Now that I am officially a blogger, writing about photography with a touch of lifestyle, wellness and travel tips, the question I hear most often is NOT ‘What are you blogging about?’, but ‘Can you make money blogging?’ If so how?
Let’s start here; if your only reason for blogging is to make money you can save yourself a lot of trouble and find other ‘work’. Although let’s face it, most of us (if not all) need money to live, to pay our bills, buy our groceries, pay for housing and cars, fund educations, pay for cell phone bills, Wifi, entertainment, recreation, sports, travel, camera’s, and kids, etc. The list can be endless. We all have bills to pay one way or the other. So wanting to make a living from blogging can be a goal, but if it’s your only reason to blog and you are not passionate about your subject and helping others you may not be successful.
Photography has been my passion and my career since 1988. Coincidentally that is the same year my daughter was born. Being a free spirit and working as a photographer as a hobbyist without a business plan was not an option after starting a family. I graduated college with a Communications Degree and continued my education through Professional Photographers of America earning My Master of Photography Degree by taking classes and entering print competitions to receive Merits to earn my degree; My Craftsman Degree (Awarded for Speaking and Writing Articles through PPA) and I passed a test called CPP, Certified Professional Photographer that tested my knowledge on multiple guess photography questions on the history and technical details. So fast forward, I am educated as a Professional Photographer and have continued my education throughout my career that brings me to blogging as one of my streams of income for my photography business, CapeCodSoul.
Back in the day, I was a wedding and portrait photographer. The majority of my portraits were done on location (primarily at the beach) not at a studio. I offered a professional service and was paid to photograph weddings and family portraits. Most people understood the business model. Fast forward, blogging is a newer business model. I will admit that I didn’t understand how it could be an income producing business at the beginning.
Here Are A Few Tips & Tools To Become A ‘Professional’ Blogger:
1. The desire & passion to help other people. If you are not passionate about the subject you are writing about or passionate about helping others this is probably not a good fit for you.
2. Educate yourself first so that you can educate and help your readers.
3. Be prepared to listen and interact with your readers and those you follow.
4. Learn how to write, listen and communicate.
5. Be willing to share as much knowledge of your topic as possible.
6 Take a Blogging Class, Elite Blog Academy
8. Educate yourself on the different streams of income as a professional blogger:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Creating & Selling Your Own Products
- Selling Other Peoples Products
9. Learn more about affiliate marketing, sign up for Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
10. Sign up for a ConvertKit account today to grow your email list
There are minimal start-up costs for self-hosting a blog. The first cost would be to sign up with Bluehost for the best blog hosting. When you use my Bluehost link you will also receive a FREE domain name and a special price from Bluehost. I used another company prior to Bluehost when I started my first blog and at first, I had no idea why one company would be different than any other. For me, it was so clear, the customer service and the fact that Bluehost has a real live person connected to a phone number when you need help was a slam dunk for me.
WordPress.org with Bluehost vs WordPress.com
One of the primary differences between using wordpress.com and wordpress.org with Bluehost is that using wordpress.org you can have your own custom domain name that you own. If you are building a business I strongly recommend using Bluehost to set up your domain name (for example my domain name on wordpress.org is www.capecodsoul.com) If I used wordpress.com it would be something like www.capecodsoul.wordpress.com. Now that’s kind of long and also indicates to anyone familiar with the web that you are not self-hosting and it’s probably more of a hobby than a business. Some wordpress.com sites are free so they don’t have all the fancy tools and plugins to develop your site into a business. WordPress.com sites can be great for a hobbyist or family member who is traveling and wants to keep in touch with their family through blog posts or perhaps someone who is documenting an aspect of their life like cooking or their medical journey and is not interested in building a business, would just like to blog and communicate with their friends and family.
Elite Blog Academy has really helped me focus step by step on how to maximize my blog for the best ROI. This class did not teach how to initially set up the actual blog so I learned this on my own. I picked a theme called Foodie Pro as it had excellent reviews. I googled Foodie Pro tutorials and I was able to find a tutorial on another blog, Minimalist Baker. I followed David’s tutorials on how to set up Foodie Pro. So before I could really apply what I was learning in Elite Blog Academy, I had to set up my blog on the theme, Foodie Pro. This was a bit time consuming and some days I was unstoppable and other days I was thinking I was just too far in over my head with the learning curve. Blogging is not just about writing a post. For me writing the post is the fun part, but it was quite a learning curve to get to the point where I could start writing posts! I wanted to learn every step in the process myself so that if I ever wanted to hire help for a particular task, I knew what was involved and how to do it myself.
Another thing to consider is that there are many free plug-ins to help your site run properly like spam filters, spell checkers and ways to link your affiliates. No surprise that there are free versions for most of the plug-ins, however over time you realize that there are often way more benefits to the paid versions. A few extra dollars here, but if you are building a business, money well spent.
You may want to invest in a backup system for your blog and computer. You can back up your blog directly from Bluehost. I back up my computer on two separate external drives. This one provides automatic backup when it is set up with the directions, My Cloud.
I haven’t even touched on the cost of camera equipment (since this is a photography blog) as I, fortunately, had all the cameras and most tools including software to initially start my blog. My computer was old and I had to replace it before I could blog seriously as it was constantly crashing. I now have a MacBook Pro Retina 13 so that I can travel with it.
Although you can use your phone to create photos for your blog or use stock photos online, there is nothing like taking your own pics with a DSLR.
I use Adobe Creative Cloud which includes Photoshop & Lightroom for the majority of my professional image editing. I have recently added Luminar and Macphun to my image editing workflow. These are amazing programs! I use PicMonkey and Canva when I want to add text to images. Pic Monkey is a powerful program that has a smaller learning curve than Photoshop. Pic Monkey is user-friendly!
Adobe Creative Cloud is a monthly paid service and taking a class on image editing is another fee. There can be a lot of hidden fees to running a successful income-producing blog. There are ways to start at the beginning with minimal costs, but as with any business as you grow you may need to invest a little extra money to operate at a higher standard.
I have watched a number of my friends reach retirement age and are all too happy to ditch their day jobs and start their next chapter. I have no desire to ever retire as a professional photographer and for me blogging is the next chapter so that I can continue to create art, educate others on their photo journey, share my lifetime professional photographic expertise and provide resources that I love and I use and feel will be beneficial to you the reader while offering the best deals. I am excited to blog about my lifetime career as a professional photographer and share tips, tricks, tools, and resources to help you as we travel down this digital journey. I am also blogging about my passion for wellness and organic products, as well as travel tips since a healthy lifestyle supports you in your work endeavor!
Elite Blog Academy and Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is a must for anyone who is pondering pro blogging. If you are blogging as a business, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing will help you learn how to monetize your blog, I finished this course in 2 days. It was very well written, Michelle gets right to the heart of the info and I was able to apply the info immediately to my blog and affiliate links. Elite Blog Academy will give you a step by step roadmap to blogging and it is way more efficient than googling on the internet and having random ‘FREE’ info provided by people who may not even be successful!
Another investment to strongly consider is adding a newsletter and opt-in page to your blog. Your email list is your strongest advertising tool. Back in the day MailChimp and Constant Contact were the industry standard, but as technology is so rapidly changing, ConvertKit has become the industry standard for bloggers. There is a monthly fee for this as well.
So there are start-up costs to professional blogging and although compared to brick and mortar they can be minimal, nonetheless, it still requires $ to self-host a blog and to expand a blog to a professional status where you offer products, services, information and or links to help your readers.
Action Steps To Start Your Self-Hosted Blog with Bluehost
- Sign up today to get your FREE domain name and web-hosting with Bluehost
- Get on the waitlist for Elite Blog Academy. (This class is only offered once a year in March and registration is only open for 5 days so be sure to sign up today for the waitlist so that you get the first notification when the class opens up)
- Sign up today for Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing
- Sign up for ConvertKit today!
This post contains affiliate links which means we may earn a small commission if you purchase from our links at no additional cost to you! We only recommend products that we love ourselves and feel that our readers will love these products too! CapeCodSoul is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.