One question I recently received about blogging was:
“HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH IN TERMS OF SPENDING FOR A BLOG?”
That’s a difficult question to answer because I don’t know that there’s a pat answer that can answer that. Instead, I imagine that it has more to do with personal preference and vision and risk than anything.
For me, I have to say I have been very cautious when it comes to spending money on my blog. I have lots of time to spare so I invest plenty of that, but money at my household has been tight ever since I launched this blog, so I have been wary of spending money on this that could be used to buy us lunch instead.
When I first started out with my blog, I did have hopes of being able to turn a profit off of it. But I didn’t have a game plan for doing that or know if that would actually happen. So, I made it a point from the beginning that I would not spend any money on the blog until I’d made some.
That’s why for the first year or so, I used a free Photobucket account. Then when I started getting enough views that was pushing me above the free limit, I had made money and could justify buying a pro account. (I do know that you can upload photos for free through Blogger, but I find they load a lot faster by using Photobucket so that’s why I chose that.)
By nature, I am very risk-adverse and not very entrepreneurial unless I can guarantee there will be a pay-off in the end. So I think that explains my approach to spending money on my blog more than anything.
But of course, money isn’t everything. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve spent plenty of time. And time comes with its own costs as well. I’ve spent hours and hours and hours tweaking the HTML coding and design of my blog to get it just right. Whereas I’m still happy to DIY my own design and I have that time to spare, for someone else, they might rather pay a hundred or so dollars to have someone else do all that and only commit a half hour to implementing it.
Much of my blog growth has come from word-of-mouth and slow networking, all of which I didn’t spend a dime to do. But that kind of growth took a long time to come to fruition. I mentioned before in my post about monetizing my blog, that I didn’t make any money from my blog until I’d been writing it for a year and a half.
You may not have that time to wait so spending the money to speed that process up might be very worthwhile for you. It all depends on your circumstances.
If I were to start spending more money to network and promote my blog, though, here are some things I would keep in mind that you might find helpful if you’re interested in doing the same, whether it’s buying advertising or paying someone to design your layout:
- Find vendors who do work that I love. If I’m going to pay money for something, especially design-wise, I don’t think there’s any reason to put down a penny if it’s not great work. There’s tons of mediocre design out there, and so I think it’s worth it to pay more to get quality work. I’m pretty picky about design work (I used to work for a design magazine, after all), so that’s why I end up doing all of my design myself since I can do mediocre work for free!
- Pair up with like-minded bloggers. If I’m going to buy advertising, I am going to target blogs that are very similar to my own but with a much larger audience. Because even if I can buy advertising from a mondo blog, say Pioneer Woman, and get tons of clicks; if those people don’t stick around and become regular readers, then I don’t personally think that was a wise purchase. I want to use my advertising money to find people who are going to fall in love with my blog and stick around.
- Vary my approaches. Since I’m still really green when it comes to spending money on my blog, what I’d do is to vary the ways I spend it to see what pays off. For instance, I might try spending $25 to buy one month’s advertising off of blog A and another $25 from blog B. I’d track to see how many people come from those clicks and tailor future advertising purchases accordingly. I also might spend another $25 to buy a gift card to giveaway on my blog and see how that fares or another $25 to get some HTML work done that needs it desperately. Each purchase is pretty small, but attack the goal of gaining exposure from different aspects, which I believe usually ends up having a cumulative advantage. Then, if one of those tactics isn’t successful, I’ve only put out $25 and can reallocate that money somewhere else in the future.
This post is part of my Better Blogging series, where I respond to some of the most common questions that I receive about blogging. Feel free to read all of the posts in this series here.
The Honest Truth About Making Money With Your Blog
4 Ways I Stay Organized With My Blogging