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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?

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I purchased the domain and had Domestic Diva design my header- I got the package which has mail, 125x125 button and other custom graphics well worth it- soon I will invest in a host- get off free Wordpress-
I haven't yet. I did find buttons you can buy for 2 dollars.
Jennifer ... I had Kathy Moore of theblogshoppe.com do my blog. I designed my header and graphics but she assembled the entire thing and got me up and running. She also does full blog design as well. I think her prices are pretty reasonable.

Andrea
http://www.thecreativejunkie.com


Jennifer said:
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've paid to host my blog and I paid to have it set up and get it up and running. That's about it.

I'd say it definitely increased my blog traffic since without it, I wouldn't have a blog!

Andrea
http://www.thecreativejunkie.com
Nothing but the yearly domain fees and our hosting account, which we use for all of our family sites.

I haven't gotten terribly serious about monetizing the sites, although we've gotten up to the $100 adsense payout level ONCE (in over a year), and usually get $15-30/quarter from Amazon. I feel that I need to figure out how to actually make money with the sites before putting more money into them.

I use WordPress, and know it quite well. I know HTML, and can manipulate graphics, but I'm not so good with designing them from scratch. I don't know CSS and/or php well enough to feel comfortable designing my own templates - YET.

I would like to hear more from others about how they've monetized their sites, and how much difference an investment in design/templates/graphics has made in that respect.
Bought the domain and downloaded the theme for free. And did the tweaking myself on the design.
Yes, I have purchased more than one blog design (template) and buttons and such to use on other sites to promote my blog. I don't purchase ad space but do ad swaps. I have become a bit obsessed with making it look good in the past but this design I have now is my absolute favorite.
I finally admitted I am never going to make a header I like and I paid someone to make one for me. I also pay for my domain name.

I really enjoy figuring out HTML and CSS so I haven't paid for a template
I have spent money on my blog for giveaways and a domain and design.

I try not to compare myself to other blogs, but think a good design is a must. It definitely sets you apart. You really can find great deals on designs though.
Jo-Lynne at Musingsofahousewife(dot)com did mine and she is very affordable.

Many giveaways are gifts from companies and bloggers are not spending money on these giveaways. Others do, though. I have only given away one thing on my blog as an advertisement and it was for a friend who makes jewelry.

When I have a good giveaway - my traffic goes nuts.
When I had a new design my traffic went up.

Otherwise, I think content is what makes traffic go up. Good content will keep dedicated readers coming back.
I used sweetnsimpledesign.com - Wordpress is right @ $100, Blogger a little less, and she may do others as well. She recently started snsblogdesign.com, which has pre-mades considerably less than the customs.

LeeLouBlogs.blogspot.com (I think that is the url) has freebies for Blogger.

I agree about shopping around. I thought at first that I wouldn't be able to move to wordpress self hosted without really saving up - hosting plus the wordpress designers were pricey. After shopping around I found a deisgner I love and at a price that worked for me.

Speaking of giveaways. blog designs are often prizes in giveaways, so keep an eye out for that too. (SNS Blog Design is one of my giveaways that ends tonight @ 11:59 EST and you can find others, pretty regularly - worth a shot!)

Christy
I have spent some money on advertising some of my blogs - but since I am a graphic design, never on design. I have occasionally shelled out $20 or so for a prize, but most of the time when we have a giveaway the company donates it to us.

For the advertising - most of it hasn't been as effective as i had hoped at the time. I have found that there are TONS of ways to get good traffic without spending money.
Not yet. Probably at some point, but not hundreds of dollars or anything.

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