The Cost of Running a Successful Blog

Blogging is one of the best “free” ways to market a business online.  A blog can address multiple business needs at once:

  • Keeps your website content fresh.
  • Allows you to engage with customers.
  • Enables search engines to find you.
  • Builds thought leadership in your industry.
  • Generates brand loyalty.
  • Helps promote products and services.

You probably already know that you can create and run a blog for free on sites like WordPress and Blogger. However, many business owners have found that maintaining a blog quickly turns into a bothersome marketing task that ends up at the bottom of their “to do” lists due to costs, lack of resources and lack of time.  So now that blogging has become one of the most effective marketing tools, just how much should an active blog be costing you?

On average, the cost per month to maintain a consistent content marketing strategy is approximately $1,200 – $20,000. Yes, we said $20k (although we’ve achieved great results for as little as $1,200 a month). Check out what Neil Patel says about his cost of blogging for Quicksprout. We realize that for many businesses, $240,000 a year for blogging is out of the question. However, Neil’s post does help bring the importance of blogging into focus:

“You have to be prepared to invest in it to make it work.”

So, is blogging really that expensive? 

To turn your blog into a true business asset, you must manage and maintain a consistent content marketing schedule. Here are a few questions you’ll need to answer:

  1.  Who will develop (or build) your blog?
  2.  Who will write content for your blog?
  3.  Who will manage and update your blog?
  4. Who will share and spread the word about your blog?

blog costs

So, how much will it cost to build and manage a successful blog? 

Developing, managing and writing a small or medium-sized business blog can be broken down into a four-phase process. Here is a breakdown of the cost of each phase.

Phase 1: Build the Blog (Development)              

Keep in mind that the template blogs that might be “free” often aren’t very original, and modifying any part of them could require web development knowledge.  Furthermore, if you want your blog to match your business’s existing brand (which it should), then customization is necessary. Development costs to build and integrate a custom blog onto an existing website that matches your brand can run anywhere from $900 to $2,500. Keep in mind that building a blog is a one-time investment.

Phase 2: Content is King (Copywriting)

Next, for your blog to be of value, you’ll need to populate it with original and search-engine-optimized (SEO) content. This is where marketing dollars are often either terribly wasted or profitably spent.

To develop post-worthy content, you’ll need a writer.  A writer should be able to imbue your blog with a consistent, professional voice. There are many writers and content factories out there that are willing to jump into your industry and produce 250-to-500  word articles that read like spam and will lend your website little credibility.  However, if you plan to promote your blog to serious readers, you may want to invest a little more time and money; for example, the content marketing team at Executionists conducts company interviews, does extensive research, and crafts relevant, original content (400 to 800 words) including longtail keyword integration (title, headings, metadata) and stock image purchase/customization per article.

Depending on factors such as how often you’ll publish new content to the blog and the length of the articles, ghostwriting costs will vary.  If you’re looking to post one blog per week, ghostwriting can cost you $1,000 to $1,800 per month.

Phase 3: Share the Blog (Marketing)

The success of any blog depends on how many people actually read it. That means strategizing a plan to get your content noticed.  An online marketing strategy is a key aspect of running a successful blog and gaining followers. Marketing can consist of:

  • Creating online or offline ads that link to your blog post.
  • Soliciting complimentary businesses to repost your blog article on their sites.
  • Posting links to the blog in social media, or forums.
  • Creating an email blast around the blog content.

Many factors can add additional expenses within this stage of blogging; however, most small and medium-sized online businesses can work with a marketing budget of $0 to $2,000 per month.

Phase 4: Update the Blog (Development, again.) 

Most web developers and even online marketers will tell you that any website requires frequent review and updates every few weeks or so. It is crucial that the software or platform that hosts your blog is regularly monitored for new updates or releases. The two main reasons you should upgrade your blogging software are to prevent security attacks and to update any modified plugins or widgets.

Security is the number one reason to update your software. As time passes or coding languages change, the software may become vulnerable to malicious attackers. By updating the blog’s framework you will have the most secure version of the software, minimizing the possibility of hacking.

Executionists will strategize a holistic marketing mix to offer you the most value in achieving a successful blog and blogging strategy.  We offer blog software upgrades as a part of our monthly blog retainer as well as an a la carte service for around $250 to $500 depending on your existing software.

While we aren’t saying that you need to spend $20,000 a month to run a successful blog, but you should certainly plan to set aside $1,000 to $2,500 a month to stay in the game. Remember, that blogging for your business will ultimately require personal participation. 

If you’re ready to begin promoting your business online, let us help you plan and budget a custom content marketing strategy for your business blog today. Fill out our quick estimate form to get started.

Richard Parr
by Richard Parr
Posted: April 24, 2013