We’ve all heard that saying: “In order to make money, you have to spend money.”
When I first started blogging, I started on the free WordPress.com platform. I used a free theme. I used free stock photos. For almost a year, I didn’t spend any money on my blog until I came across info saying that if I wanted to advertise on my blog and be more appealing to brands, I would have to upgrade to a self-hosting option (I could be mistaken, but I think at the time, around 2012, WordPress didn’t have business plans. Please correct me if I’m wrong).
So I reluctantly decided to purchase the .net extension (makinthebacon.com wasn’t available at the time), and then eventually the .com and .ca extension.
Many people often start blogging as a hobby because it is inexpensive and it can be done anywhere.
If you’re starting at ground zero, you may be thinking:
Where do I start?
What should I invest in first?
What is worth investing in?
I don’t have the budget to invest a lot of money in blogging yet.
No need to stress, my friend.
Here are the top 10 investments that every new blogger should make within their first few years of blogging:
This may seem obvious to many, but it may come as a bit of a shock as to how much time you need to invest.
And then you throw your hands up in the air and say, I DON’T HAVE TIME.
And I say, it’s not a matter of time, it’s a matter of priorities.
We make time for what’s important to us. Really. You can do everything eventually. But some things will go to the front of the queue while others will be put on the back burner.
When I was working a full-time and a part-time job, blogging wasn’t so much a priority back then. It did get put on the backburner a lot. There are many other bloggers who had started around the same time as me, blogging on the side (or not too long after me) and are either now making a full-time or a significant side income out of it.
The major difference was that they took it seriously from day one or not too long after they started.
I was solely focused on building my career at the time. Back then, I had no intention of doing anything serious with it. However, it got to a point where my career was going absolutely nowhere and that was the driving force to take my blog more seriously. Once I switched my mindset (i.e. take it seriously) and made the decision to schedule in the time, effort, I began to create more opportunities and more opportunities came.
Now that I am running a consulting business, despite having two other part-time jobs (thank goodness they have flexibility), I still make time to blog. Interestingly enough, I find that I am now more consistent with posting.
Because I know it’s an opportunity to educate/connect with past, current and future clients.
It’s a way for me to share my blogging experience.
And also to show that I can both “walk to the walk” and “talk the talk”.
For more reasons, check out this post on Why You Need To Blog For Business.
I will openly admit that I was pretty naive when I first started blogging. I thought it would be easy and require very little effort on my part. I quickly learned that blogging wasn’t just about the writing. It had a unique blend of creativity and technology.
The education never stops and you have to be prepared to adapt for upcoming changes, whether it’s the latest algorithm for Facebook or the new block editor for WordPress: Gutenberg.
Whether it’s attending a workshop, webinar, taking an online course or listening to a podcast episode, take some time during the week for personal development. It will help your business in the long run.
3. BLOG NAME
If you have a business, then your blog is usually your business name. Some general guidelines/best practices for both when choosing a name:
- Short (ish) – i.e. Nike
- Easy to read, remember and spell (I will NEVER use my married last name for a blog or a business)
- Catchy (Classy Career Girl)
- Many people use a word to describe their business as part of the name i.e. (Origins Media Haus) or use their own name
- However, it doesn’t have to describe what the business is (i.e. Lululemon, Warby Parker)
4. WEB HOSTING
You’ll often find posts that recommend certain web hosting providers because they are affiliates. After having gone through a few, I recommend choosing one that suits your needs.
Some things to think about:
Does your site receive a significant amount of traffic every month?
Is your website loading really slowly? (This can be due to a variety of factors, but who you host with can also play a role)
Does your site run on WordPress? (Look for web hosting providers that specialize in WordPress hosting)
Security and Support – you’d want a provider who has security add-ons, provides frequent backups, has responsive tech support
Whether they’re free stock photos, paid stock photos or your own brand photos, make sure they’re somewhat decent.
Again, yet another thing I waited a few YEARS to really learn. I’m relatively familiar with the On-Page and Off-Page SEO, I am currently trying to learn more about the technical side of SEO.
Some advice: Don’t be intimidated by SEO.
Take a bit of time to learn the basics and simple things you can do to improve it. By having a blog and publishing posts on a regular basis (which again is different for everyone), you’re already doing your site a favour to make it more search engine friendly.
Before you know it, you’ll go from SE-Oh NO! to SE-Oh WOW!
7. SOME SORT OF PLANNER OR CALENDAR
Developing consistency for your blog is like developing a new habit and we all know that new habits can take some time to develop.
Whether it’s digital or analog – having that content calendar can help plan your content out in advance.
8. CLEAN, SIMPLE DESIGN
It doesn’t have to be a piece of art. What it needs to be is user-friendly and easy to read. Or else nobody will want to come back to your site.
9. BUILDING COMMUNITY
One of my biggest regrets when I first started blogging was not reaching out to people initially for advice and help. I assumed I could do everything myself and that I could grow on my own (Not sure why I thought that).
Look into joining Facebook Groups, Meetup Groups or attend events, conferences to connect with other bloggers.
10. QUALITY CONTENT
I’m not an award-winning author. Heck, I’m not even an award-winning blogger. However, I do believe and try my best to put out quality content. There are a LOT of great blog posts out there. At the same time, there are also a lot of really bad/generic blog posts out there too.
It is possible to provide content that is both educational AND entertaining.
Dianne Howie says
Helpful advice for a new blogger! Definitely finding the time to produce a quality post is a challenge. Like most things in life, having a goal and keeping committed to it is key. Thanks for the pointers, Karen.
Glad you found this post helpful, Diane! When I’m writing, I try to cut out all the distractions and close all the other tabs. I’ll often listen to music without lyrics to help me focus.