True story – I've started over 4 different blogs since 2014.
One of them was a fitness blog, but I grew weary of it. The next was a yoga/holistic blog, but then I had my first baby and closed my yoga studio due to lack of attendance. Let's just say I opened a studio in the WRONG town. (facepalm) After that it was a blog called Momma Works Too, and while that one is no longer living… I'll likely start it back up once this blog is established and pays for itself.
Last and surely not least, I began what you're reading now – Simple Little Homestead. This blog started after meeting two wonderful women in the blogging sphere when I was looking to write a blog in more the “lifestyle” niche.
I had no clue what I was doing in this new niche and certainly didn't know how to grow my blog either.
Update: If you want to learn more about my recent journey of hitting over 10,000 pageviews in less than 30 days you can read that here!
I started out on WordPress, but I didn't take the time to learn it in 2012 when I launched my first site. Someone else managed everything, and eventually I got so fed up I LEFT WordPress for another platform. Yikes, I know.
There was this new platform I heard about, Squarespace, and I loved how intuitive it was.
I still love it, but somehow I ended up tinkering in the backend of my old site one day, and my inner nerd lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. Even though I was on another platform at the time, I was hired multiple times to set clients up on the WordPress platform.
When I decided to start my third blog I jumped at the chance of using WordPress again, and I used a hosting company that I didn't quite love. This ended up being something I regretted. More and more I started hearing about people leaving them to go to other hosting due to site speed issues and their site being down for days at a time.
Who wants a site that's always down? Talk about a bummer.
So, I decided to swap from one hosting company to another one called Siteground. They were recommended by many people recommended and I have yet to regret my decision.
There are so many hosting companies out there, but I don't think many compare to Siteground because they offer:
- Technical support via chat for every problem you could have
- Phone support if you ever get stuck
- Multiple hosting options
- You get WordPress FREE (and can install it in one click!)
- You're covered by their stellar guarantee – if you don't like it you can get out at anytime
- They've been super friendly to me so far and were helpful when I made the switch
How to Start a Blog
Today more than ever women are looking to find a way to work from home whether they have children or not. But, especially if they do. Who dreams of sending their babies to be cared for by someone else at daycare? I know I don't.
Enter blogging, this is an excellent way to share your story, education and help others on a journey similar to yours while possibly making an income (more on that later in this post).
Related Post: How to Plan Your Week Working From Home as a Mom
Step 1: Choose a Blogging Platform
There are many others, but I wouldn't suggest them if you are serious about your blogging. If your intention is to turn it into a business, then I would go ahead and hop on a paid platform from the start. It isn't mandatory, or even necessary, but it does help out drastically.
- You'll own your content
- Your domain name will be yours instead of having .blogspot or whatever after your name
I've used both WordPress.org and Squarespace for business and still do in a way.
Squarespace is good for someone who may not be very technical or they don't want to hire out the creation of their site. But, there are a couple minor drawbacks as well.
- You can't use plugins
- And, it doesn't integrate well with most systems
WordPress, on the other hand, is a very robust system but can take a little time to learn. It's amazing though and can be fully customized. It can do just about anything you want, and probably way more with the right designer/developer.
Step 2: Choose Your Domain and Hosting Server
When you sign up to have your site hosted with a place like Siteground (my recommendation), usually your domain is included in their pricing.
When you go to Siteground website, you'll be prompted to ‘sign up' or “see plans”. This process is pretty step-by-step and super easy to navigate.
So you'll want to click that button to get started, and it will take you to a page where you get to choose which level of hosting you're wanting. Their basic package will get you most everything you want to start out, but feel free to opt for a larger package if you feel it's necessary.
After this, you'll be prompted to choose your domain name. Be careful and think about your domain name.
I can tell you from 5+ domain names of experience. Pick one that you'll love and stick with for years. Make sure that it reflects what your blog will be about OR is your name. Either way, choose something you've thought long and hard about using.
Once you've chosen your domain name, you'll be taken to a page where you'll be able to select your package options. What package you decide on will depend on if you're someone who wants to pay ahead or just one year at a time. Personally, I decided to go one year at a time.
I have this thing about being locked into a contract (an old military thing I guess, even though I loved my time in the service).
After everything's complete, you should be taken to your backend.
From there you need to click on My Accounts to get to your cPanel.
Hooray! You've taken that first giant step and are on your way to learning how to start a blog!
Step 3: Set Up Your New Blog
Under where it says AUTOINSTALLERS you'll see WordPress. Click that and it will lead you through the entire setup.
If that still seems scary, when you sign up through my Siteground link I'll set your blog up. Don't worry about how to start your blog; I'll get it all set up for you.
What this would include:
- Setting up WordPress
- Installing your Theme (if you don't have one I can help you find one)
Step 4: Install a Theme & Design Your Blog
When you're learning how to start a blog and design it the easiest way to do it is by getting something that is called a child theme. These make it super easy to create your blog and make it look nice.
A company I have used and love to death is StudioPress. They have tons of different options to choose from, and they use the Genisis platform. They make learning how to start a blog a breeze and take the design down to a basic level. To top it all off, they have a way for you to get ALL of their themes (even the third party seller themes) for a really great deal. I ended up purchasing their full vault since I help people new to WordPress get set up and help them choose a theme that's easy to use.
StudioPress has themes that they've created themselves and some that are created by third-party designers. Their themes are also broken down by niche as well (food bloggers, wellness bloggers, and fashion to name a few). This makes it easier to choose.
Designing your blog can be the most time-consuming step of them all. Honestly, it can be as quick or as long of a process as you make it. With that said, if you're going for simple, it's easy to throw up a theme and be done. But, if you want to tweak and change different things it can be very time-consuming.
Don't be me… I tinker forever. But, if you are like me, you'll play with all of the various gadgets and widgets and tools. I'm a nerd though when it comes to this stuff. I'm just not a developer ;).
Related Post: How & Why to Start Working From Home as a Mom
Step 5: Create Content Your Readers Will Love
While this might be step 5… it should really be step 1. Or step 0 if you want to be really on point. Start out by figuring out exactly who your audience is or who you want them to be and do some research. Researching will help you understand what sort of content they're looking for and what would be a good idea for you to start producing.
Pinterest is great for this. Use the search bar to type in your prospective niche and see what sort of blog posts people are writing. So, you could type in “mom blogger” or “homestead” or “work from home” or “fitness bloggers” and the list goes on. Just find a few keywords that your niche uses and get to searching. Soon you'll have a whole list of ideas.
If you're on Facebook, start joining groups where your ideal audience hangs out. Ask questions in the groups to see what people need help fixing. When you ask the right questions, it will give you HUNDREDS of topics for you to write and publish.
Next, you should convert your Pinterest to a business Pinterest page. Then find a few group blogging boards as well. You want to try to get on 10+ group board to start out if you can. By pinning to these boards it will help to drive traffic to your site.
Step 6: Monetization
I won't lie to you and say I'm rolling in the dough here. I have earned a total of $16.19 dollars from this blog since I started it in 2017. Or at least, that's what's been given to me so fat by Amazon.
But, you can monetize your site in a multitude of ways!
Currently, I'm monetizing this site through ads and affiliate marketing.
You can monetize your site by having a company, like GourmetAds, place advertisements on your site. For every 1,000 impressions those ads receive you get compensated for them. For ads to really be profitable you need 1,000's of pageviews.
For instance, I'm currently sitting at a little over 19,000 pageviews and in the last 30 days, I've made $43 from ads according to my GourmetAds console. To some, it might seem like chump change, but I'm pretty freaking excited about that!
However, I won't see a dime of that in my checking account until my running total hits $100. So, I can't really count that as money made yet. Or, at least I'm not going to. To me, it's not money earned until it hits my account.
The way you make money with affiliate marketing is when you link to a product you really, really love and someone clicks on it and either signs up for it or buys something. So, if you clicked on links in this post and signed up for a service I would earn a little commission at no expense to you. The only thing you did was click my link and basically said I was the one that referred you.
It's that simple.
So, with Amazon, you're able to sign up for an affiliate program with them. This allows me to link to different products I use and recommend. On this blog, I have recommended things for homesteading, RV living and homeschooling. Each time someone clicks on my link Amazon tracks that.
The great thing about Amazon is that even if the person clicks the link and doesn't buy that product, but they buy something else I can still get a tiny kickback. Seriously, it's a pretty small kickback. I've seen anywhere from 3% up to 8% fee-rate for different things people have purchased through Amazon.
But, from April 1st until now I have $14 that I've made through Amazon. So, that brings me to a total of $57 since I restarted this blog in April! Pretty freaking cool huh?
If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing I really suggest checking out Michelle Schroeder-Gardner's course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. She's grown her blog and income through affiliate marketing to OVER $50,000 a month. Yes, you read that right… a MONTH.
I'm getting ready to go back through the entire course. Feel free to email me if you decide to join the course and we can partner up or I can tell you about my experience a little more.
Things I Recommend:
I use Tailwind to schedule out all my pins for the month. It takes a few minutes to get them all scheduled and I'm done. In the dashboard, you create the schedule of how many pins you want it to pin each day and then you can source them from Pinterest or even websites to save and schedule. I'm creating a How-To post for Tailwind soon (maybe next week) so keep checking back.
I use BoardBooster mostly right now for its pin looping capabilities. It's amazing in that it will take one (or more) of your boards and “loop” your pins from oldest to newest and then delete the one that's not performing the best. I'll be playing with this in the future and detail my strategy so you can copy it.
I tried to stay away from ConvertKit because Mailchimp is free and they just added in autoresponders, but ConvertKit is THAT much easier and better in my opinion. Again, I'll be writing a blog on this soon. But, in short, you can email your entire list at one time vs creating multiple campaigns for different lists. They make segmenting and tagging a breeze. And, they make using content upgrades a no-brainer!
This is now my hosting provider and I absolutely love them. They're always super helpful to me and I've never had an issue. I recommend them above all the others. They can handle a good amount of traffic while your site never skips a beat.
The best affiliate marketing training on the “market”. Michelle knows her stuff and has been doing this since like 2010. She grew her Aff marketing income to well over $50k per month and it keeps growing too. Check out her course and be sure to sign up for my email list below. I'll be sending out discounts to my list that you might otherwise miss.
GOT ANY COMMENTS, QUESTIONS OR TIPS ON HOW TO START A BLOG? SHARE THEM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!