Blogging Tips 2 years ago
The 8 Best Investments You Can Make For Your Blog
After blogging for more than eight years, I have received hundreds of inquiries from new or prospective bloggers asking me, well…HOW! How to start a blog? Where to begin in building a brand? Can I review their site? And I love helping women navigate the world of blogging. Heck, that’s why I started my entire Blogging Tips section on my blog. But to be honest, it’s exhausting and I simply just can’t help everyone.
Nowadays, it seems everyone just wants success handed to them. Back in 2010 when I started Poor Little it GIrl, there was no resource (or not that I could find) on how to start a blog and grow a business. My best friends were Google and YouTube and I just figured it out. I had to. And maybe all the grunt work I put into it, especially in the beginning, is why I was so invested in my brand from day one. I worked hard to grow my site. Nothing was handed to me.
I find that today some bloggers, not all by any means, are focusing on the wrong ways to grow their influence. They’re spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on loop giveaways, secret giveaways, bots – you name it! All for the sake of looking bigger and better. Mind you, I’m the first person to say that when it comes to blogging, you have to spend money to make money.
But maybe, just maybe, the sole focus on your Instagram isn’t the best business strategy. There are so many more ways your money will go even farther. You’ll look more professional, legitimate and, hell, have actual influence on a website, not a social platform that you don’t even own.
With that, y’all know I’m cheap. Hello! I’m POOR Little It Girl after all. But money well spent can bring about a great business that’s thriving. That’s why today, I’m sharing my picks for the 8 best investments you can make for your blog. All of these I have spent my own income on (putting that profit back into the business y’all!) and can’t recommend enough. So here we go…
Here Are The 8 Best Investments You Can Make For Your Blog
Let’s start this off with the basics. You really need to set yourself up for success by purchasing your own domain. So what does that mean? Basically, instead of being poorlittleitgirl.wordpress.com, I’m obviously poorlittleitgirl.com. Doesn’t that just look so much more professional? My domain and all that jazz is done via WordPress.org
Also, make sure you take that pretty little website you just purchased the domain for and switch to self-hosting. What does that mean you ask? Well, if you’re using the free services from WordPress.com you don’t own it. By using Siteground to host my blog, I have complete control over it and the ability to do SO much more design wise. There are not nearly as many limitations as to when you aren’t self-hosted.
Probably the one thing I wish I had back in the day when I started Poor Little It Girl was a professional looking blog. Were there pre-made templates back then? Who knows…but I’m going to guess not. My first logo was a picture I took on the sidewalk outside of my New York City apartment of cheap sunglasses. Not cute.
Today, there are so many resources and easy guides for installing professional, beautiful blog templates. There really is no reason to have a generic site. You can start a blog tomorrow that is stunning and feel confident about launching a great brand. Even now, eight years into blogging, I’m about to redesign Poor Little It GIrl again. I think a design is also an important investment that never ends. My brand is always evolving, so are trends. Spend the money so your readers have a great experience.
I feel like I always joke with my blogging friends about how bad our first style posts were on our blogs. Jessica used to take photos in her office bathroom. My very first outfit post was taken with an old point and shoot camera. I mean, we all have to start somewhere and I love the hustle, you know that. Clearly, the biggest difference is that we both finally invested in professional photography.
Hiring a great photographer is worth every freaking penny. Sure, negotiating the price with your photographer is important, but at least hiring someone to help with “About Page” photos and a few stock shots can help elevate your brand in the beginning. I mean, look at the difference between this and this. Photographers are magic!
Obviously, as a co-founder of The Blog Societies, I can’t stress enough why cultivating community is important in blogging. A simple investment, ($35 for TBS), can provide you with a network of like-minded bloggers and influencers that you can learn and grow right alongside. Not to mention, a community like this can bring you to amazing conferences and workshops too. No matter if you’re a veteran or rookie blogger, investing in the community is investing in yourself.
While working with professional photographers is key, what if you can’t hire someone to take pictures of you all day every day? Investing in a great camera can help you get amazing photos without breaking the bank.
I own two blog cameras. My DSLR is the Canon EOS 6D with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens. But honestly, my favorite camera to use lately is the Canon PowerShot G7 X. It’s small, lightweight takes amazing video and much more affordable! There’s really no need to buy a DSLR when these mini cameras have all the bells and whistles you need for great photos. But your blog needs amazing photography, so get that camera!
Hiring an accountant to help with tax season is probably the best investment I’ve ever made for not only my blog but my sanity. I’ve used Amy Northard for years and he’s heaven-sent. Having an expert that understands the blogging world (like what a sponsored post is and things like that) makes a world of difference.
I still, however, keep track of my own profits and expenses throughout the year, so having a great online system to help with that is smart. Personally, I use Excel, but Quickbooks is another great program obviously. I think there are millions out there, but spend the money on them so you can stay organized.
Remember that Excel profits and loss sheet I just mentioned. Well, as you saw on my Insta-stories last week, I managed to delete that document along with ALL my Poor Little It GIrl files. ANd then subsequently deleted them from my trash. They’re long gone, despite the Genius bars best efforts.
The only saving grace is that 2 months beforehand I did a big backup to my external hard drive. Thank God! I was able to recover a lot of things I had thought I lost, but not the most up to date version. So please, don’t be like me. Back up your files to an external hard drive, spend the money on more Dropbox space and use the Cloud! It’s not worth the headache and crying of losing it all.
If you really want to grow your influence, then invest the time, and money, into your SEO. If you’re not sure what SEO is, it stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s how Google and such rank your content so people can find your posts searching. It’s not cheap, but if you’re serious about your investment, I can’t recommend it enough. In fact, if you’re a member of The Blog Societies we’ve recently started working with ClemSEO and offer a discount to our bloggers. So join today to get access to that deal!