One of my favorite parts of growing a blog has been how affordable it is. When I started blogging years ago, I had NO budget to put toward my blog. It was just a hobby! As my blog has grown, along with my blogging income, so has the amount of money I’ve been able to put back into my blog. Luckily, blogging as a hobby is still as expensive or affordable as you want it to be. If you’re interested in continuing to grow your blog, here are a few blog investments I recommend making.
There are affiliate links in this post, meaning I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, see my full disclosure policy here.
BLOG INVESTMENTS TO MAKE
Whether you’re planning to blog to make money or just as a hobby, I recommend purchasing your domain name. It’s a small investment, less than $15 per year, and buying it from the get-go will ensure that when the time comes that you do want to monetize your blog, you aren’t stuck in a situation where someone else has purchased your domain.
You can easily purchase your domain when you purchase your hosting. I purchase all of my domains through blog host – Siteground!
Cost: $10-$15 / Year
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when starting your blog is what hosting company you will choose. Luckily hosting is SUPER affordable when you’re just starting out!
My favorite hosting company and the one I currently use is Siteground. My site has literally never gone down since I started using their services, their customer service is amazing, and they were super helpful when I changed domain names and switched my site to them from a different host. Plus, Siteground plans start at $3.95, which is a steal!
For a full tutorial about how to get set up with Siteground, check out my post on how to start a blog.
Cost: $3.95 / Month
Theme and Design
Once you have purchased your domain, the next big step is setting up your blog design. The cost of this is really open-ended. Yes, there are free blog designs. There are also people who spend thousands of dollars having a design custom-made. But if you’re just starting out, you probably aren’t ready to make that leap quite yet!
Luckily, there are SO many affordable options when it comes to blog design!
On my blog, I use the Divi Theme by Elegant Themes. I’ve used quite a few different themes over the years. The reason I ultimately chose Divi is how customizable and easy to use it is. Everything is drag and drop, meaning even someone who doesn’t understand code (like me) can totally customize their site however they want it.
Elegant Themes has TONS of tutorials on their website to set up your own blog with the Divi Theme (there is a bit of a learning curve). I’m planning to do a post at a later time sharing how I use it to create my site!
The Divi Theme does cost $89 / year (or $249 for lifetime access), and I know many beginners aren’t going to be interested in paying that much. Here are a couple of my favorite sources for more affordable themes:
Cost: Free – $250
Email Marketing Platform
Once you begin to gain a following on your blog, you’ll definitely want to be collecting their email addresses! This is a great way of staying in touch with your biggest fans, especially when you start monetizing your blog. Like the other expenses we’ve discussed, there are both free and paid options available for email marketing.
If you’re not ready to pay for an email service provider from the beginning, I recommend MailChimp. This is the tool I used for the first year and a half of blogging, and it’s free up to 2,000 subscribers.
If you’re willing to spend a bit of money right away, I recommend ConvertKit. ConvertKit was built by bloggers for bloggers, so the company understands exactly what we need from an email service provider. It’s SO easy to use and has really powerful automation, tagging, and segmenting capabilities which make it SO easy to communicate with your audience in the right way.
ConvertKit pricing is based on the number of subscribers, and the first tier is $29.
Cost: Free – $29 / Month
Social Media Scheduling
Promoting your blog on social media is super important. However, you’ll quickly learn that it can be SUPER time-consuming. Honestly, it could be a full-time job all in itself!
Because of that, I’m SO grateful there are scheduling tools that can help lessen the burden. I save SO much time by using tools to schedule and automate my social media posts. Here are some of my favorites:
- Tailwind – If you can only afford to invest in one tool to help you grow your blog, make it this one. Tailwind is the tool I use to schedule pins on Pinterest. It’s super easy to use – check out my full tutorial here! Basically, it takes me about an hour to schedule all of my pins for an entire month, making the small investment MORE than worth it. Plus you can sign up for your free Tailwind trial here to figure out if it works for you before you commit!
- SmarterQueue – It’s taken me a while to find the perfect scheduling tool for Facebook and Twitter, and I finally found it with SmarterQueue. Not only can I easily schedule social media posts to promote my latest blog post, but they also have evergreen promotion. Meaning I can add a post once, and it will share it again and again! This is perfect for getting old content in front of your audience again. Plus SmarterQueue is WAY cheaper than most of the other evergreen scheduling tools (it’s only $19.99/month) and you can try it for free before you commit!
- Planoly – If you’ve been blogging a while, you know that Instagram is SUPER important these days. Planoly is by far my favorite tool for keeping up with Instagram. They have a drag and drop scheduler so you can figure out the best order for your Instagram posts. Then you can write your captions on the app OR on your desktop. The best part is, you can now schedule IG posts to go live automatically with Planoly, rather than getting a notification and having to still manually post! Planoly is great because it’s free as long as you’re sharing fewer than 30 posts per month, and still super affordable if you’re sharing more than that.
If you can only afford to invest in ONE social media tool, I would go with Tailwind. Pinterest has HUGE potential for blog traffic, and I think automating that is the most important.
Cost: $10 / Month – $40 / Month
When you first start blogging, you’ll spend a lot of time on trial and error and educating yourself with free resources you find online. Once you start growing and are ready to skyrocket your traffic and start monetizing, it may be worth it to invest in some education to help you do that. The options are literally endless, but here are a few of my favorites.
Traffic Transformation: I’ve read countless articles and eBooks over the years that have promised the magic formula for growing your blog traffic, and very few shared any new strategies or ideas with me. Traffic Transformation, however, truly introduced me to some new ideas that I hadn’t tried before. The author shares the best strategies she used to bring her blog traffic from 17,000 to over 450,000 in just a matter of months, and I can honestly say I noticed a difference in my traffic when I implemented the strategies myself. If you’re going to invest in one product to help you grow your traffic, especially if you’re in the relatively early stages of blogging, this is definitely the one to go with!
Strategies Worth Sharing: When it comes to social media marketing, Facebook is definitely the toughest nut to crack for most bloggers. It seems that no matter what you do, the algorithms keep changing to make it harder and harder to get your posts to show up in people’s news feeds. Strategies Worth Sharing is the one eBook I’ve found that has really seemed to make a difference in my Facebook success. I know quite a few other bloggers, including pretty darn successful ones, who have also read the book and have had amazing results.
Pinning Perfect: Out of all of the Pinterest eBooks and course I’ve seen online, Pinning Perfect is definitely my favorite! It gets into the nitty-gritty of creating a Pinterest strategy, down to exactly how many pins to share each, and what the ratio should be of your own pins versus those from other sites. It takes a bit of a time investment to make it through the course and implement the strategies, but almost no time at all to keep them going once you’ve got them up and running!
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing: This is one of my favorite blogging resources that I have purchased. For my first couple of years blogging, I didn’t dive into affiliate marketing at all. But I knew that lots of bloggers were making great money with affiliates, so I knew it was something I could and should do as well. Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is jam-packed with information, and the blogger who created it makes over $100,000 per month with her blog, so you know her strategies work!
Six Figure Blogger: When you’re ready to start creating and selling your own products (which I 100% recommend at some point in your blogging journey), this course is definitely for you. This course walks you through creating and selling digital products online and, as the name suggests, making six figures from your blog. FYI – The people who created Six Figure Blogger make six figures per MONTH on their blogs using the strategies in this course!
When it comes down to it, time is the most important investment you’ll make for your blog. This includes the time spent research and educating yourself, the time spent planning and designing your site, the time spent writing and promoting content, and the time spent networking with other bloggers.
Luckily, many of the investments I listed above will allow you more time to focus on parts of blogging that will truly help exponentially grow your traffic. Remember, you can make more money. You can NOT make more time!
BEFORE YOU GO
Now that we’ve made it through that entire list, you may be even more intimidated than you were before. I know, it seems like you could spend an endless amount of money building your blog – which you could! But I’m hoping the other takeaway you got from that list is that so many of these expenses are optional and can be invested in later when you’re making money. Just start small with the absolute necessities and work your way up as your blog gains traction. I will all be worth it in the end!
P.S. If you’re ready to start or grow your blog, here are some blogging resources I recommend checking out: