*This post contains affiliate links.
The new year is right around the corner which means it’s time to start thinking about updating our goals. In the new year, I plan to make a ton more investments in my blog. I’m one of those people who believe that you have to spend money in order to make money. I didn’t notice big changes in my traffic or income until I started investing my own time and money into my site and honestly, I feel that this is where a lot of bloggers get stuck. They’re not willing to invest. While there are a ton of amazing free resources out there for bloggers, not everything in life is free. Sometimes you have to spend a little to learn more and really grow as a blogger and business owner. So here are 8 investments to make in your blog in the new year.
A SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULER.
This saves soooo much time!! I remember the days where I would just post to social media in real-time and there were many days where this is all I’d end up doing. It was ridiculous and didn’t allow me much time to do anything else on my to do list like content creation and brainstorming and networking and everything else that goes into a successful blog. Social media was literally all I had time for. I had to change something so I invested in Buffer. This has saved me an insane amount of time each week.
I’m still in the process of setting up a good posting schedule for each platform, but Buffer makes it so much easier for me to schedule out my social media posts whether I’m sharing archived content or new content or content from others or my email list. Whatever it may be, I could schedule it out ahead of time and not have to worry about it. That then leaves me more time to actually engage with you all. I can respond to your shoutouts and share your content and random tidbits from throughout my day. I’m free to work on everything else that needs to be done. So if you’re not using a social media scheduler then I highly suggest finding one you love!
I use Buffer ($10/month) for sharing my content, archived content, content from others, my affiliates, email list etc on Twitter and Facebook. I then use Plann to schedule out posts for Instagram (I just recently got hooked on this and it’s amazing! It costs $9, but it’s been worth every penny, I swear!). And lastly, I use Tailwind ($10/month?) for Pinterest. Buffer will actually do all of this, but for some reason, I just don’t always use it for everything. Lastly, I use CoSchedule for scheduling out new content and the social media associated with that specific post. So onto CoSchedule now…
CoSchedule ($30/month) is a super awesome tool for keeping your editorial calendar organized. It’s linked to your WordPress account and uses a drag and drop so you can easily move around your posts to different dates without having to go into each individual post and set the date yourself. You can even color code your content and schedule out your social media. I couldn’t imagine using any other method of scheduling my content. CoSchedule just makes it so easy and I love having an overall visual of my month. So like I mentioned above, I use CoSchedule to schedule out new posts as well as the social media associated with those posts. So for today’s post, I used CoSchedule to schedule the actual post as well as all the social media to promote it. Like most blogging tools, CoSchedule offers a free trial* so you’re always able to try it out before committing!
A GREAT THEME.
The look and overall feel of your blog is so important, especially if you want to be making money from it. Your site should be neat, organized, have a great color scheme, and overall just have a professional look to it. Now I’m not saying you have to go out and spend thousands of dollars by hiring a designer. I completely understand that making investments in your blog can sometimes be a challenge if you just don’t have the money for it. A cheaper alternative that I always use is pre-made WordPress themes from Etsy. They have them for Blogger as well. There are so many amazing designers on there who sell themes for less than $50. Many are closer to $25-$35. So they’re super affordable!
Two of my favorite shops are 17th Avenue and Restored 316. Both have super pretty and easy to use themes. Restored 316’s designs are a bit more customizable so you have a ton of freedom in how you want to set up your site. My current theme is by Pipdig which I believed is based in Australia? Correct me if I’m wrong there. But I’m loving their themes a lot lately. They’re super basic, but very customizable. So take your time and look around for a theme that works for you. If needed, you can also look into hiring a designer as well, but that’s going to be a bit more pricey.
Being self-hosted gives you so much more freedom as a blogger. I ended up going self-hosted very early on and I haven’t regretted it for a second. It can be one of the larger investments depending on what host you use, but it’s so worth it if you’re wanting to turn your blog into a profitable business. Every host is going to have its pros and cons so be sure to ask around and do your research to find one that really works for you. Currently I am on Siteground which has always been a great host for me. I switched to them earlier this year when my last host completely screwed me over and so far they’ve been fantastic! Getting in touch with customer support is super quick and easy. Problems are always resolved instantly (on the rare occasion something happens and I have to contact them), their prices are low and affordable, and I just plain love working with them. So do your research and find one that works for you.
COURSES AND WORKSHOPS.
This is another larger investment for some, but I believe that education is so important in the blogging world. While there are so many helpful articles out there on Pinterest and other blogs, courses tend to take that information one step further and provide you with the tools and resources needed to really move forward. I have so many courses on my list of investments in 2017 and I am so excited about them. One being Melyssa Griffin’s Pinterest course*. I am horrible with Pinterest and I hear so many amazing things about this course. So I know it will be worth every penny. It can be hard to take the plunge, but be sure to keep educating yourself in any way you can.
Another great course I’m purchasing is Blog to Biz Hive* which is also by Melyssa Griffin. This helps you grow your online business through Pinterest, creating email lists, and creating products and services for your target audience. It helps a ton with narrowing down your audience and getting everything organized so you can take your business to the next level.
AN EMAIL SERVICE.
Melyssa Griffin says it all the time that an email lists essential to growing your blog and directly connecting with your audience. I only wish that I had focused on this sooner. Now here I am, a couple of years into blogging and my email list is nowhere close to where I would like it to be, two years in. BUT I’m working on it. I just recently switched to MailerLite and absolutely love it. It’s super easy to use and very affordable. A lot of people also use (and love) ConvertKit and MailChimp as well. There are many options out there!
Your visuals are so important when it comes to blogging. Same with your social media posts (aka Instagram). So it’s good to invest in some good photography apps and equipment. Maybe even some courses on how to take amazing photos if you’re brand new to it all. Now I’m not saying you have to go out there and buy the most expensive camera and lens on the market. Let’s be real here, not everyone can afford that. We all have bills. But something as simple as finding a good editing app on your iPhone or downloading PhotoShop to your home computer. You could even buy a smaller digital camera that fits your budget or buy lenses to hook up to your phone. There are SO many options out there.
For my images, I use my Nikon as often as I can. I just upgraded to a Nikon d7000 this past May thanks to my amazing husband and the 4.0 I earned in undergrad. I also use my 35mm lens the most, but am looking into getting a 50mm as well. On Amazon, I bought these and another lens for around $800 which is MUCh less than it would be if I had purchased through a big retailer so I lucked out there. I started out with a Nikon d3000 and an 18-55mm lens which only cost me around $499 so that’s a bit more affordable for some. I then use PhotoShop and/or Lightroom to edit from my MacBook. I think I pay $20/month for both of these so it’s not too bad at all. You can also get discounts for being a student as well!
On my iPhone, I use PS Express and Lightroom to edit my images when needed. Sometimes I’ll send them to my MacBook to edit from the full versions of those applications, but if I’m not home then it’s obviously not an option. So these apps work super well and I’m pretty sure they were free? I could be wrong so don’t quote me there!
A GOOD COMPUTER.
Like your camera equipment, I’m not expecting you all to go out and buy the most expensive computer out there. I personally use a MacBook Pro and absolutely love it. I recommend it to everyone. It’s a 2012, I’ve had it since 2013 and it still works perfectly. It’s the only computer I’ve ever had that has lasted longer than a year so it’s crazy to me that it’s lasted three so far. And I’ve heard from a lot of people that they had their MacBooks for close to a decade before having to upgrade. So for me, that’s worth every penny! But again, if a MacBook doesn’t fit your budget, then don’t worry about it! It really just has to be reliable. There’s nothing worse than having a huge deadline coming up for a sponsored post only for your computer to break down…again. That stresses me out just thinking about it. So be sure to find a computer that’s reliable, but also work within your budget!
What investments will you make on your blog in the new year?
Last update: July 2017