In the world we live in now, simply doing is not enough. Even robots can do tasks, and they do. To earn a spot in today’s economy, you have to create. Teachers all around the globe are taking to the E-streets to share their wisdom and opinions. Six months ago, I was just like you. I wanted to start a teacher blog, but how? Where do I begin?
I started this blog in June of 2019, and I wanted to take a few minutes to give you ALL my tips from my first year blogging. If someone, anyone can benefit from all my struggle, then my pain has meaning. So, please, enjoy the wealth of my knowledge!
Here’s the 7 most important areas you’ll need to concentrate on if you still want to know how to start a teacher blog:
- Hosting Your Blog
- Your Domain Name
- Blog Design
- Your Niche
- Promoting Your Blog
- Outcome Expectations
Read on to learn more about each of these!
1. Hosting Your Blog
Are you going to host your blog on Blogger or WordPress? I recommend WordPress. Their platform allows you more freedom to design your blog in any way you want. This will allow you to make your blog look more like a website than the traditional scrolling blog. However, lots of successful bloggers are still on Blogger, so you may want to do your own research for how each of these sites can help you start your teacher blog most effectively.
Much of my following advice will be specific to WordPress for obvious reasons.
2. Your Domain Name
Next, you will most likely want to spend the relatively tiny amount of money to get your own domain. I bought mine for $18 through the WordPress site, but you can also buy through Godaddy. This allows your blog to function more like a standalone website with its own address, rather than looking like something that’s more of an extension of WordPress. Which is more professional looking to you?
I prefer the first option. If you do too, you’ll want to buy your own domain as well. It’s extremely easy to buy and set up the domain within the WordPress dashboard. The sidebar on the left has a main section called Manage, and under that a Domains portion. From there, the process should be relatively self explanatory.
When you’re trying to figure out how to start your teacher blog, choosing a domain is probably one of the easiest but most exciting first steps. It’s really fun to imagine your brand becoming well known and trusted!
3. Blog Design
I, for one, refused to write anything until my website was perfect looking. How can I start a blog that isn’t beautiful?! Who will take me seriously if I don’t include loopy fonts and cute color schemes!? I need an About Me page and a newsletter popup. It has to all look sleek and professional so that my readers trust me! I spent a lot of time looking through other teachers’ blogs in jealous rage. I want to be the very best.
In hindsight, perhaps the best route (but not the one I chose) is to pay someone to design your blog for you. At the time, I was already feeling a bit overwhelmed when it came to overhead costs. Therefore, I became quite determined to figure all of this out myself. And, well, you can see my blog. You can decide for yourself how you think I’m doing with it.
Here’s a couple links to some people who honestly know a lot more about how to start a teacher blog than I do:
If you’re a blog designer and you’d like to be added to this list, please reach out! Laneyleeteaches@gmail.com
If you’re going to be stubborn like me, here’s what I would advise: Definitely start with a free WordPress theme. There’s several you’ll gain access to with your business account. I’d highly recommend starting with that purchase as a bear minimum (you’ll see why in a minute). It costs $212 a year.
Next, you’re going to want to create a couple pages. Pages are not like blog posts. These pages will be the main tabs of your blog. When you visit my site the first thing you see is not my blog, it’s a page. The tabs at the top of your screen are links to my other pages. About Me, Blog, etc. I created a few “fake” pages that actually end up linking to a whole other web address (the one that says Store, for example. Also the Subscribe tab.) I believe I had to use a plug in to get that set up. I managed to figure every bit of this out using a lot of Google and Youtube. Yes, it took time.
Finally, you’ll want to get a couple Plugins.
3A. WordPress Plugins
Plug ins are essentially third party developed apps that WordPress can install into your theme to give you new features. This is why you need the business version of WordPress. It’s required in order to download plugins. You can search through thousands of popular plugins through the WordPress site and decide for yourself what strikes your fancy.
The main plugins I use are:
- Recent Post Widget with Thumbnails: This plugin creates little thumbnails of my related posts at the bottom of every blog. This is a really important plugin because it keeps people who are interested in what I’m saying on my blog for longer. You can configure the way you want the plugin to work. Mine links posts based on what category they’re tagged in. This ensures that readers see other posts that are on a similar topic to whatever they’re reading now. I also chose to use one with thumbnails because I think it’s visually nice.
- Yoast SEO: This plugin is absolutely critical. There’s a paid version, but I only use the free one. In short, this plugin ranks my SEO strength as I’m writing a blog post. After I identify the key phrase that I’d like to target with my post, Yoast helps me make sure I give Google everything it wants so that I rank on the first page and get lots of views. For this post, my target phrase is “how to start a teacher blog.” That means I’m hoping people who search that phrase, or other similar phrases, will find my blog in the Google results.
After you have your blog set up with a memorable and unique domain, a theme, a few main pages, and a couple plug ins, you’re basically ready to roll! There’s lots more to be said about setting up your pages and your theme to be exactly the way you want them, but again, I’d highly recommend you either research elsewhere on the web or (ideally) pay a much more specialized person to help you.
4. Your Niche
Alright you’ve got a gorgeous blog! Now we have to figure out what to write about. You want to start dreaming about a thing called “topic authority.” This means that Google, using all It’s infinite algorithmic wisdom, has determined that you are THE source for information on this topic. You’ll rank in Google searches just because you’re you!
I’ve only been writing this blog for 6 months. I would like to be vulnerable for a second and admit that I haven’t really found my niche yet. A lot of the great creative and business advice I’ve ever received over the years seems to favor the “just start” model over the “waste a whole bunch of time figuring out what you’re going to do, despite the fact that once you begin you’ll likely change directions several times anyway” approach.
Running a business, or writing a blog, is going to involve a lot of little pivots. You’ll go in one direction for a while and you’ll strike a little gold, so then you’ll follow the gold. I’m still a little too hyperactive and fascinated with everything to stick to a really narrow niche right now, but maybe later on I’ll randomly strike topic authority in something and ride that wave for a while.
When I started this blog, I certainly didn’t expect to be writing about how to start a teacher blog. At the time I knew exactly nothing about that. Now that I’ve learned so much, though, the teacher in me is compelled to share.
Here’s some ways you can begin to find your niche:
Find your niche by joining Facebook groups related to your interests. What are people talking about?
Find your niche by searching your own soul. What do you know a lot about? What can you teach people?
Find your niche by writing. What topics end up resonating the most with your readers?
Find your niche by doing key word research. What topics are out there that are yet to be completely saturated? Where can you find your first little sliver of space to shine with less competition?
When we write blogs, we don’t just randomly write about whatever we are feeling! No ma’am! This isn’t the early 2000’s anymore. Instead, we have to consider the one who giveth clicks and the one who taketh clicks away (Google) and how It will feel about our writing. We are nothing without our beloved clicks, and we bow down to the all powerful Google so that It may determine that we are worthy of receiving them.
Here’s what it SEO is: Google has an algorithm for how they determine what goes on the first page of a search. That algorithm includes things like:
- The average amount of time people spend on your page. Bounce rate is considered the rate of people who click and back right back out within 5 or so seconds. You don’t want a high bounce rate.
- The number of backlinks to your page (I’ll talk more on this in a minute)
- Your “topic authority” – yet another algorithm Google uses to determine your validity on post D if your posts A, B, and C are all performing strongly.
We really want to give Google what They want so that our blog will succeed.
SEO is so complex that I don’t doubt they could create entire college courses on this stuff. Not to mention that it’s constantly changing. Google is free to change Their algorithm whenever They want, and we are at Their mercy. I’m writing simply as an introduction. You’ll want to research this topic a lot more if earning a blogging income is something you strive to achieve.
However, Yoast is here to get you started. As I mentioned in the plugin section, Yoast is my best friend when it comes to SEO. As I’m writing this post, there’s a little box at the bottom of the page for Yoast to tell me how I’m doing SEO wise. Right now it’s telling me I need to say the phrase “how to start a teacher blog” more times so that Google’s algorithms will be absolutely certain that this is the page that people who want to know how to start a teacher blog will want to visit. See what I did there?
5A. Keyword Research
You need to start each blog post by doing keyword research to determine what Google search you’re planning to rank for with that post and how many clicks it could hopefully bring to your blog.
Ubersuggest is the best free tool I’ve found so far for doing keyword research. Using this platform, you can type in keywords that you may want to target with your blogpost. Ubersuggest will tell you how many people are searching those words as well as how difficult they predict it will be for you to rank on Google for that phrase.
Initially at least, you want to start by choosing terms that don’t have a lot of competition so that your blog can start to gain some traffic. Go for the bigger volume words when you’ve got some traction built up.
Backlinks are defined as any time someone on another site links to your site. That’s considered a good thing for how reliable and accurate your writing is, according to Google. Any links you’ve seen so far on this page are considered back links for the brands that I’m linking. I’m not paid by any of them, but as you can imagine sometimes backlinks are sponsored.
As a beginning blogger, it’s really difficult to get anyone big to link to your fresh and untested blog. I’ve yet to form any real connections with other education bloggers, but I can only imagine that, if I ever manage it, we will mutually backlink to each other to grow traffic to both sites. (Contact me if you’re reading this and interested! firstname.lastname@example.org)
6. Promoting Your Blog
You don’t ONLY have to rely on Google searches to get traffic to your blog! You can also use social media! To get you started promoting your blog, take a look at the ones I use.
6A. Start an Email List
Most bloggers use Mailchimp to start collecting email addresses of people who are interested in and would like to subscribe to their blogs.
On Mailchimp, you can send targeted email campaigns to groups of subscribers based on different data sets. These emails will contain a lot of links to your blog and other reminders that you exist as a brand and why subscribers should care about what you’re doing.
I’m proud to say that I have a grand total of 22 subscribers at the time of writing this, and I would be honored if you would show your support by becoming number 23!
6B. Get on Pinterest
You can pin images that link back to your blog post and hopefully other users will pin them as well! Pinterest images show up in Google results, so even people without Pinterest accounts can find your blog through your Pins. Like any other marketing, this takes time. I use Canva to create eye catching images that hopefully entice people to read more of what I want to say. Maybe you arrived on this page thanks to one of those images?
For a faster way to pin, try Tailwind. Using Tailwind you can schedule weeks or months of pins ahead of time. I think most bloggers and online marketers pretty much consider Tailwind a must at this point. I pay $179 per year for the service which includes a basic membership and a small upgrade for Tribes (groups you can join with people in your niche with an agreement that you’ll pin each others’ content).
If you join with my link, we’ll both earn some credits.
We all know there’s people dumber than us who are already out there earning 6 figure lifestyles with just a blog. First of all, I wouldn’t consider it “just” a blog. The time and financial commitments required to produce the kind of content that readers expect is nothing to shake a stick at. Let’s take a look at how long it takes to start a teacher blog that actually earns money and how to do it.
7A. Earning Expectations
There’s a lot of ways that bloggers earn money. None of them happen very fast, and most of them depend on how much traffic you’re receiving. In my first 6 months blogging, I’ve earned a grand total of $1.45 through my blog. (And you better believe I was grateful for it!) Someone clicked a link to one of my TPT products, and then they actually bought it. That’s all my blog has earned me, and I’ve spent a lot more than that.
Here’s some ways I hope to earn through my blog once my traffic becomes more significant:
7Ai. Affiliate Programs
Amazon has probably the most popular affiliate program. You can sign up for free and begin creating your customized links to literally any product. Then you simply embed those links in your blog posts. There’s a million other sites that can teach you more about this than I can, so I won’t go into it any further. I got kicked out of the program because I hadn’t made over $0.00 in a certain amount of time.
There are also lots of other companies and brands which will pay you a small commision if a link you provide on your blog produces income for them. You can look for affiliate programs pretty easily on Google. Here is a list of affiliate ideas for education bloggers.
7Aii. Google Ads
Eventually, when your traffic becomes significant enough, you can easily sign up to host Google ads on your page. Google will pay you directly depending on how many people see or click the add on your site.
7Aiii. Links to Your Own Products
This last one is definitely more in my area of expertise. Thankfully, I already have an entire store full of digital products that I know are useful for people. Most of my blogs focus on promoting my own content. I hope to one day write a book or design a course that I can sell too. I’m sure you’ve seen many other bloggers taking these steps to grow their income.
7B. Time Expectations
This is the worst part so I saved it for last. This is going to take a LOT of time if we hope to become successful. I’m currently 6 months into my blog and I’ve spent countless hours learning about blogging, thinking about what I’m going to write, writing, and marketing. I’m still in the red as my poor like $1.45 isn’t even coming close to covering the startup costs. And I was conservative when it came to buying my way to success.
You’re going to want to produce a high quality blog post once a week. That process involves keyword research, writing high quality content, and SEO optimization. After it’s live, you absolutely must market it. Fortunately, you can schedule posts and get a little ahead so that if you miss a week somewhere your blog will still be automatically updating without you.
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’ve considered giving up completely many, many times. Especially since I already have my Teachers Pay Teachers store earning me over $1000 a month, it feels almost stupid to spend so much time writing blog posts that are currently earning me nothing when I could be creating products to sell to my loyal followers.
Maybe I will give up on blogging, but I definitely will not give up yet. I’m fine to spin my wheels for a few years. I know that what I have to say is important and that readers will only find me if I continue creating. So here I stand.
You Can Do This
To be fair, the ratio of time I’m spending vs. the money I’m making right now is absolutely appalling. But don’t forget: so many of our heroes were nothing for a very long time before they became a name that we now know. Don’t believe me? Try listening to the podcast Imagined Life. It tells the stories of people who are now insanely successful, but the stories are about their lives before they were successful. You’ll won’t find out who the story is about until the very end. This podcast has brought me to tears several times. I never knew the trials that people like J.K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, and Elon Musk really experienced before they finally had their breakthroughs.
I’m not making money on my blog yet, and neither are you, but lots of people are! If we continue creating high quality content consistently, I know that we can all carve out a little room for ourselves in this new digital economy. Remember overnight success is not a thing! Expect to spend a few years (yes I said years) grinding hard before you reach a point where you can coast and enjoy the financial freedom that blogging can provide to anyone willing to put in the effort.
Other Helpful Links
- The Blogging Millionaire: This podcast taught me at least 50% of what I’ve written here.
If this post was helpful to you, please pin the image below to help me expand my reach. I’m still waiting on that second dollar! Others may benefit from learning how to start their own teacher blog!