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While I don’t want to turn this little blog of mine into a “how to blog” blog (how many times can I say blog in one sentence?), this little blog of mine has been a huge blessing. I’m so thankful for those who inspired me to start it, and for those who’ve encouraged me in my journey.
So I want to explain a little bit about why I love blogging and why I think more people (especially first responder wives) should do it.
This is the number one reason I think more first responder wives should blog. We need a stronger community, and blogging is a great way to do that! There are so many blogs written by the spouses of military wives, it’s astounding. But there really aren’t that many police/fire/paramedic wives that I’ve seen telling their stories and helping others to overcome their own struggles.
It’s amazing to me that we live in a time that allows us to connect with people from around the world so easily. I have friends all over the country thanks to blogging, and I think that’s awesome! I love that my sense of community has been expanded through blogging.
I started blogging after seeing post after post from Rosemarie at The Busy Budgeter explaining how she makes a full-time income from home by blogging… and then some. She typically makes about $20,000 per month from her blog. What really blows my mind is that she’s not considered a big-time blogger. There are others who make much more.
I decided I wanted to take upon myself the same challenge that she did: work on a blog for 10 hours (ish) per week for a year. If I didn’t see anything come from it after a year, I’d quit.
Let me tell you, I’m six months in and I’ve seen progress. Last month, I made about $100. This month? $340, in addition to $200 worth of free holsters. It’s still not a ton, and certainly not enough to support our little family on its own just yet, but progress is progress!
If you love writing, blogging is awesome.
I’ve secretly always wanted to be a writer. A few years ago, I was convinced I was going to write a fantastic novel during NaNoWriMo. I got halfway in and realized how freaking hard it is to write fiction. I hate making up characters and plot lines and trying to avoid plot holes, cliches, etc.
I much prefer writing non-fiction blog posts that are helpful to others… And to myself. You wouldn’t believe how many times a blog post idea comes to mind out of a struggle I’m having at the time.
And on that note…
This is my absolute favorite part of blogging. I love being able to help others to be happier and more satisfied with their lives, and being able to help build up marriages and families.
What’s great is that there are so many different people with so many different needs. I’ve seen comments on my posts on Facebook complaining that I exclude non-Christians in my writing, or that I don’t talk enough about law enforcement parents. They all make me want to say (non-snarkily), “why don’t you start your own blog?”
If you see a need, why not fill it?
There are so many first responder wives who could use support and help, so let’s make that happen.. one new blogger at a time!
This is my online equivalent of shouting it from the rooftops.
I absolutely love the feeling I get when I get a message from a reader saying I helped them, and I love that I’ve been able to network and build connections with other bloggers from all over the world.
It’s opened so many doors for me. One of them is it made me unafraid of the concept of being self-employed and doing my own taxes. That, in turn, has opened doors for me to do things like medical transcription, so I can help contribute to our family income.
I’m busier than I’ve ever been, but also more confident in my own abilities.
I can’t believe that I live in a day and age where I can start an online business for under $70 for which the only investment at stake is my time. And I love that my success is wholly dependent on my own determination and work ethic.
So if you’re interested, let’s move on to the next part of this post…
You have to figure out what you love writing about, what you could go on forever about. Is it fashion? Cooking? Budgeting? Parenting/marriage, like me? Just choose something you’re passionate about, because if you want to be successful at this blogging thing, you’ll be writing about it a lot.
I had some issues with this, but I think I’ve finally found my groove. If you can’t quite nail it down immediately, that’s okay. There’s a huge learning curve in the first year of blogging, and getting started really is the most important part – because even when you make mistakes, it’s a great opportunity to learn something new!
I know most bloggers suggest deciding on a name and buying hosting first, but I actually recommend you start writing posts first. I had five posts published before my blog went live – that way, when readers (meaning, my mom) read it, they’d have some content to browse and I’d look a smidge more established.
Plus, this will help you get a feel for your niche, to really know if it’s right for you, and to refine it if necessary. And if refining it doesn’t come naturally, have no fear. Like I said, this thing takes time – don’t be afraid to make mistakes!
You can either use Word or Google Docs to compose. I like Docs because it’s easy to copy and paste into WordPress and it automatically saves your work, so it’s not so scary when your computer decides to suddenly update.
Even after you have your blog set up, you may consider continuing to compose in Google Docs just to have a backup of your posts. There’s nothing worse than when WordPress decides to eat a post you’ve worked for hours on!
Again, this is something most bloggers will suggest you do first. However, I’d wait until you have a little bit of writing under your belt, then pick out a name. You can brainstorm beforehand if you’d like, but just let the ideas percolate.
I’ll be honest, this was by far the most difficult part for me.. and I’d wager that’s true for most bloggers. It’s daunting to have to come up with a name that’s descriptive, fun, unique, and gets your point across.
To start, just make a list of everything that comes to mind that relates to your niche and the feel you want it to have. Use a thesaurus if necessary!
After that, be sure to Google prospective names. I strenuously suggest this, because when I was trying to figure out a name for Love and Blues, I accidentally stumbled upon a MILF porn website. No bueno.
Also, if you search for a name you want and a webpage comes up offering the domain for thousands of dollars, just find a different one. It means someone has snagged it and is sitting on the domain until someone comes along with an offer. Lame.
Which reminds me: Be careful about searching for prospective names until you’re ready to purchase the domain immediately for this reason. You don’t want your perfect name to become a parked domain because someone saw there was interest and decided to take advantage!
Also, ask friends for their input. Ask them what they would think of if they saw a blog with a particular name. If something unpleasant or unexpected comes to mind, you might want to move along and decide on something else.
One thing I’d highly recommend is that you buy a .com domain, NOT a .net, .org, .photo, etc domain. It’ll just make it easier for fans to find your website.
This is really the only thing you need to invest in right off the bat, which means starting a blog is probably the cheapest business you can possibly start up (and one of the few that can be done almost entirely from home!)
While you can go with a free blog on blogspot.com, I don’t recommend it. When you host through a free platform, you have fewer options. You can’t monetize in the same way you can a self-hosted blog, and all in all, you just don’t truly own your website. A free platform can shut you down at any time, for any reason, because it’s theirs.
Plus, there’s just something exciting about saying you have your own domain 🙂
I started with Bluehost, which seems to be the most popular option for new bloggers because they frequently have sales for hosting at $2-3/month with a free domain name included. I think it’s a great place to start, and I haven’t had any issues with it yet.
However, I’m planning to switch to InMotion hosting simply because it appears to have faster speeds, and most importantly, free data backups, for not much more than I’d be paying with Bluehost (about $8/month). Again, I haven’t had any issues with Bluehost, but I think for the price, InMotion provides better value.
For both of these hosting companies, you have to pay for 12, 24, or 36 months in advance. InMotion has a 90 guarantee, and Bluehost has a complete money-back guarantee, so if you’re a little unsure about committing that far in advance, feel better knowing that if you decide blogging isn’t for you, you can get a refund.
In short, if you can snag it on sale and don’t want to invest a lot of money to start with, give Bluehost a try.
If they’re not currently having a sale or the data backups are worth it, I’d go with InMotion. Their price is currently $5.99/month or about $72 for a year.
Also, because I want to help you get your blog off on the right foot, if you buy hosting through either of these companies through my affiliate link, email me at email@example.com with your receipt and I’ll send you a copy of 7 Things I Wish I’d Known As A New Blogger.
It’ll help you get started the right way, and hopefully prevent you from fumbling through some of the mistakes I made as a newbie 🙂
Both Bluehost and InMotion make it super simple to install WordPress (and to be clear, we’re talking about WordPress.org here, not WordPress.com – .org is for self-hosted, .com is a free blog host). Both will walk you through the installation.So even though this sounds daunting, it’s not so bad, even if you’re a technophobe.
So even though this sounds daunting, it’s not so bad, even if you’re a technophobe.
If you’re not big on graphic design (I am most decidedly not, either!), don’t worry. Just stick with regular text, maybe a little color if you’re feeling wild, but a basic black-text-on-white-background logo will work just fine for now.
Don’t worry about anything fancy – you can hire that out later when you’re making money from your blog (and yes, you can make good money from blogging!)
You know those posts you wrote? Now it’s time to input them into your blog. Yay!
Go to your dashboard (at yourwebsite.com/admin), go to “new” at the top of your screen”, create a new post, and input your posts.
You’ll also want to create graphics for your post. I usually use Pixabay or Pexels for my stock photography needs (because they’re higher-quality than what I can produce, and I can save my time for more important things, like writing posts :)) then edit them in PicMonkey using this tutorial.
Okay, so you’ve started a blog. You’ve started writing posts. You’ve started sharing them with your friends.
Now you want to grow your blog, your followers, and make some income.
I started by reading How To Blog For Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup. I also read Blog Inc. by Joy Cho, which I just happened to find at my local library. Both of these books helped me figure out my blogging “game plan” and helped me to take myself more seriously as a businesswoman.
How To Blog For Profit, in particular, was my blogging “bible” from the get-go. I actually lent it to a friend of mine, but if I had it handy I’d take a picture of all the sticky notes and highlighting in it. It was the best $13 I spent (after hosting, of course.)
That “businesswoman” mindset helped me to not only grow my blog from nothing to making about $100+/month within 7 months, but also helped me to tackle other jobs, like ghostwriting and medical transcription. Both of these allow me to make good money from home, and I would never have had the confidence to do either of these if I hadn’t been inspired by the women who wrote these books (and by Rosemarie, who’s been so amazingly supportive in my journey!)
Someday, I hope to make $5,000 per month from my blog. Truth be told, I don’t know how I’ll get from point A to point B. I’m more or less making it up as I go along. It means I make a lot of mistakes, but I’m learning a lot, too!
This goal also means I reinvest in my blog. That means that every single dollar I make from my blog goes right back into it for now: into (in order):
Next, I’ll purchase…
Most of the time, I have a clear idea of my next step, and if I’m ever unsure, I pray about it.
I really do love blogging. I was terrified when I first started because I had no idea what I was doing. I’ve come a long way, but I’ll admit that I still sometimes feel that way.
But I love that it’s something of my own. I love that it gives me an identity other than “A’s mom.” I love that it’s given me the confidence to be self-employed and make good money from home without doing direct sales or a phone center job. I love that I’ve “met” so many amazing people through blogging, and been able to help others through my writing.
I just absolutely love it, and I wanted to let you all know about it. So get out there, and get blogging!
I’m a twenty-something LEO wife and stay-at-home mom to a one-year-old little boy. I enjoy writing, reading, taking my son for walks and runs in the stroller, and crafting. My goal is for Love and Blues to be a resource for first responders and their families. I write about marriage and family topics, as well as about the quirks that come with being married to a man in law enforcement, firefighting, or emergency medical services.
This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links. All opinions are my…
This post contains affiliate links. Read full disclosure here. I was so excited this year…