I’ve had my website for about a month now. It’s kind of funny because there are so many resources out there for starting websites and blogs, yet I still feel like people are hiding something from me. I wanted to share some roadblocks I encountered and what I have learned over the last month trying to get my website up and running. (Maybe that is what is missing from everyone’s posts? Stories of failure and vulnerability? And not for the purpose of being humorous?)
Anyways, on to my list!
Roadblock #1: Monthly Fees
I wanted my own website for years but kept putting it off because I was scared of monthly fees (still am). It costs money to buy a domain and hosting. Now that I have a full-time job and free rent at the moment, I can afford to spend some money on my hobbies that make me happy. Plus, I am working on monetizing my site so that I can at least make enough to pay the monthly hosting fee. I bought my domain for $15/year and I use Amazon Lightsail for hosting which is $5/month. Bluehost is another popular option, but I think Amazon is a more scalable and reliable option for the future. $75 a year is not a bad investment for a hobby.
Roadblock #2: Picking a Name
Another roadblock was that I couldn’t think of a good name for my brand. I created Cliché Creativity a couple years ago, but I outgrew it and wanted something more professional I guess. I wanted to use my own name, but I wasn’t married yet and I didn’t want to commit to something with my name just to get married and have a new name. And I thought my first name was too common. I have been trying to come up with a better name for years.
Fast forward a little bit, I got married and I was talking with my husband about how I wanted a website as a distraction from teaching and depression. He came up with the name Made With Michelle. We both liked it because it has alliteration and kind of a double meaning. We were shocked to find that the domain happened to be available! In fact, I think it expired from someone else on that day I was looking at it, because it had a countdown to when it would be available. I bought it and finally had a domain name.
I don’t really have advice for coming up with a name aside from constantly thinking about it and asking other people for help. I bought the domain through Google.
Roadblock #3: Feeling Inadequate
I felt like I didn’t know enough about hosting and web design. This was where marrying my husband came in handy. He has experience with hosting and got me set up with all that. But if you don’t happen to have a husband that is knowledgeable about how to start a website, use the Internet, read what I just wrote about domains and hosting, and let me know what questions you have! Also know that you will never NOT feel inadequate, so just try it and learn while you go instead of waiting for the perfect moment that will never come. You don’t even know the questions you have until you run into them, so that’s another reason to get started. (You can also start with a free blog, but you won’t be able to monetize it.)
In Conclusion: You Get Out What You Put In
My motivation for trying to make money off this blog is to pay for the expense of owning a website. Ideally, I could make a living off of this thing, but I’m not counting on that quite yet. Yes, there are lots of people who claim that you can quickly support yourself off of a blog, but they don’t really tell you the cost of achieving that. Time and money costs. I have read the accounts of many successful bloggers, but my mind always comes back to the blogger who personally told me it took her 7 years to be able to support herself from the income of her blog. And her work lifestyle was not exactly my picture of ideal. Like any good thing, the money doesn’t come overnight. I’ve looked into Affiliate programs, Google AdSense, and Woo Commerce for ways to make money. But I also have a full-time job that completely drains me and leaves me with nothing else to give. So I didn’t make any money my first month of blogging. But that’s okay. It’s harder than they make it out to be on the Internet. It takes a lot of time to build an audience, create quality content, and figure out what’s actually going to make you money. You define your own success and you’ll get out of it what you put in.