Over the past few years blogging has evolved quite a bit, and today, there are so many incredible tools and services out there to take advantage of to help you grow (I wish these were around when I first started)! Several people I’ve chatted with offline have asked about starting a blog, resources, etc., so I thought I’ll pull together a helpful list for those of you ready/gearing up to take your site to the next level.
Whether you’re a newbie or seasoned blogger, here are 6 investments worth making for your blog.
Having a blog design is incredibly important. You can a template for as cheap as $10 and as expensive as hundreds or thousands of dollars. I recommend starting out at the lower end and paying more as your blog grows, if you’re able to invest in it. For reference, this is my third design since launching Small Towns & City Lights in 2012. So just because you have a design now doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it for life. You can find more affordable options on Etsy, or from my favorite, Pipdig. Cost: $10+ total
Buying your own domain is super easy! Whether you’re using a free platform, like Blogger, or a paid/self-hosted platform, this is the very first thing you should do if you’re ready to get serious about blogging. I originally signed up for mine through Google (since I started out using the Blogger platform), but you can also renew your domain through your hosting provider, should you decide to go that route. Cost: $10/yr.
While you can absolutely run a FREE blog, moving to self-hosting was important for me because it means legally, I own my own content. Another way to look at it? It’s taking your blog to the next level. There are several different companies that provide hosting for a monthly fee, but Bluehost has been my go-to since making the move from Google’s free platform, Blogger, a few years ago. I did experience some downtime issues with the company for a short time, but it seems like the kinks have been worked out. Cost: $5.95+/mo.
Sure, you can manually schedule social media posts or even use free schedulers, but using CoSchedule helps to save SO much time when it comes to promoting your posts on social media. You can also manage/view your editorial calendar, and see how your post is doing in terms of social shares. Plus, there’s a plugin that integrates perfectly for WordPress users! Cost: $15/mo.
One of my newer favorite investments is in Tailwind. This tool allows you to schedule pins and re-pins in advance (and at optimal times), which is a HUGE time saver. The analytics are also pretty stellar and shows you a look at followers, specific pins, domain pins (from your site), and more. Cost: $119/yr.
There are SO many courses out there on blogging related things, it can be a bit intimidating. One of the best? Melyssa Griffin’s Pinfinite Growth. The course introduced me to several strategies and provided tools that have really helped drive traffic to my site by using Pinterest, a site I hadn’t thought much about utilizing to promote my site. While it’s certainly the biggest upfront investment I’ve made (you can also purchase in monthly installments), it’s been an invaluable resource! Cost: $397 total
What are some of the best investments you’ve made for YOUR site?