It goes without saying that you have to spend money to make money, but when you are in the beginning stages of starting your blog or business, how can you tell what to spend it on to give you the most bang for your buck? For this post, I am going to assume that you have made the leap to a self-hosted website with your own custom domain name (and if you haven’t, stop everything and do that now!) but beyond that, here are three fairly small investments that can make an immediate difference in your website.
A Premium Theme
After self hosting and purchasing your domain name, you are now the proud owner of your own website. The problem is, it doesn’t look much different from the millions of other blog or sites out there. If you do not have the money to invest in a web designer, a premium theme that has been designed with your niche or business industry in mind is the next best thing.
When you are looking for a premium theme, take the demo sites for a test drive and put them through their paces. You want to look for ones that are mobile responsive, easy to navigate, and unless you are comfortable with code, ones that have customizable options (colors, layouts, etc) built in.
You also want to take note of how much support the theme publisher offers. You don’t want to spend your hard earned money only to find that you have no support for any issues that arise. Genesis by Studiopress is hands down my favorite premium theme framework and provides the backbone for the every website I build. There are hundreds of quality child themes built on Genesis. For under $100 (which includes lifetime updates and support) you can get the framework, a gorgeous and professional child theme and support that is second to none. It is well worth the investment!
A Good Camera or Premium Stock Photography
The internet is no doubt a visual medium and in order to set yourself apart from the rest of the websites out there, you are going to have to step up your game when it comes to images. If you are planning to take your own pictures for your website (and you should try to if at all possible), a good camera is an essential investment.
You can find a number of basic DSLR cameras and lens kits for under $400 (the Nikon 3100 and the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 are a couple of popular ones) and even if you do nothing more than shoot it on Auto mode, you will see a major difference in the quality of the images that you take.
If photography is definitely not your thing and you would rather use images someone else has taken, then the next best investment is professional photography or premium stock photos. But why should you invest in premium stock photos when now more than ever, there are tons of options for beautiful free stock photos? For the very same reason you invested in a premium theme. You don’t want to be lumped in with the thousands of other sites using the same photos.
Now that is not to say that you should never use free stock photos. I use them a lot of the time myself and I am a photographer. What I am saying though, is that you should build your site around images that reflect YOU and YOUR brand. Those images will have a much greater impact than any of the free options.
Once you have invested in the look and feel of your website, you are going to want to protect that investment by setting up regular backups and security scans. Other than keeping your website updated at all times, there is nothing that can protect your precious investment better than having your site completely backed up and secure.
While there are a few free options for both, it is better to invest the money in premium backups and security so that you have support when things go awry. I use BackupBuddy from iThemes ($80 annually) for my backups and Sucuri Firewall ($10 monthly for the basic plan) for my security scans.Your website is your online home and like any home, you get out of it what you put into it. Click To Tweet
Your website is your online home and like any home, you get out of it what you put into it. The investments that you make for your website will benefit not only you, but your readers/clients as well. Invest wisely and you will reap the benefits. What do you think are the best investments you have ever made for your website? What stops you from investing more in your site? Let me know in the comments below!