In my previous blog post, I promised you a break down of my monthly online business budget— for my blog, social media and business coaching tools.
I try to infuse automation apps and online resources into every process where I can. This includes my Instagram influencer campaigns, Pinterest SEO and Facebook ad targeting— and my coaching programs, too!
For the first year or so of blogging, I did not have a blog budget.
I knew that money was coming in, and money was going out, but I was so busy I didn’t look at the specifics.
Before I decided to take my blog full-time I needed to figure out exactly how much I was making.
I started more precisely tracking my income and expenses and created a spreadsheet to help me know if I was meeting my goals.
*Get your very own FREE customized biz planner at the end of this post!*
My Blog Expense Report
I want to preface by saying I spend WAY more on my blog now than I did when I started. As a new blogger, I DIY’ed everything I could, which turned out to be a fantastic method to learn my way around online from SEO to blog management and design.
Pro tip: If you’re new to blogging, don’t let these numbers that I share scare you— I started from zero once, too!
As my blog has grown, *I’ve made strategic investments* to continue to scale and grow.
This expense report will outline the main budget areas that I have for my online business.
**Some of these items are on sale this week because of Cyber Monday/Cyber Week— whatever we’re calling it these days!
I’ve included links to their promotional pricing and coupon codes when available.**
The best website and email hosting
1. Bluehost Website Hosting: I saved the most by purchasing three years at an up-front price of $267 when I converted my website from Wix to WordPress in 2018.
This breaks down to $7.41 monthly and *includes my WordPress site hosting.*
Bluehost has fast, reliable 24-hour support. I call their support team all the time at all hours, and they are top-notch in service!
Right now, for Cyber Monday, Bluehost is offering a free domain for the first year!
– Bluehost is also the place holder of my two website domains: shaundanecole.com & ipersonalshop.com
I pay $17.99 annually for each domain, which breaks down to a mere $2.99 a month!
– I also use CodeGuard via Bluehost: This is my website back-up service. It gives me peace of mind to know that if my website were to crash, unfortunately, CodeGuard is storing a copy of my site’s latest version on Bluehost!
I’ve used this service once when I had a plug-in disappear and needed to retrieve its data. Bluehost held my hand and stayed on the phone step by step as I recovered my site’s back-up!
I pay $9.99 monthly for CodeGuard Premium.
2. ConvertKit Email Marketing: ConvertKit is the email service provider that I use. I’ve been with them for six months now, and love their services and their helpful support team! I’m also finding that my favorite bloggers and email marketers use ConvertKit, too! This is one of the most significant monthly expenses for my blog, but it’s also one of my biggest revenue drivers, so it’s worth it!
ConvertKit email service offers so many categorized options for your subscriber lists like automation, tags, segments, and sequences— and it’s all very user-friendly!
For the number of subscribers I have, I pay $149.99 monthly.
3. I also use Flodesk for email marketing: I have Flodesk for all my *pretty emails* (like the one below) that I send to all my style and home decor blog subscribers and my subscriber group that loves an excellent giveaway! ConvertKit is for pro list segmenting and not so much for “designer” styled emails, but Flodesk is— and there’s no web code needed! You simply drag and drop.
Try Flodesk for *free*, and then get “grand-mothered” in for only $19 a month no matter your email list size (yep— that’s it, $19 for everyone)! The regular monthly price is $38 a month unless you use my affiliate link HERE to get the $19 monthly rate.
* WEB & EMAIL HOSTING BONUS
If you decide to purchase hosting through one of my affiliate links above (numbers 1-3 above), ⬆️ as a bonus, I’ll give you access to my Get Your Name Out There Magic Marketing Manuscript for *FREE* ($99 value)! Just email me a screenshot of your receipt, and I’ll send over the coupon link!
4. Custom Domain Gmail: For my blog, I have custom email addresses with my website (for example, the one I am sending this email from, firstname.lastname@example.org). I use Google’s G Suite to do this. It makes my email seem more professional to subscribers and sponsors. It also gives me the functionality of Gmail for my business emails.
I pay $72.00 upfront annually, which works out to $6.00 a month.
Save 20% on a basic plan with code: Y3W39ANLRVAHMA7 | Save 20% on a business plan with code: PCUUMJNFJ74NE3Y
5. Jetpack for WordPress: For my blog, I use the Jetpack plug-in to speed up my website by compressing images and text as necessary (not visible to the end-user). Jetpack also backs-up my site. Since I use CodeGuard (above ⬆️) for site back-up, Jetpack is a back-up to my back-up!
I pay $39.00 annually— $3.25 monthly.
6. Yoast for WordPress: I use the Yoast plug-in on my blog for strategic, yet simple SEO optimization. It’s so easy to make my posts SEO and Google search friendly with Yoast, so my posts have a better chance of being found in online searches.
Yoast is like SEO for dummies because it’s so easy to use!
I pay $66.75 annually because of a 20% off coupon. This is $5.56 monthly.
7. iCloud: Because I don’t use stock photos for my blog, I take and store a ton of pictures and videos! I’m an Apple and Mac lover for life, so I pay monthly for iCloud storage. You can use Google Photos for free from what I hear. I electively choose to pay for the convenience of a full storage system with Apple (I’m on the highest terabyte plan) that I can sync directly to my MacBook and iPhone— makes life so simple for me!
I pay $9.99 monthly.
8. Grammarly: One of my *favorite* blog expenses is Grammarly (I’m a word geek!) Grammarly is my editor and proof-reader pro, way beyond spell check! This service is priceless to me as a blogger and contributing writer.
Here’s what I pay: The Premium plan is $139.95 annually. I paid for it for the year up-front at the cost of $83.99 (they offered a 40% off coupon). Monthly this is $6.99.
9. Rafflecopter: I run all my blog contests and giveaways with Rafflecopter because this service manages all entries, randomly chooses a qualified winner, and it takes less than 5 minutes to set up!
I pay $13 monthly for this service.
10. Gen M: When I have a specific project, like growing my Facebook audience or increasing my Pinterest posts. I’ll bring on an intern from Gen M. While I’m not using Gen M right now, their services are as affordable as only a few dollars a day for a virtual assistant!
The monthly cost is $89.
11. Animoto: I recently leveled-up my videos from iMovie to Animoto, now that I’m booking keynote speaking engagements and hosting group workshops. Animoto was referred to me by an Emmy award-winning blogger, and she was right— it’s so EASY to use! I had my first sizzle reel up in no time— you can view it on my speaking page HERE.
Animoto costs $65 a month (check Groupon for coupons before joining!).
12. Fiverr: I also use the Fiverr app for quick one-off tasks, like custom Pinterest overlays or a custom email signature. Fiverr’s excellent for these types of five-dollar-ish digital jobs. Fiverr is not a monthly service; instead, it’s a pay as you need app.
I guesstimate that I spend about $20 monthly here.
I use Tailwind to schedule the pins on all of my blog posts. I’ve also added upgrades to my subscription.
I paid for Tailwind’s Plus membership upfront for $119.88 annually. This is the same as $9.99 monthly.
14. Zoom: Zoom is the perfect tool for individual and group coaching calls. I share my video link with whoever I want to join my call! Zoom solves all my digital meeting solutions. I can host meetings, masterminds and conferences anywhere anytime with any number of attendees all over the globe!
I pay $14.99 monthly for Zoom Pro.
15. Calendly: Calendly allows me to easily schedule meetings without the back and forth emails. My Calendly link is automatically emailed to every client that purchases one of my coaching programs. This way, they can immediately schedule our time together based on my calendar availability.
Calendly Pro costs me $15.00 each month.
16. InfluenceKit: My agent met the co-founders of InfluenceKit at a recent conference. She was smitten by how this resource creates dynamic influencer reports so quickly with real-time updates. InfluenceKit provides professional, stand out campaign reports for sponsored Instagram and blog content.
I have to admit that I wasn’t looking for a 15th monthly subscription/cost of doing business! However, I was also blown away by InfluenceKit’s ease in use and beautiful presentation. Gathering my stats for brand partnerships was a breeze, so I was all in!
The objective of InfluenceKit is that my standout, professional influencer reports will help increase sponsorship revenue.
InfluenceKit costs a pretty penny at $99 a month.
My agent got all of us that she represents a free 60-day trial that you can use, too HERE!
17. Bluehost’s ad service: I love using Bluehost’s managed Facebook ads. I also use Pinterest’s Promoted Pins to grow my email list and bring in additional revenue. I budget $200 a month for ads.
Some months are more, some are less, but my average is about $200.
18. Misc. Expenses: While I tried to include everything that I pay for monthly here, there are some things that I didn’t include. Items that I purchase like online courses, books and additional learning resources I didn’t include here.
You should know, I’m big on online courses and investing in myself! My “secret-weapon” in publicity and the media is publicity strategist, Selena Soo.
Selena’s online courses have TRANSFORMED my business with over 25 mainstream media features!
I met Selena via one of her online courses, and connected with her one-one-one after a stand out video testimonial I submitted!
I budget $200 monthly for misc expenses.
**This report is *not* all-inclusive. I didn’t include other expenses like accounting, taxes, internet, computers, cameras, etc. (I figured you’d know to expect these expenses!)
I’ve tried to cover the main digital items that I rely on monthly.**
TOTAL BLOGGER BIZ MONTHLY EXPENSES: $947.15
What do you think?
Was that more or less than you were expecting?
It’s kinda staggering when I look at the total expenses. Still, I’m still grateful for each cost because it’s a critical piece of my business, saving me lots of time to concentrate on creating more content to make more money!
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My blog and my social influence are the publicity that has skyrocketed my business and blessed my life in more ways than I can count!
I’m living in my purpose, inspiring others from a creative and liberating space— and bonus, I get paid to do this, too!
What does your blog or online business budget look like?
Feel free to reply to me in an email or leave a comment below. You can also forward this post along and share it with a friend! 😉
Are you ready to live in your purpose?
Is it your destiny to impact millions and change the world?
(Even if you have no clue how to get there?)
The shortcut is generating publicity and industry buzz.
It’s time you met my secret-weapon in biz!
My “secret source” to publicity and industry buzz— marketing and media strategist, Selena Soo!
Sign-up to learn more about Selena and what we’re working on together for the New Year!Sign Up Here!
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