When I first started a blog, I had visions of easy money raining down from the heavens. How hard could it be to earn an income from a blog? I mean, I love to read blog posts, I love to write blog posts. Ba-da-bing. Ba-da-boom. Instant income.
Bring on all the dolla’ dolla’ bills!
Don’t get me wrong. There are success stories about people who blog and earn thousands of dollars right away. Unfortunately, I’ve realized those success stories are the exception, and not the rule.
A few months into my blogging career, I realized I might need to reevaluate some of my unrealistic expectations. I was working full-time for pennies an hour. Literally. PENNIES an hour!
Maybe you are walking the same path right now. I get it. After all of the time you are putting into your blog, it would be nice to at least break even every month. Am I right, or am I right?
As hard as it seems, it is COMPLETELY possible to make money blogging. Granted, you can’t just walk into it blindly, expecting to make a full time income right away. But there are some things you can do that will get you started in the right direction.
Here are a couple of things you HAVE to do as a blogger so you, too, can realistically make an income from your blog. Yay!
1 – The first thing you need to do is make sure your blog is on a self-hosted platform. Hosting is kind of like the housing of your website. You can use a free service like WordPress.com or Blogspot.com, but this is like “renting” your website. Technically, WordPress.com or Blogspot.com “owns” your website and they have the right to shut it down at any time for any reason. I’ve heard true horror stories of this happening and I knew this was not an option for me.
I went with Bluehost for my hosting provider and I truly couldn’t be any happier. If you are an aspiring blogger, I highly, highly, highly recommend using them! Not only was it super simple and easy to set everything up, but their support service is amazing. I have rarely had to contact them, but the few times I did, they responded in less than 20 minutes. The domain name, which is usually an additional expense, comes as part of your purchase of the hosting. AND you get an email address like Suzie@nameofyourblog. It is free with your hosting, and SO much more professional than nameofyourblog@gmail or yahoo.
2 – Get a beautiful theme. If you don’t take your website design seriously, neither will anyone else. When you’re looking for the perfect theme, think bright, white, and airy. I personally use and LOVE Restored 316 themes!
All of their themes are beautiful and so functional. Not only are they adorable and easy to navigate, they also have a step by step process for everything you can think of for installing and troubleshooting. I’ve only reached out to them about two things, and their response time was so amazing. I had an answer in a few hours, and they were so friendly and helpful. One time, it was literally 30 seconds. SECONDS, people!
Sidenote: If you are thinking about blogging, I will say that Restored 316 is a child theme. You would also need a Genesis parent theme. One provides the framework, while the other allows the functionality.
Think of it like this – a parent theme such as Genesis is like the walls of your house, the foundation your blog is built on. A child theme is the paint and wallpaper and curtains that make it look pretty. The child theme is how you add your colors and designs and pretty fonts. While the child theme is what makes it beautiful, a parent theme is the supporting structure making all that pretty decorating possible. You can’t have one without the other. But once they are installed, that’s the last you think of parent themes and child themes. It’s one and done. Then you make it all pretty and personalized.
3 – Focus on your email subscribers list right away. This is something I heard over and over again, and I never took it seriously at first. I thought I would just focus on my email list more once I knew what I was doing. HA!
I’ve realized that I will never know everything there is to know about blogging. That’s actually become one of my favorite things about blogging. It keeps me on my toes. Things are always different with other platforms. Algorithms are constantly changing on social media. But your email list will always be YOURS!
Learn from my mistakes. Please. Start thinking about your email list today.
4 – Up that Pinterest game. Y’all! Pinterest is BOSS. About 90% of my traffic comes from Pinterest alone. Be very comfortable navigating Pinterest and get used to pinning and pinning and pinning again. Also, keep in mind that it is equally important to repin others’ posts as well.
If you are pressed for time, Boardbooster will change your Pinterest life. When you sign up for Boardbooster, you can set up an account that will automatically repin a set amount of pins for you every single day. I normally spend about an hour a month setting up my Boardbooster account for the month, and then it’s done. I do manually pin a little bit every day because I love Pinterest, but if there’s ever a crazy day and I don’t get to it, it’s nice to know that Boardbooster has my back. AND when you sign up for an account, they give you your first 100 pins for FREE! Without asking for your card or anything. You literally have nothing to lose.
5 – By far, the most important thing you need to do is invest in yourself. I’m serious. I know it seems counterintuitive to spend money before you make money. But don’t think of it as “spending money.” Think of it as “investing in your business,” which you are!
The first thing I ever did was read Ruth Soukup’s book, How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul. If you have never read this book, buy it. For real. I’ve read it about ten times and there are so many gold nuggets tucked into this little resource. You will not be sorry!
The second thing I invested in was Building a Better Framework by Abby Lawson. This book took a lot longer to work through since it was packed full of so much goodness. But I learned a ton and I recommend this to every blogger out there, no matter how experienced you may or may not be. The amount of information you get is such a steal for the price you pay.
How I Went from 20,000 Pageviews to 170,000+ in 9 Months was another great resource that taught me so much. It is written in a way that makes it very easy to read, too, so it doesn’t take long to get through it at all. Some of the tips mentioned in this book are mind-blowing to me! I’m actually in the process of re-reading this one right now.
The point I’m trying to make is that you HAVE to invest in your blog before you can expect to make a ton of money. Here is a list of the Ten Best Resources Every Blogger Needs if you want some more inspiration.
If you’re not in a place right now where you can afford to dump a ton of money into your blog, that’s okay. You can still make money! It just might take a little while longer. Invest in these resources a little at a time. Which leads me to my last point…
6 – Learn very early that blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember to pace yourself. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath and do the next right thing. It is not a race. Make sure you do each post to the best of your ability. Shoot for quality over quantity.
There are ups and downs to blogging, for sure. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything! Create a plan, set some goals, and learn everything you can. Pick one thing and do it well.
You can do this!! And when you do, I can’t wait to hear your success stories.