Successful blogs require love, passion, tenacity, and…um…well…money.
When I started Pushing Social I swore I wouldn’t spend a dime on it. I thought “It’s a blog! The software is free so why would I ever spend a dime on it?” I remember congratulating myself for my hard-nosed approach to social media. Until reality set in.
My free theme didn’t work with important plugins. I spent hours learning CSS, HTML, PHP, and MySQL to hack together a shoddy solution. Over time, my hacks transformed my labor of love into a Frankenblog that shouted “Amateur Hour!”
Then I decided to skimp on hosting. That “smart” decision resulted in an embarrassing outage when Brian Clark sent over 2,000 people to my blog in 60 minutes. As my blog grew, the traffic would bring it down at the worse moments.
Over the last 2 years, I’ve lost about 125 hours fixing problems caused by being stingy. Conservatively I flushed $12,500 down the toilet trying to save $400. Stupid right?
Don’t make the same mistake.
Is It Time to Invest in Your Blog?
If your blog is published solely for personal reasons then put away your wallet, jump on blogspot and go to town. But if you hope to impress, persuade, teach, or sell anything to your readers then you will need to invest money.
There are three scenarios where investment is worth considering:
Your blog is your marketing strategy
If you want your readers to hand over money then invest in a blog that looks great and operates smoothly. Readers view a professional, attractive and well-organized blog as evidence of your approach and quality.
Transitioning from hobby to business
It’s easier to tolerate your blog’s “quirkiness” when you are writing for personal satisfaction. However, when you have little time to spend on blog chores, you don’t want to fight with clunky admin, cryptic coding, and cheap workarounds.
Your blog will also lay the foundation for future sales and relationship building. Your blog will need to handle new features like landing pages, processing payments, and other business tasks. You don’t want to stitch this stuff together by hand. Instead, the wise move is to get expert help and purchase well-designed blog-ready apps.
Lack of Skill or Expertise
Get help when you’ve exhausted your knowledge base and have to spend more time learning a new skill. As I mentioned earlier, wasting thousands of dollars to save a few bucks is foolish. Add the fact that your temporary fixes will be obsolete within weeks and it’s easy to see the benefit of professional help.
Time is a perishable resource; focus yours on writing great content, building relationships, networking, and outfoxing your competition not wrestling with optin-forms or deciphering conflicting advice.
Where Should You Invest?
Your investment choices should be guided by your goals.
If you are focused on:
Awareness and Credibility then investing in the design and layout of your blog will insure that you are making a good first impression with new visitors.
Sales and Leads need a seamless process for turning visitors into customers. Your blog’s landing pages need to be professionally designed and versatile. Ideally your landing pages should effortlessly handle customized layouts, password protection, payment processing, and tracking.
Content Creation isn’t easy and requires an excellent game plan and flawless execution. You will need guidance on selecting the right audience, brainstorming topics, and designing an editorial calendar that meets your goals. Keyword research tools are also important to zero in hidden pockets of interest overlooked by competitors.
Tackle the problems that are eating time and costing you money. Challenges like poor traffic, low email subscriptions, poorly written content, and 3rd-grader design should be handled immediately.
How Much Should You Invest?
First never invest money you don’t have.
Find an investor, cut an expense, get a second job, or turn a hobby into a service before you run up a credit card. Your blog isn’t worth getting the lights turned off.
Once you have the cash use these three scenarios to decide your budget:
#1: Are you delegating work to free up time?
Take the time you are currently spending and multiply it by your hourly rate. This will tell you how much money you are wasting now. Consider investing up to this number.
Do you need to hire a specialist for a specific project?
These are usually flat-rate projects like design, writing, proofreading, or video editing. Like anything, you get what you pay for so save yourself the hassle and get the best person you can afford. Look for recommendations and get multiple quotes to understand price ranges before investing.
Need expert advice and/or coaching?
Determine how much the expertise is worth to you.
Try this simple but effective approach –
Let’s say you want to increase sales from your blog from $1,000 to $2,000 a month. You decide that spending time every month with a content coach would help. This goal is worth $1,000 in added sales a month or $12,000 a year. Calculate how much of this $12,000 is profit. The difference is your budget for expert consulting.
Here’s the decision…
Skimp or succeed? Investing in your blog isn’t an easy decision. I’m here to help. What do you think?[businessblog]