Splurge vs. Save: Spending Advice From Blogging Experts
By: Julia DiNardo

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By Julia DiNardo of Fashion Pulse Daily

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As bloggers, we are extremely fortunate that our business is supported by so many amazing tools and companies that offer services completely gratis. Everything from having your site hosted to creating a newsletter feed and using various forms of social media, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest can all be utilized without spending a single penny. Pretty amazing, right? With all of the free options, however, there may come a time when you decide to take your blog to the next level and may need a larger range of choices that can only be provided by shelling out some extra bucks.

For me, when I started to manage multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as bring on interns and freelancers to help, I needed something to organize, schedule, provide stats, and streamline the process, so I started paying $5.99 per month for Hootsuite. Mind you, when I started using it, it was free, so once the company kicked in a monthly fee, I was already hooked and loyal to their platform, deciding that it would be easier to just stick with them, instead of browsing around for similar services that may still be free. I also felt like I was able to take advantage of the system thus far, and if it’s a service I truly appreciate and find useful, I wouldn’t mind  paying a few dollars for it.

Below I’ve shared some fellow blogger buddies’ responses in order to gauge where members of the blogging community send their dollars when it comes to digital tools and devices, and in which regard they decide the good old free version of things is totally sufficient.

Invest in a Good Piece of Equipment

 

 Katy Atlas of Sugarlaws says:

“A good SLR is the best investment you can make in a fashion blog, and if you’re successful, it will pay for itself over and over. I also spent the first year of my blog using those $7/month hosting services and having constant outages every time my traffic peaked or I posted a video.  Since then, I’ve been very happy with Media Temple’s shared grid service, which is only about $20 a month.

Get An Extra Set of Hands

 

Felicia Walker Benson of ThisThatBeauty says:

“I currently use WordPress and like the functionality, and in terms of investing dollars into “blogging-related equipment,” I have invested very little to-date and utilize low, to no-cost services. I feel my resources are better spent on actual administrative and editorial support. For example, I have an Associate Editor who helps to manage TTB writers, wrangle assignments, field emails and inquiries, and helps oversee my editorial calendar. She’s worth every penny!”

Consider a Premium Newsletter

 

Karen Klopp, of What2WearWhere says:

“In picking and choosing what to spend our time and money on, I have been very pleased with Scribe SEO, a WordPress plugin that is very helpful with search engine optimization, and Mailchimp, a paid online service for our our weekly e-newsletters. Of course, the success or failure of any blog is dependent on its content and ability to engage its audience, so a major portion of my time is spent on fresh and lively posts.”

Gauge Your Social Media Needs

 

Aly Walansky of ALittleAlytude says:

“I use WordPress, and I do all the admin stuff myself. My brother works in IT so if I ever have any drama, I am lucky enough to have him to turn to. I also do TONS of Twitter parties, and I’ve considered investing in some of the Twitter platforms with tons of bells and whistles – but honestly, my Tweetdeck (FREE), has always been just fine for me – even when I’ve been managing six different twitter accounts at once!”

 

Where do you splurge, or save, when it comes to your blog?

Comments

  1. Avatar of Lauren - Slowburn Fastburn

    My biggest investment has been my SLR, but I don’t know what I would do without it! I definitely would not be where I am now if I was shooting on my old point and shoot. My biggest problem is clothes. I spend ridiculous amounts of money on new clothes (even though I do get some pieces for free), and tell myself that it is “my job” to buy new clothes. I have so much that I haven’t even shot yet. As far as tech goes, I pay $10/yr to google for site hosting and that’s that. I’m super happy with it!

    lauren
    http://slowburnfastburn.com

  2. Avatar of Rhythm and Ruffle

    Nice post! I think an extra set of hands can really help – of course, this for me would happen well into the future.

    http://rhythmandruffle.com <3

  3. Great & insightful article! Thanks for sharing some tips by other bloggers as well as I love hearing about what works well for others.

  4. Avatar of Nasreen
    Nasreen says:

    my biggest investment is going to be my SLR. Saving right now and I can’t wait for the pay-off but then I keep thinking about the future when I’ll want a better one but I’ll save those worries for later :P

    http://lazyobsession.blogspot.ie/2012/12/12-days-of-christmas-jumpers.html

  5. Avatar of MonicaP
    MonicaP says:

    The largest investment was the Nikon DLSR camera.

    My next biggest investment is time. How to create a great blog when I’m at work for 8 hrs :-(

    Monica
    http://www.pear-shaped-gal.com/

  6. Monica – you can do it!!! I work full time too! It is hard, but the rewards are greeat; I essentially use any ‘free time’ that I would allot for watching TV or anything of that nature, and work on my site instead.

  7. Avatar of Fash McQueen
    Fash McQueen says:

    Great post, thanks. Finding the time to perfect the blog is hard, we just have to keep at it, every little minute you spend on it, make it count. xoxo

  8. Avatar of arash_mazinani

    I always think it’s a misconception you need a DSLR for a fashion blog. Maybe a personal style blog where you’re posts are heavily featuring outfit photos. But for a fashion blog, really?

    • Avatar of Julia Dinardo
      Julia says:

      Hi Arash,
      Yes, I totally know what you mean; I personally don’t have a DSLR, but I still bought a really nice camera to use for my site for all types of photos. I think that regardless of doing outfit photos/having a personal style blog or not, readers really appreciate clear, nice, self-shot photos, even if its just of some products you are reviewing, which can add a further personal interaction with that you’re talking about, instead of using a pulled pic from the website or from the PR firm. That’s just my two cents!

      • Yeah I know what you mean and totally appreciate great photos as well. I’ve seen some amazing pictures taken with an iPhone 4S for example, to the point where I’ve questioned whether or not it was taken with a phone.
        I’d much rather learn about photography and try and push the technology I already have to get the most out of it rather than spending £500+ on a camera that doesn’t necessarily guarantee you great photos.

        If you’re wanting to run your blog as a business then fair enough it’s an investment that you’ll hopefully see a return on one day. But I questions whether dropping £500+ on a camera for someone that consider’s their blog a hobby is really necessary.

  9. Avatar of Travelle McFarland

    Having my website professionally designed this month with custom web header. It will totally be worth the $500. Also, hoping to upgrade to a full-frame DSLR within the month or so, including a wireless adapter (for higher quality Instagram and twitter photos) and flash with difusser.

    I am really hoping to be able to invest soon into a vintage medium format camera, for high quality shoots that require a more editorial-magazine feel.

What do you think?