Only in this Head: Chronic Illness Life with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome is a work in progress as I become more familiar with the blogging tools of the trade while refining my blogging brand.
This new line of work is inherently different than anything I’ve done in the past! As fate would have it, I would be disabled by my chronic diseases and career as a Registered Nurse before ever finding the time to investigate blogging as a source of personal growth and revenue. Blogging isn’t paying my bills but it is giving me a venue to work from which I would not be able to otherwise experience. The benefits are adding up as I just figured out my income from blogging in the form of product with less than a part time effort since May 2016 is $1000!
Chronic Illness Life is tough. Some of us still work and some of us don’t. Some want to go back to work and some have no choice but to stay home. Some file for disability and some do not. Some can work from home successful, others cannot. This part of the chronic illness struggle is highly individual.
Each player’s journey is a kaleidoscope of factors molding the individual presentation of the disease processes so that our patterns may be similar but never quite the same.
For this Spoonie-Zebra-Potsie-ND-Disability Rockstar, blogging is the only line of work thus far working with my disabilities.
I may tip between moderately unwell to severely impaired several times in just one day for a thousand reasons I won’t bore anyone with but the result is an inability to maintain any sort of strict schedule or productivity requirements.
In the last year and a half, I’ve worked several legit work from home gigs well worth the pay considering the flexibility. Because of my problems with POTS, EDS, and a few other things still under the microscope, I could never meet the measly 10-20 hours a week these positions required.
Blogging is different.
I only take on what I know I can handle. There are multiple opportunities for revenue via affiliate programs, selling ad space and through writing sponsored posts, all without selling the soul to a spammy marketing plan! The opportunities to make a living online via blogging is open to those ready to take the challenge of blogging life into a valuable brand.
For me, blogging is an important part of raising disease awareness especially for rarely diagnosed diseases like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Not only that but it is also a great way to work through all the adjustment in tow with chronic illness. Plotting your venue to connect with other like-minded individuals produces benefits invaluable as my disease process limits me to sedentary activity.
Chronic Illness Blogging rekindles my feelings of purpose as I adjust to this new, chronically fabulous, disabled lifestyle I am living.
This post contains affiliate links which make the author a small commission if utilized by the reader. Please see the Disclosures Page for more information.
This page is dedicated to my resources used on this WordPress.com Premium Blog Plan and my self-hosted site through BlueHost Stomach-vs-Heart: The Art of Survival. Remember, when first starting out things will seem new and scary. Relax! Every new thing is an opportunity for growth and for what one cannot learn there are a thousand others the work can be outsourced to!
The biggest step is getting started!
#1 Getting Started: Domain Name, Hosting, and Design
Before you start a blog you must select a platform.
An overwhelming amount of information online regarding the best platforms to use for blogging might make this task daunting to those not as technically inclined.
I’ll cut through all that bravado and just tell you this: If you want to properly monetize your blog you need your own domain and hosting with a free WordPress.org Install.
When I first started Only in this Head: Chronic Illness Life with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I began with the free WordPress.com hosted blog. As I familiarized myself with the platform I realized how limited I was with the free version. Everything I read about being a successful blogger stated having your own .com, .net or .whateva was essential to monetization.
So without reading much further into the topic, I upgraded to a WordPress.com premium account which included my web hosting, domain name and a bunch of pre-installed plugins to customize my site for roughly a hundred bucks yearly. At first, I thought this way a good deal but when I realized in order to view my Google analytics I would need yet another upgrade for even more money I went back to the drawing board and researched other options.
What I found out was I could get everything I wanted plus better control over the design and features of my site for way less money with Bluehost, just like all the big time bloggers do!
I ended up starting an entirely new site self-hosted through Bluehost as mentioned above at Stomach-vs-heart: The Art of Survival because I wanted the ability to use my investment to the fullest potential. While my site is still in the earliest stages of construction, I couldn’t be happier with the price, level of customization and quality of service with Blue host.
Only in this Head will migrate over to Bluehost soon but is riding out its membership at WordPress.com for now.
Its important to point out Bluehost might not be the best option if one is not technologically savvy.
A WordPress Premium Blog provides everything basically needed to set up a professional blog or website and takes the frustrating work out of editing HTML code. If you have trouble checking your email then this is the option for you!
When it comes to themes and designs, the possibilities are endless with a WordPress.org blog. Again, there is no shame in paying for design services nor is there in paying for an impressive, customized WordPress theme if you can’t do one on your own. Moreover, don’t feel like everything must be perfect before you can start or you may never start at all. As the great painter, Leonardo Da Vinci says “Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.”
So if you are going towards a Bluehost WordPress blog, I suggest the following video for beginners as a step-by-step guide to getting set up with a WordPress.org self-host site.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a blog. It takes times, patience and LOTS of research! The sooner you commit to the goal the easier it will be to make a blogging dream into a blogging reality!
Setting up a blog is actually the easy part! What requires the biggest commitment is content curation.
Coming up with content for a chronic illness lifestyle/awareness blog was an easy task for me. In my nursing days I was driven to know everything about nursing and so is the same with learning about my disease processes, blogging and anything I am interested in for that matter. Coupled with my love for writing, I never really run out of ideas for my blog (only energy).
From my own experience, I have hundreds of drafts I’ve picked at over the last 6 months of blogging but only 30-40 original posts on all three of my blogs combined. It might not sound like a lot but I consider it a great accomplishment considering the issues I am struggling with from my illnesses together. Each time I schedule a post, I get an awesome surge of goodness super seceding my symptoms enough to keep me coming back as often as possible to work on it more.
There are many forms of content so the possibilities are endless. Content is anything! Content is a video diary. Content is a poem. Content is a commentary on a video. Content is a product review. Content is a social media post. Content is sharing original art.
Get the point? Content is whatever you want it to be!!!
My best advice is to start writing now. Blogging is a lot of work but the benefits are well worth the effort a thousand times over. Research how other bloggers in the niche generate content and understand there are no hard rules when it comes to content creation beyond the obvious of plagiarism.
Say you aren’t up to writing articles for your blog? There’s thousands of content creators on iWriter, Mturk, and Fiverr offering written articles for great prices. This is a smart option starting out because you’ll regain time and be able to put it towards personalizing your content rather than building the foundational supports for your page.
Most importantly, be genuine in your efforts and only share what you are willing to have open to public scrutiny. There are thousands of good people in the chronic illness communities online and in regular life but there are also many unhappy people who feel the need to “troll” on others creative endeavors. My best advice is to not react and takes means of self-preservation. Life is too short to fight for validation from strangers whom have no other outlet for creativity but trying to tear others down. Delete mean remarks and do not engage these people because it only makes them stronger.
Minding grammar, punctuation, and syntax is an important part of content creation. Anyone following me on social media will see my issues with grammar easily but thanks to Grammarly, I am able to filter most of my deficient with writing out when writing or my blog.
As a chronically ill blogger, I consider Grammarly assistive technology what with how my brain fog clouds my writing.
It doesn’t matter how many proofreads I do, there are always mistakes I miss detected by Grammarly. My tendency to use wrong verb forms or crowding my sentences with unnecessary words make this a purposeful tool in my aspiring writer efforts.
My spelling is atrocious and more so each day as words I used to spell with ease are more difficult than ever! I have a learning disability when it comes to reading so proofreading isn’t always fool-proof for catching my errors before publishing posts. Grammarly bridges the gap between my disabilities and my desire to write by making these errors easy to understand and correct.
Grammarly offers a Google Chrome Extension for easy toggling of options. I use the free version but soon hope to upgrade to the paid service which includes a plagiarism checker and enhanced proofreading. This add-on helps me endlessly, even with finding better words as it includes an easily accessible thesaurus pop up with a quick double-click of a word. There are many language rules I fail to remember or even understand so Grammarly keeps the world from seeing how grammatically challenged I really am!
My Favorite Sites to get Free, No License Required High-Resolution Images
Another part of blogging is high-resolution images. If you’re like me you are not yet successfully enough to have a high-resolution camera and the energy to actively use it. No worries, there are tons of high-resolution images available with creative commons licenses free for use with or without attribution. These images can be edited for blog posts and/or used to construct attractive pin-able images. Be sure to read the information for each photo before use to ensure all requirements are followed.
Chronic illness blogging and my membership with the Chronic Illness Bloggers Network makes my experience more fulfilling than I ever thought Chronic Illness Life with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome could ever be! I meet new friends all the time without even leaving the house. I learn from the experiences of other chronic illness bloggers detailing their own journey and get awesome opportunities to try products geared towards living a quality chronic illness life. Although chronic illness and disability is an isolating experience, reaching out to the sea of Spoonies on the inter-webs reminds me it is not Only in this Head.
Sharing my experience in the hopes of helping others find their way to diagnosis is the most rewarding job I’ve set out to accomplish as yet. The work is worth it if I can help even just one Spoonie along the way by sharing my story. The Chronic Illness Bloggers Network helps me do that by listing this site on the Chronic Illness Blogger Directory and sharing my work across the social networks for more exposure. For my niche, this is THE blogger network to be apart of and I am honored to be a proud member!
An important part of networking is maintaining an active social media presence. Chronic illness takes a toll on my social media presence more often than not. I struggle with what to say and how to say it some days so much I wouldn’t dare go live on Twitter with all my countless thoughts on chronic disease, although I most certainly dream of doing so! I take advantage of YouTube’s auto-tweet a like feature to keep my twitter updated with my favorites from the constant stream of YouTube I watch on a daily basis. I also use the share to Twitter feature from my Tumblr which runs on a constant queue of 6 posts daily. All of my blog updates are automatically sent to update to all the available social networks. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to this blogs posts but I also update my post on several other boards for more exposure.
I use Hootsuite to share posts I read from other chronic illness bloggers in my blogging sphere on an auto-tweet schedule so as not to over saturate Twitter with my feed. I share posts with helpful content and add commentary. When I am not able to come up with words, Hootsuite has me covered by pulling the article title and blog name into a ready to tweet message automatically.
Hootsuite also works for Instagram, Facebook, and Google plus but to have more than two accounts connected you must upgrade from the free plan to a paid plan. I’ve not reached the level of success required to need a paid account but the free account does wonders for my main social media accounts to promote my blog. Check out my Twitter feed below! It’s constantly popping with chronic illness gold all day long! Sometimes I am there and sometimes I am taking a nap! You never know but I eventually respond back to all my friends online.
After reading much about the increase in blog exposure associated with a regular pinning schedule, I’ve been working with the add-on Tailwind to better my Pinterest following.
I’ve loved Pinterest since introduced in 2012. Over the years my boards have become more like collages of my special interests I can look back upon fondly. Since starting my blog earlier this year, I began to mold my Pinterest board according to the recommendations of high power pinners.
The final step was to take advantage of the free trial of Tailwind to see if it actually showed any difference in my Pinterest analytics. Sure enough, within two weeks of using the app, there was a spike in traffic for my Pinterest account AND my blog. I was sold and will continue using Tailwind to schedule my pins throughout the day rather than inundating my followers with a thousand chronic illness cat meme pins at once.
For a limited time, get $30 in @tailwindapp credit – that’s two months free! Sign up here >www.tailwindapp.com
The most important thing about building a social media presence to promote your blog is to be genuinely interested and involved with your demographic. I can’t tell you how many bloggers I’ve unfollowed because they only followed me long enough to scam my attention and then drop me down the line without a word while I am still kindly interacting and promoting their work.
Maybe I am oblivious to the fact that I am really annoying or maybe the egos of some bloggers make them forget we are all just humans going through the land of experience but either way I make my social media interactions as sincere and real as I am in person. If I feel awkward, I say so. If I misunderstand, I ask for clarification (and apologize if necessary). I am my real self online and I think people appreciate that more than they would if I were an insincere blogger.
Of all the virtual media I entertain to learn about blogging nothing helped me so much as my purchase of the hard copy of How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup. This books advice is crucial for the new blogger looking to earn revenue from blogging without being seedy and salesy.
Blogging IS NOT a get rich quick scheme. Blogging takes thought, planning, and hard work because it is essentially a virtual business front. Striving to avoid spamming readers or compromising your brand is essential to success in the blogging world. This book helps explain the in and outs of blog monetization so to sort out sleazy monetization measures versus sincere, honest methods.
Remember, the best blogs come from the heart with thoughtful content. This is the key to connecting with organic opportunities for monetization that negate the blog brand value.
Taking the plunge to start a blog is no small feat when living with chronic disease and/or disability.
My websites are a constant work in progress but the satisfaction of telling my story to raise awareness motivates me beyond all fiscal endeavors. My hope is by sharing my journey, the journey of others becomes easier to endure.
This resource page serves as an informational outpost to those interested in blogging the chronic illness and/or disability experience while monetizing the journey with class. The internet is a wide open venue for those dependent on being home. Blogging opportunities are endless once you get the hang of the basics and that is why I am sharing this resource page!
Look forward to future updates as further resources demonstrate value along my blogging journey 🙂
If you are new to blogging and feeling completely lost at where to start, feel free to contact me and I’ll help point you in the right direction. My inbox is always open to answer questions! The rewards of blogging go far beyond the fiscal pay off but done right, blogging can be a lucrative alternative to the rat race of the work away from home world. I urge everyone who has a desire to work from home to start with a blog and then go from there. The opportunities are endless and having a website/blog opens many avenues of non-sleazy revenue.
Thanks for checking out my Resource Page for Chronic Illness Lifestyle Blogging! Please comment below if you know of any resources I should check out or if you want to talk more about working from home with chronic illness and/or disability.