Like most things in my life, where I just dive in feet first, blogging was no different! It all started with me needing a creative outlet. My fiance and I just bought our first house, and I wanted to document the process of us fixing it up. I had an interior design business, but that didn’t allow me to show off my own personal style and process, so My Eclectic Grace was born.
I’m pretty introverted, but I wanted a way to express myself and have a platform that could reach people worldwide. I started my blog as just a way to do that, until a few weeks in when during some late night Pinterest sessions, I realized people were making serious money blogging.
I kind of laughed, because first of all…my family already didn’t understand what a blog was, but if I told them I had a plan to use my blog as my side hustle, and eventually replace my full time income with it…they would’ve just laughed. So I didn’t tell them, I just got right down to it and started researching the heck out of how to make money blogging.
How to begin
I already knew a broad idea of what I wanted to blog about – home decor, DIY + thriftiness, and just a little bit of lifestyle. I kept it small at first – it’s always easily to start with a small niche and broaden your scope once you see what you really like writing about – and just as importantly what your audience responds to most.
I had done a lot of research and saw other big bloggers have success. It seemed like they were reaching their high incomes goals, and they made it look effortless. We are know the easier something looks..it usually isn’t. Blogging is really hard work..harder than anyone realizes until they start. But the pay off can be extremely rewarding, and it allows you to make money off of your own creativity. Hello starving artist dreams come true! Ha!
There are bloggers raking in anywhere from an extra $100 a month to $30,000 a month. That seems crazy, but after being in the game for almost a year, I now understand how they are getting that $30,000/month income. For me, that is not my goal. I want to get just enough to cover my expenses of running the blog, and start chipping off my debt after that. It’s a full time job to make such a large amount of money, don’t let anyone fool you into believing it isn’t. But at the same time, don’t believe you can’t do it; if you want to make money, anywhere from a few extra bucks to a few extra thousand, it’s possible and I’m going to tell you how!
This post probably contains affiliate links. See my full disclosure here.
Never blogged or written professionally before? No problem.
I’ve always enjoyed writing, it’s been a strong suit of mine, but i’ve never done it professionally. And prior to this blog, i’ve never created a website or coded…or marketed myself. I learned everything from scratch. My background isn’t in marketing, advertising, communications, or anything. I am an artist. So if you’ve never done anything like this, fear not.I didn’t invest in expensive courses..I took free courses. There are millions of free resources out there for blogging successfully – just a simple Google search with yield you results that will be useful. I don’t have tons of traffic to my site – I don’t invest in ads or participate in “follow me” threads on Facebook, or sell courses or Ebooks. But I still make money from this. And you can too!
Where to start.
Best piece of advice I’ve received – “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Just jump in. Buy your domain. Write a post. Start. Starting is the largest hurdle..after that I promise it won’t seem so hard. After doing a ton of research, and talking to my fiance who is very savvy in the technology field, I felt like I had a grasp on the best way to start. I jumped in one morning over coffee and bought a year of hosting through BlueHost – the #1 recommended host by bloggers. I have a free WordPress site, got a killer free theme, and hit launch before breakfast was even over. It cost me less than 3 months membership at the gym for an entire year of my own site on Bluehost…it was a no brainer to say YES!
Before you start, you don’t need to everything be perfect. I literally started a a Pinterest account with my new blog name the morning I launched, and started an Instagram account (with 5 followers..now almost 4k after blog launch) and had 8 blog posts written. Finished is always better than perfect!
Let me make you realize something…your first pictures, first blog posts won’t be incredible or go viral (most likely). You have to test the waters, get the dust off the keyboard, put your manifestations out into the world. Blogging is one of those things where you only get better with time. The saying “practice makes perfect” is absolutely true when it comes to this.
I suggest having between 5 and 10 blog posts up on your site when you “launch it”. Why? You don’t want visitors to come to your site and have nothing to look at. When you announce your blog to your friends and family, they will be thrilled to check it out, and you’ll want some content for them to check out! I had three categories on my blog, and I split it up evenly – 3 blog posts in each category, which worked well for me!
Alright..so you bought a website and have some blog posts written..now what?
When your website goes LIVE this means everyone can see it – but no need to panic, you aren’t going to be on the top search of Google..yet! Don’t let your excitement be dulled if you don’t get a ton of views at first, it takes persistence!
It can get overwhelming…Pinterest, Affiliate Marketing, SEO, email lists, rich content…ETC. Don’t try to tackle it all at once, take it in strides. I broke it down and tried to fully understand one thing at a time, which ultimately made me better at each thing in the long run.
What you do need on your blog to go LIVE.
You’ll want an about me page – with a clear and updated image of yourself! It doesn’t have to be a professional picture, just make sure it represents you and you’re smiling! “About me’s” can be tricky, but I started reading other people’s about me sections and took notes on what I liked about them, what caught my eye…I’ve changed my about me text a few times now, but it’s best just to get something written and out there.Q
A contact page – if someone wants to reach out to you, you don’t want to miss that opportunity because you forgot about this section!
I believe starting on a good foot makes all the difference. One main key to blog views is getting shared, so having a “share” button on all pages and posts can be very quintessential to growing your blog post views.
Are you thinking..why did she keep bringing up Pinterest?
I have had a Pinterest since I was in high school. I guess that shows how young I am, but hey it’s an amazing tool! If you just pin for fun, or go on recipe rampages where you Pin every delicious recipe you see..now is the time to either stop and Pin strategically, OR start a brand new Pinterest account with your blog email. I started a brand new Pinterest so that my boards would all coincide with my blog.
Pinterest is the bloggers search engine. Need advice on staining your deck? Pinterest search. Mommy hacks? Pinterest search. New hair trends? Pinterest. If you want to get clicks, you have to use Pinterest!
At first, I was just manually pinning..when I remembered. I would try to Pin for a half hour a day…yikes. That got exhausting, and truthfully I didn’t know if I was helping or hurting my blog. I had about 5 followers, followed 50 people, and felt like NO ONE was seeing my content. I will tell you what I do know is true though – these next steps are essential for Pinterest and blogging.
First things first – do these steps:
- Make a free business Pinterest profile
- Make your name the same at your blog + match the picture (or logo) so people know it’s you!
- Add your website to your profile so people can easily find your blog directly.
- Follow people who are in your niche and repin from them
- Make at least 5 PINS from each of your blog posts and pin them on your own boards.
I did all of this, but until I joined Tailwind, I was still stuck with low views. Tailwind took my Pin impressions from 1.2K views a month to roughly 112K views in about 3 months and (growing daily). If you aren’t familiar with Tailwind, it’s okay, I wasn’t either. A friend of mine showed me her results, and I was smitten! If you use a current users code, you get to try Tailwind for free for 30 days, so I am offering you mine. I don’t pay for any subscriptions for my blog OTHER than Tailwind..I refuse to ever go back to manual pinning!
Google is your new bestie.
Sign yourself up for a Google Analytics account. Yes, it will seem so overwhelming you’ll want to cry at first. I did. No shame. But then you’ll be able to handle it, and it breaks down everything.
You’ll be able to use the invaluable information it provides like
- Active users
- Traffic source (how people are finding your blog!)
- How long people are looking at your site
Alright…can I make money now?
When I started, I had no idea how to make money. I thought I would get a bunch of views and then I’d get a magical check in the mail for some reason? Nada.
There are big ad companies that you won’t qualify for at first (like MediaVine and Ad thrive) but you can apply for Google Adsense, which is super basic and you won’t get much money compared to the larger networks, but it will be something. It also gets you familiar with how ads work on your website.
Ever heard of affiliate marketing?
Yeah, I hadn’t either. It’s my best friend now, and my 2nd top way I make money from my blog. It’s how most bloggers and influencers make their money, and it’s very simple. You will sign up for different companies, and by talking, writing about, or recommending products, a company rewards you with a “commission” of sorts. It’s performance based…so if no one buys the vacuum you are talking about, you won’t make a dime.
Some companies reward you, the affiliate, from clicks, views, or sales, depending. You can throw an affiliate link in wherever it seems reasonable and makes sense. But don’t crowd your post with BUY THIS HERE and such..that seems salesy and icky. It has to flow and you have to be transparent and 100 % honest for it to work. I never recommend or ever talk about something if I haven’t used it myself and 100% believe in it.
As a new blogger, here are the affiliates you can apply for:
- CJ Affiliate
- Rakuten Affiliate
- Amazon Associates
- BlueHost (once you sign up)
- Ebates (sign up here!)
Whatever you do, do not forget to mention that a blog post or page has affiliate links. You can mention it and add a link to your affiliate disclosure, but this is a must!
To put ads..or not to put ads.
This is a personal preference. I had ads up for a few months but they were not looking right with my theme, so I got rid of them. I decided once I had thousands of views and could apply for one of the big guys where the real money could be made…i’d just keep it clean.
If you want to put ads on your site from the get-go, more power to you! You can make a few cents a day for doing nothing in the beginning…so it’s all about what you want and your vision.
Batch write your posts.
At first, I was pumping out two blog posts a week..and they weren’t quality. They were thrown together and published because I saw big bloggers doing this and thought it was key. It wasn’t. I slowed down and starting writing ONE really good post every week…that was all I could keep up with along with my full time job. Once I started focusing on QUALITY > QUANTITY, my blog traffic increased dramatically! Q
I take Sundays and I batch write. Sometimes I get all my ideas down and a few drafts written and then during the week I polish them up and get photos, etc. It doesn’t have to be all at once, but setting aside chunks of time where you can focus is very helpful, especially if you work as well.
How do you promote your blog?
So your post is live…okay well no one is going to see it unless you tell the world!
When a blog post goes live – these are my next steps immediately:
- Make Pins for my Pinterest account (2-3 per post)
- Publish my blog to Facebook – my blog Facebook page and my personal page
- Put a post up same day (either feed or story) on Instagram letting my followers know I have a new blog
What do you mean “make Pins”
On Pinterest, you can add your own “Pins” manually. You can also “pin” images from your blog post directly to Pinterest by either adding the pin with your blog post URL or by having the “Pinterest save button” plugin on your blog. Both work as easily!
I like to create a few pins per post as well. I use Canva. Canva is a free site that allows you to design everything from birthday cards to Instagram stories to Pinterest Pins – if you aren’t utilizing them for your blog, start now!
Just go into Canva and chose “Pinterest graphic” when designing a new layout – they have hundreds of templates to help you get started. They also have stock photos if you don’t have your own photos.
- Eye catching – look at other people pins that you’ve saved and take note on what caught your eye..pictures, colors, font, wording, etc.
- Keywords – write a descriptive but short description for your pin using the keywords someone might use to search.
- For example if you are pinning a cake recipe you’d want to say “Simple 7 ingredient chocolate cake recipe. Simple and sweet. Paleo.” or whatever describes it.
- Always double check that your URL is going to the right page and that is it working and not a broken link. Nothing worse than someone wanting to read your post but the link is broken!
- Pin to more than one board. I pin everything to 3+ boards for maximum exposure.
- Use a scheduling platform like Tailwind for optimum reach
Put it all together now
Blogging is much like making a really difficult recipe. The first time is going to be challenging and you won’t be sure how it turns out until it’s done and you’ve tried it..along with several other people. But every time you make the recipe it gets easier..and soon you could make it in your sleep and everyone love it! You get the picture right?
Just start!! Get your voice out there. Make a Pin on Canva, publish an article, and DO NOT GIVE UP. Your thoughts are important, and your content is worth sharing. I joined several blogging groups on Facebook for support and that helped me tremendously in the beginning. It’s a great resource for when you are stuck or just need moral support.
In the name of transparency – i’m going to show you what I made from my blog (+ instagram) in the first 6 months. I’ll tell you this – I didn’t take it seriously..or start my Pinterest until about 3 months in, so the first 3 months were just shooting in the dark.
- Google Adsense (only have for one month) $42.00
- Amazon Affiliate $60.00
- Tailwind affiliate $45.00
- Bluehost affiliate $75.00
- Sponsored posts $100.00
- Products reviewed for review (worth) $300.00
- E-bates Influencer program $90
That isn’t much…but I just starting getting serious in the last few weeks about affiliates, and it’s already proving to be something worth investing time into.
If I can do it – you can too!
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