I’ve read a lot of blog posts over the years and one thing that they all have in common is that they are mostly focused on how to start blogging for a profit. Sometimes those posts can be overwhelming for someone who is just looking to start a blog as a hobby. Back when I started my blogging journey I had no idea that blogs were used as a source of income. I started blogging purely because I enjoyed it and I was looking for a hobby for myself. It was never to make tons of money.
Even though I do make a little money through my blog now, I still don’t consider it a business. I went 3 years where I didn’t even use a single affiliate link in my post. I didn’t even know that was a thing. Even though I think the idea of having a profitable blog sounds amazing, I know that I am not at a place in my life where I can set those kinds of goals for myself. I don’t have the time, nor the drive it takes to do that. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t be a successful blogger. It doesn’t mean I can’t make a little side money, connect with other like-minded women, and have an outlet for myself.
What blogging has meant to me
At the end of August, it will be 7 years of blogging for me. I started Thrifty Wife Happy Life as a creative outlet to share my daily outfits, recipes, and saving money tips. Over the years it’s become so much more than what it started out as. It’s evolved over the years as I become more confident in my style and as my life changes and I take on different roles.
My blog has become a scrapbook of my life. I’ve shared my moves, my pregnancies, my marriage, my children, my jobs and so much more than that. It’s also created a community for myself with my family, friends, and followers who read my blog posts and follow me on social media. It allows me to stay connected and close to people I wouldn’t be able to without my blog. It’s become so much more than just a hobby for me over the years. I’m very passionate about blogging and that’s why I love to hear about other people wanting to start blogs for themselves. I get excited for them to experience the blogging journey. That’s why this is a topic I want to write about and share with all of you searching for information to start up a blog of your own as a hobby.
How to start a blog as a hobby
1.) Pick a topic
The first thing you need to decide on is what type of topic do you want to talk about on your blog. Do you want to have a lifestyle blog? A fashion blog? A mom blog? A home decor blog? Think of a topic that you know well and you are passionate about. You don’t have to be an expert on the subject, but you do need to love it. I recommend writing down a few post ideas on the topic you pick out to see how much content you can get from it. You want to makes sure that you pick a topic that is broad enough to cover lots of posts, but also narrow enough that you appeal to a certain audience. For example, you wouldn’t want your blog to focus on travel, food, home decor, and parenting. Those are all over the place. You can still cover those topics, but you might want to set a theme, like parenting. Then you could share travel tips on vacationing with children, kid-friendly recipes, and kid room decor. I guess what I’m saying is that you might want to narrow it down into one direction, but still make sure you are able to get a lot of content out of your topic.
2.) Create a website
Once you have your topic picked out, it’s time to start a website. This is the scary part for most people because if you’re anything like me, you don’t know a lot about computers and you have no clue how to start a website. Don’t worry, it’s really not that hard. You have 2 options when it comes to starting your website. You can do a self-hosting site, where you pay to have your site hosted or you can use a free blogging platform. Most bloggers will recommend that you do a self-hosted website. A self-hosted website gives you all the rights to your content and also helps SEO (search engine optimization). If you are very serious about blogging and interested in going in that direction, you can go HERE to learn more about setting up a self-hosted website. If you still aren’t sure how long you want to be blogging for or you just aren’t reading to spend the money on a website you can go the free route and that’s what I’m going to talk about today.
There are 2 popular free blogging platforms out there. WordPress.com and Blogger. I use Blogger, also known as Blogspot, which is a blogging platform through Google. I’ve enjoyed using it over the years. It’s very user friendly and it’s the perfect way to get comfortable with having a website. When you first create your blog on Blogger, you will be given a domain name like www.abc.blogspot.com. Having a domain name like that tells people right away that you use a free platform. That’s why I pay to have my own domain name. I use Namecheap and I pay a little over $12 per year for my domain name thriftywifehappylife.com. Another thing I do to make my website look a little more professional is to buy a template for my site. Blogger provides many different templates, but they are all very basic and I wanted my site to look more professional. I found my current blog template on Etsy for $10. It was very easy to install on my site and you can even pay a little extra and have the template installed to your blog for you. The nice thing about using a free platform like Blogger is that if I ever do decide to make the leap to a self-hosted site, I can always transfer my blog over to a platform like WordPress.org.
3.) Create social media pages
Having social media pages is very important if you have a blog. It’s a way to advertise your blog and connect on a different level with your readers. The 4 big social media pages you should have are Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Instagram is probably the first social media account you want to have for your blog. I recommend starting it first before you start your blog. This was my big mistake when I started blogging years ago. I started the blog, then almost 3 years later I started my Instagram. Instagram will be where you will start to build connections with other bloggers and get your brand out there. Facebook is similar to Instagram because they are the same company and everything is connected, but I find that my Facebook followers don’t always have or use Instagram, so it’s nice to get my content out to a different audience. Plus, you can click on links with Facebook and share your blog posts directly to your readers. Pinterest is where you will find most of your blog traffic comes from. The easiest way to start up on Pinterest is to just start pinning your blog posts to your personal account. When you are ready, you can convert your personal Pinterest account into a business account. Pinterest can be overwhelming at times, but I recommend to just start pinning your posts and then go from there. It will come with time. Lastly, there is Twitter. I will be honest, I don’t love Twitter. I don’t use it as much as I should, but I also don’t think that I have much of my audience on Twitter. I still think it’s important to have it, especially if you want to start working with brands and doing collaborations someday.
4.) Join Facebook groups
The best way to learn about blogging is to chat with other bloggers. An easy way to do this is to join a blogging Facebook group. I am in a few Facebook groups and I find them extremely helpful. You can ask almost any question you might have and other bloggers will help answer them. It’s a great way to meet other bloggers, get blogging support and grow your following.
Here are some of the groups I’m in that I have found very helpful over the years:
5.) Find helpful resources
There are a ton of free resources out there on blogging. Books, blog posts, podcasts, free workbooks, etc. Here are some resources that I’ve used over the years and found very helpful. Remember many of these resources are about how to blog for profit, but even if you still just want to blog as a hobby, you can still learn a lot from other people.
6.) Google it!
There’s this little thing called the internet. It has a whole bunch of information on it. Hahaha. Whenever I don’t know how to do something with my blog, I google it. Between Google, Pinterest and Youtube, I’ve turned my little Blogspot blog into a professional-looking website. I’ve learned how to start a blog, improve my blog, and even make money from my blog. Like I said at the beginning of this post, blogging can seem very overwhelming at times, but it takes time to learn. You have to just go for it and learn through trial and error.
I hope you found this post helpful. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments or you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love hearing from you and I love talking about blogging! My next blogging post is going to be on How to Make Money on a Blog as a Hobby. I’ll go over the ways that I’m able to make a small amount of money through my hobby. Look for that soon!
This is such a well thought out and informative post. Like you did not get into blogging for the money and honestly it never Crossed my mind. I have a f/t job and am a mom so making it my priority isn't really an option. I love the connections and the creativity it pushes me to have. I have to look into a new layout so I am going to check Etsy out. Also, I really should try to step up my Pinterest game but I haven't really learned a lot about it.
Thank you! I'm so glad you found it helpful! I know I could be doing better on the Pinterest game too, but it is a lot! Blogging is a great hobby to have though! I'm glad you enjoy it too!