A few years ago I wrote a post titled How Much Should You Be Spending On Blogging where I talked about making practical blog investments based on your income from blogging. Today though, I will be talking about how make investments that work for your blog because we all want to bring in more readers, more customers, and more traffic. Making a smart blog investment can really catapult and help your blog even if it doesn't make financial sense at the moment of purchase.
1. figure out what you want to focus on
It seems like there are literally a million ways you can invest in your blog from blog retreats to courses and workshops to software like Adobe Photoshop. Some investments are more expensive than others and require a bigger time commitment. Figuring out where you want to focus your attention and where you think your audience will grow the most is important. Do an audit of your blog to see what investments might work best for you.
The first big investment I made for my blog as far as courses went was Pinfinite Growth, the amazing course by Melyssa Griffin. I knew that I needed to learn the tricks of the Pinterest trade. When I first started Melyssa Griffin's course I had 1,100 Pinterest followers and I desperately wanted to learn how to utilize those followers to the best of my ability and gain more followers. I knew I could grow my Pinterest even more if I put more thought into it, but I had no idea where to begin.
Since taking that course I am at 3,000+ followers which means that I have gained almost 2,000 followers and I made that investment at the end of December! I have had a Pinterest account since at least my freshman year of college. In 4+ years I had only gained 1,100 followers. In the last 7 months I have gained nearly 2,000. If that is not a sound investment, I don't know what is.
2. Get to know the leaders in that space
The next thing you need to do when you choose a part of your blog that you want to focus on whether that be growing your Pinterest, making better blog graphics, growing your list, etc is to find the leaders in that niche. When I want to learn more about a topic, my first instinct is to Google it or run a Pinterest search for it. Get to know the leaders and take advantage of their free resources. Check out their social media profiles, join their Facebook groups, watch their webinars, read their blogs, sign up for their email lists, etc. This will give you a good feeling about whether or not you should invest in them.
Melyssa Griffin talks about this a lot in her courses and webinars––offering amazing free value only leads you to believe that their paid content will be a million times better. If you love going to their webinars, reading their blog posts, interacting with them in their Facebook groups, etc it's only fitting that you will also love their paid content. If you can get to know them on a deeper level than just reading one blog post the trust will grow and eventually it will make sense for you to want to invest in them as a blogger.
Be cognizant of how you feel about the potential people you want to invest in. You could love them as a presenter/teacher, but not as a blogger. I think the most worrisome combination though is loving them as a blogger, but not as a presenter/teacher. If you go to their free webinars or take an email course with them and you don't love it, don't invest. Even if you adore their blog posts and find the person to be amazing, it doesn't mean their teaching style and you will get along. Be aware of the bias you may have to support them even if you don't get a lot from their presentations and teaching material.
3. Find reviews
Reviews are important. Reviews help you make important decisions about the courses that you choose to take. You can usually easily find reviews on social media, in Facebook communities, on their project landing pages, and more. Reviews are really important to look at in my opinion because it allows you to see what other people who were in your position think of the course. Would they spend the money on the investment all over again, or would they pass? Figuring out those things will help you make the best possible decision.
If you know someone in the blogging world who has taken the course or made the investment that you want to make don't be afraid to ask them about their experiences. Bloggers are usually pretty open about their opinions on a course and you can find out so much information just by messaging back and forth with someone you know well.
Often times course creators and e-book sellers will provide success stories on their website. Do some further research on those success stories. Do they live up to your expectations as far as what the course is concerned with? For instance, if you are selling a course all about Facebook, go check out how the students are doing on their Facebook page. Do they have a highly engaged audience? Do they post a lot of content there? Are they killing the Facebook Live game? Do they totally have thousands of likes on their page? While you may not be able to point to all students to see how they are doing, you can point to success stories.
they are success stories after all.
If they choose to highlight these particular stories you should be able to check out the people behind these stories to see if their success is real. Fact checking success stories will give you a greater confidence that you are investing in the right program. If you cannot look up the success story and be blown away, what is the point of a success story?
4. Don't make decisions based on price
The worst thing that you can do when you are making decisions for your blog is to make decisions based on the price of the product. Instead, save your money up so that you can make a sound business decision based on the merit of the program and the people behind the program instead of the price of the program. Earlier this year I made a decision for a course based off price instead of the actual value of the course and the people behind the course. Sometimes you have to stop, breathe, save, and make sure that you are investing in the type of person you want to invest in.
Stop. Breathe. Save. invest.
Price alone isn't the only thing you should base an investment decision off of. Think about how that person had made you feel in the past, if you feel they have delivered on the promises of their content in the past, and if you feel that the investment will be a good decision. Don't brush off doubts for a price tag.
5. investments take more than money
The biggest thing that I want you to get out of this conversation is that investments take more than money. You don't just get to invest dollars and then get a fairy to do the work for you. These investments take time, work, and energy. Implement what you learn, watch the content over and over if you have to. Don't just hoard investments without acting on the content of the investments.
If you have an investment use the system and really work at the system that they try to show you in the course. Don't just do a few modules and the put the course on a backburner. In my opinion it's really important to use the course and it's techniques in the first few days of buying a course which leads be to #6...
6. Don't be afraid to ask for a refund
I know, asking for a refund is not the favorite thing of anyone to do, but I think that sometimes it is necessary. If you are trying the system out and it doesn't feel quite right to you or the course doesn't work as well as you thought it should don't be afraid to ask for a refund for your purchase. It's okay to not be satisfied with the product you are spendings hundreds of dollars on. If they have a refund policy understand that before you go into the course and ask for a refund if you think it is necessary. If they are not offering you the services they promised or you don't think the teaching style or content will work for you it is best to get your money back and move on.
So often we stay in situations just because we don't want to hurt someone's feelings by asking for our money back––but if a program is not working for you, you need to get out of that program and find one that does grow your blog. I am not telling you to get out of every single program you are ever in, but if the program just isn't working, don't try to force it to be kind. At the end of the day, kindness doesn't get you a course that works for you or the money from your investment back.
Making an investments for your blog is important. It's not always based on how much money you currently make, sometimes it's based on how much money you could make in the future. It's okay to make thoughtful, informed decisions about your blog investments. It's also okay to request refunds within reason for investments that don't work out. What investment are you looking forward to making in your blog?