You finally took the leap and started your own blog! What an exciting time! At the moment that you hit ‘publish’ on your new website, your mind was filled with dreams, hopes and aspirations of having thousands of readers and making so much money that you could ditch the 9-5. Thirty days later and reality set in. Rather than getting a thousand readers in the first month, you got twenty and rather than making hundreds of dollars, you made fifty. The world of blogging wasn’t all that you thought it was going to be. It turned out to be a lot more work than you originally anticipated and from your first month’s earnings, the rewards didn’t feel worth it. At this very moment, you are standing at a crossroads forced to make a critical decision: Do I take my $50 and run or Do I keep moving forward in hopes of making my blogging business a success? Unfortunately a large percentage, some reports say 95%, of bloggers choose option A and quit during their first year. For the 5% that choose to keep moving forward, turning a profit requires hard work and often takes months to accomplish which is why it is extremely vital to your success as a new blogger to use the money that you put into your blog wisely.
Using your money wisely as a new blogger requires you to make investments that give you access to the tools that you need to make your blog successful at the best price. Today we are going to examine 5 tools that every new blogger needs to invest in to achieve the results that they desire.
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Investment #1: WordPress Hosting
As a new blogger you’ve probably spent hours researching ‘How to start a blog’ and you learned that to start a WordPress Blog, you must begin by choosing a web host. Buyer Beware: All WordPress hosting companies are not created equal. Most bloggers advise you to choose Bluehost as your web hosting provider, but as a new blogger this is not a wise choice. Why? Because their customer service SUCKS! If you run into any issues, which the likelihood that you will is high if this is your first time using WordPress, you are likely to experience wait times of up to an hour with Bluehost. Who has time for that? If you’re working a full time job or are a full time mother on top of running your blogging business, then you definitely don’t have time to wait for what feels like all day to get support from your website host.
Wise Investment for WordPress Hosting: Siteground
I highly recommend choosing Siteground to be your WordPress Host. With plans starting as low as $3.95/month and free domain email (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org) included with your plan, it’s a win-win. Not only that, but their customer service is phenomenal. There’s typically no wait time, but even when there is, it’s only a few minutes. I love Siteground and you will too. Check them out for your WordPress hosting needs.
Investment #2: WordPress Theme
Now that you’ve selected a WordPress host, the very next step is to select a theme for your website. There are many, many options for your theme one of which is to hire a web designer to create your website for you. If you’ve thought of hiring someone to develop your website, think again and save that money!
Wise Investment for WordPress Themes: MyThemeShop
The folks over at My Theme Shop have made developing a website as easy as pie. When I started Focus. Implement. Triumph! (FIT), I chose a theme developed by a designer and paid her to customize it with different colors as well as create my logo and site icon. I loved the end product and she was a pleasure to work with, but later I realized that I could have saved a lot of money by doing it myself so that’s exactly what I did with Black Bloggers Network. I used Stencil to create the Black Bloggers Network logo and site icon (Click here to download the FREE Tutorial that teaches you how to create your own logo & site icon) and I purchased the Architect Theme from My Theme Shop to develop the website. Using the Architect Theme was super easy and when I had a question about how to add a Pinterest button to the homepage, I went over to their support forum, listed my question and less than an hour later they sent me the CSS code that I needed to make that adjustment. They are truly awesome and with tons of themes to choose from, they really have something for everyone.
Investment #3: Email Marketing
One of the keys to having a successful blog lies in your email marketing strategy. It is essential to your success to have a procedure in place that allows you to collect email addresses from the day that you launch your blog. This is vital to your success so the decision of which company to use for automated emails is key. When starting FIT, I was the person that I described in the introductory paragraph that was sure that I would hundreds of readers my first month. After reading several reviews about the benefits of tags and sequences I was convinced so I decided go with ConvertKit. I didn’t think that it would be a big deal to spend a whopping $29/month even though I was starting my blog with 0 readers because surely I would reach 1000 quickly, right? Wrong! After the first thirty days, I wanted a refund. I attempted to request one, but soon realized that doing so would cause me to lose all of the emails that I created for the FREE email course 7 Days to Win so I decided to keep it an additional month while I shopped around for another provider.
Wise Investment for Email Marketing: GetResponse
After a lot of research, I stumbled upon the blogging world’s best kept secret, GetResponse. For half the cost of ConvertKit, I was able to continue offering my free email course by setting up automated sequenced messages and was also able to create tags just like I did before. The best part about GetResponse is that in addition to the emails that I send, I’m also able to host webinars with up to 100 attendees using their service. Email marketing and webinars all in one monthly payment, that’s definitely a win-win for any blogger!
Investment #4: Creating Social Media & Website Images
As a new blogger you will learn that the quickest way to grow your monthly views is by writing great content and displaying it through social media. Even though I have found Pinterest to be the best social media source for driving traffic to my website, I have also experienced success with Instagram. Those are definitely my two favorite forms of social media and they both require awesome images. To grow your Instagram and Pinterest followers quickly, you must be able to create images that capture the attention of your audience in a few seconds because that’s all the time you get to make them stop scrolling and click on your profile. As a new blogger, I initially decided to try Canva for all of my imaging needs, but what I found was that they required me to pay $1/image to use anything unique. Considering the fact that I do not have any photography skills of my own, I knew that I would be using stock photos for every image on my website and social media pages and I wanted to use images that weren’t found on every other blog out there. To do that, I wasn’t willing to spend that kind of money ($1/image adds up quickly) so I opted to use another provider that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Wise Investment for Creating Social Media & Website Images: Stencil
Stencil has a bank of 940,000+ stock photos that you are able to use with any of their plans, including the FREE plan. Personally, I utilize the Unlimited Plan ($18/month) to create posts not only for Instagram, but for Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and for all of the images that appear on the Focus. Implement. Triumph! Website and on the Black Bloggers Network website. I create well over 100 images per month (Click here to learn how to create amazing images for social media with this FREE Download) and I’m able to use any picture that I want. $18/month to create hundreds of images is an investment that’s definitely worth it. ***Bonus for Instagram Users: With Stencil you can create images for Instagram and send them as a text message directly to your cell phone. This allows you to post the image to Instagram with no additional steps. Create, Text, Post – It’s that simple with Stencil!
Investment #5: Automated Social Media Posting
As a new blogger what you’ll realize is that the more followers you have on social media, the more visitors you get to your website. In one week I was able to add over 600 followers on Pinterest, but doing so required me to post 25-30 pins per day. What you’ll find is that time is precious in the blogging world so to save time it’s essential that you invest in an automated social media posting provider. One popular choice in the Pinterest world is to use Board Booster. I will admit that the low cost of $5 is very appealing, but you know how the saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for.’ In this case, it’s true and I’ll just leave it at that. They have a free trial. Go ahead, try it out & let me know what you think.
Wise Investment for Automated Social Media Posting: Tailwind
When it comes to saving time in posting on Pinterest, there’s no program out there that beats Tailwind. With Tailwind, I am able to spend 1 hour every Sunday on Stencil creating pins for the week and one additional hour on Tailwind writing descriptions, scheduling pins and going to my Tailwind Tribes to schedule repins and I am finished for the week. That’s 30 pins/day (~200 pins/week) and I’m able to create all of the pins and schedule them in about 2 hours. That’s amazing!
Experience is a good teacher, but an even better teacher is to learn from the advice of others so that you don’t have to waste time and money learning from your own mistakes. Hopefully this article has helped you decide on the best programs to use for your new blogging business or has introduced you to what may be a better alternative if you are an experienced blogger. Tune in next week as I’ll be sharing the #1 Investment that You Can Make as a New Blogger. If you’ve been struggling to earn money in your blogging business, then you’ll definitely want to tune in because this investment will completely turn everything around for you.
See you soon!