When I started my little blog way back in 2007, I never dreamed that it could become a source of income for me. I genuinely loved to write and enjoyed connecting with so many other parents and a blog just seemed like a good way to do this. Fast forward almost 8 years and my blog is now a side income. Do I make enough to quit my day job? Absolutely not, but I probably could if I had the time to devote to it. What I do make is enough to afford a few extras for my family and that’s enough for us.
I see so many posts about how to grow your blog into a business and while I definitely agree with some of the advice I read, the truth is that it’s hard work and can be very time-intensive. It took me a good five years to really see the financial benefits of writing in this space. There are definitely those bloggers who naturally attract a large following rather quickly, but that rarely happens overnight. Goodness knows in the beginning I made a lot of mistakes and see now that thinking through some decisions could have saved me a lot of time and money over the years. What I can share with you today is some things I have learned along the way.
I started blogging on the Blogger platform, but quickly realized that if I wanted more control over customizing my blog design and hosting ads on my site, I needed to make the switch to a self-hosted WordPress site. The best advice I can give you when you are just starting out is to choose a platform you will be comfortable with and know that the free blogging platforms will limit you in the areas of design and how much you can earn. Some don’t allow you to earn money with sidebar ads, sponsored content, or affiliate links, so if that’s what you aim to do, a self-hosted platform is your best option.
To avoid trouble later, make sure you are happy with the name you choose for your blog. I would advise you not to choose a long name for your blog, a name that includes your children (in case you have another child) or a name that will limit or offend your audience. It’s definitely alright to change your mind later, but then you will have to re-brand everything, including your site and social media channels. Once you have that in mind, purchase a domain name and get your site some great hosting. HostGator has been my go-to source for website hosting for my blog since I made the switch to WordPress and I can’t sing their praises enough.
- 24/7 live support via chat, phone, and email.
- One click WordPress installs – no messy downloading and uploading of files.
- One click and start easy to use website builder – drag and drop tools that make building a site super simple.
- Design services – don’t want to build your site? Let their pros do it for you.
- Marketing services (SEO and PPC) – want to generate traffic? Their in house experts want to help.
- Domains – HostGator is your one-stop-shop for domains!
Anytime I have ever had questions or needed help figuring something out, HostGator’s 24/7 live chat support has always been there to help me quickly. This is very important if you run a business from your website and need fast assistance. I also love how user-friendly their tutorials are that can walk you through some questions you may have.
Write Great Content
Everyone has a story to tell, so start writing. Let your readers see your personality shine through your blog posts. My favorite blogs are written by those who authentically share about their lives and experiences, not the ones who constantly post the perfect pictures or write to seek approval. The truth is that their are a million blogs online and the only way to stand out and grow your audience is to be YOU with your writing.
Now that you have set up your blog and found reliable hosting, start networking with other bloggers. Search out blogging groups in your niche through social media or through online searches and join in the conversation of blogging. These people will quickly become a great source for information about blogging and opportunities to further grow your online presence.
It’s true that anyone can start a blog, but to earn an income from one takes hard work and the ability to make some smart choices. I hope these suggestions from my experience will be of some help if you are considering starting a blog. You can sign up for HostGator now and receive 30% off web hosting services. This a great deal!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.