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 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
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
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 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.
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.