A lot of enthusiastic people from all walks of life start blogging with the sole intention of making money online. Many of them claim that blogging is one of the easiest mechanisms to make money without any investment. To some extent, they are right because the upfront investment to kick start with blogging can be very less in most cases.
However, blogging is NOT exactly a cheap investment & high return monetization route. If you carefully analyze, you will see that even there is a lot of investment required in order to make some money and a living out of blogging. And in reality many are blogging for peanuts.
The bare minimum requirement to get started with a professional quality blog is a domain name and a shared hosting service. You are talking about $10 per annum for domain name and say something like $7 per month for shared hosting. One could argue that domain names are available for $6.99 and hosting as low as $2, but let us assume realistic values for the sake of calculation. Hence we arrive at an annualized expense of $94 (12 x 7 + 10). It can vary from $50 to a few hundred dollars depending on your hosting service. Anyhow, let me call this number, investment on technical infrastructure server side, ‘a’.
Next is the technical set up for your home or workplace. I doubt if anyone is really blogging out of a cyber café and hence you need a minimum set up of a PC (or laptop) plus a reasonably good Internet connectivity at your home. Let us assume that your PC costs $900 and a low-speed, say 256kbps, broadband connection with unlimited bandwidth comes at around $20 per month (Please excuse me if you have Quad-core, multi RAID, multi-display $3000 PC and a 7MBPS connectivity, I didn’t mean to offend you dear friend). Now, you may not be using your PC exclusively for blogging and hence let us assume that one third of your PC time is spent for blogging. Hence out of your annual broadband bill ($240) around $80 goes for blogging and say $150 of the PC cost. I assume that the average life span or real usage of a $750 PC is two years and one third of that goes to blogging. For the sake of simplicity, I am not including the power that it consumes and upgrade expenses which are actually recurring investments. For the time being the annualized technical infrastructural expenses at home is $230, which I call ‘b’. In real life, though, it is much beyond $500 and even greater for developed nations.
Blogging related expenses
If you are creating one blog post per day and assuming that it is not cut-pasted stuff, you have to spend at least 2 hours a day doing research, actual editing of posts, comments moderation etc. On top of this there could be time spend on other things such as link building, social media/network interaction, technical jobs such as upgrades, maintaining the site, replying to mails etc but I am discounting these tasks. 2 hours of human resource time, even at the cheapest unskilled job (e.g. entry level at McDonalds), will cost $16. For skilled jobs it can be as high as $50 per two hours, or even higher. This is in the context of developed nations but for India, it will be probably one fifth of that amount. Hence for a US or European blogger, I assume a human resource expense of $16 x 365 per year and for India say $3 x 365 which gives us the respective annualized numbers of $5840 and $1095 respectively (human resource investment or ‘c’)
Other related expenses & the total
On top of these, if you want to monetize your blog, you may end up doing advertisement campaigns, purchase products such as aWeber, OIO Publisher plugin, premium themes, SEO services etc. These numbers can vary a lot but some of the bare minimum investments need to be there. Let me take a reasonable value of $200 per annum here which is the bare minimum for any upcoming blog and I would call this number ‘d’.
Now, it’s time for the reality check! Adding the numbers a, b, c and d, we arrive at a minimum annual blogging expense of about $1619 (Rs. 72,000/-) for countries like India and upwards of $6000 for countries like USA. On top of this, you may add, the telephone bills, power bills, software/hardware upgrades and what have you! Please note that we are talking about bare minimum expenses here. If you have a high quality professional blog and you spend 4-5 hours blogging, have a couple of PCs and spend a lot on your dedicated hosting and high speed broadband, attend a lot of blogger forums, have big advertisement budget etc, then it’s really about a big capital investment.
Now, some of the blogging buddies that I know, are probably spending the lowest numbers ($1600) to keep their blog up and running every year. The expectation from the above calculation is that in order to break-even the investments, they should be making a minimum of $133 per month and make it at least $500 a month to call it a reasonable income stream (in the Indian context). For the developed countries, I would say, anything $3000 pm upwards for an investment of $600 pm, won’t be a bad thing to happen.
The moral of the story and all the math above is that, if you are a make money blogger and if you don’t fall into the above income category, you are not doing anything good to yourself. A permanent offline job is what you want in that case instead of fooling around on the Internet and blogosphere. However, if you decide that the advantages of blogging for you is something else other than money, then forget all the above!