Teachers Pay Teachers sellers are always looking for new ways to take their stores to the next level. Based on my own experiences, one thing has made all the difference in my business: blogging! So, I thought I would take some time to walk through other sellers on how to start blogging for your TpT business.
Please note, this is just my advice from personal experience. If you still need help setting up your blog, there are countless videos and step-by-step instructions online. There are also professionals who do just this so you don’t have to.
If you decide you need help, I highly recommend checking out Kristen Doyle who specializes in helping TpT sellers with their websites. She also offers free Facebook groups for both Blogger and WordPress support.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products that I personally use and love, or think my readers will find useful.
Is Blogging for Your TpT Business that Important?
As 2022 begins and my four-year business anniversary beings to loom closer (April!), I’ve been looking at some data for the last twelve months.
One of the most shocking discoveries? Over one-third of my sales in my Teachers Pay Teachers store has come from my blog!
Personally, I think it’s crazy to think that my personal website helped generate 33% more sales in a year. That’s the difference between part-time and full-time income for me.
So, yes, I think blogging can be incredibly important for your TpT business! Not only can a blog drive more traffic to your store, but it can also make you look more “legit” to your target audience, and help strengthen your brand.
Why Blogging and Not Social Media for Your TpT Business?
I have nothing against marketing with social media. I’m fairly active on Instagram and Facebook myself. Even my Pinterest game is strong (although technically Pinterest is not social media–it’s a search engine).
But I don’t really love social media like I love blogging for TpT. Why? Blog posts stick around!
When you post to the Instagram or Facebook feed, regardless of how awesome your content is, it will be gone in less than 48 hours. Sure, you might luck out and have a viral post that lasts a little longer. Your fans might share and pass around some posts. But generally, what you post to a feed is going to disappear.
But not your blog posts! A well-written, SEO-friendly (we’ll get to SEO later!) blog post will outlast pretty much any social media post.
Anytime a potential customer Googles a topic you wrote about–there you’ll be!
Plus, a blog is a piece of the internet that you own. Buyers will know where to find you. You control the interface and the user experience.
But Facebook or Instagram could change their algorithm–meaning you’ll have to change your tactics–at any moment.
Not to mention the horror stories you hear of users getting locked out of their Facebook or IG accounts. Imagine not having access to your only means of marketing for a week–or possibly forever–after spending months or years building a following there.
Blogs have staying power that social media just does not.
Are You Ready to Start Blogging for your TpT Business?
Blogs, however, are a little more complicated to set up than opening an Instagram page. It’s not as easy as just signing up for a free account and hitting the ground running. There are several components you’ll need before you can even start posting–and none of them are free. (At least, I don’t recommend going that route.)
Before you run off and start a blog, I recommend first making sure that your TpT store has a solid foundation.
Do you have at least one bundle to sell? If your store only has a few resources that cost just a few dollars, a blog won’t make much of a difference in your take-home.
Are your product listings converting? If you have a hundred resources, but they’re averaging less than an 8% conversion rate, your time is better spent optimizing your product listings first. Blogs can drive traffic to your store, but if buyers aren’t pulling the trigger on your sales page, no amount of traffic will matter.
(Psst! Need help writing great product descriptions? Check out this post!)
Lastly, is your TpT store generating consistent income? It doesn’t have to be a lot, but your store needs to be making you regular profit. Otherwise, you’re just going to lose money on a blog.
Blog’s aren’t expensive, but a good one won’t be free. You want your business to be able to support the cost of running a blog for a while. Blogs take time to start showing up in search results and gaining readers. You’ll be eating the cost for a while before the blog starts to pay for itself.
What If I’m Not Ready to Start Blogging for my TpT Business?
If you decide that you’re not ready to start blogging, that’s totally ok! It’s better to wait until your TpT store has a strong foundation first.
If you’ve been working on your store and are still struggling, or if you’re just procrastinating on getting started, it’s better to focus there. I offer an in-depth course on starting your TpT store if you need to go back to basics or if you’re starting from scratch. You can learn more about my course TpT Profitability here.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning your blog. If you’re excited to get going on a blog but know that it’s just not time yet, you can start preparing for that magical day.
First, learn everything you can about SEO or search engine optimization. This one skill can take a blog from anonymity to the top of Google search rankings. Your SEO skills will also benefit your TpT product listings as the fundamentals apply to both blog writing and product description writing.
There are countless SEO resources online, but I love the work of Meg Casebolt personally.
Second, start writing. Just because you don’t have a website to post to yet, doesn’t mean you have to wait to write. The earlier you get into a habit of writing, the better. Your first few blog posts will feel awkward, and it will take some time to find your blogging style and system.
I recommend starting some blog drafts and keeping them on a cloud service like Google Drive. Then, when you’re ready to start a blog, you’ll have plenty of content for your launch!
How to Start Blogging for Your TpT Business
To start your blog, you’re going to need to do three things:
- Choose a Platform
- Get Hosting and Your Domain Name
- Select a Theme
These can be confusing, so I’m going to attempt to break them down. If at any point setting one up becomes confusing, YouTube is your best friend! Remember, blogging for TpT is a not a quick project, but it’s one that will be totally worth it!
Choosing a Platform
There are many platforms from which to choose when it comes to blogging. When I was younger, we had Blogger.com and LiveJournal for example.
If you really, really don’t want to touch any of the backend parts of your website, you could go with Blogger. Plenty of TpT sellers do.
However, I highly recommend sticking with WordPress instead. WordPress does have a bit of a learning curve, but that’s only because it’s an incredibly powerful tool. By choosing WordPress, you’ll give Future You more options.
WordPress is widely used and because of this, there are many people, companies, and plugins that specialize in it.
If you decide in a few years to start your own online shop for your teacher resources (or maybe branch out into other products!), you’ll easily be able to integrate a store with WordPress. If you want to hire a virtual assistant to help with your blog, you’ll have plenty of people from which to choose.
Now, when you go to look into WordPress, you might be confused. There’s WordPress.org and WordPress.com.
WordPress.org is the open-software blogging platform we want. It can be used with any hosting service. It’s free to use.
WordPress.com is the hosting service offered by the creator of WordPress. It is a hosting service and a limited one at that.
You don’t need to sign up for WordPress at all until you have your hosting sorted out, but knowing what kind of platform you’ll be using for your future blog will help you decide on your hosting service. For the rest of this post, I’m going to assume you’re going with WordPress. If you do end up with Blogger or another service, the following information still applies, but you’ll probably want to do some Blogger-specific research first.
Choose Your Host and Domain
Now that you know what platform you’ll be using for your website (again, I recommend WordPress for flexibility!), it’s time to choose a hosting service.
Understanding the difference between a platform, a host, and a domain can be really confusing. Think of it like building a house. The platform is the blueprints (how are you going to structure the blog?). The hosting service is the plot of land where you’ll build the house (where on the internet will the data for your blog live?). And the domain is the address (what will users type in to get to your blog?).
You have the platform picked out. Now you need to decide what service to host your blog on. There are tons of services out there. I’m going to talk about two.
The first hosting service you will probably encounter is BlueHost. WordPress and BlueHost have a deal together, so the WordPress website will push you to choose BlueHost.
BlueHost is attractive when you’re starting out because it’s cheap. However, I would strongly urge you to stay far away from BlueHost if you really want your blog to succeed.
I’ve used BlueHost before, so I can tell you from experience that if you put your website there, it will be down all the time for absolutely no reason.
And it’s not just me. I’ve spoken to other bloggers who have the same experience. For whatever reason, BlueHost websites just crash all the time, and you’ll just be waiting for them to figure it out on their end and get you back up and running.
That’s no way to run a business.
Further, SiteGround has seamless integration with WordPress. With just a click, you can load the whole platform onto your new website. (To be fair, BlueHost and WordPress play well together, too.)
BlueHost’s customer service is… basically nonexistent in my opinion.
SiteGround also comes with a free monthly backup of your entire website, which means if you do manage to completely wreck your site, you can just go back to the last time it worked. BlueHost does not offer this (at least not automatically or without an extra fee).
And, if I haven’t sold you on SiteGround yet, here’s one more factor. BlueHost pays its affiliates more than SiteGround does. I could easily sign up for a BlueHost affiliate link, tell you it’s awesome, and cash in on the signups. But I don’t want to lead you astray. So yes, I’m an affiliate for SiteGround, but only because I truly believe they’re the best.
So, if you want my opinion, stay clear of BlueHost and go straight to SiteGround. Feel free to do your own research, though. There are plenty of other options out there as well.
Once you’ve chosen your hosting service, you’ll buy a domain name from them as well. So SiteGround is both my hosting service and the provider of my domain name.
I recommend just sticking with your business name or TpT store name as your domain. My store is It’s Lit Teaching, so my domain is itslitteaching.com. Don’t stray too far away from your TpT store name–a website is supposed to strengthen your brand after all!
Selecting a Theme
Once you’ve set up your hosting, domain, and have your platform ready to go, you’ll be left with a very boring and generic-looking website. A new theme can quickly fix that!
A blog’s theme is its template. It will dictate the layout and overall appearance of your website.
With WordPress, there are a few free themes from which you can choose. It’s totally ok to start with a free theme if you’d like. You can always upgrade later.
Just choose “Theme” from the menu on the left once you’re logged into WordPress and start playing from there. After choosing a theme, you can use the “Appearance” menu to make tweaks to your fonts, colors, and more.
If you’re not happy with your free options, there are an endless number of paid options. You can find some through WordPress. Many TpT sellers hire website designers to create a custom one.
I’ve had great success in buying themes from Etsy sellers. Just make sure you search for a WordPress-specific theme.
Remember, themes can be changed. Don’t get sucked into spending months perfecting every little thing or stressing about picking the perfect font. Your theme can help your blog, but you’ll need to put content on that website if it’s ever going to help your business.
What Should You Blog About?
Now it’s finally time to write! But what about?
Hopefully, you have a niche for your TpT store–a grade level and subject area on which your resources focus. You’ll approach your blog with this same niche.
All of your posts should appeal to your target market.
Remember that the point of blogging for your TpT business is to help generate sales. For that reason, I recommend that most of your posts are used to direct traffic to one of your products.
For example, let’s say you sell middle school math resources. One post could be on tips for introducing fractions. In the post, you can offer tips and advice for introducing fractions, but you’ll also link to your fractions introduction resource–get it?
The post should directly or indirectly sell your resources.
If your post is not focused on selling a resource, then it should instead focus on building authority within your target audience.
For example, maybe you teach AP social studies. You don’t have a specific product you want to promote, so you decide to build some authority by writing a post explaining the AP rubric for new AP teachers. It’s so helpful, AP social studies teachers will consider you a helpful resource.
Blogging for Your TpT Business Tips
When I began my blog, it took me a long time to figure out how blogging differs from other writing. I’m an English major and an English teacher, but no one ever taught me how to “blog” before! It’s quite different from a 5-paragraph essay.
You, too, will learn that blogging has its own “rules.”
The absolute most important thing a blogger can do, in my opinion, is to learn the foundations of SEO. SEO or search engine optimization will help your post show up in Google search results.
There are countless SEO resources out there. Take some time to watch a couple of videos or read some blogs about the subject before you begin writing.
Another quick tip for writing blog posts is to try and use “you” more than “I.” When I started writing, my first few posts were about my personal experiences in the classroom. This left my blog feeling more like a diary than a helpful resource.
Instead of talking about your experiences and your thoughts or ideas, turn them into advice or information for the reader. Talk directly to your reader in your posts.
And my last quick tip for blog writing is to keep your paragraphs short. We often teach students to aim for 5-7 sentences in a paragraph. Blogging is way different.
I try to keep my blog “paragraphs” to 2-3 sentences. Blog readers are usually on a mobile divide. Very long sentences and big chunks of text are harder to read. So keep it short, and start a new paragraph with every new idea.
Creating a successful blog for your TpT store will involve a bit of a learning curve, some time and money, and most likely some frustration as you get started.
But it can be a great tool for strengthening your brand, building authority with your audience, and driving more traffic to your TpT store. Plus, there’s just something really satisfying about hitting “post” on a fresh and shiny new blog draft.
I am by no means a blogging expert, but there are plenty of people out there who are! If you are looking for an expert, I recommend Kristen Doyle for setting up and designing a website. She specializes in Blogger and WordPress for teacher-authors and even has some free resources to offer.
I also love the work of Meg Casebolt for learning SEO skills. While she doesn’t work with TpT sellers exclusively, I’ve learned a lot from following her.