Part One of Our Five Part Series – How to Quit Your Job & Become a Full-time Blogger Series – Part One: Start Your Blog Today
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Hey Everyday Made Fresh readers! Today we are taking a step away from recipes to talk about something that a lot of people are interested in, quitting their job and becoming a blogger. I’m no expert by any means, but I have been around the blogging block, so to speak. Let’s get started and Let’s start your blog today!
Around the blogging block…my blogging experience.
I’ve actually been a blogger since 2007! However, Everyday Made Fresh wasn’t born until July of 2014. In 2007, my youngest daughter, Kelsie, was two years old, and mom blogs were booming. I started a blog called JoJo’s Place on Blogger. I was one of those blogspot dot com blogs. I blogged there for a long time receiving free toys and toddler goodies as compensation, until I decided that being a mom blog wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I wanted to blog about life and everything in between; not just about the latest and greatest toy on the market.
In 2009 I left JoJo’s Place and started This Southern Girl’s Nest, a lifestyle blog. That blog is actually still live today, because I lost the login credentials and can’t delete it. Ha! I blogged there for years; 5 to be in fact. I stopped blogging in 2014 when I started working outside the home. This Southern Girl’s Nest didn’t make me any money, because at the time I had no idea about advertising networks and blogging networks, other than BlogHer. I was nowhere near BlogHer material because I didn’t own my own domain. I was honestly terrified to buy a domain and leave Blogger because it was just so easy. WordPress was scary to think about. However, This Southern Girl’s Nest did earn me a lot of cool products like my portable handheld Dyson, a Soda Stream machine, a trip to New York with Crayola, a trip to Minneapolis with General Mills, and an invitation to the first ever Social Media Moms Conference at Disney World.
I won’t give you the spill of how I started Everyday Made Fresh. You can read all about that in About Us.
Start Your Blog Today!
Choose a name – you can’t start a blog without a name. Think on this one. Brainstorm. Write down all of your ideas. Bounce them off your friends and family. Just make sure that you choose a name you LOVE. Choose a name that reflects what your blog is about. And last but not least, Google the name you choose, because if it’s already taken, you can’t have it! Unless you buy it from someone, but I have no experience with that, so you’ll have to Google that one. And it may cost you a lot more than you are willing to pay. Oh, and it may be like copyrighted and what not. In this case, choose the second name you love!
While you are choosing your name, think about what kind of blog you want. Food blogging was an easy choice for me, and if you read About Us you’d know why. Maybe you have a reason like that too, and it has been your inspiration. Maybe you like knitting and you want to write a blog all about patterns and showcase your knitted hats, mittens, and other creations. Perhaps you want a fashion blog. You love fashion, and in highschool you were voted most likely to walk the runway! Or maybe you want to write about everything; parenting, fashion, food, and life. In this case you’re a lifestyle blog. Whatever niche you choose, make sure that you’re name aligns with that. Or at least your tagline.
Taglines – What’s in a tagline anyways?
A tagline gives a tiny snippet of what your blog is about. Do you have to have a tagline? No. Not every blog does. I think it’s a preference. Here are a few blogs without taglines, but you can look at their name and/or logo, and know exactly what you’re going to get:
If you want a tagline make sure it aligns with the feel that you’re going for. Go check out some blogs right now, and make a mental note of their blog name, niche, and tagline. Here are a few to check out:
Together as Family – Tagline: recipes from my family’s kitchen to yours
The Deliberate Mom – Tagline: simple living intentional parenting
Prime Beauty – Tagline: Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle for the Over 40 Woman
Now you have your name and tagline, what’s next? Hosting.
There are many ways you can do this. I only have experience with two platforms; Blogger and WordPress. I advise going with WordPress, it’s what many bloggers use, because it’s easy to work with once you get started. If you’re not sure that you want to make this a full time gig one day, then start free. Go with WordPress dot com. This means that you’re URL will be yourblogname dot wordpress dot com. If you choose this direction there are hundreds of tutorials available for you to convert to self-hosted, when you feel the time is right to make that move.
So let’s say for the sake of the title of our post, you are choosing self-hosted. You are going to look for a host. There are probably thousands to choose from, with every price range. I started out with Bluehost, and stayed with them up until a couple of months ago. However, after having a fiasco with them, my site was down for nearly 24 hours. And I’m not going to bash them, because when I first started out with them, I crashed my site. I called them one night, and I spoke to a human, not a computer, and he had my site back up in an hour. I was just at a point where they were no longer going to be of help to me, so I moved to WPOPT and they are hands down amazing! Charles moved my site, while it was completely down!! Many other hosts I contacted said they couldn’t do it, so I highly recommend them.
You found a host, now sign up, buy your domain, yep, you can purchase your domain through your host. Now you’re almost ready. If you have any questions, I am sure that any host you choose can help you make the process of starting as smooth as possible. It’s not hard. I promise. With Bluehost you’ll have an easy option to install WordPress from one simple click. I’m not sure how it is with any other host, but WPOPT is actually made for WordPress, so I am sure they make it just as simple!
Head Over to Your New WordPress Site – Set it Up!
Now that you have a WordPress site, you need a theme. Themes are what makes your site your own. You can do so much with WordPress when it comes to customization. This is where you may want to hire someone, if you do not have any experience with a graphics design program, or you don’t want to take the time to learn. I’ve used Photoshop for years, but there are a lot of other options out there, some that are free. If you choose to hire someone, I sadly don’t have anyone to personally recommend, but take a look oat your favorite blog, a quick scroll to the bottom may indicate who designed their site. No luck there? A Google search of WordPress Designers will give you a thousand designers to choose from. Again, I’m sure that they have something for every price range. If you’re choosing to go it alone, and design yourself, let’s get started with your next steps.
You’ve got to choose a theme. My blog is built on the Genesis theme, with the Foodie Pro theme on top of it. I have no idea what all that really means, but I did all the work myself with the help of Minimalist Baker’s husband, John. He pretty much explains everything in terms that a kindergartner would understand. Looking at other blogs, it seems that a lot of us food bloggers also have this same setup. John has video tutorials, with step by step instructions to make it your own! You can find the info for doing that all here.
You’ve now setup your WordPress blog and are ready to blog! Yay – you’ve taken the first step!
**This post has been edited because I learned something new, thanks to the readers commenting! (in blogging you will be learning something new all the time) I had no idea that you could in fact make enough income as a Blogger blog to be full-time. I am going to guess that I haven’t stumbled across any that I am aware of. You can in fact buy a domain and still use Blogger, there are redirects you must use. You can also use ad networks. (again, something that I learned) Just make sure that you research and read everything about whatever platform you choose to start your blog. There are pros and cons to every way. I am pro WordPress!