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How Do You Spend Money Blogging?

This post was most recently updated on July 30th, 2019

How Do You Spend Money Blogging?I am going to twist things around a little bit and ask you “how do you spend money blogging?

The more common question, of course, is “how do you make money blogging?”

Many of my clients want to know how much money is it going to cost them when they first start blogging.

That’s always an important question.

But the big one is “how do you make money blogging?”

In fact, that’s a question I get all the time from my email subscribers, students and readers.

But I always change the conversation.

One of the things that will determine how you make money blogging, I explain, is how you will spend money to set up your business.

In other words, “how do you spend money blogging?”

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So let’s talk about what kind of financial investment is involved in starting your blog, in maintaining your blog and even in raising it to a new level.

How Do You Spend Money Blogging?

Blogging For Fun

How much money you invest in blogging depends largely on what kind of blogging you want to do.

If you’re just a casual blogger, then you certainly don’t want to spend too much money.

You might be better going with one of the free blogging platforms like Blogger or Tumblr.

With a free platform, though, you won’t own your blog because it’s hosted on somebody else’s site.

You have to, therefore, obey all their rules.

One of those rules is usually that there’s a great limitation on the kind of commerce you can conduct with your blog.

The free platforms usually ban you from selling products or services, or embedding affiliate links into your articles.

If you’re just a hobby blogger, though, this shouldn’t matter to you.

Blogging For Profit

Let’s focus on those people who do want to make money blogging.

If you’re in this group, you will certainly need to invest in different aspects of your business.

The problem is that a lot of bloggers don’t expect to spend any money on their business.

They want to know how they can spend as little as possible on their business.

I don’t know why this is, maybe because they’re on the internet and they think that everything on the internet is free.

That’s not true.

Special: FREE Guide… 4 Things I Did To Build My Blog Using Only Free Traffic

If you’re not willing to invest in your blog then you probably are not going to have a very successful business.

Instead of focusing on spending as little as possible, think of spending as much as possible.


If you spend very little on your blogging business, you’ll probably profit very little.

If you can find ways to spend more, you’ll profit more.

Generally speaking, the more you spend, the more you will probably prosper.

I know bloggers who think their biggest achievement online is that they never spend any money.

That’s certainly no way to run a business, and of course, the bloggers I know who think that way don’t earn hardly anything at all.

Laura Williams, writing for Jon Morrow’s Smart Blogger, warns bloggers to get clear on just how serious they are about blogging, and to what extent they are willing to invest in their business…

How do you spend money blogging?

So get some clarity.

Know what level of risk and investment you are prepared to undertake in order to fund your dreams of running a successful blog.

Invest wisely.

Invest purposefully.

Have a plan for investing.

Write out a list of things that you’re going to have to do to build a blogging business.

Line by line, write out the cost of each item on your list.

Give yourself a budget.

How much will you spend per month, or per quarter or year to sustain and grow your business?

Budget a specified amount of money that you can afford, that won’t make you fall behind in paying your rent or your car payments.

Budget funds that you can reasonably use as seed money for starting your blogging business.

If you’ve been blogging for a while already then consider how much money you’ll spend this year on growing your blog to a new level of success.

The point is to have an idea of how much money you are going to spend.

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Plan on it.

Then, just let go.

Don’t hold on to your money.

Don’t try to economize on everything.

Don’t look for free free free.

That’s the best way to condemn your business to failure right from the start.

Remember this…

So what should your budget look like?

You’ll have to decide that for yourself, of course, but let’s see how you might go about this.

Harsh Agrawal of ShoutMeLoud is certainly a very successful blogger.

This is how he describes his budgeting process.

How do you spend money blogging?

Now, I personally think this is a great way to go about budgeting.

Harsh shows you right from the beginning that if you’re starting a blog you need to plan on making an initial investment.

He suggests that $100 to $1,000 is what you need to get your blog up and running.

Once you’re making money with your blog, then you can take 40% of that profit and put it back into your business.

So what would you invest in once you’re are actually running a successful blog.

Well, as Harsh suggests, your budgeted investment will go mostly to tools and services.

Now I know some bloggers think that it’s wasteful to always be out there spending money on the latest software, the latest tool, the latest automation service for social media… and so forth.

All those things are just shiny objects, they tell you.

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If you keep “falling for” all those shiny objects then you suffer from what they call the shiny object syndrome.

But if you accept the wisdom of putting 40% of your income back into your business, then you NEED to look for the right way to spend that money.

Here’s the thing…

Many of these so-called shiny objects are not shiny objects, they’re helpful objects.

They could even be essential objects.

They only become frivolous shiny objects if you don’t know what you’re doing.

You can’t be buying tools and software and services that you really don’t need or that you’re really not ready to use.

A big part of running a business is to know when you need to upgrade your tools and services.

When you do, then you should spend the money.

Holding back because you believe in spending as little money as possible is a fool’s errand.

You’ll save money at the expense of starving your business.

That’s why you need a sensible and pro-growth budget.

It gives you permission to spend a portion of your earnings.

It’s called business investment.

Special: FREE Guide… 4 Things I Did To Build My Blog Using Only Free Traffic

What’s Your Overhead?

It’s called overhead.

People don’t like overhead.

They think they have to reduce overhead.

If you’re thinking along those lines then you’re setting the groundwork for destroying your business.

You should be thankful to have overhead.

Overhead means you have systems and tools in place that can help you grow your business faster and bigger.

As you profit more and more, you should seek to increase your overhead… not decrease it.

Spending wisely means growth.

Keeping your profit in the bank means stagnation.

It Takes Money To Be Taken Seriously

I consider Ryan Biddulph (Blogging From Paradise) to be one the premier bloggers in my particular niche… blogging and online marketing.

I’ve known Ryan for years and have watched him develop his business into something really special.

He’s not wasteful and he’s way beyond “falling for” shiny objects.

Yet, here’s what he says about investing in his business.

How do you spend money blogging?

While we’ve all heard that “it takes money to make money”… the more accurate way of saying this in terms of your online business, Ryan tells us, is that “it takes money to be taken seriously online.”

You can see that Ryan is not shy about the fact that he has spent thousands of dollars on his business.

That’s not a bad thing.

In fact, that’s a prudent thing.

In fact, it’s a necessary thing if you’re going to have a business.

Any business – offline or online – has a balance sheet.

There are expenses and there is revenue.

Without expenses you don’t have a business.

As your business grows, your expenses grow.

You don’t grow your business to a certain point and then say “things are going great now, so I’m going to cut back on my expenses.”

That’s the wrong kind of thinking.

As you cover your expenses and make increasing profits then you should be increasing your spending.

So, really, this is a good thing.

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It’s only bad if you’re throwing good money after bad.

Don’t be spending money on a business that is not bringing in money.

Don’t be spending money on a particular strategy, tactic or campaign that is not increasing your profits, either directly or indirectly.

You can do this for for a while to get things rolling.

But if you’ve gotten to the point where your blogging business is going smoothly but not profitably, then slow down on the spending.

Focus, instead, on whatever it is that’s stalling your business.

If everything is going well, though, and your profits are getting higher all the time, then plan out a buying schedule that can expand your growth and increase your momentum.

Look for the smartest ways to spend money for tools, services, coaching/consulting or anything else that will help you drive your business to the next level.

Top Tier Coaching

How much money do you spend on your business?

Are you prepared to spend more as your business grows?

Do you feel guilty when you spend money on your business?

Do you believe the better you are in business, the less you will spend?

Do you like spending money in your business, even though your profits don’t justify it?

All these things are important considerations in deciding how much to spend on your blog.

The key, though, is before asking how you can make money blogging, you must ask…

“How do you spend money blogging?”

I’d like to know.

Please leave a comment and tell me what your spending habits are in running your blogging business.

I love reading your comments, and of course, I’d also love it if you’d take a moment to share this article on your social sites.


Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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62 Responses to How Do You Spend Money Blogging?

  1. Robert Graham July 31, 2018 at 11:50 am #

    I know my sites all received more attention after I started investing seriously in aesthetics and design. I consistently underrated the impact for years.

    Spending the money gets easier as you see the benefit, but those first steps can be big ones.

  2. Alicia Osmera December 13, 2016 at 11:07 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Interesting take on blogging. I never would have thought of thinking about things this way.

    I am getting better and thanl you for your article.

  3. Donna Merrill December 10, 2016 at 7:08 pm #

    Hi Shamsudeen,

    Thanks for the accurate analysis of the sorts of investments required to build a blogging business.

    It’s true, many people say you only need a domain and hosting.

    Of course that’s true, but only half truth.

    You’ve made that argument perfectly, here.

    The domain and hosting gives you the keys to the car.

    But then you need gas, tires, repairs, tuneups, regular maintenance, roadside insurance and so much more.

    Yes, you need the keys… but that’s not all.

    You want to run a real business and make real profit, then expect to make real investments or crumble.

    Donna Merrill recently posted..Influencer Marketing To Grow Your BlogMy Profile

  4. Shamsudeen Adeshokan
    December 6, 2016 at 5:47 am #

    Hi Donna,

    As at the time I started my blogging journey, all I read from the so-called guru is that you only need to invest in domain registration and hosting.

    But as I grew older in the industry, I realize the truth…domain and hosting are in fact, the basic. Investing in domain name and hosting of your blog are just the starting line and not even the investment type we’re talking here.

    Many new beginner bloggers believe that apart from these two investments, every other thing is FREEMIUM.

    There are lots of things ahead to invest in if you’re truly serious about your online business and want to see it grow into something of BIG value in the future and one that makes you money.

    From services, tools, to growing your knowledge in the industry…there is more to online marketing than what the books are reporting.

    You have to invest to gain more profit and something you have to invest (time, energy and money) just to validate a process, tactics or whatever.

    Thanks Donna, this is the reality of blogging for money.
    Shamsudeen Adeshokan recently posted..9 Types of Content Marketing Ideas That Work For DummiesMy Profile

  5. Grant Merriel
    December 5, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

    These are spot on! If you really want to have a successful blogging business, you really have to invest in it. While you could still earn money just by having a free subdomain, there are more opportunities if you have your own domain, etc. We shouldn’t just rely on free tools too!
    Grant Merriel recently posted..How to Handle Negative Online Reviews of Your Business – More Time More Profit: Helping Entrepreneurs and Business Owners Scale their BusinessMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 9, 2016 at 11:51 pm #

      Hi Grant,

      You are right, of course.

      There’s much more opportunity to succeed when you start investing in key things like a self hosted domain, an autoresponder and some good coaching to help you put all the pieces together.

      Blogging is a business, and that requires investment of some sort.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..How To Write A Roundup Post To Drive Traffic and Build Blog EngagementMy Profile

  6. K. Lee Banks
    December 4, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

    What a great comprehensive post on the importance of investing in blogging! I’m really just getting into thinking of blogging as a serious endeavor. I have invested in domain names, hosting, and various paid versions of plugins to maximize my blogs’ capabilities. I’ve also invested money into various workshops related to blogging. Right now, though, blogging isn’t my primary focus and funds are basically non-existent to spend on non-essentials.

    HOWEVER… in 2017, I would like to make my blogging more of a business. So I will bookmark this post and come back to read more and learn all I can! Thanks so much!
    K. Lee Banks recently posted..You are NOT Too Old to Learn!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 9, 2016 at 11:46 pm #

      Hi K. Lee,

      I can assure you that when you’re ready to get serious about blogging, the first and best place to start investing is with coaching.

      A coach can guide you along the way to building your business, but also to investing in what you must have, and staying clear of those things that will only drain your resources.

      Good luck in 2017 🙂

      Donna Merrill recently posted..How To Build Relationships With People Through BloggingMy Profile

  7. Emi
    December 4, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

    Hi Donna,
    I agree with you, it does take money to make ,money and to be taken seriously.
    Great tips as always 🙂
    Emi recently posted..How To Come Up With Unique Content Idea For Your Blog?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 9, 2016 at 11:29 pm #

      Hi Emi,

      Yes, yes… spend money, make money… otherwise people will see you as an amateur blogger because…


      you would be 🙂

      Pros invest, but they invest wisely.

      They make it their business to learn how to.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..36 Loyal Readers of Donna Merrill TribeMy Profile

  8. Erika Mohssen-Beyk
    December 4, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    Hi Donna,
    you did write a great post . Every business needs investment . Online or offline. The good think is online the starting cost are not as high . But if it is a real business it needs investment as well.
    Some may start with a minimum ,but to make it really work it needs the proper tools and maybe help as well and there is always something to learn.which may not be free.
    If one wants to make blogging a money making business he has to spend time and money.
    Good for many to read your post and think about .
    Thank you
    Erika Mohssen-Beyk recently posted..How To Enjoy Life Better Without Expectations In 2017My Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 9, 2016 at 11:09 pm #

      Hi Erika,

      Thanks for adding to the conversation.

      Yes, investment is necessary.

      You’ll get nowhere otherwise.

      What’s most important, though, is knowing when you are “investing” vs. simply “spending.”

      It feels the same, but there’s a big difference. That’s why I always encourage people to hire a coach or mentor right from the start.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Influencer Marketing To Grow Your BlogMy Profile

  9. Ikechi
    December 4, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

    Hi Donna

    It is just a myth that you can spend nothing on a blog even with using a free platform, you are still going to make an investment

    Love your thoughts on this issue and it makes sense to invest on a blog

    Take Care
    Ikechi recently posted..5 Common Thinking Errors That Prevents You From Standing Out From The CrowdMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 9, 2016 at 11:04 pm #

      Hi Ikechi,

      Absolutely must spend money to build your blog into a business.

      Now, as businesses go, it’s a pretty small investment… but you must be prepared to spend to get started, and at each step of the way.

      I believe strongly that before you spend money on anything, even a domain and web host… you should hire a coach. It will make your entire progress so much faster and more efficient, and will help you know when and where you should be investing.

      It just makes perfect sense.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..3 Crazy Simple Ways To Become A Successful Blogger | Interview With Marquita HeraldMy Profile

  10. Lydia
    December 4, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

    Hi Donna, this go round I have a budget and I pay for what is truly necessary to automate some things and to host my blog in with a safe server. Years ago when I started I was so attracted to what wasn’t really necessary that I lost money and hardly made any. I test some tools that have a free version when I see that it works as promised I will upgrade because I have proof it can help me get results. Great post thanks
    Lydia recently posted..Effects of Alcohol on the BodyMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 9, 2016 at 10:52 pm #

      Hi Lydia,

      It sounds like you’re finding your way forward after traveling some rough roads.

      Here’s the thing…

      people will usually get tot he point that they know why they wasted so much time and money on buying and doing the wrong things if they are persistent not determined not to quit.

      But how much easier, faster and less costly it all can be if they will just invest in good coaching right from the start, instead of spinning wheels, wasting time and buying all kinds of stuff they’ll never use.

      I’d put that on the top of my budget.

      It just makes perfect business sense.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..How Do You Spend Money Blogging?My Profile

  11. Sue Bride
    December 4, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

    The days are gone when successfully running a blog and promoting it cost nothing. It’s no longer easy to get found and known.

    You can’t send out emails in mass without them being blocked, unless you have an autoresponder service. Even if we don’t pay for ads in search engines and rely on social media, then we need tools to help us get found. As you say, free blogs no longer cater well for monetization.

    There are a lot more free resources today but I agree that some expenditure is needed.
    Sue Bride recently posted..11 Practical Methods to Increase Creativity For BloggersMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 9, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

      Hi Sue,

      It’s not so much a matter of IF you should invest, but how best to do it.

      Work hard, be purposeful and single minded, be consistent and spend wisely.

      That’s a pretty good model for running an online business, but you need each piece of that.

      Spending wisely is not optional … it’s a required challenge.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..How Can Black Friday 2016 Make You Successful In 2017My Profile

  12. DeeDee Lynn
    December 4, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    Hi Donna. I am a believer in spending money – maybe too much of a believer, LOL. I’m kind of settled with my domain and them, and now it’s time to implement the wisdom from the shiny objects I have in my computer. There are plenty of great free resources, but you are right – sometimes you have to dig down in your pockets. Thanks for asking this important question.
    DeeDee Lynn recently posted..I’m inviting you to take a peek into my 72-hour kitMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 9, 2016 at 9:53 pm #

      Hi DeeDee,

      You have to have a strategy for producing and publishing great content on your blog.

      You have to have a strategy to market that content.

      And… you have to have a strategy for how to invest.

      It’s important to plan your investments and not just grab and pick at things that look cool at the moment.

      Bloggers have to operate like they are running a business… because they are.

      No business was ever built without investment.

      Or at least, very few.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Foolproof Marketing Strategies For BloggersMy Profile

  13. Edward Thorpe
    December 4, 2016 at 9:58 am #

    Hi Donna,

    Girl, you sure can write!

    Anyway, starting a business with only sweat equity can be done, as you know. But you really have to know what you’re doing and have a lot of patience.

    Your point of investing wisely is well taken. Anything that saves you time or labor should make you more money in the long run.

    Good post, thank you,
    Edward Thorpe recently posted..How To Live With Age Related Heart DiseaseMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 9, 2016 at 9:33 pm #

      Hi Edward,

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂

      And yeah, it’s so true… you can build your business through pure effort and force of action… but you better be real sure that you know what actions will lead you to your promised land.

      If you don’t, or if you don’t have the time or patience that takes, then put a budget into place and invest in your future and your growth.

      That’s the way the vast, vast majority of all great businesses have been built online.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..4 Productivity Tips For BloggersMy Profile

  14. Reji
    December 4, 2016 at 8:58 am #

    Hi Donna,

    I started blogging as a hobby and I never thought I may take it very seriously in future. Even now I do blogging part-time after my full-time job and other life commitments. If anyone would like blogging a business, it is a must to invest in it like any other business. Like any other business, you need to pay for your employees like a content writer, web designer, etc.

    Looking forward to read more updates from you soon.

    Thanks for the great share.

    Best regards

    Reji Stephenson
    Reji recently posted..How can mobile apps help your business emerge?My Profile

  15. Joan M Harrington
    December 3, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    Awesome post Donna!

    You are right it is so important to decide how you will spend your money before you actually make money blogging.

    Having a budget and knowing where your money is going, setting up your blog, your hosting, domain and all of things you need to have success will help you to be set up right 🙂

    Awesome tips on how to make money blogging by understanding where you need to spend money before you even make it 🙂
    Joan M Harrington recently posted..Have You Lost Your Mojo? Feel Like Giving Up? You Are Not Alone….My Profile

  16. Atish Ranjan
    December 3, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Nice topic, I really enjoyed it.

    When I started blogging, it was a hobby thing only, and for first 2 years, I didn’t invest much except for hosting. But, when I started to blog as a business, I felt the need of investments, and I have started investing.

    If I wouldn’t have started investing, I won’t be making much money for sure. Since we cannot do everything on our own, we need a team or people to work with us. And, ever since, I hired a few awesome people to work with me, My profit multiplied.

    Nice post, Donna. It is one of the best posts on your blog.
    Atish Ranjan recently posted..TemplateMonster’s Social Stock Program – Chance to Win Amazing PrizesMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 4, 2016 at 10:13 pm #

      Hi Atish,

      I’m glad you like this article and I’m glad that you found the way to start making your blog successful.

      Your story is a great one for people to hear because it’s real, and it’s such a typical experience for bloggers.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Influencer Marketing To Grow Your BlogMy Profile

  17. Darrell Harris
    December 2, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

    Hello Donna
    Great post ! Insightful and definitely very well needed,really super topic that I agree with you 100 percent. I started off blogging using the freebie route but I found out the hard way you basically get what you pay for. It’s definitely true you have to spend a lot of time or money to grow a business. I lot of people should definitely read and learn from this post. Thanks for sharing
    Darrell Harris recently posted..51 Things to do that Will Make Your Website SoarMy Profile

  18. Joy Healey
    December 2, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    A neat twist to the usual question!

    When I started out blogging I wanted to go the free route, but it very quickly became clear that you get what you pay for. So I “splashed out” on cheap hosting. What a mistake. I was hacked, lost some sites completely, and my site was so slow to load even I lost patience with it!

    So my wisest investment has been decent, managed WordPress hosting. I’m still only on their basic package so it has room to grow with me.

    Sherman makes a good point too – if you’re a freebie-seeker, how can you expect your clients to be serious business people who will invest in their business.

    Great topic!

    Have a great weekend. Joy – Blogging After Dark
    Joy Healey recently posted..Free eCommerce Store With Products To SellMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 4, 2016 at 10:03 pm #

      Hi Joy,

      Hosting is really something you don’t want to go cheap on.

      Once you get hacked and lose data and maybe you’re entire site, you spend a whole lot more than you ever saved to begin with.

      Other cheapie solutions for various blogging requirements often end badly, too.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..35 Best Types Of Blog Posts To Get Free Traffic | Neil PatelMy Profile

  19. Ruth Bowers
    December 2, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

    How do I spend money blogging? Let me count the ways… domains, hosting, content, plugins and themes mostly. 2017 is going to see me venture into paid advertising too. Thank goodness I’m a techie geek and can do all the heavy lifting on the backend myself. 🙂

    The mindset that everything has to be done free or cheap has killed more businesses than I can count. I’ve had so many clients who just can’t seem to get past the “I don’t want to spend money on my business” mindset and then they wonder why they’re not making any money either. It’s a never-ending circle that doesn’t give way until you change your mindset.
    Ruth Bowers recently posted..[Friday Five] 5 Time-Saving Content Creation TipsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 4, 2016 at 9:54 pm #

      Hi Ruth,

      That’s great insight for bloggers to hear.

      Free or cheap all the way… is a mindset that will spell the end of you blogging dreams real fast.

      Until, unless you change your mindset.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Foolproof Marketing Strategies For BloggersMy Profile

  20. Mark
    December 2, 2016 at 3:48 pm #

    Way to cut to the chase Donna!

    And I like the way you basically separated the conversation
    into two primary camps.

    The hobby blogger and those seriously looking to earn a profit from
    their blogging and online marketing and or promotional activities.

    Maybe once they’re faced with the hard cold truth, the hobby blogger
    will finally come to grips with the fact, they simply aren’t cut out
    and dedicated enough,to be a serious online marketer.

    And they can quite wrestling with the idea of marketing online.

    While conversely, serious online marketers, can and will follow and
    (hopefully) implement, your proven advice Coach!

    I definitely know, in my particular case, doing so has propelled (both)
    my rapid progress and profitability forward, far faster and definitely
    helped me avoid a many a potential pitfall!LOL! Thanks!
    Mark recently posted..How To Prevent Your Small Business From Losing 35% Or More Of It’s Profitably!My Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 4, 2016 at 9:14 pm #

      Hi Mark,

      You’re on the spot, here… bloggers who resist investing in their business will quickly learn that they don’t have a business… by their own choice.

      They will either quit, continue blogging just for the fun of it, or change their ways and start investing wisely.

      Glad you’ve had such success and thanks for the nod of approval in they help I’ve been able to give you along the way 🙂

      Donna Merrill recently posted..4 Productivity Tips For BloggersMy Profile

  21. Kathryn Maclean
    December 2, 2016 at 9:27 am #

    Hi Donna,
    Terrific topic, especially for this time of year.
    When you have a blog for a hobby it’s completely different than one for a business.

    When you have a business blog you can not expect not to spend money on it. You need to track where you spend money so you can measure your ROI. I have a budget and a plan for investing in my business.

    Wonderful article

    • Donna Merrill December 4, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

      Hi Kathryn,

      You need “a budget and a plan” as you say.

      This is so critical to running any successful business, and a blog is not different.

      It’s just that too may bloggers thin it IS different in some magical way.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..36 Loyal Readers of Donna Merrill TribeMy Profile

  22. Deborah A. Ten Brink
    December 1, 2016 at 9:56 pm #

    I see this post as a definite must read for all bloggers, Donna.

    One statement that stands out to me is where you say there are bloggers that feel their biggest online achievement is that they don’t spend any money!

    Wow, they truly need to take a step back and rethink their business plan! They’ll never succeed if they don’t believe in investing in themselves and their online business!

    I’m sharing this! So many need to read it and get their act together.

    Deborah A. Ten Brink recently posted..Childhood Memories And Tropical FishMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 4, 2016 at 8:54 pm #

      Hi Deborah,

      It may seem strange to pro bloggers that there are people dead set against spending any (or much) money on their blogs…

      but sadly, that’s exactly what happens far too often.

      Of course, those are the bloggers who usually drop off the planet in pretty short time.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..36 Loyal Readers of Donna Merrill TribeMy Profile

  23. Mi Muba
    December 1, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

    Hi Donna

    This is one of my most favorite topics and you well covered all the important points that a blogger needs to understand and I don’t think any point you missed here. It’s because of your incredible prowess in this field and you can’t be called anything but an authority blogger.

    I just want to share a gist of my previous five year’s experience while facing those who want to make money but don’t want to spend money or want to spend peanuts and like to get diamonds in return.

    I think in terms of approach (not in terms of objectives) there are five types of people who are trying to make money blogging.

    1) Those who think blogging is a magic wand and a miracle will happen to their randomly or haphazardly managed blog and money would start growing on it.

    2) Those who though don’t take it as a magic wand but do consider it a complete solution of all their money needs and they expect more from it by doing less to earn money with it.

    3) Those who try to invest as minimum as possible and try to earn more and more.

    4) Those who just do blogging in a stereotyped way and very wrongly believe that everything would stand corrected by itself and their traffic would itself convert and they would be selling to them in big number.

    5) Those who take blogging purely as business and do know how to manage their blog like a business person. They have high dreams but they strongly believe every journey starts with first step. So they keep doing and keep investing to make their blog a profitable venture and not a liability. (This is the approach that must lead them to become a successful money blogger)

    If we really believe that now competition has stiffened a lot in this field so we should never think that with an ordinary approach we can make money blogging to make our blog source of our full time living. Now we must work harder and invest more to get more traffic and convert it to make money with it.

    Many thanks for sharing a post on a very very important topic especially for those who still are not clear on this topic and just believe by doing everything casually one day they would become a top earning blogger.
    Mi Muba recently posted..10 no-nonsense tricks to create NOT just another roundup postMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 4, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

      Hi Mi Muba,

      You really went the extra mile here, adding some of your insights into this topic.

      Great advice, too.

      I hope people reading this article are also reading the comment thread because there’s a lot of good substance in it, not least of which is your wonderful comment here.

      Thanks for that.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Influencer Marketing To Grow Your BlogMy Profile

  24. Matt December 1, 2016 at 12:21 pm #


    Great post! It’s important if you want to run a business you have to treat it like a business. Many people are worried of investment because they won’t see a return. That’s the nature of business. You have to be in the game to win or lose. If you lose, understand what you did wrong and go again until you get it right!

    All the best,


    • Donna Merrill December 9, 2016 at 12:01 am #

      Hi Matt,

      Good point… investment puts you in the game.

      Even if you lose, what you learn will eventually lead to success if you commit to sticking with it, no matter what.

      I think a lot of people don’t invest in their business because they don’t believe in it.

      When you feel that way, investment doesn’t feel like investment but simply throwing away money on something you’re convinced is going to end up in failure.

      Talk about self fulfilling prophecy and self sabotage 🙂

      Donna Merrill recently posted..Influencer Marketing To Grow Your BlogMy Profile

  25. Lisa P Sicard
    December 1, 2016 at 6:44 am #

    Hi Donna, great timely piece! I was just checking out my hosting cost last night and putting together a spreadsheet of what I’ve spent all year. I pay for CDN, blog checkup by Mayura – SEO services, etc and advertising. I’ve added Buffer and Social Quant this year too to my budget. It’s around $500-$1000/yr I would estimate. I put almost all my earnings back into the blog at this point as I want it to grow more in the coming years.
    It is so true, you either have to spend a lot of time or money to grow a business, (usually both) there is no easy way around that.
    Lisa P Sicard recently posted..How To Avoid Getting The Mute on Twitter NowMy Profile

  26. Lea Bullen
    November 30, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Fantastic post. That I think many need to read.

    I agree that in order to be taken seriously online business wise you have to be serious about it yourself. Some freebies look good but they don’t look professional. People have to get a feeling from your site that you’re legit if they’re going to hand over their money. No one wants to get robbed. And when you don’t put in the effort and money, yet still bombard visitors with products you can be perceived as a scam artist.

    Besides, some of the free stuff can be problematic. You don’t want to load something free on your site just to spend days trying to configure and troubleshoot it.

    Lea Bullen recently posted..The Real Reason You Always Feel Defeated and How to Get Over ItMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 4, 2016 at 7:53 pm #

      Hi Lea,

      Quite true that a lot of free things don’t work so well. If you load free things on your site, you can certainly expect problems and also free things don’t get updated like premium ones do.

      There are exceptions, of course, like Google Analytics and most of the plugins. Those are big and reliable enough to win your trust, and plugins usually have paid upgrades which makes them more reliable because they are investing in a business model, even at the free level.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..35 Best Types Of Blog Posts To Get Free Traffic | Neil PatelMy Profile

  27. Cori Ramos
    November 30, 2016 at 4:13 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Great post! I don’t mind spending money on my blog at all – in fact, I agree with you. Free stuff is good, but we have to be prepared to invest money if we want to grow our blog.

    Besides hosting, I invest in tools like Tailwind and Mailchimp. I also like to invest in stock images – although I am thinking about cutting that cost by investing in equipment and office acessories to make my own images. 🙂

    Bottom line is we have to spend money in order to make money but if we shop smart and look for deals it won’t be so bad on the wallet.

    Hope you’re having a great week Donna!

    Cori Ramos recently posted..Drowsy Designs Guide: Preparing Your Home for a More Satisfying SleepMy Profile

  28. Chery Schmidt
    November 30, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

    Hello Donna. Well said my friend! Yes indeed it does take money to make money! Yeppers we get what we pay for Right?

    Great Share
    Chery :))

  29. Vashishtha Kapoor
    November 30, 2016 at 1:44 am #

    You have said that right. FREE platforms won’t allow you to have the full control of your blog which is actually your property. Just because you are using a FREE platform, you are deprived of those functions that you deserve but can not avail due to the terms with which you registered with them. This is because that FREE platform is also spending for the resources with you’re using for FREE.

    Yes, you have got to spend money if willing to make it profitable. The trend of the social media says that you have huge opportunities to start a social media page and make them viral and earn. But that’s not called blogging. However, people relate it with blogging.

    Whatever, investment is always required. Even in a smallest business.

    Nicely explained.
    Vashishtha Kapoor recently posted..The Themify Builder is the next name of RespectMy Profile

  30. Sherman Smith November 29, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    Hey Donna,

    This is an important question to ask yourself.

    When I first started I had the mentality of taking the free route. The problem was I was attracting people who had the same mentality where no one made any money.

    You and Ryan are right, if you want to be taken seriously, then you want to develop some productive spending habits on your business.

    As far as mine spending habits, it’s been on an “as needed” basis. If I reach a dead end, then I make other goals and look to see what tools and strategies I can use to keep progressing.

    Great share Donna! Have a great week!
    Sherman Smith recently posted..9 Tips For Introverted Solopreneur Bloggers To Create Productive GoalsMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill December 3, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

      Hi Sherman,

      Free attract Free. And there is nothing wrong with giving things out free…we do it all the time on our blogs, but if we do ever want to monetize, we need to sit down and put a price on our time. Then on our products if we do so.

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this share.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..How Can Black Friday 2016 Make You Successful In 2017My Profile

  31. Ryan Biddulph
    November 29, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Thanks for the shout!

    Unless you have Buddha-like clarity around having a blogger blog, ya ain’t gonna succeed online without dropping some clams. It’s that simple. A domain and hosting is the basic investment. This usually runs at least 10 to 20 a month = 120 to 240 a year. Pay it for 5 years and you’ve dropped over a grand, if you spend 20 a month on good hosting.Tack on a CDN as your traffic grows, and as you use more images, plus premium plug ins and the like, and you will taking abundant actions to build a prospering business.

    Themes, tech/developing support, all that good stuff usually costs money too. Really, it’s about BEING the person who sees success and that blogger spends money on their business to help make it pop.

    If you own precious online real estate, do you want it to look like a haha shack or slum lord’s apartment? Or a million dollar mansion? Drop some cash, bloggers, to get clearer on your blog and business…….and don’t forget to invest in courses and eBooks, too.

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted..10 Struggling Blogger Mistakes (and Corrections)My Profile

    • Donna Merrill November 29, 2016 at 6:57 pm #

      Hi Ryan,

      Takes money to make money! So true….we don’t want to look like a shack, but rather a million dollar mansion. We need to drop some cash to make things work and look presentable. It really isn’t much overhead when you think about this being a business.

      I always tell my clients if they start with the “its so expensive” thing…..
      If you were to open a business on the street corner, how much would it cost you to lease, fill it up with shelves and stock it with things?

      Starting a blog costs far less.

      Donna Merrill recently posted..How Can Black Friday 2016 Make You Successful In 2017My Profile

  32. Marquita Herald
    November 29, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    Terrific topic and I couldn’t agree more. That said, like so many others I started out reluctant to spend. Not that I wasn’t prepared to invest in my blog, but I felt overwhelmed by all of the advice and of course everyone had their hand out offering “help”. Once I began to have some understanding of my needs then I felt more comfortable spending and the first two investments were a premium theme and hosting plan.

    One area I plan to invest in next year is tech support. I don’t know much about the back of the house issues of a website, and frankly, I don’t want to learn because there are too many other things I need to spend my time on. I want to hire someone to handle maintenance and any issues that may come up. That and advertising are both priorities for 2017. Thanks for the great advice as always!
    Marquita Herald recently posted..Envy: The Emotion That Thrives In The Bad Neighborhoods Of Your MindMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill November 29, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

      Hi Marquita,

      I have no time either to fiddle around with my blog. Instead, I use a managed site: Krishna World Wide (I’m not an affiliate) and it takes all the worries away. Since I’ve used them, I will get a text message if something went wrong with my blog. They fix it before I even notice. Plus I never have to worry about even a simple plugin. They do the research and tell me to wait or go with it.

      It is the best move I ever made because it saved me so much time and time is money. Ahhh…advertising that is a good thing to invest in for 2017.

      -Wishing you all the best, Dona
      Donna Merrill recently posted..How Can Black Friday 2016 Make You Successful In 2017My Profile

  33. Donna Merrill November 29, 2016 at 6:41 am #

    Hi Ravi,

    It does cost money to build a professional blog and yes, it requires so much strategy. One has to start off with a budget and follow it. I like to do things slowly but surely and not get caught up in too many bells and whistles.

    Donna Merrill recently posted..How Can Black Friday 2016 Make You Successful In 2017My Profile

    • Ravi Chahar
      February 14, 2017 at 6:01 am #

      Was again going through the article Donna, as I am referring this to one of my clients to read ! While reading it again, just checked your reply ! Going forward slowly following the strategies and budget plans certainly brings sucess,

      ~ Ravi

  34. Ravi Chahar
    November 29, 2016 at 4:20 am #

    Hey Donna,

    To build a professional blog, it’s important to spend some money.
    As you have mentioned above, from 100$ to 1000$ are enough to run a blog.

    Spending some money for the domain name, web hosting, email service provider etc.

    But the thing is how are you going to handle your budget?

    It requires a strategy.

    Thanks for sharing this article with us.
    Ravi Chahar recently posted..11 Things To Do When You Inherit A WordPress Website.My Profile

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