I can't believe it but I've been blogging for over 6 years now. It has become my passion and my full time income source. Six years ago I was a first-time mom, at home all day alone with her baby, and stressed out from being on only one income and also feeling lost because I felt like I didn't have anything that was mine.
Long story short, I started this blog just for a creative outlet and it ended up becoming the most fun "work" (if you can call it that) that I've ever accomplished, and continue to do so.
If you like to write, or not even write but just share your thoughts, passion, advice, WHATEVER...I highly encourage you to start a blog!
This blog post is simply a place where I keep my updated blogging resources for all of my readers who send me emails and messages asking for this very info.
In this post:
- How I make my graphics
- My most successful traffic resources
- My domain
- My blog host
- The theme I use
- Child theme + other graphics
- How I make money from blogging
- My tech guy
How I make my graphics
It is so easy to create graphics, you don't need any expensive program. It's mostly just time consuming because I make several different sizes for each social media platform, as well as for my blog post.
I simply use PicMonkey to make ALL of my graphics. I pay for the $4.99 member option so that I can also use all of my own fonts that are on my laptop, as well as all of the extra design options that PicMonkey offers.
I do have a DSR camera, the Canon EOS Rebel, but honestly I take most of my pictures with my iPhone. I use the Color Story app to lighten my photos, I use the Retouch app to remove objects (like a plug outlet in the background if it's distracting) and I love using the WordSwag app to create images with quotes.
My most successful traffic resources
Pinterest is by far my main source of traffic.
The way to be successful on Pinterest comes down to these 3 things:
- Images vertical, pretty, and easy to read
- Pinning content (beyond your own) that your readers like
- GROUP BOARDS
Group boards are life for bloggers. You need to repin your content daily to group boards. The secret to finding good group boards are to go to the accounts of bloggers in your niche who are doing well and see what group boards they are pinning to. If the board is accepting contributors, ask to join!
I have two group boards:
- Sacred Self-Care - this is a group board for anyone pinning content about self-care, personal growth, spirituality, and mindset.
- Best of Mommyland - this is a general group board for all pins written by and for moms.
Both boards have over 7,000 followers and I'm accepting contributors.
My domain is www.piganddac.com. Your domain is like the address of a house. To get it, you just need to purchase a domain from a hosting site. You can choose to either buy your domain through your web host when you buy your blog's web hosting (explained next) or you can buy it separately. I have mine separately since I was on Blogspot and not WordPress first, and in some cases you have to buy it separately if your web host doesn't offer it.
- hostgator.com - this is where I host my domain. I pay around $15 a year for it and usually they have a sale where you get a discounted price for the first year. I've always loved Hostgator and their customer service and I've never had any issues with them.
Tip: I always purchase the privacy protection for the domain. It's usually only a few more dollars and this protects your name and home address from being seen if someone looks up your domain on the WHOIS site. Instead it will show your domain host's information instead. I find this worth the extra few dollars.
My Blog Host
A web host is where your website will be hosted. It's kind of like renting space. So imagine your domain being your house address, and your web hosting being the lot that your house is on.
For this blog, I use Blue Host. I feel like they are the Target of Blogland. They've been around for years, they are always within reach if you need to talk to someone, and they will refund what you haven't used if you want to switch to another host. Just very trustworthy, basically.
They also have a one-click install for WordPress (this saves SO much time) and you can get your domain for free. I have a post here showing you specifically how to set up a blog up on WordPress with Bluehost if you need.
The theme I use
After you've purchased your domain and web hosting, installed WordPress and all that jazz...it's time for the fun to start!
The "theme framework" of your WordPress blog is going to be like the foundation and bones of your house. The better the foundation, the smoother everything will run and the easier it will be to integrate plugins smoothly. Studiopress is where you can find lots of themes, and the Genesis is their top theme.
- Genesis - it's really the best theme framework you can choose (it's the one I chose too). The reason I purchased my framework rather than using a standard free one is because Genesis, for example, is coded well, allows me to easily customize, has amazing SEO capabilities, better site speed, and 24/7 tech support. When using a free theme, you risk having all of your customizations wiped out when they update and you have to deal more often with things going wonky on you, as well as risking poor coding and not as much compatibility with plugins. I would highly recommend making the investment.
Read here about why Genesis is really the best choice for a self-hosted WordPress blog.
Child theme + other graphics
Your child theme is going to be your blog's curb appeal. It's the face of your blog and what makes it pretty and visually appealing. You also need a child theme to go over your Genesis framework. And if you find a good, customizable child theme, you can keep changing things up rather than buying new child themes whenever you want a change.
Here are some of my favorite sites to shop child themes and just other cool design elements to add to my blog.
- restored316designs.com - clean, feminine designs. I have the Flourish Theme on this site currently, although it's now retired (that's how long I've been using it!). What I love about any theme from Restored is that I can customize it in so many different ways, from colors to making the front page into a landing page, and it's ecommerce capable. This is the only child theme I've had because it's so customizable that I haven't felt the need to get a different theme.
- Hello You Designs - I am also obsessed with the themes on this site! My self-care blog, jessicadimas.com, is currently using the Hello Darling theme and I love it. I feel like Jennifer's themes look very custom without having to pay the thousands of dollars it costs for a custom theme. She's also very helpful and emailed me back quickly when I had questions setting up my theme.
- creativemarket.com - one of my favorite resources to buy fonts and graphics. You can buy fonts, watercolor graphics, photos and photo packs, graphic designs, logos, etc. Also every week, they share 6 free goods. I love buying graphics and fonts here to create images for my blog posts and also workbooks, ebooks, and printables, etc for my audience. Definitely bookmark this site.
- angiemakes.com - I also love this site because she has really beautiful designs and graphics.
How I make money from blogging
I've been blogging for 6 years and didn't start making money until the 5th year. It's not that it takes that long to make money, it's just that I didn't really figure it out until that point, haha!
The truth is that bloggers make money in all kinds of ways. There's affiliate marketing, products, ads, and sponsored posts. I make money from the first three, and I've also done sponsored work in the past but I don't really enjoy it (kind of hate it with a passion) so I stopped.
The best kind of affiliate marketing is recommending other companies or products that you are using. I have a homeschooling friend that will promote homeschooling products she uses. I have a green blogging friend that promotes clean products. In this blog post, several of the links are affiliate links to products/services that I use.
Amazon recently cut their percentage down for what they pay out to their affiliates, but I still make money from them every month as well. My friend Carolina is an Amazon genius and wrote this book. I highly recommend it if you're interested in making money that way. Everyone shops with Amazon, so it's definitely an easy way to make extra money off your blog every month.
This is my favorite way to make money. If you're already writing a blog, you might as well write a guide or ebook! This is my shop. I love writing guides about the topics I blog about.
I keep it very simple; I either write my guide in Pages or Word and then convert it to PDF. Pick a platform to sell it on (I use Gumroad, but other options are SendOwl or DPD) upload it, and start selling.
Create an authentic sales page, keep it short and let them know what they're getting, and don't underprice yourself. And then share share share every day.
Sponsored posts are the way a lot of my blogging friends make a part time to even full time income. You sign up for a program that brings bloggers and brands together and then look through what brands are accepting applications. Apply for the ones you want and hope you get them.
A lot of bloggers also go straight to brands themselves and usually they make much more money this way.
Remember you are offering your time, talent, audience, and effort; don't underprice yourself.
My tech guy
I am not a techy person and I never will be. I can manage my way around WordPress and make my graphics and whatnot, but there are times when I need help ASAP.
I met Grayson through another blogger on Facebook. He was always helping in a mutual blogging group we were in. He's quick to respond and he doesn't charge an arm and a leg. I think of him as my blogging husband, even though him nor my real husband know that.
So if you ever need a tech guy, go to his site iMark Interactive.
So that's pretty much the basics of what I know about blogging and all of my current resources. I keep this blog post updated every 6 months or sooner if I have something new to add.
Thanks for reading and if you have any questions, feel free to leave them below!