If you have ever searched on google for “stay at home mom jobs,” or “stay at home dad jobs” then you have no doubt come across blogging as a way to make money while you stay home with the kids. Blogging for beginners is hard work, find out what you are getting yourself into here.
A lot of what you read about blogging will tell you that starting a blog is straightforward. The truth is, many new bloggers soon find themselves getting overwhelmed. Going in thinking it's an easy gig won't inspire you to keep at it when things get tough.
I don't want you starting a blog thinking it will be a walk in the park. But, if you can manage to see it through for the first couple of years, the results are worth it.
Beginner bloggers should adopt the mindset that their new venture is a business, and like all businesses, it's going to need hard work, time, and effort before it starts making an income.
How I Make My Money Online
Before I get too far into it, I need to be upfront about how I make my money online. I started earning money on the internet by building niche blogs based around Amazon products.
When that income stream died out, I moved into freelance writing by creating a couple of gigs on Fiverr, and have been making just over AUD 1,000 a month for a little while now.
You can read more about how I make money on Fiverr.
I was recently inspired to re-immerse myself into the world of blogging by Carly Campbell through her Pinteresting Strategies course.
Currently, I have two new blogs I am building up as legitimate businesses, but in my past life as a blogger, I have probably built 70 or so blogs, as well as more than a few static websites.
So, I know a thing or two about creating a blog and have learnt a ton about SEO (search enngine optimization).
Currently, I am steadily working at building my two new blogs into income-producing assets while continuing to write for paying clients.
Blogging as a Business
Treat blogging as a business. You are going to need to clock in and get some work done before you can make any money.
A lot of work!
At first, your blog will be your product. You will load it with useful, engaging content, and do the work which brings in the traffic.
Unfortunately, traffic doesn't just magically appear. There's a lot of stuff you need to do before that happens.
You can start monetizing your blog right away, or wait until you have a steady stream of traffic.
In the beginning, you won't have too many options about how you monetize, but once the traffic starts coming through, your potential to profit from a few different income streams will grow.
Why Get Back Into Blogging?
Why the sudden jump back into blogging?
It all comes down to hours in the day. There are only so many articles I can produce in a week, and this severely limits my capacity to earn.
I need a way to diversify, because I don't want to have to rely on a third party platform for my entire income.
I also love having flexible hours, but working until 4:30 AM in the morning to beat a deadline isn't the kind of flexibility I enjoy.
Creating an income stream from my blogs will give me some latitude in how I design my schedule.
This blog you are reading right here has been developed mostly to promote my gig on Fiverr. It's also a creative outlet to write about the things I enjoy.
Enough about me, let's talk more about blogging, how to start a blog, and how to earn money from your blog.
Blogging for Beginners - How Do Blogs Make Money?
Blogs can make money through many different channels. Here are a few of the more popular methods bloggers use to earn an income.
Once your blog has sufficient traffic coming through, you can then apply to ad networks.
When an application is successful, you will be allowed to show ads from that network on their blog.
Every visitor who clicks on an ad will earn you a small commission. It takes a lot of traffic before this type of monetization can pay the mortgage and put food on the table.
But, it's passive income where you don't have to put your bum on a seat for hours out of every day.
Most ad networks require a blog to have a sufficient level of traffic before they allow a blogger to join their network.
Bloggers who don't yet have enough traffic to qualify for an ad network can still earn money through affiliate marketing.
When you link to a product sold by a third party with a specially coded link, it's called an affiliate link. You will earn a small commission if a reader clicks on the link and buys the product.
Amazon is a favourite income stream for bloggers, but there are thousands of other companies you can affiliate with, in any niche you care to mention.
Sell Your Own Products
By far, the most profitable way to make an income from blogging is to sell your own products.
Most bloggers will focus on digital and downloadable products such as e-books and printables. If you were planning on selling physical products, then you would be better off learning about how to set up an e-commerce site.
Printables (calendars, invites, checklists, etc.) have massive potential in the blogosphere, and quite a few bloggers are making millions of dollars a year from them.
It's pretty exciting stuff.
Blogging for Beginners Step 1 - The Domain Name
Choosing a domain name always drives me nuts. The problem is, I settle on one I think is great, buy it and then set up my blog. Not long after, I start hating the name with a passion.
It's taken me three iterations to get to the domain for this blog, and I'm still not entirely happy with it, but I'm drawing the line right here and not going for a fourth.
You will hear that you should choose a domain name that you love, but you also don't want the domain name to hold you back from starting a blog.
Trust me when I say you can spend weeks stuck on choosing a domain name.
Deciding on a domain name you may or may not love in the future and getting started right now is a lot better than waiting for "the one" before you get moving.
As Shane Melaugh from Active Growth always says, get something out there now and work at perfecting it later.
Visitors to your blog don't care that much about your blog's name. They are there to learn or get what they need; if you provide that, then everybody will be happy.
Besides, if at some point you decide you can no longer live with your choice, you can always re-brand and transfer the site over. It's a bit of work, and it can be a pain, but it's doable.
Choosing a Domain Name
The best way to choose a domain name is to...
Brainstorm like crazy.
My four girls are currently trying to settle on a cool domain name for their little enterprise. It's been a week, and they still haven't decided, but at least we now have a shortlist.
Don't use an EMD (Exact Match Domain). An EMD is the main keyword you are targeting used in the domain name. For example, I once owned an EMD called outdoorbarsets.com back in the day.
It did great for Amazon sales while it lasted, but if I had wanted to move into making affiliate sales for kitchen or living room decor, the name wouldn't exactly fit.
If you totally can't think of a name for a blog, then use your own name. The significant advantage of this strategy is you aren't tied down to any particular niche. You will also be able to establish yourself as an expert in your niche.
Be unique, don't play with names out there that are already famous or popular.
You want to stand out on your own. Besides, if you mimic an existing renowned brand, they may take legal action to have your domain shut down.
Google doesn't care if your domain ends in .com.
But, from a human perspective, people are familiar with dot coms. However, there are plenty of super popular blogs which don't end in .com; problogger.net for one, so don't feel like you are tied down to the idea.
Research into branding has shown that it is authoritative for SEO. If you successfully build a brand around your blog, and people start searching for you by your brand name, then Google will look more favourably on your site.
Five criteria to keep in mind for a suitable domain include:
Website Hosting for Your Blog - Free Versus Paid Hosting
Now that you have decided on a name for your shiny new blog, it's time to find a home for it.
A lot of new bloggers will turn to one of the free blogging platforms at this point, but there are a few reasons why this is not a good idea:
During the beginning of your blogging career, you will naturally want to save every cent you can. However, your domain name is not an area where you want to skimp.
The good news is that owning your domain is not expensive.
1. Choosing Hosting
I host my blogs with NameCheap. They have a range of affordable options and new accounts often receive a 50% discount when signing up for a 12-month plan.
The Stellar Plan is excellent for beginners. You will have 20GB of SSD space and can build up to 3 websites. New bloggers also get their first year SSL certificate for free (which is super important for SEO).
All NameCheap customers receive free privacy protection. This level of security means people can't look up your whois information to find out your real address.
Email support at NameCheap is fantastic. They always reply promptly with helpful information. I've had to contact them in a couple of instances, and both times they had me back up and running in the same afternoon.
2. Register Your Domain
When you select your hosting plan, you will have the option to sign up with an existing domain or purchase a new one.
3. Setting Up for WordPress
Once you have your account setup, you will receive a confirmation email from NameCheap. It's highly recommended to use their extensive knowledge base for everything you need to know.
Contact support if you have any trouble at all, and they will be more than happy to guide you through whatever process is posing as a challenge.
I had a little confusion with my SSL certificate, but when I contacted support, they got me through it with little trouble.
I use cPanel to install WordPress. When you log into NameCheap, go to your dashboard. You will see the domain name you purchased in the left column. The next column over is called Products, and it will have a series of icons.
One of the icons is representative of a server. If you hover your mouse over it, a menu will appear. An item on the list will be called 'Go To cPanel'. Click on that to go to your cPanel.
The cPanel can be daunting to newcomers, but the only thing you need to worry about right now is the Softaculous Apps Installer at the bottom of the page. You will need to scroll to see it.
In the section will be an icon for WordPress. In my cPanel, it is the first icon in the panel. Click on it to go to the WordPress install screen.
4. Installing WordPress
You will be given a couple of version numbers as a choice for WordPress, but I recommend the latest one.
Choose your protocol. If you have SSL installed, you will want to select that option.
Choose your domain. If you only have one domain, then it should already be showing in this field.
The next field should be left blank unless you want to install WordPress into a separate directory (which you probably won't be).
Type in the name of your blog (not your domain, but it's actual name). Give it a brief description. Go through the rest of the options to set up your website how you like. Check the little i icon next to the labels to learn more about them.
In my WordPress, I choose W3 Total Cache, Upgrade to any latest version, and back up once a week. I leave everything else as is.
You can choose your theme here, but it doesn't matter too much because you will most likely be selecting a professional paid theme to build your site with - which is highly recommended.
Now click install. In a few seconds, you will be the proud new owner of a WordPress blog.
5. Working in WordPress
Log into WordPress using the credentials you entered during setup (I hope you wrote them down).
If you're like most new bloggers, you will find yourself staring blanking at a WordPress dashboard, wondering what to do next. You might click around aimless for a while, with no real idea about what you are supposed to do.
Well, you don't have to do that, because you've got me, and I'm about to show you precisely what you need to do to get your blogging career underway.
It's important not to let the overwhelm get you down during these first stages. WordPress may look confusing now, but once you get the hang of it (and you will), you will soon be clicking around in there like a seasoned professional. Here's what you need to do next in WordPress.
6. Install a Theme
Themes are the foundation of a WordPress blog.
No doubt you have visited thousands of blogs in your time on the internet. Did you ever wonder how all of those sites had a different look and feel to them, even though WordPress is powering almost 70% of the blogosphere?
It's the power of themes which give blogs their different looks. Themes change everything about a WordPress site, from colour schemes, font sizes and font colours, to the layout of a page.
7. Choose a Responsive Theme
A responsive theme is one that can scale itself to look good on whatever device the visitor is using to view it.
If you want to keep your visitors reading, then you will need to ensure your pages fit on a mobile screen and that the text is easily visible.
Most of your readers (80% by some accounts) will be coming to your blog from a mobile device. If they can't read your tiny text, or the page doesn't fit on the screen, then they aren't likely to stick around for long.
Google also checks that a site is usable from a mobile device. If it isn't, then it's not likely to get ranked in the search results.
Get Something Functional Now - Fine Tune Later
A lot of new bloggers think their site needs to be some fantastic design before they can unleash it on to the world.
This isn't true.
If you wait for perfection, it may be months before you get your blog up and running. Remember what we said about mobile?
Most of your readers will be coming directly from a keyword search result to land on one of your blog posts, and it will most likely be while they are on a mobile device.
Or they could be coming from Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook. The point is, very few people will see your home page unless they take the time to click around your site.
Free Versus Paid
There are great free themes, but I wouldn't recommend using them on your blog.
Free themes aren't regularly updated, and the creator is under no obligation to support them when they break.
Free and unsupported themes are also almost impossible to modify to your needs unless you are a whizz at coding and web design.
If you're running a blog for fun, then a free theme won't cause you too many problems. However, if your blog is a business, then a broken blog can be a significant source of stress.
Installing A Free Theme
Installing a theme is easy in WordPress. On the left-hand menu, you will see an item labelled Appearance. Click on that, and you will see a Theme menu label.
Click on it, and you will be taken to a screen which shows the themes you have installed right now. If you left the settings at default during setup, you should see a couple of WordPress themes installed here already.
You can use these to get started, but your blog will look like thousands of other blogs, and you want your business to be unique.
Click on the Add New button at the top of the screen to enter the theme selection page.
As you will soon find out, there are thousands of themes from which to choose. If you use the search function, you can search by the type of site you want to create.
For instance, typing in 'magazine' will bring up a list of themes designed to create online magazine type websites. Type in 'mom blog' and you will get suggestions appropriate for that type of blog.
Spend some time searching for a theme, check out their previews, and when you find one you like, click the install button. When the installation is complete, click activate to make it the current theme.
And that's it, you now have a fully functioning WordPress site, but the fun is only getting started.
I started with free themes but quickly found them to be too limiting. After a few days of searching, I stumbled upon Elegant Themes.
When I found them, they had a lifetime deal going for a few hundred dollars which seemed a better deal for me than paying every year, so I grabbed it and have been using Divi ever since.
I consider myself to be fairly tech savvy, but I still like to have the option of support, and the constant updates from Elegant Themes add enhancements and improvements to Divi almost every week.
Divi gives you a development environment that lets you be as creative as you need to be by creating a new site scratch. They also have tons of layouts already designed for you in a wide range of niches.
Using a prebuilt template is how I created my current website. I selected a prebuilt theme and then modified it with my graphics, colours, and font selections.
Divi may be a little overwhelming at first, but it has a considerable following, and there are heaps of online tutorials available teaching you how to do everything from changing fonts to modifying CSS.
More Paid Themes
I am always keen to use other tools, so I don't get locked into just one skill set, so another tool I use is Thrive Architect. It's not technically a theme, as it's more of a drag and drop page builder I use on top of Divi.
Thrive Architect comes with a lifetime license (pay yearly if you need support), but if you also want to use their Thrive Themes, then there isn't a lifetime license available.
I haven't used Thrive for their themes, but if Thrive Architect is anything to go by, then their themes will also be created to the same high quality.
At the time of writing, Thrive Themes is currently under development for their 2.0 launch, so expect good things and keep them open as an option. You can still access Thrive Architect for a one-time fee.
There are many paid for themes out there, and I can't possibly use all of them. However, Genesis Themes are another brand which are quite popular with bloggers so you could check them out as well.
Install a Child Theme
Paid themes are regularly updated, and that's good. Unfortunately, when it happens, all your settings are lost because the update overwrites all the theme's files.
You can ensure all of your changes stay put by creating a child theme. The child theme inherits all the look and functions of the parent theme, but when you make changes, you don't edit the parent theme directly.
You can install child themes manually by mucking about in the cPanel file manager, but a much easier way is to use a plugin.
I use Child Theme Configurator to create a child theme because it's easier and doesn't require any technical proficiency on my part.
Before you Start Blogging For Real
Now that you have your blog setup, you're probably rearing to go to get your first blog post live. Hold your horses, though because you still have a few necessary settings to configure in WordPress.
Create Your Blog Email Account
A blog email is an essential step because it's the email which will be used when visitors contact you via your contact page on the blog. You can create a blog email through your hosting provider. I do mine through cPanel.
When you have your email ready to go, I recommend you forward it to your standard email account, so you don't have to worry about remembering to log into your blogging email account.
Plan Your Blog
You may not realize it now, but over the coming months, your blog is going to be taking up more and more of your time. There is going to be tons of information on which you will need to keep tabs.
Get yourself a binder, or create a file on your computer. I use OneNote because I appreciate the flexibility it gives me in keeping all related information inside a single notebook.
There's a lot of learning to be done to become an expert blogger, and you're going to be joining up with a lot of other sites in a wide range of niches (SEO, keyword research, site speed optimization, and more) to get there.
You will want a secure way of storing all of those usernames and passwords. Writing them down in a binder is old-school, but still the safest way to store passwords away from prying eyes.
Keeping Track of Financials
Your blog will come with nothing but expenses at first, but it will be the cheapest business you ever start. Expenses include everything related to your blog, including hosting, educational material, promotional costs, and paid advertisments.
Eventually, your blog will start creating an income for you and you'll need to keep track of all the financials for tax time. I use a simple excel spreadsheet for my income and expenses.
Write everything down as soon as it happens because it's easy to forget to log a PayPal receipt when you don't have a physical copy. You could always print everything out as well.
Ideas for new blog posts can pop into your head anytime and anywhere, so make sure you have the means to record them wherever you are. I use OneNote on my phone, but a small notepad and pen can work just as well.
It's also a good idea to plan out your blog posts, which you can do in a couple of hours to get an entire year's worth of ideas.
Suzi at Start a Mom Blog has the best strategy for planning blog posts I have ever seen, so check it out, and you will never be stuck for a post idea again.
Set Up Social Media Accounts
You probably don't have time to work on all the social media platforms. But you are going to need traffic, and in the early stages of blogging, social media is the best way to get visitors.
Pick at least two platforms where you know your audience will be most likely to hang out, and set up your blog-centric profiles on those.
My big three are Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, in that order of importance. I'm dabbling in Instagram, but I don't think the platform is all that relevant for my audience, so I'm just having a bit of fun occasionally posting photos of my daughters with quirky sayings.
Pinterest is huge for home décor, recipes, and mommy bloggers. If your niche is in any of those, then you should definitely have a profile on that site.
Many bloggers are driving tons of traffic to their blogs from Pinterest. It's a little harder now that they are a publicly traded company, but it's still a worthwhile investment of your time (plus you could always dabble in promoting your pins).
Carly from Mommy on Purpose has an excellent Pinterest strategy (that is also affordable) in Pinteresting Strategies, and Jennifer Ledbetter also provides advanced insights into using the platform to drive traffic in her PinTest Playbook.
WordPress Technical Settings You Should Set Now
WordPress works better when you set it up right from the beginning. You don't have to be a WordPress guru to work in WordPress, but the settings we are about to discuss are important to get right before you post your first blog.
Rather than rehash what has already been said you can find out everything you need to know on WPBeginner with their 18 WordPress Things list.
There are a few plugins mentioned on the above link, but if you follow along with the instructions you shouldn't have any problems.
The Big Deal About Permalinks
There is a lot of important stuff on the page shown above, but perhaps the most important is the permalink setting.
A permalink in WordPress is the full URL of your blog post (i.e. https://yoursite.com/epic-blog-post/)
If you don't set your permalinks now you may have problems with SEO in the future.
WordPress defaults to an ugly, clunky URL when you first install it.
Other bloggers who link to your blog will use those URLs. If you ever decide to change your permalinks, you could potentially be breaking a truckload of links pointing to your website from outside your blog (including all of your social media posts on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter).
You will also be breaking internal links which point to other posts and pages of your blog.
Set your permalinks to a nice and tidy URL now (such as the post title without dates), and then forget about them.
A little more on why dates in your URL aren't recommended. When people visit your site and see that it was written 2 years ago, they are less likely to stick around. This will happen even if you have been regularly keeping the post updated, because the URL won't change.
You will also see instructions from Google Analytics (GA), which is another important addition to your website. You can use a plugin to install GA, but I like to do this step by adding a piece of code directly to your pages.
NameCheap has security protocols in place which may prevent you from using a plugin to install your GA code. If so your only option is to add it directly into the header file by way of the file manager in cPanel.
Having Google Analytics on your website is super important because it provides information on every visitor to your page, with a slew of useful data to go along with it.
In a nutshell, you will be able to analyze your sources of traffic and do more of what's working while devoting less time to the stuff that isn't.
For instance, if you notice that you have a whole bunch of traffic from Facebook, and not much from Twitter, then you can either devote more time to Twitter or spend more time on Facebook.
Either way, you will only be guessing if you don't know where your traffic is coming from.
Choosing and Installing WordPress Plugins
Plugins are like apps on your phone. The apps add additional functions to your phone. Plugins do the same for WordPress, in that they extend the range of things you can do on your blog.
A couple of examples you would see every day of plugins in action include popups and signup forms, and social share buttons.
WordPress doesn't have those functions built-in. Instead, you can add them by installing a plugin.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Plugins are fantastic because they can help you do so much more with your blog, but they do have some drawbacks.
Firstly, too many plugins will drain your site's speed. Pages may take longer to load, and visitors will leave if they are left waiting too long.
Plugins can also come with bugs. A poorly coded plugin could cripple your entire site, or leave it vulnerable to hacking attacks.
However, that's no reason to be afraid of plugins because there are a few that are essential. There is a small group of plugins that just about every WordPress user will install on their site.
Free Versus Paid Plugins
Quite a few of the more popular plugins have paid versions, but they also include tons of value in the free versions. This is good news for beginning bloggers on a budget because you can get your site started, and upgrade later if you need to (in a lot of cases you won't ever have to).
I recommend only using free plugins when there is a paid option available.
The free versions of the plugins receive the same updates as the premium releases. Completely free plugins with no pro version available may only receive infrequent updates, if at all.
There is the potential for free plugins to break your site, or leave it vulnerable to malware. Plus, when they do break, you would be very lucky if you received any support, but you usually won't.
Here are a few plugins that I think every blogger should have on their site. They are all top-rated plugins, have robust support, and are regularly updated to remove bugs and improve features.
Spam Filter Plugin
Akismet is a spam filter to prevent spammy commenters from making pointless, low-value comments on your site. When your website gains in popularity, you could easily be spending an hour or more every day deleting spammy comments.
Akismet won't catch everything, but it will reduce your workload quite a lot. It's free for a single website, but if you need it for more than one site, then a subscription fee will apply.
SEO Helper Plugin
YOAST is another essential plugin that many WordPress users install. YOAST is an SEO checklist of sorts which helps guide you in producing SEO optimized posts.
The YOAST plugin will guide you on SEO metrics such as long paragraphs, readability scores, and creating a meta description for your pages and posts.
You get a lot of features for free, but if your needs grow, you may find yourself gravitating towards the premium version.
Take note, YOAST does not do your SEO for you. It's up to you to get the SEO on your site right, but YOAST can provide a big help in that regard. Aim for a green light across the board but don't stress if you don't, because it is just a guide at the end of the day.
More About SEO
SEO is a big subject, but it's essential to get it right if you want your site to get found in the search engines.
There's plenty of free advice on SEO, but try to get your information from quality sources. It is possible to get your site into trouble if you use the wrong techniques, and Google will penalize you for it.
Eventually, you may need to invest in a paid course to elevate your skills in SEO. For now, though, check out Moz's in-depth and free SEO course. This course will provide all the information you need to get your site properly optimized.
Social Sharing Plugins
There are heaps of plugins that will make it simple for your readers to share your content. I use Monarch, which comes with Divi from Elegant themes.
My sharing needs aren't too complicated, but if you need more flexibility, you can have a look at other sharing plugins like Social Pug and Social Warfare.
Email Collection Plugins
Collecting emails from the very beginning is highly recommended. There are more platforms than I can cover here for collecting and managing your email signups, but you will need to connect them to an email marketing platform for them to work.
MailChimp, MailerLite, ConvertKit, and Aweber are just a few I can think of right now, but there are many more. Check out each one and view their pricing and features (some are free to get started) to help you decide.
Also, be sure to read a few reviews to get an idea about what each of them is like to use as well.
How to Use Plugins
Every plugin you install will come with instructions on how to get the most out of them. Make sure you read those first before you go changing settings you don't understand but don't be afraid to experiment either.
Some plugins will add extra menu items, while you will need to access others via their settings menu in the installed plugins section.
Publishing Your First Blog Post
If you struggle with writing, then blogging may be more of a challenge for you. Blog articles don't have to be Pulitzer worthy stuff, but they still have to be worthy of a read; otherwise, your visitors are going to leave.
If you absolutely can't write, but still want to get your blog going, then hiring a writer for one or two posts a week may be an affordable option. With your writing taken care of, you get to do all the fun stuff like graphics and social media promotion.
Blog Post Writing Tips
While you write your blog posts, check in with YOAST now and then to see how you are going. YOAST will let you know if you are:
One other tips (and one that YOAST can't track) is to stay on topic - don't ramble, and avoid fluff.
Let your readers know early on (preferably during the first paragraph) what your blog post is about, and then give them a reason to keep reading by answering their question or solving their problem.
Treat your blog like a business, not a journal of your daily life - it's too hard to monetize for starters, and you will struggle to get traffic.
Writing a Blog Post
I use Microsoft Word to write all of my content; then I put it through Grammarly for proofreading and editing. Once I have worked out all the kinks, I will then copy and paste it into Divi text sections, or Thrive Architect if that's what I am using.
Some people recommend using the Gutenberg editor, rather than a page builder because it makes it easier to transfer posts when you change themes. That's not a high priority for me and I prefer the flexibility of a drag and drop interface.
WordPress does come with its own editor, which is now called the Gutenberg editor, and it's straightforward to use. If you think you will be regularly changing themes, then stick with the WordPress native editor.
You can preview your post as you work to see how it's stacking up. Once you are happy with what you have written, edited it a gazillion times, added a few nice piccies, and selected an appropriate category, it's time to hit the publish button and make that post go live.
Note: Save your post as a draft as you go. Things happen, and you could lose all of your work if you haven't at least saved a draft copy. Don't worry, it's only a backup and won't go live until you hit publish.
Blog Post Images
Get in the habit of adding images right from the beginning. If you're handy with a camera, use your own photos. If you don't have the time or, like me, you're rubbish at photography I highly recommend a paid stock photo service.
There are tons of free image sites around (look for creative commons CC0), but millions of other bloggers are using them as well. It's not such a big deal on your blog, but once you use them in your pins for Pinterest, you'll realize the value of a unique image.
Spicing Up Your Images
Images add more meaning when you spice them up with some text. It's easy to add to images, and it's not hard to find software to help you. When I'm in a creative mood, I fire up Inkscape and the GIMP.
Both are free, but they are powerful and come with a learning curve.
If I want something quick, I log into my Stencil account, which is a straightforward online image editor.
If you spend some time at it, it's possible to use Stencil to produce excellent images for Pinterest or your blog post, but after Inkscape, it can feel a bit limited. I usually use Stencil in conjunction with Inkscape and Gimp.
Canva is another excellent option. It's similar to Stencil but has its own little quirks.
Both Stencil and Canva have free and paid versions. Canva gives you access to premium images, and you pay a $1.00 for each one you use in your design. There's no limit to how many images you can create with Canva in a month.
Stencil's free service gives you the ability to create and download ten images every month, and the features go up from there. You can check out Stencil pricing options here.
Other features you may appreciate in Stencil include a Chrome add-on (Firefox and Safari as well), and a WordPress plugin. Plus, you can share your images to many popular social media accounts directly from Stencil.
My main gripe with Stencil is that it pulls images from free stock photo sites, which means it's hard to create something unique. Fortunately, I also have an account with Freepik.com, which affords me access to images that aren't in such widespread use.
More Things to Do On Your Blog
The installation of WordPress adds a couple of things you will want to delete right now, so you at least don't look like a complete noob to this blogging thing.
1. Delete the Hello World Post
If your visitors see this, they will instantly know that you have no experience, and thus no authority in their eyes. Get rid of it now.
2. Remove the Meta Data from Your Sidebar
The metadata stuff in your sidebar makes you look unprofessional, so delete it first thing. Go to widgets under the appearance tab in the menu. Check out the sidebar section, and you will see a box with the title "meta." Click on it to open it, and then hit delete.
3. Your First Blog Pages
4. Create Your Categories
You want to start slow with categories because a WordPress category with just one blog post doesn't look too great. I like to start with only one general category and add all new articles under it.
Once I fully load my site up with articles, I plan to start adding different categories. This blog is a general purpose blog to highlight my capabilities with various topics, but your site categories will probably be focused around a related niche.
Also, make sure you rename the Uncategorized category to one that you will be using.
Every time you start a new blog post, get in the habit of assigning a category first. It's easy to forget and have a post slip into a category that is not related to the topic (which is not suitable for SEO).
Now that you have a firm grasp of the basics, it's time to start building out your blog with traffic pulling blog posts.
We've only scratched the surface of what it means to be a blogger and there is a lot more for you to learn. It's not rocket science, but it does take time to absorb everything before you will feel like an old-hand.
The next items on the agenda for your blogging journey should be to learn everything you can about search engine optimization and social media marketing if you haven't done so already (we briefly touched on SEO earlier).
It's tough to get visitors from Facebook these days (unless you're handing over real money), but Pinterest has proven to be a fantastic source of traffic for many bloggers in a bunch of different niches.
I am hardly an expert on Pinterest, but I do have a couple of courses to recommend which I have found valuable.
Check out Carly Campbell's Pinteresting Strategies for a down-to-earth explanation on the best pinning strategies for siphoning off Pinterest traffic to your blog.
Jennifer Ledbetter (Pot Pie Girl) also has her Pin Tester's Playbook. I have purchased this one but haven't gotten into this one yet. Jennifer hasn't steered me wrong in the past so I'm confident this guide will be full of valuable information.
Jennifer is fully immersed in the world of Pinterest and is always experimenting, trying new things, and sharing what she learns.
You can learn a lot about Pinterest for free by visiting Jennifer's blog. Naturally, the really powerful stuff is reserved for her paying customers, but her course doesn't cost hundreds of dollars like some others and is sure to provide tons of value.
The above two links are affiliate links so I will receive a small commission if you decide to purchase. This won't affect the price you pay, however.
This article has turned into a monster post, so I hope you get lots of value from it. Remember, it's only the start of your journey, and the best bits are yet to come.
I urge to stick with your blogging for the long term. Thousands of new blogs are started every day, and most are abandoned after the first few months.
Don't let this be you, because blogging is an enriching experience that doesn't cost much to get started, and has great potential to change your life. But, it won't happen if you don't stick with it and keep learning.