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The births of my daughters inspired me to learn about blogging as a business. When my first daughter was born, I began searching for ways to earn a good income from home and came across blogging. I was inspired by so many talented bloggers who have found great success writing about a variety of topics from motherhood to finances, blogging, cooking, and beyond. When our second daughter was born, I decided to take the leap and launched my first monetized blog when she was just a few weeks old. It’s been an amazing journey already, and I look forward to many more months of learning, growth, and of course, working from home and wherever we go!
1. Blogging is a lot of fun!
Blogging really is an amazing way to make money. I get to work from home, set my own hours, contribute financially to my family, and write about topics that are fun. I’m always thinking about future post ideas, products to discuss, and ways to help other moms. It’s been wonderful to have this creative outlet while staying at home with our kids.
2. It takes time.
When I started my blog, I had very little experience with a self-hosted WordPress.org site. Over the years, I have started various free blogs for personal use, but this time I wanted to be able to monetize my site. Setting it all up has been time consuming but rewarding in that I have complete control of my site. Plus, I saved a lot of money. Once I set up my blog, then came writing the content, setting up ads, and implementing monetization strategies.
3. There is a lot of free information.
One really great thing about blogging is there is no shortage of information online to help you along the way. I had no idea what the difference was between WordPress.com and WordPress.org before I started, and I was able to find out the answer very easily with a quick Google search. There are a lot of posts out there on how to start a blog along with helpful information from bloggers who make a living teaching others how to blog.
4. Many people are willing to help.
Bloggers who teach other bloggers will often provide valuable information for free in blog posts or in exchange for an email address. They may host webinars or post tutorials on YouTube, and many have informative Facebook groups where they are willing to answer questions.
Early on I subscribed to many bloggers’ newsletters so I could learn as much as possible as quickly as possible. I joined Facebook groups and watched Webinars. While this was all very informative, I quickly became overwhelmed with information. My to-do list was getting longer and longer, and instead of focusing more on moving forward with my blog, I was getting stuck researching, learning, and adding to my to-do list. To create more of a balance, I determined which bloggers were the most helpful to my niche and unsubscribed from the others. In the last couple of weeks, I have narrowed down the list of bloggers I follow even more to a select few, and this has allowed me to spend more time on my own blog’s content.
5. Courses can save you a lot of time.
Although there is plenty of free information available online to help with blogging, it can take hours to go through the information and months of trial and error before finding something that works best for your blog. This is where I have found courses to be extremely helpful. My first course to take was Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing created by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner from Making Sense of Cents. After seeing her site and income reports, I saw very quickly that she knows her stuff; she makes over $50,000 per month from affiliate marketing alone! Her course has been the best money I have spent on a course to date.
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing comes with lifetime access, and all future updates to the course are available for free to those who are enrolled. It comes with a private Facebook group where support is available from her and fellow bloggers who are also monetizing their content. This has been an equally helpful resource. Instead of trying to piece together random information from all over the web of how to implement affiliate marketing on my blog, I have been able to follow a clear path and get helpful answers and support along the way. Because I got so much out of Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, I have taken a couple of other courses since then that have been very helpful as well.
Related post: 10+ Favorite Resources for Mom Bloggers
6. It’s inexpensive to start a blog but not free.
Blogging is a great way to earn money and is relatively inexpensive to get started. My initial expenses were for hosting and a theme. The first book I purchased related to blogging was How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup with Living Well Spending Less. This book gave me a great introduction and overview into the business of blogging and really inspired me to go for it and get started. Then I purchased Blog By Number, an eBook written by Suzi Whitford with Start a Mom Blog. This book is great for the new blogger because it really breaks down the process of starting a blog into small, manageable chunks. I have found this book and Suzi’s newsletter to be very helpful.
After hearing so many success stories from fellow bloggers who use Pinterest as a growth strategy, I decided to focus on it as my first growth strategy to increase traffic. I pinned all of my pins manually for a month, and while I saw growth in the first month from it, I did not want to continue to spend hours pinning all day everyday. Another course I took was Pinterest to Profits, and it came with a bonus of 3,000 free pins with BoardBooster, a pin scheduling tool. I have been using BoardBooster ever since and love it. It’s easy to use and has saved me so much time. I no longer have to rely on my complex spreadsheet to decide when and what to pin and then spend hours each day pinning. Instead, I let BoardBooster do the work for me. Once I have gone through the initial 3,000 pins, I will start a monthly billing plan. Plans start at $5 per month for 500 pins.
Another expense I incurred early on was with my social share buttons. There is a free option with Social Warfare, which I used initially, but I decided to purchase a license for a year for $29 because of one key feature. With the paid version of Social Warfare, you are able to designate a specific image as your pinnable Pinterest image for your post along with an accompanying description. This alone was worth 29 dollars. I have also enjoyed being able to customize the colors of the buttons to better fit the colors of my site. Social Warfare is an awesome social sharing plugin, and the customer service representatives have been very helpful when I have reached out with questions.
These are just some of the expenses that I have had within the first few months of blogging. However, most of the expenses I’ve had were optional to expedite growth and time savers.
7. Diversify your income streams.
There are many ways to make money blogging. For example, you can put ads on your site and generate ad income based on pageviews or clicks. You can earn income through affiliate marketing and referrals. You can sell your own products like eBooks, printables, and more.
What I have learned is having multiple income streams is one of the most important ways to ensure long-term success. The reason for this has to do with the ever changing online world. Bloggers have shared their stories of relying on one social media channel for traffic or one company for affiliate marketing for the majority of their income, and then the terms changed one day, and they lost it all. At any time, merchants can change their commission structure (which I’ve seen multiple times), social media channels can change their algorithms altering traffic (again, happens all the time), and so on. This is why I love seeing income reports and seeing all the different ways bloggers earn money. Every income report I’ve seen shows a variety of monetization strategies.
8. Hard works pays off.
It takes a lot of time and persistence to be a successful blogger, but it’s completely doable. I’ve found it to be perfect for me as a mom of two little ones because I can work during nap time and either late at night or early in the morning. While success does not come overnight, I had affiliate sales in my second month of blogging and saw my income from ads and affiliate sales double from month three to month four. It’s been exciting to see the growth.
9. Don’t compare.
One of my favorite quotes regarding this topic is from Jon Acuff, author of Start.: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters. He said, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” I have found this statement to be incredibly helpful to remember in the blogging world. Income reports from fellow bloggers can be inspirational and motivational, but they can also be a little intimidating to the new blogger who is making pennies in comparison. So, I’ve had to remind myself these first few months that I am just starting out, all the hard work will pay off, and to be patient.
10. Take time to reset as needed.
Once I decided to start a blog, I began brainstorming, planning, and writing. I began researching for anything and everything that could help me learn more about the process of starting a blog, and I spent hours upon hours developing a plan. From blog names to potential posts, themes to hosting providers, and so on, I was trying to figure it all out as quickly as possible, so I could get the ball rolling.
Starting a blog can be quite overwhelming because it can feel like there are a million things to do at first; it’s hard to know where to begin. In the moments when I felt completely overwhelmed with information and unsure of my next step, I allowed myself to take some time to think it over, reset, and start again. I found this to be very helpful, especially early on when I felt like there were some pretty big decisions to be made like determining a niche, blog name, and theme. Allowing myself to take an extra few days to brainstorm, research as needed, and think it over gave me the opportunity to develop a solid plan before moving forward.
Going back to the first thing I’ve learned about blogging…. It really is a lot fun. Working from home or on the go, setting my own hours, writing about topics I enjoy, and then getting paid for it is like a dream job for me. I received my first payment from Amazon last week, and it was a great reminder of how grateful I am to be able to blog and help my family financially.
If you are thinking about starting a blog, check out this list of my favorite blogging resources to help you get started.