Blogging can be a great way to earn extra money as a mom – or it could be your main source of income! There are so many options for blogging. But what’s the best way to blog as a mom to an exhausted child (or children)?
The best way to blog as a mom is to build a reliable, efficient system. Create a system that relies on organic, natural growth so you don’t have to sacrifice time with your family to blog. An efficient system will also prevent burnout, especially while you’re busy with sleep training, too.
As someone who’s got multiple blogs, let me share the best tools with you – so that you can have as many (or few) blogs as you want to. And you’ll be able to balance your priorities (and family responsibilities) without becoming bogged down with blogging.
And one other great thing about blogging? There are plenty of questions and ideas that need to be shared – so you can blog about almost anything and find a measure of success.
Blogging and building websites is competitive, but the payoff can be great if you get the traffic. It’s getting the traffic that’s the trick! The best way to skip a lot of the frustration and headache of figuring things out yourself (which can take years) is to invest in a blogging course.
Having blogged since 2013, I’ve learned a lot on my own. I’ve also taken many courses that weren’t worth the investment. So let me tell you this – if blogging is your goal and you don’t have much experience, get a blogging course.
But don’t get just any ole’ blogging course. Get one that’ll help you. The blogging course I use and recommend is Income School’s Project 24 (click here to check them out).
Once your blog grows, other courses are included in their membership. These additional courses will walk you through all the next steps you need to take – and will inspire you with how you can monetize your blog and online business.
Check out Income School’s Project 24 – I’d love to see you there!
As you build your blog, you will need a good website host. The host is like the plot of land on which you’ll build your website – so you want it to be decently secure. However, when you’re starting out, you also don’t want to pay premium prices for a small plot.
So where should you host your blog? There are a lot of great options out there.
- Blue host – I’ve used them before and they’re a great place to start your blogging journey for the first year or so. You can check them out here.
- After the first year, Big Scoots and Cloudways are the options I’d recommend.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering about a good place to get domain names, I recommend Name.com.
Once you’ve got your website plot of blogging space via your host, it’s time to install WordPress and pick a theme. The theme is like the foundation and walls of your house built on your homestead.
There are thousands of WordPress theme options out there! Having paid for and tried so many of them, here is what I’ve found in regards to themes.
- When you’re first starting out, use WordPress’s 20-whatever-year-it-is theme. It’s included and it’s free and it’s secure. It won’t look super fancy, but it’ll be solid. And with the new Gutenberg setup, you can really customize it a lot more than you could in years past.
- Don’t spend a ton of time on customizing themes – focus on your content!
- If you want an even faster theme that’s super easy to use (and almost impossible to break), use Acabado. The Income School guys built it – and it’s pretty awesome. It’s not super customizable (unless you know how to code), but it’s a great option to get you started. And if you invest in the Project 24 course, you get a free license to use Acabado (as long as your membership is active). Acabado also has a single-use or lifetime licensing option if you’d prefer that route.
Overall, the two themes I generally recommend to beginners are the generic WordPress theme (WordPress releases one every year, so get whatever the current version is) and Acabado. Once you’ve gotten a lot of content written and you’ve got more experience, you can try different themes – or code your own.
Plugins are cool because they can add functionality to any theme (provided they’re compatible). However, having too many plugins can be a big problem. Adding extra code to your site can slow things down. Adding a plugin that hasn’t been updated is a security risk – especially if any known bugs can be hacked.
So after having run far-too-many plugins on my sites in the past, I now have a “less is more” mentality for plugins. I regularly evaluate my plugins – and if they aren’t being used or enhance my user’s experience? Then I delete them. It’s harsh, but plugin minimalism is kind of nice.
The plugins that I use and recommend include:
- A caching plugin. If you go with Ezoic for your ad partner, they’ll give you tools to manage this. Otherwise, Breeze is awesome and managed by the Cloudways team.
- Link Whisper – this plugin makes finding, creating, and expanding links across a website easier. That way, I can make a reader’s experience more awesome. Uplevel your blogging linking strategy with Link Whisper – use my link to let them know I sent you.
- RankMath SEO is a great plugin for building your SEO foundation. The free version is sufficient.
Some of my sites use more or less than this, depending on their needs. Always build for your needs, but keep things minimal so you don’t have issues.
Images and Pictures for Your Blog
Regarding pictures and images for your blog, I’ve got a few recommendations.
First, take as many of your own, original pictures as you can. They’ll help your audience better – even if they aren’t amazing pictures. And you can use whatever camera you’ve got.
I use my smartphone’s built-in camera – for reals. And I’ve almost always got my phone, so I can always grab a picture.
When I’m feeling fancy, I try taking pictures with our DSLR, but I’m still learning how to use it – so I don’t usually end up using those pictures. As I get better, I’ll use that camera more often. But for now, it’s still mostly a fun hobby.
Second, if you’re going to use other people’s images, only use those you’ve properly licensed. There are too many horror stories about people using a free image they found on Google – and then they get sued for copyright infringement. Don’t do it.
If you can’t find a perfect photo for your article, license one from a reputable stock photo supplier. I recommend Deposit Photos (click here to check out their prices). On occasion, you can snag a steal of a deal to Deposit Photos (and tons of other cool blogging and business tools) on AppSumo (click here to see their current deals).
Third, learn to edit your photos. It’s not as hard as it looks. And it’s totally okay to start with a web-based software option like Canva or PicMonkey. One day I’ll learn the fancier stuff. For now, I need quick, easy, and manageable – and Canva, PicMonkey, and Snapseed (a free Google mobile picture app) fit the bill.
Email List Provider
Ready to add email marketing to your blogging toolkit? That’s awesome. There are a ton of options out there! And these days, there are more and more awesome options.
I’ve tried and used many of them – with varying success and ease of use. The email provider I currently use and recommend is SendFox. It’s not the most customizable option, but I like managing my whole portfolio from one place.
Ready to add YouTube to the mix? It’s exciting. Thankfully, YouTube doesn’t have to be a big production. Starting small is okay – use what you’ve got on hand.
- Camera – I use my smartphone. One day I’ll upgrade to something fancier. Today isn’t that day. I use a Google Pixel 3a – just in case you were wondering.
- Phone Stabilization – If you don’t have a tripod or want to talk, walk, and film simultaneously, you’ll want a gimbal. I use and recommend the DJ Osmo Mobile 3. It’s got some upgraded features over the 2 that I like. Before I got my gimbal, I tried to frame things using a stationary tripod that I got for $30 off of Amazon.
- Sound – I use and recommend a Tascam DR10-L. While you can buy it on Amazon, there’s been way too many reviews saying that people were shipped a knock-off. So go ahead and get it from B&H instead – I did. Before I got my Tascam, though, I just didn’t worry too much about sound – though I tried to stick to shooting videos indoors from close to the smartphone.
- Lighting – I usually shoot outside where there’s plenty of light. The trick is framing things so I’m not washed out by or blinded by the sun. But for inside shots, I have a cheap, $30 ring light and tripod getup from Amazon.
- Editing Software – Being (what feels like) one of the few bloggers who doesn’t have a Mac means I can’t use Final Cut. But that’s okay – I like DaVinci Resolve. And it’s free.
Then, as your YouTube channel grows (and so does your ad income), you can expand your tools. That’s my current path – and goals. One day, I’ll upgrade my DSLR to a mirrorless camera that can double as my YouTube camera. Until then, however, I’ll stick with my smartphone. It works quite well.
Go check out the Sleep Training Kids channel on YouTube. It’s got about a dozen videos you can watch. That channel, while awesome, isn’t my main YouTube focus. To check out my main video focus, click here for my Backyard Homestead HQ channel on YouTube. Be sure to subscribe while you’re there!
Monetizing with Ads
Adding ads to your site is a big step – it’s the first step toward monetizing. Just don’t let it be the last step! Even so, there are different ad networks you can apply to join. However, many of the best have some minimum requirements (usually related to traffic) that make them harder to reach.
- AdSense is probably where you’ll start – it’s where I started. And since it’s what YouTube uses, you’ll want to apply anyway.
- Ezoic is a great next step for ads. It’s what I currently use for all of my sites. I’ve been very happy with Ezoic thus far – and they give you a lot of extra perks if you’re a member of Project 24. Just another reason to join the Income School bandwagon!
- Mediavine and Adthrive are premium-level ad networks. They require multiple tens or hundreds of thousands of sessions each month before they’ll accept you. I’ve heard great things about both of these companies.
Monetizing with ads can be an amazing step – and they don’t have to be intrusive or annoying to your users. So make sure you go with a reputable company and have an account rep who will help you enhance user experience while optimizing your ad revenue.
I’ve been really happy with Ezoic so far. They’ve been prompt in helping me deal with issues and have helped me earn a good chunk of change – without imposing any traffic requirements on me. So if you’re starting out, I definitely recommend Ezoic.
It’s tempting to want to outsource your writing! When starting out, though, I’d caution you against hiring someone else to write your articles. Start by writing them yourself – it’ll help you learn what to do. And if you’ve got the Project 24 steps to follow? It’s honestly pretty easy to do.
Once you’re more established, I hear many amazing things about Upwork.com and PassionPosts.com – a Project 24 alumni with a whole team of writers that follows the Income School methodology. I’ve gotten a couple of articles from them, and they’re solid. As with any writing service, though, I did go through those articles and make a few edits. After all, they don’t have all of my stories – so (at a minimum), I always add in some fun stories for my readers.
In any case, if you can’t hire a writer, don’t stress. Do it yourself – and know that you’re in good company.
Further Monetization with Info Products, Courses, and Beyond
Once you’ve built a solid foundation and have reliable traffic, then you can start thinking about expanding your monetization efforts. I like what the Income School guys recommend, though, about waiting until your traffic is at 30,000 or more monthly views before you stress about building anything. Until then, focus on creating and providing amazing content.
Once you’re at that point, you’ll have enough data, emails, and knowledge to understand what your audience wants. Then, you can use that (and the Income School Guy’s Monetization Course) to make your info products, courses, memberships, or whatever else floats your homesteading monetization boat.