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2021 BMW M3 and m4 will have a large kidney grille

BMW M3 M4 kidney grille 2021 1

For whatever reason, there seems to be a large section of the BMW that flat-out doesn’t believe that the next-gen BMW M3 and M4 will have the large kidney grille design we’ve seen so much of lately. Whether it’s denial or delusion, there are many fans who seem to think BMW is trolling us all and will actually reveal the final cars with more normal grilles. However, BMW seems to have squashed those ideas with this newly release teaser photo of both cars.

BMW M3 M4 kidney grille 2021 1 830x553

In this photo, we get to see the back of end of the BMW M3 and the front end of the BMW M4. Though, they’re both hidden in the shadows, blocking most of their designs. That doesn’t stop us from seeing the fact that BMW’s new grille design is on the M4, definitively. The photo was also posted to social media by BMW M CEO Markus Flasch, with the caption “This is going to be huge”, followed by a winky-face emoji. I’m sure he intended that to be both figurative and literal, as the new grille design is a big deal and it is, indeed, massive. So it’s as legitimate as it gets.

This new grille design was first seen on the BMW Concept 4 and it wasn’t met with much admiration. Instead, it was mostly criticized by almost all enthusiasts and journalists who saw it. Though, that can happen with such new and radical design changes.

There’s no question, it’s going to be a polarizing design. Sure, some fans will get used to it over time and it does actually have a following of fans that like it. However, there are going to be a lot of fans that struggle with this new design. We’re so fascinated by it and can’t wait to see it in person. Thankfully, that opportunity is coming and it’s going to be sooner than later.


How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog in 2020? (Blog Costs Guide)

This is the ultimate guide to figuring out how much does it cost to start a blog? So, follow along and we’re going to break down the cost to run a blog in 2020.

How much does it cost to start a blog?

Depending upon your goals and the type of blog you want to start, your blog costs will be around $34.50 to $65.40 to start a blog in 2020 and cover your first year of expenses.

If you need to factor in buying a computer, phone or other hardware into your equation for how much it’ll cost to start a blog—then that can add anywhere from $200 to $2,600 in one-time purchases depending upon the brand of computer (Windows vs Apple) and features (MacBook vs MacBook Pro) you decide upon. Plus, there are a lot more variables to consider when calculating all of your blog costs.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog in 2020? (Blog Costs Guide)

  1. Minimum Cost to Start a Hobby Blog in 2020: $34.50
  2. Minimum Cost to Start a Side Hustle Blog in 2020: $65.40
  3. Minimum Cost to Start a Full-Time Blog in 2020: $941.40
  4. Hardware Costs: $0 – $2,640
  5. Hosting Costs: $2.95/mo
  6. Domain Name Cost: $0
  7. WordPress Theme Costs: $0 – $49
  8. WordPress Plugin Costs: $0 – $217
  9. Email Marketing Tool Costs: $0 – $41/mo and up
  10. Security Costs: $0 – $240
  11. Extra Blogging Tool Costs: $0 – $2,217
  12. Advertising Costs: $0 – $1,000
  13. Content Creation Costs (Outsourcing & Admin): $0 – $500
  14. Accounting Costs: $0 – $500
  15. Additional Costs You May Not Consider: $0 – $370
  16. Doing the Math: How Much Does it Really Cost to Start a Blog?

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. When you purchase a product using one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which helps keep all of my content free of charge to you. Know that I only recommend products and tools I’ve personally used and stand behind.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that the cost of starting (and running) a blog can actually vary widely depending upon the decisions you make on a broad range of startup costs and ongoing purchases. We’ll be focusing solely on making smart financial decisions in this blogging costs guide.

This year, there are an estimated 31.7 million bloggers in the U.S. alone—and if you’re here, you’re probably wondering if now is the right time for you to learn how to start a blog and jump into the industry yourself.

After 6+ years of growing this blog to more than 500,000 monthly readers and turning it into a full-time business for myself, here’s my honest take: Starting a blog can be incredibly fun, lucrative and immensely rewarding, but it’s also important to first understand how much does it cost to blog?

Is the upfront investment of starting a blog actually worth it in the end? Yes, and in this guide to understanding blogging costs for your own unique goals & needs, we’re going to break down (item-by-item) the exact blog costs you can expect to incur in 2020. Most importantly, I’m going to show you the very minimum cost to start a blog in the leanest way possible—as well as the expenses you can expect to incur once your blog is growing and you’re ready to seriously invest in turning it into a profitable blog business.

Here, we’re breaking down the benchmark costs to start a blog for 3 different groups:

  • Hobby Bloggers (blogging solely for fun or as a creative outlet)
  • Side Hustle Bloggers (blogging on the side of your day job to slowly build a business)
  • Full-Time Bloggers (blogging as a full-time business)

Here’s why—if you’re just getting started and want to keep your new blog on a tight budget, you’ll have a different threshold for costs compared to someone who’s running a blog that already generates a little income when it makes sense for them to upgrade into more premium expenses like faster web hosting, better plugins or themes and more robust email marketing tools.

To get straight to the point though…

Here’s exactly how much it’ll cost to start a blog (and run it) this year—depending upon the type of blogger you want to be.

How Much it Costs to Start a Blog in 2020 (Blog Costs Summary):

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog This Year? Infographic Answer

To be fully transparent, I’ll be the first to tell you that these summary numbers are an over-simplification and not necessarily what everyone who starts a blog this year should expect to spend. To really get a sense of how much it costs to start a blog, you’ll need to dive deeper into this blog budget template and guide to managing your anticipated costs.

Because the reality is that your best answer to the question… “how much does it cost to start a blog?” may be a little different than someone else’s.

There are plenty of areas where you can significantly cut costs in your blog budget (depending upon your goals and if you’re willing to make some sacrifices), while there are other areas that you may want to spend a little more.

So, we’re going to begin by thinking about what kind of blogger you want to be—and the most realistic starting point you’ll be at for a blog budget right now.

Want to Start Your Blog (the Right Way)?

Check out my ultimate guide How to Start a Blog (on the Side).

Now without further delay, let’s dive in!

Determine Your Blogging Purpose First (3 Types of Bloggers)

The cost to run a (fun-only) personal blog will be very different than the cost to run a blog you want to make money from and grow into a full on business.

A personal blog that you set up either on WordPress or one of the top free blogging sites will be structured completely differently (and have a different set of goals, tools, structural decisions) than a blog that’s set up to eventually generate income and be a real business.

In this guide, we’re going to walk through how much it costs to blog in the leanest way possible—and all the way up to what a serious business blog costs to run once it’s grown a bit.

Are You a Hobby Blogger?

The first category is the personal or hobby blog. This is the type of blogger that has little to no interest in ever monetizing their blog—they just want a creative outlet to share about their life, practice their craft or keep family up-to-date on local happenings. Hobby bloggers are usually on a tight budget, want low upfront costs and skip on any paid blogging tools that can accelerate growth. We’re calling this group the hobby blogger.

Are You a Side Hustle Blogger?

The next category of blogger, the side hustle blogger, definitely has the goal of building a profitable blog within their niche, but they’ve got other commitments in their lives (like a full-time job, family or otherwise) that don’t yet allow them to work full-time on growing their blog today.

They’re able to publish content with some frequency, and they do plan to make money from their blog eventually, but they know it’ll take some time to get there while they maintain other key responsibilities. This category of blogger is willing to spend a little more money up front to get the right blog setup that’ll ensure long-term growth & success, but don’t want to make a huge investment right away. We’re calling this group the side hustle blogger.

Are You a Full-Time Blogger?

The final category is the blogger that’s all-in right now—ready and willing to spend a meaningful amount of capital upfront in order to grow as quickly as possible. They have a clear idea of what they want to do with their blog and they’re comfortable with higher costs because they understand how they’ll translate into blog revenue. This category of blogger sees their blog primarily as a business. We’re calling this group the full-time blogger.

So, how much does it cost to start a blog?

Let’s look at the real costs to start a blog—for each type of blogger.

The Hardware Costs of Blogging: $0 – $2,640

How Much Does it Cost to Blog This Year? A Visual Breakdown with Screenshots and Examples in 2020

Typically, when you consider the question, how much does it cost to start a blog? you’re probably thinking first about the software side of things. The blogging platform you choose, hosting plan, theme design and such. But first and foremost, the hardware (computer) you choose to use for blogging is also an important aspect—especially if you don’t already have one that you can use for your blogging endeavors.

👋 If you already have a computer and smartphone, you can skip the hardware costs of blogging

While many aspiring bloggers probably already have a computer, it’s still something to factor into the cost of starting a blog for some. Not only that, but consider that you may need to upgrade from your current computer if you’re serious about blogging.

Here’s a list of some of the basic (hardware) items you’ll need if you’re starting a blog.

Hobby Blogger Hardware Costs: $200

  • Laptop computer (or desktop): $200

To be a hobby blogger, you really don’t need a lot of hardware. A decent laptop and a smartphone will do it. In fact, you may not even need anything beyond a computer as far as hardware costs are concerned.

If you don’t already have a laptop, you can get one on Amazon for less than $200. You’re probably going to use the laptop for more than just blogging, so it’s a worthy investment to make.

If you don’t already have a smartphone for your regular life, it isn’t a necessity for blogging. It’s convenient to check things out or upload content when you’re on the go—but you don’t absolutely need to have it.

Instead, you may want an inexpensive digital camera so you can load pictures to your blog. If you’re not interested in providing your own pictures you can also use free images from image sites like pexels.com and pixabay.com.

Minimum Hardware Costs for a Hobby Blogger: $0 – $200

Side Hustle Blogger Hardware Costs: $1,400

  • Upgraded computer (powerful laptop): $600 – $2,000
  • Smartphone with a good camera (for photo and video): $40/mo
  • Headphones: $60

Upgraded Laptop Computer: $600 – $2,000

At the side hustle blogging level, you need a laptop that’ll give you more functionality, dependability and processing power. I’d highly recommend a laptop over a desktop because you can take it anywhere. If you’re traveling or want to work at a coffee shop before heading into your day job—you can take your blog with you. It’s a much smarter plan for a blogger who’s taking their blog growth seriously.

The type of laptop you choose is up to you, but you want it to have good processing speed and a lot of storage. A bonus would be something that comes with video and photo editing software.

The biggest question is whether you want to get a Windows laptop or spring for a more premium MacBook.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog? Pricing Breakdown of Hardware Laptops

MacBooks are the most popular choice for bloggers (including me), but Windows-based laptops are getting much better and can be a viable option today. Most of the time, this decision comes down to preference. Those that are used to one or the other generally want to stick with what they’ve been using. A MacBook will cost more money, but tends to be much more powerful and will last for the better part of a decade—making it an overall better laptop.

Depending on the make and model of the laptop you choose, you can expect to pay anywhere from $600 to $2,000 dollars for a fast computer that’ll last years.

Smartphone with a good camera: $40/mo

A smartphone is extremely useful for bloggers today, making it an essential factor in your how much does it cost to start a blog equation. It keeps you connected to the digital world even when you’re away from home. You can receive emails on the go and quickly share relevant content to your blog’s social accounts when you’re out.

Collecting photos or video material for your blog is easy with a smartphone. You may not always have a camera with you, but you probably take your cell phone wherever you go. Get a smartphone that takes excellent photos and videos for content purposes.

Another reason to have a smartphone, is that you can use it to see how mobile-friendly your blog is. This is useful because it’s predicted that by 2025 over 72% of Internet users will only use smartphones to connect to the web.

For a non-prepaid cell phone plan you should expect to pay around $40 a month.

Headphones: $60

A good pair of headphones is essential for those early mornings or late-night coffee shop work sessions. They’re also helpful if you live with other people and need to focus while working on your blog around others on a regular basis.

You can get a decent pair of headphones for around $60 or spend up to $400 for the highest quality Bose ones.

Minimum Hardware Costs for Side Hustle Blogger: $0 – $1,400

Full-Time Blogger Hardware Costs: $2,640

  • Fast, reliable and top of the line laptop (MacBook Pro): $1,300 to $2,600
  • Smartphone with high data plan: $90/mo
  • Bose noise-canceling headphones: $300
  • High quality microphone: $150

MacBook Pro Laptop: $2,100

For a full-time blogger, your hardware costs will be somewhat similar to that of a side hustle blogger, but with one big exception—you’re going to be using your computer A LOT.

So, it’s worth investing a little more up front today into the best possible laptop you can get your hands on: a MacBook Pro. This computer is built to last you the better part of a decade.

My recommendation is to get your hands on the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the maximum processing speeds and memory—maxing out these two features will guarantee you’re getting the fastest possible laptop that can handle multi-tasking different applications at the same time, lots of browser tabs being open at once and that everything happens at lightning speed.

Smartphone: $90/mo

A full-time blogger can also expect a higher-tier phone plan to unlock more data and a newer phone. You can expect to pay around $80 to $100 for that combination. It always helps to shop around, because there may be a different plan that offers you what you want at a better price—with a new iPhone, of course.

Headphones: $300

Your headphones don’t necessarily need to be more expensive as a full-time blogger, but you may want noise cancellation headphones like the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth if you plan on working out of coffee shops, at a noisy co-working space or from a home office where pets and kids are running around. These headphones usually cost around $250 to $350 depending upon where you find the best discounts online.

Microphone: $150

For full-time bloggers, producing your own podcast (or at least recording some limited videos for a YouTube channel) should be on your radar for soon accompanying your written blog content. A good microphone is a smart addition, and most of them will run you between $100 and $200 on Amazon, though there are plenty of less expensive options too.

Minimum Hardware Costs for a Full-Time Blogger: $0 – $2,640

Hosting Costs (WordPress with Bluehost): $2.95/mo 

The next thing to consider when it comes to how much it costs to start a blog—is your blogging platform and web hosting plan you’re on.

While there are free (no hosting required) blogging sites that you can use to test the waters into writing as a hobby blogger, I can’t recommend enough that new bloggers use the combination of WordPress with a Bluehost hosting plan.

Wix and Weebly are popular choices for free blogging platforms, but they’re pretty limited and you don’t actually own the rights to your blog. Even if you’re choosing a hobby blog, I still suggest paying the low cost of hosting to have total freedom with your content. Plus, if you ever want to get more serious about blogging and growing your site, you won’t have to go through the hassle of moving your site later on.

Moving forward, we’ll be breaking down the costs of blogging using the combination of WordPress (as your content management system) and a Bluehost hosting plan.

Bluehost Hosting Expense in How Much it Costs to Start a Blog This Year

Hobby Blogger Hosting Costs: $2.95/mo

WordPress is 100% free content management system (CMS) to use for managing the content on your blog, so the only thing you’ll need to pay for is hosting.

When it comes to getting your blog hosted on a budget, Bluehost is what I recommend. They also come highly recommended by the makers of WordPress themselves, and they’ve built their business around offering reliable, inexpensive hosting plans to new bloggers.

For a hobby blogger, you really only need to purchase their Basic plan, which gets you everything you need for $2.95/mo.

It’s important to note though, that Bluehost hosting is paid up front in a single payment (that secures your hosting price and a complementary domain name for a minimum of your first year).

If you want the flexibility of true month-to-month payments, but don’t mind paying a little more each month to keep your blog online, check out my picks for the best monthly paid plans for bloggers that need to keep their monthly budget really low.

Minimum Hosting Costs for Hobby Bloggers: $2.95/mo

Side Hustle Blogger Hosting Costs: $5.45/mo

For a side hustle blog that you’re taking seriously and hoping to grow into a source of revenue for this side business—I recommend springing for Bluehost’s faster hosting plan that comes with a few more features—called the Choice Plus Plan.

Their Choice Plus Plan comes with a lot of features beyond what you’ll get in their lowest-cost plan, including free domain privacy, automated backups and more disk space (to get your site running faster). This plan will cost you $5.45/mo, and as with all Bluehost hosting plans, requires at least a 1 year commitment up front. That being said, the full year payment does lock you in at one of the lowest-cost hosting plans for the amount of features, value and reliability—especially because you’ll be blogging for the long haul.

If you want to shop around a bit more though, check out the other options for high quality hosting plans that offer a true month-to-month payment option.

Minimum Hosting Costs for Side Hustle Bloggers: $5.45/mo

Full-Time Blogger Hosting Costs: $5.45/mo

In my opinion, even if you’re diving into blogging as a full-time endeavor, you don’t need a hosting plan more robust (or expensive) than Bluehost’s Choice Plus Plan until you’re attracting thousands of monthly readers to your blog.

It’s only at that level of readership that it makes financial sense to upgrade to a more robust hosting plan, either with Bluehost or from one of the other best web hosting providers.

So for now… stick to the Choice Plus Plan from Bluehost that’ll cost you just $5.45/mo and you’ll be good to go for a while as you focus on more important matters (like getting readers).

Bluehost does offer what’s called WordPress managed hosting though, for when you are ready to upgrade (read these Bluehost reviews about it when you’re ready). These plans are usually on sale for existing customers and range in cost from $19.95/mo to $49.95/mo which unlocks more great features for active blogs—like unlimited web storage, unlimited domains and much higher levels of hands on technical support.

Minimum Hosting Costs for Full-Time Bloggers: $5.45/mo

Domain Name Cost: $0

A domain name, your blog’s address on the Internet, is another relatively small expense that bloggers have to pay.

How Much Does it Cost to Blog? Domain Name Cost and Explanation

Thankfully, if you choose Bluehost for your hosting plan, you’ll get your domain name included free for the first year—and it’s around $10/year to renew it after that. So for getting your blog started, your domain name cost will be $0 if you opt for Bluehost.

If you don’t want to use Bluehost for your hosting and domain name—or if you want to switch later—here are some other options:

GoDaddy’s pricing varies a bit based on the domain name you’re considering purchasing (popular names tend to go for more), so it’s difficult to estimate exactly what it will cost to get a domain name on GoDaddy. For most .com extensions, you can usually expect to pay between $10.00 and $20.00 per year. Again though, these may just be introductory prices and they vary greatly depending on a number of factors.

NameCheap is another solid option to evaluate for picking up an inexpensive domain name, but like with GoDaddy, their pricing varies quite a bit based on a number of factors. You can expect to pay around $9 for most .com domain names for your first year of registration.

Google Domains charges a consistent $12.00 registration fee for .com domain names. Of course, some names are deemed premium and do cost more from any domain registrar.

Minimum Domain Name Cost for All Bloggers: $0

WordPress Theme Blog Costs: $0 – $49 

Picking a WordPress theme for your blog is an extremely important step in the process of building your blog.

While you can change your theme in the future, it does take some reconstructing your website in order to do so—which is why I highly suggest picking a great theme from the start, so you don’t have the hassle of multiple theme changes in the future.

Hobby Blogger WordPress Theme Costs: $0

There are quite literally thousands of free WordPress themes available today, but if you’re looking for a free theme that’s easy to use, ultra fast and offers beautiful design layouts, my #1 recommendation is the Hello Theme from the team behind Elementor.

The Cost to Start a Blog (and Blog Budget) WordPress Theme Costs

This free Hello Theme was created to be fully compatible with the Elementor Page Builder, which also starts fee and will extend your functionality significantly—giving you a ton of visual editing and creation features.

Minimum Cost for a Hobby Blogger WordPress Theme: $0

Side Hustle & Full-Time Blogger WordPress Theme Costs: $49

As either a side hustle or full-time blogger, you’re out to grow your blog into a source of revenue. You’re taking your blog very seriously.

And if you don’t come from a background in web development, you’ll find it extremely beneficial to use a premium theme and visual page builder like Elementor on top of your Hello Theme. Premium page builders like Elementor offer a lot more customization options and the freedom to tweak the design of your blog exactly however you want.

While Elementor does technically start out as free, the personal plan of Elementor’s PRO Page Builder unlocks all of the features you’ll want as a serious blogger (for $49.00/year):

Elementor WordPress Theme Screenshot Homepage

Pairing their free Hello Theme with the Elementor PRO Page Builder is the way to go—and it’ll keep your cost to start a blog nice and low.

Eventually over time, it might pay off to start investing in a fully custom-built theme that can suit your very specific needs, but I’ve been blogging for 6+ years here with the same premium theme I started out on—so fear not.

Minimum Cost for a Side Hustle & Full-Time Blogger WordPress Theme: $49.00

WordPress Plugin Blog Costs: $0 – $217 

If you’re not already familiar with WordPress plugins, a plugin is a small piece of software that adds new functionality to your blog.

WordPress Plugins How Much it Costs to Start Blogging

Plugins are really useful for WordPress-powered blogs and can allow you to do a truly unlimited number of things with your site. There are tens of thousands of free and premium plugins available in the WordPress ecosystem, but a few rise above the rest.

You’ll want to start by first installing all of the top plugins I recommend in my guide about how to start a blog. After those top ten, consider these.

Hobby Blogger WordPress Plugin Costs: $0

A hobby blogger shouldn’t have to worry about purchasing a premium plugin. There are lot of useful ones that are totally free. Here are some that you may find helpful.

  • Instagram Feed: Instagram Feed lets you display your Instagram feed directly embedded into your website.
  • Google Analytics for WordPress: You may not yet be monetizing your website, but it’s still smart to install Google Analytics or a more premium analytics tool like Fathom to develop an understanding of who your readers are and how they discover your content. It’s good information to collect if you ever do want to start monetizing your blog.
  • Envira Gallery Lite: You can create galleries directly in WordPress and within Elementor, but Envira Gallery Lite gives you even more options.

Minimum Hobby Blogger WordPress Plugin Costs: $0

Side-Hustle Blogger WordPress Plugin Costs: $217 

Side hustle bloggers will want to move beyond just free plugins and opt for utilizing at least a small handful of the best premium plugins to aid in everything from writing great blog content, to making sure you’re hitting the right SEO best practices, making your content easily shareable and more. Here are the top premium plugins you’ll want:

  • Yoast SEO – $89/year: Yoast SEO has a very robust free version of their plugin that helps you create SEO-friendly content (to rank higher on search engines). The free version offers free keyword optimization, readability checks, communication with Google indexing and a lot more. The premium version of their plugin includes internal linking suggestions, content insights, focus keyword experts and more to consider upgrading for. The premium version costs $89 a year.
  • WooCommerce – $0: WooCommerce is a powerful eCommerce add-on plugin for bloggers interested in using their site to sell their own products. The best part is, it starts out completely free to use and only costs you something once you want to unlock advanced features (or you’re processing a high volume of transactions).
  • WP Forms – $79/year: WP Forms is an extremely helpful premium plugin for bloggers that want to include any kind of form on their site (if you don’t have a WordPress theme that allows for the easy insertion of forms already). Their form tools are extremely dynamic and start at $79/year.
  • WP Rocket – $49/year: WP Rocket is the fastest caching plugin for WordPress that keeps your website running extremely quickly, even when you have a lot of traffic.

WP Rocket Plugin Cost to Start a Blog

Minimum Side Hustle Blogger WordPress Plugin Costs: $217

Full-Time Blogger WordPress Plugin Costs: $217

Full-time bloggers should maximize all of the best premium WordPress plugins as well as other key plugins that add smart functionality to your blog.

In addition to the plugins listed above, you may want to consider these more advanced ones (depending upon the type of blog you’re building and the ways in which you’ll be monetizing your content). For that reason though, I’m not adding any of the below plugins into your equation for figuring our how much does it cost to start a blog. If one of these resonates with you though, then add it in!

  • Zero BS CRM – $204/year: ZBS CRM (also known as Zero BS CRM), is a customer relationship management WordPress plugin that gives you insights into who your customers are. This is an extremely helpful plugin for eCommerce-focused blogs that are selling products directly from their sites. The plugin is free, but you can add extensions at a premium cost. ZBS CRM has also recently joined the team at Automattic, the company behind WordPress, so you can expect more great integrations.
  • LiveChat – $192/year: LiveChat gives you the ability to immediately chat with visitors on your website. If you sell products directly on your blog, then this is a great plugin to add into your mix—that way you can answer important questions from your potential customers on the go. LiveChat ranges in price from $16/mo to $50/mo (or more) depending upon features.
    LiveChat Plugin for WordPress How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog?
  • WPML – $29/year: If you’re interested in reaching readers in regions of the world where English isn’t as common, then the WordPress Multilingual Plugin is what you’re looking for. It ranges in price from $29 to $159. The lowest version can translate posts, pages, tags, WordPress menus and more—so you’ll be good to go with that.

Since many of these plugins are optional depending on your unique needs, I’m leaving the plugin costs at the same level as for side hustle bloggers: $217.

Email Marketing Tool Costs: $0 – $41/mo (and up) 

Email marketing is the lifeblood of just about every profitable blog. And your blog’s true worth is in the quality of your email list.

Email Marketing Tools in How Much it Costs to Start a Blog This Year

Why? Your email marketing is a way for you to communicate directly with blog readers who’ve expressed an interest in what you do and signed up to get more of your content.

They’re your first stop for figuring out how to monetize your blog and will be an unlimited source of new blog post ideas to write about too. That’s why you should start building an email list as soon as possible.

Hobby Blogger Email Marketing Tool Costs: $0 

A hobby blogger likely isn’t very interested in creating an email list—but it’s still not a bad idea to start one with the goal of building relationships with your readers and making your blog a more meaningful destination. Plus, if you’re a hobby blogger with an interest in monetizing your blog in the future, there’s no time like the present to start an email list.

Mailchimp Email Marketing Tools for Bloggers to Consider in Their Budgets

The good news is, you can use Mailchimp‘s Forever Free Plan with a limited feature set up to 2,000 subscribers.

Since your blog isn’t meant to be a serious business if it’s just a hobby, you may never cross that 2,000 subscriber mark, so Mailchimp would be perfect for your needs. That means you’ll be able to maintain an email list for free indefinitely.

Either way, even if you do self-identify as a side hustle or full-time blogger, there’s a good argument to be made for starting with a free tool like Mailchimp in order to keep your costs low in the very early days—before ramping up to invest in a paid tool like ConvertKit or AWeber.

Minimum Cost for Hobby Blogger Email Marketing Tools: $0

Side-Hustle and Full-Time Blogger Email Marketing Tool Costs: $0 – $41/mo (and up)

My advice for both serious side hustle bloggers and full-time bloggers is the same when it comes to email marketing tools: ConvertKit all the way (but not right at first).

ConvertKit Landing Page Screenshot How Much Does it Cost to Blog

You’re probably familiar with Mailchimp, AWeber and ConvertKit as the top three big email marketing choices for bloggers. This is a quick version of my opinion on these three tools and why ConvertKit ultimately wins, but if you want a deep dive, check out my more in-depth comparison of them all.

Unless you’re starting your blog with an existing list of email subscribers—I suggest sticking with the free version Mailchimp to start collecting subscribers and getting to know them.

If you’re not actively working to making money with your blog right from the very beginning, you can’t really justify the expense of a more powerful (paid) email marketing tool like ConvertKit.

Once you do start crossing into 1,000+ subscriber mark, then I’d recommend upgrading to ConvertKit. It offers the most functionality, includes the ability to deliver automated emails (which can be used to sell your products on autopilot) and so much more. But by time you get to 1,000+ subscribers, you should be monetizing your blog to the extent that more than pays for this tool.

The cost of using ConvertKit rises with your number of email subscribers—but the starting price (for 1,000-2,000 subscribers) is $41/mo (paid annually).

Minimum Cost for Side Hustle and Full-Time Blogger Email Marketing Tools: $0 – $41/mo

Security Costs: $0 – $240/year 

WordPress.-powered blogs don’t come with robust (built-in) security like you might expect from a website builder like Wix.

However, the hosting company you choose to power your blog should provide an extra layer of defense. That’s why I recommend Bluehost (they include site lock security).

Security Costs to Consider in Starting a Blog Screenshot

As your blog grows (and generates revenue) though, security becomes increasingly important—as your site can be targeted by hackers seeking to exploit your earnings.

Hobby Blogger Security Costs: $0

Thankfully, if you’ve chosen Bluehost to host your blog, you have their baseline built-in security.

For a hobby blog, your risks for additional threats are extremely low—and what comes with Bluehost is all the security you’ll need for now.

Minimum Security Costs for a Hobby Blogger: $0

Side Hustle Blogger Security Costs: $99/year

As we’ve already covered, if you’re hosting your blog through a reputable company like Bluehost or Dreamhost, then you’ve already got a baseline level of security monitoring in place. But for additional security, installing an easy-to-use security plugin like Wordfence is a great starting point (and will stay on your blog budget).

Wordfence Security for WordPress Homepage Screenshot

Wordfence starts out at $99/year for installing their advanced security features on one blog. You can usually get a promotional 10-20% discount if you sign up for multiple years too.

With this security plugin, you’ll add many safety features like:

  • Leaked password protection
  • Live traffic monitoring
  • Two-factor authentication
  • File repair
  • Country blocking
  • Advanced manual blocking
  • Endpoint firewall
  • Malware scanner

Minimum Security Costs for a Side Hustle Blogger: $99/year

Full-Time Blogger Security Costs: $240/year

Cloudflare Security Costs to Blogging

For the highest-level security on your blog, Cloudflare is the best possible choice (and it’s what I use here to secure my blog).

Cloudflare ranges in price from totally free to $200+ per month depending upon the size of your website, how many visitors you’re getting, number of pages they’re protecting and such.

If you’re a full-time blogger, you’ll probably want either their Pro or Business Plan. The Pro Plan is recommended for, “Professional websites, blogs and portfolios requiring basic security and performance.”

The Pro Plan includes:

  • Enhanced security with Web Application Firewall (WAF)
  • Enhanced performance with image and mobile optimization
  • HTTP/2 prioritization
  • More control with advanced features

This plan is a good starting point and costs: $20/mo

The Business Plan is for, websites and businesses requiring advanced security, performance, and prioritized support. Here are some quick specs on this product:

  • 24/7/365 support
  • Custom SSL Certificates
  • CNAME Setup
  • Custom WAF rules
  • Up to 100K image resizing request

This plan is worth upgrading to once you have a sizable amount of readers and costs $200/mo.

Minimum Security Costs for a Full-Time Blogger: $240/year

Extra Blogging Tool Costs: $0 – $2,217/year

Here’s a list of the best extra tools and plugins that I’ve personally found useful in growing my blog over the years.

If you’re trying to answer, how much does it cost to start a blog? for yourself, then don’t forget about these essential add-ons that’ll help you drive more traffic & earn more over the months to come.

Hobby Blogger Extra Tool Costs: $0

For your hobby blog, I highly recommend using only free tools and plugins. Start here:

  • Google Analytics – Free: Since 2005, Google Analytics has been a (free) web analytics service built and offered by Google that allows blog owners to track and report on their website traffic. Today, it’s just one of the many blogging tools offered inside the overall Google Marketing Platform brand, designed for marketers and advertisers to reach more readers.
  • Twinword Ideas – Free: This free blogging tool from the team at Twinword, gathers keyword data directly from Google and other top search engines, making it more accurate than most other free keyword research tools out there today. Leveraging this free tool will help you pick smart topics to write about (that people are already searching for online) and give you some insights into writing a blog headline that people will actually click on.

Minimum Extra Tool Costs for Hobby Bloggers: $0

Side-Hustle Blogger Extra Tool Costs: $290/year

At the side hustle blogging level, you’ll start to pay a little bit for extra tools that add meaningful functionality to your blog.

Remember at this stage, your goal is driving more traffic and better-monetizing your content—and these kinds of tools are well worth the investment towards that pursuit.

  • MonsterInsights – $99.50/year: To put it simply, MonsterInsights is a dead simple Google Analytics plugin for WordPress—that allows you to view your GA data directly within your WordPress dashboard. MonsterInsights allows you to easily connect your WordPress blog with your Google Analytics account (without hiring developer or writing any code yourself)—a task that can sometimes be a bit more complicated than most new bloggers bargain for, depending upon which of the top WordPress themes you’re using. MonsterInsights starts out free, and their Plus plan unlocks all the additional features you’d ever need at $99.50/year.

MonsterInsights Plugin for WordPress Blogs

  • Wordable – $190/year: Converting a blog post draft from a Google Doc into WordPress can be an incredible pain. That’s why I love Wordable, because it’s saved me literally hundreds of hours of my life. Once you’ve signed up for Wordable’s free trial, you’ll download their plugin and install it on your blog. Then, in literally one click, you’ll be able to instantly export Google Docs into a WordPress post or page on your blog—without any formatting challenges. Wordable costs $190/year to run on one blog.

Minimum Extra Tool Costs for Side Hustle Bloggers: $290/year

Full-Time Blogger Extra Tool Costs: $290 – $2,217/year

Beyond the tools in the side hustle section above (which I’d consider must-have’s in your equation of how much does it cost to start a blog?), I recommend taking these more advanced tools into account for your blog budget if you can afford the additional spend and you’re focused on serious growth in the immediate term.

  • Ahrefs – $990/year: Hailing as the absolute best SEO-related tool for bloggers and online businesses alike, Ahrefs has more than earned its reputation at helping content creators nail the most important blog SEO strategies—with a special emphasis on keyword research & competitor analysis. Their most relevant features for bloggers, is that it quadruples as a content research and analysis juggernaut, keyword rank tracker (with historical SERP movements going as far back as when your blog began ranking for its first keyword), a competitor research tool and on-page SEO analyzer. I know, that’s a lot. The lowest plan with Ahrefs will run you a hefty $990/year (when paid annually), but I can promise it’s well worth the cost.
  • Teachable – $348/year: As your blogging business grows, making and selling online courses will be a natural evolution along the path to monetizing your blog. Teachable has long been one of the easiest-to-use online course delivery platforms that can not only serve content to your students—but also collect payments on your behalf. Teachable starts at $29/mo when billed annually.
  • Can I Rank? – $588/year: This is by far one of the most exciting new tools I’ve started using this year. At the core of their product, it’s an AI-powered software engine that gives you actionable advice for how to improve your blog’s SEO rankings, get more traffic and even gather clever content ideas to pursue based on your existing content—and which opportunities will provide the most potential traffic value in the months to come. Can I Rank? ranges from free to $49/mo for plans that a full-time blogger should consider.

Can I Rank Tool for Bloggers

Truth be told—as your blog grows, you can spend much more than this in all the advanced blogging tools out there.

So your version of, how much does it cost to start a blog? can actually vary quite a lot depending upon the mix of tools you’re leveraging to grow your blog.

Minimum Extra Tool Costs for Full-Time Bloggers (+ the Side Hustle Tools Above): $290 – $2,217

Advertising Costs: $0 – $1,000/year

Advertising Costs to Blogging Your First Year

The cost of advertising is a common one up for debate amongst bloggers.

Should you pay for advertising, or should you invest in (arguably slower) free marketing strategies for growing your blog? I’d actually argue that there’s a time for both paid and free marketing channels—and it depends largely on where you’re at in your blogging journey.

For example, if you have a brand new blog with no means of monetizing your traffic yet, then it makes no sense to run paid ad campaigns to your content yet. You’ll want to get up and running enough to where your content is at least somewhat monetized before you’re spending a meaningful amount of your blog budget on ads.

Here are some of my best ways for growing your blog that includes both free and paid channels.

Hobby Blogger Advertising Costs: $0

It almost goes without saying that a hobby blogger wouldn’t spend money on advertising. Without any intention of making money from their blog, it really doesn’t make sense to.

However, you probably still want to attract some people to your blog—even for the fun of interacting with people who are also interested in the same things that you are. There are a ton of free ways to find your target audience and grow your readership, but a few pertinent ones are here:

  • Post to Pinterest: Posting on Pinterest is often a lot more useful and far-reaching than other social media platforms. Use portrait-oriented images with text right on the image. These images perform the best on Pinterest because people scrolling through can see at a glance what your blog post is about.
  • Use Other Social Media Platforms Too: Don’t stop with Pinterest. Share information about your blog across the spectrum of social media. Repost your blog posts to Medium, share your newest content on Twitter, and post relevant photos on Instagram. Join a group on Facebook in your niche and share your newest blog posts with them.
  • Ask Your Audience Questions: If you want to get to know what interests your audience—ask them! Ask on social media, in email marketing, or right in a blog post. This gives them a chance to boost your social media posts by engagement and also gives you an insight into the kind of content they’d like to see on your blog.

Minimum Hobby Blogger Advertising Costs: $0

Side-Hustle Blogger Advertising Costs: $0 – $100

Like it or not, advertising your blog is an experimental task.

Right now, you won’t know the most effective ways to market your blog—until you try a few things first.

You can spend a little money on social media ads (on Facebook or Pinterest), but there are a lot of other ways to grow your blog audience without having to spend much money. My advice is to cap your social media advertising costs to around $100 on the platform your audience seems to spend the most time on.

Here are some ways that have worked well for me in growing my blog:

  • Develop a Content Ecosystem: A content ecosystem means having enough relevant content on your site that you can link to internally (like this link right here to developing a content marketing strategy). I’ve linked to several relevant articles from this guide about how much does it cost to start a blog? because I’ve spent a lot of time creating my own content ecosystem. Doing this accomplishes two things. One, it establishes your authority on a subject. It also shows your readers that you’re deeply familiar with the topic they came to your site to research. The other obvious benefit is people will spend more time on your blog rather than searching for information on someone else’s site.

How to Develop a Content Ecosystem Graphic in Blogging

  • Optimize Your Blog for Google Search Rankings: I won’t go into depth here about Search Engine Optimization, but it’s an extremely important aspect of getting more readers to your blog. Do your keyword research, pay attention to the recommendations from your Yoast plugin and use smart blog SEO strategies.
  • Reach out to People (and Brands) You Mention in Your Posts: Bloggers are far more successful when they have a strong network. One way to grow your network is to include other bloggers in your content. If you quote someone or link to their content, reach out using my blogger outreach email templates and let them know. They may share your article with their audience—and even if they don’t, you’ve still made a good potential connection.

Minimum Side Hustle Blogger Advertising Costs: $0 – $100 (for Experimenting)

Full-Time Blogger Advertising Costs: $0 – $1,000/year

It’s tempting to think that at this level of full-time blogging, you should spend more money on advertising.

And while a sponsored guest blogging opportunity may actually be a good opportunity to grow your audience a bit (if you land the article on a site with a large target audience that you also want to reach), that’s about the only other paid advertising experiment I’d personally recommend when you’re still early on in your blogging journey. Especially if you don’t much by way of monetized content on your blog at the moment.

All of this being said, I’m a big believer that you can grow your blog without hemorrhaging money. Here are some more ways to build your audience that won’t cost you an extra arm and a leg:

  • Teach Online Courses For Your Blog Readers: Offering free online courses will mostly cost you time, rather than money. Whether you charge for a course or offer some free online classes as an incentive for people to join your email list, it’s a great opportunity to get to know your audience. It also gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority in your blog niche.
  • Use Quora: This question and answer forum traverses many different topics. It’s used by a diverse group of users and it gives you the potential to connect with many different kinds of people. You can find questions that people ask about a topic within your niche. Look at which questions keep coming up again and again—then answer the most popular ones in a way that highlights your expertise. You can tactfully include a call-to-action that directs them to your blog for additional reading too. Here’s an example of a search result for “blogging” on Quora. Even in this quick search you can see that people primarily want to know how to start a blog, how to promote it and how to make money from it. If my blog didn’t already cover those topics, this would confirm to me the importance of writing about it now.

Quora as a Traffic Source to Grow Your Blog and Interact with Readers

  • Be a Guest on a Podcast: Another great way to reach new audiences is to be interviewed on a somewhat popular podcast within your niche. You don’t have to own a podcast in order to be a guest on someone else’s, either. With their growing popularity, you have the opportunity to reach a lot of new people.

Personally, I recommend getting as much mileage as possible out of free marketing channels before diving into paid advertising tests. Once you start adding paid ads into your mix, the answer to your version of how much does it cost to start a blog? can rise pretty dramatically.

Minimum Full-Time Blogger Advertising Costs: $0 – $1000/year (to Start Experimenting)

Content Creation Blog Costs (Outsourcing & Admin): $0 – $500/mo

Will you be writing all of your own content or will you contract some of it out?

In the beginning, it’s smart to write all of your own content—but if that’s difficult for you, seek ways to outsource the most challenging aspects of the content creation process.

For example, if writing is difficult for you, consider hiring a freelance writer who can take audio recordings of you talking through a particular topic, and let them compile a first draft of an article that you can then be an editor of.

Hobby Blogger Content Creation Costs: $0

If you’re blogging simply because you enjoy the subject matter—and not because you want to make money, it really doesn’t make sense to hire outside writers or admin help. So you can go ahead and check the “free” box for this one and remove it from your equation when it comes to answering, how much does it cost to start a blog?

Minimum Hobby Blogger Content Creation Costs: $0

Side-Hustle Blogger Content Creation Costs: $0 – $250/mo

Even at this level of blogging, the majority (if not all) of the content you publish should be written entirely by you.

It’s worth investing the extra time into finding your voice, developing your style, exploring the tone your content takes—and reacting to the feedback of your earliest readers. If you start out by publishing content that’s written by others, then you’ll skip this very important stage in your development as a writer.

You may want to outsource some content as your blog grows, but at the very beginning—I highly recommend not skipping this important developmental phase.

As you solidify your approach though, it’s safe to start outsourcing either the first drafts of your articles or finding some admin help to handle formatting of your own drafts by finding talented freelance help on freelance jobs sites.

Minimum Side Hustle Blogger Content Creation Costs: $0 – $250/mo

Full-Time Blogger Content Creation Costs: $0 – $500/mo

Even if you’re all-in on growing your blog from day one, my recommendation from above still stands—hold off on hiring external writers when you’re just getting started (even if your blog budget is of no concern), as it’s absolutely crucial to develop your own writing style at first.

You may still want to bring on some extra help with various steps of the content creation process though. If you absolutely have to hire some writing help—get an editor first. They’ll be extremely helpful in shaping your style, correcting mistakes before you publish and generally teaching you a lot about writing.

I’ve always had great luck finding strong editors, writers and even admin assistants through the ProBlogger Job Board (where you can post about your job for just $70).

ProBlogger Job Board Content Writers How Much it Costs to Start a Blog

Now, as you start to get the hang of your own voice, and you want to ramp up to a more ambitious content schedule, consider first hiring a guest blog post writer (to help promote your content and get published on other sites).

A guest post writer can help create content that you can then pitch around to other blogs (in order to attract targeted readers and build up your domain authority).

If you do want to hire a freelance writer for your content, think about what you want your budget to be and if the content will be worth the expense.

The cost of hiring a freelance writer can range widely depending on knowledge, experience and skill. It also depends on what you want them to do, but it’s safe to budget for a minimum of $500/mo in writing-related costs if you’re expecting to get 1-2 articles completed by a good writer each month, but if you want to pursue an endeavor like learning how to write an eBook with one of your freelancers, that’ll be a higher-budget project.

Minimum Full-Time Blogger Content Creation Costs: $0 – 500/mo

Accounting Blog Costs: $0 – $500/year

Accounting is one of those hidden fees that you may not immediately think about.

It’s obviously not important if you’re not planning on using your blog to make money, but it will be a line item in your equation of how much does it cost to start a blog? if you’re looking at your blog as a future business.

Hobby Blogger Accounting Costs: $0

It goes without saying that as a hobby blog, you don’t need to treat your site like a business—and expenses should remain ultra low. Ultimately, you shouldn’t need to factor accounting into your question of how much does it cost to start a blog?

Minimum Hobby Blogger Accounting Costs: $0

Side-Hustle Blogger Accounting Costs: $120/year

Paying taxes on your blog income (or any side hustle business for that matter) is a lot different than claiming income with your typical 9-5 job.

In any sense, once you start making money from your blog, it makes sense to consider hiring an accountant to keep track of making sure you utilize your write-offs and properly track revenue (and pay taxes on it).

The cost of an accountant varies widely, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average hourly rate of an accountant in the United States is $40 an hour.

My advice though? Pick up an inexpensive tool like Quickbooks Self-Employed that can link your bank accounts and credit cards to help you categorize all of your income & expenses as they come in the front door.

Quickbooks App Cost to Start Blogging

If your numbers are relatively low at the end of the year, you could probably get away with using an online filing tool like Turbo Tax to loop in your side blog income to your normal tax return filing process.

Minimum Side Hustle Blogger Accounting Costs: $10.00/mo (Quickbooks Self-Employed)

Full-Time Blogger Accounting Costs: $500/year

At this level, once your blog starts generating enough income, you’ll probably want to hire an accountant for more than just your quarterly filings and end of the year tax returns.

You may want them to advise you about the structure of your business, offer insights into ways you can maximize your revenue and get the most of your potential tax write-offs.

A good accountant will likely run you somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 to keep on retainer and stay in touch with throughout the full year.

Minimum Full-Time Blogger Account Costs: $500/year

Additional Blog Costs You May Not Have Considered: $0 – $370/mo

There are a few extra expenses that you may not consider when calculating your version of, how much does it cost to start a blog? You could call these hidden costs.

Some of them you may already be spending for personal use, unrelated to your new blogging efforts. For instance, you probably already pay for the Internet at home, right? The only difference now, is that you may need a faster Internet plan in order to keep up with your blogging goals.

Internet Upgrade in How Much it Costs to Blog Budget Breakdown

Hobby Blogger Additional Blog Costs: $0 – $40/mo

For one, you’ll want a reliable Internet connection.

Even though you probably already pay for this service at home, you might want to upgrade your connection speed in order to load pages faster on your blog.

How much you spend on the Internet depends greatly on where you live and which plan you choose. It’s safe set this cost estimate between $40/mo and $60/mo as an upgrade rate—although your local plans may be different.

Minimum Additional Costs for (Most) Internet Providers: $0 – $40/mo

Side Hustle Blogger Additional Blog Costs: $0 – $160/mo 

The side hustle blogger is definitely going to want a fast Internet connection. In order to achieve maximum speeds, let’s set that cost at somewhere between $60/mo and $80/mo beyond what you’re already spending today.

Additional costs include gas money, office supplies, extra data storage, and lots of coffee. Although it’s almost impossible to calculate exactly what your expenses will be, we can guesstimate what it might be.

  • Internet speed upgrade: $60/mo – $80/mo
  • Office supplies: $20/mo – $40/mo
  • Extra data storage with Google or Dropbox: $10/mo
  • Coffee shop drinks and snacks: $50/mo

Minimum Additional Costs for Side Hustle Bloggers: $0 – $160/mo

Full-Time Blogger Additional Blog Costs: $0 – $370/mo

We’ll quickly run through this list of potential additional costs for full-time bloggers, with some slight tweaks above the side hustle blogger.

  • Internet speed upgrade: $60 – $80/mo
  • More regular office supplies: $100/mo – $300/mo
  • More extra data storage with Google or Dropbox: $20/mo
  • More coffee shop snacks (more frequent visits): $80/mo

Remember that these aren’t just the only additional costs you can incur—as your blog grows and you get more traffic to your site, you’ll likely want to deploy and upgrade more of the blogging-related tools we’ve covered above (in the pursuit of better monetizing your blog).

Minimum Additional Costs for Full-Time Bloggers: $0 – $370/mo

Doing the Math: How Much Does it Really Cost to Start a Blog? (Blog Costs Summary)

How much does it cost to start a blog? (And keep it growing your first year).

That’s a good question. What it costs to start a blog actually depends greatly on what you want to get out of it.

Minimum First Year Cost to Start a Blog for Profit: $65.40.

You can truly get started as a side hustle blogger (building your blog to become a source of income one day) for as little as $65.40 for all of your first year costs.

This doesn’t take into account buying a new laptop or paying for Internet. So, if you need to budget for purchasing a basic new laptop and consider home Internet a blogging-related cost, then you’d be looking more like spending a minimum of $714.40 for your first year of blogging. That number can also rise quite a bit as you add more tools, upgraded themes or plugins and even contract-based help into your blogging efforts.

How Much Does it Cost to Start a Blog This Year? Infographic Answer

The real variables when it comes to how much it costs to start a blog, are in the “nice-to-have” expenses like tools, upgrades to your blog layout and design, contractors and such.

If you’re interested in seeing the real-life expenses of a professional blogger (me), check out my monthly income reports. Each month, I break down exactly what I spend on my blog business in full transparency.

Since my blog is my primary source of income at this point, I even include expenses like health insurance costs, legal fees and all of my other business expenses that detail everything it takes to keep my blog running each year.

👋 One thing I don’t want you to feel at this point is intimidated or discouraged.

I want you to have a good idea of the real cost to start a blog, but I also want you to understand that you’re investing in a business for yourself.

Like any startup, you can expect to spend money today… in order to make money in the near future.

Remember that you personally hold the power to manage these expenses the way you see fit.

So, how much does it cost to start a blog? The answer is really up to you… and if you keep your budget as lean as possible, then $65.40 should be doable for your first year.

If you like some of the blogging tools I use and recommend—but aren’t quite ready to invest in them yourself, then you don’t need to yet.

Especially as you’re just getting your blog off the ground. Focus on the fundamentals:

Add new features, tools and expenses (that are justified) to your blog business as it grows and starts to make an income.

No matter which way you look at it though, some initial investment is necessary in order to get started—and succeed with your blog.

Want to Start Your Blog (the Right Way)?

Check out my ultimate guide How to Start a Blog (on the Side).


Check Out the new MINI JCW GP on the Nurburgring

MINI John Cooper Works GP Green Hell 05

The new MINI JCW GP is now out and the first drives of the hardcore hatchback have taken place on the famous Nurburgring earlier this month. This is the most powerful hatchback the MINI brand ever made and it seems to rise to the kind of expectations people had of it.

That said, the guys from MINI decided to shoot the car on the Green Hell during the first press drives and the video above is the result of their efforts.

Only 3,000 units of the  new MINI JCW GP will be made as the brand got us used to when it comes to cars wearing the ‘GP’ logo. This is the brand’s fastest, most powerful model ever approved for road use. It takes extreme driving pleasure in a MINI to a whole new level.

Testers even managed to drive a prototype of this extreme athlete round the almost 21-km track in less than eight minutes. However, MINI didn’t provide an exact number, even though we heard it was around 7:52 minutes.

MINI John Cooper Works GP Green Hell 04 830x553

This beat the predecessor model’s best time by almost half a minute. They equipped the production vehicle with all the qualities necessary to ensure that even Nordschleife novices can have a good time straight away. Whether the new JCW GP MINI will be able to trump its rivals on the “Green Hell”, remains to be seen. But for now, things are looking rather quick.

As for the specs, there are some key elements you should be aware of. The 2-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine under the hood is the most powerful ever made, with 306 HP and 450 Nm (332 lb-ft) of torque. It allows the MINI to reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.2 seconds and a top speed of 265 km/h.

The JCW GP is also lower by 10 mm compared to the non-GP model and comes with different tires and a new aerodynamic profile.


How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy in 2020 (Free Guide)

I might be a little biased, but I believe in the power of a content marketing strategy to bring in new customers, educate users, drive revenue and help build a powerful brand for any business.

Hell, I’ve been doing it for years and have seen first-hand just how effective content marketing can be. And I’m not the only one…

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy in 10 Easy Steps

  1. Define Your Content Marketing Goal
  2. Research and Understand Your Audience
  3. Set Up Your Blog (If You Don’t Already Have One)
  4. Update Your Current Content (If You’ve Already Been Publishing)
  5. Start Building an Email List and Know How You’re Going to Use It
  6. Brainstorm Content Ideas and Use Keyword Research to Find Opportunities
  7. Decide Which Format of Content You Want to Produce
  8. Outline Which Content Marketing Strategies You’ll Experiment With
  9. Use Social Media to Promote Your Content
  10. Use Paid Ads to Get Extra Eyes on Your Content

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission. Know that I only recommend products and services I’ve personally used and stand behind. When you use one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which helps me run this blog and keep all of my in-depth content free of charge for readers (like you).

What is a content marketing strategy?

A content marketing strategy is a roadmap that not only tells you what content pieces you’re going to create, but how you’re going to create them, promote them—and ultimately use your content to attract, retain and convert more readers and viewers into customers for your business.

Creating a successful content marketing strategy is a big task, but one that you shouldn’t be afraid to tackle.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of B2B marketers surveyed say they are creating more content this year than they did in 2016, with the trend showing no signs of slowing down today.

Content Marketing Strategy is on the Rise in 2017 and into the future

However, while pretty much every small business and startup understands the value of content marketing, it can be a scary thought to dive right in. Your competitors or the people you look up to are regularly posting long-form, in-depth blog posts, launching podcasts, or dipping their toes into the world of video, and it seems overwhelming.

Today, we’re hoping to get rid of some of that pressure you’re feeling and simplify the process of creating a foolproof content marketing strategy.

Each part of your content marketing strategy has its own unique nuances and details that you won’t want to miss. So, let’s look at each part of the process and I’ll be adding my own expertise along the way. Now, let’s dive in!

1. Define Your Content Marketing Goal

Before you look at what you’re going to create, you need to answer why you’re making it.

Every content marketing strategy starts with the goal. How are you going to measure the success of your campaign? Is it with traffic? New subscribers? App downloads? Conversions? Social shares and engagement? Video views? Podcast downloads? Sales?

In his Skillshare class The New Business Toolbox, best-selling author, prolific marketer and entrepreneur Seth Godin explains the importance of understanding your why early on.

Content Marketing Strategy Seth Godin Class

“You have the freedom to make these choices at the beginning when they’re free, fast and easy. Not later on when you’ve made commitments to other people and yourself.”

It’s easy to get caught up in all the tactics of content marketing, but without a unifying strategy—a strong why, no matter what you create it will fall flat.

Understanding your goal early on will guide other important decisions as you develop your content marketing strategy.

Such as, what are we making? And where are we going to distribute our content? As Godin explains, your strategy is like building a ship. You need to know where it’s going to sail before you can start nailing planks of wood together.

As Godin emphasizes, “Matching what you build to where you put it is more important than what you build in the first place. That’s why we need to start by understanding what is this for?”

When I’m brought on to build out a content marketing strategy for one of my clients, whether it’s a freelance gig or through my side project, Pro Content Marketer, we always start in the exact same place—with defining an ultimate goal and then backing into smaller mini-wins that ladder up to the bigger picture achievement.

Most often with content marketing, that ultimate goal is email signups or free trial signups.

Essentially, attracting new readers through clever blog post ideas (content), then converting them into email subscribers who can later be warmed into paying customers as the rest of the marketing team works to build relationships and make money blogging.

Once you have this larger goal in place, it’s easier to determine—based on your average conversion rates—how many readers or listeners, viewers, users, you need to attract to the content you’re publishing, in order to hit your signup goal.

The number of people you need to bring to your blog is your traffic goal.

And in order to bring in enough of the right traffic to hit your conversion rates, you’ll need to promote your blog content—landing syndications to publications, getting mentions in major industry blogs, having influencers share with their followers, and so on down the line.

It’s not an exact science per-say, but the more you execute, build a portfolio of content and promote it, the more you’ll see what your baseline returns on content marketing are and you can make tweaks & experiment moving forward.

2. Research and Understand Your Audience

Once you have a clear connection to why you’re making content, the next step in building out your content marketing strategy is to understand exactly who is going to see, hear, or watch the content you create.

Effective content is not produced in a vacuum from a list of topics you personally want to write or talk about, it’s made out in the open with the involvement, feedback, and direction of your audience. The best content marketing strategy is designed to answer the most pressing questions your target audience has—to educate and transform them.

Content Marketing Strategy Create for Your Audience

However, the only way that your content will connect enough with people to have them share it and help you reach your goals is for you to speak directly to them. You need to have empathy and understanding for their situation.

Andrea Goulet, founder of BrandVox, breaks the process of defining your audience down in her Skillshare class Become a Better Blogger.

The first step is to understand the demographics and psychographics of your ideal audience.

Demographics are the quantitative traits, or things you can really dig into and measure.

Think age, gender, location, job title, etc. For example, you might say you want your content marketing to speak to executives aged 30–45, or 20-something seekers of remote jobs just out of college.

Psychographics are the things we can’t measure.

Attributes like attitude, belief systems, values, and interests. So in our executive example, we could go a step further and say that our content speaks to executives who want to take their business to the next level but can’t find a way. Or maybe that they believe in hard work and doing the right thing and value family and strong morals.

Creating Your Audience Personas

Now, let’s talk about buyer personas—the fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. These personas are constructed with the goal of internalizing who your ideal customer is, and gives you an idea of how to relate to these people as real humans.

For each of the audience personas you’re creating, write out their (demographic and psychographic) attributes on a bulleted list.

Next, you want to visualize exactly who this person is. Goulet suggests using a stock photography site like Unsplash or Pexels to find a photo of the person you’ve just described. It might seem a bit silly, but this will seriously help solidify your vision and create more of a connection between you and your ideal audience.

Lastly, you want to take that photo, the bulleted list and write a story about them in paragraph form, that really describes the environment and the feelings that your persona lives in. Give them a name and describe their day-to-day activities.

How does your content not only fit in, but get found and recognized by this person?

  • Are they searching for it on Google or do they use community sites like Quora or Reddit to source answers & ideas?
  • Are they heavy Facebook users or do they spend most of the time on apps like Snapchat?
  • Maybe they don’t spend much time online at all, and prefer attending in-person events, industry conferences, group discussions?

Developing a clear understanding of who your audience is, will help immensely in crafting the right messaging and nailing the storytelling in your content marketing efforts.

Be present where your audience already exists.

These are all critical questions to address during the creation of your content marketing strategy, so that you can maximize your opportunities for getting your content in front of your ideal audience—where they’re already spending their time.

Also, it’s important to remember that you can have more than one audience.

While you don’t want your ideal audience to be too broad and diverse, especially in the early days of your business (readers might get confused about who your solution is for). However, as long as you understand who your audience is and go through this step you can create great content for them.

3. Set Up Your Blog (If You Don’t Have One Already)

It’s time to move from the tactical to the technical part of your content marketing strategy.

If you haven’t set up a blog or found a place to host the content you’re going to create, now is the time.

The good news? You’ve got options.

Luckily, there are tons of great (and easy) options for setting up your own website that go from ready-to-use platforms to fully customizable templates.

But before we start, we need to answer an age-old question for content producers.

Do you want to build your own platform, or use someone else’s?

What I mean is, do you want to build your own blog on the WordPress platform (which I personally do and recommend), through a ready-to-go content management system like Squarespace, or do you want to simply host your content on an external domain like Medium (writing), YouTube (video), or Apple (Podcasts)?

The bad news? There are pros and cons to each of these avenues.

While building your own site gives you the flexibility and freedom to make it exactly how you want, it also means a more upfront and ongoing time investment and potential development costs. You’re also starting with no audience, which can make it tough to get your content noticed.

On the other hand, using a pre-existing platform like Medium, YouTube, and Apple Podcasts for publishing your content means less customization, but lower startup costs of blogging (especially when it comes to the time investment if you’ve never used WordPress before).

This route also means instant access to an audience that’s already present, and actively looking for content.

However attractive that sounds though, keep in mind that you’re not in control of what that platform does in the future, which means they could get purchased, hacked, change their policies or even shut down any day they choose.

In the end, the choice is yours.

However, I’m personally biased towards starting from your own blog domain from day one—hence why I always recommend new startups to kick their content off with a WordPress-powered blog. And if you’re not sure what to name your blog, then start with one of these domain name generators to find your ideal site title & choose a domain name that works best for your niche.

If you’re looking to make a long-term investment in your content marketing strategy, you should follow the advice of GrowthLab editor Sean Blanda.

And as a side benefit, having your own blog will also open you up to inquiries about coaching, consulting, teaching or other work from home jobs once you’ve built a bit of an audience.

If you’re looking for some options of different companies to use for hosting your blog, check out these comparison guides here on my blog:

4. Update Your Current Content (If You’ve Already Been Publishing)

There’s never a bad time to re-evaluate your content marketing strategy and shift gears if something isn’t working.

Content Marketing Strategy Update Existing Work

If you’ve already been writing or producing other types of content for a little while, now is a great time to bring your published content into the style of your new content marketing strategy.

To do this, you need to know exactly what kind of content ‘types’ you’re going to produce.

Now, we’re not talking just about the format—whether that’s blog posts, videos or podcasts—but rather which topics are you going to produce on a consistent basis?

BrandVox founder Andrea Goulet calls these ‘Content Pillars’—topics that’ll be the foundation of your blog (and content marketing strategy).

For example, if you’re building a finance blog, your core content pillars might be:

  • Personal finance tips and tricks
  • Interviews and stories about people who found financial freedom
  • Industry news and what it means for you
  • Finance basics

With these pillars in place, you’ll want to make sure you’re hitting 3 key content types, which Goulet calls the 3 E’s.

  • Engagement: Content that’s meant to start a conversation (like it or not, conversational marketing is here to stay, people), like your own opinion on a popular topic.
  • Evergreen: Content that is based around key terms for your business and that you can refer back to and update for years to come.
  • Events: Content around a particular event or occurrence, like some big piece of news or industry event.

If you have content already published, go through it and see if it fits into your new content marketing strategy.

Does it speak to your audience and work towards your goals? If not, can you update it or change it or should you scrap it altogether?

5. Start Building an Email List and Know How You’re Going to Use It

Whatever content you’re creating, you want to put it in front of the right people.

But before we get into distribution, leveraging social media and all of that, we need to talk about the most important piece of your content distribution puzzle: Email.

Email lets you communicate directly to your subscribers and gets you into their inboxes—where so many of us spend countless hours each week. Starting early with list-building is a great way to amplify the content you’re creating.

In her class Getting Started with Email Marketing, MailChimp product marketing lead Allyson Van Houten runs through some of the basics of how to create meaningful email campaigns, answering some of the biggest email marketing questions that need to be sorted out & aligned with your content marketing strategy.

Which Tools Do You Need?

An email service provider (or, ESP) allows you to send emails, build and maintain your subscriber list, and check reports and analytics on how your campaigns are doing. An ESP will also make sure your emails stay out of spam folders, keep your list healthy and in check, and make sure you’re adhering to all relevant laws around emails.

Here’s a screenshot of the dashboard from within my own ESP ConvertKit, showing stats on how many new email subscribers I’m getting over time, including which forms/offers they sign up for—which helps me keep track of what’s performing best.

There are lots of options, but some of the most popular ones for marketers—and also happen to have lower startup costs are ConvertKit vs AWeber vs Mailchimp.

Here are a few other top email marketing services to consider:

Check out my detailed breakdown of ConvertKit vs AWeber vs Mailchimp for a full analysis about which is the best email marketing tool for bloggers.

Like any “tool” decision, it can always be changed or undone if it’s not working out after a month, and each of these ESPs do a great job of making migration easy.

My advice? Choose the cheapest option that gives you the bare minimum functionality you need in order to achieve your email goals and move on. You can always switch things up and move over to a tool with more options in the future. This echoes the sentiment all of the world’s top bloggers have shared in my roundup of the best blogging tips—keep a tight budget in the early days.

And don’t forget—it’s crucial to ensure you maintain a clean email list in order to ensure high deliverability to your subscribers. Using a good quality email verifying tool can help immensely with this process.

What is the Goal of Your Emails?

Your strategy for email marketing needs to relate back to your business goals.

What you’re trying to accomplish for your business over the next couple of weeks or months should really dictate what you’re doing in your email campaigns and newsletters.

As Van Houten explains: “Some of the goals you could be trying to hit with your email strategy could be brand awareness, awareness about your products, loyalty to your company and your brand, as well as driving people to your website to consume your content.”

What Content Should Your Emails Include?

The content you’re creating for your blog is a great place to start with what you could send to your email subscriber list.

Van Houten suggests taking that content and using parts of it to create email campaigns that’ll drive people back to your blog to read the rest of your post, watch the full video or listen to the entire podcast episode.

This is exactly what I do with my own weekly (sometimes twice weekly) email newsletter. Here’s a screenshot from last week.

Content Marketing Strategy Blog Post Email Update

I push out a preview of the week’s new podcast episode and new blog posts when they’re published, so that my subscribers can dig into the full piece of content (if it’s a match for what they need at the moment).

What Types of Emails Should I Send?

There are 3 main types of emails you can send to your list, in a way that supports your content marketing strategy:

  • General campaigns and newsletters: These are sent to your full list. They’re great when you’re just starting out and your list isn’t really huge (as you know that pretty much everyone on the list wants to hear about your company and the content you’re releasing).
  • Communication that gets sent to targeted segments on your list: As you grow, you’ll want to make sure you’re sending the right messages to the right groups of people on your list. Your ESP should let you select segments based on demographic information or what links they’ve clicked on in the past, so you can send more targeted campaigns.
  • Automated messaging: These are messages you’re going to send out to multiple people over time. Think welcome emails, delivering an e-course, or lists of your top content.

How Often Should I Send Emails?

There are no hard and fast rules about sending once a week or once a month, according to Van Houten.

Rather, how often you send is going to depend on how much time you have to spend on email and how often you have news or valuable new content to share.

As you’re just getting started, she usually recommends small businesses aim for 1 email a month.

You want to be consistent and talking to your subscribers as often as you can without overwhelming them. And you also don’t want to go 4, 5, or 6 months without them hearing from you, because they’re likely to forget how they even got onto your email list and your chances of getting marked as spam increase significantly.

6. Brainstorm Content Ideas and Use Keyword Research to Find Opportunities

Content Marketing Strategy Keyword Research

Alright, at this point we know our why we’re creating content and who our audience is.

We have a blog setup and our email service provider is ready to go. Now, it’s finally time to talk about the actual content you’re going to create and how it aligns with your content marketing strategy.

This is where the fun begins.

You probably have a ton of ideas for posts you can write or videos you can film at this point. However, that initial excitement can wear off quickly when other things get in the way.

For your content marketing strategy to be successful, you need to make sure you stay strategic in what you’re creating and avoid falling into the trap of simply reacting.

As Seth Godin explains in The Modern Marketing Workshop:

“Great marketers set their own agenda. This means getting out of reaction mode and focusing on your strategy.”

To set your own agenda, you need to create a content marketing editorial calendar that isn’t reactionary.

Rather, one that’s is filled with repeatable content that is directly tied to your business goals.

Free Download: My Content Marketing Editorial Calendar Template

Your pillar posts or content types we discussed earlier will help tell you the kinds of posts you’re going to write, but what about the actual specific content of each?

For this, we turn to keyword research (here’s my guide on how I’ve grown my blog to 584,958 readers/mo using keyword research at the foundation of my content marketing process).

Here’s how Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, explains the basics of using keyword research in Introduction to SEO: Tactics and Strategy for Entrepreneurs.

Rand shares, “When you’re thinking about your audience, we want to take a look at the folks we know are in the group we want to target and ask ‘what are they searching for today that they can’t successfully find or aren’t being well exposed to?’”

Once you start thinking about your audience’s needs, Rand offers a 5-step process for coming up with the specific topics and keywords your audience will be looking for. This will be the foundation of your content marketing strategy.

  1. Brainstorm topics and terms: Start by writing down as many blog post ideas your audience may be interested in. It’s good to involve people who work directly with your users at this point, like a customer service or sales rep.
  2. Use a keyword research tool to gather results: Now, it’s time to plug those terms into a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner, Moz, Twinword Ideas or any other to see what comes up.
  3. Expand and refine your list: Take that big list and refine or group them together. What looks good? What doesn’t make sense to your business goals?
  4. Build a spreadsheet and prioritize terms: Now, it’s time to get organized. Build a spreadsheet with the data you got in your tool, such as keyword, estimated search volume, difficulty and opportunity and assign a priority to each one. Which is most important to your business?
  5. Outline content that hits the 3 key needs: Take your top terms and craft a blog post outline content that will serve your goals, the user’s needs, and the keyword targeting. This is the trifecta of killer, SEO-friendly content.

Rand’s final piece of advice? Make sure you’re not just aiming to match the content you see ranking #1, but blowing it out of the water:

He elaborates, “What’s the thing where when you read the first few search results you say, ‘This is great, but I wish they…’. If you have great answers to that, don’t ask ‘how do we make something as good as this?’ but say ‘how do we make something 10X better than any of these?” That’s the bar that’s been set because it’s so competitive to try to rank for terms today.”

7. Decide Which Format of Content You Want to Produce

Blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics—they all have their place in your content strategy and it’s up to you how you use them. What’s non-negotiable, however, is that they tell a story.

As Seth Godin says: “Marketing is the act of telling a story to people who want to hear it. And making that story so vivid and true that the people who hear it want to tell other people.”

To hit that mark, Godin says there are 4 qualities your content needs to have:

  1. Emotion: What emotion do we want people to feel?
  2. Change: How are you changing people with your product or content? Does that emotion change them in a way that helps your brand?
  3. Alert: Once you’re changed someone, how do you build the privilege of being able to tell them when you have something new?
  4. Share: How can you get people to tell each other?

With that in mind, let’s look at the specifics of putting together some of the most popular content formats: blog posts, videos, and podcasts.

Blogging in Your Content Marketing Strategy

Blog posts are a great place to start with your content marketing strategy as they have the lowest barrier to entry, by far.

You don’t need a designer or special equipment. Just start writing and you’re ready to go.

Here’s how Single Grain CEO Eric Siu explains how to build a blog post in Content Marketing: Blogging for Growth:

Start with an outline: Start with just a skeleton of what you want to say. This means having a few lines for your intro and why people should care about your topic, as well as outlining the main points or sub-headers you’re going to use throughout the post. Read through this. Does it make sense? Does your outline quickly answer What, Why, How and Where?

Add the meat: These are the details, the statistics, quotes, images, or case studies. If you’re making claims in your post you need to back it up. Use Google to find statistics around your topic. And when you link out to studies or references, these are great people to reach out to later on when you’re distributing your content.

One-up the competition: At this point you’ve got a good post, but not a great one. Take the next step and see what the competition is doing. What’s the #1 result for your topic and how can you make yours better? Can you go more in-depth? Add more images or resources?

Write a great headline: The last, and almost most important part of writing is your headline. You only click on things that catch your eye when you’re scrolling through social media, and your audience is the same. There are great resources on writing headlines on Copyblogger and Quicksprout.

Add an effective featured image: People love images and adding a featured image before the post has been shown to give you 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets on Twitter alone. Check out sites like Unsplash for better-than-stock photos and then use a tool like Canva to add extra elements like text or icons.

Videos in Your Content Marketing Strategy

According to recent research, 51% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI while social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.

Content Marketing Strategy Videos and YouTube

However, making videos can seem like a monumental task if you’re used to watching the highly-produced content from people like Gary Veynerchuk that have entire teams dedicated to producing his content.

You need specialized gear, a studio, lighting, sound, right? Not exactly, in DIY Viral Video: A Mini Class on Making iPhone How-To Videos, Darby Smart founder Nicole Farb explains how to create one of the most popular video styles out there—hyperlapse videos—with just your iphone.

If you’ve watched cooking recipes or DIY How-to videos online, you know the style. Present what you’re going to make, the ingredients, process, and end result, all in 60 seconds or less. Here’s how she does it:

    • Keep it short: Under 60 seconds at the most. If you can keep it under 30 seconds you’re killing it!
    • Have a plan: Think about your ingredients or props you need or how you’re going to show the steps
    • Use hand signals to communicate to your users: The majority of videos are watched without sound, so think of other ways to communicate what the user needs to know.
    • Use your tools: Skillshare uses the Hyperlapse tool, Box to store our videos, and a video stand, which you can create with something as simple as two stacks of books with a plank across. Place your camera on the edge of the plank and fire up your camera app. You can set a ‘stage’ for where you’re filming by taping it out on the table.
    • Gather your resources: Either bring them in one at a time or have them all laid out in your center stage.
    • Start with a compelling image: Either an impressive ‘finished product’ to arouse interest, or some unconventional ingredients.
    • Don’t worry about it being perfect: DIY videos go viral every day. If you can tell a compelling story in a short amount of time, it doesn’t matter if you shot it on your iPhone or a professional camera.

Podcasts in Your Content Marketing Strategy

Podcasts are super hot right now as a content form, and for good reason—it can fuel your content marketing strategy with relatively low effort compared to writing 7,000+ word blog posts like this one. 😂

With how busy your audience is, giving them a way to passively listen to your content is fantastic for lowering the barrier of entry.

However, like video, you’re probably thinking you need all sorts of specialized gear and skills. And while yes, audio is a whole other beast, you can get started with just a little bit of effort. In his class Getting Your Podcast Off the Ground!, Neil Patel, host of The Indian Startup Show (the #1 tech podcast in India) runs us through the basics of podcasting.

Step 1: Pick Your Topic or Niche

If you already know your audience and your topic, this should be a no brainer. However, you’ll want to pick a niche to blog about in order to get people interested. There are currently over 100,000 podcast shows out there, so get specific!

A few tools to help you research niches are cast.market (a research page for podcasts), iTunes charts (to see what’s popular and where there are gaps) or even Google Trends.

For my podcast, I chose the topic of side hustles because that’s been a consistent theme on my blog for the past several years, and it’s been the cohesive topic that bonds just about everything I write about together—so it made sense to talk about it on my show.

Step 2: Gather Your Tools

A basic podcasting setup consists of a microphone and software for recording your voice. This can range from as simple as your built-in mic (which I don’t recommend due to the poor sound quality) to an external USB mic, audio interface, and professional recording software.

Personally, I use an ATR2100 USB Microphone that sounds great, and you can pick up on Amazon for around $65 right here.

Content Marketing Strategy Podcast Recording Mic

It’s super affordable, has awesome audio quality for the price, and is small & portable which makes it perfect for taking on-the-go.

Check out Skillshare’s own page with examples of audio setups here.

Step 3: Find your Guests (or Script Out Your Own Episodes)

If you’re doing an interview-style show (like mine), you’ll now want to start getting some guests involved.

Podcast Content Marketing Strategy

You can use your existing social network to reach out to people you already know or are connected with on Twitter or Facebook. You can also head to Medium or Amazon to find authors or experts on topics specific to your niche.

Once you’ve gathered a list, put together a template outreach email (as you’ll be doing this over and over) that’s short and clear with expectations. Tell them who you are, what your podcast is about, and what you’re asking of them.

Step 4: Edit Your Podcast and Add Music, Sound, and Other Elements

Audio editing is a form of art. Luckily, there are tons of affordable options for hiring a sound engineer or podcast producer (like mine) to stitch your episodes together. To start, all you really need is 4 files: your main interview, introduction, outro, and jingle/music.

Next, upload these files to Google Drive or Dropbox. Here’s a screenshot of my Drive folder with episodes for my podcast, The Side Hustle Project.

Content Marketing Strategy Using a Podcast

And heres a snapshot inside of an actual episode folder, so you can see all of the different assets I ship to my editor:

Content Marketing Strategy Podcast Folder Assets

Note that when you’re just getting started with your podcast, I recommend leaving your episodes (or interviews) very lightly edited without too much storytelling weaved in throughout (that takes a lot of time) unless you have a knack for it—or if podcasting is poised to be your biggest content marketing strategy that you’ll be going all in on.

Either way, after you’ve recorded your conversation, listen back to main interview and note down what needs to be done and when.

Afterwards, you’ll want to send an email to your sound engineer asking them to improve the sound quality and levels of the interview if necessary, and do the follow edits:

  1. Add intro music (add a link to your file and how long you want it to play for)
  2. Add new intro (add link to your intro)
  3. Add main interview (add link to your interview recording)
    • With the following edits (tell them where you want cuts or edits)
  4. Add outro (add link to your outro)
  5. Convert into MPR
  6. Save as <whatever you want the file name to be>

Step 5: Upload and Promote

Congrats! You now have a podcast episode that’s ready to be uploaded to iTunes, SoundCloud, or anywhere else and promoted alongside the rest of your content!

Be sure to hit your guests with some copy & paste social copy that they can use to promote their episode, and it helps immensely if you have visually appealing graphics to go along with it.

8. Outline Which Content Marketing Strategies You’ll Experiment With

Now that you’ve got your content together, how are you going to promote or distribute it? You have to be productive with your marketing efforts, because if no one sees, listens, or reads the content you’ve put so much time into creating, was it even worth writing it in the first place?

In 10x Marketing: Content Marketing That Stands Out & Gets Results, CoSchedule CEO Garrett Moon runs through a couple specific tactics and strategies you can try.

Find Your ‘Competition-Free Content’

With so much competition in the content and social media spaces, Moon says it’s important to find your ‘blue ocean’ opportunities—places where you’re not fighting with existing markets and can do your best work.

“How can you create content that’s free from your competition, so that what you’re creating stands out and is actually impactful and meaningful?”

One example he gives is Groove—the help desk software—who decided to shut down their already successful blog to focus on something only they could talk about: their numbers, metrics and own startup story.

They went from producing the ‘me-too’ content that everyone is creating, to something that is unique and have been rewarded with massive increases in traffic and users.

This content marketing strategy focuses on utilizing their core competencies, but here’s how you can find those same kinds of opportunities within your own business:

  1. Observe your competitors: What are they doing, where are they publishing, and how are they using email? Understand what your customers are already seeing.
  2. Search relevant topics on Google: Look at the top 10 results and see what’s there. How long is the content. What images are being used? What’s consistent or stands out?
  3. Ask yourself what are you and your team really good at? What are the patterns that your competition are falling into that you can disrupt? Are there people in your audience that you aren’t serving? What have you created that you’re the most proud of?

From these 3 steps, you should be able to start seeing opportunities where you can excel that aren’t already crammed with competition.

Prioritize 10x Opportunities

Another tactic that’s crucial to any content marketing strategy is to always prioritize the highest impact content. Moon calls this the 10X vs 10% test. Which opportunities could potentially provide 10 times the growth to your audience size, traffic, or subscribers, versus just 10%?

To do this, there’s another simple 3-step process:

  1. Dump all your ideas onto a board. There’s no bad ideas here, just let it all out.
  2. Bring in the rest of your team to help. Identify all of the real 10X opportunities and put them in one column.
  3. Rank the difficulty of your 10X opportunities on a scale of 1–3. If you have a 10X opportunity with only a level 1 difficulty, you should jump on that right away and prioritize it within your content marketing strategy.

At this point, you know what you should be focusing the most on. But remember, your 10% ideas aren’t bad so don’t throw them out. There could be a time in the future when they do become a higher return activity.

They just don’t have the same potential impact today—and thus should be a lower priority in your overall content marketing strategy right now. Regularly revisit your idea board to re-evaluate priorities and stay on your toes.

9. Use Social Media to Promote Your Content

Content Marketing Strategy Gary Vaynerchuk Care About People

It’s pretty much impossible these days to separate your content marketing strategy from your social media strategy.

As motivational quote master Gary Vaynerchuk, founder and CEO of VaynerMedia says in Context is Key: Social Media Strategy in a Noisy Online World:

“I love social media because it sells shit.”

Social media has become an integral part of getting your content in front of the right people. But you need to do more than just post to Facebook and Twitter once or twice. Gary’s strategy is called jab, jab, jab, right hook. Which breaks down to give, give, give, ask.

“My social media strategy is to give as much value as possible that you basically guilt people into buying what you’re selling. So when you finally ask them to buy what you’re selling, they do.”

What this comes down to is not simply talking about your content and asking people to click a link or subscribe to your newsletter. Instead, you need to show that you’re a trustworthy source of educational resources and earn their attention for when you do ask for something in return.

At the core of your content marketing strategy needs to be the belief that it’s a long-term (lifetime) investment in building your worth.

Moving from the big picture of social media to the actual aspect of building posts, Brian Peters, a digital marketing strategist at Buffer, and fellow content marketer with me in my new project, Pro Content Marketer, explains his process in Introduction to Social Media Strategy.

Find your voice: What are the words and graphics and visuals that you’re going to post? Are you going to be quirky like MailChimp or more buttoned up like IBM or Cisco?

Choose what platforms you’re going to use: When you’re just starting out you simply can’t and shouldn’t be on every platform. Pick what makes the most sense for your brand and where your audience is more likely to hang out. Does that mean Facebook or Snapchat?

Generate platform-specific content: You can both create original content from your blog posts or other content, or curate other people’s content like relevant links or videos. Both have their place and should be a part of your strategy. Every platform has its own nuances and subtleties to how they get used and people share. If you want to learn Gary’s secrets check out the rest of his class here.

Set up your social media ‘stack’: Which blogging tools are you going to use to support your social media strategy? Peters suggests Trello for planning posts in advance and making sure you have all the content you need. Canva and Pablo for making graphics. And Buffer or Hootsuite for scheduling posts to go out at the right times.

And as your blogger outreach efforts begin to pay off, you can eventually scale the number of emails you’re sending (and relationships you’re building) by using outreach automation.

10. Use Paid Ads to Get Extra Eyes on Your Content

These days, a lot of social media platforms are moving to a ‘pay to play’ model. Meaning, even if you have a huge following and great engagement, you’ve got to pony up some ad dollars to get your content seen by everyone.

When you’re just starting out and building a new content strategy it’s probably a little scary to invest in paid ads. More than $72 billion was spent on social ads in 2016 alone, with that number expected to rise to $113 billion by 2020.

But, as Peters describes in another course—Introduction to Social Media Advertising—you don’t have to throw huge chunks of cash at social media to get a return. Instead, $5 is all you need to start experimenting, especially with channels like Facebook Ads…

Content Marketing Strategy Paid Ads Creation via Buffer

(Gif courtesy of Buffer’s Ultimate Guide to Getting Started with Facebook Ads)

Here’s how Peters breaks down setting up social ads across Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram:

Step 1: Define Your Goals

Paid ads all come down to working people from the top of your marketing funnel, where they haven’t heard of your brand, through to the middle and finally the bottom where you ask for the sale and they hopefully become a customers.

So, start by asking yourself, who is my audience and what is my goal with them?

Is it to run an awareness campaign for your top of funnel audience and build your brand awareness?

Or, are you going after people who already know who you are and asking them to click through to a blog post or to a landing page?

Once you define your high-level goal, you need to be specific about how you’ll measure its success, whether that’s impressions, engagement, or clicks. To do this, there are 2 things you need to do:

  1. Set up Google analytics and UTM parameters on your links: These are simple tools that let you track where your traffic came from and what it did once it got to your site.
  2. Set up ‘Pixels’ on your site: This is a small snippet of javascript code that you can add to your website to track social media advertising efforts specific to each individual platform. For example, a Facebook snippet opens up the lines of communication between Facebook and your website that gives them information about the people who come to your site and lets the social network know if a user has done a certain action.

Step 2: Targeting

Next, you need to decide who is going to see your ad. As Peters explains, targeting is the whole reason social media marketing works as well as it does:

“Targeting capabilities are at an unprecedented level. Social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest give you an incredible wealth of information about your customers, which let you create highly targeted ads that are tailored to our audience.”

There are 3 ways you can target your audience:

  1. Develop personas of your intended audience: Ask why would someone want to click your ad? Who are they? What problem are you solving for them?
  2. Retarget people who’ve seen you: You can also target people who visited your site or watched a video for a certain amount of time or went to another site. Custom audiences let you target people who already know who you are, which means that you can target top of funnel users with ads and then create custom audiences based on what those users do, pushing them further down your marketing funnel.
  3. Competitor or lookalike targeting: These are groups of people who the social network believes like similar things to your current users (and therefore might like you), or who like a competitor’s page.

Step 3: Budgeting

As we said before, you don’t need a big budget to be successful with social media advertising. In fact, you can start with as little as $5 a day.

When you’re starting with a small budget, you want to focus on your top of funnel audience, as they’re cheaper to get in front of. You’re not asking for a sale or a click, you’re simply getting them to see your brand and engage with you.

Once you move on from that stage, you’ll start to look at things like cost-per-click (CPC), meaning how much are you willing to spend for someone to click on your ad. Or, Cost-per-thousand (CPM) views. While budgeting for big social media campaigns can get complicated, it all comes down to a simple question:

“Ask yourself, am I willing to spend this money on this specific goal? It all comes down to what you’re willing to spend your money on and what are your goals going into social media advertising so that $100 or $1000 isn’t going to waste.”

It doesn’t matter what the budget is as long as what you’re actually paying for is paying off in the long run.

Step 4: Copy & Visuals

Finally, it’s time to put your actual ad together.

For this, Peters says there are just 4 elements you need to include:

    1. What do you want your ad to say? As in, what emotion do you want your audience to feel when they see your ad? Do you want to shock them, delight them, intrigue them?
    2. How do you want your ad to look? Is it video? A stock image? Just text? What colors are you going to use? Is it on brand?
    3. What action do you want your audience to take? Where should they go after seeing your ad? To a landing page or blog post? Entice them with a freebie like I’ve done with my blogging books and blogging courses.
    4. Where do you want your ad to be placed? Is this an ad for mobile users or desktop users? Is it in their news feed or somewhere else?

If you want to dig deeper, there are some great courses on this, such as Facebook Ads & Facebook Marketing Mastery Guide or How to Create a Killer Instagram Ad in a Few Minutes.

Final Thoughts on Creating a Content Marketing Strategy:

By now, you should know pretty much everything you need to plan and execute a killer content marketing strategy this year (and which blogging mistakes to avoid along the way). Keep in mind that your content marketing efforts should roll up into your greater blog business plan, too—so that you’re driving thoughtful traffic that has the potential to convert into real revenue one day.

If you have any questions about getting your content marketing strategy off the ground, drop them in the comments below and I’ll answer every single question you have 😊

Want my free editorial calendar template to help create a content marketing strategy like mine?

Click the button below to download it right now, and I’ll send you a link to my own copy & paste content marketing strategy template that you can start using for your content efforts today.

Remember, your content marketing strategy will only be effective—if you have a plan.

Then, it’s all about execution (and getting that freelance contract signed before you start working for a client).

Let’s get to it!

And remember if you’re ready to get started with your content marketing strategy today, then pick up my free content marketing editorial calendar template right here.

Free Download: My Content Marketing Editorial Calendar Template

Want to get more out of your content marketing efforts? Here's 10 Steps to Create a Content Marketing Strategy (and Execute) in 2018 and Beyond



On the eve of the Public holiday and the beginning of the month, Lobo Marinho travels today to Porto Santo with 708 people. This is the first trip on a Tuesday which is normally a rest day for the ferry. 

This trip is one of those included in the special 10 euros round trip package, helping to explain the huge demand registered.

From Jornal Madeira


Madeira reopens in July – 5 reasons why it is the best place to visit post-COVID

Just to let you know, I have updated the first post on the homepage, and Peter is keeping his article updated which you can also click through to in the post.

Starting July 1, Madeira Islands will be reopened for tourism. The destination positions itself as a safe destination to ensure good practices across several sectors to minimise risks of COVID-19.

Madeira Islands are working with SGS and travel companies are identified by the logo, designed under the umbrella “MADEIRA SAFE TO DISCOVER”. Most local companies are also adopting the “CLEAN & SAFE” stamp, created by VisitPortugal.

Furthermore, Madeira was a pioneer in the development of a good practices document to deal with Covid-19. These measures will provide comfort to those who travel, and are ultimately for the wellbeing of all.

Below are the five health and safety protocols to be implemented to tourists arriving in Madeira Islands:

Free COVID test

All travellers are recommended to be tested within 72 hours prior to arrival for faster checkout. Passengers who were not tested will do a free test upon arrival at the airport. Children ages 12 and younger do not have to take the test, except for suspected cases.

Quarantine is not mandatory

While confinement is not mandatory for those who took the test upon arrival, they will be informed of the results within 12 hours. It is recommended for travellers to go to their accommodation while they wait for the results.

Travellers will be monitored via app

As part of the pre-travel requirements, travellers have to fill out the health questionnaire and upload the COVID test into the app MADEIRA SAFE TO DISCOVER or web for faster airport check out. All tourists will be monitored through the app via their contact details.

All-expense paid confinement

Passengers that test positive and their direct contacts will be quarantined in a designated hotel with all costs, including medical, accommodation and meals, paid by the local government. After seven days, tourists will have to take another test. If the result is negative, visitors can finish their holidays without additional restrictions.

A lot to discover

Madeira Islands open a number of tourist products and services such as bars, restaurants, spas, and tourist spots implementing health and safety protocols like social distancing, proper hygiene, and wearing of mask.

From Travel Daily Media



BMW X6 M makes the WardsAuto’s 10 Best Interiors for 2020

BMW X6 M Competition interior design 7

The new BMW X6 M was just named as a winner in the annual Wards 10 Best Interiors list for 2020. SUVs and CUVs make up seven of the 10 honorees – the first time so many utility vehicles have dominated – leaving only two sedans and a coupe to fill out this year’s list.

Other premium automakers to make the list are Audi with its e-tron model, Mercedes-Benz with the GLB and Bentley with the Flying Spur. The ranking focused on achievement in aesthetics, comfort, ergonomics, materials usage, fit-and-finish and user-friendliness of displays and controls.

Wards editors selected the best interiors from a list of 32 nominated vehicles with all-new or significantly redesigned cabins available in the U.S. There is no price cap for 10 Best Interiors, but value is a factor.

2020 BMW X6M Competition Mineral White 83 830x553

The 2020 winners in alphabetical order (price listed as tested):

  • Audi e-tron ($85,790)
  • Bentley Flying Spur ($283,275)
  • BMW X6 M Competition ($131,745)
  • Chevy Corvette Stingray ($78,820)
  • Hyundai Venue ($23,305)
  • Kia Telluride ($47,255)
  • Lincoln Aviator ($81,790)
  • Mercedes-Benz GLB ($57,470)
  • Nissan Sentra ($24,800)
  • Toyota Highlander ($51,654)

It’s also the fourth year in a row Lincoln has made the cut and the third year in a row for Toyota. Nissan now has five trophies. Among German luxury rivals, BMW and Mercedes-Benz each has five trophies, while Audi has four.

Read Also: 2019 LA Auto Show: BMW X6 M Competition looks stunning

The 2020 BMW X6 M boasts carbon-fiber accents and has a wide range of leather upholstery options. There’s also no shortage of high-tech features, including a 12.3-inch fully digital gauge cluster and a large head-up display. Plenty of other features adorn the interior of the X6 M, including interior lighting, massaging front seats and a large Head-Up Display.

The 2020 BMW X6 M starts at 109,595 MSRP, while the X6 M Competition sells for $118,595.


8 Best Monthly Billed Web Hosting Plans 2020 (Month-to-Month)

It’s become something of a challenge to find true monthly billed web hosting plans that actually allow you to pay for your blog’s hosting services on a month-to-month basis.

Many of the leading blog hosting services (that bloggers tend to promote) offer only the option to pay your full plan duration up front… racking up a bill that’s often well over $100 and locking you in to a hosting plan for the next year or two. In this guide, we’re going to break down all of the best monthly hosting plans (and providers) on the market today.

8 Best Monthly Billed Web Hosting Plans (to Pay Month-to-Month) in 2020

  1. Dreamhost: $4.95/mo
  2. Namecheap: $2.88/mo
  3. HostGator: $6.02/mo
  4. A2 Hosting: $9.99/mo
  5. Cloudways: $10.00/mo
  6. Kinsta: $30.00/mo
  7. Flywheel: $25.00/mo
  8. WP Engine: $31.50/mo

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission. When you purchase web hosting using my one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me, which helps keep my content free of charge. Know that I also only recommend services I personally stand behind.

What is monthly web hosting?

Monthly web hosting is simply a web hosting plan that allows you to pay on a monthly basis (month-to-month) with no long-term commitment, meaning you’re able to cancel your plan at anytime without the risk of additional fees or penalties.

Do monthly hosting plans remove features or functionality?

No. At least not the best monthly hosting plans (like the ones we’re comparing in this list here today). When you choose a monthly hosting plan, you should only go with a provider that gives you the same functionality as their annual plans. The only potential downside of monthly hosting, is that it’s often slightly more expensive, than if you instead pre-pay for a longer-term plan with the same provider.

If you want to evaluate all of the best monthly billed web hosting services, then you’ve come to the right place. So, without further delay, let’s break down each of them in detail and compare which plan will work best for your needs.

Now let’s dive in and break down the top monthly hosting plans (that can actually change your hosting costs to be billed on a month-to-month basis, rather than all at once).

Dreamhost Monthly Billed Web Hosting Provider for Bloggers on WordPress

My pick for the best monthly hosting plan is Dreamhost’s Shared Starter Plan, from one of the most established, longest-running web hosting providers around.

I’ve actually hosted dozens of websites on Dreamhost over the years (and I still use their monthly billed web hosting plans for a few projects today).

All of the classic web hosting features like WordPress pre-installed, fast loading speeds, free SSL certificate and site security aside, one of the biggest reasons I often recommend Dreamhost to new bloggers, is the fact that they offer a true month-to-month payment plan that allows you to pay for your blog hosting each month with no long-term contracts or strings attached.

Features of Dreamhost’s Monthly Hosting Plans

Here’s everything you’ll get with Dreamhost’s monthly billed web hosting on their Shared Starter Plan:

  • 1 Website hosted (with WordPress pre-installed)
  • Discounted .com domain name (one time purchase at $9.99)
  • Unlimited traffic to your website
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Unlimited live chat and email support
  • Free SSD storage of your website files (for faster loading times)
  • 97-day money back guarantee
  • 100% uptime guarantee

If after a month, two or even three while blogging from your Dreamhost-powered website, if things aren’t working out, then you can cancel your hosting plan without being on the hook to fulfill a multi-month (or multi-year) agreement. Plus, their 97-day money back guarantee is by far the longest in the industry.

Combined with their breadth of features and quality of service, this makes Dreamhost the best monthly billed web hosting provider for experimenting with starting a blog on the side of your day job—when you’re unsure of how much time you’ll have to put into your side project. This flexibility is why I first chose Dreamhost to power my blog when I was just getting started, long before I learn how to grow a blog.

Before starting the checkout process on this page, just be sure to toggle the slider at the top over to the “Monthly Hosting Plans” option and you’ll see the prices update accordingly.

Dreamhost Plan Options for Monthly Billed Web Hosting Month-to-Month Payments

If you do choose instead to opt for an annually-billed plan with Dreamhost, you can cut your overall cost in half—making them one of the most affordable web hosting services overall.

Even still though, Dreamhost’s monthly hosting plans offer by far the most value for your spend… and help you to achieve the (arguably) most important goal of switching your hosting costs from a large upfront expense that locks you in a multi-year commitment, into a true monthly hosting plan that only charges $4.95/mo.

You can check out all of Dreamhost’s options right here for monthly hosting plans and see for yourself.

Namecheap Monthly Web Hosting Plans (Billed Month-to-Month)

Founded back in 2000 by still current CEO Richard Kirkendall, Namecheap was recently recognized as one of America’s fastest growing companies on the Inc 5,000 list—and with more than 10 Million domains under management, it’s easy to see that this veteran web hosting company knows what they’re doing—and some of their success can be attributed to the fact that they’ve been a low cost provider with monthly hosting plans that are designed to be easy on the wallet.

Namecheap has staked out a position in the web hosting industry as one of the absolute most affordable destinations to build a website on.

And just because their brand is affordability, doesn’t mean they skimp on the quality of their service. Namecheap offers a very high level of customer support—featuring 24/7 access to live chat with experienced web professionals, a ticketing system, value-packed knowledgebase and an active blog featuring some of the best web hosting advice on the Internet on a variety of topics ranging from how to become a domain investor all the way to advanced WordPress tutorials.

Features of Namecheap’s Monthly Hosting Plans

Here’s what comes with Namecheap’s monthly billed web hosting on their Stellar (lowest-priced) Plan:

  • Monthly hosting plan (with easy WordPress as the best website builder of choice)
  • 20GB of storage
  • Hosting of up to 3 websites
  • Unrestricted bandwidth
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Optional free .website domain name
  • Privacy protection
  • 30 day money-back guarantee

Don’t forget to toggle the payment option over to “monthly” during the checkout process, as the default view will be on yearly pricing. You’ll now be on their monthly billed hosting plan that charges on a month-to-month basis moving forward (with no minimum contract duration).

Namecheap Monthly Web Hosting Payment Plans Pricing Screenshot

Note that if you choose to go with registering a new .com domain name, your first month’s charge will include a (typically) $8.88 additional fee for your domain name’s first year of registration. After this elevated first bill, your pricing will drop back down to whichever rate you chose for your monthly plan.

A trend you’ll notice during the checkout process, is that the prices of Namecheap’s options for monthly hosting plans will all decrease in overall cost if you switch to a yearly (or multi-year) billing plan instead, so if you know you want to learn how to make a website and are confident that it’ll be around for a while—it’s worth the extra upfront cost to lock in a lower overall price.

If you want the absolute cheapest monthly hosting plan to go with today, then Namecheap is your provider.

Monthly Billed Web Hosting Plans from HostGator as a Best Hosting Provider

With a major focus on high quality technical support, HostGator’s positioning in the monthly billed web hosting market is designed around helping beginning bloggers (and small businesses) get their websites launched with as few technical headaches as possible.

Hence their impressive 24/7/365 phone, live chat and email support available to all customers running into tech hurdles (which is pretty generous for a company that offers monthly hosting plans).

Originally founded in a Florida dorm room back in 2002, HostGator has become a well-known brand in the affordable shared hosting space, having now helped several hundreds of thousands of bloggers, small businesses and enterprise companies get their sites off the ground and well-optimized. They’ve seen it all, and have a support team equipped to be extremely helpful as you drive traffic to your blog and continue to grow.

Features of HostGator’s Monthly Hosting Plans

Here’s what comes with HostGator’s monthly billed web hosting on their Hatchling (lowest-priced) Plan:

  • Month-to-month web hosting (with a 1-click WordPress install)
  • 24/7/365 phone, live chat and email support for technical questions
  • Free SSL certificate
  • $100 Google AdWords credit
  • 45 days money-back guarantee
  • Unlimited disk space and bandwidth (no file quantity or data transfer limits)

Before progressing through checkout on this page, don’t forget to select the “1 month @” option for billing and you’ll then be on their true monthly billed hosting plan that charges your card with month-to-month payments until you cancel.

Best Monthly Billed Web Hosting Plans HostGator 1 Month Selection

Further down the checkout page, be sure to evaluate each additional add-on for your order—as some will automatically be checked.

I personally recommend unchecking all of the add-ons, as you’ll soon be able to install free WordPress plugins that’ll help with each of the activities HostGator’s paid add-ons do.

As with Dreamhost and Namecheap, the price for HostGator’s plans also go down in overall cost as the duration of your plan lengthens, so keep that in mind if you can afford to opt for longer-term plans and know you’ll still be working on your blog in the near future. But since you’re here to secure a monthly hosting plan, know that you’ll be in good hands with the same high-quality technical support regardless of your plan duration.

A2 Hosting Monthly Billed Web Hosting Plan with Month-to-Month Payments

Of the lowest-cost monthly billed web hosting plans on the market today, A2 Hosting comes in at the highest price point for the same (sometimes less) features you’ll get on Dreamhost or HostGator. But, in the world of month-to-month WordPress hosting plans, they’re nevertheless a good option to choose from and they have their own selling points still worth evaluating.

Launched originally as a side project back in 2001 by a former systems administrator, Bryan Muthig, A2 Hosting has been independently owned and operated for approaching twenty years now—making them an early player in the history of blogging—and less prone to major surprise adjustments in pricing or plan features over time, which means their monthly hosting plans are likely to stay priced at the same rate for years to come.

Features of A2 Hosting’s Monthly Hosting Plans

With their lowest priced monthly billed web hosting plan (called Shared Hosting or Lite Web Hosting), here’s what you’ll get:

  • 1 Website hosted (with unlimited file storage)
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free website migration service
  • 24/7/365 email technical support
  • Perpetual site security and monitoring
  • Anytime money back guarantee (even on monthly hosting plans)

During the A2 Hosting checkout process for their Lite Web Hosting monthly billed hosting plan, things can get a little bit confusing so be sure to double check the details of your selections.

By default, their longest-term (3 year) plan will be the selected option for billing cycle, so be sure you take the time to carefully click on that not-so-obvious dropdown menu and select the “Monthly – $9.99/mo” option before moving forward, so that you move things over to their monthly hosting plan before completing checkout.

Monthly Billed Web Hosting Plan from A2Hosting Plan Selection

At this point, you’ll also be presented with additional paid options to add to your order like speeding up your site using what they call Turbo Boost, adding a paid SSL certificate and getting regular website backups (all of which you can get for free with WordPress plugins and elsewhere—or when going with a monthly hosting company like Dreamhost).

These add-ons can quickly hike your total cost today, so if you’re unsure whether you actually need them—I recommend unchecking them all for now. You can always come back and upgrade your monthly hosting plan later, if necessary.

Monthly Hosting Plans Cloudways Homepage

Cloudways is a web hosting platform that provides a complete managed hosting experience for bloggers that don’t want to get into the technicalities of doing something like managing a server. Their monthly hosting plans come backed by a platform that simplifies everything like launching servers and configuring web applications.

Most importantly to bloggers like you—Cloudways integrates directly with content management systems like WordPress, Magento, WooCommerce and more (which gives you a lot of options for starting your blog).

Cloudways providers have 50+ data centers across the globe, with all of them using cloud-computing—so their servers are scalable. That mans you can quickly scale your server size to handle spikes in website traffic, database queries, or in web application usage.

Features of Cloudways Monthly Hosting Plans

Some of the most prominent features of their monthly hosting plans include:

  • Simplicity (easy UI to manage the platform)
  • SSL installation
  • Staging environment (for testing)
  • Choice between the top cloud providers (starting at $10.00/mo)
  • 24/7 expert support via live chat and ticketing
  • Server and app cloning
  • Monthly hosting plan pricing structure
  • Free migration

One very unique feature of Cloudways, is that customers follow a pay-as-you go model, meaning you’ll only pay for the actual hosting resources your blog uses—with no hidden charges. Here’s what their pricing page looks like, highlighting the fact that they only offer monthly hosting plans:

Monthly Web Hosting Plans Cloudways Pricing Options

One last thing to mention about Cloudways is that they have a 24/7 support team that not only works to quickly solve problems, but also cares about customer concerns. Their customers report a high level of satisfaction with support, which gives any blogger the peace of mind to focus on going the important work—creating and promoting content.

Kinsta Homepage for Monthly Billed Web Hosting Plans

Kinsta is the web hosting service that powers this blog here today—and thanks to them, my site is lightning fast ⚡️

While Kinsta is indeed more premium-priced than our first three monthly billed web hosting plans above, I seriously couldn’t recommend their service more highly. Once you’ve gotten to the point where you’ve dialed in a writing approach, figured out driving traffic and you can afford to invest in the performance & quality of your web hosting, Kinsta should be your first stop. Plus, it helps immensely that they price themselves by default with an offering of monthly hosting plans.

All of Kinsta’s plans are what’s called managed WordPress hosting, which is a level of service where all technical aspects of things like site security, speed improvements, updates, backups and scalability are managed by the hosting company. It’s generally best suited for small to medium-sized businesses, medium to high traffic blogs and companies looking for extremely fast WordPress hosting—all without hiring their own technical teams.

Features of Kinsta’s Monthly Hosting Plans

Here’s what comes with Kinsta’s monthly billed web hosting plan (the Starter Plan @ $30.00/mo):

  • 1 WordPress install
  • Up to 20,000 website visits/mo
  • 5 GB of disk space (more than enough for almost any blog)
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Free managed CDN (content delivery network) for increased speed
  • 1 premium website migration
  • Staging and demo environments
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Automatic daily backups
  • 24/7 support (live chat and email)
  • Choose which of the 20 Google Cloud Data Centers where your website will be hosted

If this sounds like a lot more features than the others so far, that’s because it is! Kinsta has been intentionally bootstrapped and built solely for the benefit of their customers (not investor-funded) because of how dedicated they are to building a BS-free hosting company that works only for customers—another reason why I love them so much. They’ve also got one of the best blogs around in the hosting space, to keep you topped up with everything from speed tips, to performance advice and content ideas to run with.

Here’s a glimpse of their very straightforward, easy-to-navigate checkout page.

Kinsta Pricing Monthly Billed Startup Plan for Web Hosting

And if you decide to spring for the yearly payment plan upgrade, Kinsta offers one of the best deals on the market—giving you two full months of your web hosting for free.

Monthly Billed Web Hosting Plans from Flywheel to Choose From

Flywheel has done a phenomenal job of establishing their brand in the managed WordPress hosting space specifically for creatives, and their monthly hosting plans help that customer base very loyal.

As recent blogging statistics highlight, more people are blogging than ever before. Flywheel has geared themselves primarily toward freelancers, agencies and more recently moving into medium to high-traffic bloggers & marketing teams. You can think of them as more indie-focused monthly hosting plans that still come with a high level of service and customer support.

One unique feature about getting started with Flywheel, is that you can build your own demo site (free of charge) and take their web hosting platform for a 14-day spin without committing to any paid arrangement yet. This makes it a lot easier to test drive their monthly billed web hosting plans without the worry of getting locked into a hosting company you won’t be happy with.

As of June 24, 2019 however, Flywheel was acquired by the managed WordPress hosting giant, WP Engine (who’s monthly billed web hosting plans we’ll examine next). Backed with over $290 Million in funding, WP Engine is now on track for an upcoming IPO, which will undoubtedly lead to more fundamental changes at both brands. Something to consider as you make your decision on a month-to-month hosting plan that’ll be right for you.

Features of Flywheel’s Monthly Hosting Plans

Included in Flywheel’s Starter monthly hosting plan is:

  • 1 WordPress website install
  • 25,000 monthly visitor limit
  • 5 GB of disk space and storage
  • 50 GB of bandwidth
  • Fastly built-in CDN
  • Free SSL certificate
  • Staging environment
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Free website migration

During the checkout process, just be sure to toggle the button over to the “Monthly” side first and you’ll see the monthly billed hosting plan prices update accordingly, otherwise you’ll be on their annual pricing by default:

Flywheel Billed Monthly Web Hosting Plans for Bloggers

Expect to see a similar offer for upgrading your payment schedule to annual billing in exchange for 1 month of free service, so if you’re committed to Flywheel and can spring for the one-time payment, you’ll get a better overall deal than if you instead stick to one of their monthly hosting plans.

WP Engine Homepage Screenshot in Best Month-to-Month Hosting Roundup

Before I switched to hosting this blog on Kinsta a couple of years ago, I was a happy WP Engine customer for several years (steadily climbing up their monthly hosting plans).

Though as my blog continued to grow (now reaching 500,000+ monthly readers), that pushed me into a WP Engine pricing tier and feature combination that didn’t fully make the most sense for me to stay on WP Engine—compared to the very similar level of website speed, technical support and attention I get from Kinsta at a lower price point.

That being said, WP Engine has an impressive 120,000 customers for their managed WordPress hosting services, including massive companies like Jobvite, Under Armour, Thomson Reuters and many more.

Features of WP Engine’s Monthly Hosting Plans

Here’s what comes with WP Engine’s Startup monthly billed hosting plan:

  • 1 managed WordPress website hosting install
  • 25,000 visits/mo limit
  • Up to 10 GB/mo of file storage
  • 50 GB of bandwidth/mo
  • 24/7 live chat and email support
  • Access to a global CDN (for faster page loading)
  • Free SSL certificate
  • 35+ premium (including one of the best WordPress themes) available to install
  • 60 day money back guarantee on all monthly hosting plans

During the checkout process on this page, the “monthly” payment option should be checked by default after clicking the “Get Started” on the homepage:

WP Engine Screenshot of Selecting Monthly Hosting Plan Option for Starting Up

Like with all of our monthly billed hosting plans here today, WP Engine also offers a sizable discount if you consider switching to their annual pre-paid plan, giving you a whopping 3 months worth of hosting free during your first year.

Which monthly billed web hosting plan will you choose?

Still unsure of which tru monthly hosting plan will be best for your blogging needs?

My #1 recommendation is to choose Dreamhost for your monthly hosting.

Not only is their monthly cost the lowest true month-to-month payment plan option for hosting your blog today, they’re actually a great company too.

I’ve gotten the opportunity to personally meet several members of the Dreamhost team, and I can say with confidence they’re genuinely in the hosting business to help people like you get more out of your website (and online goals).

Their signup process is transparent, straightforward and free of confusing up-sells (unlike some of the other monthly billed web hosting companies).

For that reason, they’re my top pick—and they’re still where I host multiple websites today.

But they’re not the only monthly billed hosting company out there, so do your research and see which one best fits your own unique needs 🙂

And if you’re considering other hosting companies beyond just those with monthly plans, then check out my ultimate guide to the best web hosting plans for bloggers.


Monte Palace Tropical Gardens Free For 6 Days

As part of the celebrations of the Day of the Autonomous Region of Madeira 1st July, the Monte Palace Madeira garden which will be open, free of charge, to all visitors, until the 6th of July, inclusive. Taking into account the success of the previous year, in which the Garden reached, more than 5,000 visitors, we inform you that this year, as a result of the current situation, and because we want to satisfy even more Madeirans, it was decided to extend the free visit period so that they are done smoothly and respecting the distance rules.

With the primary objective of being a universal space, recovering the historical grace of the Palace
and romantic gardens, as well as the creation of international corners, such as the Jardins
of Oriental inspiration, the Monte Palace Madeira garden has its universality evident in its genesis,
a condition that would ultimately dictate its future. Today, this space is recognized by the world and considered
one of the main references of Madeira Island.

Located in a privileged position, on the outskirts of Funchal, it offers a multidisciplinary visit,
where the harmony of Nature meets art and culture. Rich in lush vegetation, this Garden boasts proteas from South Africa, azaleas from Belgium, heathers from Scotland, redwoods from America, Australian acacias, ancient olive trees from the Alqueva area, among many other species. Spotlight special for one of the largest collections of Cicas in the world, mainly from South Africa. Often described as “living fossils”, they are visited by countless technicians and scholars international, given its importance and preciousness. In the East part, it has a dedicated space to endemic Madeira flora, Laurissilva, a forest classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site Natural. In addition to the vast flora existing in the Garden, there is an exotic fauna, where the amazing Koi fish present in some of the ponds. The central lake invites visitors to enjoy several elements, namely, an admirable waterfall, fountains and sculptures.

The Gardens open on the 1st July and are free to all till July 6th.

291 780 800 – [email protected]


With flights cancelled, man sails the Atlantic to see 90-year old father

An Argentine man stuck in Porto Santo because of the virus travels for 85 days the only way he could: in a small boat.

BUENOS AIRES — Days after Argentina canceled all international passenger flights to shield the country from the new coronavirus, Juan Manuel Ballestero began his journey home the only way possible: He stepped aboard his small sailboat for what turned out to be an 85-day odyssey across the Atlantic.

The 47-year-old sailor could have stayed put on the tiny Portuguese island of Porto Santo, to ride out the era of lockdowns and social distancing in a scenic place largely spared by the virus. But the idea of spending what he thought could be “the end of the world” away from his family, especially his father who was soon to turn 90, was unbearable.

So he said he loaded his 29-foot sailboat with canned tuna, fruit and rice and set sail in mid-March.

“I didn’t want to stay like a coward on an island where there were no cases,” Mr. Ballestero said. “I wanted to do everything possible to return home. The most important thing for me was to be with my family.”

Read the full story and photos here.