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Why would you talk about blogging on a homestead blog?
Back in 2014 when we started preparing to build our cordwood home, we thought that we would find a property, build our home, and then continue on with life as normal. Normal jobs, normal daily grind, normal mindsets. Since the build though, I can say that I don’t want to go back to anything “normal”.
I originally started this blog back in 2014 to “blog about all that hippy stuff we do” as my coworkers put it. I’d start with the hippy stuff, like cloth diapers, and segue into the home build.
I never dreamed of blogging to make money. I just wanted to share my knowledge and our offbeat homesteading journey with everyone since people we knew kept asking about it.
Here we are several years later and this blog empowered me to be able to quit my job, stay home with my son, and make money on my own terms.
I’ve learned that blogging and homesteading are a natural fit.
Why? Homesteaders value being able to work for themselves and to create a life that can be sustained from the homestead itself. Being able to earn money from and because of my home has freed me from thinking that I need an employer to have money. I can make it for myself.
You have something to offer.
You have something valuable to offer to others through your writing. The insights, experience, knowledge, and expertise you possess are assets worth sharing. Something you have to say will inspire, entertain, and educate others. Sure, it may not be about homesteading (my first blog was about flute!) but there is something you are dying to write about.
Not to mention your blog can be a way to make money and escape the rat race.
Earning money from my blog is something I never imagined could happen. People often ask me if I really make money with it, and I do! And not just from “blogging about blogging”. I’m passionate about empowering people to make self-sufficient choices and blogging is a great way to go from being dependent on an employer to being an entrepreneur for very little money. It’s one of the cheapest businesses to start “out of the box”.
So how do you get started?
The Easy Way to Start a Blog
1. Purchase reliable, inexpensive web hosting.
Between our music websites and this blog I’ve gone through my fair share of web hosting. What is a web host?
A web host houses your website.
Instead of setting up a free blog you pay to have your own hosting. They store your files and provide the bandwidth to get visitors to your site.
Why would you pay for hosting?
Simply put, to have more freedom. You can host ads (which yes, can be annoying but pay the bills for most of your favorite blogs), include affiliate links to products you recommend, and most of all YOU retain complete ownership of your blog. Free platforms reserve the right to delete all of your content if they choose. Short of you breaking the law, a self-hosted blog will not be deleted.
If you intend to just blog for a hobby, stick with a free blog (i.e. WordPress.COM, not .ORG). But if you want to monetize, get real hosting from the start.
Who do I recommend?
I swear by SiteGround. Why? Because of all of the hosting I’ve ever had they are easily the most reliable, the most reasonably priced, and have the best customer service hands down. SiteGround easily handled:
- Crazy viral traffic – even though I technically went over the limits of what I pay for they allowed through several days of heavy viral traffic and my site never went down once.
- Moving my old files for free – when I first switched from being on a free blog I couldn’t get my .xml file to upload correctly. WordPress would have charged $129 for this service but SiteGround’s customer service did it for free in about two minutes.
- Fixing super weird tech issues – I had some really odd issues that the general techs had never seen before, and they not only prioritized my problems to the upper level techs but they went above and beyond in the middle of the night to sleuth out the cause of my frustration.
All of these things make me super proud to be an affiliate for them. I’ve never had a company in any industry go to the trouble they’ve gone to for me, so I know you’ll be served well too. Go through my link to get the discounted price of $3.95/month for the starter plan. You won’t regret it.
2. WordPress Platform
Once you’ve purchased hosting, you’ll be able to create a WordPress.org installation. Why WordPress? It powers a huge portion of the internet, for starters. The themes, plugins, and tools available to WordPress bloggers are numerous and well supported.
To get started:
- Log in to SiteGround.
- Go to My Accounts>Go to cpanel
- Click WordPress Installer and follow the instructions to install.
3. Create great content
From this point on, basically everything you’ll be doing is from WordPress. Bookmark your login page for easy access any time you go to write or work on your site.
I will say this about WordPress, for all its goodness it does have a pretty steep learning curve. There are aspects of it that aren’t particularly intuitive, so take your time to explore the menus and get familiar with where things are.
Set a Theme
The theme is the visual style of your blog. WordPress has TONS of free themes that will be excellent until you can justify paying for a premium theme.
Your site will consist of Pages and Posts. Pages are your pillar content that hold your site up, and are featured in your header menus. Posts are the articles you write.
In the beginning, you should create the following pages at a minimum:
- home page
- about page
- contact page
For creating posts, make sure you do these things from the very beginning:
- Set your permalink structure to Post Name. It helps your blog stay “evergreen” and allows you to easily republish old posts without losing any shares you’ve gotten along the way. To do this, go to Settings>Permalinks
- Upload photos with lower file sizes. In the beginning I uploaded photos upwards of 2-3 MB and it killed my site speed. Keep your photos in the 800×600 pixel range with file sizes measured in kB to save space and improve speed.
- Install the YoastSEO plugin. YoastSEO is a free plugin that focuses on writing quality and SEO, or search engine optimization. There are so many old posts that could have benefitted from this tool! I’ve missed out on valuable search engine ranking and suffered from poor writing quality in my original material. I regret not installing it sooner!
Creating killer content is just the beginning! Once you’ve gotten through this easy quick-start guide and created some great posts, you’ll be ready to move on to the business of sharing your content. Here are some of the tools I love for creating great, shareable content.
You can read more about these resources here.
“Make Money Blogging At Any Level” by Victoria Pruett – the book that took me from earning next to nothing to making a viable income in a matter of weeks. Yes, I said weeks.
“Zero to 10,000 Page Views In 30 Days” by Anna Merhalski – a truly great boost for the beginning blogger
“Powerful Pinning Design Bundle” – an easy design guide with templates to help you make the perfect Pinterest pins
PicMonkey – How I create all of my pins and shareable images