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It’s no secret that blogging is one of my favorite things to do. It’s a great creative outlet for me because I can customize it to my interests.
But if you don’t have a lot of self-control over your finances (guilty!), blogging can get expensive, fast.
It seems like everyone and their brother has a set of e-courses nowadays, and there are a ton of different software options that make your blogging life easier. But which ones are worth your time, and which ones don’t make a ton of difference?
I’ve made a lot of purchases for my blog, and I’m here to help you figure out if you really need that blogging e-course or not. Ready? Let’s go!
For a long time, I was blogging on the cheap: Blogger, and eventually WordPress.com. This was great at first. I kept bouncing around when I tried to decide on a niche, so it seemed like I made a new blog every two weeks. If I had bought a domain every time I started a new blog, I’d be bankrupt.
But, once I decided to get serious about blogging, I’m so glad I decided to go with self-hosted WordPress. Not only do I get my own domain name, but I can also customize my blog a lot while still having a user-friendly backend. When you’re using WordPress.com, you can only use a select few themes. When you upgrade to self-hosted, you can import your own!
I started out on domain.com because it was the cheapest, but it had awful service. I recommend really doing your homework when it comes to your host, because it’s quite difficult to change after the fact. I now use Bluehost and haven’t looked back since! My website is hardly ever down, and whenever I have an issue, they can fix it!
A Responsive Theme
As stated above, because I opted for self-hosted WordPress, I was able to import my own theme. I spent hours looking at the themes on Themeforest until I found one I liked. I’ve changed it up a few times since then, but one thing has remained constant: I always make sure it’s responsive. That means it’s going to automatically adjust based on the device someone is viewing my website on.
I also highly recommend Creative Market. That’s where my current theme is from!
Typefaces / Fonts
As a graphic designer, I love typefaces. I’m always looking for new ones to download. But until recently, I was always using free ones. With so many good ones out there, what’s the point spending the money on a font?
Well, as soon as I started using BlackJack as my script font, I was seeing it everywhere. And I started to hate it. I realized that everyone had the same philosophy: why pay for a font when there are so many free ones?
Well, originality is a pretty good reason. Want your brand to stand out? Pay for a font. Few people actually do.
Adobe Creative Cloud*
I’m putting an asterisk by this one, because it’s only worth it if you know how to use the programs.
While there are plenty of free options out there like Canva and PicMonkey, I could not blog without Adobe Creative Cloud. Photoshop and InDesign are my jam, and they’re where I create all of my content upgrades and blog post headers. It’s an investment for sure, but I promise it’s worth it.
Time to be honest for a second: I almost didn’t include CoSchedule on this list. Not because it’s not 100% worth the money, but because I forgot it’s something separate from my blog.
It’s so ingrained in my day-to-day tasks as a blogger that I don’t even notice it any more. In the best way possible.
It allows you to schedule all of your blog posts, social media messages (excluding Pinterest, unfortunately), events, tasks, and more. It’s all drag-and-drop, so if you have to move things around, you can.
I love using notes to remind myself what topics I should be writing about. For example, I can leave myself a note that I need to write a design post on a certain day, even if I don’t know what the topic will be yet. That way I make sure I’m not doing too many blog posts from a certain topic.
Oh, and you can color-code everything. As if it weren’t great enough already.
As we’ve discussed before, email marketing is super important for your blog. And there are plenty of free resources out there to get started. I personally love Mailchimp because it’s free for your first 2,000 subscribers.
And for a while, the free version was fine. But I knew I wanted to offer a resource library for my subscribers, and to do so, I needed a way to email them automatically after they sign up. Enter: Mailchimp automation.
It’s only $10/mo and so worth it. You can set up sequences for content upgrades and e-courses, too. Imagine if you did a paid email course; suddenly, Mailchimp can pay for itself!
At $549, this one has a hefty price tag, but hear me out. Sarah is an amazing blogger and designer, and this course changed my blog so much. She helps you amp up the design of your website, start an email newsletter, find your niche, and so. much. more.
You won’t regret taking this course if you really want to build your blog into a business.
Plus, there are weekly chats where you can get help from Sarah and the other Babes. I’ve met a lot of awesome bloggers this way! There are only 24 spots available, so it makes the group really intimate and awesome.
Okay, okay, shameless plug. But I promise you, this will be 100% worth your investment.
In the InDesign Adventure Guide, launching in February, I’ll be walking you through everything you need to know about InDesign as a blogger + small business owner.
Never opened up the program before? No problem! We’ll be going through everything from setting up you workspace to creating worksheets and e-books. Think about the money you’d have to pay a designer to create those things for you. (Coming from a designer, it would not be very cheap.)
It’s currently on pre-sale for only $197. The price will be going up soon, so get on it now!
What are some investments you’ve made in your blog that you haven’t regretted one bit? What about investments you totally regretted? Let me know in the comments!