I am a strong believer in the saying “Money makes money“. You need to spend money to make money. Whether we are talking about blogging or about any other business, when you spend money to enhance your business in any way, you are making an investment in that business.
However, if you wish to take your blog to the next level, you need to invest more time, more effort and indeed more money.
A couple of years ago when ShoutMeLoud was really starting to grow, I had money to invest toward the further growth of my blog, but I had no idea where to start. I had a handful of money, and I wanted to invest it in the most beneficial ways possible.
This was two years ago, and since that time I have invested money into my blogging enterprise on a daily basis. Some of these investments continue to give me excellent returns (ROI) .
If you are a hard-working blogger looking to take your blog to the next level, here are a few ideas which will help you to realize that dream:
Spend money to make money:
Your blog’s design and theme:
I have always focused on the importance of obtaining the best design for a blog. There are many good WordPress premium theme clubs such as Elegant themes and Woothemes which offer great yet inexpensive designs. The problem with these designs, however, is that they are used on hundreds of blogs. Choosing a “premium” theme does not mean that you have a unique design.
I have a license to almost all of the premium theme clubs, but I also know that the best design is a custom design. A customized theme allows you to give a unique identity to your blog. Regardless of how amazing your content is, a unique and well-designed blog is important. Without an impressive blog design, your content cannot be appreciated and thus becomes useless. Think of it like this: good music playing on very bad speakers.
You can certainly hire a WordPress theme designer to get a custom design. My recommendation would be to buy a license of the Genesis or the Thesis theme, and hire someone to develop a custom skin for you. This could cost you anywhere from $400 to $2000, but it will worth every penny you spend.
The best thing about brands is the fact that they are easy to recall. When it comes to recommending a good blog design in terms of brand, SocialMedia Examiner is my go-to example. They have a unique logo, and an avatar that is clear and memorable.
You can hire a designer to create a logo and a custom avatar, a YouTube page background, a Facebook cover and a Twitter background to give a unique identity to your blog and your social media profiles.
You can always find cost-effective designers using freelancing websites, or if you have the budget you can hire a media branding company that is local to you.
This is one area that I am still working on – the pimping out of the ShoutMeLoud social media profiles.
Search engine optimization:
This is one area in which your investment is crucial. It doesn’t matter how great your content is, you need to work on the SEO of your blog to improve the search engine visibility.
I have previously written about how WordPress is not SEO friendly, and I have offered a DIY guide to optimize your blog. But if you are not a technically-minded person, it may be a good idea to hire someone to optimize your blog for search engines. Surely your blog can rank higher with great content, but your blog’s SEO needs to be up to the mark in order for search engines to find that great content. If you are a solopreneur blogger, you need to spend time learning good SEO, and implement it on your blog.
Bear in mind that SEO is a slow process, and you need to start now in order to see results in the future.
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. However, the best content comes from people who are experienced, particularly in your niche. It is worth investing a little more money to hire authors who can write content based on their own experience. I have done it quite a few times myself, and results are usually excellent. Problogger jobs portal is a good place to start your search for a good freelance writer.
Good webhosting to hold your traffic:
So far you have done everything you can to contribute to your blog’s growth, and now it’s time to work on sustaining the traffic.
A good, reliable web hosting company will ensure that your blog doesn’t go down in times of high/peak traffic.
It may take time to find your perfect hosting company, but you should only use hosting companies that are reliable and will not let your blog down, especially at times of maximum exposure.
Get an office:
It may sound off topic, but if you are a professional blogger like I am and you work from home, the time will come when you need to have an office of your own. You can certainly set up an office at home, but when you can afford an outside office space, it will serve you well to have one. A good office space helps you to be punctual and productive while adding a professional touch to your blogging career.
I have an office at home, but have recently begun the search for a proper office space, and soon you will be reading good news from me in this regard. While there are pros and cons to working at home, eventually your level of professionalism will grow and you will want to locate a reasonable office space outside of your home base.
Grow your team:
Being a professional blogger is fun, but you can’t do it all alone. Developing a team in tandem with your growth is important. Just imagine the benefits of having an editor proofreading and finalizing your posts for you, a designer doing the creative work, a developer making changes that keep your blog running efficiently and smoothly, and an SEO specialist constantly working on the search engine optimization of your blog. All of this becomes necessary when you want to move to the next level.
I have hired people to work with me from my home office, but after a while I realized that employees also look for growth opportunities. That’s when I began my search for an outside office space, a process which I will address further in a future article.
For now, you can start by hiring a virtual assistant or some freelancers online. In time you will find having an in-house team to be both cost-effective and very good for productivity. This is growth you can look forward to in the future!
These are some of the areas in which you can consider investing some money toward your blog’s growth. With that growth you will find other opportunities worth your investment.
Let me know where you invest your money in an effort to take your blog to next level.
If you find this information useful, do feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.