My Blogging Tips (and how it became my full-time job)

I seriously had no idea what I was doing when I first began blogging. It all started when friends were asking me questions about our new and sudden “no highly processed food” lifestyle, and one friend suggested I start a blog about it. I’ve always been a fan of efficiency (hey, I could answer everyone’s questions all at one time this way), but blogging? No way. My strong subject in school was always math, not writing! So I brushed off the idea…for about a week that is. And then for some reason I just said, “What the heck” and just took the plunge, which, at the time, felt incredibly strange and out of my comfort zone! Especially when I shared my very first blog post with friends.

One thing I really want to stress though is that the main purpose of this blog was (and still very much is) to share our real food lifestyle with others to hopefully inspire them to make some positive changes as well. From day one I just felt very passionate about sharing this message. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine this passion of mine could and would one day turn into our full time family business. Yep, that’s right. In early 2012, right before my eyes, my blog grew to a point where I could no longer reasonably handle it on my own. So I went to my husband Jason desperate for help – and help he did! Within a couple months he realized that if he really put his mind to it he could turn all the blog traffic I was generating into enough income to leave his corporate job. The corporate job that he absolutely hated that is. (My apologies if any of Jason’s former Siemens co-workers are currently reading this, but – nothing against you – it was just not his thing.)

Fast-forward almost 2 years and my analytical husband is now pretty much the “How to turn your successful blog into a full time income” expert. And I am lucky to have him (for many reasons of course!). His role allows me to continue focusing on the part I really enjoy – writing good, helpful content and interacting with you guys. It’s his job to ensure that what I do pays the bills.

It’s super amazing to be rewarded financially for work that you feel so incredibly passionate about…because it suddenly no longer feels like a “job” anymore and instead just an extension of your life.

#Blogging Tips from a Full-Time Blogger on 100 Days of Real Food

And now – without further ado – here are my Top Blogging Tips that I’ve learned along the way…

  1. Be passionate about your topic.
    If you don’t absolutely love love love the topic of your blog then it might be hard to maintain it over time. And I am not sure if blogging about wildly different topics is a good idea (although it does work for some). Before I started writing about real food I sat down and quickly came up with 6 months worth of topic ideas. I felt like that was enough for me to move forward.
  2. Just do it.
    I’ve witnessed a lot of people spend a lot of time simply contemplating their good idea…Should I? Shouldn’t I? My advice is stop (over) thinking it and just do it! Especially when it comes to something like blogging, the start-up costs are minimal so there really isn’t much to lose (financially speaking).
  3. Be authentic.
    I can’t stress this enough and that’s for many reasons. First of all, being yourself is the easiest thing to maintain over a long period of time. And secondly, authentic is just the right way to be in general (in my opinion!).
  4. Get personal.
    You don’t have to air all of your dirty laundry, but I think it’s a good idea to let your readers get to know you a bit. When bloggers sound like robots on Facebook I just don’t think it goes over as well as when you sound like a real person (that experiences ups and downs like everyone else). Just my two cents. :)
  5. Be original.
    This is one of those golden rules of life – don’t copy other people’s blog content and also be sure to give credit when credit is due! You know how it goes, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”
  6. Make your site “sticky.”
    There’s nothing like a big unexpected media story about your blog that makes your traffic shoot straight up to watch it just shoot straight back down. No matter what you do you will have big spikes like that, but it’s best to end up (at least) a little better off than when you started. So give people reasons to subscribe to your email list or like your Facebook page – and make these reasons obvious. There’s nothing better than having people stick around to see what you have to say. I’ll never forget when I very first felt like a respectable amount of people were actually listening – it was awesome. :)
  7. Be careful about committing publicly.
    Anytime you say “I’ll share this recipe on Friday” or “I’ll post pictures of the event tomorrow” you are suddenly publicly committed and will feel the need to follow through. And, as we all know, sometimes life just gets in the way and Friday comes and goes – and the guilt slowly follows. So, for me, I’ve found it works best to say things like “I’ll share this recipe on the blog soon!”. Because unless it’s already typed up and scheduled to be published this allows the kind of flexibility I often need.
  8. Don’t just talk about yourself.
    This was great advice that I got from another blogger, Carrie Vitt (see that giving credit thing in action here? LOL). It was actually unsolicited, but she was tactful about it, and I very much appreciated her telling me! Share great posts from other bloggers on your social media channels and I am not just talking about YOUR guest posts on other people’s blogs. So c’mon share the love and you’ll be glad you did…fellow bloggers can be your biggest allies in this world.
  9. Clean house when you need to.
    I’ve had to do this myself more than I’d like to admit. But for some reason people on Facebook can be REALLY mean from behind their computer screen. Not only do their comments not usually add any value, but it is not good for the other users’ experience (because they tell me so). So I created a comment policy and I enforce it by banning commenters who violate these simple rules. It’s not that I don’t tolerate the opposing viewpoint – because I most certainly do! – but I do demand respect. This is my page after all, and I must maintain control as best I can.
  10. Break the rules.
    Don’t put too much emphasis on all the blogging rules out there (even these!). Just do what feels right and success will (hopefully) follow!

104 thoughts on “My Blogging Tips (and how it became my full-time job)”

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  1. Ok – serendipitous post alert! We’ve been going strong since January with our new site/blog and this was just the information I needed! I will be taking FULL advantage of your husbands new site as it’s just the info and resource I needed!

    Thank you for this!

  2. These are great! I’m glad a friend pointed me to your page and I look forward to a.) learning how to be healthier (no pressure!) and b.) learning a bit more about your blog story! ;)

  3. Thanks for this information! My husband has recently transitioned to stay-at-home dad and working part time with me at home when our child is asleep, and this is perfect. He loves gardening and teaching, and I think these tips can help him possibly transition from doing part-time work with me to having his own blog. :D

  4. Please let me know if you follow sugar safe real food recipes for diabetics, this is good for all of us, and sugar is landing us in the diabetic realm. I am borderline. Many would by a book like that covering all bases. Gratefully, Connie

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Connie. Too much sugar can certainly be a real liability to health. With the exception of a couple sweet treats, Lisa does not use refined sugar in her recipes. She does, however, use honey and maple syrup and does not count grams of sugar or carbs as she creates or converts her recipes. This might present some problems for individuals who have to be very strict regarding the intake of each. ~Amy

  5. Thank you so much for this advice. I’ve decided as of this year to blog full time. It’s rewarding, and a little scary too! It’s so crazy how a passion can turn into a career.

  6. Thank you for posting this! My very entrepreneurial husband decided he wanted to start a blog (he’s a personal trainer and multi-sport athlete) and I directed him your/your husband’s way. Now we’ll BOTH be reading your blog! He’s always loved the recipes/ideas from your site so this was a perfect match. I love your story and wish you a very successful 2014.

  7. Just wanted to let you know that this post was the kick I needed to actually start the blog I’ve been thinking about for ages. Thanks for your inspiration and resources! I’ll be linking to several of your budget-focused pages. (And, as a side-note, our family has like every recipe that we’ve tried, though we modify them to be gluten free. The Green Bean casserole was a hit at Thanksgiving and my boys love your granola!) Cheers!

  8. Thank you so much for this. I am in the beginning stages of planning my blog. I love your blog and the way you keep it real. Example: (Great food, but still drink inexpensive wine.. I love that!)

  9. Hi Lisa & Jason,
    I was so excited to see that your husband has a new website up and running to help us littler bloggers become successful. My goal is to help support my husband when he starts graduate school in a year, and alleviate some financial pressure from him. I’m a stay at home mom of 3 young children and honestly it’s not worth going back to teaching school to support our family and paying for childcare for 3 kids. I’m going to give it my best effort for the next few years and hopefully consistency and perseverance will pay off. Can’t wait to check out all of Jason’s information!

  10. Thanks for the tips! I love your blog and your facebook page. I just recently started a blog as well to help our family and friends keep up with us as we’ve moved around the world. I love your food ideas. They help me with our limited food supplies here in the Philippines. You remind me to keep it simple :-)

  11. This is a great post. Thank you for the helpful tips. I too started blogging as a way to get out of my comfort zone. I chuckled when I saw that line, because I thought, “that’s so me” :)

  12. Thank-you so much, this is a very timely and encouraging post! I have been wanting to get my blog up and going for a while but I have a question (which may seem silly but it has been a huge barrier to me). How did you start? I mean what was your first post? I have so many ideas for topics for posts but just can’t seem to figure out how to ‘enter in’ and make that first post.

  13. Hi Lisa! I’m so excited to read through Pro Blog School. I run a small social media/graphic design business and seem to be finding my niche in helping small business owners who aren’t familiar with social media dive in. My new website is coming out this week and I love seeing and reading what others are doing in this area. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Lisa, I love your blog and luckily found you early on too. I refer clients to your site all the time! I am a Colorado nutritionist specializing in nutrition for academic achievement. I just finished my master’s program and now have time to overhaul my website and get my blog going. So excited to see what Jason has to share. Many thanks to both of you! You are truly inspiring.

  15. One of my blogging friends just passed this article on to me and I’m so glad she did! I’ve subscribed and “liked” your hubby’s new venture–I always gobble up any advice about blogging, so this is right up my alley…especially the monetizing aspect. I’m literally starting this week to monetize by selling photos from my blog through Society6 and I’m also putting together online photography courses for early next year. It’s unnerving to start thinking of my blog as a money-making venture, but exciting at the same time. I look forward to being a student at the Pro Blog School!

  16. Oh, thank you thank you!
    I’ve been looking into a blog since we knew we were relocating cross country, opening a door to a new life geared toward my own passion rather than fitting myself (again!) into whatever I could find in our new hometown. Always excuses, most of which revolve around ‘what if I choose the wrong platform to start?’ My nature is to overthink and over research, and your advice hits home. Looks like I have no more excuses (other than a 9 day ski training out of town with no internet…but AS SOON AS I GET BACK early December. Until then I will take a look at all the info and start putting together those 6 months of topics. Next big issue is choosing which of two passions to focus on first, health coaching/healthy life maybe with an eventual side of affordable DIY home/landscape (for which I already do have about 40 topics ready to write on). Thank you again, just the kick in the pants I needed!

  17. This is a great time to comment that I LOVE the new design graphic and logo you guys switched to. Staying relevant with design/layout/graphics is an important thing as well, I’ve seen some horrid websites out there when people beg my company for sponsorship/ad dollars and it makes me cringe :) Just my marketing person 2 cents!

    1. Why, thank you! We actually have a little site redesign planned, which will streamline things even more (while keeping the new logo of course)! :)

  18. Hi Lisa! I have been following your blog from very early on (although I have not been very vocal in comments on your pages). I have seen you grow your business incredible fast. Thanks for all you do. I can definitely see that you are passionate, and I agree that passion is so very important. It is great that you love what you do, and make money at it! I started to cut out processed food after reading Pollan’s other book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and found your website soon after.
    I started blogging a few months ago and have a ton to learn, haha! I am looking forward to reading more on here and on your husband’s blog as well. Thanks!!

  19. This is excellent–and likely the kick in the pants I needed to move forward with the project I’ve been toying with. Thank you for sharing!

    P.S. @Melissa@mywholefoodslife, you are phenomenal! Your husband should come aboard. You guys will go far. I love your blog! :)

  20. I am so happy you posted this! You were the first blogger I read and the first blogger I read on a weekly basis! Now that I have started my own blog, I always wanted to message you for advice. So thanks for posting!

  21. Great info. One reason I started blogging was to follow my passion and hope to make a living out of doing what I love. Unfortunately there are not many dietitian jobs available for those that want to teach real unprocessed eating. It is nice to hear it is possible to grow a blog into a business. I hope to grow The Organic Dietitian but sometimes it geels like it can’t come fast enough.

  22. Hello Lisa, I’ve been a reader of your blog for a while and let me tell you guys… Congratulations! All the way from Mexico.

    Keep up the good work!

  23. Love this post! My question to you is, how did you know when to take the leap of your husband coming aboard? My blog has grown an insane amount in the last few months and I am starting to feel like I might need a helper. My husband is in IT and he is having a hard time trying to work his job and take care of my blog on the back end.

    1. Melissa – I started working on the blog during my lunch hour, nights, and weekends. Once it was generating some money I started putting my paycheck directly into savings, forcing us to live off of blog income alone (sort of scary since it was a test of if this would work or not). There was no shortage of desire to quit corporate America, so for me it was an easy decision. I ejected as soon as possible without being financially reckless. I guess in your case the question is does your husband want to work his IT job or behind the scenes on a blog?

  24. Hi Lisa,

    I have been following you for quite some time and just recently started blogging myself. I can attest to your second tip–so very true! Thanks so much for these tips and I’ll definitely be subscribing to Pro Blog School. I need all the help I can get!! Congrats on all of your success!

  25. Hi I just started a Facebook page with my friend about our journey in paleo..can you tell me the best route in choosing a blog site to use? Literally having no clue if that question make sence. Anyways just looking for the first step after Facebook
    Thanks for giving this info out :-)