Making any kind of investment can be a huge step and even a risky one, but when it comes to furthering your future in an area, investments are steps that you have to be willing to take.
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It's the same thing with blogging. If you're wanting to take that huge leap from hobby blogging to professional blogging, you have to be willing to invest! There are some must-haves investments that you 100% have to put forward, and then there's the laundry list of helpful tools that you might want to use.
Over my three years of professional blogging, some of the investments that I initially made have confirmed themselves over and over, like going self-hosted, for example. On top of the investments that I had put in since the start, I have learned of and have implemented many more investments that have helped me get where I am today.Looking to step up your blogging game? Here are 7 investments worth making for your blog! Click To Tweet
7 INVESTMENTS WORTH MAKING FOR YOUR BLOG:
1. A CUSTOM DOMAIN - $15/per year (approx.) //
Purchasing a custom domain was one of the first investments that I ever made for my blog, and I am so glad that I did. If you're someone who wants to invest into your blog, but you don't want to invest too much, this is the first investment you should making. Having your own custom domain looks incredibly more professional than having just a .wordpress.com or a .blogspot.com address. I'm not saying that those who have those aren't professional, they totally can be! But if you're wanting to completely develop a professional brand, you must get your own custom domain. There are also tons of perks to purchasing your own domain name! There are SEO (search engine optimization) benefits, which are helpful in collaborating with brands and getting your content viewed more. Then there are other practical benefits like setting up a custom email address. By purchasing your own custom domain, you're essentially setting your blog's brand up for success right from the start! I purchased my custom domain through GoDaddy!
2. A SELF-HOSTED BLOG - $179 - $230/per year (approx.) //
When you're using a free service to host your blog, like WordPress.com or Blogger.com, you're held to many limitations. There are limitations on how much you can customize the look of your site all the way to the overall functionality of your site. When you're use a free service, you don't own anything. If WordPress.com, Blogger.com, or any other free service decided to shut down one day, guess what...your blog would be no more. This is the greatest reason why I encourage others to go self-hosted. When you're self-hosted, you own your site and have full and total control over it. If you're wanting to be a professional blogger, you've got to go self-hosted. You don't want to be held to any limitations. I self-host my blog through GoDaddy and use WordPress.org as my content managing system. I pay $230 a year for my hosting, but in that price also includes add-ons that help to make my site really fast, even when there's tons of traffic being brought to it. Without a doubt, going self-hosted has been the best investment I have made for my blog yet.
If you choose to go self-hosted, I also encourage you to purchase Sitelock. Sitelock recognizes when there's malware on the server and it eliminates it before there are any major problems.
3. A UNIQUE, CLEAN DESIGN - $30 - $60 //
Depending on what your blog's niche or focus is, your site's design can reflect different character. Even though this is true, it's important to make sure that your blog's design is clean, clear, and easy to navigate. There are many ways to go about finding a design that suits you. One of the most common (and affordable) ways is to find a pre-made theme on Etsy or Creative Market. Ever since starting this blog, I have always used a pre-made theme that I have purchased from Etsy. Sites like Etsy and Creative Market have beautiful themes made by designers at great prices. Most pre-made themes are highly customizable (some simple coding knowledge is usually required) and if they're not, most designers offer add-ons at an additional price. If you're not one wired to figure out coding, then you might want to look into hiring a designer to create something just for you. This is usually way more pricey than purchasing a pre-made theme. If you're just starting a blog, I suggest going pre-made, and then when you're ready to take the next big step to developing your brand, go with a hiring a designer.
Related Reading: 10 Things Your Blog Must Have
4. COHESIVE BRANDING //
Having clear, cohesive branding is what helps your blog stand out from the crowd. Just like your blog's design, branding will help others easily identify with your brand. Branding includes your logo, colors, graphics, social media, and really, anything else that others might see that is connected to your blog. You want to be easily identifiable to your readers! The cost of branding can vary depending on your skills, budget, and focus of your blog. For example, I haven't had to work with a designer for my branding at all (yet), as I have decent knowledge about simple design and branding. All of my graphics I design in Canva! Eventually, I'll be working with a designer to bring my branding to the next level, as my blog advances. If you're not someone with a knack for design, do some research for what you're needing assistance in for your branding. There are tons of designers out there who have multiple brand design packages available.
Related Reading: How To Create Branded Pinterest Board Images
5. A SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULER - $0 - $30/per month //
Investing into having a social media scheduler is a huge time saver for you. Instead of posting all of your social media promotions and shares on your own time all of the time, you're able to schedule promos out in advance. Scheduling social media helps you to keep most of your social media accounts active, which increases engagement for you. I'm not telling you to schedule all of your promotions (you still have to keep social media social), I'm just encouraging you to maximize your social media accounts' potential. There are social media schedulers that are free, like Buffer. Then there are social media schedulers that cost per month or per year (you choose). My favorite social media scheduler that I use for Twitter, Tumblr, and my Facebook page (on occasion) is CoSchedule. CoSchedule is the must-have scheduler if you're on self-hosted WordPress(.org), because it integrates with CoSchedule. This means that you can schedule your blog posts' social shares right from your dashboard. For scheduling Pinterest pins, I highly recommend using Tailwind!
6. STOCK PHOTOS AND/OR PHOTOGRAPHY TOOLS - $10 - $XXXX as needed //
If you're wanting to make useful investments into your blog, photography has to be one of those investments. Don't worry, I'm not saying to go out and buy a super expensive DSLR camera. Instead, I want you to consider what is best for you in stepping up your blog's photography game. If you're not wanting to make a huge, risky investment in your blog's photography, I highly suggest looking into purchasing stock photos. Sure, there are sites where you can get stock photos for free...but using the same old stock photos that everyone else does isn't the best way to make your graphics and blog stand out among the rest. I'm just being real! Check out sites like Shutterstock, Creative Market, and Etsy for great deals on stock photos. Most designers have photo bundles, which gets you more for your money. If you're a creative who dabbles in photography and want to grow in it, I suggest saving up and purchasing a nice DSLR, basic lighting kit, and props. Now, a nice DSLR does not always equal crazy expensive, haha. Remember that research is key. Buy according to your needs.
7. EDUCATION RESOURCES - $10 - $XXX //
As you grow as a blogger, it's important to invest into your education as a blogger. Education tools can include things that are really affordable, like books and e-books. Blogging education at it's max can be e-courses focused on certain topics or growth strategies. There are tons of resources out there that are jam-packed full of actionable information to help yourself grow as a blogger. Blog friends, please be careful and do your research when deciding to purchase an e-course from a blogger. I have had terrible experiences with purchasing e-courses from a blogger only to have all of the information in her course be completely common sense or accessible outside of her course. Not cool. Don't make my mistake - do your research and ask around before you buy! Don't worry not all bloggers who offer e-courses are like that - I promise! Erica of Coming Up Roses has an awesome course that's been extremely helpful to me with where I'm at in my blogging career. It's one of my main blogging goals to get to launching e-courses myself one day.
Books For Bloggers & Creatives:
- How To Style Your Brand: Creating A Distinctive Brand Identity
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
- 365 Lifestyle Blog Topic Ideas: For The Lifestyle Blogger Who Has Nothing To Write About
- You Are A Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness & Start Living An Awesome Life
- Picture Perfect Social Media: Styling Perfect Photos For Blogging & Posting
Where are you at in your blogging journey? Have you made the jump to investing in your blog yet? What ways have you invested? What are some ways you hope to invest soon? What are the toughest things for you to invest in when it comes to your blog? Let's chat, bloggers!