It’s tax season, which means some of us are receiving tax refunds in the coming weeks. Before you go spending away on things you may not need like more makeup, after setting aside a portion of your refund, think about using some of it to invest in and improve your blog.
Using your income tax refund to invest in and improve your blog all depends on where you are currently in the stages of blogging. Is it a hobby or something you are hoping to turn into a business? Either way, I think that the more professional and clean your blog looks, along with great content are things that keep the readers coming.
Below are just a few suggestions on ways you can Use Your Tax Refund to Invest in and Improve Your Blog.
1. Use Your Tax Refund to Invest in getting your Blog a Facelift
Of course, the content of your blog is important, but it’s the look and feel of your blog that draws in your readers. You want to make sure your site has a clean look, has text that’s easy to read, is easily navigable and searchable, and has social media buttons, a contact form, and options for readers to subscribe to your RSS Feed. My advice is to use your tax refund to hire a professional designer, check Etsy for layouts, or use a theme (WordPress) from sites like BluChic.
2. Use Your Tax Refund to Invest in a New Camera and Lens
You have the content, but what about [great] images? Clear, crisp images that help tell a story keep the readers interested and engaged.
I own an iPhone 6, which takes amazing photos, especially when the lighting is great! However, camera phones are not always the best option when using them to take photographs that will be on your blog. If you rely solely on your camera phone for images, try bumping up to a digital camera with higher megapixels, or even a DSLR if that’s in your budget. I use a Sony alpha 35; however, I’m about to upgrade to a Canon or Nikon.
The lens you decide to get depend on your photography needs. If you’re taking portrait shots with smooth, blurred backgrounds, pick up a 50mm f/1.8 lens. For product shots, try a macro lens (50mm f2.8).
3. Use Your Tax Refund Invest in a Tripod & Remote
Now that you have your camera it is time to set yourself up with items that will help you use your camera to its fullest potential.
I wasn’t lucky enough to have married a photographer, which is why I invested in a tripod and a remote. Both allow me to take my own photos that aren’t shaky nor out of focus. A tripod that allows you to tilt your camera is optimal.
4. Use Your Tax Refund Invest in Lighting
No matter the camera you own, it’s the lighting that takes your photos to a whole other level – seriously. If you invest in an expensive camera, you want to make the purchase worth it, and the built-in flash is not always the best option. Also, some of us are not fortunate enough to live in areas where natural light is plentiful, which is why investing in or making your own light kit is a good idea. This way, you’re able to take awesome photos regardless of the time of day or weather conditions.
I’m going to upgrade to the My Studio MS20 Tabletop Professional Tabletop Photo Studio Kit ($179/ Amazon.com) and a Ring Light ($88/Amazon.com), but I currently own the PBL Studio photography Video Light Kit that I picked up from Amazon.
5. Use Your Tax Refund Invest in an External Hard drive
Photos and videos tend to be large files. Trust me, they take up a lot of space, and if you’re storing them on your computer’s hard drive, don’t. Use your tax refund to invest in an external hard drive. The hard drive will allow you to backup all of your files to a safe place, and prevent overloading your computer’s internal hard drive, which can slow down your computer, and in some cases cause it to crash. Yup, I’m speaking from experience.
6. Use Your Tax Refund Invest in Props
I’m new to the world of props for photos, and I see how important they are. They add a bit of pizzazz to what would be an otherwise drab photo. Props aren’t even expensive. You can pick up items like artificial flowers, foam boars, vinyl backgrounds, etc. from Michael’s, a craft store, a dollar store or Etsy.
7. Use Your Tax Refund Invest in Photo and Video Editing software
I think this is optional. There are plenty of free online photo editing tools out there like Picmonkey and Canva. I know because I’ve been using them for the last few months since FinalCutPro and Photoshop make my computer crash (yeah, I need a new computer). Both of the online photo editing tools, along with GIMP (download) get the job done, and are free!
Non-bloggers, over on Beauty and the Bump, I share 5 Smart Things You Should Do with your Tax Refund.
How do you plan on spending your tax refund? Will you use it towards improving something on your blog?