What is Holding You Back?
If you have entertained thoughts of starting a blog, what is holding you back? Often, it is knowing where to start. There are some great tools to guide as you start and take it further into monetizing for a little or a lot of extra income. The more time you invest, the more income you will get. There are ways to make the most of your time – you know, so that you still have the time to mother your children, homeschool and keep your home and homestead. You don’t have to skip sleeping to have it all, you just need some good tools (hmm, good tools seems to be the key for most areas of life).
If you are not looking to monetize, one of the free options (such as WordPress.com or Blogspot.com) will work just fine. If you have intentions of monetizing, even just a little, you really need to be self-hosted. My websites are hosted through A Small Orange. They are perfect for the beginning and still growing blog. Their customer service has been top notch and I have never had any issues with my website being down. I am proud to be an affiliate and recommend them to all my blogging friends.
Thoughts, Ideas, and Things to Say
There are blogs with very focused topics and those with a wide variety. Typically, the more you narrow down your niche, your focus, the better your blog will do and the easier it will be for you in creating content, choosing partnerships and more. One thing common to all bloggers is that we have many thoughts, ideas, and things to say. You will want to have some plan for posting all this content. Keeping those thoughts and post ideas gathered together will help when you hit writer’s block. It happens to us all, you clear some time, sit down to put a post together and have nothing. No thoughts, no words, no ideas. You had tons of things zinging about when you were knee deep in dinner prep and bedtime routines. There is a fabulous course, Content Brew, that can guide you through the process of organizing those ideas and filling in your editorial calendar.
Getting those thoughts and ideas typed out is only part of creating your post. More and more, we are visual people. An image or photo is a must for every post. Pinterest is probably the most popular way of sharing and finding content. Cohesive images, a signature look or branding is the goal. Your picture needs to stand on its own in directing someone to your latest and greatest post. Branding and creating great images is a post all its own. Videos (and the accompanying YouTube channel) are quickly gaining in importance, especially for how-to posts. You can easily embed videos if you choose to include them in your posts. You can safely stay off screen if the thought of appearing on-camera scares you (it does me!).
Growing Your Community
While content is king, there is more needed for your posts to be seen and your blog to be successful. Social media sharing is the most common way to share your posts. There are numerous subscription services, plugins and apps to make this a quick, easy, automated process. These include your sharing of your posts as you publish them as well as sharing buttons (I use SumoMe) on your website so readers can share to their friends and networks. There are Facebook Groups and Tailwind Tribes for Pinterest that you can join for collaborative sharing of each others’ content. There are many options and more it seems each week, start small so as to not overwhelm yourself. This is an area I strongly suggest automating what you can. This is not to say you should not be engaged on your social media channels, but if you can automate the sharing (and re-sharing) of your content as you publish, you will have more time for the interactions that really grow your community.
All of this sharing not only grows your blog, but also grows your community, your people. An often skipped step is building your email list. These readers and followers are your people. No matter what social media network they are active on (that might lose popularity or reach overnight), if they are receiving you in their inbox, they will not miss out on the fabulousness you are sharing. This is especially important if you are monetizing. Your subscribers, your email list, are the readers most interested in what you have to say and share. If you come across something fabulous, a great deal, or a limited-time offering, you want to reach the most people with your efforts. These offerings are most likely affiliate earning opportunities for you (be sure to disclose that). Besides creating your own products, these are the best ways to have income from a blog.
Keep Track of It All
It may seem like a lot to keep track of, and that is where a good planner comes in. The Blog Success Planner from Inspired Bloggers University has all that you’ll need, plus support in getting started. They also offer many ecourses to help you from the beginning to the next level and beyond. There are a lot of resources out there to help bloggers; it can be hard to determine what to listen to and what to tune out.
I know how hard it can be do it all. There is a balance that must be found that looks different for every one of us. The theme of this year’s Homemaking Ministries Online Conference is Finding Balance in Your Home. This has been so timely! The speakers are covering different aspects of keeping home and finding balance, from homemaking to homeschooling, meal planning to work-at-home moms. If you are exploring blogging as a means of income, you are a work-at-home mom. Besides the great speakers and their workshops, my favorite things are lifetime access and the ability to download the sessions. You can make this work with your schedule – and be encouraged.