Blogging can be a great way for your homestead to earn some extra money – or it could be your homestead’s main source of income! There are so many options for blogging. But what’s the best way to blog as a homesteader?
The best way to blog as a homesteader is to build a reliable, efficient system. Create a system that relies on organic, natural growth so you don’t have to sacrifice time in your backyard oasis to blog. An efficient system will also prevent you from spinning out your figurative wheels – and prevent burnout.
As someone who’s got multiple blogs, let me share the best tools with you – so that you can have as many (or few) blogs as you want to. And you’ll be able to balance your priorities without becoming bogged down with blogging.
Having blogged since 2013, I’ve learned a lot on my own. I’ve also taken many courses that weren’t worth the investment. So let me tell you this – if blogging is your goal and you don’t have much experience, get a blogging course.
But don’t get just any ole’ blogging course. Get the one that’ll help you. The blogging course I recommend is Income School’s Project 24 (click here to check them out).
Their blogging course will walk you through the entire process of setting up your blog, figuring out which posts to write, and how to do search engine optimization to help you get seen – so your blog makes money.
Once your blog grows, other courses are included in their membership. These additional courses will walk you through all the next steps you need to take – and will inspire you with how you can monetize your blog and online business.
Check out Income School’s Project 24 – I’d love to see you there!
As you build your blog, you will need a good website host. The host is like the plot of land on which you’ll build your homestead (or blog) – so you want it to be decently secure. However, when you’re first starting out, you also don’t want to be paying premium prices for a small plot.
So where should you host your blog? There are a lot of great options out there.
- Bluehost – Bluehost has some of the best prices, especially if you’re new and every dollar matters. They are a great place to start with hosting. Check them out here.
- BigScoots.com – They’re pretty awesome, and they’ve got all the benefits of an AWS quality host with a lot less work and a similarly low price tag.
- Cloudways – this is who I’m currently with, and I love them. There’s more of a DIY aspect with Cloudways, though, so if you don’t want a DIY host, get BigScoots.
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering about a good place to get domain names, I recommend Name.com.
Once you’ve got your homestead plot of blogging space via your host, it’s time to install WordPress and pick a theme. The theme is like the foundation and walls of your house built on your homestead.
Overall, the two themes I generally recommend to beginners are the generic WordPress theme (WordPress releases one for every year, so get whatever the current version is) and Acabado. Once you’ve gotten a lot of content written and you’ve got more experience, you can try different themes – or code your own. I like Generate Press.
Plugins are cool because they can add functionality to any theme (provided they’re compatible). However, having too many plugins can be a big problem. Adding extra code to your site can slow things down. Adding a plugin that hasn’t been updated is a security risk – especially if any known bugs can be hacked.
So after having run far-too-many plugins on my sites in the past, I now have a “less is more” mentality for plugins. I regularly evaluate my plugins – and if they aren’t being used or enhance my user’s experience? Then I delete them. It’s harsh, but plugin minimalism is kind of nice.
These are some of the plugins that I regularly use and recommend include:
- Link Whisper – this plugin makes finding, creating, and expanding links across a website easier. Link Whisper has a free option, though I like the functionality of the paid version: get Link Whisper – use my link to let them know I sent you.
- Ezoic – this plugin helps me integrate my ads easier while giving me more control over ensuring they aren’t obtrusive.
- Rank Math – Rank Math also makes editing SEO stuff easier if you don’t have Acabado. I use the free version.
- Thirsty Affiliates – to manage various affiliate partners.
Images and Pictures for Your Blog
Regarding pictures and images for your blog, I’ve got a few recommendations.
First, take as many of your own original pictures as you can. They’ll help your audience better – even if they aren’t amazing pictures. And you can use whatever camera you’ve got.
I use my smartphone’s built-in camera – for reals. And I’ve almost always got my phone to grab a picture.
When I’m feeling fancy, I try taking pictures with our DSLR, but I’m still learning how to use it – so I don’t usually end up using those pictures. As I get better, I’ll use that camera more often. But for now, it’s still mostly a fun hobby.
Second, if you use other people’s images, only use those you’ve properly licensed. There are too many horror stories about people using a free image they found on Google – and then they get sued for copyright infringement. Please don’t do it.
If you can’t find a perfect photo for your article, license one from a reputable stock photo supplier. I recommend Deposit Photos (click here to check out their prices) and Canva. Sometimes, you can snag a steal of a deal to Deposit Photos (and tons of other cool blogging and business tools) on AppSumo (click here to see their current deals).
Third, learn to edit your photos. It’s not as hard as it looks. And it’s okay to start with a web-based software option like Canva or PicMonkey.
Email List Provider
Ready to add email marketing to your blogging toolkit? That’s awesome. There are a ton of options out there! And these days, there are more and more awesome options.
I’ve tried and used many of them – with varying success and ease of use. The email provider I currently use and recommend is SendFox. It’s an AppSumo Original. It was a great price, though it doesn’t have all the functionality of other options.
Starting small is okay – just use what you’ve got on hand.
- Camera – I use my smartphone. One day I’ll upgrade to something fancier. Today isn’t that day. I use a Google Pixel 3a – just in case you were wondering.
- Phone Stabilization – If you don’t have a tripod or want to talk, walk, and film simultaneously, you’ll want a gimbal. I use and recommend the DJ Osmo Mobile 3. It’s got some upgraded features over the two that I like. Before getting my gimbal, I tried to frame things using a stationary tripod I got for $30 from Amazon.
- Sound – I use and recommend a Tascam DR10-L. While you can buy it on Amazon, there’s been way too many reviews saying that people were shipped a knock-off. So go ahead and get it from B&H instead – I did. Before I got my Tascam, though, I didn’t worry too much about sound – though I tried to stick to shooting videos indoors from close to the smartphone.
- Lighting – I usually shoot outside where there’s plenty of light. The trick is framing things so I’m not washed out by or blinded by the sun. But for inside shots, I have a cheap, $30 ring light and tripod getup from Amazon.
- Editing Software – Being (what feels like) one of the few bloggers who doesn’t have a Mac means I can’t use Final Cut. But that’s okay – I like DaVinci Resolve. And it’s free.
Then, as your YouTube channel grows (and so does your ad income), you can expand your tools. That’s my current path – and goals. Click here to check out Backyard Homestead HQ on YouTube. Be sure to subscribe while you’re there!
Monetizing with Ads
Adding ads to your site is a big step – it’s the first step toward monetizing. Just don’t let it be the last step! Even so, there are different ad networks you can apply to join. However, many of the best have some minimum requirements (usually related to traffic) that make them harder to reach.
- AdSense is probably where you’ll start – it’s where I started. And since it’s what YouTube uses, you’ll want to apply anyway.
- Ezoic is a great “next step” for ads, though so far, it’s where I want to stay. It’s what I currently use for all of my sites. I’ve been very happy with Ezoic thus far – and they give you a lot of extra perks if you’re a member of Project 24. Just another reason to join the Income School bandwagon!
- Mediavine and Adthrive are premium-level ad networks. They require multiple tens or hundreds of thousands of sessions each month before they’ll accept you. I’ve heard great things about both of these companies.
Monetizing with ads can be an amazing step – and they don’t have to be intrusive or annoying to your users. So make sure you go with a reputable company and have an account rep who will help you enhance user experience while optimizing your ad revenue.
I’ve been really happy with Ezoic so far. They’ve been prompt in helping me deal with issues and have helped me earn a good chunk of change – without imposing any traffic requirements on me. In talking blogging shop with friends, I see a similar ROI (usually called RPM or EPMV) on my ads to my friends on Mediavine and Adthrive. And Ezoic doesn’t impose any traffic minimums.
So if you’re starting, I recommend Ezoic.
It’s tempting to want to outsource your writing! Please don’t do it.
Further Monetization with Info Products, Courses, and Beyond
Once you’ve built a solid foundation and have reliable traffic, then you can start thinking about expanding your monetization efforts. Don’t stress too much until you have about 30,000 or more monthly views. Until then, focus on creating and providing amazing content.
Once you’re at that point, you’ll have better data, emails, and knowledge to understand your audience’s needs. Then, you can use that to make your info products, courses, memberships, or whatever else floats your homesteading monetization boat.