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When I first started blogging I started using everything that was free. I set myself up on Blogger and even used the .blogspot domain. I found a free template that I kind of liked and devoted hours upon hours teaching myself basic HTML to modify it. And I continued to modify it… a lot. I figured I was pretty good at learning how to do things and with YouTube videos and Google, why on earth would you need to spend money on your blog…
Oh, how wrong was I…
After a few short weeks, I realised that I had found my voice. I had started a few blogs before but they never lasted very long… I ran out of ideas, I over edited myself and my heart just wasn’t in it. Perfect Enough For Us was totally different. The ideas just kept coming, the posts kept flowing and I had such a clear direction with where I wanted to take my blog.
That was when I started to see the cracks in my own blog… I couldn’t make the design clean enough, I couldn’t get it to look how I wanted and I was spending so much time trying to tweak code I was going cross eyed!! I didn’t like having the .blogspot tag on my URL and I was getting frustrated.
After talking to my gorgeous ‘Blouse’ about what I wanted to do with my blog he encouraged me to spend the money needed to get my blog looking the way I wanted. I was still unsure… until he explained it to me like this…
What hobby do you have that you would never have to spend money on? Whether blogging is your hobby or something more, you can spend money on something you enjoy doing and that you love…
Light Bulb Moment!! It was so simple… prior to starting my blog I was kind of obsessed with knitting. Okay, really obsessed. I spent a small fortune on yarn on a regular basis and bought countless magazines with patterns and tutorials in them, not to mention every kind of knitting needle imaginable. Knitting was my hobby and I had no issues spending money on it.
When I realised it was actually okay to spend money on your blog it seemed like a whole world of new possibilities opened up. I started crafting a wish list of things I would love to invest in… and then I prioritised them.
Here’s my key list of what I believe you should invest in for your blog:
A Domain Name and Hosting. These don’t have to be expensive items. I purchased my domain name and hosting through GoDaddy for just $15 for the first year. A domain name always looks more professional and it means you don’t have to keep having a .blogspot, .wordpress or .wix in your URL. After a while I found that GoDaddy just wasn’t fast enough anymore or offering what I needed so I moved my hosting to SiteGround and have loved it ever since.
A Mobile Responsive Theme. This is where I splurged a little. When I moved over to WordPress.org I had no idea how to use it – I didn’t want to learn ccs and I needed to be able to modify my theme with ease. My site also needed to be mobile responsive, the majority of my readers are using their mobile to view my site and Google is now favouring those who sites that are easy to use on mobiles.
After a lot of research, I decided that the Genesis Framework with a StudioPress theme was the way to go. Setting my site up has been quite easy and making little tweaks to it along the way only take a few minutes. When you purchase a theme you also get access to their forums and tutorials which talk you through how to set up and modify your site. Winning.
Stock Images. You can have the prettiest looking site but if you are using ugly images to promote it then no one is going to want to click through to see you. This is something I am developing and have learned a lot about, especially over the last few months. To the point where I am now gradually going back over old posts and replacing the images for them.
While I have a wonderful DSLR and take a lot of my images myself, there are some that I just can’t take or images I specifically would like for a post and that is where the investment comes in. I use Canva for the majority of my images and their range is quite extensive when it comes to stock photos. They do have some available for free but others cost just $1. Bargain, and definitely worth the investment.
Photoshop. I would only suggest investing in Photoshop if you intend to spend time getting to know how to use it. It is an incredibly powerful tool (the absolute industry standard for photographers and graphic designers) and has a language of its own. I have been using Photoshop for years for simple photo edits and still find it hard to navigate. Once you do figure out what you want with it and get your system sorted it becomes a lot more simple. Plus YouTube tutorials help a lot!!
Email Service (Paid Version). I started my email list with the free version of MailChimp which was fantastic however I needed to be able to set up automated emails for when my subscribers signed up to my site. Automation is a paid feature of MailChimp and has been worth the investment as my email list continues to grow with the giveaways I offer.
After a while I found that MailChimp wasn’t offering all I wanted it to in order to grow my list as fast as I wanted to, so I switched to ConvertKit and have loved it ever since.
BoardBooster. I love Pinterest but I was finding that I was spending hours upon hours every day promoting and pinning and just getting lost in Pinterest. BoardBooster is an automation tool for Pinterest (you can read more about BoardBooster in this post) that has saved me a ton of time. You can also start out with a free trial which is what I did and absolutely fell in love with it!!
A Good Quality DSLR. I was lucky enough to get a Nikon D610 for Mother’s Day last year and it is amazing!!! It was originally purchased so we could capture the precious moments of our son growing up but now is also used for stock photos for blogging.
A Laptop You Love. I love getting out of the house, going and sitting in cafés and blogging. I also take my laptop to work and blog when I’m not out on jobs. It became clear quite early on that my old laptop just wasn’t cutting it anymore. It was slow, heavy and the battery was flat out lasting 2 hours before needing to be recharged. I started researching and fell in love with the Macbook Pro. I’ve never been an Apple fan previously but I seriously love this laptop. It’s probably been the best investment I have made for my blog so far…
Once I started treating my blog like a real hobby that I was happy to spend a little money on I started seeing some big changes. Not only do I love my blog more, others seem to like it more as well.
Do you spend money on your blog? What are the best investments you have made? I’d love to hear from you, especially if you invest in something I might be missing.