Blogging on a budget is super important for a lot of bloggers out there, myself included. It’s a hobby that can get expensive fast, but only if you let it.
So, how do you go about cutting costs on your blog without taking away anything from your readers? Lots of ways! My favorite, though, is creating your own images and content upgrades. And I promise, it’s a lot easier than it sounds.
Blogging on a Budget: Creating Your Own Images + Content Upgrades
Step 1: Choose your software
First things first, you’ve got to choose what software you’re going to use to create these images and content upgrades. Again, this can get expensive quickly.
- Adobe Creative Cloud. On the top end is Adobe Creative Cloud. It’s my personal choice, because I’m comfortable with the programs. I’ve been using them for more than 10 years, so I know my way around them. I’ll talk more in a future post about why it’s worth the investment. Monthly cost: $50
- Single Adobe Program. You could also go with a single-program plan from Adobe for a smaller monthly investment. If you do this, choosing one program that you can use for both images and content upgrades would save you some cash. I recommend InDesign most, but Photoshop is also a great option. Monthly cost: $10-20, depending on the program
- Pages. If you’re an Apple user, Pages could be a great option for you. You buy it in the App store, and it’s like a prettier version of Microsoft Word. You might be able to get it to work for your blog post images, but it’s probably best to only use this one for content upgrades and ebooks. One-time cost: $20
- Canva. This program is used quite a bit by bloggers. It’s pretty limited, but it’s an awesome resource to create both images and content upgrades on a tight budget. Cost: free
So go ahead and pick out the program that’s best for you. Again, I recommend Adobe Creative Cloud if you’ve got the budget for it, but it’s totally understandable if you don’t. InDesign is an awesome option if you want to create high-quality, interactive content upgrades.
Oh, and did I mention I’ve got a course on how to use InDesign to grow your blog and business? Get it now for the discounted pre-sale price!
Step 2: Decide on your branding style
This is probably going to be the most challenging step if you’re not a designer. Challenging, but not impossible!
Look around at other blogs to see what types of branding they have, and which ones resonate with you the most. What colors do you like? Do they fit with your niche?
Create a mood board on Pinterest (feel free to make it secret if that makes you more comfortable) and save a ton of things that you like for your brand. Pin things like blog post headers, fonts, images, color schemes, etc.
Then start playing around with designs for your blog post images and content upgrades. Sometimes I like to draw them out by hand before I dive into my computer software, but do whatever makes you feel comfortable.
Make a few different options, and then decide on your favorite. Don’t necessarily stick with your first one–get creative with it! Send the options to your best blogging buddies if you feel comfortable enough to do so.
I also recommend checking out this post on things to avoid in your blog post images. Know what to avoid before you start so you don’t make these mistakes at the beginning!
Step 3: Create a template
Once you’ve decided on a blog post image and a content upgrade style, you’ll want to save a general version to use as a template.
I personally have a Template folder on my computer that’s got templates for all of the images I’ll need for each blog post. I’ve adapted my images to different sizes for each social media, so there’s a different document for each size that I can use.
I simply copy and paste the folder, rename it with the date and title of the post I’m working on, and then edit the image templates.
These don’t have to be any fancy file type, either. If you’re working in InDesign, have it a regular .indd document, but have it set aside as the template that doesn’t get changed. Same with Photoshop. Just save it as a .psd file. Always make sure you’re editing a copy of the template, never the original.
This is really helpful when you’ve got a lot of elements like your logo and several different fonts. You want them to be the same size and in the same position in all of your photos, so a template allows you to do just that without having to meticulously position and size everything every time you need a new image or content upgrade.
Step 4: Create your images and share like crazy!
Now that you’ve got a template set up, you can very easily create on-brand images for every post. Now share, share share!
Step 5: Create your content upgrades and make them interactive
Content upgrades are the #1 reason I recommend InDesign over Photoshop if you have to only use one program. When you create content upgrades (like worksheets or checklists) for your audience in InDesign, you can make them interactive!
Image being able to click in a text box and write directly in your PDF. Your readers don’t have to print out your content upgrades any more. And if they change their mind on an answer, they can just hit backspace as long as they need to. No more scribbling out previous answers or printing out second copies!
You could also create actual checkboxes on your checklists, so they can have an active list of what they’ve accomplished and what they haven’t.
Save you’ve got a grocery list to give out for a content upgrade. Not only can they fill in any additional groceries they may need, but they can also check off things they’ve already got! It really allows you to go above and beyond for your audience. And who doesn’t want to do that?!
Interested in learning how to use all of these awesome features with InDesign? Sign up for my new course, the InDesign Adventure Guide, for just $247!
Even if you’ve never opened the program before, you’ll leave the class a complete pro. Oh, and did I mention you’re going to be creating actual products you can use for your blog and business? Pretty awesome, right?
Step 6: Send out your content upgrades, but only after they’ve signed up for your email list.
Make sure you’re grabbing their email address before giving out your free goodies! For a full tutorial, check out my blog post on how to do that fo’ free!
Oh, and who would I be if I didn’t offer you an extra worksheet to get all of this done? Check it out below!