Every serious blogger, at some point, is faced with a very important question when it comes to blogging courses: Should you invest in them?

I’ve been there and in today’s post, I intend to walk you through the pros and cons of investing in courses together with suggestions on what you can do. Ready?

This post contains Referral/Affiliate links. What that means is if you click on any of the links and make a purchase, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Read my complete disclosure policy here.

Towards the end of 2018, I did a series on my blog called ‘Plan Your Blog’. In that, one of the things I talked about was the need to create an annual and monthly budget for your blog.

How to create a Budget for your Blog and stick to it.

So, if you read that post, one of the first things I say in that is ‘Do not spend money that you do not have.’ And I will continue to stand by that every single time.

The pointers below will discuss how this plays into your overall investment strategy when it comes to your blog or website.

6 Questions to Ask Before you Spend Money on a #Blogging Course. Click to Tweet

Do you have the money?

Every blogger falls into one of three broad categories: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Apart from that they fall into two elements: The hobby blogger and the business blogger.

The latter is the one I am targeting, because hobby bloggers, very honestly, do not need to spend too much money on their blog.

But, if you are serious about making money from your blog, generating revenue and scaling it up as a business, then you must be more precise in your analysis of your finances.

Beginner blogger: If you are just starting out as a blogger, but you do have some income filed away from another job , then you’d need to focus on how to portion it out for different items. You’d definitely need to pay for hosting (I recommend Chemicloud {Affiliate link} ). Additionally, a domain name, maybe a couple of paid plugins and a good laptop are worthwhile, one-time investments.

If you have money left over, then consider buying a course or e-book if it fits your budget.

* This E-BOOK priced at $25 is a great way to get started. I am a long-time subscriber to Ana’s newsletter and absolutely love how she packs her courses/content with information that is easy to digest.

Intermediate/Advanced blogger: If you have been blogging for a while now, anywhere from a year to 10 years, your focus and budget would be a bit different. In addition to the above items, you could consider buying a course or a bundle of courses to supplement the growth of your blog.

Invest in a course that tells you more about how to fine-tune your process and scale up your methods to see better returns.

Although I have been blogging for over 11 years I would place myself between intermediate and advanced. For one thing, I never thought of monetizing until a decade after I started blogging.

Now that I have, I have become more intentional with my time and money. So, in late January, I took the plunge and bought the Traffic Transformation Guide by Lena Gott. {Affiliate Link}

And let me tell you, the results have been incredible! Within a month of implementing just 20% of the strategies she speaks about, I broke through the barrier of 11K page views on my site, when I’d been stuck on around 8K for the longest time ! See screenshot below:

Of course, please bear in mind that this course costs $79 and I was able to make that investment after I managed to make some money with my blog.

The good news is that this is a one-time investment and I get lifetime access to the course. So yay!

Is the same content available for free?

There’s no good reason to spend money on a course, if the same high-quality content is actually available for free, right? I mean Google exists for a reason.

In the last 18 months, I’ve done extensive research on a variety of topics from Pinterest to blogging for business and social media strategy and this is what I have learnt:

Free content exists and it’s fantastic too. But it takes time to find the right content.

As an example here is a free ‘Start your blog’ course offered by Chelsea Clarke of ‘Her Paper Route’. It’s pretty well laid-out.

The only downside to free content? Well, two, actually.

One: There’s no way of knowing for sure if the free content is actually good unless you’ve worked your way through it.

Two: It involves a lot of research, trial and error and searching on your part to find the perfect free courses.

You’re in luck. I know what it takes to look through so many courses and came up with this list:

29 Ultimate Free Blogging Courses that every blogger Must Take

To make things easier for you, click on the image below and check out the FREE courses offered by Lena Gott in the ‘Adventures in Blogging’ series.

Those are the courses that helped me realise that I am spending money worth every penny on her paid courses!

Free 5 Day Traffic and Monetization Mini Challenge by Lena Gott. Adventures in Blogging. Free course.

In this case, the investment you’re making is time, instead of money. That’s a call you need to take.

Oh and if you want one of MY free courses, check out this one below.

This post contains links to the Amazon affiliate program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read my complete Disclosure policy here. 

What is your focus area?

Many bloggers make the mistake of jumping head first into a course without knowing the most important aspect: Is this something that they actually need to focus on, at this time?

If you are thinking about driving traffic to your blog and maybe get into an ad network to generate revenue, then I’d recommend Pinterest as your focus area.

For that, I would suggest buying two courses. One is Pinteresting Strategies- the manual pinning course by Carly Campbell. Trust me, money well spent.

The other is ‘The Perfect Pin’ by Breaking the One Percent. This one is completely free right now.

Learn to make pins that will stand out and drive traffic to your blog with minimal effort.

Within days of buying the second course, I had a pin that went viral! I was delirious with joy. 🙂

If your focus is affiliate marketing, then I recommend Carly Campbell’s course ‘Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers’. Within 2 months of using her course, I had my first month of affiliate revenue for $1000! It thrilled me no end.

Remember, if you don’t have a clear focus, you don’t want to invest in a course just yet. Identify what you want to achieve and then pick a course to suit that need.

What do the reviews say?

This is just common sense, of course. How many reviews of a particular course or product are you able to find online?

Most importantly, do the reviews show actual results?

Let us assume for one minute that you buy a product or course on my recommendation. If you do, then I would absolutely insist that you buy only after viewing my stats for the course.

In an interview on my blog, Saranya Ramanathan of One Fine Wallet mentions precisely this point. She grew her blog to 250,000 monthly page views in one year!

How high is the commission for a course?

I told you I believe in transparency. 😉

If I were to buy a course based on a person’s recommendation, I’d be curious to know exactly what they’re gaining out of it.

For instance, most affiliates make anywhere between 25% to 40% of commission based on a sale. And as a fellow blogger, I actually believe that this is an honest way to make money, provided the course IS that valuable.

I have actually bought many other courses which didn’t live up to my standards. (Please don’t ask me for names of the courses. I respect the work the course creator has put into the content. It just didn’t work for me, that’s all).

So the thing I do before buying any course is sign up for my favourite bloggers’ newsletters. I study their e-mails and observe the kind of content they send me for free.

I then wait to see if they recommend a course, back it up with research from reviews online and take the plunge. Finally, I send the blogger an e-mail a week or so later, thanking them for recommending the course, because it made a difference to me.

*This is optional, by the way. I just like to keep in touch with other bloggers and build a sense of community.

One blogger whom I will whole-heartedly recommend for the sheer quality and depth of her content is Meera Kothand.

If e-mail marketing is your focus, you would really benefit from anything Meera creates. I’ve bought all of her books listed below. 🙂

Will you work on the course?

This must probably be the very first question to ask yourself.

If you buy a course, will you actually work on it? Because, otherwise you won’t see results. I am serious.

The only way you can know for sure is to set aside a budget each month to invest in one course of your choice. Once you buy the course, see if you are able to set time aside every single day to work on it.

If the answer is yes, you’d see consistent and significant growth. If you’d rather buy the course and let it languish on your laptop, then hey, the course cannot be blamed. Right? 🙂

And there you have it. I’ve laid out all the reasons to keep in mind before buying a course. Now it’s your turn to decide if it is worth buying.

Occasionally, once or twice a year, there are flash sales on course bundles which are jam-packed with items at a throwaway price. That may be a good place to start if you ever think about buying a course.

10 Paid Courses that I recommend for each stage of Blogging

Below I have listed the top courses you should invest in, as a blogger.

Depending on which stage you are at, make the choice accordingly.

*Prices mentioned are as of early March, 2020. These will be updated as and when the price points change.

Stage 1: New Blogger who needs Traffic– Budget $100

  1. Pinteresting Strategies by Carly Campbell: The manual pinning method that will boost your blog traffic.

    Priced at $47 (use the code PINNING5 to get $5 off on the price at checkout
  2. Easy on Page SEO: Search Engine Optimization for Beginners by Debbie Gartner. Priced at $37
  3. Google Analytics, Easy as 1-2-3 by Debbie Gartner: An introduction to Google Analytics which is actually very valuable for both beginner and intermediate bloggers.

    Don’t miss her super helpful custom dashboards in this book. Priced at $14 (Use the code DISC5 to get $5 Off at checkout)

Stage 2: Intermediate Blogger who wants to grow their Traffic– Budget $250

By this stage, you should be getting some income from the blog. Ideally, I’d say you’d reach this around the 6-month mark.

That is, provided you’ve actually studied Carly’s course and followed all of her tips exactly as mentioned.

You would have been able to qualify for Monumetric (a premium ad network) if so, with 10,000 Page views in a 30-day period.

Learn how I managed to do just that in January, 2020!

These are the courses/memberships I recommend if you are at this stage.

  1. An Ivory Mix stock Subscription: If you are in the business, creative, fitness, health, parenting niche, you would find this stock membership library extremely useful.

    Paid stock photos go a long way to help with your content’s visibility on Pinterest.

    Priced at $137 for the whole year. You also have a quarterly membership option available.
  2. Pins Made Happy by Audrey Marshall: A detailed, in-depth pin design course that explains exactly what you need to do to create images that will drive clicks, sales and subscribers to your website.

    Created by the couple that work with Carly Campbell of Mommy on Purpose and are directly responsible for getting over 100,000 page views each month to her blog!

    Priced at $67
  3. Get your Keywords Together: This in-depth keyword course by Trinity Owen teaches you how to do keyword research using ONLY FREE tools!

    She works on keywords for one of the most high-volume traffic sites, Breaking the One Percent.

    Priced very reasonably at $47

Stage 3: Bloggers who’d like to scale their blog and generate consistent revenue – Budget $325

Once you’ve started driving traffic and have a decent handle on pin design and SEO, you want to focus on consistent revenue generation.

This is something you can explore around the 9th month mark from the time you launch your blog.

  1. Traffic Transformation by Lena Gott: I’ve already mentioned this earlier in the post, so check out details there. Learn to grow your blog traffic exponentially following the tips she outlines in this e-book.

    Priced at $79
  2. Easy Backlinks by Debbie Gartner: You’ve got on page SEO and keyword research down to a science.

    It’s now time to start building quality backlinks to your site. Follow these useful tips to learn exactly which methods to use to do that and they are all white hat SEO techniques.

    Priced at $67
  3. Easy SEO Revamp by Debbie Gartner: This course walks you through how to leverage Google Search Console to optimise existing and future content for better ranking.

    Follow the exact tips she gives and never worry about ranking on page 1 again. Her tips are golden!

    Priced at $97
  4. Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers by Carly Campbell: This course is perfect for bloggers who are getting consistent traffic and would like to use that to convert it to high quality affiliate income.

    Follow the tips she shares and watch your affiliate income grow significantly.

    Priced at $79

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Blogging courses: Yes or no? There are a few things to keep in mind before you spend money on a blogging course. I lay out my honest answers in this post. From budget to reviews, these are things you must keep in mind. #Blogging #Courses #StartABlog