Blogging + Biz
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Ultimate Blogging Resource | Stay Organized, Gain Followers & Make Money Online

I’m going to take some guesses here: You love blogging, love the community, love taking photos, writing, and being a part of something awesome. But you also want to amp up your blogging game, you’re finding it hard to stay organized, balance your work and blog life (I know, it’s tough), you want to gain followers, work with brands, get free stuff, and make money.

Right? Right.

Well, listen. I’ve been blogging for a little over 6 years and only in the last few months (February-May) have I started really taking it seriously. I switched domains, applied what I know about marketing and SEO to my blog, searched high and low for the best affiliate programs and influencer management companies – and I’m really proud to be able to say that I paid my student loan bills last month just from money I earned from my blog and socials!

How did I do it? Well, I did it by following all the tips I’ll list here. (I will also be creating an Ultimate Social Media Resource, so keep an eye out for that too!) 😊


1. Set yourself up with the right blog hosting

Like many new bloggers, when I created my first blog I used a .wordpress.com address. It wasn’t professional, it didn’t look pretty, wasn’t fun to say, etc. But I was a broke college student and I was only doing it for fun, so it worked for me.

The most important thing you can do is get yourself set up with the right blog platform and hosting. You’ve probably heard tons and tons of different things, and if you’re anything like me, it’s all super confusing and overwhelming – but it doesn’t have to be.

Right now, I’m using a WordPress Business plan. If you are using WordPress and aren’t ready for a fully self-hosted site, I highly recommend the Business plan because it allows you to do things you can’t do on the other plans. Some things that compelled me to upgrade were:

  • SEO Tools
  • Google Analytics integration (super important to be found online!)
  • Plugins, plugins, plugins
  • Ability to remove WordPress branding
  • Unlimited storage space

While WordPress Business is not self-hosted, it’s been doing the job. However, I’m reaching the point where I want to be fully self-hosted. It’s more professional, convenient and offers many more opportunities from a business standpoint. All that to say, I am in the process of transitioning to a self-hosted site by using WP Engine!

I discovered WP Engine from another blogger, and after checking them out and comparing them to other hosting sites, I decided to go with them! Of course, I had my concerns and I’m one of the most indecisive people on the planet, so I spent upwards of a month digging into their site to make sure I was making the right choice. Here are some concerns I had, and how WP Engine solves them all.

I didn’t want to deal with site migration.

Guess what – with WP Engine, I didn’t have to deal with migrating my site, because they have a plugin that literally does everything for you. (I know, I didn’t believe it either)

I didn’t have the TIME to spend on my site

I’ve transferred over from WordPress to Squarespace and back to WordPress, and I know it takes hours and days of planning and executing. I did not want to go through that again. When I saw that they promise a simple, 30-minute site migration, I was sold!

I didn’t want to pay an outrageous amount of $$$

When I heard: “Self-hosted” it triggered something in my brain that meant: “An arm and a leg.” But that also isn’t true! Right now, I am paying $25/month for the WordPress Business plan, and once I make the full switch over to WP Engine, I’ll be paying $28/month. 

2. Grow an email list

I’ve been working in marketing for over almost 7 years now (don’t do the math on my age please…), and one thing that I’ve learned that really works to attract and keep a steady traffic source is email.

I even know bloggers who ONLY use email as their main marketing tactic, because it’s that effective. For my clients, I have always used InfusionSoft and ConvertKit

If you are strictly a business, I would recommend InfusionSoft. However, if you are a blogger, small business owner, have never used email marketing platforms, or are just starting out, I would highly recommend ConvertKit. Here’s why:

  • It was crafted with creators in mind, making it easy to understand and everything you need is at your fingertips
  • The dashboard helps you use your email list to GROW your business with beautiful forms, trackable data, and simple but powerful automations
  • You don’t need a firm grasp of email marketing or marketing automation to be successful with ConvertKit – they make it so, so easy

ConvertKit

3. Get organized with the right planner

It doesn’t matter if I have the best online tools, 10 Google calendars, 5 Trello boards – Nothing keeps me organized better than a good, old-fashioned planner. (However, Trello is totally awesome and you should check it out)

I currently have 3 planners: One for my personal life (Lol, what life?), work, and this here blog!

I’ve used tons of different planners, and none stack up against my Day Designer. We’re in a very committed relationship.

What makes the Day Designer planner stand out? Well for me:

  • They have a hard cover and strong wire spiral, so they’ll never ever break (at least, I’ve never ruined one and I take it everywhere!)
  • Each planner includes helpful planning pages like: reality checks, core values, goals and intentions
  • Each day includes space for you to focus on your top 3 tasks for the day, an hourly breakdown of your day, daily gratitude, and even meal planning!

I just can’t say enough good things about this company, go check them out for yourselves!

4. Write content that drives traffic

An important part of being a content creator is creating content, but do you know what happens when you create content that drives traffic?

  • Grow your audience
  • Increase affiliate/ad sales
  • Attract your dream brands/collaborations

There are 10 types of content that readers are absolutely crazy about and I wrote about them here. Happy writing! 😊

5. Monetize your content with these affiliate networks

When I was getting serious about monetizing my blog, the first thing I sought out was affiliate networks and different ad networks that other bloggers were a part of. They seemed to be making money, so why couldn’t I? Here are the networks I am a part of (and LOVE!)

  • ShareASale – This is one of the largest merchants, they have tons of brands, products, campaigns!
  • MediaNet – Forbes, Yahoo, Reuters. This is one of the world’s largest ad networks.
  • Amazon Affiliates – I spend most of my time on Amazon, anyway… why not make money from it? Plus, Amazon makes it so easy

6. How to work with brands

When I was just getting started, finding brand deals was hard work! It almost seemed impossible for me, while other bloggers seemed to have sponsorships coming out of their ears. That’s when I discovered influencer management groups! Here are the ones I’m a part of (ranked):


Was this helpful? What are some of your best tips? And, I would love to see your blogs! Leave your links below. ❤

 

 

*This post contains affiliate links, because like I showed you in this post, they work! Now, go get signed up and start making affiliate sales of your own. You can do it  😊

31 Comments

  1. Hi. I’ve been doing the blogging thing since about 2000. Back then the platforms were different. We had this publication and journaling application called advogato back then which a lot of open source people subscribed to and published so-called updates and shared articles. I worked for this company named Technorati back then which was a blog engine. It created the concept of “authority” for blogs which was measured in a bunch of ways but links were of utmost importance. People that linked to your blog gave you authority. Technorati managed the 100 most popular blogs as well. I worked there when it was a .com startup. It changed more than a few times and ended up being sold or acquired. Some of the folks I consider pre-eminent bloggers were associated like Doc Searls. Another person was Jonas Luster. Both have been blogging since then in one place or another.

    I have done my share of self-hosted blog sites using a cloud provider like Digital Ocean, used hosting like TypePad, used self hosted Drupal sites, used wordpress.com before. I also have created content on MovableType and Typepad in the past.

    I stopped blogging for awhile and closed down my self-hosted site. I wanted to mention that I only paid about $10.00 a month for a VPS running on Digital Ocean and you get more than just wordpress. You have a Linux instance which can be useful for other things if you need.

    Then I came to wordpress because I felt like the proverbial 5 pound chicken with the 10 pound egg. I felt like there was much I wanted to say about my upcoming retirement and relocating to Asia to live. I wanted wordpress but not a self-hosted site. I wanted the community at wordpress.com where I could find like minded authors, read their blogs, comment, create new content. I honestly don’t create blog posts for any of the reasons you name. I do it only to do it and for the love of doing it. I’m not into ads, branding, selling, SEO. If I had no readers, I would still write the things because I get the release of the feeling from doing it.

    I think there are bunch of us oldtimers around that still write for the love of writing but the entire blog thing has gone through so many evolutions that many of them really do not update so often. The entire value of the blog has changed for us. The shining light of the idea or concept or thought communicated so others could read or not still exists. Just not so many people do it these days.

    I’ll continue to write and pay for my premium plan. I don’t believe that wordpress provides any more value for the business plan at $30 a month than what the premium plan provides but the value of the community is a lot for me.

    If I were to move to a self-hosted sited, it would be with my own installation of wordpress on a cloud VPS such as Digital Ocean. Here’s the pricing levels to get a cloud based Linux instance you can call your own and do more than just run a web server. You can also do VPN, backup, even mail if you want to go there.

    https://www.digitalocean.com/pricing/

    Give the offers a read and see if they provide more value than something that costs more. May have to learn a bit more about the installation of wordpress bits but I believe they still have the famous 5 minute installation and Digitial Ocean offers walk throughs of how to get wordpress going.

    • Jasmine Eclipse says

      Wow Michael, there is so much wealth in this comment! Thank you so much for all your insight, I appreciate it and I know my readers appreciate this too! 🙂

    • Jasmine Eclipse says

      I’m so happy you liked them! I hope they will be helpful to you! 🙂

    • Jasmine Eclipse says

      Hi Danielle! So happy I could help! I’ll be creating more posts like these with more tips soon!

  2. This is really really helpful. Definitely going to come back here when I get my own domain👏👏 Thank you❤

    • Jasmine Eclipse says

      Woohoo! So excited for you, girl! 🙂

  3. This is by far one of the best, clearest posts I’ve read about the topic. I’m bookmarking this 🙂 THANKS.

    • Jasmine Eclipse says

      I’m so glad it was helpful to you! 🙂

    • Jasmine Eclipse says

      Hey Fiona! I’m so happy I could help! More of these posts will be coming soon! 🙂

  4. Loved it! I love blogging, but being a broke college student, I can’t really afford to pay for the business plan (for now), but its always good to know about what steps should be taken when I get independent and get super serious about blogging. Thanks for the tips, they are greaat! 🙂

    • Jasmine Eclipse says

      I totally know where you’re coming from! And the good part is that you don’t necessarily *need* to be self-hosted to make money! I signed up with the affiliates above (#6) while I was still on the cheap WordPress plan and I even got some free stuff while I was on the FREE WordPress plan, so it’s totally doable! I’ll be making some more posts like this soon 🙂

  5. Thanks for this post! I enjoy writing and I have been thinking about how to get others to read my content and although I wish I could go viral I feel as if my content isn’t up to par yet. I am going to have to focus harder on this if I want it to be a business aspect one day!

    • Jasmine Eclipse says

      I’m so happy it helped! One thing I’ve realized is that you don’t need to have a “perfect” blog by any means in order to be successful or “go viral.” You just need to know the right ways to market yourself and promote yourself online (without being overly annoying lol) I’m working on a social media tips post that should help 🙂

  6. Thank you for this. I have been blogging on and off for over ten years; I bought my domain a year ago and just got frustrated and left it. For the past year I have wanted to seriously get back into blogging and make a side-hustle out of it but there there is such a lack of helpful information on how to get started (unless you want to buy someone’s course).

    • Jasmine Eclipse says

      So happy I could help! And I know… I see the courses and ebooks everywhere, and I just can’t wrap my head around charging for that kind of stuff, but that’s just me! I don’t think I could ever charge for my stuff lol 🙂

  7. Digging the tips Jasmine. Write helpful, traffic driving content and you will prosper online. Fool proof way to do it.

    • Jasmine Eclipse says

      Hey Ryan! So happy you liked this, I hope it was helpful to you! 🙂

  8. This is probably the most helpful blog post ever. Thank you!! merakiafashionblog.wordpress.com

    • Jasmine Eclipse says

      I’m so happy to hear that this was helpful to you!! I’m planning on making more posts like this soon! 😊

  9. Pingback: Ultimate Social Media Resource | Build a community, increase traffic and gain followers | Jasmine Eclipse

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