Investments. Something many bloggers don’t like to discuss. While it’s totally possible to “bootstrap” it all, at a certain point, you will want to make your life easier by investing into your business.
But, where should you put your money?
If you are still in your first year of blogging, or the first year of investing in your blog, the following 5 things are probably the most important for you. They will ensure you look professional, get more done in less time, and find success with your blog!
Top 5 Investments to Make in your First Year of Blogging
1. Reliable Web Host
In order for your blog to stay up and running, you need a quality web host. Free blogging sites aren’t recommended by most because you don’t truly own your space. The blog could be deleted at any time without a notice or reason. It’s happened to many people on Blogger or the free WordPress.com.
Note: A free WordPress.com blog is not the same as the free WordPress.org platform. With WordPress.org, you have to install it on a hosting plan – see what I mean in my “How to Start a Blog” tutorial.
I recommend Siteground for web hosting. They offer super fast loading times for your blog as well as superior customer service.
With Siteground, you can get one year of hosting for about $48. Siteground will give you a free domain name too!
2. Professional Theme
If you want to be taken seriously as a blogger, you have to look the part. A high quality blog design is important. It needs to be clean, easy to navigate, and have your blog title prominently displayed at the top. Avoid too many bright colors or the black ground with white text. It’s just difficult to read – and downright annoying to the eyes!
I have used a number of themes in my 9 years of blogging, but there are a few I recommend. Genesis Themes are great for beginners. You can customize these without knowing any fancy coding. Plus, there are many styles to choose from! I like Lifestyle Pro to start out with, myself. I am currently using the Brunch Pro Theme on this blog.
3. Pinterest Scheduling Tool
If you are only going to choose one blogging tool to help you gain traffic and readers, let it be something for Pinterest. Most bloggers can’t be on Pinterest throughout the day (for a total of 2-ish hours), pinning their content as well as quality posts from other bloggers. However, that’s what your account needs in order to stay active and be pumping out useful pins that others want to re-pin.
The solution? Tailwind!
Why Tailwind? I recommend it as the best Pinterest tool for a number of reasons. It’s the only approved Pinterest Marketing partner, so I feel safe using it. It won’t get my account banned, as long as I am using it as it’s recommended.
Also, the Tailwind Tribes feature has been amazingly useful in exposing my content for more repins as well as finding content I can share with my own followers.
And the analytics in Tailwind?! They are insane! It’s important to see what pins are doing the best to get your blog more page views. The number lover in me gets a little excited every I look through my stats on Tailwind.
4. Email List Builder
In orer to engage with your readers, you need to start building an email list. FROM DAY ONE.
This is the only way to ensure your loyal followers get notified of your new posts. Sharing them on social media isn’t a guarantee, especially with the way that Facebook only shows you the posts they want you to see. It’s very easy that people can miss your posts, even if they would like to read them!
Having an email list lets you place yourself right in the inbox of your biggest fans. You can email them each time a new blog post goes live. Plus, you can communicate with them on special deals, exciting contests or challenges, or offer subscriber-only content they will find super helpful.
ConvertKit is my top choice for building my email list. I started with Mailchimp, but ConvertKit was designed with bloggers in mind. The automation, segmentation, and tagging just can’t be beat! With ConvertKit, you won’t pay for the same people multiple times, even if they sign up for every different freebie you offer.
5. One eBook or Course
In order to grow your blog, you need to invest in your education. Just like you would go to college to get a fancy job, you need to learn all you can about online marketing, blogging, web traffic, and conversions.
Why do I say to only get ONE ebook or course your first year of blogging?
Because it’s SUPER easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many books and courses out there, you can easily buy them up and then not know where to go next. It’s called “info overload” and it is seriously a real thing.
Choose one area where you’d like to grow your blog. Maybe you want to grow your email list. Or increase your page views. Or start monetizing with affiliate links. No matter what your goals, stick to one course until you have finished and implemented it.
I have a few helpful blogging ebook and course recommendations on my Resources page if you’re interested!
Of course, there are many other things you could invest in for your blog. Some may buy plugins, a professionally-designed theme, services, or coaching. The options are endless to what you can purchase in order to grow your blog. However, I do think the 5 listed here are the most essential if you are starting out.