10 Blog Investments Under $100

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.

 

2. Mic
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.

 

4. Tripod
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.

 

5. MailChimp
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.

 

9. Webhost
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.

 

 

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12 Responses

  1. Erin

    This was a great list of must haves! I have had a USB mic on my list for quite some time now. You can really hear the difference when using a mic vs. the built-in camera mic.

    Reply
  2. Beth

    I have been contemplating a remote for some time now. This post is definitely motivating me to go out and buy it!

    Reply
  3. Eli

    I am making the transition to self hosting very soon, and I got an awesome deal on Black Friday with GoDaddy so I’m excited about that.

    You can get an even cheaper remote on ebay for like $3, sometimes with free shipping. Just make sure it’s compatible with your camera.

    Some of the things are useful for some bloggers and not others, the mail chimp and mic would not be useful for me or those that do not do videos or send out mass emails.

    Definitely get yourself a tripod!

    Again with ebay, you may be able to find a really good lens to upgrade to on ebay for a great price (shop around and wait for the right bid).

    You can also get a photo hosting account like Flickr pro for $25 and have better control of your photos than uploading them to wordpress or blogger.

    This website also has all kinds of cool photo stuff for pretty good prices

    http://photojojo.com/store/?categories

    Reply
  4. LUXCAT

    I am in agreement with a commenter above. I don’t know anyone I can gift any of the above to but a remote for myself seems like a pretty handy tool. Great post!

    Reply
  5. FashionistaNYC

    @IFB — When you put your logo and text on the videos you have been posting on IFB TV are you using Final Cut Express? If so do you find it to be user-friendly?

    Thanks

    Sheryl

    Reply
    • Nando

      I’ve been using the newest version, Final Cut Pro X. It would’ve made this list but it’s $300. Final Cut Express has the architecture of the old FCP7 so it’s definitely a little more complicated than the one I’ve been using and takes some major getting used to. If you’re willing to make the investment Final Cut Pro X is absolutely wonderful; it’s easy and quick. That being said, it’s honestly probably not quite as robust as Final Cut Express, at least not yet anyway; it’s a new program though so I expect it’ll get fleshed out more and more in future updates.

      Reply
  6. kimepooh

    These are all great “gift” ideas for bloggers – and for myself! Definitely sharing this list 🙂

    Reply
  7. Stephanie

    Thank you so much for this article! It was so helpful! I’ve only been blogging for a few months and am always looking for ways to learn more and constantly improve my site, and some of these tools will be essential for me! Looks like I’ve got some more wishes for my Christmas list! haha! Thanks again! 🙂

    Reply
  8. Ebeth

    Such a good idea for an article. A couple notes I had while reading:

    1. Gorillapods are sweet, but knockoffs are all over eBay and they are redonkulously cheap.

    2. I can attest to the fact that mid-range Canons, etc. are very easily breakable… If you want one, get a hard case for it too. I had a Canon PowerShot SX120 IS and LOOOVED it. The lens was amazing, the pictures were crisp and vibrant, and it was super portable. Unfortunately, it opened in my bag and stripped the gears in the lens. Womp. Hard case would have saved my butt.

    3. You’ve inspired me to get a camera remote! As understanding as my boyfriend is, he’s not a machine, and a remote… well… is! The only problem would be hiding the remote in your hand for the photo… Thoughts?

    Reply
  9. Jennifer

    I just bought a remote for my camera, best purchase ever. It was worth the $20 since now I don’t have to track someone down when I need to shoot my outfit.

    Reply