Throughout my blogging journey one thing that I’ve found to be absolutely true is that the more you put in, the more you get out. That’s true with almost anything, isn’t it?
One thing that a lot of people reach out to me about, or have concern about in general, is that they want to take their blogging to the next level but don’t think they have the means to invest fully. More specifically, they don’t have the cash money. Blog designs aren’t cheap, and building a complete branding package isn’t cheap either. Trust me, I get it.
The closer I get to graduation the more inclined I feel to make good on all of those big projects I’ve been dreaming up…for the blog and beyond.
Even if you don’t have fist fulls of cash at the ready, there are so many affordable investments you can make to help take your blog or creative projects to the next level. All of these investments will cost you less than $50 and can make a huge difference in the quality of your work.
1. Photo Props and Editing Apps
If you’re looking to up your photo taking skills, a $50 budget is actually way more than you need to take amazing photos. Especially for Instagram. Even if you aren’t ready to purcahse a camera or time with a photographer, having props around can increase the quality of your standard iPhone photos. I know many big time bloggers who still reach for their iPhone before their DSLR. Here’s a suggested shopping list:
– White paper/poster board to create clean, crisp backgrounds. $2-5
– VSCO Cam App Free with available add-ons
– Manual App…which basically turns your phone into a DSLR $1.99
– Paper Source cardboard letters. DIY then with your blog name/initials and throw them in your photos for a pop of branding. $4 per letter
2. A domain name
If you want to look more professional as a blogger or business owner, a domain name is the way to go. It helps people remember who you are and how to find you, it makes you seem more legitimate and it shows that you’ve already made an investment in your blog. Typically, a domain will run you $8-12 per year, and you will have to re-register it each year. Definitely an investment worth making. Hint: some hosting packages throw in a domain name for free…speaking of hosting….
3. Become self-hosted
I know that this freaks people out, and for good reason. It’s a big step and there are a lot of technical terms and factors to consider. But the freedom and opportunity that comes from taking control of where your content is stored is pretty invaluable. I’m a huge proponent of WordPress.org and all of it’s many features. Smaller hosting companies offer packages as low as $3 per month (hint: if you aren’t a math person, that’s roughly $36 per year). Becoming self hosted gives you a ton of options and ups your professional ante tons.
4. Skill Share Classes
If you’re really looking to invest more into how and what you create in your space, Skill Share classes are great! Free membership gets you access to any free courses offered and premium membership is just $10 a month. E-courses on blogging, business and creativity can run upwards of $600 in some cases, if not more. Skill share allows you to learn from amazing creatives and entrepreneurs and gives a huge variety of courses to choose from.
5. Organizational Tools
Whenever I’m asked how I manage blogging along with everything else, I always give a huge shout out to my tools. It’s definitely worth in to invest in supplies that make you feel more prepared and together, especially if you’re wanting to turn your blog into a business. Make sure you desk and work area are stocked with pens, notebooks, paper and any other things you’d want on hand. Also, a killer planner that helps you see it all and get it all done! Most of these things will total less than $40 at Target…plus you get to go to Target. Win!
6. Quality Stock Photos
There are tons of resources for free stock photos. The only issue is, after a while, your blog images start to look like every other blogger’s images, which can be a hindrance to your brand. If you’re not quite ready to snap your own photos, consider taking one month to go premium on a stock photo service, like Death to Stock Premium.
7. Unique Fonts
Similarly to the images you use, the fonts you use can tend to look generic, too. Especially if you’re creating your own logo or blog design. Most people who aren’t designers aren’t buying fonts…which means most people are using the same popular or on trend typefaces. Sites like Ten Dollar Fonts and Creative Market have tons of affordable options.
8. Business Cards
If you’re looking to really get your brand out there, investing in business cards is a great idea! When you’re networking with other bloggers or entrepreneurs, it’s nice to have something tangible to hand them when you leave. Services like Moo offer a lot of options.
9. Etsy Resources
You’d be shocked how many logo templates, calendars or worksheets are available on Etsy. Not to mention, they are super affordable! Just searching premade logos pulls up tons of professional options under $20! Now, that’s a steal!
10. Living a life worth blogging
By far the best investment you can make. If you find yourself running low on motivation or new post ideas, it may be time to come from behind the computer screen and into the real world. Put $10 in your pocket and head out to your local coffee shop to people watch. Treat yourself to lunch or a museum, or just go for a long walk in your city. With a $50 budget, you can do a lot of living.
Okay, we’ve covered a lot here, but tell me, what little investments have made a big difference in your blogging journey?