A lot of you who have followed me since the beginning on my old www.myburntorange.wordpress.com domain (which redirects here if you click on it anyway) will have noticed a few changes over the past year. The first change was both impulsive and overdue at the same time; I moved my site to its own domain. I had managed to build quite a good reputation for myself on my free wordpress.com hosted blog, and considering that I had received accolades, features and mentions from all over the world, I felt it was time to make the leap and, if I might add, look more serious. And in being more serious, I decided it was time to try to monetize my blog.
I jumped right in and set up www.myburntorange.com, and before I knew it discovered that I had dived into the deep end. I knew that moving from wordpress.com to a self hosted site using the wordpress.org platform would be slightly more challenging; but that, along with demands from my other activities, nearly killed my blog and I felt very overwhelmed with my new responsibilities; but it did not have to be like that. I also experienced a few hiccoughs during the domain transfer because my existing site had so much content, but that is something you can avoid if you are new to blogging.
The additional pressure also came from the fact that I went from not spending a dime on my blog for 3 whole years to spending several hundreds of dollars. In fact it was nearly $300 when I dived in. I don’t know about you but that is a lot of money for me all in one go. Please do not be alarmed by that figure though because it is actually good value for money and got me a really good deal from Bluehost, who happens to be my self hosting support and service provider. What that $300 bought for me was 3 years of web hosting for only $3.95 a month (plus additional backup and site lock domain security costs). What is that? A cup of coffee, a burger, a piece of cake or a taxi ride! I made a few mistakes at first and was not fully ready but now, a year after my leap, I feel that I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and taking positive and steady steps towards further improvement.
So why am I telling you all this? You came here to find out how to make money blogging about African food, right? Well, this is what I found out a year ago when I decided to monetize my blog. I approached a couple of people who are experts in blog monetization (and there are many ways to make money from blogs so pay attention as I give away 3 ideas in this post). What the technical guy in the team told me, aside from requiring ftp details (I know right, what the heck is that?) was that I would need to move from a free hosted blog to a self hosting blog for the following reasons:
- Free hosting services limit the functionality and options for your site.
- Free hosting limits how much you can customize the look and feel of the site.
- With free hosting, it is difficult to make money and it can be impossible to add eCommerce/shopping cart functionality (one way to monetize) or to run ads (yet another way to monetize)
Did you pay attention there? I just gave away 2 ways of monetizing your site in a couple of sentences. Let’s see if you will get the third one which is so easy, one of the most lucrative methods and costs you nothing but a sign up, so read on.
And so with the facts I got handed above, I decided that was enough for me to take the plunge. I had already started making money because of my reputation as an African food writer built up through my blogging, so why not invest back into my brand? I therefore needed no further convincing. I took the first step to blog monetization by becoming a self hosted blog with the support of a hosting service provider.
Making the decision on which service provider to use was easy. I had been blogging for over 3 years and more on other blogs and had done my research beforehand. I picked Bluehost, who provide a hosting service and back up all your information such that your blog does not suddenly disappear forever, which is an unfortunate occurence. That would be tragic. They also provide 24 hour technical support, so on those days where I wished I had not come across the term php they were there to help me through it. I therefore recommend them and even joined the Bluehost affiliate programme so I could get a commission for anyone who purchased a plan from them through me. What that does is they provide me with a Bluehost Affiliate link which tracks back to my website so they know who referred them.
So friends, if you are ready to take the plunge, please remember that slow and steady is the way to go otherwise you will only overwhelm yourself with too much info. The actual process is easy which is why I only included one step today in how to make money from your African food blog. If you have not done this yet, then do not bother to read anything else as you will only be wasting your time with information you cannot act upon (as I did, which is why it took me longer than necessary).
STEP 1: Get a self hosted blog
It may take you a day, it may take you a week, a month or a year. There is no rush, all that matters is that you know there is a reliable place to go if you decide to take the plunge. And never ever rush, it is a journey which should be adequately planned for by making informed decisions. Remember it took me 3 years, but now that I know what I know, I would have done it much sooner and you can too because there is nothing difficult about Step 1. I hope you have found this post helpful and wish you the very best in your own personal journey to monetizing your blog. I will come back in future to share more about my personal journey, and some mistakes I made along the way which you do not have to go through. If you have any questions, just ask. Happy blogging!
PS: If you are interested in Bluehost, follow my Bluehost affliate link www.bluehost.com/track/