I’m a strong believer of proverb “Money makes money“. You need to spend money to make money. Be it blogging or any business, money which you spend is always an investment. We all know, blogging is also a business, if you are making money and if you are not doing anything to promote, grow your blog, you are not doing justification with your blog business. To start a blog, there are few initial investments, which are necessary but after a time, you need to do few things to take your blog to next level.
Few years back, when ShoutMeLoud was growing, and I had enough money to spend on my blog growth, I was stuck. I had no idea, where should I start from. I had a handful of money, and I wanted to invest it on the best ways possible. That’s like 2 years back, and since then I have spent money on daily basis, and some of them are still giving me best return of the investment. If you are one of those blogger, who is working hard on your blog and now looking to take your blog to next level, here are few ideas which will help you to grow your blog.
Spend money to make money
Your Blog design and Theme:
I have always focused on getting the best design for your blog. There are many good WordPress premium theme clubs like Elegant themes, Woothemes which offers great design at a cheap price. Though the problem with these designs are, they are used on hundreds of blog. Being premium doesn’t mean you have a unique design. I have a license of almost all the premium theme clubs, but I know the best design is when you have a custom design. A custom designed theme will help you to give a unique identity to your blog. Doesn’t matter how great and amazing your content is, but without a good blog design, your content is useless. Think it like ” A good music playing on a very bad speakers”.
You can always hire a WordPress theme designer, and get a custom design. My recommendation would be, buy a license of Genesis or Thesis theme, and hire someone to develop a custom skin for you. It may cost anywhere close to $400-$2000, but it will worth every penny you spend.
One of the best part about brands are they are easy to remember and recall. When ever it comes to recommend a good blog design in terms of brand, Socialmediaexaminer is always my first choice. They have a unique logo, and an avatar which represent them. You can hire a designer to create a logo, custom Avatar, YouTube page background, Facebook cover, Twitter background to give a unique identity to your blog, social media profiles. You can always find cost-effective designers using freelancing Websites, or if your budget is high, you can always hire a media branding company in your locality.
This is one place, where I still need to work on, and pimp up ShoutMeLoud Social media profiles.
Search Engine optimization:
This is one area where your expenditure is very crucial. It doesn’t matter how great your content is, but you need to work on SEO of your blog to improve the search engine visibility. I have already talked about how WordPress is not SEO friendly, and a DIY guide to optimize your blog, but if you are one of non-technical guy, it’s always a good idea to hire someone to optimize your blog for search engines. When it comes to SEO of a blog, you can always rank higher with great content, but your blog on site SEO should be up to the mark. If you are a solopreneur blogger, a good idea is to learn SEO, and implement stuff of your own.
You can also hire a freelance writer, to guest post on your blog behalf, and create targeted backlinks for you. Do remember, SEO is a slow process and if you will start now, you will be seeing the results later on.
Hire quality writers:
When you go to freelancing websites, you can always find many reasonable writers, who are willing to do research and write content for you. Though, the best of the content comes from people who are experienced. Invest more on hiring those writers, who can write content from the self-experience. I have done it quite a time, and results are always amazing. Problogger jobs portal is a good place to start with.
Good Webhosting to hold your traffic:
So far you have done everything to grow your blog, and now it’s time to sustain the traffic. A good, and reliable Web hosting company will ensure that your blog doesn’t go down at the time to traffic spike. When I started ShoutMeLoud, I started with Dreamhost, moved to Hostgator, Linode, Knownhost and now on SSHVM. It may take time to find your perfect hosting company, but you should always stick to hosting companies which are reliable and will not let your blog down, at the time of maximum exposure. I would recommend you to stick to Hostgator or Bluehost as shared hosting, and if you are looking for VPS, you can opt for Knownhost.
Get an office:
It may sound off topic, but if you are a professional blogger like me, and work from home, a time would come when you need to have an office of your own. You can always setup office at home, but a good idea is to get an office space outside. A good office space will help you to be punctual, and add more professional touch to your blogging career. I have an office at home, but from last few days I’m hunting down for a proper office space, and soon you will be getting a good news from me. Though there are many pros and cons of having a separate office, but it’s a good idea to setup an office outside your home.
Grow your team:
Being a professional blogger is fun, but alone you can’t do all the work. Having a team is always a good idea, imagine an editor doing the final proof-reading work for you, a designer doing the creative work for you, a developer making changes on your blog with time, and a SEO specialist working on constant search engine optimization of your blog. This all becomes a necessity, when you want to move to next level.
I have hired people to work with me from my home-office, but after a while I realize your employee always look for more growth opportunities. That’s where having an office come into the picture, I will talk about this in detail in another article. For now, you can always start with hiring a virtual assistant, or freelancers online. But, to be cost-effective, having in-house team is always a good idea.
These are some of the area where you can consider spending money for your blog growth, and with time you will find more opportunities which will worth your investment. Do let me know, what other places would you spend money to take your blog to next level.