If you’re already sharing your art journal pages on social media, you might be wondering how to start an art journal blog in order to take it to the next level.
Well, I’ve been creating websites since 1998 (whoa! Can it really be that long ago?!) After teaching myself HTML (the code you used to have to know in order to create a website) I started an online business from my kitchen when my babies were little. In fact, I remember trying code with one hand and holding my youngest with the other as she was breastfeeding.
It certainly wasn’t easy!
And that’s why I share that story with you: Because it’s never been easier to create a blog / website!
Now, that’s not to say you might not face challenges as you make yours. There’s always a learning curve when doing something new. But I believe anyone can create an art journal blog, and you can make it as simple or as fancy as you want to!
In fact, I’m going to teach you two ways to create your blog: one is just for fun and one has the potential to make a little extra money. (I’m in no way talking about getting rich here. But what if you could make an extra $50-100 a month for more art supplies? That might be fun, right?)
So let’s get started, shall we?
How to start an art journal blog
Choosing a Domain Name
One of the first steps in starting your art journal blog is choosing a domain name. This is how people will find your blog.
Q. “Where can I see your art journals?”
A. “Oh thanks! Over at www.MyDomainName.com!”
For me, I found this process fun and frustrating!
It’s fun because I love to brainstorm different ideas! You could use your name in the domain, a nickname, or even a business name.
But sometimes, no matter how many ideas you write down, your ideas will all be taken. But don’t lose heart! There are ways to work around this.
For instance, if you wanted to use your name, but it was taken, you could add something to it. Let’s say you were Betty Smith, and bettysmith.com was taken. You could try one (or more) of the following:
One thing I recommend against is adding a dash in your domain (like www.betty-smith.com). They are hard to say out loud (ie., “just go to Betty dash Smith dot com.”) and even harder for people to remember (so even if they do remember the gist of your domain, they might just end up at bettysmith.com anyway!)
But you don’t have to use your actual name, of course! Like I mentioned before, you could use nickname, a business name, or, kind of like I did, you could even describe the type of art journaling you do. Though I would be careful about this, as you don’t want to box yourself in, either. You might start out with an art journaling blog, but you might expand to hand-lettering or mixed-media art or wherever else your creative exploration may take you! So just keep that in mind.
Psst…. still stuck? Try this domain name generator!
Once you’ve chosen a domain name and verified it’s actually available, the next step (before you pay for the domain!) is to see if that same name is available on the social media platforms you plan on using, as well.
Let’s say you chose bettyjournals.com and you plan to be on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok. You’ll want to go to each of those platforms and see if @BettyJournals is available.
The reason for this is because, ideally, you want all of your social media handles the exact same as your domain. It makes it SO much easier to find you, and it will be 1000% more professional.
You may be wondering: “So Jules, how much is this domain name going to cost me?”
As I mentioned, I’ve been doing this for a long, long time. My favorite place to buy domains is NameCheap.com. Not only are the domains cheap (hence the name), they also include domain privacy for free. (Most domain registrars charge extra for this!)
Domain privacy means people can’t see your name, email address, home/business address and/or phone number when they search for who owns your domain. Without that privacy feature, anyone can easily find all of that information about you… which can lead to things from spam to scams! So even if you don’t use NameCheap.com, please find a registrar that at least offers it
Namecheap has a range of prices, but most available .com domains start around $9 a year. Not too bad! (As a comparison: I have a domain with another registrar that was $14.95 per year, plus an additional $15.95 a year for the domain privacy. On that account the domain privacy was free for the first year only. With NameCheap.com it’s free for life.
Next Step: Add Hosting
While you may not need to learn HTML (or any other website coding languages) all of those files (not to mention your images, videos, etc.) need a place to “live” on the internet. That’s what a hosting company does.
NameCheap also offers hosting, but I honestly find it a little… awkward? So I use SiteGround to host all of my websites.
You might find having your domain name and hosting all under one roof, so to speak, easier and more convenient, and that’s fine if you do.
I prefer SiteGround for hosting, not just for ease of use, but their site speed, security, and tech support are some of the best I’ve ever seen and experienced. If I ever have questions or issues, they are quick and efficient in response.
Plus, even for a “hobby blogger” their prices are affordable, starting around $6.99 per month. (I mean, I easily spend more than that on paint for art journaling!) Prices may change slightly, but they’ve remained mostly the same since I started using SiteGround in 2015.
So… the domain is kind of like the address for your house, and hosting is kind of like how you store things inside of that house. But you also need the walls, or structure of your house. That’s where WordPress comes in.
Now Add WordPress + THEME
Once you set up your hosting plan, your next step is to install WordPress. It’s pretty easy and straightforward, but in case you need help, SiteGround has a helpful tutorial about how to install WordPress right here.
Continuing with my “house” analogy, WordPress is like the foundation and framing of your house. You’ll need to add a “theme” to make your house beautiful.
There are free themes and paid themes. My favorite place to shop for themes is CreativeMarket. I’ve put together an ever-growing collection of beautiful WordPress themes that look gorgeous on computers, tablets, and phones that start at just $14 (and not one of them is over $100).
But if you want to start on a budget, I don’t blame you (and a theme is something you can always change later!) The free themes that come when you install WordPress in SiteGround will work just fine, and you can search for free themes, too.
A Few Finishing Touches
If you’ve done all of the above, congratulate yourself! You’re all set up and ready to start art journal blogging. Sure, you’ll want to customize your site and fill in all the proper information. But you’re so close to actually launching your new blog!
But before you do, there are a few things you might want to consider.
One is: to collect emails or not?
If you ever plan to monetize your blog (aka make a little side money) I highly recommend starting an email list. I use and recommend ConvertKit for this. (Start with ConvertKit for FREE when you use this link!)
ConvertKit is this beautiful mix of powerful features with such ease of use! And they offer a completely free plan for up to 1000 subscribers (so you don’t have to worry about spending any money on it…probably for quite a while!)
Another question: how easy do you want it to be?
You can create new blog posts pretty easily just in WordPress using the theme you chose.
But, especially if you chose a free theme, you may want to consider using Elementor. It’s a WordPress Plugin that makes creating your entire site SO MUCH easier! It’s a “drag and drop” editor, so you can really customize your site with ease. There are “pro” plans that start around $49/year, but their free plugin is probably enough, if not more than enough for you to get started with.
Some final notes on how to start an art journal blog
So the above is really just a starting point for how to start an art journal blog. I’ve given you the baseline, and now it’s time for you to use your creativity and courage to get out there are make it real!
As I mentioned, there are ways to make your blog into a side hustle, and make some money with it, too. Here are just a few ideas…
Affiliate marketing just means that you recommend other people’s products (or classes, services, etc.) and in exchange, you receive a commission. That could be as little as 4% or as much as 50% or more. It just depends on the program.
Amazon has one of the most popular affiliate marketing programs, but there are so many more to choose from when starting an art journal blog!
For instance, I am a member and HUGE fan of CreativeBug. I’m an affiliate for them, but you may be wondering how I make money from that! Well, one of the easiest ways is that I take their classes and then blog about my experience in each class (and I sprinkle affiliate links throughout the blog post.) It also helps that CreativeBug offers specials, like a 60-Day free trial!
If I buy and use art supplies on Amazon, (*never use your affiliate link for your own purchases!) and use them in a project, I will link to those products in the blog post about how I used them. I also include affiliate links for other courses, art suppliers, and more throughout my site.
Four percent may not seem like a lot, but all those referrals start to add up!
Another way you might be able to make some extra income from your art journal blog is by creating your own classes and/or courses. It’s actually surprisingly easy to do, and you can either sell them yourself using a platform like Thinkific or post them on a platform that helps you sell like Skillshare. (There’s a whole blog post about how to make money with Skillshare here.)
That said, you don’t necessarily need to make money with your blog, you can simply share your art journal pages, and maybe processes. If you’re looking for blog post ideas, you can take a look at 52 Blog Post Ideas for Artists!
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