In the Beginning There Was… Utter Chaos.
Okay, you know I have a flare for the dramatic, BUT seriously. There is just so much that goes into blogging!!!
To say it’s a learning curve would be an understatement. Blogging is an ever evolving business. With time and technology comes changes. Whether you’ve been blogging for 5 months or 5 years, there will always be more for you to learn.
And you know what? That’s what keeps it fun. It’s never stagnant, instead, always changing.
I was so excited to start and get the ball rolling. My head was spinning and totally on information overload, which actually caused me to say whatever, just do it and threw all the information I had taken in, out the window.
My First Try
From the get go, I knew how I wanted my blog set up, but I did not at the time have the money to put upfront and do it. Because of that, I started a temporary blog with Wix (which I do NOT recommend if your goal is monetization). I had already bought my domain, and now just needed a platform to build a site. I went with Wix because they allowed monthly payments instead of a year upfront.
I knew it wasn’t for forever, and I looked at it as a way to just get my name out there, and get the ball rolling. It was better than nothing, and I knew it was to fill the time until I could invest and get serious.
The Right Way
Now don’t get me wrong, Wix is great if you want to blog for fun and not monetization. Most people are drawn to it for the easy drag and drop design, and minimal technical skills required to use it. I for one am not a techy, and WordPress is definitely harder to get used to, but it is worth it to learn it.
The formula for a great blog (in my opinion, as well as many others) is WordPress.org + SiteGround. Self hosting gives you total freedom and ownership of your site, which means you can monetize any which way you would like. There are many hosting companies out there, but from my research and experience, SiteGround is the best. Their support team is available 24/7, and you can message them online instead of over the phone. If you’re like me and avoid talking over the phone like it’s the plague, this is major brownie points! The longest I have ever waited for a support member to get back to me was 23 seconds. Twenty three bloody seconds. SO FAST. I honestly love them, and recommend them to anyone considering a blog. Bonus, it’s suuuper affordable. I’m talking less than four dollars a month affordable.
If you’re curious about how to start your own blog, and want to avoid all the mistakes I made, read this to get started on the right track!
What I Wish I Knew in the Beginning
Firstly, there are endless ways to monetize your blogs. What works for others may not work for you. It is going to take a lot of trial and error, before you figure out what works for you.
When it comes to affiliates, there are so many. But alas, all affiliates are not created equal. When it comes to choosing the right affiliate programs for your blog, there are a few things you should consider.
- Does this program align with my blog and what it stands for?
- Is this something my audience is interested in, or will it be interpreted as spammy?
- Do I personally utilize this brand/product/service and can give legitimate insight to others?
- Commissions: Is it per purchase or per click? What is the payout threshold?
In the age of blogging, there are many affiliate platforms available for use. Some are better than others, and it’s important to do your research before wasting time on platforms that have a reputation of screwing people over.
ShopStyleCollective vs. Amazon Associates
I didn’t even look into ShopStyle until recently, and I SO regret I didn’t join sooner! It has hundreds of affiliate programs all in one place. It’s super easy to navigate, and offers so many amazing tools. You can build product links, create lists, and make widgets all in one place! Another great thing about ShopStyle is that it is pay-per-click. Meaning, you earn money for every valid* click, even if that doesn’t result in a purchase! Basically, how can you lose?
I’ve only utilized ShopStyle in one post, and I’ve made more than I ever did in the three months I used Amazon Associates. Granted, it is not much by any means, but is already proving to work for me.
Now onto Amazon Associates. I am still kicking myself in the butt for wasting my time and energy on Amazon Associates. The commission rates are low, and their rules and qualifications are strict and ever changing. I had made ten sales through my links, and didn’t get a single penny. If there’s even a remote chance that the person purchasing via your link knows you, or has ever engaged with you, Amazon will know and will not count the sale. So I wasted three or four months giving Amazon free advertising. Very disappointing.
Don’t get me wrong, there are people who have great success with Amazon Associates. Like I said, what works for others may not work for you. I personally think it is a program that works best once you’re established and have 10k+ monthly readers.
I know, it’s super tempting to take a How I make $50,000 a month blogging course, but don’t. I have seen time and time again new bloggers spend hundreds of dollars on courses that contain information you can find for free, or at least for a waaay cheaper price.
Now onto *affordable* courses I have taken, and 110% recommend!
The ONE Facebook group you absolutely NEED to be a part of is Boss Girl Bloggers. I have learned so much, and Ell (the creator) is the most helpful person I’ve ever encountered. She gives away so much knowledge for free, and her courses (mentioned above) are SO affordable. At $20 each, you will not be disappointed.
Words of Wisdom
One thing I can’t stress enough is patience and consistency. If you’re looking to get rich quick, blogging probably isn’t for you. It takes time, patience, dedication, and SO MUCH WORK. It’s a dog eat dog world, there is just a never ending sea of blogs out there. It’s easy to get discouraged, but it’s important to not let it stop you. Do NOT compare your journey to others. You only see what they want you to see you, and remember that the behind the scenes work is just that, behind the scenes.
Stay consistent, stay dedicated, work hard, be authentic, and don’t give up!