I haven’t been blogging very long but already a lot of people I know have started their own blogs or asked me about how to start blogging or how to decide if blogging is right for them. Obviously, I love blogging and I think everyone should have a blog just for the ability to document and look back on things that happened. Some people keep a journal, some keep a blog. Whatever works for you.
I don’t, however, think that everyone is right for starting a blog and turning it into a business or income stream. There’s actually a really big difference between a journal type blog and a blog that will make you money. First and foremost, I don’t recommend that you start a blog with the intention to make money. You’ll burn out when you aren’t an overnight success and give up. Or you may become all about who will sponsor your content and lose your authenticity. Start a blog because you love it, and then decide whether or not you want to “monetize”.
Blogging for Income
Who is Your Blog For?
You may notice that my blog isn’t filled with “last Saturday the boys did the silliest thing!” posts. The reason is that those posts may be fun and entertaining, but they don’t really help people. I want my blog to be a resource to moms everywhere whether they need homeschooling resources or don’t know how to deal with the therapy overload that comes with special needs kids. It can be as simple as changing a post from “How My Boys Behaved on Our Roadtrip” to “How to Help Your Kids Behave on a Roadtrip!” Guess which one gets more traffic? Notice, I didn’t say Who are you blogging for. That is completely different. In all reality you need to be blogging for you. Because you love it. Because you want to share and connect with your readers. Because you walk around the grocery store thinking about blog post ideas. Because you take 157 pictures every time you do something in case you need to use them on your blog. You need to be blogging for you, but write a blog for your readers.
Treat it Like a Business
If you want your blog to turn into an income source for your family, you need to treat it like a business. In my state, that’s pretty simple, because if I even make one penny off of my blog I have to get a business license to do so. Keep in mind, different states have different regulations and I am NOT a lawyer or accountant! Realistically, if you want your blogging to bring in income, you need to have a self-hosted site. Get your domain (your address.. like autisticmama.com) and hosting and you will immediately be taken more seriously than if you were at thisoutnumberedmama.blogspot.com. Trust me, that’s where I started! I recommend bluehost to purchase your domain and hosting because they make the whole process simple and affordable. That’s who I use, and I haven’t had any problems. Treat it like it is your job because if you plan to make an income, it is your job. Sometimes you won’t want to write, write anyways. You will loathe Facebook because it only shows your posts to ten people, post anyways. You will be so sick of hashtags you won’t be able to see straight, tweet anyways. This is a job. Take it seriously.
There are tons and tons of resources out there to learn about blogging. There are Facebook groups to ask questions and connect with other bloggers, twitter chats like #blogelevated and #createlounge, Youtube videos like the Learn To Blog Hangouts. Not to mention dozens of books and blogs and classes all about how to get started and be successful. I’m still a newbie blogger, but there are people who have been doing this for years that just pour their knowledge out for you! Blogging for an income can be a great opportunity, but you have to be serious about it. Poor Chris didn’t hear anything from me other than google analytics, and twitter parties, and posting schedules for a long time after I started this blog! Who am I kidding, I’m still always researching and telling him all about it. Also, if you’re looking for some tips on getting started, my good friend Amber is launching her new site Amber K Designs to help bloggers get to where they want to go! She offers blog design and branding, but is really an all around source for bloggers that need tips and direction. Right now you can sign up to be notified when her site goes live.. I’m told it will have ebooks, tons of how-to posts, and great ideas for finding your brand.
Do you have a blog? How did you decide whether to build it into an income source?