The cost of creating and maintaining a travel blog
January 4, 2018Comments (0)
Owning a travel blog creates tangible revenue but site ownership also requires spending time and money. The financial cost of creating and maintaining a website grows if the owner does not have enough knowledge and time. This article explores the main expenses involved in creating and owning a travel blog and ways to minimize them.
There are two ways to create a project — to make it yourself or to entrust it to someone else. The first option requires technical knowledge but due to the availability of information and ready-made materials, this can be a great idea. The existence of simple solutions, such as WordPress, makes the process even easier. The article How to create a tourist site and make money on it will help you understand the topic better.
Creating a travel blog with a specialist
To pay another person or company is an option for those who do not want to spend time studying the technical side of website creation. This strategy allows you to get a more professional solution than if you created the project yourself, especially if this is your first time creating a website.
The cost of work varies considerably. To save money, do not go to specialized studios. Instead, work with private webmasters. They can be found on special websites or professional forums:
- and others.
Creating a simple blog with the ability to add articles from the admin panel will cost $30-$100. Additional requirements will increase the cost (for example, if you need a unique design or non-standard functionality).
An experienced designer or programmer receives around $5-$7 per hour. To save money, use ready-made paid solutions, for example, from the themeforest.net library.
Many travel blogs employ CMS WordPress. This is an “engine” which allows you to add new articles in a simple and intuitive interface. Anyone who has worked with Microsoft Word will understand it. WordPress is a good, simple solution with a large set of ready-made plugins — and the most important, it is totally free. By using plugins, you can expand the functionality of the project at no cost.
Regardless of the chosen strategy, there are always costs. The minimum package for one year includes:
- Domain — from $1;
- Hosting — from $12;
- SSL certificate — from $7.
On the Internet, there are offers for free third-level domains and hosting. However, it is better to acquire paid products during the initial stage because they will be yours without additional conditions.
On our blog, we have detailed instructions for those who will be self-adjusting the set-up of SSL and HTTPS.
To create a modest travel blog, you’ll need at least $50. General start-up costs can be reduced to $20-$30 if you do most of the work yourself. However, keep in mind that without knowledge, this will take a lot of time that is perhaps better spent on project management.
An alternative option is to buy a premade project. Investing in already-operating sites requires experience and skill. For a beginner, this is a way to optimize the costs of creation. You can also purchase a domain with a history, which can be positive for SEO in Google.
Ultimately, you will have your site, which in the future will be filled with content. The next step is to create great articles to attract visitors and earn money. On the blog, we have a useful article, How to earn from a travel blog, or you can watch the video:
Creation is just the initial stage. After that, you’ll need maintain the site for development and earnings. “Blogging” means writing new articles, integrating services, optimizing, communicating with your audience and engaging in other effective activities to support growth.
You’ll need to renew your domain, hosting and SSL certificate every year. International domains (.com, .net and others) are most popular choices; most of them cost about $10-$15 per year. Non-standard zones (.space, .internet and others) are often cheap (from $1 per year), but usually this is just a promotion and the renewal is much more expensive. Regional domains (.it, .cz and .ru) have different prices, but usually it is much cheaper to register them with a local company, not a worldwide one.
The cost of hosting increases over time, and the fee of $1-$2 per month will not be enough if the site traffic has increased. Watch for offers from hosting companies, as they often have promotions. For example, discounts are given for annual payments, or you may be able to double the length of provided services on Black Friday.
During the life of a project, you may encounter various issues. For example, a virus may penetrate the server, or the website’s scripts will be broken during the update process. Backup copies can be a solution in most cases. However, if there is no backup or if the situation is serious, you will need to work with a specialist, with costs from $5 per one hour of work.
On a personal blog, the author typically writes the content himself/herself. In this case, there are no direct financial expenses involved in writing. However, the amount of time spent writing is worth consideration. Rewriting other people’s thoughts takes two to three hours for a 500- to 1,000-word article. For full-fledged copyrighted content, a longer period of time is required.
If the process itself brings pleasure, the owner may regard it as a hobby. However, you can also make blogging a business by hiring people to write articles. The cost depends on the number of words, or occasionally the number of characters.
You can reduce the time you spend searching for good employees by selecting candidates on platforms such as:
- and others;
Content is something that should not be over-economized, as it is the key to success. English text is available from $1 per 150 words. Typically, this is a beginner’s job and the problem is not only with quality, but also with the efficiency of your business. Articles are added to the blog to attract visitors. If the material initially has no chance of fitting the search engine and the reader, it is more profitable to not include it at all.
The cost of acceptable-quality text starts at $2 per 150 words. However, “expensive” does not always mean good quality, and “cheap” does not always mean bad quality; there are exceptions. We have already published an article, How to create high-quality articles; read it to learn more about this topic.
In addition to the cost of articles, you will have publication costs of $0.50 to $1 per articles, unless you do it yourself.
If you are a law-abiding person, you have only three options for getting graphics:
- Your own images;
- Free images from special sources;
- Paid images from photobanks.
Keep in mind that your own pictures are not free, because to attain decent quality, you must have skills and good techniques. The only free option without other conditions is to take any pictures from Google Images; however, this may violate someone’s rights.
A few sources have a large selection of free photos (for example, pexels.com or freeimages.com). However, when working with them, you must study the rules of usage carefully. Most often, it is necessary to indicate authorship.
Paid photobanks contain tons of graphics for every taste. For example, shutterstock.com offers more than 174 million images. The cost depends on the plan; on average, one picture costs $2-$3.
A semi-legal option is to find offers for the sale of individual pictures at a fixed price on webmaster forums. Usually, such services cost $0.25-$0.50 per photo. This service is provided by people who have access to accounts with large download limits. Another option is masters who skillfully wipe watermarks without buying a license.
Advertising and promotion
To accelerate the project’s growth and development, you will need to engage in promotion. During the planning stage, you can focus on commercial queries with low and medium competition. Such queries allow you to earn on the CPA (payment for the action) model, and often do not require investment in SEO page promotion. Of course, to get to the top, it’s not enough to choose the right query; the page itself must be competently done.
Google does not recommend spending money on buying links to your own resource. It is presumed that backlinks should appear naturally and for free. You can try to disprove this assumption and buy special web services or arrange exchanges for free with your colleagues.
If you are searching for cheap alternatives to link building, pay attention to forums and message boards where you can post a link to your project. There are people on webmasters’ forums who offer help with this. They post automatically using software which leaves a link to your blog. The cost depends on the size of the base and its quality. The price starts from $4-$6 for 100 links. Don’t forget to pay attention to the quality of the offered database, especially its age and how much it has been used.
In addition, you can use other tools to promote your own project. Contextual advertising such as Google AdWords is not an option for promoting ordinary travel blogs that do not dream of creating their own brand. However, it can work well if you create a competition in which the prize will cover your expenses and if visitors’ activities are beneficial to you (for example, visitors will need to share the link to your page and so on).
Audiences can be attracted from social networks. To do this, buy ads in communities or start building your own. The latter is a routine task that may cost from $1.50 per one hour of work.
Example of expenses
The cost of creation is only a small part. After that, you will constantly be spending money and/or time. Therefore, consider the cost of creating and maintaining a travel blog for a long period – four years. During this time, the expenses of one project were as following:
|Writing of articles||$2211|
|Publication of materials||$119|
|Purchasing of pictures||$30|
|Buying of links||$90|
Almost all the work was done by third parties. The administration of the processes was carried out in the site owner’s spare time. So far, 160 articles have been published and the average monthly income in January 2018 was $210.
The column “Creation” reflects the expenses not only for the primary creation, but also for WordPress migration, as well as unique design. The service includes hosting, the domain, the SSL certificate and the work of specialists in problem solving (viruses, failures) for the entire life of the project.
Writing articles is the biggest expense. The rate for authors was $1.25-$2.25 per 150 words. Up to now, 160 articles have been published. Adding one article to the website cost $0.75. Routine work is much cheaper than creative or mental work.
To measure the exact ratio of costs and revenues, also consider the time you spent on the project. If you choose a topic that gives you joy, work becomes a pleasure. For some motivation and ideas, look at the annual statistics of total Travelpayouts’ partners’ incomes and the highest incomes from hotel and flight bookings.