too hard to edit the theme’s styles. But it will take time. I spent 2 hours adjusting some styles for my website before writing this post.

If you don’t know CSS, then you’ll need a web developer. And they don’t come cheap. It’s tough to put a dollar figure on how much they cost because you can bring someone on staff or you can hire on a contract basis. If you already have a web developer or IT expert on staff, you’re set.

The Cost of Blogging

Let’s recap.

Dollars

Hours

Content Creation

$10 -$150 / post

16 / week

Community Relations

$30K – $50K For a moderator

5 / week

Analytics

$30-$300 OR

$4-$17 per month

5-10 hours in the beginning

1 / week

Advertising and Audience Building

$25+ per post

$20+ per month

5 / week

Technical Details and Web Development

Hosting: $222

Domain: $177

Theme: $40-100

10-15 hours in the beginning.

Nominal upkeep

If you are solely responsible for your business blog, expect to spend:

  • 27 hours a week if you don’t want to pay for blog posts, a moderator, specialized analytics, and advertising.

  • 15-25 hours in the beginning if you’re building the blog from scratch.

  • $439 for domain registration, hosting, and a professional theme. $499 if you’re going for a fancy theme.

If you have a team working with you, the dollar investment is much larger, but your personal time investment is minimal. Here are some ways to limit dollar costs:

  • Let your IT department take care of the technical details.

  • Instead of hiring a writer, let your staff write posts regularly. They can also share the posts on their own social profiles.

  • Instead of hiring a moderator, you can take turns with your staff to monitor the comments and social media profiles.

  • That leaves advertising in your hands if you choose to promote your blog further.

Blogging has a cost, but it doesn’t have be expensive.

How does your company tackle the cost of blogging? Do you have a team specially devoted to the blog? Or is it just you?

Leave a comment below. And share this post so others can get in on the conversation!

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