Start a Blog

One of the BEST things I ever did to be able to earn money as a stay at home mom was start a blog.

I’d been blogging here (just for fun) occasionally, but I really started with my blog about writing. I write fiction, and with a Master’s in English (and plenty of writing workshop and tutoring experience), I love helping people learn how to write more effectively, too. That’s where I first got serious about setting up a self-hosted blog and learning all about successful blogging, including networking, advertising, and affiliate marketing. When I got serious and focused, I realized I could actually earn an income from blogging (which I love to do anyway) while staying at home with our new baby.

This post contains affiliate links to help me keep this little blog up and running at no cost to you. For more details, check out my disclosure policy

If you’re also looking for a good way to earn a living from home, starting a blog is a great option.

Here’s why:

  • You can be creative. The topics you blog about are totally up to you. You can write from experience, or you can write about what you’re interested in, what’s trending, or what’s most meaningful to you.
  • You can diversify your income. To me, this is an incredibly important aspect of working from home. When you have multiple income streams (such as affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, product sales, courses, etc.), you have more opportunities for growth. You’re investing in your career and your future, and one of the first rules of investing is to NOT put all of your eggs in one basket. (Lookee! I remembered something from my job in finance!)
  • You have flexibility. For you, work-at-home mama, this is massively important. Believe me, I get it. When you don’t have to be tied to a desk for specific hours each day, you have more freedom in handling your responsibilities, both as an entrepreneur and as a wife and mother.
  • You can easily start your blog during naptime. Little One down for an hour or two of sleep? Perfect. That’s all you need to get your blog started.

Okay, so now that you know WHY starting a blog is a good idea, here’s HOW to do it:

*Note: There are tons of articles out there about starting blogs. I’m not always very tech-savvy, so I’ll keep this as simple as possible. I’ve also included links to other helpful resources and bloggers who have found success. 

Choose your domain name and hosting company

If you want to gain readers and earn money from your blog, having your own domain name is important. It gives readers a sense of who you are while making your blog look more professional. I use Bluehost for both of my blogs and my author website. They are trusted and helpful, and I love having everything under one roof.

To get started, go to Bluehost.com and click the “Get Started Now” button. 

Choose your plan. The basic plan is perfect for starters, but you can always upgrade later if you need to.

Choose your domain name. This should be related to your niche and should give your readers a good idea of what they’ll find when they visit your site. Or, if it’s available, you can simply use your own name.

(Tip: Use the tool above to see if the domain name you want is available first!)

Create your account. This is where you’ll enter your personal information, plan preferences, and payment information. Again, don’t stress about this part too much. You can always update your plan in the future!

Finally, you’ll choose a password. Then you can log into your new Bluehost account.

Depending on how many domains you have, you may have to assign your new domain to your account. (You may not have to worry about this part, but since I already had an account, I did. I’ll include it just in case.)

Here’s what I did:

Choose the Domains tab on the main page of your Bluehost account. Look in your domains list to make sure the new domain you just purchased is already assigned. If it’s not, simply assign it and will show up in your account. Then you can install WordPress and launch your shiny new blog!

(Tip: Bluehost has TONS of helpful resources and excellent customer service, so don’t hesitate to contact them if you have trouble setting everything up!)

Install WordPress

WordPress is the only blogging platform I’ve ever used consistently. I’ve tried others, but they were never quite as satisfactory. I have almost no knowledge of coding or design, but WordPress has made it possible for me to start and run not one but THREE websites. Without pulling all of my hair out. I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else.

From your Bluehost account homepage, click “Install WordPress.”

Select the domain name you want to install (i.e. the one you just purchased). Record your login credentials somewhere safe so you don’t forget them.

Now you can visit your new blog’s dashboard by going to www.YourNewSite.com/wp-admin. Log in with your new credentials.

Woohoo! Welcome to your new blogging home. Look around a little bit to familiarize yourself with everything. This is where you’ll be creating your pages and posts and sharing your incredible knowledge with the world. 🙂

(Tip: Don’t worry about the thousands of widgets and plugin quite yet. You can customize everything after you choose your theme.)

Choose a blog theme

This is one of the fun parts. Explore available themes to decide how you want your blog to look. Keep your goals, brand, and overall image in mind as you decide.

Here’s how to choose your blog’s theme: On the menu to the left, choose Appearance -> Themes -> then browse until you find something you like. There are plenty of paid and free themes out there to choose from.

One of my favorite theme designers is Restored 316 Designs. Her themes are just gorgeous, and they come with excellent documentation to help you set everything up with ease.

Not sure where to start with branding or blog design? Ivorymix is one of the best blogging resources I’ve found yet. Not only are her stock photos gorgeous, but her tutorials are incredibly helpful, especially for design-challenged bloggers like me. 🙂

Make a schedule and plan your posts

All set up? Now it’s time to start writing! Planning your posts and making a blog schedule is totally optional, but it can truly make the difference between a blog that succeeds and one that fails. Especially if you already have your hands full with little ones (& other responsibilities).

Writing consistent, quality blog posts is key to gaining a readership and successfully monetizing your blog. Because I don’t have time to sit and brainstorm blog post topics every day, I batch my planning at the beginning of the year. You can also do this quarterly, monthly, or even weekly.

Check out this post to find out how I plan an entire year’s worth of blog posts in one day.

Plan your social media

Again, this is optional. But having a social media strategy in place is one of the best ways to simplify your blogging efforts. For more help on choosing your platforms, developing your strategy, and combatting distraction and discouragement, read this.

Make sure you’re covered legally

Now that you’ve started your money-making blog, you want to make sure you do things legally. Because I’m not a lawyer (not even close), I’ll point you to some helpful resources for blogging legally instead:

Start growing your email list

If you want to make money from your blog, growing your email list is crucial. Readers who are truly interested in what you have to offer will happily subscribe to your blog by joining your email list. A great way to grow your list is to offer something free to your subscribers, like an ebook, an email course, some pretty printables, or anything relevant to your blog.

Ink Blots & Happy Thoughts: 20 Lessons Learned in My First Year of Freelance Writing >> writing tips, blogging tips, how to make money writing, books about writing, freelance writing resources, work at home moms

Stay positive

Blogging isn’t a get rich quick scheme, and success doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why doing it for the money isn’t enough. You have to enjoy it. If you genuinely care about your readers and have the right goals in mind (like paying down debt or being able to stay home with your babies), you’ll enjoy the process a lot more, especially on the slow, frustrating days.

There are lots of other bloggers out there. But the ones who are succeeding are the ones who stuck with it.

I started both of my blogs because I love to write. But more importantly, I wanted to be more available to my family, which is something my previous job, an 8-to-5, didn’t allow. I also wanted to be able to work at home as a new mom and have more time to write my books. Blogging isn’t always easy. In fact, there have been some days I’ve wanted to quit. But given the right motivation and plenty of persistence, it’s more than worth it.

Want more blogging resources?

Check out my favorites here and here.

Before you go, don’t forget to join the WAHMoms Unite community on Pinterest for tons of tips on blogging, freelancing, and working from home!

How to Start a Money-Making Blog During Naptime from TheBlissfulPoet.com >> blogging tips, start a blog, make money online, make money blogging, affiliate marketing, writing tips, work at home mom, motherhood, monetize your blog