Is it Time for a Blog Shopping Spree?

What’s your favorite thing to spend money on?

The entire inventory of ThinkGeek.com? New shoes?

I’m guessing “blog” might not make that shopping spree list.

But investing in your blog is an investment in it’s success and in the future of your business.

If you’re wondering what I spend money on for my own blog, here’s a list of some of the things I’ve actually purchased:

My Domain + Hosting Space

Blogger.com, WordPress.com, and other free platforms weren’t created for businesses.  They’re great for personal blogs.  But to have full control and freedom, I’ve chosen to pay for my domain and hosting space to run WordPress.org.  It’s less than $10/month through somewhere like HostGator or BlueHost.

Premise

Premise is a plugin that allows you to do cool things with WordPress including build sales pages, opt-in pages, thank you pages, social share pages, create a membership site, sell virtual products and more.  Plus it comes with training on how to improve your copywriting and sample pages so you’ve got a framework to start with when you’re writing.

Find out more here: Get Premise by CopyBlogger

Genesis Framework and Themes

My favorite themes are built on the Genesis Framework.  I’ve been following them since back when they were still called Revolution Themes and they’ve only continued to get better over time.

Mashable says they’re the “best of the best” among premium WordPress Frameworks.  It’s search engine optimized, built with security in mind, and gives me a stable platform to run my site on.

Find out more here: Genesis Themes from StudioPress

CommentLuv Premium

This plugin has done more to encourage commenting and social sharing of my blog posts than any of the other plugins I use.  It also stops spam and helps me get to know my readers.  I wrote about it last week.

It’s on super sale 75% off and around $24 instead of $97, but today is the last day of the sale (Monday, September 3rd, 2012) and it’s also the last day I’ll be giving away the bonus Traffic Explosion training if you purchase through my link (get the details here).

Find out more here: CommentLuv Premium

Licensed Images

Most of the images on my blog are licensed through StockFresh.com.  Why do I pay about $1 each for images when I could search for free ones?  I can find images faster and save time using StockFresh, most of the time.

Here are my favorite image sources:

HootSuite Pro

HootSuite is my favorite tool for managing my social media.  I use it to share RSS feeds of blogs (mine and others) as well as pre-scheduling tweets to promote new posts, and status updates for Facebook and LinkedIn.  By batching these tasks I’m able to get more promotion done in less time.

Find out more here: Get HootSuite (there’s a free version, too!)

Books, eBooks, and Virtual Learning

My bookshelf, computer, and Kindle are filled with resources around blogging — from books on blogging to copywriting to time management and more.  I’m always reading at least one book related to improving some area of my blogging/writing.  I often enroll in virtual workshops and classes as well.

Sometimes the resources are free.  More often, there’s an investment involved.  Is it worth it?  Always.  Because I look for the *one* perspective change or tip that makes my investment worth it.  It’s not about another complete system or following everything someone else does. It’s about finding the little places where I can improve and those little changes can make a giant difference in the results I get.

Not sure where to start?  Try ProBlogger’s 31 Days to Build a Better Blog (or anything else they offer–it’s all excellent).  Or join me for my next Launch Your Blog workshop in October or start through this 51 Ways to Make Your Blog More Awesome checklist.

Your Turn!

My challenge to you this week is to pick one thing and invest in your blog, even if it’s a small investment. Treat your blog like the serious part of your business that it is.

If it’s truly not in your budget to invest financially yet, then invest some of your time in learning something that will move you towards your goals for your business.  Make it a point to work ON your business, not just IN your business.

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9 Comments

  1. I just invested in the CommentLuv premium with it being on sale. I have bought several domain names the past year. I have yet to do the others but HootSuite Pro or Buffer Pro would be next on my list.
    Lisa recently posted… Does Your Logo Make People FEEL Things?My Profile

    1. Oooh Buffer’s a nice one, too. :) And yes, great time to grab CommentLuv. I got it when it came out a year ago, before it hit $97 and I was happy to see it go on sale again.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… 27 Ways to Promote Your WebinarMy Profile

  2. Perfect timing. On my to list is finding images to go with blog posts and quotes. My investment — Stockfresh. I invested in a bundle of credits and now I am ready to rock and roll.
    I have a question. I signed up for Sprout Social (like Hoot Suite) – how do they compare?
    Pam Ahern recently posted… How About A Little Cheese With That WhineMy Profile

    1. Sprout Social is very cool. :) Here’s a pretty recent post I found comparing the two that might be helpful, Pam: http://www.digitalry.com/social-smackdown-sprout-social-vs-hootsuite/
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… What Makes You Remarkable?My Profile

      1. Loved the post (from the link) – thanks! The author did a great job breaking down the benefits of each platform. I am going to stick with Sprout. I primarily chose it because the interface was visually appealing and I felt it was easier to use. Again… thanks for sharing the link.
        Pam Ahern recently posted… How About A Little Cheese With That WhineMy Profile

  3. Hey Michelle

    Some really great tools and resources there. There are a few I haven’t heard of. How much is it to join Premise?

    I am also interested to read that you use StockFresh for your images. I’ve been using a Google site for mine and getting ok images, but it would be good to improve on them, so I will take a look through StockFresh and see what I can find.

    How much do you pay on average for all your blogging needs each month?

    I also want to tell you of a Facebook group which uses tribal marketing through Twitter Feed. It’s totally free and it really enables you to get better results from using it. I didn’t see you listed so I will just tell you the name of the group and next time you’re on Facebook, you can have a look at it. The group is called: Automated Twitter Syndication Tribe. Look it up, join it and use it. It’s a set and forget thing, although you need to check back daily to make sure you are up to date with everyone new and people who are not using it any more.

    I hope that helps.

    Your friend across the pond.

    David
    David Verney recently posted… Twitter Games – How to Have More Fun on TwitterMy Profile

  4. I must confess I spend more money on my business than anything else. My children are all adults and financially independent. I agree with you – it’s important for any business owners to invest in their business. If you don’t spend money to grow your self and your business you will not get your results.

    Having said that – I take advantage of the FREE stuff. Every day or every week there are writers offering the Kindle version of their books for free. And you don’t need a Kindle to take advantage of this. Amazon offers a free Kindle Cloud Reader. YouTube is a great resource for free information. Today’s entrepreneurs have access to more free information than entrepreneurs of the past.

    I use Social Oomph and I’ve fallen in love with Pixlr.com.

    Thanks Michelle for sharing the tip about Pixlr.
    Adalia John recently posted… 10 Inspirational Image Quotes to JumpStart Your CreativityMy Profile

  5. Michelle,

    This is a great list.No matter how much I know, I always learn something new from you.

    Like Adalia, I tend to spend quite a bit on my business, but lately I’ve been grabbing free products.
    Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D. recently posted… What did you do the day you stopped waking up with a smile?My Profile

  6. Well I have spent quite a bit on my new camera and lenses and other than that I spend a great amount of time studying about my business, reading other blogs for inspiration for my current and future projects, working on the projects them selves and working/studying about blogging and everything to do with all the “behind the scenes” of the blog itself.

    Even though my budget does not allow for any major blog shopping spree yet, I do invest something even more precious than money in my opinion, namely TIME. And just so u know, yr site is the 1-st. one I check when troubleshooting anything on the backend of my blog! <3 yr site and youtube vids!

    I do however want to purchase commentluv and hootsuite when the budget allows, so please inform us when they have a new sale!!! {I know u will :) }

    Hey! How come u don't have the "sub to comment reply" plugin on? I would love to get notified if someone replies! Is there a special reason u don't use it?
    Gabi recently posted… Time savers for meal planningMy Profile

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