I am by no means a blogging expert.
This is my second blog, and my second version of this blog, and second attempt at turning this blog into a business. I’m still floundering, making mistakes, and learning every day. I’m even joining the Elite Blog Academy that starts at the end of this month so that I can learn more and improve my business.
However, I still get asked pretty frequently about how to start a blog.
I don’t feel at all prepared to share exactly how to do that. What I can do is share some of the blogging mistakes I’ve made so you can avoid them! At the end of the post there will also be a list of my favorite resources. If that’s all you’re here for, then scroll to the bottom (and don’t miss the blogging assessment!). But otherwise…
When I first started this blog, I started it off on a free wordpress.com site. That is a wonderful resource if you don’t want to spend the money or if you just want to goof around and find your voice. If you want your blog to become profitable anytime in the future though, I highly recommend you start off self hosting for several reasons:
- You have to be self-hosting to use most affiliate programs or Google Adsense. Why not start making money right off the bat?
- Switching your site over can lose followers and traffic. Any saved, shared or pinned links will send people to your old site and chances are, you’ll lose some subscribers and traffic in the confusion.
- You have to pay to have your old site redirect to the new site. Say you made a blog post (like about How We Fly For Free) that becomes quite popular on Pinterest, but it’s under the old site’s web address. You have to pay wordpress to redirect all of those people to your new site.
- It’s extra work and extra frustration in a business that already can be quite frustrating!
If you don’t know where to start, I can help. First, download wordpress. It’s free, super user friendly, easy to update, make changes, and has a good amount of free design templates.
Next, I highly recommend taking a look at Blue Host for hosting services, they’re who I use. Their prices are very reasonable, right now they’re running a special where you can host a site for $3.95 a month at their basic level.
When you sign up, you can also buy your domain name (it’s included free with their intro offer). You do have to renew this each year, but it’s not too expensive. Even if you’re just starting a wordpress hosted blog I recommend you buy your domain name! They can go fast, and when you do decide to make the switch, it might not be available anymore.
I like Blue Host for a few reasons: They’re cheap, easy to use, include free email accounts, and have an easy, 1 click wordpress installation.
Once you’ve signed up, if you’re running into any problems, check out my resource links at the end of this post for some links about how to set up your account and get your site uploaded.
If you’re worried about the expense, some reassurance: It took me around a year of on and off blogging for mine to start paying for itself, and it’s only going to go up from here! Start off with that goal and you’ll get the little extra motivation you need to reach it before you know it.
I didn’t really start building my email subscriber list until over a year after I started.
You have many assets as a blogger, and your email subscriber list is an important one. These are the people who really want to hear what you’re talking about, that’s why they signed up! When I first started I didn’t really know how to start building one and just ignored it. Halfway through the first year, I finally started but it was with a really lame “Email Subscribers” plugin on wordpress.
I hate it. It’s clunky, awkward and just doesn’t work how I want it to. Then I discovered Drip Email Marketing. And I LOVE IT!
That little pop up on here that asks if you want to subscribe? That’s Drip. It’s so clean, professional looking, and best yet: free for your first 100 subscribers! Without me doing a thing, Drop asks people to confirm their subscription and then sends them a welcome email. I can also set it up to send out a chain of emails separated by a certain amount of days that eases people into my email list.
It’s a great way to get your toes wet with email marketing.
It can be a little confusing, so if you run into any problems I’d be more than happy to help, just comment on this post!
As a heads up, Drip does only work on desktop right now. I still have my clunky email subscriber plugin for mobile users but it’s easy to just transfer subscribers from that program over to Drip. I’m still looking into alternatives though, so if you want to hear about what works for me make sure to sign up for our email list and I’ll let you know when I find it!
The last, and probably biggest mistake I’ve made?
Not believing in myself.
Blogging is hard. Every day you get to watch your numbers rise and fall, and you don’t usually know why it’s doing so. I’ve given up twice, but I’m hoping this time will stick.
In a year of casual blogging I’ve gotten my blog from nothing to paying for itself, and it’s only going to get better from here. That helps me get through when no one comments, I get no new subscribers, or my views are dropping.
I’m learning every day. These challenges are temporary and I will get through them. I believe in myself and you should too.
One reassuring thing I did recently was take the blogging assessment over at the Elite Blog Academy. It helps to figure out where you’re at, but also gave me some great things to think about that I need to work on. Most importantly, it reassured me that I could be successful at this.
You can too! We’ve got this.
Did you take the assessment? What did your results show you?
If you want to learn from my future blogging mistakes (cause I will probably make many more) and see how this Elite Blog Academy thing works out for me, make sure you sign up for my VIP Blogging List. Only that list will receive the most valuable lessons I learn, EBA updates, and an interesting glimpse into the day to day world of a blogging business. I’ll also be highlighting our other VIPs blogs so make sure to sign up and one month yours might be featured!
Here are some resources I’ve found handy, the ones mentioned above as well as some extras:
WordPress – free website design and management software
Blue Host – inexpensive and easy to use site hosting
Drip – email marketing company that offers the first 100 subscribers free
Peek – a user testing company that does free website testing. You can find out what people’s first impressions are of your site and what you need to work on
Elite Blog Academy – This is what I’m doing to improve my business. It’s wonderful, but it’s definitely an investment at that price and it only opens up once a year. Maybe you’re not ready for that step yet. In the mean time you can sign up for their waiting list and they’ll fill your inbox with blogging related goodies! I’ll be posting a follow up post on the EBA once it starts. If you’re curious, subscribe and you’ll get notified when that happens!
How To Set Up A Self Hosted WordPress Blog – If you’ve signed up for Blue Host but are running into issues with the process, this post over at the Elite Blog Academy will walk you through it step by step.
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