5 Tips for the Beginner Blogger

You’ve been thinking about making a change. To your job, to your passion, to your location. Maybe you’ve been thinking about going solo, being your own boss for a change! Pick your own hours, pay, and whatnot. Who wouldn’t want that?! The truth is, though all of the above is possible, it takes a lot of work!! If you agreed with any of the above statements, have you thought about giving blogging a try? It’s fun, it’s rewarding, it’s satisfying! Trust me, guys, this blog has been such a fun project for me that has saved me from falling off the deep end a few times! So, if you’re thinking yes, keep reading. I can help you!

Recently, some of you lovely readers have been asking me for advice to start blogging. When I first started getting these questions, I thought to myself: “I just started, I’m still learning! I couldn’t possibly teach you anything yet!” Then, I realized, aren’t we all in that boat? Even the veteran bloggers who have been around for years still have tricks to learn. That’s part of blogging because the internet changes so much, and audiences change so much. We, as bloggers, cannot just leave things the same. We have to adapt to these changes. That is why I decided to write this post. I have learned a few things so far that I would like to share with you.

Hosting

Let’s be honest here. Hosting is terrifying because it is a huge step to take, but if you have any desire to make money off your blog, you need to pay for hosting. I know what you are thinking. You don’t want to spend the money. I get it. I was in that boat for a very long time, and it stopped me from starting this blog for over a year. Lots of people will recommend Blue Host, but I use Site Ground because it was slightly cheaper than Blue Host, which was a huge plus for me! Most importantly, there team has been a HUGE help to me personally, no matter how many times I had to ask questions! Plus, I got a free email account and domain name with their hosting plan! (You can click on this link now to get hosting for only $3.95 a month!)

              I know it is a scary step, but it will open so many doors for you that you can’t even imagine right now.

WordPress

For the design of your website, I swear by WordPress because I have tried Wix and Weebly, and WordPress is just so much easier to navigate and does so much more! Besides, WordPress makes it easy to set up a domain name. Some of you have asked me about the design of my website. I have not paid for the theme because the one that fit my blog the best was free. (WordPress has a ton of awesome free themes!) You can buy one if a free one does not meet your needs. As a rule of thumb, look for what fits your blog the best. If a free one fits the design, then get the free one. If there isn’t, BUY ONE! Impressions are everything, guys, and it is worth the money to buy a theme if it pairs better with your blog than a free one does.

WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

Guys, I cannot stress this enough. Frankly, I didn’t know there was a difference until I started All My Dreams and Journeys, but it makes a huge difference. If you have any intentions to monetize your blog, you have to use WordPress.org. This version is built for that, for paid hosting and domains. It also makes it much easier to keep track of how your blog is doing.

Are courses worth it?

They absolutely are!! I have learned so much from the courses I have taken. Yes, some of them cost money, but they were worth every penny I spent. If you are looking for some good ones, I can recommend Alex & Lauren over at Create & Go. They have a huge variety of courses, from broad ones to focused ones. They are a major talent, and they know what they are talking about! Their Pinterest course has helped me in starting out so much!

Content?

Admittedly, this one is tricky because there are so many variables that I can’t account for for you. What do I write about? What medium should I use? There are so many concerns when it comes to content, but the best advice I can offer you is do your research. Make a list of topics you would be interested in writing about, and then research it. Find out what people are looking for. Then, satisfy that need in a way only you can. I recommend starting out with five to ten topics already posted to your blog before you launch.

Marketable Content?

              Another question I have seen involving content is “Do I need to have something to sell right away?” My answer would be no. For the first month or two, focus on getting a following. If you already have an e-book or a course, then by all means, put it up on your site. The reality of this situation is a lot like the chicken and the egg. Which came first? You need a following to successfully sell a product but having a product to sell also makes it easier to get a following. At the end of the day, you just have to decide what the best course of action for your niche is. If you are not sure what you could sell, look into affiliate marketing. It still involves selling, but it takes the pressure off you to create your own product.

              These are only five tips that I have picked up on in the last few months. I hope this helps, and I encourage you to take the plunge. Live your life your way! It is too short to live it any other way. I still have a lot more learning to do, so stay in touch. I’ll pass along any more tips I get!

              Happy blogging!

Gaines, Gaines, and More Gains: A Review of Capital Gaines

I have something to confess. It is a guilty pleasure of mine, except I don’t think “guilty” is the right term for it. I’m sure a lot of you have this same pleasure: HGTV reality shows. It is seriously a problem, guys. I am obsessed with the renovation shows on that channel. I used to hate them, but then my mother got me hooked on them. Thanks, Mom. In reality, though, she had help from two very charismatic renovators.

The Gaines.

Yes, you guessed it. Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines are the reason I fell in love with renovation shows and why restoring an old, brick colonial to its former glory is now on my bucket list. I mean, who doesn’t love them?! Weirdos, that’s who! As you could probably guess, I was pretty bummed out when they announced they were leaving the show, but I am also very happy for them and the cute new addition to their family. However, I then had to deal with a Chip-and-Jo-sized hole in my entertainment, so when the opportunity arose to read Chip’s new book, Capital Gaines, I jumped at it.

For those of you who have watched the show, you know exactly how much of straight-shooter Chip is, and it is no different in his latest novel. In this story, he shares the details of how they started Magnolia and reached the level of success they are at now. Of course, there are plenty of jokes and shenanigans along the way to keep you entertained if you are like me and get bored easily by nonfiction. (I’m not the only one, right???)

What made this book so special to me is the way Chip wrote it. He really writes from the heart, and you can feel it in the text, almost as if he is a friend sitting right next you, giving you the advice of a lifetime. In our day and age, a lot of people on television are not the same in real life. It is almost like there are two different people, but that is not the case with Chip. He is the same loveable goofball in this book as he is on the screen. I finished this book feeling like a better person because of what he taught me on those pages. I felt more prepared to face this world after Chip imparted a little knowledge to me.

I highly recommend this novel to people of all ages, people who are simply looking for a pick-me-up or a little advice. Chip Gaines does a masterful job of combining the two in a way that only Chip Gaines could. That hole in my life hasn’t gone away because now they have made another, entirely different impact on me by making me feel like a friend for 184 pages. But that’s okay because it has changed me and my views on life and the world in indescribable ways. Chip and Jo may not be on our screens anymore, but they are certainly still effecting change in the world in the most wonderful ways possible.

And if by some chance that they ever see this article, I want them to know how grateful I am for what they have taught me. Chip, your novel is part of how I found the courage to even begin this blog. Jo, you have opened my eyes to the wonderful world of design, and I love you for it! Thank you both from the bottom of my heart, and God bless that beautiful, little family of yours!

As for the rest of you, pick up Capital Gaines. Make a change in your life for the better. Choose today to be a little stronger at something, to choose what makes you happy first. You know I am all about that!!

 

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