Without a doubt, publishing a blog can pay off for your business. This creative online marketing tool can help you build deeper relationships with your customers, increase your rankings in search engine results, and even educate the buyers you're hoping to attract. That’s all great stuff.
But you have to invest in a business blog to get that level of value back out of it. Blogs take relatively little cash to set up (especially compared to other marketing tools) but even if a blogger keeps upfront costs to a minimum, she'll still need to spend time building up the blog.
Consider these real costs of launching a new business blog to help you decide whether a blog is a smart investment for your business.
The (relatively) minimal setup costs
Technically, you can have a new blog up and running for free and in a matter of minutes. This is one of those cases, however, where you'll get what you pay for. Because it's so easy to set up a free blog on one of the many sites that exist only to provide free blogs to users, blogs that run on those sites aren't always considered as authoritative as blogs on their own domain names or operating as part of a company's website.
You're better off either adding a blog to your existing website or buying a new domain (along with hosting) for the blog. While there are several different options for blogging software,WordPress® is one of the most widely used options — to the point that with the right hosting (such as Managed WordPress), you can have a new WordPress blog up on your own domain in minutes. All in all, you can usually buy a new domain name and hosting package for just a few dollars a month.
In order to effectively brand your new blog, you'll probably want to have the website designer who created your site come up with a design for your blog that will match your overall branding. Pricing for that sort of work varies by designer.
The higher costs of content
You can save a lot of money in the process of setting up a new blog, but you should plan on investing money, time, or both into creating the content that will make your blog stand out. Before you start looking for shortcuts, think of it this way: There's no point to posting new content — articles, videos, memes, etc. — unless it's better than most of what your prospective customers are already viewing.
Creating compelling blog posts is a skill.
If you’re not an experienced writer, creating posts is a skill that you or one your team members can learn — though there will be a learning curve. You can expect to spend a few hours on each blog post until you get some experience blogging on a regular basis. Then, you might be able to crank out an awesome post in 30 minutes or less.
If you choose hire a freelance blogger, the cost will depend on factors like how complicated a topic you're dealing with and how much additional work (such as finding royalty-free images) you expect the blogger to complete. At minimum, you should expect to pay about $50 per post. While some bloggers charge less, they usually won't be experienced enough to provide great posts without a lot of guidance. For specialized posts of extremely good quality, you might see rates as high as $1,000.
Before you click publish
Once you've got a good blog post in hand, you’ll need to consider a few additional steps before publishing it:
- Finding images to run with the post
- Editing the post
- If you're in a regulated profession, ensuring the post complies with those regulations
- Promoting the post so readers actually see it
You can handle each of these steps in-house or outsource them to a professional blogger — some of whom will even handle each of these steps as a part of their per-post rate. But you can also learn to handle each of these tasks if that's the right place for you to spend your time. Chances are, you'll like it.