It might seem strange at first to pay for something that’s used only online–Makes me think of those video games where you pay real money for things in the gameplay world. This is a list of five things that I found to be definitely worth shelling out your hard earned money for that doesn’t leave internet/computer-land. I was a bit hesitant to post this thinking some might be too obvious, but I have to admit Sarah’s article changed my mind!
1. Online classes
Whether you’re looking to brush up on your photography skills, get better at internet marketing, or teach yourself HTML, online classes rock. I personally find videos to be the most helpful, and usually the content from the class is available to you even when the course is over.
Some favorites: Lynda.com, Skillshare, Function, Treehouse
2. A nicely designed blog or site
Many times i’ve been sad to click off a blog because the design was so slow loading or an eyesore! It’s great to be a jack-of-all-trades and want to do it all for your business, but depending on your situation your time might be better spent working on content or products and hiring a professional designer to do top notch work for you. Check out PuglyPixel’s blog/web design directory.
To go along with this, pay for a domain name and web hosting too– it really takes your site to the next level. There’s no alternative to a paid domain name! I recommend Bluehost, Hostgator, and Dreamhost for hosting.
3. Bonus storage space
Note: Originally a Flickr Pro account was on this list (and my #1 thing worth paying for) but since they changed their business model making free and pro accounts very similar this is no more. You can no longer sign up for a Pro account on Flickr but in the past one of the reasons it was extremely useful was for the unlimited space and the ability to have a backup/archive of your whole photo collection. With that said, other upgrades from free storage services such as Dropbox is definitely worth it. I find myself freqently reaching my limit on my 30 GB Dropbox account and it’s always an awesome idea to have your files backed up both on a cloud services and an external hard drive.
4. Reasonably priced ad space
Whether it’s ad space from a service like Google or a smaller site, it’s always worth putting a little money into your site, blog, or shop for you to reap the benefits later while it grows. The ad space I have purchased has always been from bloggers who make an effort to interact with their readers. The bloggers that respond to comments–That’s who has and will continue to get my paid sponsorship!
5. E-books/Digital print magazines
Similar to online classes, Ebooks are usually very affordable and can help with a variety of things–Organization, life coaching, etc. Check out when bloggers have a promotion for their e-book. Plus, purchasing a copy is directly supporting fellow small business owners, creatives, and writers. I’m noticing as well that a lot of my favorite print magazines are offering less expensive digital only versions and it’s seriously tempting. For example, the design magazine (How) offers a collection of back issues & resources for $20 a month.