Starting a blog doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, it is one of the least expensive business ventures to start. However, if you want to make any money doing it, you’re going to need to invest a little bit. You know the old saying, you gotta spend money to make money. Follow along with my blog must-haves that are worth the splurge and will help you look like you actually know what you’re doing when you launch your blog (spoiler alert: none of us do when we first start out, #fakeittillyamakeit).
Invest in Education About Blogging
Look, I’m mostly a fly by the seat of your pants type of girl. However, you don’t get a wildly successful blog by just winging it (at least most of us don’t). When we start, a lot of us start knowing next to nothing about what it takes to actually run a blog. I know I didn’t. We all have individual strengths and come from a variety of different backgrounds so your job is to find what entry point at which you’re coming to blogging from and invest in courses and books for all the knowledge you don’t have.
For example, if you come from a social media background, chances are you don’t need to invest in a course about how Instagram traffic and how the algorithm works, but maybe you need more knowledge on photography. I come from an academic writing, background, and so writing was one of the easier things for me. However, I knew absolutely nothing about SEO or social media analytics. So I invested in courses.
Now, this does not mean you should buy the most expensive course you can find and think it will mean success. A lot of people selling courses view blogging through a specific lens, and you need to make sure you agree with their point of view. For example, if you buy a course from someone who really believes niches are the only way to succeed but you’re not interested in picking a specific niche, chances are that course won’t be very useful to you.
It is a better idea to find people in your community or area of blogging that you love and respect their work, and see if they offer courses. Their courses will most likely be a much better fit and you get the bonus of supporting a fellow blogger and your community as a whole.
If you buy anything on this list, let it be
Self Hosting doesn’t have to be expensive, in fact, many well-known bloggers start with using Blue Host. I myself use Blue Host. If you used my link to sign up with Blue Host, you get over 50% off and can get hosting for only $3.95 a month. That’s less than a grande Starbucks drink! You also get a FREE domain name! It is an incredible deal for beginners because most of us are broke or transitioning form 9-5 life leaving us strapped for cash.
Disclaimer: I am a Blue Host affiliate and receive a small portion from clicking on my links. They are the only affiliate program I am apart of because I truly believe in their products and the value they offer my audience. I would not
Blue Host has a very supportive team if you should have problems, but I have not had any. I had a few questions when I first opened an account, and I was responded to the same day. There are a lot of other options for hosting but not as economical as Bluehost, that is especially newbie friendly. I have a whole guide on how to set up a
Picking a theme can be an exciting part of your blog because you actually get to see it come to life. The theme you pick is a crucial part of your journey because it is going to be the first thing people see when they click on your site. So, although their are free themes you can choose from, buying a theme will set you apart from other amateur bloggers.
Theme’s range widely in prices. I have seen themes as cheap as $8 and as expensive as $150. When you’re just starting out, I understand not having tons of money to shell out so I suggest looking on websites like Creative Market for cheap WordPress themes.
If you’re on a budget as a general rule, clean and simple is a better look than expensive and busy. You want your website to be as user-friendly as possible. So even if you don’t have the funds to invest in a theme you love or a web designer, go with something clean for a professional look. Depending on the theme you pick you will have all kinds of options for colors and layouts where you can get creative and implement your brand colors and logos.
There are lots of different opinions on logos and whether you should make or buy your own. You can find an extremely affordable logo on websites like Fivver or pre-made on Etsy and Creative Market. You can also make your own for free on Canva. It really depends on your budget. Remember, keep it clean and simple to avoid cringy flashbacks.
Tools like Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom have been extremely beneficial for my blog. All the pros use Lightroom to edit their pictures and create beautiful Instagram feeds as well as stunning images for their blog. Photoshop is also useful for making pins, editing pictures, and creating graphics.
I ended up purchasing a $9.99 a month subscription to adobe cloud and get access to both. I know anything Adobe can be pretty intimidating if you don’t know anything about editing, but it has actually been so fun to learn to use. Having this software was pretty crucial for me
You can upload your plan to include other Adobe products like Illustrator if you find you need it later but I started with this basic package and it really does make a world of a difference when it comes to your photos.
Now, this really depends on what kind of blogger you are. I make travel content and lifestyle design content, so buying a camera was a no-brainer. iPhones can only do so much, and because I was determined for my blog to be a success, I didn’t mind making the investment. However, if you blog about blogging, or focus of budgeting, a camera might not be all that important.
In that case, you should consider what kind of photos you will be using. There are tons of free stock photo images you can use, however, I personally don’t recommend this. Although they are free, I think if you are going to treat your blog as a business, you might want to consider buying stock photos. You can do this on Creative Market as well.
The problem with only using free stock photos is that there are tons of other people using them as well. Free stock photos are a great way to start, but as for building a consistent brand, are not sustainable in the long run in my opinion. So you might as well invest now.
I hope this list helped you navigate the world of blogging a little easier! I know it is overwhelming when there are so many products and courses to buy, but remember to stay authentic to you and your vision and everything else will follow.