My Blogging Journey

In January of 2012, I started a blog. I did it on a whim…I had no grand plans other than I thought it could be a great way to stay in touch with out-of-town family and friends, but then all of that changed….

Here’s my story and a little bit about how to start a blog:

I was a new mommy simply trying to find my footing. I had retired from the elementary classroom to become a full-time mama and though I was head over heels in love with my new little guy, the transition from classroom to home was a huge change for me.

Get our THIS LITTLE HOME OF MINE nEWSLETTER

Delivered directly to your inbox!

Please wait...

Thank you! You have successfully joined the This Little Home of Mine community!

As a first-time mom looking for something to do during those middle-of-the-night feedings, I started readings blogs, and as I did, I began to discover an incredible on-line community that I never knew existed! What? At 2am, I could be encouraged, inspired, challenged, and empowered by so many other women who had walked through my experiences as a new mom? It was amazing to me, and I quickly fell in love!

How to Start a Blog

It was January of 2012 when I made a trip out-of-town to my parent’s house. Baby boy and I had ventured there to spend a few days with the grandparents. While up late one evening, I decided to start a [Google Blogger] blog of my own – I named it All Kinds of Things. It was literally a spur of the moment decision that came out of nowhere. I wasn’t planning to do anything fancy. I would simply document my days with our new addition so that out-of-town friends and family – mainly the grandparents – could follow along as they wished. I was excited to keep in touch that way, so I got started.  I began sharing details from our day-to-day, snapshots of our life, you get the idea.  I never planned on becoming a real blogger.

As I continued to write and share, I realized that the grandparents weren’t really following along with the blog as I had hoped, but friends and friends-of-friends were starting to take note and pay attention to my posts via social media. In addition, I began to connect with other bloggers and found myself interested in taking my blog to the next level. Instead of simply journaling our day-to-day, I soon began to realize that I could take my love of writing, photography, and teaching and throw them all together to create my own little corner of the Internet! As my passion for creating grew, so did my blog!

I quickly realized that I needed some guidance, so I reached out to Ashley at The Vanilla Tulip and spent some time learning from her. This mentor relationship was a game changer for me! I learned so much from Ashley, and I will be forever grateful for the way she invested in me.

Ashley challenged me to continuing connecting with other bloggers and to become more active on social media. At the time, these two things made all the difference in my taking my blog to the next level!

I would love to have you follow along with me in your favorite space! 

How to Start a Blog

As my blog continued to grow, I started to shift my focus a bit. I began opening up about some topics that were especially close to my heart. Some of these issues were somewhat controversial, but my willingness to share my thoughts on these topics resulted in a handful of my posts going viral. As this began to happen, I took a closer look at my blogging space and consider.

  • What exactly are my blogging goals?
  • What do I want my overall message to be?
  • Do I need to make any changes to my space in order to accomplish what I have in mind?

My answers to these questions:

  • What exactly are my blogging goals? To produce quality work that will encourage and inspire other moms. The areas where I wanted to focus?
  • Learning at Home
  • Cooking at Home
  • Organizing at Home
  • $aving at Home

How to Start a Blog

  • What do I want my overall message to be?  To be a reflection of the Gospel and a testimony of how God desires to work in each family’s individual story.
  • Do I need to make any changes to my space in order to accomplish what I have in mind? Yes! I need to focus more on quality [over quantity] content, and while I’m at it, my images need some work!

Once again, I turned to a fellow blogger for guidance! Have you “met” Abby from Just a Girl and Her Blog? She (and her hubby) are amazing, and their Blogging Handbook: Building a Framework was exactly what I needed for a fresh start in my online space! They no longer offer this specific product, but they do continue to offer guidance to those seeking to produce quality content while also attempting to tackle all that goes along with the technical side of blogging.

What happened next?

Well, the first thing I did was create a new WordPress* blog. I completely re-branded and started from scratch in a new space. I know that many will move their blog from Blogger from WordPress, but I decided to do things a little differently. *Wordpress.org – not WordPress.com – I wanted a clean slate and doing things this way allowed me to do that!

In an effort to respect all of the hard work that Abby and Donnie have put in to their products and training courses, I will not explain each detail of the guidance they offer as far as getting started, but I will tell you that reaching out to the experts was the best thing I could have ever done.

Psst…If you’re curious about my theme, it’s from Restored 316 Designs! Their themes are gorgeous, and I have been more than pleased with the quality of Lauren’s design!

How to Start a Blog: Restored316 Designs

Restored keeps my space looking beautiful, and they can do the same for the space you’re dreaming of creating.

The second thing I did was begin focusing more on my images! For the past several months, I had been using my Nikon D3300, but I had only been working with my kit lens….and when shooting blog images, I hadn’t been paying much attention to my lighting…and when uploading photos to my site, I hadn’t been taking the time to carefully edit images…this was definitely an area where I needed to focus my attention. So what did I do?

#1 – I purchased a PicMonkey subscription! For quite some time, I had been using the free version, but when it came time to edit my photos, purchasing the subscription (It’s super inexpensive!), provided me with so many more options! Canva, Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom – also great options that I love and now use often, but PicMonkey is where I started.

#2 – I purchased a couple of new lenses! New lenses – lenses specifically designed for the types I photos I like to take for my blog – resulted in better images…but it also meant that less editing was going to be required as the lenses were doing a lot of the work for me! Any editing that I do now happens in Lightroom, and it makes my life easy!

#3 – I began to use stock images! This was something I had avoided for a long time, but I have really liked the look of the stock images I have found on sites like Pexels! There have been times when they have come in handy.

My focus on quality images immediately began to pay off as I began to notice more Facebook shares…more pins on Pinterest…more connections on Instagram! While quality content is always #1, quality images come in at a close second – I am convinced of that, and I am so thankful for technology that helps to take the guesswork out of some of these things!

Quick Tip: I use the following image sizes:

  • Blog Images: 680 x 1020
  • Pinterest Images: 680 x 1020
  • Facebook Images: 1200 x 600

How to Start a Blog

Monetizing My Blog

As a full time mom, I am not in a season of life when I am able to commit full-time hours to my blogging space, but my hobby blog has become a source of income for our family, and there are a number of ways I earn income from this space.

Affiliate Opportunities

Amazon’s Affiliate Program – Amazon’s affiliate program has been perfect for sharing books, teaching materials, learning resources, gifts ideas, and more with my readers! I share these links in blog posts as well as on social media!

Share-a-Sale – Share-a-Sale has made it possible for me to partner with companies some of my favorite companies! Once again, I share my affiliate links in blog posts as well as on social media!

Google Ad Sense – There are other great ad networks out there, but for now, I am continuing to partner with Google.

I am also an affiliate for various resources that other bloggers in my niche have created. I work with them to promote their products and receive a portion of each sale made through my personalized affiliate links.

Sponsored Post Companies

Other Advertising Opportunities

I have sponsors that purchase monthly ad space from me – I like to make sure the featured product(s) are a good fit for my readers, and I work with each sponsor individually to design an ad, etc.

I also enjoy working with small business owners as well as large companies to create sponsored posts, social media promotions, etc. for their products. I interact with them on a personal level to create customized promotions that fit  their advertising needs.

Product Creation

Once again, I trusted Abby and Donnie Lawson to guide me through the creation and launch of my first product, and every product since! Their guidance has made it possible for me to focus less on sponsored posts, etc. and more on creating and selling my own products!

Bundle Pack of E-books from This Little Home of Mine

Their Book Boss Course included everything I needed to get started creating awesome products, and if you are interested in venturing in to the world of e-book creation, you are definitely going to want to check out their training offerings. I especially appreciate the practical tips they provide for how to grow your e-mail list – something I waited too long to start doing. Their training program: Browser to Buyer has been designed to help bloggers set up systems for how to encourage their readers and followers to purchase their amazing products.

These resources of theirs have been game-changers for me!

You may be wondering how I am able to do all of this while being at home full-time with four little ones!

How to Start a Blog

My family responsibilities are number one and I blog when I’m able. 

I have a hubby I’m dating.

I have kiddos I’m homeschooling.

I have a household I’m managing.

So…how does it all work? 

#1 – I blog about things that I am already doing – recipes that I’m already making, homeschooling ideas that I’m already implementing, organizational tips that are already working for me in my home, etc.

#2 – Blogging is something I enjoy doing, so when hubby is working late…when all four kiddos are sleeping (yes, that actually happens…sometimes), I blog.

Most mamas will tell you that managing the day-to-day of a household takes up most of any available time they might have when kiddos are sleeping, so I do my best to make sure the most important home tasks are attended to before I sit down to create.

For me this means that I am unable to blog everyday, but as life allows, I create: writing posts, editing images, etc. Oftentimes, as posts come together, I post-date them which allows me to have content “going-live” on days when I’m especially busy or during weeks when we’re out-of-town or throughout the holidays when I know my focus will be elsewhere.

#3 – Around the time I retired All Kinds of Things and created This Little Home of Mine, I began using social media schedulers. These schedulers have allowed me to stay active on social media without actually having to BE on social media throughout the day! My only regret? Not using them sooner!

How to Start a Blog

My Advice to Bloggers Seeking to Grow Their Space:

There are so many great opportunities out there – invitations to guest post; affiliate programs to join; social media groups to be a part of; link-ups/share groups to participate in; articles to read about sponsored posts, new money-making strategies, and on and on and on and on it goes. It is so easy to get caught up in all of those things, and I don’t know about you, but I absolutely can not keep up with all of that information AND keep dinner on the table…laundry put away…school lessons taught…etc. It would simply be impossible.

I have found that it’s easier for me to focus on one thing at a time: Improving my photography, for example. (I continue to be a work in progress on that point!)  Strive to consistently improve your craft without joining in the comparison game. Growing a successful blog takes time, and there will always be someone else further along in the process.

As you set goals for your space, it is important to be realistic about your time and current life season. Simply be you. Share your heart. Your audience will respect you and love you for the way you creatively share your story in an honest and authentic way. There is freedom in telling your story…from your perspective…in a way that will speak to your readers. Learn and grow along the way, but always stay true to who you are and the reasons why you believe your story matters! I promise you, your story DOES matter, and no one can share it like you can.

Quick Tip: In my experience, it is better to spend a week creating a well-thought out post that includes high quality content and large, bright images than to crank out daily posts that fail to capture the attention of your audience. High quality content gets shared…large, bright photos get pinned…this results in more visitors to your site!

When I first created my new site, I spent a lot of time creating my original homeschooling posts, and all of the time and energy has paid off – At pretty much any time of the day or night you will find visitors on those posts! Why? I believe it’s because I took the time to include A LOT of information and made the effort to include lots of clear images – images that have gone viral on Pinterest! (Thank you, new lenses!) And yes, all of this results in more traffic…more affiliate sales…you get the idea. I know I said this would be a quick tip, so I’ll stop there!

In Summary

When I think about my favorites blogs, they are not the ones that solely focus on one specific topic. They are the ones that pull from all different areas of life – faith, marriage, motherhood, friendship, homemaking, frugality, etc.

I would love to think that somewhere out there is a new mommy up with her newborn for the 15th time – feeling encouraged by something she is reading in this space. It would be my honor to think that there is a discouraged friend being refueled with hope as a result of visiting this site. I would be thrilled to know that there is tired and frustrated sister who has spotted an idea on This Little Home of Mine that may help make her days at home feel just a tad smoother. These are the reasons I write.

In a way, this space is my way of saying Thank you! to the countless others in the world of blogging who have encouraged me on the days when I needed it most. While I am excited to see continued growth, I pray that I will never lose my heart to connect with readers and minister to their souls. This Little Home of Mine…I want to let it shine.

*This post will continue to be a work in progress as I plan to keep it updated with the most up-to-date information! If there’s something missing from this post, please let me know! I want to do everything I can to encourage you as seek to have your own voice in the blogging community!*

Disclaimer: The tips, resources, and opinions shared in this post are based on my personal blogging experience. You may find that you agree with me on some things but not others. That’s okay! Find what works for you and your space! Feel free to grab the ideas that you like and leave the rest behind for someone else. No matter what, I’m so glad you stopped by today!

My blog posts contain affiliate links. This means that if you purchase items I recommend, I may receive a commission from your purchase. Thank you for supporting This Little Home of Mine! For a complete explanation of my policies and disclosures click here.

28 Comments

  1. Well written! You covered many details no matter what level you want to take your blog to. Some like to keep it a simple hobby, others want to take it as far as they can. It needs to work for each person and my tip would be, do what you can do and what makes you happy with wherever you want to go with it. Many get discouraged when they start playing the comparison game. It is like anything, what you put into it, is what you will get out of it. Many great tips here.

  2. Funny timing! I JUST posted my How to Start a Blog post this week too. 🙂 Mine is more a “how to” for actually setting up the blog and doesn’t contain ALL this great info for a beginner blogger.

    I think one of the best takeaways is this: “best to think long-term – to create quality content that will be read, shared, pinned, retweeted, etc. for weeks and months and years (yes, years!) to come”

    If you are going to spend ALL the time writing a post, you might as well make it a post that will be relevant to readers in the future. You put in the work once and continue to get readers coming back years later to enjoy the content. (especially if the post does well in Pinterest!) With content that is not evergreen, it may only be relevant for a few days. While I do not believe this needs to be the case for every single post, it’s something to remember for most posts!

    This is a great resource!!

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      Yes! So many great tips! (I love learning from you, Emily!) I’ve loved pinning and sharing your post and will continue to do so!

  3. My favorite blooging tip was/is: No subject you are posting is new, it’s how you write it that matters! I use it everyday in my DYI posts. Every technique I use I learned somewhere. Be it Pinterest, a neighbor, YouTube, but I try to write my posts in a conversational style and easy enough for people to understand (well, I tend to ramble….but that’s my style too!). Love all the advice and will read it a few times to sink in! So much to learn.

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      Such great advice, Tatiana! I’m so glad we’ve crossed paths! I am looking forward to staying in touch and continuing to learn from each other! What an encourager you are!

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      Thank you so much, Jennifer! I’m so glad we’ve connected! What’s your favorite form of social media? I would love to follow along with your space!

  4. Love all of these tips!! One thing I’ve really loved is connecting with other bloggers (especially a smaller group). I think having other bloggers help to answer questions and to run things by has been a great tool for me!

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      Yes, yes, yes! That is so true!

  5. This is amazing. As someone who has been blogging for nearly 4 years, this open my eyes to some new tools, tips and tricks. Thank you!

  6. I loved this. As a new blogger I love reading tips and tricks. I need all the help I can get. I love connecting with other bloggers especially ones that are in the same stage of life as
    Me.

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      It is a wild season of life for sure, but a fun one…with so many sweet moments! I would love to continue to stay connected, Emily! Thank you for stopping by, and be sure to head over and share your Facebook page with my followers there: https://www.facebook.com/thislittlehomeofmine/ All of us mamas definitely need lots of encouragement!

  7. Great post Elizabeth! I also started my blog on a whim. I didn’t have any idea what I was doing but loved to write, take pictures and encourage others. I honestly don’t like the technical side, but I am learning as I am going. I love what you said about being you and sharing your heart. It’s easy to think that you don’t make a difference in the blogging world when there are so many blogs but like you said there is no one else telling a story from “your” perspective. I also agree about linky parties they have been such a huge blessing to my blog and connected me with so many like minded women of faith as yourself:)

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      Hey Rebakah! Yes, yes, yes! I completely agree, and I love your heart for encouraging others! Please do hesitate to head over and share your space with my Facebook followers: https://www.facebook.com/thislittlehomeofmine/ – I know there are other moms who would love visiting your space! Let’s continue to stay in touch and grow together!

  8. Hi Elizabeth! You were nice enough to respond to my comment in the Building a Framework FB group and i’m now just getting a chance to read this — now that my little munchkin is in bed. 😉 GREAT POST! Lots and lots of great information. I especially love when you talk about focusing on one thing at a time and how growing a successful blog takes time, and how there will always be someone else further along in the process. SO TRUE! This is something that I’ve really tried to focus on (I’m just getting started with this whole blogging thing). It’s easy to look at established bloggers and want the same things happening for myself but I’m just trying to take things step-by-step. My next step as I said in the FB group is link parties! Thanks for your tips and suggestions I look forward to reading more on your blog.

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      Hey Barbara! I love that Facebook group – such a fantastic batch of people! I’m so glad we have connected – Please keep me posted on how things are going with your blog, and definitely do hesitate to head over and share your space with my Facebook followers: https://www.facebook.com/thislittlehomeofmine/ Let’s stay in touch! I would love to continue encouraging each other!

  9. There is so much great information here! Thank you for taking the time to put it all together!
    I’ve slowly been learning new things about blogging and trying to put them into practice, I would love to be able to make a little money off my blog eventually, but for right now my goal is simply to encourage other mommas and women.
    I pinned this so I can come back and read it 50 more times. 🙂

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m so glad we’ve connected, Rebekah! Please be sure to hop over and share your blog with my Facebook followers: https://www.facebook.com/thislittlehomeofmine/ I would love for them to read your encouragement – I love your heart for writing and sharing with others!

  10. Finally! Someone who says they love blogs with varying posts! I am a fairly new blogger and love to write about anything and everything that is a part of our lives! But I’ve been reading about growing my site and everyone has said, pick a niche. And I refuse to! I don’t think I could write forever about cloth diapers or recipes! I love them both equally but I’m just not that person! Thanks for giving me the confidence to keep my scope wide!

    Would love to connect with you!

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      Hey Payton! I’m so glad we have connected! Please be sure to share your blog over on my Facebook page, too! I would love for my followers there to see your space, and I look forward to following along with you as well: https://www.facebook.com/thislittlehomeofmine/

  11. Love this!! Pinning for future reference. I’ve been blogging as a hobby for about 8 years now, but recently started a new blog that I’m serious about turning into something real that will help support my family. These tips are really helpful!

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      I’m so glad we’ve connected, Hannah! Let’s stay in touch! I love chatting with other bloggers!

        1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

          You’re so sweet, Hannah! Thank you!!

  12. Yay! I’m so glad I found you! I saw this post through Abby’s Facebook group. I am fairly new to blogging and so confused and undecided to which direction I should take it. But after reading this post I realized that I found my niche! Your blog is exactly what I am hoping to build as we are pretty much in the same season of life. Stay-at-home, homeschooling to 3 young kids and homemaker. I haven’t check out the rest of your blog yet but you can be sure that I will be here to follow you! Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      Yay, Ria! Keep me posted on how things go! I’m rooting for you!!

  13. Thank you for this post, Elizabeth! It was so helpful to me as a new blogger! I’m brand new to blogging. (I launched my blog about 2 weeks ago!) I’m so excited to be a part of the awesome community of bloggers that I never knew existed. That would be my suggestion to add, and what I am currently working on. Surround yourself with bloggers that you admire and respect. Choose the blogs that you want to be associated with and then work to build relationships with those bloggers. I’m so encouraged by other bloggers and I’m so happy that the community is so supportive. 🙂

    1. thislittlehomeofmineblog@gmail.com says:

      That is so, so true! I should add that to the list~ So many other bloggers have been a HUGE source of encouragement to me in my journey so far~

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.