While searching the blogosphere I've found some beautiful, fancy, gorgeous blogs. Clean lines, nice pictures and, sometimes, lots of ads.
I've also found some blogs that have give-aways, sometimes everyday for a week!
There are so many worthy blogs out there. I know I shouldn't compare, but I do.
Have you spent money on your blog? Have you purchased a template, banner, etc.? If so, has this increased your blog traffic?
I have spent money on my blog (on typepad so paying monthly) and right now I am in the process of trying to find someone to redo my design for wordpress but I am running into the $500 and up bump and I just can't do that right now. But I am wanting to be branded so I can maybe get bigger with my blog. I tried to learn CSS but oh boy was that a bust (my last baby took all my brain cells when she was born lol)
I would love to be doing more reviews but haven't quite figured how to go about that yet. But I don't mind spending money here or there and will most likely continue to do so.
I put half of what I make back into my blogs. Whether it's design, advertising, or must have software/plugins.
You should definitely have a nice design. If you can do it yourself, great. If not, look around good before buying because there are some excellent freebies and people willing to create banners, headers, etc for cheap.
Really, investing depends on your goals for you and your blog. Are you just keeping a daily journal? Then no, you probably don't need to spend too much on your blog. If you are in it for the long haul, trying to make money yourself, then yes you should spend some.
I did purchase a template because I don't know squat-diddly about html and I had some idea about how I wanted it to look! I don't think it helped bring in traffic...but it made me happy so it was still worth it!
I have not spent any money yet. However, I signed up on a waiting list for a designer to help me improve my blog's look with a template. It's not super-expensive, I'm looking at $60-$80, which I think is an OK amount to spend on this as a hobby / casual thing and I'm calling it "entertainment" spending and not a business investment. This is the designer I found: http://www.onceuponablog.org/
I don't think it will increase my traffic, I don't know. I'm choosing to do it because I want the site to look nicer before I really go out and start sharing it with all my friends and family and all that.
I might purchase domains, but those aren't very much money and I haven't decided for sure.
For Maternal Spark - I bought the domain name and pay for mailchimp, that's it.
For Mercantile Spark - I bought the domain and am paying to have a template custom designed as well as the installation etc...all the money it will cost was made off of ad revenue so I'm still ahead which makes me happy :)
Once I'm all set up on the new blog I am going to look into buying some advertising and I'll need to buy some newsletter credits soon too.
I have planned to have the blogs self sustaining - meaning I don't spend money unless I've made that money off the blogs first. So far so good!
I've spend money on my website for stock photos that I also use for my blog. I'm in the process of having a designer re-do my site for Wordpress. I do think that your content is more important than the overall look of your blog, but I do agree that "pretty" blogs look great :-)