When I started my blog a few years ago, I didn’t know what to invest in. It was part of my business, but I didn’t expect it to bring profit right away so I tried to keep it as affordable as possible. As my blog and business grew, I knew it was time to invest a little more in this blog.
If you are serious about blogging and want to turn it into a full-time business, you need to start thinking about how to invest in your blog. Spending money on your blog doesn’t mean you have to buy all the things your favorite bloggers can’t live without. You’ll eventually get there, but first, you have to make investments that will help you grow your audience and create better content.
Wants vs. needs
Bloggers often talk about the tools they use to grow their blog and business. Even I have a list of my favorite resources. When we hear about a great app and how much it helps bloggers, we immediately want to buy it. We often buy things that we don’t need and it can happen with software too.
When you feel the need to buy something for your blog or business but your budget is low, you should stop and ask yourself if it will help you. Is it useful? Are there cheaper or free alternatives?
There are many things that make you look and feel like a professional and if it makes you work more, then it’s a good investment. But if you only feel guilty about spending the money and there are other ways to do the same thing, you might want to wait until you have a bigger budget.
Here are 7 smart ways to invest in your blog:
Domain name + email address
This was the first investment I made in this blog. Having your own domain name and an email address that doesn’t end in gmail.com will give your website a professional feel. Adding an email address to that domain is also inexpressive and it will make people trust your business. Besides looking good, you will also prevent people from stealing your name.
You can get a domain name even if you use a free blog platform like blogger.com or wordpress.com.
Being self-hosted is not a must if you are new to the blogging world and are only trying to find your niche and blogging voice. Many of us have started on a free platform and you can move whenever you want.
Of course, there are many advantages to being self-hosted. The biggest one is that you own your content and can do whatever you want with your blog.
When it comes to choosing your host, there are many things you have to consider your budget or the number of page views you have. You can find a good hosting company even on a small budget.
Premium theme or custom design
We judge a book by its cover and a blog by its design. The DIY route could work if you have some coding skills and want to learn more about design, but it can also turn into your worst blogging nightmare.
If you are on a low budget, the best way to have a good looking site is to purchase a premium theme. I love Genesis themes and most of them look great and are easy to customize with your own logo and colors.
When you are ready to move to something that’s made just for you, then working with a designer is a great idea. A lot of people don’t want to work with a designer because they fear that their blog will not represent them, but that’s not true. A good designer will help you bring your vision to life and make something that will stand out from the rest.
Photography equipment or stock photos
Just like a beautiful design, images can make or break a site. I’ve seen a lot of bad images ruin a wonderful blog and you don’t want to be known for that.
You don’t have to buy the most expensive camera, although you won’t regret purchasing a DSLR. You can do wonders with an iPhone, good lighting, and cute photo props.
If you don’t have time to take your own photos, you can use stock photos or you can even hire a photographer to create unique photos for your brand. If you decide to use stock photos, you can edit them to fit your brand.
You probably already know that I’m a huge Adobe fan. Photoshop and Illustrator are a big part of my business and I recommend them to anyone. The Photography plan is only $9.99/month and it includes Photoshop and Lightroom.
I use Photoshop to make my blog images, edit photos, and even to create patterns and simple logos for my premade themes. It might not be as easy to use as a free image editing software, but it’s much more versatile. And I have to admit that I always get a little bit mad when I hear people saying how much they love all sorts of apps that they don’t need, but don’t want to spend their money on something that can take their blog to the next level.
I’m a bit of a geek and always love to learn new skills. I also love to learn on my own and rarely take courses, but there are some that are worth every penny.
Investing in an e-course doesn’t have to be on the top of you blog investments list. Like I said, I think they are great, but not having the money to purchase an e-course on blogging should not stop you from starting a blog.
Before you spend your entire budget on a course that might not help you, try to find the information online. There are a lot of great free resources, you only need time to find them.
If you decided to invest in an e-course, make sure that it will teach you a new skill. A lot of the courses about making money online or growing your blog might not give you the results you are hoping for. On the other hand, learning how to code or to how to take better photos will prove useful.
Premium apps and plugins
Growing your blog and business can be overwhelming. It takes a lot of time to create valuable content and then you have to promote it on social media. There are many apps and plugins that can make promoting your content easier. There are also many tools that help business owners keep projects organized, send contracts, invoices, and files. While many of them are not costly, your blog and business expenses might be too high if you use too many apps.
Just like when it comes to e-courses, you don’t need everything your favorite blogger uses. As you make more money from your blog, you can invest more. Until then, you can find free or cheaper alternatives.
Some of my favorite tools are:
- MailChimp: you can use MailChimp for free if you have fewer than 2000 subscribers. If you upgrade to premium ($10/month) you can automate emails so you can create an email series. That’s a pretty cool feature.
- Typeform: I’ve recently started using it for design clients and blog surveys. I love the look of their forms and the fact that you can customize it. The free version lets you have unlimited forms, but if you want to remove the Typeform branding, send automatic emails and files to your respondents and even receive payments you will have to upgrade to the pro version ($30/month).
- Buffer: is great for scheduling tweets. I usually use the free version that lets you have 10 tweets and Facebook posts in your queue. For only $10/month you can add up to 100 posts and even schedule pins.
Investing in your blog will help you take it to the next level. The most important thing you have to remember is that you don’t need to buy everything at once. Even the smallest investment can make a big difference.
What investments have you made? Which is the most important to you?