I have survived my first week of blogging! For a person who is a little technically challenged, this is a HUGE accomplishment! Not only have I survived the first week, but I have everything in place to begin monetizing my blog. I am now going to share with you the most helpful tools, blogs, and sites that I have found for all aspects of my blog. Let’s get started with your blog!
*Disclosure: Affiliate links are included, however, all opinions are truly my own.
Set up your domain.
This is a given! To start off, you need a website. If you know that you want to monetize your blog, go ahead and set your page up using Bluehost. Click the link below to get started, and I will walk you through.
- Click the green “get started” button. You are given three options at this point” basic, plus, or prime. Basic is all that you need at this time, so click the “select” button.
- Choose the domain name. This is what your site will be called. I had been planning my blog for awhile, and really thinking about my passions. I decided that I wanted my blog to be about family, teaching, and running a monetized blog. For this reason, I chose the name Moteapreneur- it was all of my passions combined. You may be a lot more creative than I am, but make sure your name is a symbol of what you want your blog to be about. You may have to try a few times if the name is taken, but you will get it!
- Create your account and choose your package add-ons. I researched this, and in the end decided that the only add-on that I needed was domain privacy. My total cost for 36 months was $154.08. Read and agree to the terms, and then hit submit. You have now created your domain!
- Once you have started your domain, you will need to download WordPress. Simply scroll down your screen and click on the WordPress icon.
Design your site.
Now you have set up your page, but it is not yet launched! You need to spend some time designing your site before launching it. It took me about a week of non-stop working to get my site set up the way that I wanted it. If you start planning before purchasing your site, it could take you less time. If you do not want to work non-stop, it could take you more time. This part really depends on you. Here are the things you need to get your site ready to launch.
- Pictures for your pages. The only camera that I had was my IPhone, so I ended up purchasing a Panasonic Lumix from Amazon. While your cellphone may work for you, I wanted something that would make my pictures appear more professional. The other option is stock photos. Elna from Twins Mommy blog has some great tips for my favorite type of stock photos- free! Check out her post on this here. A big no-no for photos is do not use any photos that are not your own unless you have permission! Either take your own photos or get stock photos, but do not copy and paste them! You are going to need a professional looking photo of yourself for your homepage, and also a header image that people will see when they first land on your site. I had my husband take a picture of me in the front yard for the first, and used a stock photo for the second.
- Sign up for Adobe Spark. It is free and allows you to create posts for blogs and social media. You will be able to upload your photos, add captions, and more. You want to have a theme for your blog, including colors and fonts that you are using. Regina at byregina.com has an awesome post that really helps you when designing your theme. Check the post out here, and know that it does include freebies to help you design…are you seeing a trend with me? I LOVE freebies! Use Adobe Spark to make 3 different pictures for every blog, one for Pinterest, one for the blog, and one for social medias. Check out Kelly at the Red Lantern Creative blog here as she tells you why this is so important! I found her post after I had already written a few posts, and I went back and changed them all using her advice.
- Write some posts! When you roll your site out, having 3-5 (or more) posts already prepared is ideal. You want people to read your first post and fall in love. Once they are in love, you want to have something else for them to read available right away. I broke my site up into a few different categories, and I tried to have at least one post in each category. You do not want people to have to search through all of your posts to find the information about riding horses, or raising chickens. This is where categories come into place. My specialty topics are mothering, teaching, and blogging. I also did an overflow category titled knick knacks for whatever else I may want to post about. This helps visitors find the information they are looking for easily.
- Now log onto your site, and let’s start customizing. I end up on a page that looked like this when I was ready to start designing my page.
- Click on Appearance to choose a theme. I went with Kale, which is a free theme. There are also many paid ones. One thing I focused on was the ratings for each one. I do not know why a theme would have a rating of 2/5 or 3/5, but I also knew that I did not want to find out. I stuck with the 4/5 or 5/5 ratings.
- Click dashboard when you are ready to go back to the main page. Next, Click on the button with the name of your site at the top left.
- This will take you to the main page of your blog. Now click on the customize button at the top left.
- This will give you options for customizing your page, while also seeing what it looks like on your actual page.
- Pay attention to those icons at the bottom. This allows you to see how your changes look on a computer, a tablet, or a smart phone. Click them to see the differences.
- Now click through each tab and add photos and content as necessary. This is the part that you can only learn by doing. There is no way to prepare you for this, just click around and make changes. If you like it, save it. If you don’t like it, don’t save it.
- Once you are finished, save your changes and close out of the customization tab. This will take you back to your web page.
- This time, click on the name of your site beside the customization tab. This will take you back to the page you started on.
- Now begin customizing everything else using the links on the left. Add your posts, edit your categories, check your pages. I also added some plugins and widgets that will probably be helpful to you. These are Ad Inserter, Black Studio TinyMCE Widget, Bluehost Affiliator, Google Analytics, MOJO Marketplace, and Pinterest Badge. To add these, click on the Plugins tab on the left of your page. From the drop down menu, choose Add New, and then type in the name of the one you will like to add. Descriptions are located on each one, so read them and be sure they are something you will use. After adding them, activate them.
- Your website is now ready to launch, but there is still much to do first. Set up an email address for your website. I used Outlook, but there are also ways to have an email account ending in your domain name. I do not feel that is important, so I will let you research that on your own if that is what you would like to do. In my opinion, Outlook, AOL, Gmail, or Yahoo will get the job done here.
Set up your social media accounts.
Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are the ones that I focus on. After setting up my social media accounts, I began using Tailwind to help me schedule posts. To build your following, you have to post things quite often. After you set up your social media accounts, you also need to try to build them. I use CrowdFire for this. It reminds me when to post, and also helps me make my posts sound better. I am using the free version, and my Twitter and Instagram followings are growing already!
Set up your Affiliates.
The easiest ones to set up were Groupon Affiliates, Amazon Affiliates, and Bluehost Affiliates. Others that I applied for were Commission Junction (CJ) and ShareASale. These are all free to set up, and allow you to start earning money immediately. I had to apply for ShareASale and Commision Junction, but I had an answer back within a couple of days. As a beginner, these affiliates can be a lot to keep up with, so I suggest choosing about 5 to start off with. When you write these posts, link whatever you can back to an affiliate item. There are wonderful posts to help you with affiliates, but I simply highlight the word that I would like people to be able to click on, and then paste my affiliate link to the item there.
*Remember to ALWAYS add a disclosure clause to sites that will include affiliate links. My disclosure clause is simple:
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will receive a commission with no extra charge to you if your purchase this item. While I may receive a commission, all opinions are my own.
The last thing for you to do is set up a schedule for your posting.
I plan to start using a 3 day per week posting schedule where I post new items on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The other days will be for me to grow social media and promote my posts. Check out Erin Shebish’s blog here for a free business plan workbook to help you with planning. This workbook offers spaces for you to plan your month, set up any giveaways, set goals, and really define your blog. And it is FREE!
This should get your started. There is no way to give you all of the information that you will need, but I tried to consider all of the research that I did, and present the things that I found most helpful. Once all of this is finished, launch your blog and promote, promote, promote!