So, you’ve just started a blog (that’s cool!) and people keep telling you that it takes a lot of time and energy to make it successful. You’re in it for the long haul, but you want to know if there are any blogging investments you can make that will help your blog grow faster.
Then you heard they talked about investment, like serious investment, in blogging. You think, “I’m not even earning any money from my blog yet. How can I afford to invest in it?”
Here’s the thing: you don’t need to have a lot of money to start investing in your blog. In fact, there are several blogging investments you can make that will pay off in the long run, even if you don’t have a lot of money to start with.
So, what are the first six blogging investments that will pay off in the long run?
1. A Good Domain Name
One of the most important investments you can make for your blog is a good domain name. A domain name is the address of your website on the internet. It’s what people will type in to find your site. A good domain name should be short, easy to remember, and relevant to your niche.
When choosing a domain name, my personal rule of thumb is to keep it short (somewhere between fifteen to twenty characters), easy to spell, and to the point.
For example, if I were starting a blog about personal finance, some good domain names could be savemoneyblog.com or moneymattersblog.com. Of course, the best domains out there may already have been taken or classified as premium domains, i.e. domains that come with a higher price tag. If you’re willing to spend a little bit of money on your domain name, I suggest checking out GoDaddy Auctions or Sedo. You can find some great deals on domains there.
Keep in mind that your domain name is an important part of your brand, so choose wisely.
If you’re just starting out, and you don’t want to spend any money on a domain name, you can always use a free platform like WordPress.com or Blogger.com. Just keep in mind that your domain name will be something like yourblog.wordpress.com or yourblog.blogspot.com, which doesn’t look as professional as a custom domain name.
2. A Self-Hosted WordPress Site
WordPress.com is a great platform for getting started with blogging. It’s free to use and easy to set up. However, if you’re serious about making money from your blog, then you need to have a self-hosted WordPress site. This means that you’ll be responsible for paying for your own hosting and domain name. But it’s worth it because you’ll have more control over your blog and be able to monetize it more effectively.
Web hosting is a service that allows you to store your website’s files on a server, making it accessible to people all over the world. When you’re just starting out, you can usually get away with a shared hosting plan, which is where your website shares a server with other websites.
Here comes the good stuff: Most of the most popular hosting providers offer discounts of up to 70% for the first year of service PLUS a free domain name associated (domain + hosting = website). For example, you can get web hosting from Bluehost for only $2.95/month when using this link and buying a 12-month plan. That’s less than $0.1 per day!
Having a self-hosted website also gives you a lot more control and flexibility than using a free platform like WordPress.com or Blogger.com. For example, you can install custom themes and plugins, and you have the freedom to monetize your website any way you want. Moreover, they come with a cheaper price tag and are worth the investment if you’re planning to turn your blog into a business.
3. A Premium Theme
If you want your blog to look professional and stand out from the millions of other blogs out there, then investing in a premium theme is a must. A premium theme is a pre-designed template that you can install on your WordPress site to give it a unique look and feel.
There are thousands of different themes available, so you’re sure to find one that suits your style. Just make sure to choose one that’s responsive (meaning it will look good on mobile devices), SEO-friendly (so your site will rank higher in search engines), and easy to use.
Theme Forest is a great place to start your search for the perfect theme. They have a huge selection of themes to choose from, and you can filter them by price, popularity, and rating.
While there are some free themes available, they’re usually not as good as premium themes. And if you want your blog to look professional, it’s worth investing in a premium theme. Not only does it look more aesthetic-pleasing and more polished, but it also comes with more features and customization options. Plus, most premium themes come with excellent customer support in case you run into any problems.
Plugins are like little apps for your WordPress site that add extra features and functionality. For example, there are plugins that can help you create an email list, add social media buttons to your posts, or back up your website automatically. While there are thousands of free plugins available, some of the best ones are premium plugins that come with a price tag. But they’re definitely worth the investment as they can save you a lot of time and hassle in the long run.
Depending on the type of blog you have, there are certain plugins that you’ll need to install. For example, if you’re running a food blog, then you might want to install a recipe plugin. Or if you’re starting an online store, then you’ll need an eCommerce plugin.
Here are some essential plugins that every WordPress site should have:
- Akismet: This plugin filters out spam comments so you don’t have to waste time moderating them.
- Yoast SEO: This plugin helps you optimize your blog posts for search engines so you can get more traffic.
- Contact Form 7: This plugin lets you create custom contact forms so people can easily get in touch with you.
- WooCommerce: This plugin turns your WordPress site into an online store.
- Jetpack: This one comes with a whole bunch of features, including social media integration, security, and performance enhancements.
In the long run, if you’re going to create some digital products and would like to have an affiliate program, a member login area, etc. you’ll need some plugins which are not free. But that’s a topic, or an investment, for another day.
While there are some free themes and plugins available, they usually don’t offer as much value as the premium versions. If you want your blog to be successful in the long run, it’s worth investing in quality themes and plugins that will help you achieve your goals
5. Email Marketing Software
Email marketing is a great way to build relationships with your readers and promote your blog content. But in order to do it effectively, you need to invest in some email marketing software. This will allow you to automate your email marketing so that you can focus on other aspects of your business.
The most popular names in the market are MailChimp and ConvertKit. They’re both great options, but they have different features so make sure to do your research before choosing one. They also offer different price points, so you’ll need to decide what fits your budget.
Whichever email marketing software you choose, make sure it integrates with your WordPress site so that you can easily add subscribers to your list.
If you’re more into the aesthetic side of… basically everything, Flodesk is a recent email marketing software that has some beautiful templates. You don’t need to be a designer to make them look good, but it definitely helps. Think about Canva, but in email form, and you’re kind of on the right track.
You’ll need to learn how to use it, how to craft good emails, and the basics of email marketing before you get too ahead of yourself. But like with everything else on this list, in the long run, it’ll be worth it.
6. A Professional Logo
A professional logo is an important investment for any business, and that includes bloggers. A well-designed logo will help you establish your brand and make your blog look more professional. If you’re not a designer, then there are plenty of places where you can get a logo designed for relatively cheap. If you’re more on the budget-conscious side, you can even find some free logo makers online. Of course, it will not be on the same level as a professional designer, but it can still help you get started.
Etsy is one of the most affordable places to get a logo designed. You can find some really great designers there who will work with you to create a logo that represents your brand. Another option is Fiverr, which is also a great place to find creative professionals for all kinds of design work, including logos.
But if you want your logo to be truly unique and represent your brand well, then it’s worth investing in a professional designer. This is an investment that will pay off in the long run as it will help you build a strong brand identity. A logo design package by a professional will usually come with a branding kit and color scheme, which will help you keep consistency in your branding.
When it comes to choosing a designer, make sure to look at their portfolio and see if their style is a good fit for your brand. Once you find a few designers that you like, send them your project brief and see what they come up with. Make sure to give them clear instructions on what you’re looking for and be open to their suggestions.
BONUS: Stock Photos
Stock photos are professional photos that you can purchase and use on your website or social media accounts. While you can find some free stock photos online (Unsplash and Pexels are the two most popular sites), the selection is limited and you’re likely to see the same photos everywhere. Plus, there are so many “horror stories” about people using free stock photos only to find out later that they’re actually copyrighted. So it’s just not worth the risk.
If you want your blog posts and social media images to stand out, then investing in high-quality stock photos is a must. The great thing about stock photos is that you can use them over and over again, which saves you time and money in the long run. You can purchase them individually or buy a subscription that gives you access to a library of photos.
Some of the most popular stock photo websites are Shutterstock, iStock, and Adobe Stock. Depending on your niche and your needs, you can usually find what you’re looking for on one of these sites.
However, if you would like something more feminine, styled, and creative, then I would recommend checking out those sites:
- Haute Stock: The Haute Stock is one of the most beautiful and high-quality stock photo libraries I’ve seen. They offer monthly and annual subscriptions that give you access to their ever-growing library of photos.
- Styled Stock Society: This site offers a library of light and airy stock photos with a feminine vibe. They also have lifetime subscriptions and offer discounts on their photos if you sign up for their newsletter.
- Social Squares: Social Square is a site that offers styled stock photos specifically for social media. They have a wide range of images, from quotes to product photos.
- Inspired Stock Shop: If you’re in the holistic/wellness/yoga niche, then this site is definitely worth checking out. They offer a wide range of high-quality stock photos, from yoga poses to nature scenes.
- Ivory Mix: The thing I like about Ivory Mix is that they offer a variety of styled stock photos, as well as graphics, templates, and mock-ups. They have a wide range of images, from quotes to product photos.
- Creative Market: If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all things creative, then Creative Market is the place for you. They offer a wide range of products, from fonts to graphics to stock photos.
Ten years ago, when people talked about blogging, it was often in relation to personal journals and a way to document one’s life. Today, blogging has become a profession in its own right, with people making a living from their writing.
If you’re serious about making money from your blog, then you need to treat it like a business. That means investing time and money into it. While there are a lot of free resources out there, there are also some investments that are worth making. By investing in yourself and your blog, you’re setting yourself up for success in the long run.