Those who are long time readers have likely noticed some recent changes to the site. Anyway in light of those improvements I have decided to write a post on the operations and finances of the blog. After more than two years I figure we can do at least one state of the blog post.
Beer Money Hobby
I have alluded to the financial performance of this site in past posts as largely revenue neutral with beer money profits. That is a fairly accurate description. If you think you would like to start a side hustle of blogging and easy peasy you’ll replace your day job, well consider this post cold water.
The Operational Cost of Full Time Finance
So let’s look at the cost side first. This site has a number of running costs. The first is hosting. Full Time Finance runs on BlueHost. You can find an affiliate link here if you so desire to utilize them for your hosting needs. I cannot complain about my experience with them over the last 2 years. However keep in mind I know my way enough around computers that I do not require support. Also my site is heavily cached and small in size. As such they fit my needs. There may be other companies that more fit your needs out there should you ever decide to blog. I neither recommend or endorse any particular hosting company.
Operations Cost: Hosting
Anyway I digress, the cost of Full Time Finance web hosting is $178 for 3 years. This is the second level of shared hosting with Bluehost. I actually host a few sites via this account. The second level of hosting from Bluehost allows unlimited sub domains, essentially a way to host other sites from the same account as needed. It also allows unlimited email storage, which is useful for some of my other activities. Frankly, if it were just for Full Time Finance this level of hosting would be a waste of money. Always start with the base level of shared hosting for a new site. Any features you can likely obtain for free. I also recommend you buy a plan that spans multiple years, as new users get quite the discount over existing users for most of these hosting services. Anyway, my usage of hosting for multiple sites technically means some of these costs of hosting are defrayed against other properties. I’d estimate this site takes the lion share, so approximately $100 worth. A note, those other sites are not blogs.
Operations Costs: Mailing List
Add to hosting charges the cost of a PO Box. If you want to have an email list and send your readers emails, you must legally provide an address on those emails. That means either your house or a PO Box. A PO Box is a good way to at least maintain some semblance of anonymity, even if it is a thin veil. Cost of a PO Box a my local post office, $33 for 6 months or $66 dollars a year. Email lists have a reputation of bringing in the most loyal readers and are generally considered a must have.
Operations Costs: Website Design
All Themes and plugins on this site are free. There is also some custom code I created on the site so you will find it does not exactly match any other offering. Anyway, I’ve found most anything you want to do is available free or easily done in WordPress. Caching, Social Sharing buttons, Firewalls, and backups are all the minimum viable for a working site in my opinion. I have all of these, but I have the free versions.
The most obvious new change to the site is our new logo. Honestly this was a gift from my very talented brother and sister in-law. I believe they did an excellent job! After seeing it for the first time I felt like it was the logo all along. Anyway another free improvement though one long overdue.
I also recently modified the site to utilize HTTPS. It is believe that by using a security certificate google will rank you higher for searches. I can not verify that personally as I did not see much of a change in the short time since implementation. Still this was another free modification as most hosting companies like Blue Host throw in a free security certificate per domain.
Operations Costs: Domain Registration
Speaking of domains, there is also the cost of domain renewal each year. This is $15 each year for Full Time Finance. Add another $11 to keep the site Private. IE. if you do a who is on Full Time Finance it won’t tell you my name and address. Money well spent, but another $26 a year.
Operations Costs: Business License
Finally in the state of Delaware all businesses must have a business license. Full Time Finance lives under a sole proprietorship license that belongs to a small collection of side hustles we operate. Total cost of that license is $75 a year. If I allocate based on revenue Full Time Finance receives about $10 of this cost.
A note on business types. A Sole Proprietorship makes the most sense for a blog business if you are doing the writing. You are still liable for what you write regardless of the business type. If you are concerned about liability, obtain business liability insurance. We have business liability insurance across all our business activities. However I have not allocated that cost to Full Time Finance. Technically my umbrella insurance makes allowances for low revenue side hustles. As such if it were not for other activities this site would not require such insurance. Be sure to check your policy as all companies are different. A true Business is typically not covered by personal umbrella policies.
Total Costs of Full Time Finance
Add all of these costs together and on an average year Full Time Finance costs $135 to operate. Not bad for a hobby. If we were going for maximum profitability though I would certainly invest more into the site for advertising, mentorships and other promotional activities. Not to mention there does become a point where you have enough traffic you need to upgrade to much more expensive hosting. The site is not there yet.
Revenue Sources: Ads
What about the revenue side? Well there are 2 sources of revenue for this site. The first is the ads you see on the right hand side and bottom of the screen. Honestly I could get a bit more aggressive with these ads, but I actually prefer to not assault my readers with hundreds of advertisements. I have to pay the bills of course, but the ads are not the primary attraction.
Revenue Sources: Affiliate Links
The second source of revenue are a handful of affiliate links that have been posted and used from time to time throughout the site. Those links, like the one from Bluehost above, are few and far between. Again this comes down to personal preference. The only reason I ever use affiliate links is if it is appropriate to what I was writing about in the first place. For example if I’m writing a post about behind the scenes on the blog, well then I can justify a link to my current hosting company. Anything more just feels scammy to me.
Anyway, due to certain agreements I can’t break down the revenue between affiliates and ads fully for you. However I will tell you between all sources the revenue for Full Time Finance is around $170 a year. So my $35 dollars (170-135) a year in profit can buy 3 six packs of high end craft beer. I am not quiting my day job any time soon after 2 years of blogging.
Another Trip into the Red
I am however about to plunge the site into the red for the coming year. I have actually bought tickets to Fincon for 2019. Given I live about 2 hours from Washington DC I just couldn’t say no. The cost of Fincon for an early ticket? Approximately $213. That means to keep my plan to stay revenue neutral in 2019 I must essentially double revenue while holding costs otherwise constant. Will I make it? We shall see. It is certainly a stretch goal, especially when I am unwilling to be more aggressive with ads or affiliate links. Time will tell.
Any other questions about how Full Time Finance is run?
This Post Contains an Affiliate Link. Should you choose to use it I will receive funds through no cost to you.