Are education blogs in your future?
Well-designed education blogs are great for so many reasons! Are you an educator who has lots of great ideas to share with your fellow teachers? Perhaps you’re feeling as though you need a little…something…to keep your teacher life interesting and fun! After nearly two decades as a classroom teacher and school administrator, I started a blog for less than $3/month.
You see, I wanted diversify my income and start a website to support educators and leaders just like me (hooray, you’re here!). I’m passionate about supporting teachers – veteran or new – and this seemed like a fun way to do it. If you are wondering how to start a teacher blog or a virtual store, I’m hear to tell you: it’s possible and affordable!
From one educator to another – here’s how to easily start education blogs, grow a website and brand, and supplement your income.
Website 101 – How to Start Create Education Blogs
To start a website, you have to have these bare-bones essentials: A Domain Name A Hosting Service If you want to earn from your website, you’ll need: A Way to Make Money from the Website I also learned that I needed to have: Security (I learned this the hard way – quickly!) A Few Great Plugins (for social media and Search Engine Optimization or SEO) Read on to see exactly how to start education blogs with these elements!
Domain Names for education blogs
This is the really fun part, choosing your brand or at least your domain name. A domain name can be considered your web address, like “Open Door Principal” in opendoorprincipal.com. As educators, maybe your domain name is about your specialty: speech pathology, kinder, or social studies. Perhaps you have a super clever, cute, or to-the-point awesome idea of a domain name.
Before you jump into the Domain Name Finders below, ask yourself the following questions:
Where do I see this website in 1 year? 5 years?
Will I want to branch out into other topics, or stay focused on a narrow niche?
Do I need a name that allows for growth, or something very specific?
The answers to these questions will help inform you what to name your domain, and perhaps what not to name it.
Find Your Domain
Whatever domain you choose, I suggest using WordPress to design your website! It’s easy, intuitive and has been around a long time.
I also highly recommend choosing a self-hosted domain; so instead of “greatwebsite.godaddy.com”, choose “greatwebsite.com”. Self-hosting is slightly more expensive (see Hosting below) but gives you much more credibility, better search engine results, and there are some plugins that only work with self-hosting. Yes, it’s an investment but trust me! It’s so worth it.
Domain.com – This is one of the leading domain finders available! It’s super simple to type in your idea and see whether or not it’s available. What’s really great about Domain.com is that the search results show you lots of pricing options for the available domains. Options like .com, .org, and .us are all priced differently, and there’s sure to be a domain name that fits your budget. If your domain is not available, Domain.com will suggest other names that are similar and available. Click here to receive 10% off at Domain.com
GoDaddy.com – Another awesome site is GoDaddy.com. If you’d rather have your domain and hosting service be in one spot, then GoDaddy.com is the place for you! They make website building super easy, even for the tech novice. They offer a list of services beyond just selling domain names. GoDaddy.com will also serve as a host and has a great platform for designing your website (see their Website Builder here). GoDaddy.com has a range of pricing options for domains, making them very affordable. Get $0.99 .com domains by clicking here.
Hosting for education blogs
Someone has to hold all the information for your website, and that someone is your Hosting Service. Your information is hosted on a server, and prices will vary depending on if you want a shared server or a private server.
I started out with a shared server plan and it’s been more than adequate for me! Again, I highly recommend self-hosting, especially if this a “long term” career move for you.
Best Hosting Services
Bluehost.com – I run several websites and all of them are hosted by Blue Host. Here’s why – I pay $2.95/month to host my websites (you pay in an up-front lump sum but it’s the biggest expense I had to start). Blue Host also gave me a FREE domain name and malware scans with my $118 initial purchase. Blue Host’s customer service is awesome. The first time I had a post go viral, my website had some major issues. Blue Host’s team was available 24/7 and above to solve my issue. Now I’m LOYAL. Blue Host integrates seamlessly with Word Press software, too. You’ll receive up to 4 email addresses tied to your domain name, adding a level of professionalism to your brand.
iPage – My best friend also has a website, and she swears that iPage is the best host around. They have an awesome introductory price of $1.99/month with lots of great benefits – Word Press, SiteLock scans, and FREE domain names, too. If you’re someone who wants a one-stop-shop to build your brand, website and build a customer email list, iPage is it. Let’s say you want to add items for sale – iPage integrates e-commerce stores into their websites with a few clicks. This is a great way to stop paying fees to Etsy or TpT; keep your profits! Mozello – If you’re looking for a truly free hosting service, then Mozello is perfect! Their free plan has built in SEO, social media tools and free themes for your website. Their interface is super easy to use and is wonderful for a teacher who just wants to get started with a website. If you want to own your own domain, their paid plans come with lots of bells and whistles, including super easy-to-setup e-commerce stores.
How to Make Money from Your Education Blogs
There are three primary ways to make money from a teacher blog – sell someone else’s products (called affiliate marketing), advertising revenue, or sell your products.
Honestly, this is where many education blogs make good money. I am a member of several affiliate marketing networks and I am constantly amazed at how much I can earn being an affiliate! Basically you set your affiliate link in your website and every time a reader clicks on my link, their activity gets attributed to my affiliate account. So if I promote my favorite language app that costs $2.99 and someone buys it, I get a small cut of the profits. You can see how these profits can add up!
Affiliate Networks to Join
Share A Sale – Of all my affiliate networks, this is my favorite. They make it *so* easy to turn any of my favorite products into an affiliate link. You can promote everything from individual items you love to whole companies. Share A Sale offer banners, images or text links you can add to your site. Their reporting is great – I can see what my audience clicks, what’s getting ZERO traffic, and where to keep investing my time. They have thousands of advertisers to choose from – many that are relevant to teachers. It was very easy to get approved – it took me less than 24 hours to be up and running (and earning).
Flex Offers – If you want to know where to find the big stores – Nike, Michaels, Macy’s – as well as lots of teacher-specific stores, Flex Offers is the network! Their network is HUGE. It’s super easy to find links, banners, images and ads to embed in my website. I love the huge variety of advertisers they offer; it’s easy to search their database of advertisers and apply to each with one click of a button. Flex Offers has been good to me!
SkimLinks – SkimLinks is a little different but just as lucrative! I’d say this is easier than the other two networks I mention but it depends what you like. SkimLinks will turn any URL on your page into an affiliate link, and find you the highest payout for that link. It’s a great option for someone who doesn’t want to use affiliate marketing themselves, but wants a service to do it for them. It’s very intuitive and has great payouts.
Ad Revenue from education blogs
InfoLinks – It’s easy to make money in the background with advertising revenue. InfoLinks was where I started for my teacher blog. They offer five different types of ads (do you want popups? In-text ads?) for a totally customizable experience. InfoLinks is truly “set it and forget it.” The don’t payout until you make $50 in ad revenue, so you have to be a little patient, especially when getting started. But you can check your reports and see that you’re making money daily. It was so easy to get approved, too! I could spend hours talking about CPM, CPC, and how ads generate revenue but suffice it to say, starting out – InfoLinks has worked well for me. If you’re too small to get approved by Google AdSense or the powerhouse MediaVine, then InfoLinks is a wonderful place to start! It required no coding experience, either – just a plugin on your education blogs.
Selling Items on education blogs
If you have items to sell, be sure you’re choosing a hosting plan that allows you to integrate e-commerce. I sell instant download PDFs on my websites. Blue Host supports WordPress, so I chose a Word Press theme that integrated an e-commerce store. I use the WooCommerce plugin to build a store that links to my PayPal account. I can use my website to sell instant downloads for educators (including lesson plans, templates and classroom resources). WooCommerce is the TOP eCommerce plugin. Check it out! I sell custom bulletin board supplies for teachers, so I link to my Etsy store. You could link to your Teachers Pay Teachers store, your Etsy store or your Amazon Business site.
I didn’t start with security on my website; I started with Blue Host at $2.95/month and called it good. However within three months, I was already having performance issues with my teacher blog. (What?!) I contacted Blue Host and they informed me that my website was being attacked by malware constantly. My entry-level security was not going to be safe enough for the long run.
SiteLock – I (thankfully) chose SiteLock in a moment of pure panic. I was experiencing a viral posting that was bringing me lots of money, and my teacher blog kept failing to load! I contacted Blue Host who put me in touch with their contracted security software company, SiteLock. SiteLock was SO good to me. Their customer service rep was in Arizona and we literally installed my website security at 1AM! I am not a trained web designer so I don’t speak the jargon; he didn’t make me feel dumb. He walked me through every.step. And got my website free of malware and operating at peak performance during that viral run. SiteLock offers a range of levels of security (I have the basic plan) and it’s been great! I get emails each week reporting how many threats it tackled for me. I haven’t had a website issue since.
Sucuri – Another trusted name in website security is Sucuri – and for good reason! Sucuri’s systems of support are cutting edge and affordable. I read lots of blogs about blogging and Sucuri is a name I read over and over again. They have a basic plan for $199/year which is an awesome price, especially for those teachers who are just starting out.
Graphics & Images
I religiously use Canva.com for all of my graphic needs on my website. From my logo, to images, to animated GIFs that I use to promote my website, Canva is my one-stop-shop for it all. Though I started with their free version, I have never regretted becoming a Canva Pro member. After my 30 day free trial, I was hooked!
The free version of Canva is incredible! You can create graphics of all shapes and sizes on Canva, including Infographics, Business Cards and more. I’ve since graduated on to Canva Pro but find it’s worth every penny. If you are looking to start a website, then Canva is a must-have tool for you!
Plugins are a must when you’re building your website, especially in WordPress. You may be so new to blogging that you wonder – “What’s a plugin?” Been there! Here’s a metaphor: Word Press is like the frame (body) of a car. You add plugins to add features to your website, like choosing the features on a vehicle – type of wheels and tires, windows, seat types and colors. Plugins are what make a basic site customized to your needs. Many awesome plugins are FREE (lucky for us!). There are others that are SO worth every penny. Here’s where I spent my money in my first year of having education blogs (and still use today!).
Social Media & Search Engine Optimization
Social Warfare – Social media is everything these days. Your readers need to be able to quickly share your content with their friends, family and colleagues. There’s lots of free social media plugins that give you the “bar” across the top of your post, allowing readers to share to Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and the like. But Social Warfare helps you control what gets shared – ensuring that it’s Search Engine Optimized and has keywords for Pinterest.
If you don’t specify what image to share, your website will automatically pick a photo that may not be the best sell to new readers. The Social Warfare Pro plugin ($29) lets you upload a Pinterest-sized image, a Facebook-sized image, a Tweet, AND the caption that goes with it! I use Social Warfare on EVERY post. It’s as important as the content I create, in my opinion. It’s the best $29 I spent in my first year. (Don’t believe me?! Hit “Share” now on this post and see the awesome Pin or Facebook image I assigned!)
Grammarly – Grammarly is no less than amazing. I don’t always write succinctly; Grammarly helps get my point across quickly yet effectively. It’s a built-in grammar and spelling editing software that turns good writers into great writers. Check out the free Chrome Extension! It’s a game-changer for a teacher blog. It’s like having your *favorite* English teacher right at your fingertips!
Yoast SEO – My other secret weapon? The FREE plugin Yoast SEO for WordPress. It gives you green, yellow and red lights regarding your post’s Search Engine Optimization.
Build a Mailing List from your Education Blogs
Thrive Leads – Once I started getting traffic to my teacher blog, I realized I was “letting them get away!” I needed to start capturing my readers’ emails so I could alert them when I posted new content, ran a sale, or just to keep my brand active. After reading countless reviews, I decided to go with Thrive Leads (of the Thrive Themes suite). It was easy to create a popup that shows 5 seconds after my readers arrive, and lets me show them a promo code (incentive) for signing up. My email audience grows daily. Thrive Leads easily integrates into online mailing websites (I use Constant Contact), so you can build that email list and easily send emails to your audience.
Now Get Going!
There you have it! All of my tricks for starting a successful, money-making education blogs for cheap.
You can do this. Content creating has brought so much life back to my education career! I hope you love it, too. If you create a teacher blog or have one to share, drop it in the comments below! I love learning from other educators. For the teacher in you, be sure to check out my 12-month series of Teacher Survival Tips!
Don’t forget to Pin this for Later or Share Now with friends!