A great blog begins with a great idea. And that great idea, when well executed, can become something more than great, it can become a phenomenon. But it's the journey that can take its toll on any blogger. Waiting for your subscribers to build up; thinking "what am I doing wrong?"; constantly comparing your blog to other blogs; wondering whether you should just give up - these are all situations that most bloggers will go through at some point in their blog's life.
But we have to be analytical about our blogs. We have to ask ourselves, "what do our readers want?". Is it gripping content, beautiful imagery, up to date news on fashion and beauty products? You have to decide what direction your blog is taking, and what you need to do to get there.
So sometimes a little investment can go a long way.
I'm NOT saying that all successful blogs have money flowing into them 24/7. It's 100% possible to have a popular blog without any excesses; but if things are going slow, why not see if any of these investments might help:
1. A great camera
I've heard lots of bloggers argue that they can take great photos with their 5MP camera phone but, for me, I wouldn't look twice at a blog with bad imagery. It's verifiable fact that we live in a visual society - we're attracted to pretty, interesting, unique things, and this translates into your photographs.
If you're going down the route of affordability, compact cameras are a good start. The Nikon Coolpix is 16MP and produces 720p video, great for snapping basic OOTDs and beauty products - and only £62.99!
Want a more professional look? A DSLR is the way to go. Canon's 600d is 18MP and takes 1080p full HD videos, an amateur camera with great results. If you're serious about photography and video, nothing can beat Canon's 5D Mark III - 22MP of amazingness!
Or, why not make film photography your unique selling point?
2. Stock photos
If you're not into cameras, stock photos are a great way of cutting out the extra electronics. Another reason you might want to use stock photos is the tragic 'rainy day' syndrome that us British bloggers know all too well - who wants to take a photograph in front of a dull, grey sky?
iStock and Shutterstock are professional, royalty-free services that constantly updates their databases with high quality imagery - you just need to decide whether the cost of their photographs outweigh the cost of a camera.
3. A graphics tablet
This is great for adding a real personal touch to your blog. You could use this in tandem with your camera and add your own handwriting to shots, or create your own digital sketches to use as part of your blog's custom template.
My tablet is from Wacom and works great with Photoshop (another wise investment).
4. A custom blog template
If you're not fluent in HTML, hiring someone else to do the job is a great weight off your shoulders - and this way you're guaranteed professional grade work.
I've heard of people spending over £3000 on blog design, but it doesn't have to be this expensive. Pipdig offer beautiful premade templates for Blogger and Wordpress from £19.
5. Accounting software
Once you start to collaborate with various companies, you may want to start taking note of your blog's income and expenses - as it could become subject to tax. In The Frow has a great rundown on all the facts about blogging and taxes here.
If you're at a point where your beginning to earn money from your blog, accounting software could save a lot of stress - Sage and Clearbooks are both great for keeping on top of your finances. However, if you're oldschool like me, you could just keep a hard copy in a log book.
6. Interesting surfaces
This is primarily for the beauty bloggers, but can work for indoor OOTDs too!
A cluttered background when photographing beauty products genuinely looks goddamn awful when compared to a clean, bright background which shows off the product. Some popular backgrounds are marble (try a self-adhesive marble covering instead), faux fur, grainy wood or plain white - or get smart with colours that compliment your blog theme!
Similarly, outfit shots can be downgraded with a messy bedroom in the background. Find a plain or pretty wall next to a good source of natural light, and you'll be able to see the difference instantly.