Being a blogger sounds like an easy gig, right? Especially if you already have informally blogged in the past. Maybe you have a blog about your family, your job or your hobby. I had a blog for years before I started Family Friendly Frugality. It is a learning experience and here is a few blogging resources that I have used over the years.
My first blog was my pride and joy, but to be perfectly honest, I was horrible about updating it…but it was pretty easy. I moved that blog around a bit, it spent some time on Blogger and WordPress.com (both free blogging platforms) so I had experience with both content management systems. The paid versions of these platforms are really not all that much different navigation-wise from their free counterparts.
The day I learned that people actually made an income (and in some cases…supported their entire families!) from blogging…
I had been an avid blog reader for years and for some reason never realized that many of those links I clicked on, or ads that caught my eye were actually earning my favorite bloggers an income.
You can call me naive, unobservant or even blissfully ignorant and you would be right.
In fact, my first impression upon learning that one of my favorite bloggers was earning an income off of ME was disgust. Luckily, I quickly realized that I was being incredibly selfish.
This blogger had saved me so much money, made me laugh, made me cry…made my life better. Also, she actually didn’t hide that she made an income off her blog at all (which in fact would be illegal), I just had never paid attention (I actually thought those ad spots on her blog were just blogs she liked, LOL).
I never had to pay a penny for the information she gave freely.
She also never endorsed anything that seemed like a scam. I never worried that I would sign up for a deal from her blog and deal with telemarketers spamming me for weeks on end.
Once I realized she was making an income having a blog, I figured why not me? I knew how to blog, I had some free time…I could do this!
It didn’t take me long to realize that blogging for fun/hobby and blogging for profit are not even in the same ballpark. In fact, I’m not sure they even belong in the same universe with each other. To keep this blog running, I work more than a 40 hour work week. You don’t even want to know what that currently breaks down to as an hourly wage.
When I think back to what I didn’t know then…and compare it to what I know now…I’m shocked I didn’t close up shop within a month. I made a LOT of mistakes. I was a mess! Thankfully there were a handful of bloggers that reached out and supported me in that time frame. I’m not going to call them out here…they know who they are!
I was still left finding out a lot of things on my own though.
You see, it’s not that bloggers aren’t friendly (well I’m sure there are unfriendly bloggers out there, I’ve just been blessed that they have stayed away from me!), it’s just that everyone does things a bit differently.
Laws regarding certain aspects of blogging (affiliations, disclosures, etc) even vary from state to state. Don’t even start trying to compare notes with someone that is outside your niche. They might have entirely different blogging philosophies, organizational systems, guidelines, etc.
So you use Google. Google is a bloggers best friend, but honestly it turns up a lot of junk. There are so many blogging “gurus” nowadays, that you really can’t trust that someone knows what they are doing just because they claim to be a blogging expert. Shoot, I have been blogging for over a year now and I am convinced I know more than some of these people (and to be fair…the amount of blogging knowledge I have gleaned over the past few months could still fit on the head of a pin)!
So where do you start?
Well, I can tell you what has been helpful to me in the past few months…and hopefully these resources will help you as well. None of these are niche specific. They are all very general, and that is purposeful.
To learn more about your niche, I encourage you to reach out to likeminded bloggers. Send them an email, tell them you are the newbie in town and ask if they wouldn’t mind answering questions from you when you come up against a wall (and really mean it. Do your own research and only email them when you have hit a dead end. You don’t want to overwhelm or push them away!).
- Problogger-You had to know I’d include this one. The ultimate go-to source for blogging. He’s actually not my favorite, but there is some great info in the archives. Specifically his 31 Days To A Better Blog series. Now, you could purchase the eBook, or you can just go to this link here because it is all available for free on problogger.net!
- Blogging With Amy-You might know Amy as Crystal’s go-to person on Money Saving Mom. She has her own blog called Blogging With Amy all about setting up your own money making blog from scratch. I refer EVERYONE to her (seriously, I should be getting a kick back for it! Just kidding…sort of.). More specifically, I refer everyone to the links on her sidebar where she step by step gets you started on a self hosted WordPress blog. I can vouch for those steps. I used a few of them to set this blog up on WordPress (my blog was already established so I didn’t need all of them), but I have set up a few other from scratch blogs using her steps exactly and never hit a wall. She even has videos for some of the more complex steps. I’ve also reached out to Amy in the midst of a blogging crisis on Twitter and she was more than willing to help (but I had already used my mad blogging skillz and figured it out on my own).
- Problogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way To a Six Figure Income-Don’t let the title fool you, he pretty quickly lets you know that the odds of anyone earning a 6 figure income from blogging (like he does) are stacked against you. Some great info to be absorbed within this book though. More for the newbie blogger, or at least the blogger that is just starting to monetize.
- Blogging for Dummies-This book was pretty good. Once again…more of a newbie book. Still, I definitely have some parts bookmarked and highlighted for future reference.
Helpful Twitter Hastags (use these when you have a question and want to ask the masses…for more on how Twitter works click here):
- #blogchat– A chat that goes on on Sunday nights filled with great knowledgable bloggers. The conversation extends all week long though, so use this hashtag and you should get a pretty quick response.
- #wordpress-Got a wordpress fire to put out? Use this hashtag and I promise you’ll have no less than 10 responses in a matter of minutes. Consultants and blogging gurus follow this hashtag closely in hopes of helping bloggers and getting their attention.
- #blog, #blogging or #bloggers-Pretty generic hashtags, but just like the above #wordpress hashtag, you will be more likely to receive a quick response.
- Monetize My Blog: This is my personal series about monetizing my blog and gaining traffic. I’ll be adding more to this in the coming weeks and updating some things.
- Google Analytics-Great way to measure what works and what doesn’t. Companies also tend to use this as a standard of measuring your traffic and how effective your traffic will be at advertising their products.
- Website Grader-This can get addicting! Still it’s a really good way to see any areas you might be lacking in. Right now my Grade is 99….but that could drop if I don’t keep up my quality control and keep building backlinks!
- Host Gator-This is the hosting service I use for my website and I have to admit that even though it causes me issues from time to time, I have a fraction of the issues I see other bloggers deal with with their hosting providers. I recommend for Host Gator for any blogger who is looking to self host their blog.
- Feedblitz-Feedburner is great, but it’s limited functionality (inability to deliver my e-book mainly) made me switch to Feedblitz which has been a great solution.
Finally, feel free to contact me about any questions you might have. I cannot guarantee that I know all the answers, but I might be able to point you in the right direction. You can contact me in the following ways:
- Email-heather @ familyfriendlyfrugality dot com (omit the spaces, replace dot with a period)
- Twitter– @familyfrugal
- Facebook– Family Friendly Frugality fan page
Perhaps most importantly, make friends with fellow bloggers. I know I mentioned earlier that bloggers outside your niche might not be very helpful for your specific niche based questions. That doesn’t mean that community and variety are not essential. In fact, the bloggers I spoke of earlier who helped me so much were not frugal bloggers at all.
Now that I am a bit more rooted and a bit more knowledgeable, I am looking to branch out in certain areas (most notably reviews and giveaways) and these bloggers have been essential in helping me learn the ropes and get my feet wet.
Let’s face it, blogging as a business takes most of us into uncharted, lonely waters. Utilize the resources I have mentioned above, reach out to fellow bloggers and pay forward what you learn whenever you can.
Blogging is all about community, come join us.
What resources have helped you as a blogger? Any other great resources I should have included? Tell me in the comments!