Last week I wrote an article with 5 gift ideas for bloggers. These little blog investments might not be the most impressive thing to see when you look into your stocking this year, but hey, ‘tis the season.
1. WordPress Theme
For about $40 to $80 you can purchase a Premium Theme for your WordPress blog. Remember that each theme is about showcasing what’s most essential to your blog: if you have a photo-oriented blog you can get a theme that showcases your photographs; if you have a blog that provides style and fashion news you can invest in a theme that makes your stories neat and easy to read.
Video is becoming more and more important in the blogosphere. These days most every digital camera can shoot video and if you want the best quality for your audience then you’ll need good sound. Mounting a shotgun mic on your camera is usually your best option and they start around $50. If you don’t have a camera that can shoot video and are instead using your laptop to record yourself then you could invest in a USB mic; a very good mic is about $100.
3. Cheap Camera
There is a whole world of cameras under $100 and this Canonis one of the better ones because it shoots HD video. Be careful with these though; cameras in this price range are easily breakable and don’t offer a whole lot of anything special. To be totally honest, if you already have an iPhone 4 or 4S, there is no point investing in one of these.
Since you’ll want all your stills and video to be shake-free, you should consider investing in a tripod. For the more run-and-gun stuff, consider a flexible Gorillapod for around $50. These things are improbably cool; they can be wrapped around just about anything. If you know you’re going to have a bit more room and want something even more stable then I’d consider something a little larger; Manfrotto and Giotto both make excellent tripods under $100. Do be careful though, when you’re buying a tripod; they are one of those things where you get a lot of invisible bang for your buck and the difference between a $50 and $100 one is huge and the difference between a $100 tripod and a $500 tripod is astronomical.
Keep all of your readers up to date with each week’s new posts and information. With programs like MailChimp it’s never been easier to design newsletters and get them sent out to huge numbers of fans with just the click of a button. MailChimp is free to use, up to 2,000 subscribers, and has very moderately priced plans up to 10,000 subscribers.
6. Hootsuite Pro
For only $5.99 a month you can keep track of multiple Twitter accounts with Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, and other monthly reports. This program is perfect for the modern startup social media team that needs to manage multiple accounts at once.
7. Photo Editing Tools for iPad
There are plenty of good photo apps for the iPad. For more professional uses I would suggest something like Adobe Carousel; Carousel both organizes your photos and makes sharing them easy. Carousel is a monthly subscription of $4.99. On the free side of things there is plenty as well: Instagram is an absolute must for any fashion blogger and Photoshop Express is pretty useful as well.
8. Camera Remote
Unless you have an extremely understanding boyfriend or a professional photographer to follow you around everywhere. Costing about $20, these things are a very cheap and easy way to get way better photos of yourself than you could with a self-timer.
Beef up the capabilities and the bandwidth of your site by investing in a webhost. Sites like HostGator.com make the process relatively pain-free and highly affordable.
10. FinalCut Express
This just breaks the $100 mark, coming in at about $110, but FinalCut Express is about all the editing software a blogger could need. This program has all of the tools necessary to make your videos look clean, neat, and shiny.