If your blog is your personal journal then this might not apply to you. If the only people you ever want to visit your blog are your family and friends this probably doesn’t fit you. But what if you want to actually make your blog into something a little bigger than an electronic diary? If that’s the case, I’m talking to you. Here are five things you should consider spending a little money on as an investment in your blog.
Start by buying your domain. It’s going to be easier to find you if you don’t have blogspot or wordpress in your URL. I blogged for about six months with a blogspot in my domain name and when I finally got around to buying asthebunnyhops.com I felt silly for not doing it sooner. It’s only $10 a year. And I promise-it’s $10 very well spent! If you want to work on sponsored content having your own domain name is an important part of putting forth a professional image.
Unless you’re pretty savvy with coding and don’t mind poking around in your html, at some point you’re going to want to do something that you just can’t do. That’s where your designer comes in. You might be thinking that a designer is expensive. And it totally can be. But you can also start with preset designs and very basic packages. I’ve seen custom headers offered for as little as $5 and WordPress themes for as little as $20. It’s a tiny investment that will help you in establishing your online identity. (And as you start making real money on your blog you can always invest in an upgraded design that fits you perfectly!)
If you’re making money on your blog you want to think about moving to a self hosted site. (If you’re not already on one.) If you’re currently using Blogger remember that means Google is actually the owner of your blog (not your content, but where your content lives) and can shut it down at any time. If you’re on a blog hosted by WordPress.com it’s against the terms of service to have sponsored content or host your own ads. Using WordPress.org allows you total control over your blog and you own it all. There’s just one catch…you will have to pay for hosting. There are tons of hosting options available for as little as a few dollars a month.
A Conference Pass
Two things happen the more you blog. You’ll discover how much more you want to learn and you’ll discover how much you enjoy talking with other bloggers. Where can you combine both of those things? At a blogging conference! I love attending blogging conferences so much I’ve gone to three just this year. Conferences are not cheap. You can spend a little and go to something local or spend a lot and go to something national or international. If you can’t look at your Twitter stream while a specific conference is going on because all of your friends are there? That’s a sure sign you should be there, too. So make it happen next year!
Finally, where some serious money comes in…a camera. (Yes, you can absolutely spend more on a camera than a conference. A lot more.) Think about your favorite blogs and what you really enjoy about them when you visit. Are you drawn in by their photos? Do you spend a lot of time on Pinterest? Do you want people to pin your blog posts? Then you’ll need to have pin-worthy images. That means eventually investing in a nice camera. You don’t necessarily have to go DSLR (although I recommend it), but you should do your research and save until you have enough to buy the camera that best meets your personal needs.
Was there anything I missed? Let me know in the comments!