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Better Blogging (On A Budget!)

The new year is a couple of days away, and I know that we all have blog goals that we hope to accomplish this upcoming year. 2011 was full of cool blogging accomplishments for me, and I want to share how I was able to have a better blog…on a budget!

1. Purchase your own domain.

You’ve heard this time and time again. It is so true. Even if your blog is hosted on a free site (like Blogger, Tumblr or WordPress.com), you can still give your blog a more professional air by buying your own domain and linking it to your site. So instead of telling folks that your site is “www.hotmamacutscoupons.blogspot.com”, you can just tell them to go to hotmamacutscoupons.com. You can purchase your domain for about $10/ year from Go Daddy…and lots of times even cheaper. I purchased a bunch of domains for 99 cents each a few months ago. Just Google “cheap domain names”.

2. Design your own site.

Yes, it really can be done, even if you didn’t go to school for graphic design. I redesigned this site several times on my own before hiring a designer. I used Picmonkey, a super easy photo editing program, and Google. I searched, “How to make my own blog header” and “How to make custom social media buttons”. And it turned out pretty good (if I should say so myself). I did purchase the premium program (which is super inexpensive), but you can use the free version, too.

3. Read the right books.

Don’t go broke buying every social media book out there in an effort to try to figure out what you need to do to be a better blogger. Just buy two. The Digital Mom Handbook by Audrey McClelland and Colleen Padilla, and Mom, Incorporated by Aliza Sherman and Danielle Smith come highly recommended by yours truly, and give you tons of bang for your buck.

4. Utilize free social media tools/sites to enhance your posts.

There are a lot of free sites that can help you to add a little extra uumph to your blog posts. From creating outfits on Polyvore to add to a fashion post, or linking to a photo album on Google+, a lot of times, you can add new dimension to your blog by learning (and using) some of the cool social media tools that are out there!

5. Get a good phone.

Don’t have money for a new camera? Consider trading in your phone for a good smartphone that can multitask. Even if the iPhone is out of your budget, a phone like the Samsung Galaxy Indulge is a good option for picture taking, posting on the go, and doing all of your social media stuff. Couple it with an inexpensive, all exclusive monthly plan from MetroPCS, and you’re good to go. I was able to test out the Samsung Galaxy Indulge with service from MetroPCS, and honestly, it put my service to shame. While my regular smartphone (with a 2 year contract) was still loading, I was already looking at videos on Youtube with the Indulge.

6. Don’t covet other blog’s stuff. At least, try not to.

The best way to blog better on a budget is to do what works for you. You might look at a site that has a billion beautiful bells and whistles, is obviously professionally designed, and feel jealous. Don’t. You don’t have to have a blog that is like anyone else’s in order for it to be a good blog. If you can’t afford to purchase your own domain, or get a photo editing program, or a great phone…focus on being the best writer, the best storyteller, you can be. Seriously, that is most important. The other stuff will come.

What are some of your plans for your blog this year? Need any support getting there? Let me know…maybe I can help!