Since I was familiar with this platform, that is what I used to start up my blog and I’m still using it. It’s free, I never had issues, and I find it easy to use. The one thing I do pay for is the domain name which I pay through blogger for only $13 a year.
It wasn’t absolutely necessary to buy the domain name, but that allowed me to drop the .blogspot at the end of my web address – which I think makes it look more legit and easier to remember.
I went online to search for templates to make my site look ‘cleaner’ than the templates already available through Blogspot. I opted for a free one and coded in some changes to fit what I needed. I only know a few things about coding and didn’t do anything spectacular, but I was trying to spend as little as possible and take advantage of the little knowledge I had.
What Blogging Entails (For Me)
I’m going to break down everything I do for my blog that has made it successful (and there’s probably other little things that I’ve missed):
1. Make Content
For my blog, you already know that I crochet things and share them. My content is (for the most part) crochet patterns, but it takes more than just crocheting. I come up with an idea, I design it, I make a sample(s), and I write up the pattern.
Now that I have the main part of my content, I need to take photos, edit the photos, edit the pattern, and then put it together in a blog post.
Along with that, I have been doing video tutorial for some of my patterns, which entails me finding a good time to record a video, edit & upload them.
2. Drive Traffic
If I have a bunch of content and no one knows where to find it, then my blog would be kind of pointless, right? To make my blog ‘known’, I need to share my patterns/content so people go to my site!
Every time I write a post/share a pattern I do the following: share on social media, create a ‘PIN’ for Pinterest, format an email and email it to my subscribers, and post it on crochet pattern sites (Etsy, Ravelry, LoveCrochet, etc).
I try to spread this out through the week so I can gain a bigger audience than just dump it into the cyber world and then forget about it. I will also go back to old content and share those patterns where/when I see fit.
3. Social Media
Sharing on social media is one of the best ways to get your blog out there – but if you don’t have followers, then you’ won’t be sharing it to very many people. More followers = more people to look at your blog.
Unfortunately, social media platforms doesn’t always make it easy for you to share your stuff with everyone that’s following you. For example, Facebook only shares to 1% of your followers unless you pay to ‘boost’ your post/pay for advertising. I’m not into paying for that – so I find other ways.
The way I (try to) gain followers is to be present, be purposeful with posting, and to be engaged. So far I have found that if someone likes your stuff consistently, they will always see your stuff in their feed. Facebook shows you the stuff they think you want to see. Makes sense, right?
Keeping up with social media can basically be a full time job.
Since I’m making money and I don’t want to go to jail for not paying taxes, I have to keep up with income/expenses and all that fun stuff. I typically do this once a month, but try to keep everything organized throughout the month.
5. Customer Service
Since I’m a one woman show, all the questions/comments/inquiries come to me whether it be through email or social media. I answer all the emails/messages I get throughout the day and try to answer them right away as most people are working on a pattern and need clarification or just have a question about the pattern in general.
6. Time Management
I think this is a good one to throw in because I’m always managing time and thinking ahead for my blog. When I listed the components of making content, it doesn’t always go in that order.
I may make something, write up the pattern and write up the post but may not be able to take the photos for it until later in the week (or even weeks later). Sometimes I have several finished projects/WIPs and no photos or patterns written up.
I typically plan ahead on what days I can take photos or what days I can have uninterrupted computer time to edit everything and write up a post.
For the most part I do what I can when I can, and that revolves around my family because they’re my #1.
Blogging has been a learning experience/journey for me. I’m still learning ways to better my blog through articles, webinars, podcasts, etc. There’s a wealth of information out there on the internet!
I’m not doing this every single day, but when there is an opportunity to learn or when I have time to improve on a skill (such as photography), I’ll take some time to do so.
How I Keep Up With Blogging
I have a son who I homeschool so like I said above, I have to manage my time. I am able to ‘work’ throughout the day, but that usually means the house isn’t getting cleaned (and let’s be honest, the house always needs cleaned even if you already cleaned it, so why bother? Haha!). During the day I can usually get a little bit of crocheting done and do the social media aspect of blogging when my son is doing his ‘school’ work or when he is occupying himself with his toys.
Mostly all the computer work and some designing (the more complicated ones), I leave for nights and weekends. Bedtime is around 7-7:30pm here for us, so I can get a good 3-4 hours in of work ‘after hours’. The weekends, I can ‘work’ as much as I want because I can count on my boyfriend to man the house (and clean if I didn’t do much of that during the week).
The weekends is usually when I do videos and photos. These are the times where I can work uninterrupted during the day, which is necessary for photos and videos. I don’t have fancy lights, I use natural light.
With all that, I still manage to get family time in. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in all of it, but I do take days ‘off’ or nights ‘off’. On those days off, I still crochet though because #crochetlife.
It’s not easy managing time because one day is totally different from the next, but it makes it easier that I truly enjoy what I do. I love to create things and I love to share it.
Can you Make Money from Blogging?
The answer is yes. Are you going to make tons right away? No, and you probably won’t for a while unless one of your posts goes viral or something.
There are many different ways to make money from blogging, but I’m going to share with you the main sources I get income from blogging.
1. Ads – They’re everywhere and that’s how a lot of publishers make some cash (TV, radio, magazines, webpages, etc). This directly corresponds to page views. More page views = more money.
2. Affiliates – I am an affiliate with Amazon, so if I refer you to a link to buy something on their page, I will earn a small commission from that purchase without any extra charge to the buyer. There are many many affiliate programs out there, but Amazon is a popular one because they basically sell everything.
3. Selling Crochet Patterns – Not everyone does this, but I sell PDF versions of some of my patterns on Etsy, Ravelry, LoveCrochet, etc. I don’t expect people to buy them because they are free on my blog, but they are cheap & convenient to have something on hand (without ads) and believe it or not – people do buy just to support my work! I appreciate and am thankful for every sale I get.
4. Other Opportunities – I have received a handful of opportunities since I’ve started my blog and not all of them I was compensated directly for, but instead I may have received yarn or had a chance to get my blog ‘out there’ for more viewers to see. (And more viewers = more $).
Tips to New/Potential (Crochet) Bloggers
1. You should be passionate about what you do. What ever you want to blog about, be passionate about it. It’s a lot of work and some days your passion may be the only thing that drives you forward.
2. Be patient and consistent. I can almost promise you that you will have days where you feel like you are wasting your time and you are getting nowhere. As long as you keep being consistent and keep working on your blog, you will get somewhere.
3. Don’t expect to earn money right off the bat. You probably won’t even make any money at first and when you do start making money, it may just be pocket change for a while. My pattern sales are what kept me going in the beginning, without it I wouldn’t have made squat just from blogging.
4. Don’t compare yourself to others – your journey is your own. You probably will compare yourself to others at one point in your journey, but just remember everyone has that struggle of comparison and not feeling adequate at one point or another. Put your blinders on and keep doing you.