You’ve got to spend money to make money… have you ever heard that one before?
If you’re serious about blogging, whether for your business or for your personal brand, you’ll need to invest some money into your website, social media efforts, and everything else that comes with running a successful business and website.
If you’re not sure exactly what you should be investing in, this list will lay it out for you.
1. Self-hosted WordPress and your own URL
There’s nothing that screams “don’t take me seriously!” as much as not using a self-hosted content management system (like WordPress) and still having a .blogspot in your URL. Invest in self-hosted WordPress to host your site and also buy your own domain name that matches your site.
You can save money by buying your domain name and hosting together. I’ve purchased all of my sites from GoDaddy and have been using them for years. The customer service is incredible, which is helpful for non-techies like me.
2. A high-quality, clean theme
Websites are the new storefronts— they are the first thing that readers and potential customers will see that represents you. Therefore, investing in your site’s theme is well worth the money.
You don’t need to shell out tons of cash to get a customised website (although you shouldn’t rule this out— if you have a very specific look in mind, then it’s worth paying someone to create that for you). You can find some lovely themes on ThemeForest (which is where I’ve gotten most of my themes from) and on other similar sites.
The key things you want to look for before purchasing a theme are how it looks on mobile (make sure you test it yourself), its options for customisation (colours, fonts, etc.), how clean and simple it is (simple is always better) and also check the reviews to see if there are any common problems with the theme once it’s implemented.
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my blogging career is to not have started offering content upgrades on my posts sooner on.
If you’re not sure what a content upgrade is, it’s an extra freebie that you give to readers in exchange for their email address. These could be PDFs, lists, worksheets, and lots of other things.
Offering content upgrades is an incredibly great way to grow your email list with qualified subscribers that are really interested in what you have to say — and eventually, to sell.
Giving out these freebies can be tricky unless you have Leadpages. I started using it back in November and it’s made offering content upgrades across my three sites so much easier. It’s not a terribly cheap system to have but it’s saved me so much time and is super easy to use.
This is a new one for me! I’ve been using Mailchimp for ages but was ready to upgrade to something more powerful, and because of my subscriber list I was going to have to start paying for Mailchimp anyways.
ConvertKit is an email system that is specifically for bloggers, created by a blogger himself. It’s a tad more complicated that Mailchimp, however the things you can do with it are pretty flipping cool, like set up email sequences (great for selling email training courses!), send an email only to the people who subscribed via a certain form, and more. The final trigger that got me to switch was the first webinar that I hosted a couple of weeks ago— I needed to be able to track who signed up and to send only those people emails when it was time to access it.
Starting a $29/£20-ish per month for up to 1,000 subscribers, it’s a pretty good deal considering how much you can do with ConvertKit.
Bloggers and business owners wear a ton of hats, and none of us are experts in all of them. Training yourself up in the form of online courses, one-to-one consultations, and conference attendance is key, and will help you to always be learning the newest and latest that will benefit your site in the long run.
6. Social media advertising
Having some budget to spend on social media advertising means that you’ll get in front of more eyes more quickly. Using it to find more fans for your Facebook page, increase traffic to your site through Pinterest or build up your email list via Twitter is worth it if you know how to do it correctly.
Social media advertising is an area that I’d consider getting some training in, because it’s quite hard to use things like Facebook Power Editor correctly unless you’ve been taught how to do it.
By the way, if you’re curious about Facebook advertising, my girl Lauren Croft has a super-interesting post about things you probably didn’t know you could do with Facebook’s Ad Manager.
7. A designer
If you’re just RUBBISH at all things design, then consider hiring a freelance designer to help you with things like post graphics, social media graphics, and Pinterest custom images. It’s not only one less thing for you to do, it means that you’ll consistently have beautiful visual content that matches your brand and makes you stand out, without having the headache of trying to figure out how to do it yourself.
Some people just don’t have the “eye” for what looks good design-wise, and that’s ok! That’s what designers are for.
Getting serious about blogging? Get access to my Blogger + Biz Resource Library, chock-full of free worksheets and checklists, blogger resources, the tools I use and recommend, and more. Click below to get access!
*Some of these links are affiliate links, so I might make a small commission if you purchase anything. This doesn’t affect the price you pay!