It‘s May, which means I have been blogging for a little over three months. I might not have had the success others had with their blogs within that time but I have learned a lot about blogging, myself and the world. It is a challenge but one that everyone can take. You can be successful with a blog as long as you are willing to put in some effort. There are a lot of articles like these but most of them are written by people who are already super successful with it. The struggle though, is real, especially in the beginning. So let me tell you about my experiences and give you some tips if you are thinking about starting a blog yourself.

 

The Decision

After a challenging year and looking for jobs in the real world as well as the digital world, I was close to giving up. Then I stumbled upon this.

When I first started to think about finding work online, I never felt like a blog would be my sort of thing. Constantly creating new and awesome content and making money by doing that? It seemed unlikely to be a success-story for me and on some days I definitely still feel like that. But then I found this article and after months of not knowing what to do next, I started to feel like I could actually do this whole blog thing. I am still not there but that‘s okay. Not every one and every blog is the same. If you want to make money with it quickly, this is not the way to do it. There is no promise of fast money. But you can certainly start your blog today and see where it takes you. The sooner you start, the faster you might get there.

 

The Cost

If you are planning on writing a legitimate blog, you need to spend a little bit of money. This is especially true if you eventually want to make money with your blog.

This was something I wasn‘t sure about. Spending money to make money never sounds good unless you have your own company, but guess what, having a blog is kind of like having your own company.

Don‘t worry though, it‘s not that expensive and a lot of resources are free thanks to the world-wide web. The two main expenses I had when I first started out in February (yes, I am still kind of a newbie) was the web host and the domain.

I decided it was worth it and so I made this investment (it was under $200, so not too bad). Saving up what was left over from my grocery budget for a couple of month basically paid for this blog.

You can read all about setting up your own blog here. It‘s a great description with very easy to follow instructions.

 

The Plugins

While I didn‘t start with installing all the necessary plugins (a few came over time as I needed them), it is a good thing to do to get the basics out of the way.

Bluehost, for example, gives you free trials but since I didn‘t want to end up with costs because I forgot to cancel something, I looked for alternatives. If you are working with WordPress, you can easily install them in the Plugin → Add New section.

Here are my most (important) used plugins:

They are all free, although you can get some premium packages to get more, but then you have to spend money on them. The free ones have worked well so far. I listed them in alphabetical order.

  • Advanced Ads
    This plugin is helpful when you want to place ads on your blog. You can choose where the ads should go and on which pages they should appear.
  • BackupWordpress
    Like it is with everything in this digital world, if it is important you should make a backup. You never know what might happen to your data/content. The plugin sends you the backup via email. You can choose between different grades of backups, from just the database to a complete backup.
  • Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
    If you want to keep track of how your blog is performing, this tool is very helpful. It connects your blog with your Google Analytics account.
  • Head and Footer Scripts Inserter
    Making changes to the code of your website can be a scary thing to do if you have no idea what you are doing. This plugin helps you out.
  • Jetpack
    This plugin was already installed for my blog. The free version has a couple of security features that are quite important and it gives you an overview of your stats. It is especially great for seeing which of your posts are performing the best each day.
  • jQuery Pin It Button for Images
    If you are using Pinterest for your blog, you probably want one of those Pin It buttons for your pictures.
  • MailPoet Newsletter
    The goal of every blog is to have people come back for more. One way to reach that goal is a newsletter. While this might not be the fanciest plugin for a subscription form and newsletter but it is free and when you are just starting out it is definitely a great choice. (You can sign up for mine to see what a MailPoet Newsletter could look like 😉 )
  • Show Hide Author
    Especially if you use one of the free themes, your name is most likely to show up on your blog. If you have your private email connected to your author account, you might not want that shown to the world. This plugin hides that.
  • W3 Total Cache
    Speed is key and this plugin gives you just that. Besides that it has a variety of tool to improve the performance of your website.
  • Wordfence Security
    Better safe than sorry, right? This plugin is basically a free anti-virus tool for your website.
  • WP Smush
    A website should load fast, otherwise your prospective readers will leave. This plugin compresses the size of your media files, without you having to lift a finger (well almost….).
  • Yoast SEO
    The SEO plugin helps you improve your content and website for search engines and social media. The free version, of course, doesn‘t have all the features but it‘s a great way to start and make your content better. It also let‘s you know what‘s important to make a website perform well.

 

Creating a blog is a lot of work that shouldn‘t be underestimated. This is only a fraction of what it is all about. If you think about starting a blog yourself, stay tuned for more information about this topic. I‘m going to share more about the creative and promotional part of a blog next week.

Let me know if you have any questions. I am always happy to help.

 


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