My husband and I have been renovating our home for three years and I always loved posting before and after pics on social media. Many friends have suggested that I launch a full blog, but I really didn’t give it much thought.
Yet, I’ve always used pinterest and visited decorating blogs for inspiration so looking back it seems a little silly that I didn’t think of this idea myself! Last September I started to realize that I could probably earn a little income from blogging, which would help me do more remodeling projects or even just have a few extra dollars of pocket money. I mean we are already renovating, I write for a living, and I love helping people save money. Simple enough right?
So I started my journey to blogging last fall and launched my blog six weeks after I bought my site. I kind of just jumped into it and thought it would be simple. Many things are super easy and some things are confusing at first. But overall it was a great experience. With absolutely no website development experience whatsoever I was able to build the website you’re visiting right now. YAY!
Since launching I’ve discovered that so many friends have a dream of blogging! I’ve been asked tons of questions and I hope they’ll all be joining me in the fun soon. I don’t really feel qualified to teach a blogging course, that’s probably not something I’ll do in my blogging life. But what I can do is connect you with the best resources that I used along the way.
I have included affiliate links to these products that offer some incentives for you and if you make a purchase a small incentive for me. I only recommend products that I absolutely love and am currently using on a daily basis.
Read Blogs and Books About Blogging
There are resources all over the internet and it can be quite overwhelming. I wanted to read an overview of blogging to find out if its really something I want to do, so I bought Blogging for Dummies. This book really broke blogging down so I could better understand it.
Choose a Topic
If you’re starting a blog you probably have an idea of what you want to write about. If not, you’ll need to decide your niche and topics so you can decide your blog name.
Research and Decide Your Blog Name
Once I decided to blog I thought of my blog name and then researching to see if the name is used elsewhere. Before you purchase your website you want to make sure your blog name isn’t super popular, or really unpopular. Check and make sure that the name is available to buy, by checking bluehost.com. Then check that it’s available on all of the social media platforms and reserve them. Even if you don’t plan on starting that platform yet, claim it for later.
Download the WordPress Software
The most important decision you can make is choosing a blog platform. If you choose the wrong one, you won’t be able to monetize your site. WordPress confuses a lot of people, because there are two sites. WordPress.com and WordPress.org. You want to choose WordPress.org. In short, if you want to make money from blogging…avoid WordPress.com.
Buy your Domain and Hosting
You will need to buy your own domain (www.centsiblechateau.com for example). You will also need a hosting company. I use bluehost because it is very low cost and easy to use, and they have been pretty reliable without a lot of outages. Don’t be intimidated, bluehost will help you and it costs just a few dollars a month. They’ll also give you $3.95 a month pricing! Just click through to bluehost and there you can buy your domain name and hosting all in one place.
Buy a Website Theme
This is the part where you decide what your site will look like. You can purchase a pre-built theme for very little money and import it easily into your site. I found mine at PrettyDarnCute.com. Once you buy a theme you import it into your website and then you can start adding your content.
If you can’t buy a theme right now there are plenty of free ones. They don’t have as many options but they are perfectly fine to start your blog!
Now here is the game changer….
Building a Framework by Abby Lawson
A couple of weeks into building my blog I needed some help. I could find videos and tutorials piecemeal around the internet and figure tasks out. But I wanted something more. I needed a comprehensive tutorial of building the blog, launching it and then publicizing it. And I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. There are courses out there that are hundreds of dollars that I couldn’t afford to buy. I searched far and wide and found Abby Lawson from Just a Girl and Her Blog. I found out that she was making money blogging. Serious full time money, sometimes over $50,000 a month. Both she and her husband are now full time bloggers supporting their family while staying home with their kids. I wanted to learn from someone who had achieved success. So, I checked out a preview for her book and it was thorough and easy to understand.
I purchased Abby’s Building a Framework and it was truly life changing. If you follow what she advises step by step you can get your blog done and launched very quickly. Then after launch you will learn to publicize your blog, increase your traffic and then monetize it.
Not only that but Abby will then invite you to her exclusive group on Facebook. This group has been an amazing support network. You can ask questions from other successful bloggers and always get fantastic advice.
Those are the steps I followed to launching my blog. But I wanted to also answer questions that I’ve heard along the way about blogging.
Do I Need to Know HTML?
No. Buying a pre-made theme means that all of the code is written for you.
Why Should I download WordPress.org vs. using WordPress.com?
Short Answer: Money. Whether you are trying to make a few dollars or a full time living you need the ability to monetize your blog. You cannot do that on WordPress.com. So even if you don’t want to make money today(but who doesn’t?) I recommend starting it as if you want to. That way you don’t have to change platforms in the future
How Often Should You Blog?
I have seen successful bloggers who insist you have to post three times a week and high earning bloggers who post once a week. The most important thing you can do is be consistent. If you can’t post three times a week, start with one. You can still build a following if you have interesting content.
Which Social Media Platforms Should You Use?
I find that bloggers are most successful on social media platforms that they love. If you love Facebook you’ll interact more and do well there. But you should have a presence on as many as you can, without driving yourself crazy. If you have a home, food or lifestyle blog you cannot overlook Pinterest. This is the #1 traffic driver for many bloggers(including me). If you’re a photography blogger or just great at images, maybe Instagram is going to be your best source of traffic. Think about where you find like-minded people who may enjoy your content and start there. Once you buy Abby’s Framework you’ll see so many social media tips and you’ll get to brainstorm with her blogging group on Facebook.
How Do You Make Money Blogging?
There are several ways to make money blogging. Advertising, Affiliate Marketing and Sponsored Posts are three of the most popular methods. Advertising is when a brand has an ad on your page. Affiliate marketing is when you recommend a product and receive a small commission if someone buys its. Sponsored posts are when a brand agrees to pay you in return for a blog post about their product. To really learn about those different revenue streams I read Abby’s Framework and watched her videos.
Am I Making Money Blogging?
Yes! I can hardly believe it. It took me a few months to make a few cents, and I really got discouraged, but now I see the revenue growing every month. I’m making a few hundred dollars and I sometimes can only post once a week. I am steadily growing and I’m so happy with that.
I hope this has given you an overview of starting a blog and inspired you to try it for yourself. It has been an incredible creative outlet for me, and if you’ve ever thought of doing it you should really start now! Please let me know if you have questions. You’re welcome to post any questions you have below.
I’ll be following this up with a post on how to start promoting your blog and making money, so sign up for my newsletter below!
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