Many bloggers who aspire to become professional bloggers do so because they want to earn a living doing what they live and on their own terms. Often this means they are starting their blog on a shoestring budget – if that! (Sound familiar?) Starting a blog for free is a good first step, but there will a come a time when bloggers run into limitations of free services and are forced to invest in their blog if they want it to reach the levels of success they desire. Investing in your blog in the right ways will give you a great return on your investment and take your blog to your goals. There are 5 things that every aspiring blogger must invest in order to set their blog up for success. These investments will help bloggers not only appear professional but help them manage time, money and relationships.
Your Own Domain
This is the most important thing any blogger can have. You simply MUST have your own domain name. Ideally that domain name should match your blog’s name, however, that doesn’t always have to be the case. Using your own name, or a variant of your name is also a very common domain suggestion and is especially good for bloggers who want to use blogging as a way to grow and promote their own brand and services.
Need a domain? See if it’s free:
Your Own Host
Having a self-hosted blog gives you tremendous freedom. You can use the themes, and plugins that you want to use and that are right for your blog as well as be free of many of the restrictions that you may otherwise face. Yes, there is more responsibility, but through that comes freedom. While it might seem counter intuitive you can also get better deals by going self hosted than the prices offered by the hosted blog services, so if you are on a tight budget don’t overlook the self-hosted option! It might actually be the better deal!
Having a brand for your blog is so important! It not only helps you stay focused and on track but it helps your readers instantly recognize you across social media & the internet (even the real world if you venture there!). You can either hire someone to help you brand your blog for you or use options that will help you learn how to do it yourself, whatever you choose having a brand for your blog will only help it grow and flourish.
Your Theme or Blog Design
You only get a moment to make a great first impression on your visitors. A professionally designed and developed custom theme will help make sure your visitors become avid readers. Like it or not unprofessional looking blogs can scare off readers, it doesn’t matter how good your content is, some people will never get past your 90’s looking blog! Investing in a custom blog design will also help you save time and even money. How many themes have you bought and then discarded because they weren’t right? How many hours have you spent trying to customize that blog theme to look like you want only to give up in frustration? Or maybe you hired someone and after 5 attempted and a lot of spent money it’s “done” but still doesn’t make you happy? Skip all of that hardship and hire a reliable & trustworthy designer to give your blog the professional design you need.
Social Media Management Apps
Time is money and the biggest time sink for bloggers is social media! Of course it’s an important way for you to promote your blog, meet other bloggers and connect with your readers but it’s also a time sink. Scheduling your social media posts in advance and when you aren’t online is a huge way to save time and spend that time doing others things like writing blog posts, or spending time with your family (I hear they are nice people, they’d like to see you now and then). There are lots of options out there and not everyone will work for every blogger so you might have to try out a few different options to see what works best for you. My favorite is Buffer, it lets me schedule all of my social media posts (yes even Pinterest!) all in one location, plus it gives me nice analytics to help me see what is working and what isn’t. If you want something that lets you manage your social media as well as view your timelines and respond to posts in one place then I recommend Hootsuite. It’s a great, full featured program that will save you lots of time! Best thing, both offer free options which may totally work for you!
Spending money on your blog can be a tough block to overcome. However, investing wisely into things that will benefit your blog in the long run and allow you to be more productive and professional will ultimately give you a return on your investment. If you want to blog professionally you will have to ultimately invest in your blog, invest in the basics now so you can build a base to grow on in the future.