Starting a blog can be an exciting, but challenging endeavor. You have creative ideas that you want to share with others, but learning how to implement those ideas onto a blog can be difficult. I am experiencing this personally and would like to share some of the best resources I’ve come across since I started blogging a few months ago.
Why I started a blog:
A few months ago, I decided to start a personal finance blog that would document our journey to get out of debt and achieve financial freedom. I also wanted to share some of the tools and techniques I use to save money on purchases like groceries, clothes, and vacations. All of the things I write about I have tried and have been mostly successful (with the exception of this vacation fail).
I am not an expert on blogging. I have never worked on a webpage before, and, minus daily email, I’ve never written about anything that wasn’t technical (aka boring facts and figures). All of this has been a learning curve for me. To be completely fair, I really like learning about this stuff! Not just about blogging, but how websites work or how to engage via social media.
Resources I’ve found both helpful and educational:
There is plenty of informative, free/cheap education out there that can cut through some of the mystery behind starting a blog. As a new blogger, it is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the choices. While I am still learning, I found these resources to be very helpful.
Create bright, colorful Pinterest Pins:
I had no idea that pinterest could be so important to a blog. I thought it was just an app that you use to find delicious recipes. Not so! Pinterest can be a very good source of traffic to your blog so don’t ignore it. One of the resources I used to get started in Pinterest is Kristen Larson’s blog, Believe in a Budget. She is a fantastic example of how to succeed in blogging. Her side business of becoming a Pinterest expert has paid off well, and she shares some of her knowledge in this free Pinterest Presence Mini Course. I took it a couple of weeks ago, and was surprised at how educational it was. She shows you how to create eye-catching pins from stock photos. My first few attempts weren’t great but I’m getting better with practice (at least, I think)!
Learn how to leverage social media and track metrics on your blog:
I check Udemy periodically for courses that are relevant for blogging. There are a lot of them out there so I try to stick with ones that have high ratings. During one of their recent sales, I stumbled across this course, “Build a Successful Blog: Traffic and Monetization Level 2”. The instructor is a full-time Amazon seller who has successfully implemented blogs, websites and other side hustles. She covers the basics on leveraging social media to drive traffic to your blog and how to set up tools to keep track of your website’s metrics. I learned how to setup google analytics and about other tools and websites you can use to grow your following. Some of these tools I’d never heard of before. Udemy has this course on sale for $10. Totally worth it for beginners. (Note: If it’s not on sale when you read this, watch it for a while. Udemy has sales at least a few of times a year.)
Learn how to write:
As I said earlier, I’m not a writer by trade. Engineering school does not prepare geeks like myself with the skills to communicate well. With the exception of a few British Lit classes, all of my writing was focused on conveying technical information.
Here is another Udemy course that I bought for $10 after seeing a list on Business Insider (an article I tweeted). Full disclosure, I haven’t actually finished this course yet, but I continually find myself pausing and thinking about what the instructor is saying. That is a good sign! If you need a quick education on how to thoughtfully convey your ideas through writing, check out this Udemy course, “Ninja Writing: The Four Levels Of Writing Mastery”. So far, it has helped me organize my thoughts into less of a jumbled mess.
Use Free Stock Pictures:
Looking at a blog post with tons of text and no pictures is boring. Adding images to your posts can break up long, boring paragraphs and add depth to your posts. Not using images is a mistake I made when I started and one I am trying to correct. However, do not use other people’s photos without permission! That is a quick and easy way to get yourself into trouble. Instead, use free stock photos out there like Pexels. They offer free stock photos that you can copy and manipulate without a license or sourcing. They work pretty nicely with Believe in a Budget’s free pinterest course.
Starting a blog can be so much fun, and I hope these 4 resources are as helpful for you as they were for me! There are a lot of other free/cheap resources out there that I might not have heard about so please leave a comment if you have one in mind. Thanks for stopping by and happy blogging!