Quite a few people have asked me what I use to run this site (and if I make money from any of it..). I will be honest, I don’t do this blog to make money, although I do cover my costs of web hosting and domain names. For that reason, it’s a handy addition to our homesteading life.
I will let you know that on this page are links to services I use and that I love. If you click on those links and decide to also use those services I may get paid a commission – and, in the blogging world , these are called affiliate links. I would not put a link on here if I don’t use that service or if I did not think they provide a great service.
This website uses the WordPress platform. It is a wonderful way to create a website that contains a blog and has many ‘plugins’ that can help you do just about anything with almost no understanding of HTML coding. Wordpress is a platform that comes with the hosting service I use.
Hosting (click on the banner to go visit them)
I use MacHighway to host this site. They provide an excellent service which costs me around $8 a month. I also used them to find and register the domain (www.startoffhomesteading.com).
Yes – I am a Mac user, and if I have any web hosting issues that are specifically Mac problems, they are just wonderful in helping you to fix them. They also happily work with PC people.
I have used other hosting companies in the past – but I would not go back after my time with MacHighway.
WordPress provides you with a shell that meets the basic blogging needs. If you want to do something more than that, like run an event or sell a book, then you use a plugin. Plugins are programs that work with WordPress and most of them are free for the basic service and charge you to have advanced features. They are all downloaded via the WordPress program. The free ones I use are:
Adsense Explosion – which manages the three small advertisements that appear on my site pages. When people click on those I get a few cents commission. This plugin works with Google Adsense.
Content Views – this displays all my blog posts with a small image. I like it as it makes it easy for people to see my content.
Easy Digital Downloads – this is a great plugin that manages any item you want to sell (or give away for free) that people can download from your site.
Mailchimp for WordPress – I use Mailchimp to send out my monthly newsletters and this plugin allows people to join the newsletter list by filling in a form on the site.
Updraft Plus – a plugin that backs up my website. This is essential! I have put a lot of work into my site and I would hate to lose in a computer crash or some other calamity of the internet.
Yoast SEO – which helps me to maximize my chance of people finding my posts on google searches.
You can download a pile of WordPress themes that provide the look and feel for your website. Some you have to pay for. Many are free. This site currently uses a free theme called Spacious.
I try and use all my own photos. When I am stuck for a good photo, I find royalty free photos from Pixabay.
How to Blog
The hardest part about blogging is providing consistent relevant and accurate information on a regular basis. The only real way to do that is find something you are completely passionate about, and write write write! It does not even matter if you have never written before…all you need to do is write 300 or more words on a topic.
Now I am not suggesting that general homesteading is the topic you should all write about – cause there is already a pile of people doing it, but maybe you have a certain part of homesteading you are passionate about that you can add great value to the community. Like:
- Raising, breeding, processing rabbits
- Repairing homesteading equipment
- Using tractors – tips and hints etc
This is called ‘finding your niche’ and that is the best way to attract people to read your blog, click on your links and maybe even send you money (it does happen). Niches that seem to work well are those in which people are looking for self-help about money, health and fitness. Like:
How to buy and sell shares
How to lose weight
How to improve your health