WOW! What a wild, roller coaster ride my life has been on for the past 3 months!
Disclaimer #1 …. I am not a big fan of roller coasters.
I started my blog, shadowingenoch.com 3 months ago. It has only been public for 2 months. Not very long, and yet sometimes it seems like 10 times that long! My days have been long and brain-wearying, especially at the beginning, where I was trying to figure out all the tech stuff at a rapid pace, but it seemed like I was a snail dragging along. You can read about that here and here and here if you want to see how I progressed and became a little more confident each time.
Suffice it to say, if you are a brand new, or frustrated blogger, there is light at the end of the tunnel! Keep going!
I have tweaked, and re-tweaked. Watched youtube videos (very helpful!) and read article after article on Pinterest. (Some more helpful than others.) I have checked out and compared myself to lots of other blogs… most of the time to see if I was “doing it right” but sometimes to glean ideas. Not blog post ideas, but design ideas, visual ideas, navigation ideas. Ideas to enhance or confirm, or even reject some things that were just not not my particular taste when it came to the visual side of website creating.
I have come to this conclusion, (subject to change!) I like my blog. LOL, I mean, I am happy with how it’s turned out so far. I want to do it “my” way, meaning really – God’s way for me, using my individual personality and tastes. If all the blog sites looked the same, well, that would be very boring. I do check out other blogs regularly, and some just amaze me! But for now, I am happy with mine. Finally!
Now, please note… I am probably still going to change things as I learn new things. I will add things as I see needs arise, or employ better ways to create a page/post/layout etc. But for now, I am content.
That contentment helps me to be able to work on the more important stuff… the content! Funny how those 2 words are spelled alike but pronounced so differently, and mean different things. Let me use them together in a sentence…. I am content with my website so I am free to work on content! Hahaha, oh I amuse myself! 🙂 But seriously! It does make me relax a little.
Blogging, website creating, social media… this has been crazy for me. I am no spring chicken, haha, and this learning curve has been extremely steep! But I have found it challenging, and rewarding, and I usually go to bed satisfied that I have progressed! I wake up in the morning ready to “have-at-it” again, and when I am working outside the home (part-time) I am always thinking about what I need to do for my blog when I get home. I actually LOVE this blogging thing!
My number stats have been increasing slowly but steadily. (Thank you God!) I guess that’s called growth! Its encouraging! I have more followers on my Shadowing Enoch Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts, as well as increasing page views on my blog itself, and new subscribers. I say all this to encourage you if you are a new blogger, keep at it, don’t give up, it will come together in time, and you will be pleased with it. You will probably always tweak things as you grow, but you will relax some and be content!
I am also beginning the monetizing factor. This was, and is still a big scary factor for me.
This is not the chief reason I am home blogging, or even in the top 10, but ShadowingEnoch does have to support itself eventually, or I can’t justify staying at home to work on it, which is what I want to do, and feel God’s call to do. God knows this, and I’m sure He will help in all that as I grow.
I’m sure I will be tweaking that monetization factor many times over as I learn more about that side of things. I plan eventually to offer my own curriculum and aids for a nominal purchase, but that is in the growing stage. Right now, the Children’s Bible Lessons are offered free, as an “I love you, and am getting my website launched” price, but at some point in the near future I hope to actually get those bound-up, printed out, and for sale. The value they offer is that the lessons have already been successfully used, and tested in 4+ years of VBS at our local church. Then also, another church borrowed some of them for their VBS, as well as some Sunday School and Children’s Church classes, so I have already been -gratefully- blessed by them, Eternally speaking, and am choosing to pass the blessing on free to you, my audience, for a limited time at least.
I really want to focus on just writing and resource creating. But this technical stuff is necessary. It is the backdrop to what I want to be a welcoming, and inviting community of Shadowing Enoch Faith Walkers. It is where I want you, my audience to feel at home, and comfortable, and challenged.
You already challenge me! Greatly!
So, as I have finished the first 3 months in my blogging journey, I know that I still have a LOT to learn, but I also feel freer to work on why I started blogging in the first place. Writing. Sharing. Communing with you, my friends and audience. My daily prayer is that God helps me to encourage and challenge you to walk a bit closer with Jesus everyday. As I said, you already are challenging me to do that, and I thank you for that!
If you visit my site, click on the “Resources” button at the top of the page to find my chosen Affiliates. (Or the Affiliates button under the drop-down menu) I don’t know if that is how I will always showcase them, but for now it is the best way I know how to do it, as a beginner in this blog monetization thing.
I thought I’d share a little about why I chose those companies to be affiliated with. I carefully chose each of these for a reason.
Disclaimer #2: This post DOES contain affiliate links and if you click through and purchase (please do! LOL) than I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Please note that I have only chosen merchants & affiliates that I truly like and admire, or have used myself, and would recommend. I was specifically looking for family friendly, Faith based, or just plain awesome, affiliates! I spent lots of time carefully choosing ones that I believed would enhance and work with the overall goal of my blog, which is to provide resources for Christian families, and help them grow in Christ. I use Share-a-Sale, and found most of the merchants below under their umbrella, and have found them really great to work with, with lots of affiliate choices all in one place.
Here are my chosen affiliate’s for my family friendly, faith based blog. Again, I truly feel they are a resource for you my reader, as well as a way I hope to support my blogging adventure. A win-win situation for you and me both, is my goal here! So check these out:
Answers In Genesis – I truly Love AIG. I am dying to go to the Creation Museum and the new Ark Encounter museum. We hope to go next year if at all possible. AIG has the best books, curriculum, VBS programs, videos, and so much more for the Christian Family. Great for Homeschoolers too!
Dayspring Cards & Gifts – Faith Based greeting cards and Faith Based Gifts. AWESOME to be affiliated with them and provide a link to such a great, family friendly store. You can find amazing & unique Christian items there for Christmas or anytime… all while shopping right from your armchair! And who doesn’t need great greeting cards?! With a great Christian message to boot!
Faithbox – I was so intrigued when I saw this website! What a unique present! A one time gift or Subscription gift for someone special you want to give the gift of Christian Growth to! A box filled with a devotional and special Faith Based gifts, treats and treasures. And they all promote growing in your Christian Walk with Jesus! Give it to someone you love, or gift yourself with a monthly subscription. You deserve that! 🙂 I haven’t tried one myself, but I hope to soon. If any of you do, drop me a line and tell me what you think.
Nest Family / Entertainment / Learning – Another great Faith and Family site where you can purchase all types of gifts, movies, books, Christian Educational items, devotionals, and so much more! Stickers, bulletin board borders, teaching aids, family fun items…. WOW! I am excited to promote this site on my site!
Siteground – Web Hosting Affiliate. Not with Share-a-Sale, but a stand alone affiliate who I chose to promote because I use them myself. I researched many web hosting companies, and decided that Siteground had the best reviews, and was top-notch on things like security and tech-support. I knew nothing about these things… so I chose what was referred to me, and what my research came back as the best. I have not been disappointed! They check my site regularly for any issues, and have been very secure. They were there for me when I had questions. They offer your Domain Privacy & Web hosting for $3.95 a month. I chose their middle program for $5.95 a month, and would do that again for the extra features I gained, but even the basic is totally sufficient for a new blogger. Both of these prices are 60% off through that link.
Siteground also works well with WordPress.org which is who I have also chosen for my website.
I then went with Elegant Themes for my website design. They have over 80 themes to choose from for one price of $89 for a year, or $249 for a lifetime! That’s a great deal! Plus they have tons of plug-ins and tech help & videos, so that helps a lot.
As of today, October 15th, 3 months in, that is my list of affiliates. Again, I wouldn’t choose any I didn’t think were great resources for the Christian family, or things I’d used personally and could recommend.
If you are thinking about beginning your own blog or website, I would encourage you to do it, but have your eyes wide open! It is not as “easy-peasy” as some would have you to believe, unless you’ve had training in this specifically. But, it is doable! If I can do it, you can. I have never done anything like this, and I have, at this 3 month point, succeeded in a way that pleases and fulfills my dream! I still have a long way to go because this blogging world is constantly changing, but I feel more equipped for the changes, that I can weather them, and I don’t feel I have to go with every new thing out there either.
Also, at this 3 month point, I don’t feel I have to accept every “how-to” blogging idea thrown at me, but can pick and choose what I think will work for me. Some of my choices will change as I grow, but also as I grow, I think I will feel more and more confidant of who I am in this blogging world and that my choices are good too. I am in this for the long haul. 🙂
My final humble advice to you is to be yourself as you blog! That is what will set you apart from the rest. God wants to use your specific personality and tastes to reach those who will benefit from your specific personality and tastes. Your niche is not just about your chosen subject or two, it is also about YOU and how you present your chosen subject. You are your niche! No 2 bloggers are alike, and that is exactly why you are important! Your voice matters! That is my encouragement to you, and to myself also. The light keeps on getting brighter the further you go on this journey!
I’m sure I will post more updates on what I am learning as a new blogger in the next months, but my chief goal on ShadowingEnoch is to post articles on daily walking with Jesus. Blogging is just one part of that journey. I would love to have you join me on the bigger Journey of following Jesus all the way home.
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