BLOG INVESTMENTS THAT ARE WORTH THE HYPE
Welcome back to my blog! So, I did a poll over on BossGirlBloggers and the results are in, you all wanted to hear about what blog investments I find to be WORTH the cost… Just like any business that is “starting up”, it is important to invest money into it, to help that business to GROW, & SUCCEED. Consider it a foundation! You NEED your foundation to help support you. Many think that you can make a successful blog & earn money from it WITHOUT investing your own money into it first, BUT in reality, that doesn’t always work out the way you want it too. PLUS – it slows your journey down. I can assure you that after I made a few investments, my blog took a turn for it’s BEST.
A little background on my journey – I started my blog in April of 2017 so now it’s about 10 months later and I am making about $4,000 to $6,000 a month thanks to my blog! I first started seeing money through my blog about 4 months in but the money was little, probably about $200 – $400. After 6 months in, I started making about $1,500 + a month! SO YES it is possible to make money, BUT I didn’t see such a huge increase in income blogging until I made some investments and changes. SO without further or due, here is some investments that I made, that have been WORTH it in the long run.
Disclaimer: *Affiliate links are used which means if you purchase via my link I receive commission BUT, I can assure you that I only recommend products/services that I have used and absolutely LOVE. Affiliate marketing allows me to continue to do what I love, which is provide you with as much helpful knowledge as I can, (full time) Thank you for supporting!
If you have been following my blog for a while then you should have expected this as my number one FAVORITE blog investment. Many are probably rolling their eyes because I talk about self hosting so much. The reason why I always talk about it is because it makes a hell of a difference!!!
What’s self hosting? Essentially it’s when you are using a server to “host” your blog & store your files for you. This is the short explanation.
When I first started my blog I was on wordpress .com which is a “hosted” platform NOT “self-hosted” platform. Other platforms similar to this are (Wix, Squarespace, Blogger) These are all “hosted” platforms which means that you are LIMITED and RESTRICTED. You also don’t own your content, these “hosted” sites technically have ownership over your content too.
- If you are self hosted you have COMPLETE ownership over your blog.
- Some “hosted” sites also don’t allow you to monetize anyway you want, you are RESTRICTED. Where as if you are self hosted you can monetize HOWEVER you want.
- Not to mention if you are on a free “hosted” platform you might not have your own domain … SO your url might be (yourblogname .wordpres .com) as opposed to (yourblogname .com) , this can look unprofessional and it’s actually proven that people are more likely to click on domain names that are owned than those that still have the wordpress .com or wixsite .com at the end of it.
- “hosted” sites also limit your design flexibility, you become unable to design it the way you want. Let’s say you want to create a shop for your blog? WELL if you are “self hosted” you can EASILY create a shop, where as if you are using a “hosted” platform it can become much more difficult.
Once I invested in a self host I actually noticed an increase in my traffic! A cool advantage of being self hosted is that you have access to “plug ins” … PRAISE THE LORD I LOVE PLUG INS. SERIOUSLY THOUGH – GAME CHANGER. There are hundreds and thousands of plug ins to choose from that help to UP your blog game. MOST importantly, plug ins that help increase your SEO (Search Engine Optimization – so that you can rank HIGHER on google!)
SO – of course self hosting isn’t free BUT it is PRETTY DAMN affordable. The self host that I use and absolutely LOVE is Site Ground
Reasons Why I Love Site Ground
- Starts at only $3.95
- They do site transfers for you (so if you are using a “hosted” site and want to move to self hosting, just reach out to their LIVE CHAT and let them know. They will transfer it for you at no additional cost!) INCREDIBLE. (note* if you transfer, your blog posts will transfer over but your theme and some pictures may not.)
- Super HELPFUL support team. One thing that Blue Host lacks in my opinion is customer service, I always hear horror stories about Blue Host, So I went with Site Ground and their support team is freaking AWESOME. Their live chat is INSTANT help.
- Fast server speed, MY SITE IS NEVER DOWN and the server speed is great compared to others.
So, all in all Site Ground get’s a BIG THUMBS UP from me and I recommend self hosting asap. Wish I did it from the beginning!
Okaaaaay this is the REAL DEAL. When I started investing in my Pinterest Strategies my blog income and blog traffic SKY ROCKETED. NO LIE. I always knew Pinterest was great for increasing my blog traffic but I didn’t know just how awesome utilizing a pin scheduler could be.
With that being said, a couple months back I invested in the ANNUAL plan for Tailwind. I bit the bullet and did it. I was a bit nervous not going to lie because it costs $119 for the annual plan, BUT YOU GUYS – I made that back in the SAME month. The first month of using annual Tailwind my blog income was HIGHER than ever before…I reached over $6,000 that month!
In just ONE MONTH my blog traffic increased by almost 200% …THAT’S A WIN.
SO… If you haven’t invested in a Pinterest Scheduler yet, It’s time you do so.
If you are interested in seeing EXACTLY how I use Tailwind: (how I schedule my pins, how many to schedule, and all that other good stuff) I do have a $20 e-course that shares my strategies which you can purchase HERE.
AND if you are new to the Pinterest world check out this post on how to utilize Pinterest.
Next up is investing in a good theme, because let’s be honest…Visuals are always important. I find that if I am on a blog that looks messy, and not navigable, I am more quick to jump right off! I wanted to make sure that I invested in a theme that is simple yet appealing to the eyes. I also wanted to make sure it was easy to navigate.
My all time FAVORITE themes are found on PipDig – they are a bit pricey (about $75 for mine) but in my opinion are so worth it! AND NO, I am not an affiliate for PipDig, I really just LOVE them. They also will set it up on your blog for you so you don’t have to stress, as well as helpful tutorials that walk you through the set up process.
BUT if you are looking for more affordable yet GREAT themes, check out CreativeMarket !
EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE
If you didn’t already know … Having an e-mail list is CRUCIAL because let’s face it, social media is always switching up, so having a list of e-mail addresses from those who LOVE your blog, all in one place is GREAT. If someone “subscribes” to your blog, it’s usually because they are here for YOU, they love what you have to say and they want to stay updated!
Growing your e-mail list helps make sales (especially if you have a new product launch), helps get views to your blog posts, and more. Your e-mail list is exclusive and should be the first to know about all the important upcoming events.
Which e-mail list builder should you use? I use MAILERLITE, the reasons why I love Mailerlite are because:
- Easy to use with a drag and drop template.
- Mailchimp was a little more technical, it just frustrated me. Mailerlite was a lot easier to use.
- It’s free for up to 1,000 subscribers! After that it starts at $10 a month, affordable and worth it.
- You can create automations which can be used to send out your “freebie” (something you send those who subscribe to your blog as a THANK YOU!)
Once you have your e-mail list builder chosen, to grow your e-mail list you should DEFINITELY create an “opt-in” or “freebie”. This will make your audience want to subscribe because you are sending them something for free in return. MAKE SURE YOUR FREEBIE RELATES TO YOUR NICHE AND TARGETS THE RIGHT AUDIENCE. My “opt-in” is a 28 day blog challenge, once I offered that as an incentive, my list flourished!
ALSO some e-mail list building tips
- Don’t send out too many e-mails, it can annoy your subscribers. I like to send out a weekly newsletter that let’s my subscribers know what I posted on the blog that week (with links to the specific new posts)
- I use my e-mail list to promote any new products that I create and sell, as well as tease about new product launches!
- I go through my e-mail list every other month and remove those from my list who haven’t opened my e-mails in the past month. I think of it as a “declutter” because there is no point in having them on my list if they aren’t interested in my e-mails.
E-Courses + Blog Coaching
Sometimes it’s good to invest in e-courses and blog coaching to help take your blog to the next level a bit QUICKER than it would take to research heavily on your own. The beauty of e-courses is that those who created them have done all the hard stuff for you…aka (trial and error, researching strategies and putting them to the test, etc.)
BUT the downside with e-courses is that some can totally not be worth the cost. Before purchasing an e-course it’s essential to do your research first on the blogger and e-course, to make sure it won’t be a total waste of money. I usually will purchases courses through bloggers that I already love and trust.
If you are interested here are my two $20 e-courses
- Mastering Sales With Ell – A very thorough breakdown of how I made $6,000 blogging in one month, where the money came from, and a breakdown of how to use affiliate marketing, making sales, how to create and sell your own product, how to collaborate with brands (including a pitch template), and other ways to monetize your blog.
- Pinterest Strategy – Walks you through my EXACT Pinterest strategy that grew my blog traffic by almost 200% in one month. How I use Pinterest to make affiliate sales, and exactly how to use Tailwind properly!
I have also heard great things about Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing by Michelle (costs about $197 I believe. I have not actually purchased it myself though.)
Another e-course “school” I have heard great things about is Elite Blog Academy.. many have sworn by these investments!
and as for blog coaching, I really think it’s a great investment because you get that one on one interaction with a blogger who knows the ins and outs, you can bounce ideas off of your coach and see what he/she thinks! If you are anything like me, the one on one interaction can be really helpful!
I could be biased though because I am a blog coach myself, but I really do love helping my clients take their blogging journeys a step forward!
If by chance you are interested in blog coaching I am accepting clients and would be more than happy to get a session scheduled! My services are $75 for a 60 min session. I also can share my screen with you and walk you through WordPress if you are struggling with it! Just send me an e-mail to get started! – email@example.com
Alright, you probably know that I am a Huge fan of Style Collective! I will recommend them again and again. Annie, the founder of Style Collective is a HUGE sweetheart and I actually had the pleasure of being able to appear on her podcast “Becoming Fearless” where she interviewed me and my journey! You can listen to it here if you’d like!
Style Collective is a community of female influencers – you pay a membership & get instant access to helpful e-courses from monetizing your influence, to working with brands, how to brand yourself etc. As well as a library full of resources, mentorship panels from top bloggers, meet-ups all across the US, forums and community chats, a brand directory to reach out to for sponsored posts, monthly content planners and more!
Honestly worth every penny, I really love being a part of Style Collective and have learned so much from Annie and all of the SCSisters!
STOCK IMAGES + LIGHTING + CAMERA
Next, I really LOVE having high quality images. I find it to be SO important. I have to say, I am not a professional photographer by any means, so YES sometimes I do use Stock Images and I really LOVE them. I have invested money on beautiful stock images to create my Pinterest pins. If your pins aren’t beautiful and eye catching, they won’t go viral as easily. And for me it’s important to make beautiful pins that will go viral!
SO, for my blog posts about blogging I do use stock images. Here are some of my FAVORITE places to purchase stock images..
I don’t like using stock images on Instagram because I find it to be “tacky”, since Instagram is a visual platform, creating your own images and content is key to growing your following. For a while my images were grainy and not the best quality. Investing in a great camera and lighting really helps to improve your image quality, and grow your Instagram and blog following!
My FAVORITE Lighting that I use:
My FAVORITE go to cameras
RELATED: Grow Your Instagram Engagement
If you have the funds, investing in a Virtual Assistant can be VERY beneficial. Why? Because it takes some stress off of you. Blogging is a FULL TIME JOB, it’s not easy, and there are a lot of tasks… from creating marketing strategies, to answering and writing e-mails, to scheduling content/promoting content, and engaging on social media etc. There is a lot to it. BUT if you hire a virtual assistant, you can take some of the load off by paying them to do specific tasks for you!
One way you can find Virtual Assistants is through Fiverr.
ALSO – YOU CAN BECOME A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT USING FIVERR TOO.
I really do enjoy fiverr, you just have to be careful and make sure you are wise when it comes to working with someone. Get some proof of work they have done in the past. Don’t choose just anyone to handle tasks for you. Make sure they meet your qualifications.
These are a few of my MUST HAVE blog investments that I use regularly and that I believe your blog/biz could highly benefit from! I know that dropping money on something can be extremely nerve wracking because you don’t want to waste your money, especially when you are tight for money.
BUT I can assure you that when I started my blog I was coming from NOTHING… I was barely able to afford groceries, a full time server just trying to scrape by… and here I am 10 months later with an income I NEVER thought I would be able to make. The beauty is in the investment! It will eventually PAY OFF.
Thank you for reading and supporting! Let me know in the comments if you have invested in any of these OR any investments you swear by!
Until Next Time,