When you don’t have much money to invest in your blog, it can be difficult to decide what to spend on. For this reason, I decided to write about the best blogging investments you can make when starting a blog from scratch.
In this blog post, I’ll show you exactly which blogging tools are the ones to invest in and, more importantly, which blogging tools you don’t need!
11 best blogging investments for new bloggers
1. Get your own domain name
While the costs of blogging aren’t very high, there are some blogging expenses you should really invest in. The first one is to invest in getting your own domain name.
There is nothing more unprofessional than a blog URL like myblogname.wordpress.com. When you invest in a domain name, you’re taking the first step to building a brand – not just a blog.
While you can register a .com domain name for at Godaddy, I prefer to use Porkbun!
Cost: GoDaddy’s prices are always on the rise. At the time of this writing, a .com domain at Godaddy goes for $13 ($18 for renewal). At Porkbun? Only $8.58 for registration and renewal.
Note: If you’re starting a blog on a shoestring budget and want a free domain name, check out my next suggestion.
2. Build a self-hosted blog with Bluehost
While you can blog from many different blogging platforms like Medium, Wix, there’s only one I recommend: self-hosted using WordPress.
Self-hosted means that you fully own and control your blog. When you blog at other platforms, you have to abide by their rules and are stuck with their limitations.
As far as where to host your blog, I recommend Bluehost to start a blog. As an added bonus, you get a free domain name to go along with your hosting account.
If you already have a blog and are looking for a speed upgrade, try the host I use, WPX.
3. Invest in a premium blog theme like Astra
While there are countless free blog themes to choose from, I recommend investing in a paid blog theme like Astra Pro. It’s the blog theme I use and recommend to my blogging students.
When starting a blog, you don’t want to be hampered by limitations set by free blog themes. While it may not seem like much, the difference between free and paid blog themes is night and day.
When you opt for a free blog theme, your blog ends up looking just like the other thousands (if not millions) of other blogs using that same free theme. Aside from being limited in your design, free themes also don’t come with support, meaning you’re out of luck if you mess something up.
Cost: $59 for Astra Pro
4. Design a professional logo and featured images with Canva Pro
If you want to make a good first impression, it helps to have a professional looking logo. The good news is that you don’t have to pay a graphic designer an exorbitant amount of money to design a logo for you.
With the power of Canva Pro, you (yes you) can design an amazing logo in minutes. Canva has a ton of logo templates to choose from. Simply choose a style you like, change the font, color, and text, and you’re done!
You can also use Canva Pro to create your featured images for your blog. While my featured images aren’t anything to write home about, they were created solely with Canva.
The main benefit (for me) of upgrading to Canva Pro was to use their premium stock images.
Cost: $12.95 per month for Canva Pro
5. Invest in Grammarly to help you write better blog posts
As a new blogger, it can be difficult to justify investing money in your blog when you haven’t made a penny yet. But, as the saying goes, it takes money to make money.
If you want to write high-quality blog content that turns heads and gets serious traffic, you need to invest in a premium writing tool like Grammarly.
While the free version of Grammarly helps with spelling and basic grammar, the pro version is where Grammarly helps take your writing to the next level.
Cost: Grammarly costs $11.66 per month
6. Use ConvertKit to build your email list
I’ve said it before: an email list is a blog’s best friend. That’s because it can be a challenge to convince someone to spend money on your blog. After all, a random blog visitor hardly knows you!
Instead, the much better approach is to pique the reader’s attention with an irresistible free offer (also known as a lead magnet) and then collect their email address.
Once you have their email, you can begin relationship-building. This is where you share valuable tips (and personal anecdotes) to build trust with your readers.
Only after trust is established can you authentically recommend products and services for them to purchase.
Cost: ConvertKit has a free plan (up to 1,000 subscribers) and costs $29 per month to upgrade
7. Invest in Tailwind to grow your Pinterest traffic
We’ve covered a lot so far, but nothing yet as to how to grow your blog traffic.
When you start a blog and don’t yet have a following on social media, it can be difficult to gain some traction. And as far as ranking on Google, good luck on that if your blog is new.
A far better option for new bloggers looking to boost their traffic is to use Pinterest. On Pinterest, you create images (called pins) linking back to your blog posts.
Creating the images is simple using Canva and their free Pinterest templates. As far as publishing them on Pinterest, you’ll want to invest in a tool like Tailwind to do the job for you.
While you can manually add pins to Pinterest, you’re going to want to use Tailwind to do it instead. That’s because Tailwind automatically schedules your pins to post at peak engagement times.
Not only that, but you can schedule your pins months ahead of time.
Finally, you can participate in Tailwind Communities, a place where bloggers from your niche get together to share each other’s content and boost their Pinterest presence.
Cost: Tailwind is $9.99 per month
8. Invest in your blogging education
If you want to earn more, you have to learn more.
Don’t underestimate the value of your blogging education. In business (and in blogging), it helps to “sharpen your saw” if you’re going to cut down a tree.
The reason is simple.
You can either struggle to figure out what the next steps are and waste countless hours on Google search trying to figure it all out. Or, you can take a massive shortcut and take a blogging course that guides you through the process of building a profitable blog step-by-step.
While there are countless blogging courses to choose from, if you’re on a budget I recommend enrolling in my Do Six Figures Bootcamp course.
Cost: Unlike other pricey $500 blogging courses, Do Six Figures Bootcamp is on sale for only $37 (that’s not a typo).
9. Invest in blogging products that solve a specific problem
Your most precious asset is your time. It does you no good to start a blog and realize that it’s taking up all your time. If you’re spending way too much bogged down by the process, it’s time to invest in some shortcuts.
For example, one of the products I sell on my blogging products page are pre-built email marketing templates. This way, instead of staring at a blank screen wondering what to write your email list, you get an entire year’s worth of emails done-for-you!
I also offer a done-for-you sales funnel, complete with an entire automated email sales series to help you sell a digital product to your email list.
Cost: Visit my shop page for $37 products to help you build a sales funnel, write viral headlines, and more.
10. Shopping cart software with SendOwl
If you’re planning on selling something on your blog like ebooks (and you should!), you need a shopping cart tool like SendOwl.
The purpose of a shopping cart tool is to help you collect payment and send the product to the buyer. All of this is done instantly and is fully automated.
You can use a shopping cart tool to create a conversion-optimized shopping experience with bump offers, upsells, and downsells. You can even set up your own affiliate program and have other bloggers promote your products for you.
Cost: Prices start at $9 per month for SendOwl
11. Invest in page speed optimizations
Page speed is more important now than ever. Not only does a fast website mean a good user experience, but Google has now explicitly stated it is a ranking factor (source).
How does your blog stack up? Take a look at Google’s Pagespeed Insights tool to find out.
So, how do you speed up your WordPress blog? There are a few tools at your disposal to help improve page speed.
- WPRocket – The best caching plugin for WordPress. This plugin will combine your requests into one file, then minify them for fast loading.
- ShortPixel – One of the biggest speed hogs on your blog are your images. To properly optimize your images, you’re going to need an image optimizer plugin that compresses and resizes your images.
5 blogging investments you don’t need to make just yet
Not all blogging investments are made the same. Some blogging investments will pay themselves back while others are a complete waste of money.
Here are 5 blogging investments you want to steer clear of, specially if you’re a new blogger!
1. Paid SEO Tool like SEMRush
When you’re a new blogger, you’re going to struggle to get good rankings on Google search. For this reason, it doesn’t make sense for you to invest in a premium SEO tool like SEMRush.
For new bloggers, I recommend installing the free Yoast SEO plugin to make sure your content is following SEO best practices.
Only when your blog is over 1 years old should you consider paying up for an SEO tool.
Cost: $120 per month for SEMRush
2. Premium shopping cart tool like ThriveCart
When it comes to investing in your blog, you don’t need to overspend to get “the best,” especially when there’s other alternatives that do the job just fine.
For this reason, I recommend you avoid using ThriveCart when you’re just starting out. While the shopping cart tool ThriveCart is the industry leader (and who I use!), it is far too expensive to justify the cost when you’re a beginner blogger.
Cost: ThriveCart is $495
3. Social media scheduler like SocialPilot
Earlier, I recommend Tailwind to schedule your Pinterest pins. But as far as using a scheduler for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., I urge you to take a hard pass.
The reason comes down to the little benefit a social media scheduler has for a new blogger.
See, when your blog is new, it doesn’t matter how often you post to social media. Your updates, no matter how witty, will fall into the empty echo chamber of the internet. After all, you don’t yet have an audience to entertain!
Instead, focus your time on writing great content and building your email list to start and worry about keeping up on social once you have an audience who wants to hear from you.
Cost: SocialPilot is $25.50 per month
4. Stock image membership like 123RF
I’m not against purchasing premium stock images. In fact, I encourage it for use in paid ads. But for your blog posts? Unless your blog is about photography or very visual, you can take a pass on this blogging investment.
Another reason to skip paying for stock photos is that you get access to premium stock photos with your Canva Pro membership I recommended getting earlier.
With sites like Pexels and countless other free stock photo sites, there’s no need for new bloggers to pony up the big bucks to buy pictures.
Cost: Stock photos from 123RF go for about $1.19 per photo
5. List-building plugin like ConvertPro
While I’m a big fan of ConvertPro, I can’t recommend it to beginner bloggers. When you’re new to blogging and don’t have much investment cash upfront, you’re going to need to make sure every penny goes to where it can make the biggest impact.
ConvertPro can help you grow your email list by creating high-converting lead magnet designs and using exit lightbox “pop-ups” to get more subscribers, for example.
It also gives you insights as to which form is converting best, which page subscribers are joining from, and even lets you do A/B split testing to help you create designs that convert.
With that said, for a new blogger, all you really need is ConvertKit and their free plugin to add opt-in forms on your blog. So for now, it’s best to put a list building plugin on the kibosh.
Cost: ConvertPro is $99
Wrapping it up
Starting a successful blog doesn’t have to be expensive! You just need to know what blogging tools to invest in and which tools to avoid.
Hopefully, this blog post has helped you find the best blogging investments to help you start making money blogging without breaking the bank! Thanks for reading.
Until next time,