What Does It Take to Be a Successful Blogger in 2018?
Anyone can start a blog.
But a successful one?
Blogging is hard and it’s made even harder when sceptical friends, spouses and family are watching on to see if you ‘make it’ or if you’re just wasting your time.
So many moms dream of starting a blog and being able to contribute to family finances in a way that feels meaningful and good to them.
Sadly, a lot of moms fail.
And I hate that.
I hate it because moms are balancing so many things and making so many sacrifices just to be able to blog in the first place. And you’re probably dealing with a load of self-doubt that isn’t helped by the doubters in your life.
How do you start a blog that makes money?
If I could cut you a free pass into six figure blogger territory… well, I’d cut one for myself first!
Yes, I’m NOT a six figure blogger.
But, you know what? I don’t care.
I never started blogging to make six figures.
I started blogging with a dream that I’d make enough money to not have to go back to my job after my maternity leave finished up.
I was willing to do whatever it took to be a stay at home mom to my sweet little guy.
And, you know what? With blogging, freelance writing, and later, Pinterest management (all made possible because of blogging), I reached my goal: I was consistently making over $1000 USD every month.
It was enough to pay my mortgage, take the pressure off and allow me to quit my job in the first year.
What about you? How much would you need to make from your blog for it to be worthwhile?
How do you get started?
You’ve probably read a post or two about starting a blog >>> it sounds so easy right? You pick something you love, write about it and the money starts rolling on in.
…if only it were that simple.
There’s a lot more that goes into it, at least if you want to be successful.
I’m going to try my best to make it simple and write you a ticket to blogging success, starting in this tutorial right here.
So. Are you ready to join the mom blogging ranks?
I’m going to lay out exactly what you need to do to start a mom blog, right now.
1. What should you blog about? (aka, choosing a niche)
Most bloggers will tell you to choose something you’re passionate about.
You might also get the advice to get really niche, like… you want to blog about organization? Blog about organization for single moms by choice of twins in small rental apartments…
No way! That’s crazy. You just narrowed down your potential audience to a minuscule sliver.
Here’s why you should go broader instead:
- When you start your blog, you’re going to want to lean on Pinterest to get your first readers. It’s pretty easy to get a significant amount of traffic from Pinterest, even for a new blogger… provided you play your cards right and choose a niche and content that’s popular on Pinterest
- You don’t know what your audience will be interested in and you can test the waters with different content and find out what you should focus on by using real numbers (what posts were your most popular).
Since we want to focus on Pinterest first… doesn’t it then make sense to choose a niche that’s popular on Pinterest? Here’s a few for you:
- kids activities
- pregnancy and post partum
- health and fitness
- personal finance
- how to make money
- DIY and home decor
How To Choose the Right Blog Post Topics
So now that you’ve chosen a niche, what topics are you going to write about?
You could spend loads of time brainstorming or… you could do it the easy way.
Here’s the only way you should choose blog topics right now:
- Look at what’s already popular on Pinterest.
- Look at the top bloggers in your niche and see what posts are their most shared. Write those topics.
Does that mean copying?
No, don’t copy. You are simply to write the topics that are already proven to be popular. There’s a difference.
If I see that a really popular post on a blog like mine is about ‘How I Increased My Breastmilk Supply in 24 hours’, I could write a post on “10 Ways to Increase Your Breastmilk Supply, Overnight”. And the content would be different.
2. Choose your blog name (aka your domain name)
Once you’ve decided on a niche, your next step is to choose a domain name.
Yes, this is your blog name.
When I first started, I had no idea what a domain name was, what hosting was, and how they were different. It’s even more confusing because sometimes your domain name is thrown in for free with your hosting anyway.
There’s a few things to consider for your domain name:
Make sure it’s not already taken and the social media handles are available. You can check with the app Knowem that the social media profiles you might want in your blog’s name are available.
Should you go with a .com, .net, .org, or .ninja? Although I’d love to be a .ninja, my recommendation is to only use .com or a .co if you must. It’s the most common, and if you choose any other you’ll likely lose traffic to the .com version of your name.
One final note – there’s a lot of names that will be taken, so come prepared with a few options.
Are you ready to get your hands on your shiny new blog? Here goes!
I recommend hosting with A2 Hosting. They’re really cheap and have a great reputation for speedy websites, quality hosting, and awesome customer service. I use them myself and have had NO issues.
Click this link to head on over to A2 Hosting so you can follow along with the tutorial.
- Click on Sign Up.
- Choose your plan.
- Choose Your Domain.
- Choose whether you want your plan to be for 12 months or 24 months (you get a little bit of a discount for choosing a longer plan).
- Decide whether you want to enable any of the extras A2 offers (you don’t need them).
- Click Continue.
- Check the box for DNS Management (it’s free and makes your site faster so why not?). I highly recommend springing the extra $10 for ID Protection as it stops your personal information being available to anyone who looks for it. Check the box for email forwarding if you’d like your site email address to go directly to your personal email.
- Review the price and click Checkout.
- Fill in your personal details and billing information. Then click Complete Order.
- Click on Proceed to Client Area.
5. Installing WordPress
Ok, picking up where we left off. From the client area, click Login to login to your website.
Here we are in the backend. It’s a bit intimidating. But, don’t worry. Once we get things set up, you won’t need to come back here for a while.
Let’s install WordPress now.
- Click on WordPress A2 Optimized.
- Click on the Install tab.
- Choose Protocol – choose http:// from the dropdown box (if you’ve got an SSL, choose https:// – not sure? Choose http://, you can always change it later)
- Choose your domain from the dropdown box.
- Fill out your Site Name and Site Description (this can be changed later, so don’t agonize over this right now).
- Add your admin username and password here.
Quick note on passwords – make sure it’s an incredibly strong password. Don’t use any other password you normally use. Random generated is best with lots of characters and upper and lower case.
- Change the admin email address if you want. Some ideas: hi@yourwebsite, yourname@yourwebsite, admin@yourwebsite.
- Click Install.
WordPress will now install on your site! Congratulations – you have a blog!
5. What Next?
We can’t just leave you there!
The next thing you need to do is login to your site.
Click on the Administrative URL and login with the username and password you created in the last step.
This is what the backend of WordPress looks like. Get familiar with it ? You’re going to spend quite a bit of time here working on your blog.
The most important navigation tool is the sidebar to the left.
This is where you’ll find:
- Updates – whenever WordPress, themes, or plugins you’re using get updated, you’ll get notified here.
- A2 Optimized/Jetpack/Clef – these are special options that you’ve got because you’re hosting with A2. You’ll find the settings for each of these different services/plugins there. As you add plugins to your blog, you’ll find that you might get more options appearing.
- Posts – this is where you can Add New blog posts, view and edit old blog posts, and add categories and tags to your website to use on your posts.
- Media – this is where any photos, videos, and documents live when you upload them to your site.
- Pages – this is where you can view, edit, and add new pages to your site.
- Comments – this is where you can see all the comments that have been left on your site.
- Appearance – you can change Themes, Customize your theme, add Widgets to your sidebars and footer, add or remove pages and posts from your menu, and get into the code editor (only if you want to).
- Plugins – this is where you’ll find the plugins you’ve installed and where you can add more. Plugins add new features and functions to your website without you needing to know any code.
- Users – you can add additional users here and edit your own profile. Make sure you’re happy with the way your user name is displayed publicly. Also you can add your gravatar here which will give you an avatar when you reply to comments on your site.
- Tools – some plugins will add options to the tools section. I’ve never really used this at all.
- Settings – there’s a lot of things you can edit in here.
- General Settings – update your site title and tagline, change your email address, set timezone and date/time formats.
- Writing – set default post category and format, set up post via email (I’ve never done this)
- Reading – decide whether to have your front page your blog roll or a static homepage. If you choose a static page, you have to choose which page you’ll use as your homepage and what page your blog will live on.
- Discussion – have a look over these settings for comments, fill in any that apply and check the boxes to your liking.
- Media – you can change image sizes here, I recommend leaving it as the default.
- Permalinks – make sure you’ve got Post Name This will remove the date from your URL.