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So, you’re ready to launch a blog
or looking to enhance your blog?
You’re in the right place! Now, I’m no blogging guru nor do I claim to know everything – actually, I’m still learning a lot myself – but I do know what’s been working for me since relaunching my blog and I’m happy to share the resources that help make it all happen.
Before we begin I do want to be very honest and say that launching a blog will take some investment up front. Depending on your budget, you’ll be able to get your blog off the ground with these basics I’m about to share. Aside from those startup costs, other ways to invest in your blog can be e-books, podcasts, and courses which are valuable because they teach you how to monetize or grow your following.
For the purpose of this resource I am keeping things simple and sharing exactly what I’m currently using with proven success. But much like anything, take what’s useful and run with it!
Let’s get started…
Domain & Blog Hosting
I use GoDaddy and have been using them for years without any issues. Anytime something has popped up or I needed assistance, their customer service has been quick and so helpful. I also find them to be affordable for what I need as I have relaunched my blog here and somewhat starting from scratch.
I pay for a .com and their WordPress site builder. Using a self-hosted WordPress blog is the number one piece of advice anyone will give you. It’s worth it because you can customize everything from themes to plugins to make your website more personal to you – especially if you’re looking to make it into a business or have a business already.
There are so many hosting sites available at different costs. Do your research and choose the platform that best fits your needs.
Custom Themes & Templates
Another investment is purchasing a blog theme.
Etsy is a great place to start as well as Creative Market (I’ll be referring to them a lot here) to search for pre-made professional looking themes for your blog. Again, you’ll want to search for responsive WordPress themes that run on Genesis. WordPress makes it so easy to upload the .zip file and customize to make your site look and function exactly like you want.
Pre-made themes are perfect for people like me who have a very limited understanding of HTML.
My current blog theme is:
Another way I utilize Creative Market is their library of newsletter templates. Establishing a mailing list is so important for any blogger or business and purchasing a pre-made template saves me so much time!
My current newsletter theme is:
Creating Images & Graphics
I use Canva for pretty much everything! You can use their free platform or invest and go pro, which opens up their entire library of goodies to create with. This has become my number one place for creating images and graphics for my blog and lettering shop.
What do I exactly use it for?
- social media images and graphics
- headers for my social media profiles and my Etsy shop
- graphics for my shop’s listing photos
- Pinterest images for my blog posts (a MUST for driving traffic)
Also, I use Unsplash for free stock photos to use periodically for the blog (like featured images for my posts). Using your own photos is best practice, but it can be difficult to get the just-right image when you’re starting out. Unsplash, in the meantime, is a great resource for those free high-quality photos.
Monetizing your Blog
This is a big motivator for anyone looking to launch a blog…however, it can be a while before you can make the kind of income every blogger on Pinterest says you can make – even as a beginner. It doesn’t mean they’re wrong, it just means you have to have patience and the willingness to hustle before turning a profit.
There are a number of different ways you can begin to earn money through your blog straight away and that is:
- affiliate marketing (this is the easiest, but can take the longest)
- connecting your blog to your e-commerce business (i.e. Etsy shop)
- connecting your blog to your consulting jobs (i.e. Beautycounter, Rodan + Fields, etc.)
- provide e-books, printables, or other products
Then after you build your readership and gain a consistent following (which can take years to do) you can monetize your blog via:
- joining influencer networks
- collaborating with companies and brands through sponsored posts
- becoming a brand ambassador
At the end of the day you have to think about why you want to start blogging. For me, it’s about authentically sharing my life and if I can make a commission here and there from sharing what I already use and love that’s wonderful, but monetizing isn’t my sole purpose for blogging. People aren’t going to be engaged with bloggers who are eager to make sales, so focus on building your readership first through your content. Then, the big monetizing opportunities will come…I promise.