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getting started

How to Start a Teacher Blog: The Beginner’s Guide

Blogging
Want to start a teacher blog? Here is the complete beginner's guide on how to get started today!
*This post contains affiliate links*

Hey, y’all! At the blog again today to expand on one of my recent posts, “Why You Should Start a Teacher Blog This Summer” to bring you How to Start a Teacher Blog–The Beginner’s Guide.

Starting a blog is fun, but can also be challenging and for some, scary. I’m here to show you that it is not scary and that anyone can do it! You do not need a ton of time, or tech expertise, to get up and going with an awesome blog in no time. Want to start a blog? It is as easy as this:

Step 1: Find Your “What” (Niche)

Before you start you blog, you have to truly understand your “WHAT”, or your niche, which is your narrowed topic. What are you going to write about? What is going to set you apart? What makes you different and why will people want to read your blog? It is important to understand your niche from day 1 so you can design your blog to meet your goals, and so you can gain readers (the whole reason why you’re blogging!). If potential readers don’t know what to expect from your posts, then they will be less likely to subscribe and follow you.

Want to read more about finding your niche? Read this + grab the freebie! 

Step 2: Set Your Goals to Meet Your “Why”

After deciding what you’re blog’s focus is going to be, you need to set some goals and understand why you want to blog. With anything in life, like learning a new skill or going on a diet, you have to know what target you want to hit so you can build out and around that goal. Are you blogging to make money or direct people to your TeachersPayTeachers store? Or are you blogging to become a thought leader? Do you want blogging to be a hobby while you gain a larger audience on social media platforms? Whatever your end goal is, you need to define it as well as you can. Being as specific as possible will allow you to break your big blog goal up into smaller goals to keep you on track.

You won’t be able to set all of your goals in one sitting, as some you will have to re-visit once you actually write your first posts. However, in my opinion, you should set goals for:

  • number of times you will post in a week and month on your blog (Blog Goal)
  • how you will engage on social media such as Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (Traffic Goal)
  • how you will build an email list and nurture subscribers you get (Email Goal)
  • how you will monetize and when to try, if this is a goal of yours (Money Goal)

Step 3: Set Up + Design Your Blog

This is the most fun part! After you know your “What” and “Why” it is time to actually get started to put your plans into action!

  • Decide on a Blog Name: My tip here is to have words that have to do with your niche included in your blog name. Are you going to be blogging about all things related to literacy? Then, you may want “Literacy” in your blog’s name! This is great for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes and helps people looking for “literacy” stuff to see your blog when they search! Think “What will I write about?” and “Can I combine it with something similar, or even make it rhyme?“. For example, a blog name of “Literacy for Littles” rhymes and clearly communicates a niche! Your blog name could also include your actual name if you don’t want to be totally boxed into one niche. There are pros and cons to that I’ll be discussing in an upcoming post!
  • Host Your Blog*: I wrote an entire post that details 3 Reasons Why You Should Have a Self-Hosted Blog which explains how self-hosting looks more professional, gives you much more flexibility and control in design and functionality, and you have more advertising options. If you think of your blog as a piece of internet real estate, your host is like your landlord. They have the space to store your blog. If your host is like your landlord, then your house or apartment, is your platform, like WordPress. I am a HUGE proponent of self-hosting from the get-go because it can be a pain to switch later, after you’ve been blogging a while and have grown your brand. Self-hosting allows you to work on SEO  (search engine optimization) and install other plugins to help you supercharge your site and actually make things easier on you! I highly recommend Siteground* as your web host. They offer hosting for $3.95/month with a 30 day money back guarantee and have incredible 24/7 support (including an awesome live chat!) if you ever have any questions. If you have questions about self-hosting, feel free to email me or Tweet me!
  • Get a Domain Name: This is your blog name + .com. If you don’t get a domain name, you will have yourblogname.wordpress.com or yourblogname.blogspot.com after it. For example, if I did not get my domain name of www.kelseynhayes.com, my domain name would be www.kelseynhayes.wordpress.com. I recommend you getting your domain name early on if it is available, especially if you’re going to operate your blog to eventually make money. Again, if you choose Siteground as your host, then you can grab your domain name through them–all in one spot!
  • Choose Theme + Customize: One you decide on your blog’s name and get a host and domain name, all you have to do is design a beautiful blog! When you go to design your blog, you will choose a “theme” or layout that you like. There are free themes via WordPress and all over the internet, and also paid themes. If you find a theme you like that is paid, I recommend investing that money, because you know you like it and it will require only a little customization (just changing colors, fonts and logos is easy!). When I went searching for a theme, I found blogs that I really liked the look of and I scrolled to the bottom of the blog in the footer. Many blogs have their theme listed. I would then Google the theme to research it a bit more. I started to notice trends, and that a lot of teacher bloggers have themes from Georgia Lou Studios. I ended up going with a theme from them too. I did have to pay for it, but when you pay for themes, it is just a one-time fee. You don’t have to pay monthly to have it on your blog. Once you install theme on your site, you just have to customize colors, fonts and stuff to make it yours! If you are unsure of how to install the theme, Siteground’s* customer service can either do it for you, or walk you through it via their live chat!

Step 4: Do Research

The best blogs, the ones that not only are enjoyable to read, but that gain a large following, are ones that solve problems for readers. Understanding your audience and who your ideal reader is is important for you to make sure you’re delivering content that people will actually read. You can research topics that are doing well for other bloggers, as well as pinpointing what people want to read by:

  • Joining Facebook groups relevant to your niche
  • Searching Blogs that have similar niches to yours
  • Following Hashtags on Twitter that are relevant to your blog topic
  • Searching Pinterest for Posts That are Relevant to Your Niche

You want to try to identify a “pain point” among your readers, and then solve it in your unique voice!  For example, if you’re blogging for middle school teachers, many middle school teachers want to read about classroom management strategy. By blogging about a strategy or giving a tip that they can use, you’re solving a problem for them! If you can solve problems for readers, you will easily gain a following!

If you already have a blog, email subscribers or an Instagram account with a following, you can also ask them what they’d like to read about! Surveys from readers is invaluable information!

Step 5: Make Time

Just because you have a beautiful blog and awesome ideas, doesn’t mean your blog will gain traction and get readership. You have to put the time into building it. I know that as a teacher, you are incredibly busy. As a parent, you are incredibly busy. As a mom or dad to fur babies, you are incredibly busy. If you can block out even 30 minutes a day to focus on your blog, that time adds up! In 30 minutes a day you can work on a blog post, engage on social media, answer emails from subscribers and do topic research! You have 30 minutes a day in your schedule somewhere. If you can identify 30 minutes that you can sit down each day, you will be building your blog’s brand in no time. 

Step 6/7/8: Create Content, Get Traffic, Build Community!

So you have pinpointed a niche, have set goals for yourself, have a blog set-up and understand a bit of what readers want…then WRITE! Building up your bank of content is really important when you first start a blog so when you work to get people to your blog, they have posts to read! When I first started, I had so many “draft” posts because as I would think of a post idea I’d write a title down to come back to later. Whether your content creation is more sporadic and spontaneous (how mine was) or methodically thought out ahead of time, just WRITE! You will find a groove and systems that work for you. Also, side note to that point, remember, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Yes, you want quality content, but it doesn’t have to be PERFECT for you to hit publish! You can always go back and tweak things, so just. hit. post. 🙂 If you’re having trouble staying consistent with your posting when you first start out, I recommend thinking of a series to write that you will publish weekly. Even a 5 post series means you’re posting once a week for at least a month!

In terms of getting traffic to your blog, it takes work. You will not be a huge success over night. You will have some posts that do awesome and others not so well, so having a solid game plan in terms of being consistent in sharing your content is necessary. You could get lucky and have a post go viral but that model is not sustainable, so have a plan. Unless you are a lover of social media, I would say pick 2 platforms to really focus on and do those very well. Instagram and Twitter are my 2 favorites. I also have a Pinterest page, but I don’t count that as I’m not really “engaging” with others. Once you pick your 2 platforms, make sure you’re engaging with users. No one likes someone who just drops their links. Building community is essential to really gain loyal readers, and to build community you have to have conversations! Like, share and comment on other people’s posts. Be consistent! If you create community, are consistent in sharing your posts on social media, you will get page views, I promise. 

Now, what are you waiting for? What is holding you back? Get started now by grabbing your host and domain here * and reach out to me if you have any questions. I am here to help! 

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3 Reasons Why You Should Have a Self-Hosted Teacher Blog (& How to Get Started!)

Blogging
Are you looking to start a teacher blog? Here are 3 reasons why you need to have a self-hosted blog from day one

Disclosure: This post contains *affiliate links*. 

Hey, y’all! I’m back at the blog today to share a little bit about getting started with your own teacher blog! You can read in a previous post Why You Should Start a Teacher Blog This Summer, but if you’re already convinced to start one, let’s talk about how to get it rolling. (Side note: Have you joined our email community yet? Receive “Start a Blog” tips straight to your inbox by signing up at the bottom of this page! You’ll receive a FREEBIE for just signing up!)

After you decide on your “why” for blogging and set your initial goals, you need to grab a domain name and actually start your blog (the REALLY fun part!).

Figuring out where to start your blog can be confusing and complicated, only because there is so. much. information. online about starting a blog. The first thing you need to decide is if you want to have a self-hosted blog.

In my opinion, if you’re looking to leverage your blog as a business (by driving traffic to a Teachers Pay Teachers store or selling products) or to craft your professional image (grow your personal brand, share your thoughts on pedagogy and classroom tips), you should have a self-hosted blog versus one that is on a free platform.  A self-hosted blog is one that is hosted on your own server. However, most people pay a 3rd party, like Siteground, Bluehost or iPage, to host it for them. An analogy I’ve seen to put it more simply is, think of the web hosting company like a landlord who rents digital space, WordPress as your house and your domain name as your address.

You Should have a Self-Hosted Blog because:

  1. It looks more professional: If you don’t get a self-hosted blog, then your blog URL will be listed with the free platform’s name as a part of your URL. For example, if I used Blogger, my blog’s name would initially be www.kelseynhayes.blogspot.com. With your self-hosted blog, it is just www.kelseynhayes.com. You can use a free platform, like Blogger or WordPress, and purchase a domain name to get rid of the “.blogspot.com”, but then you’re still spending money and incurring start-up costs without the benefits of having a self-hosted blog. If you start your self-hosted blog with *Siteground*, which is the service I use and highly recommend, the start up cost is $3.95/month and with a 30 day money back guarantee!
  2. You have much more flexibility and control: When you use WordPress with your self-hosted blog, you are able to download plugins to help you make your site look and run how you want. With Blogger, a free WordPress and any other free site (not self-hosted) you don’t have these plugins at your disposal. With a self-hosted blog you have full control over your blog’s layout, how it functions, SEO, etc. With free sites, you are limited in this aspect. Again, if you’re looking to view your blog as a business, then having total control over your blog from day one is crucial, because if your business grows and you decide to switch later on, it is a bit of a pain and requires some extra work.
  3. You have more advertising options: If you’re going to use ads as a way to monetize your blog, free platforms limit your advertising options which makes it more difficult to monetize in this way. Again, with a self-hosted blog, you have total control on how your site looks and what you add to it, so you have unlimited options in terms of advertising on your site.

Getting Started

Ready to get started with your self-hosted blog? You can get started with *Siteground* in as few as a couple clicks. I highly recommend Siteground compared to other hosting companies because of 5 reasons: their support team, the cost, the 30-day money back guarantee (this was the kicker for me when I got started!), their migration services, and my personal experience.

  • Support Team: Their support team is the. bomb. (Do people still say that?) I was originally intimidated to have a self-hosted blog because I didn’t think I knew enough about the “tech” stuff to really manage it. This is also something I hear a lot from new bloggers. I was so wrong in having that assumption! For any question you may have you can either call or Live Chat their support team. Their support team is available 24/7 and are very prompt (in my experience have been on the line within 1 minute). For any questions I have personally asked, they have either found the answer, or asked questions to get more info and have found me a tutorial for how to do what I was asking about. Siteground’s support team is how I moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress/Siteground seamlessly!
  • The Cost: The cost to get started is $3.95/month! That is it! If you’re starting without a previous domain name, your domain name is included (if it’s available for purchase). If you already own a domain name you can either just point the domain to your new account at *Siteground* (which support will help you do) or you can switch it over to Siteground altogether. If  you choose to move your domain name to Siteground, you will have to purchase the domain name again for $14.95, but you will get the time left on your other subscription plus an entire year included for that price!
  • Money Back Guarantee: You have nothing to lose! Not happy with their service, or change your mind about blogging? You have a 30 day money back guarantee!
  • Migration: If you already have a blog on a free site (like I did…I SO wish I would’ve originally started on a self-hosted site but that is another post) they have website migration services (free!). If the blog you have isn’t very large and you think you can do it yourself, there is a very simple process to download your current site (from Blogger, for example) and upload it on WordPress (I did this!)
  • My Personal Experience: Like I said above, when I switched from Blogger to *Siteground*, I had no experience with WordPress or with self-hosting. However, because of the support provided by Siteground and the capabilities provided by WordPress plugins I now have available, I feel like my site is better and easier to manage. I get more “bang for my buck”, if you will.
Whether you’re ready to start a teacher blog or you’re researching to see if you should switch your current blog to be self-hosted, I hope you found this post helpful! If you have any questions, please reach out to me in the comments or through Twitter!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Siteground. This means that if you click one of the product links and make a purchase, I will receive a commission. Although this post contains affiliate links, all opinions and experiences are my own.