10 Affordable Investments for Better Blogging

10 Affordable Investments for BloggersThroughout 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?

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  1. Such great ideas! I have a friend who does letterpress printing, and she gave me a ‘mate rate’ for printing my business cards which was terrific. I also love the idea of swapping skills, even with your own friends – it’s amazing how much people know when you start asking! xxx

    • Love that you got the hook up for your biz cards! It’s definitely important to use your network and work all your resources!

  2. This is an amazing list! Sharing and revisiting often. xo

    • Thanks so much, I hope it helps!

  3. Such a great post – very helpful and some new ideas that i have not read or thought of before so will definitely be looking more into them 🙂 xx

    Brenda BusyBee

    • Aww I’m glad it was helpful! Thanks for reading 🙂

  4. This may sound weird, but as someone who takes a lot of photos, buying myself flowers every week has made a huge difference. Sometimes I do use them as a prop, but other times they just seem to do my creative mind some good – I look at my desk and there’s already something living on it.
    I agree with the domain name, that has made promoting my blog so much easier, be it on or offline!
    And besides that… time. Just that little bit of time to proof read, and to ask myself if I’m really happy with a post or sharing because it’s a post day. I’ve a long way to go yet, but these are the things that have made me a whole lot happier with my blog!

    • Those are awesome tips, not weird at all! Having fresh flowers around is probably so inspiring 🙂

      • It so is – this week I have some white and purple tulips 😉

  5. Tweeted! I’m going to buy the “Manual App.” Brilliant!

    • Enjoy the app! Let me know how you like it!

      • I couldn’t get the app yet because I need IOS 8 and my iPhone 5s needs 5 gig to load iOS 8, crazy. I will upgrade eventually and get this app for sure!

  6. such a great, informative post! love, love, love!

    • Thanks Liz! I hope it helps!

  7. This is an amazing post, thanks so much for sharing! Definitely pinning so I can come back and review!

    • Thanks Nadia I’m glad it was helpful!

  8. Great post Amber! I have a free month of Skillshare and I’m using it every day. 🙂

    • Lucky you!! That’s awesome!

  9. This has been one of the most helpful posts I’ve ever read! And I agree with all of them! I started organizing my posts, figuring out when to post/what to post, and it helped a lot. I haven’t used Skillshare, but you’d even be amazed at what you can learn on YouTube. Lynda.com is a subscription service that my professors recommend as well- we use that in class a lot.

    • Lynda is awesome!! I’m so glad you found the post helpful!

  10. Great post – I have done most of these already and every tip here improves the overall look and feel of a blog enormously! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    xoxo
    Liv Studios

    • I’m glad that these tips have worked for you!!

  11. aw, thanks so much for the post!

    • Thank you for reading 🙂

  12. I’ve made almost every one of these investments these past few months and it pays off big time! You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a professional looking blog.

    • Absolutely! A little goes a LONG way!

  13. I love the tip about living a life worth blogging and putting aside a bit of money for it. It’s when I’m out and about that I get the best blog ideas.

    • Same here! A change in scenery is always helpful

  14. Wow – this is great! I never knew about the manual app. I just checked it out and it looks amazing and so does skill share! Thanks so much for such an inspirational post!

    Jessica
    the.pyreflies.org

    • I hope those are both helpful in your blogging journey!

  15. These are all great tips. But especially thanks for introducing Skillshare. I always appreciate websites that I can learn new skills from for the blog or not.

    Girl Against Oleka

  16. Thank you so much for these tips!! It really helped me out a lot because I want to improve my blog a lot 🙂

    • I really hope they help!

  17. This is a great post! Thanks for the tips 🙂

    • Thank you!! Glad you enjoyed it!

  18. This is a great list. It’s so easy to forget that, even on a small budget, we can really make huge strides on our burgeoning blogs. Thanks so much for reaffirming that we can – and should – make investments in our projects!

    Unapologize

    • I’m so happy you liked the post, Jessica!

  19. A domain name is one of the biggest game-changers for a blogger. And event bloggers NEED name cards. It is a trend that is still not catching with Malaysian bloggers here.

    http://www.coquettishmish.com

    • A domain definitely changes how readers and other bloggers perceive you!

  20. this is choc full of great ideas…thanks!

    • Woo! Happy to hear that! Let me know how you implement them!

  21. Yes to number 10!! But seriously, this is a great round up Amber! It’s a great reminder that you can still make a big impact on a shoestring budget. Thank you xx

    • Thanks so much, Rachel 🙂 It’s so true –you can do a lot using very little!

  22. Great tips! I actually bought my blog design on Etsy and it was the best thing I could have done; it was so cheap and has made such a big impact on my blog and my inspiration. Totally agree with number 10 too. Loving your blog, looking forward to seeing more of your content.

    Abby | Eärendil

    • Thanks so much, Abby. I’m really glad you enjoyed the post!

    • I hope they’re helpful!

  23. I can’t say enough about having a domain name. Kills me when I see .blogspot or something like that.

    • Yes, that’s the first investment I think bloggers should look into!

  24. These are great tips!

    Where on earth do you find $36 a year hosting?!? I’m paying way more than that! I’d love to be able to invest that money into some of these other resources.

    • Hi Kate! I use a company called Parade Hosting and I’ve been pretty happy with them over the past 2 years. There are lots of smaller, independent hosting companies with amazing price ranges (A Small Orange is another)

  25. I absolutely love this post! Thank you very much!

  26. This was so informative. I’ve read posts that reiterate the same information, but I did learn something new here. Thanks for sharing.

  27. this is a really great list, very helpful.

  28. I just found your blog and I am delighted by all the articles you are covering! Very helpful posts. Thank you for sharing

  29. I found this post like a few months back and read it, found Skillshare and loved it! I visited the website when it was quite new, but couldn’t afford it back then – now I do! And it’s definitely amazing. I’ve taken a few photography classes to improve my photography (I’m self taught) and also a few on creativity and blog planning!

    So thank you for this post! I’m gonna be thinking about more of these in the future – like nr 10 and nr 5!
    http://herbariumet.blogg.se

  30. These are really great tips and all those things are worth investing in. The last one is my favorite! You should definately invest in a life worth blogging 🙂

  31. This list is so helpful! I’m just getting started with my teacher blog and I’ve been struggling with photos and branding. Thanks so much!

    • I’m so glad you found it helpful! I’ll be creating an updated list soon to share 🙂

  32. Wow awesome post!

    My first and best investment was my domain (now I have like 10 of them) and then when I started selfhosting. Now I’m saving up for a blender to start making smoothies, both for me and my fitness blog 😉

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