Who and what to invest in when it comes to your blog.

Photos by Ami Ford

There are plenty of blog posts and articles out there telling you what you should and shouldn’t invest in when it comes to your blog. Old and new bloggers alike are on the constant hunt for the answers to burning questions such as, “What does it take to up my blogging game?” or “How can I make my blog stand out?” Whilst there is no simple way to success – and everyone defines ‘success’ differently -, I’ve gathered a few things which I reckon are worth the investment – and often, they’re not even that expensive.

 

Your own domain
Buying your own domain (e.g. yourname.co.uk or yourname.com) is valuable for many reasons. One, it looks a lot more professional than a URL which says, “yourname.blogspot.com”. It gives you more authority, authenticity and professionalism. And two, most brands expect you to have your own domain before they even consider working with you. Bonus points if you can make all your social media handles the same, too.

Costs: About £13 per year for a .co.uk-domain with GoDaddy, which is where I bought my domain from. I also host my business email address there, which cost me about £35 for one year and one user.

 

A custom design
Whether you’re with Blogger, WordPress, Squarespace or any other blogging platform, your design is an important visual factor. It can represent you as a person, show what your blog is about, and it is generally the first visual impression your readers are greeted with. This is both regarding your logo and the overall appearance, e.g. colours, fonts, effects etc. If you’re unsure where to start, have a look at your favourite bloggers’ websites: What do you like about them in terms of design? Generally, I find it super important that the blog is easy to navigate, social handles are easy to find, and it doesn’t appear too cluttered. If you’re with Blogger or WordPress, I can’t recommend Phil from pipdig enough – he offers an extensive range of designs, which you can later customise, too.

Costs: With pipdig, Blogger themes start at £29, WordPress themes at £39. He also offers a Blogger to WordPress migration service, which is amazing, for £125 including a free WordPress design.

 

A photographer
Hear me out with this one. I’m not saying you need to hire a professional photographer who will exclusively take all your photos for you. But I personally think that imagery is gaining more and more importance in the bloggersphere, and whilst it’s nice to style and photograph your own flatlay, document a recipe or show your favourite attractions in your hometown, I find it a lot easier to work with a photographer or fellow blogger when it comes to outfit pictures. I have tried the whole tripod-and-selftimer-hog in the past, but it’s only led to me feeling self-conscious, body-conscious and unhappy with myself. Working with someone who knows the general jist of blog photography is an absolute game-changer!

Costs: From my experience, rates start at around £40-£50 per hour. Or get together with your blogging pals and shoot each other’s photos for free!

 

Blogosphere Magazine
You might have seen a few sponsored Blogosphere Magazine posts floating around lately – this is not one of them. However, I’m a big fan of the team, concept and actual magazine, and I find it incredibly useful for my own blog. Not only does it include fantastic recommendations for travel, lifestyle, beauty or fitness blogs in every issue, it also features your favourite bloggers and YouTubers in insightful interviews and great photography. Last December’s issue saw Casey Neistat on the cover – I mean, that’s pretty epic if you ask me. They also throw events a couple of times a year, which are always really well done and are an amazing opportunity for networking!

Costs: A subscription is £30 per year and includes exclusive subscriber rewards as well as early delivery of every new issue. Otherwise, you can find the issues in bigger WH Smith stores for £8 each (published quarterly). Find out more about them here.

 

Grammarly
I debated whether or not to include this one, but I found it really useful since I got it. Being a writer and having studied and taught languages, I (hopefully) know a thing or two when it comes to grammar and spelling, but I am not a walking encyclopedia and I make mistakes. Grammarly is a browser extension which spots those mistakes for me and assists to make any text sound and look that little bit more professional and, well, correct.

Costs: There is a free version, which I use and find completely sufficient, but there is the option to upgrade, which costs £21.64 a month if you pay monthly, £14.44 a month if you pay quarterly, and £8.43 a month if you pay annually. Business plans are also available. You can also install Grammarly for Windows and Microsoft Office, which allows the programme to double-check anything you write on your computer, too.

What would you say – which areas are worth the investment in your opinion?

’til next time x

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