Empty Nest Hobbies: Blogging
The first line I ever wrote as I began my blogging hobby was, “I left my first-born on the sidewalk in front of a Shipley's Donuts in Waco, TX.” I wrote it a few months after dropping him off at college. Something had happened as we pulled out of the donut shop parking lot by the Baylor University campus that day. I realized that in 5 years I would have dropped off all three of my children at college.
I also realized that meant I had 5 years to figure out what I wanted to do with myself once my children were gone. On a whim I googled “how to start a blog” and my empty nest hobby of blogging was born.
For over 50 more Empty Nest Hobby Ideas: Empty Nest Hobbies
For more Empty Nest Resources: Why Does an Empty Nest Make us Sad (and what to do about it)
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.
Start Your Blog
- 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.
- There are an unlimited number of folks who will try to sell you blogging courses with the promise of teaching you how to make gobs of money online. DO NOT FALL FOR IT! Blogging for profit is HARD WORK and is not a get-rich-quick-scheme.
- Only purchase courses from experienced bloggers who have actually accomplished what you want to accomplish.
- Be wary of courses taught by bloggers who only “blog about blogging.”
- Here is a list of courses I have taken that I believe are worth every penny. I have no financial interest in your purchase of any of these courses.
- Elite Blog Academy: I was fortunate enough to buy this course several years ago when the course cost much, much less. It is the most comprehensive course I am aware of on blogging. It will eat your lunch! It took me over a year to complete it. BUT, it will lay down the basics and beyond of what it takes to share your work with more than your friends and family and to start making some money.
- Pin Practical Masterclass: This course will teach you everything you need to know about Pinterest. It is the only course recommended by Kate Ahl, who is basically the guru of all things Pinterest. I purchased this course for my daughter so she could quickly get up to speed on Pinterest and help me with my account.
- Dominate the Search Engines: I met the gals who wrote this course at a blogging conference. They teach everything about helping your content rank on Google.
- Listening to podcasts is a great way to learn while you drive around in your car or are at home and the best part is that they are FREE! If the host offers courses and other paid services, their podcast will let you get to know them for as long as you want before diving into their paid products.
- The number one Podcast I recommend is the Simple Pin Podcast by Kate Ahl. I learned almost everything I know about Pinterest from this Podcast.
- Goal Digger with Jenna Kutcher: She has a fun, relaxed, and authentic tone that is easy to listen to and is educational.
- Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield: Another solid blogging podcast with a great host.
- If you do start a blog, write me and let me know. I will feature any blogs started as an empty nest hobby on this post!
What is Your
Empty Nest Super Power?
How to Own Your Nest, Live your Passion, and Love your Life!