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Ever since I became a blogger, I have found myself doing so much research in order to really figure out what I do and do not need to invest in. It’s so easy to get carried away and jump right in, wanting every course and every software and/or program out there, in the hopes that it’ll hasten and increase your success rate. However, I (quickly) came to find that while there are some things you need to invest in, there are other things you really don’t need to spend your money on.
So, with that being said, here is a list of 5 investments you are going to need to make if you want your blog to be a success —
investments you do need to make
a domain name
Yes, a domain name. Having a solid and professional domain name will not only make you look more professional, but it will also tell people just how serious you are about your blog and/or biz. That said you’ll want to be sure that your domain name is simple, in that it looks like this: www.yourdomainname.com and not www.yourdomainname.weebly.com or www.yourdomainname.wordpress.com. For example, my domain name is www.sincerelyshirley.com; it’s simple and straightforward and lets people know that I’m serious enough about my blog and brand to invest in a domain name.
To get your very own domain name, I suggest using GoDaddy (which is what I use). To purchase a .com domain name, it is only $11.99 a year, which is an awesome, awesome deal and is totally worth it! Click here to get your very own domain name for a very low price!
In order for your blog to go public and gain traffic and viewership, you have to invest in a hosting plan (click here to view the definition on my recent post of 117 blogging terms), which will allow you to then publish your blog/site to the public. Picking a hosting service can be a bit intimidating because it will affect your site’s speed and whatnot. However, if you do some research, then you’ll be able to choose the service that is right for you.
I chose Hostinger as my hosting service and could not be any more pleased. Not to mention the fact that the customer service is impeccable; it’s quick and they’re so nice and helpful. I pay a little over $70 annually, which is roughly $5.80/month. Not bad, right?
Themes are everything when it comes to your blog! Seriously. Think of your theme as a sort of badge, per se. Meaning that the second someone lands on your blog, they see your site/theme and have immediately judged it and framed an opinion of you. I cannot tell you the number of times people have reached out to me in awe of my blog’s theme, telling me how beautiful, gorgeous, professional, and classy it is. And every single time I am told that, I cannot stop smiling. Why? Because for them to tell me that my site looks pretty is reassurance that my hard work is paying off and that other people notice all of the hard work, long hours, and money I have put into making my blog what it is today!
So, long story short, make sure your theme is something you absolutely love and do not settle for less. And don’t think you have to go out and spend thousands of dollars on a theme. You can if you want to, but please know that you can find relatively inexpensive and super cute themes on sites like Etsy!
social media ads
When I first started blogging (I’m talking like days and weeks after I launched Sincerely Shirley), I scoffed and rolled my eyes at bloggers who paid money to showcase their blog all around Facebook. I would get so annoyed, wondering why on Earth someone would want to spend their money just to show up on Facebook feeds.
…and then I got more and more invested in my blog and knew that the goal was to monetize my blog to the point where it became my full-time job.
Looking back, to say I was jealous is probably a bit of an understatement. I was just getting started and seeing the constant ads was a reminder that I had little, if any, traffic and that they were doing better than me. But, I soon came to realize that my blogging journey and experience is unique to me. So, I took some time and saved up a couple of hundred dollars and invested in ads! I highly suggest and recommend that you do the same, because you never know who is in the mood to read your blog!
The term branding is broad, I know. So, to be more specific and less broad and confusing, know that branding is how others connect with and perceive your company (you, your blog and/or your biz). In other words, branding is what people identify you and your company with. To make sure you fully understand all of what branding entails, this little “formula” is useful, too:
your brand = the who + the what + the why
the who + the what + the why = your brand
So, how does this have to do with investing in your blog? Good question! While branding is more than just what meets the eye, per se, branding can and does also include the following:
logo | letterhead design | stationary | business cards | notecards | typography | color palette
That said, it is important that you invest in a good and authentic logo, quality business cards (Vistaprint is great!), and everything else that makes your brand, your brand. To do so, you can check out services on Fiverr, Etsy, and other sites that offer services and digital (logos and whatnot) products that can be customized to your liking!
Investments you do NOT need to make
When I first started blogging, I was convinced that I needed Photoshop in order to create quality graphics (logos, worksheets, workbooks, images, printables, etc.). But, upon further research, I found Canva and I am forever grateful that I did! Canva is absolutely amazing. It’s a Godsend, in all honesty. They offer a free plan, that allows you to do 98% of the things you can do in their paid plan, so it’s not like you’re really missing out if you choose to not spend money.
And while Photoshop is a viable option for bloggers and biz owners, I personally do not think you need to invest in it right away. Try out Canva and all it has to offer and if you end up feeling like you’re limited in what you can do and make (which I have yet to think), then consider “upgrading” to Photoshop. But, if you’re just starting off or working on a budget of any sort, then Canva is perfect, and I mean PERFECT, resource to use. I love Canva so much. It’s a lifesaver and has allowed me to make amazing graphics for my blog, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media accounts!
every (and I mean every, ladies…) blogging course out there
I get it, knowledge is power. It really is. And to be the best at whatever it is you want to be super good at, you have to know what you’re doing, as well as what others are doing/have done and where and how you can improve. That said, to monetize your blog, achieve Pinterest and Instagram “success,” and master SEO and all it entails, you need to arm yourself with as much information as possible. You can do that many, many ways and I will tell you how.
Disclaimer: spending money on courses is not bad. Spending an extreme amount of money on courses when the same information is readily available and freely accessible to you is not smart. Bad? Eh, not necessarily, I suppose. Smart? No, not at all.
So, instead of spending thousands of dollars on multiple courses, consider these options, too —
- Google | a simple google search will bring you to websites that are full (and I mean full) of valuable and useful information
- Youtube | ladies, Youtube is a Godsend for finding tips, tricks, advice, and detailed and informative guides about all things related to blogging, SEO, and social media. You may have to search around a bit (if you even have to do that), but I promise you that everything you can find in a paid course is accessible to you, for free, on youtube
- your local library | don’t laugh at me, please and hear me out — because of how technology is nowadays, people go to the library less and less and that’s a shame! Why? It’s a shame, because I have found dozens and dozens of books that have helped me understand and most importantly, succeed in blogging, especially SEO and affiliate marketing
- Quora | seriously, Quora is absolutely amazing! I talk about it way more in-depth in my recent post on every app that bloggers and #girlbosses need to have, so go check it out now and download it to start reaping its benefits and become more knowledgeable in the areas that you need a little more info and aid in!
policies + legal contracts
That said, to protect yourself, you need contracts. There are tons, and I mean tons, of legal websites that offer free contract templates that meet your specific needs. Copy and paste them into Google Doc’s, customize it to your liking and needs, and use them freely.
You honestly do not need to go out and spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars to have someone make legal contracts for you when you can make your own, like I have, in less than an hour.
Ah, Tailwind, Tailwind, Tailwind. If you’re a blogger, influencer, or entrepreneur, chances are you’ve heard of Tailwind.
To a new blogger or a blogger who seems to be doing everything right but nothing seems to be happening, Tailwind sounds like the magic answer and tool that will bridge the gap between you and your blog + the success/successes you want. And maybe that has been the case for you. However, please know this —
I drastically increased my monthly viewers on Pinterest manually. Yes, manually. I’m not saying it’s the easiest thing to do, seeing as Pinterest can be a bit complicated and somewhat intimidating. However, with enough research, patience, and persistence (persistence is the key –there, I said it), you will be successful at Pinterest in no time. Well, it will take some time, but if you make 5-6 pins for each post and pin them multiple, multiple, multiple times a day, you will see an increase in monthly viewers, followers, and traffic.
And honestly, when it comes to blogging, there are just some things you should do manually and not take the easy way out of. In fact, I have talked to quite a few bloggers who initially used Tailwind in the hopes that it would alleviate any stress and anxiety they had towards Pinterest, only for them to realize that it was actually hurting (yes, hurting…) their Pinterest game.
That said, I recommend doing some research and pinning manually.
And… there you have it, ladies! Those are 9 investments you either should or should not make as a blogger!
I hope you found this post useful and that it saves you from spending your money on something you don’t need to be spending your money on. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading and, as always, love to you all!