So, you wanna start a blog, eh? Congratulations! In a world that moves at lightning speed, it’s nice to have a platform where you can make a name for yourself and be heard. But before you get started, we’d like to suggest a few things.
Although everybody likes freebies, investing in your blog is investing in yourself. We think you deserve the best and you should too! That’s why we’re going over the five vital investments you should make for your blog.
Buy a Domain Name
After months of poring over your potential blog name list, you’ve finally found the one. Now what? The first investment you should make for your blog is purchasing a domain name. While there are free domains available, we’d highly suggest otherwise. Purchasing a domain name won’t break the bank and with it, comes credibility from your website URL alone. Let’s say you’ve carefully come up with the ever so eloquent name, BlahBlahBlah. If you don’t purchase a domain name, your URL will be something along the lines of BlahBlahBlah.wordpress.com. By purchasing a domain name, you take out the ‘wordpress’ or whatever platform you use. Instead, your URL will be BlahBlahBlah.com. Clean, isn’t it? Even though purchasing a domain name isn’t free, it’s more professional and easier for people to search for your blog.
‘Free’ runs the risk of having your site look like all the other people who use the free options
Self-Host Your Blog
The second thing you should definitely invest in is self-hosting. We’ve come to find that WordPress.org (.org not .com! Don’t know the difference? Read our ‘Choosing A Blogging Platform’ post) is a good platform to self-host on. Once you have your platform, you can purchase a web hosting package through sites like GoDaddy and Bluehost. Both of these sites are inexpensive (the most basic starter packages for around $6/month) and are perfect for self-hosting blogs. By self-hosting, you have more storage and more freedom to create your site the way you want to.
Purchase a Theme
They say you get what you pay for and in certain cases, the saying is true. Don’t get us wrong. There are good, functional free themes available for use, but ‘free’ runs the risk of having your site look like all the other people who use the free options. Themes are aplenty and finding one you like shouldn’t be too difficult. Check for functionality, customization, and how easy it is to navigate and edit. Another thing to consider is hiring a developer. If you’re not the best at coding and want to achieve a specific look, hiring a developer is a possible solution. Depending on how experienced the developer is and how much or how intricate your demands are, hiring a developer can be on the pricier side. However, if your communication is good and things run smoothly between you, the finished product should be well worth the investment.
Invest in a Camera
Another investment you should make for your blog is a good camera. While smartphones have seriously stepped up their game in the camera department, nothing beats the quality of a DSLR. Some good starter cameras we talk about in our workshops are the Canon rebels (T3i, T5i, SL1) and Nikon D3200, 3300, 5500, 5300, 5200 series cameras. Remember to do your research and find a camera that best fits your budget and your current and future blogging goals. Even if you’re solely a blogger online, if you think video blogging might be an option in your future, you may want to consider cameras that have video recording options. For more in-depth info about cameras, be sure on the look out for our DSLR webinar!
Take Your Time
While everything we’ve mentioned requires some monetary investment, this next topic is free. What is this magical freebie? Time. Don’t be fooled. Although this investment is free, it can be one the hardest things to input. Blogging isn’t a haphazardly written jumble of words on a screen. On the contrary, all the components of a good blog have been thoughtfully orchestrated and blended together. The same goes for pictures. A good picture doesn’t just ‘happen.’ It takes planning, styling, and a gallery of similar shots to find that one good photo. While time is free, it’s limited. So spend it wisely and know that an amazing blog has a surprisingly large amount of time invested into it.
We know it’s easy to want to find all things free and start your blog from there. But if you’re serious and want to get a solid footing into the world of blogging, then we’d suggest these five investments. Years down the road when you look back at your blogging success, you’ll be happy you made the right investments from the very start. Invest in your blog, invest in yourself, and as always, good luck!