Empty Nest Hobbies: Blogging
I began blogging on a complete whim after dropping my oldest off at college. I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I wanted to write and I wanted to share the journey of my emptying nest with other moms like me. I had no “goals” or dreams of making an income. Truthfully, I did not even know you could make money blogging. I floated along, sometimes seriously and sometimes seriously for almost 4 years.
In the summer of July 2018 I quit a part time job and decided this website was now my job. It was time to work. It was time to grow. It was time to make an income. I am now a full-time blogger and empty nester. This website is what gets me out of bed every morning and to my computer. I love my work. I now have over 8000 subscriber and have met so many wonderful readers and fellow bloggers. In January 2021 I formed a partnership with another blogger to begin Next Phase Parenting. We conduct twice yearly summits with expert guest speakers to serve our audience and grow our audiences and incomes.
I want to share my journey with you and introduce you to the idea of blogging for fun or for profit.
Empty Nest Hobbies: Blogging
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My blogging journey has been rewarding and challenging. It has engaged every part of my brain, forced me to learn some creative skills I did not previously possess, and has brought wonderful and supportive friends into my life. If you love to write or have a skill, adventure, message or anything else you would like to share with the world and don’t mind a challenge, blogging may be the empty nest hobby for you.
HOW I STARTED BLOGGING:
I had always wanted to write and constantly walked around with ideas swirling around in my head about what I wanted to write about. After just concluding my son’s senior year, the college preparation and application process, and dropping him off, I suddenly knew what I wanted to write about. I wanted to help other moms who were in my same shoes and just as clueless as I had been about how everything college worked. I also wanted to write about my own journey from a full nest of chicks to an empty nest and encourage other moms through the process. The name “Almost Empty Nest” came to me and the domain was available and my blog was born!
If you would like to start blogging, here are the steps:
NAME YOUR BLOG:
- The first thing you need is a domain (the name of your website). Depending on your plans, the name should either be your own name or have a name that someone might google if they are looking for information on your topic. I do not suggest choosing something that is too cute or that will not be relevant in a few years. (I notice gals naming their blogs things like “diapers and tantrums” and such. Unless you really want to write about diapers and tantrums for the rest of your blogging life, it is not a good name.)
- If you are looking at more of a writing and/or speaking career, it is recommended that you blog under your own name.
- Before settling on a name, find out what social media handles are available. I did not do this, so I do not have “almost empty nest” consistently across all of the social media platforms. If you can find one name that is available as a domain and on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest you have struck gold.
- I purchase and maintain my domains with Siteground. They are also my host. To me it is convenient to have both my domain ownership and my hosting in one place.
DECIDE ON HOSTING:
- You will need a host for your website. You can blog completely for free with several platforms, but you will not own your name.
- If you want something that you own, you will have to pay for a host. I use Siteground. Many people will recommend Blue Host. They recommend Blue Host because they have a great referral program. Blue Host is cheap, but you will quickly need to upgrade your service with them and that is costly. I used Blue Host at first and ran into problems which were going to require an upgrade to correct. On the advice of more experienced bloggers, I switched to Siteground and have been with them for almost 4 years.
- There are website platforms other than wordpress, but I can’t imagine using them. WordPress is the gold standard in the industry. WordPress is free. Use the instructions from your host to install it.
CHOOSE A THEME:
- You can start with a free WordPress theme. Your theme is the beginnings of how your website looks. You can browse through the free WordPress themes and pick one you like. Once you have been blogging a while and figure out all the things you want your website to do that cannot be done with a free theme (or a significant knowledge of coding), you can upgrade to a premium theme and/or hire someone to design your website for you. I use DIVI by Elegant Themes for my theme.
WRITE YOUR FIRST POST!
- You are ready for your first post! Write it and send it out to all of your friends and family and ask them to subscribe to your blog. There are a number of free options like Mailchimp for setting up newsletters. If you blog for a while and love it and want a top of the line email service, I use Convert Kit.
BLOGGING SUPPORT, COACHING AND CONSULTATIONS:
I am also available for blogging coaching and technical support. I charge $35 an hour paid in advance via PayPal Invoice.
Here are a few things I can help you with:
- Technical Support like setting up your website with WordPress, analytics tracking, your sales cart, and more. I am experienced with Google Analytics, ThriveCart, Woo Commerce, Thinkific, ConvertKit, Zapier, Stripe, PayPal and more.
- How to save time and be organized. Blogging involves creating content and graphics, posting this content on your website and social media, emailing, creating opt-ins, creating products, analyzing your statistics like page views and reach, and understanding your finances.
- How to grow your email list and social media following.
- How to increase your page views from Google.
- How to monetize your blog to make an income. If you are interested in coaching, contact me at laura [@] almostemptynest.net. We will set up a FREE 20 minute Get-to-Know-You session. I will introduce myself and ask you some simple questions about your blog, your goals and most importantly…..why you want to be a blogger or writer. If you wish to set up a coaching session, we will schedule it at that time.