Back in 2011 when I created the first Mommy Like Whoa blog, I had no idea what I was doing in the Mom Blogging world.
I had had a decently successful food blog a few years back, but the mom blogosphere was very new to me. Being a mom was new to me!
So I started Mommy Like Whoa and I began to write about all the crazy stuff that happened to us. I shared it with friends and family and I waited for it to go viral and make me a millionaire…
…but it never happened.
I was discouraged! How was my blog, with pretty decent content not getting any views, and this hokey geocities looking one over there had 20K twitter followers and sponsored posts and advertising?
What was I doing wrong?!
Then I took a pretty long break from blogging. I was discouraged and I had no idea what I was doing and it took up a lot of time and I saw no results and blah blah and whine whine.
Short story: I gave up.
It wasn’t until I was reading all the resolutions I didn’t do from last year that I remembered the blog. How I said I was gonna post this, and share that. I looked back on a year of my life, happiness, turmoil, sadness, love, growth. I should have been blogging about that. I should have been sharing that stuff! Now it was too late.
I decided to start again. Pick up where I had left off.
But you the know definition of insanity, right? Doing the same, and expecting a different result. So I knew I had to do it different this time, better, more focus… I had to do it right.
I asked other successful bloggers what they do and did and I focused my attention on imitating their ways, becoming one with the pack, and it worked. In one week I had gone from 2 comments to 20! I had gained 105 more Twitter followers! What!?
The thing about blogging, is behind that screen, there is a face, a person, a life, a family, not just a social media powerhouse. We’re a community of women (and some men) who support each other, who share and comment and like and follow. That’s what my blog had been missing! Support! There’s only so much I can expect my friends to click on, right? I needed an army behind me.
Now that I’ve actually got a decent thing going, my friends have started to ask me how I did it. It gets really exhausting telling the same story over and over… so in true blogger fashion, I decided to write it down and share it with the world.
If you’re thinking about starting a mommy blog, a craft blog, a beauty blog, or really just any blog at all… read the steps below on how to get it up and running in a month (maybe more… I’m no statistician) and then thank me later.
GET A BLOG!
Obvious first step right? Duh. But where? Lots of people like Blogger. I started there. It’s a great place to go for beginners who don’t know a lot about html and just want the basics. It also allows advertising and 3rd party scripts.
If you feel a little bit more comfortable with tools and widgets and plugins, there’s WordPress. That’s where I am now. I use their templates and tools. I really like it. The only problem I’ve encountered with WordPress is their TOS. Did you know there are 2 different WordPresses? There’s the .COM that’s for free blogs… and there’s the .ORG for self hosting (with an outside host and server, such as GoDaddy.com; I’ve got more info on this below…)
If you have a .COM your web address will look like this http://MYSITENAMEHERE.wordpress.com, even if you buy a domain and redirect away from WordPress, you can tell because as you scroll down your page, a footer will pop up that says “Blog at WordPress.com” or something similar… .COM’s aren’t allow to host scripts and outside advertising on their pages, it’s against their TOS. For this reason alone, different monetizing and advertising companies won’t even LOOK at your application. If this is the route you’d eventually like to get to, that’s fine and you can switch to self hosting at any time. If you aren’t interested in going the money making route, then the .COM version of WordPress is fine for you.
DETERMINE YOUR STYLE!
What is this blog going to be about? Parenting? Beauty? Food? How will you write it? Humorous? Informative? Formal? Natural? What will you be posting about? Tutorials? Product Reviews? Recipes? Once you figure out what you’ll be blogging about, other things will fall into place, like the overall style of the blog. You wouldn’t want pink polka dots for a blog about DIY automotive repair, just as you probably wouldn’t choose craft elements for a food blog. Most blog sites have loads of FREE (and paid) templates you can use to suit your style perfectly. As you start to read other blogs, you may notice your free template around the web. Once that starts to happen, maybe it’s time to look into designing it, or hiring a designer. I had some help from my friend Jeff Davidson over at Cosmic Frog Web. He’s awesome and helps answer a lot of questions I have when I hit road blocks in my process.
CHOOSE A NAME!
This to me, is the hardest part. Some people are clever and come up with amazing names in 2.2 seconds. I’m not one of those people. Try to choose something catchy, and not too long (because it’s a pain to type and hard to get Social Media accounts with really long names and you’ll most likely have to shorten it, and it might confuse potential readers). Something that tells the reader what your blog is about. Then google the name and see what pops up. Blogs have been around for awhile, so it might be that your perfect name is already taken. Back to the drawing board! While you’re at it, go ahead and pick a tagline too.
JOIN SOCIAL MEDIA!
After you’ve got the perfect name and tagline, join Social Media. I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. If you hate hashtags and liking and sharing and following and posting, blogging is NOT for you. At least successful blogging anyway. Social Media is your number one tool to finding and getting followers and like-minded people to share your blog with. And if you plan on making money with your blog, marketing companies are going to want to know what networks you’re in and what your numbers are. It’s just how it works. The top ones to join are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube. Sorry, shameless plugs. After you join these, you’re going to need to start adding people. Adding your friends first, and then searching for similar people. Most will add you back, and in no time you’ll have followers!
You need to start writing right away. You should post at least once a week, but 3 or more times a week is better. When you have some downtime, nap time. night time, break time… write. Just write. I’m serious. Write as many posts as you can and before you publish them, reread them out loud and edit them. Add pictures if applicable. People like pictures. Use a photo editing program like Photoshop, or Gimp (which is FREE) or Picmonkey (click this link and sign up for a free day of Royale premium service!) to enhance your photos and add text. Make sure you have at least 1 “pinnable” image for sharing on Pinterest. Your pinnable image should have a title of what your post is about and a watermark so people can find you if the link is broken.
Once your posts are ready to be published, schedule them ahead of time in advance. I have a notebook with each day containing a post. I put a check mark next to the posts that are finished (written, edited, pictures added, categories and tags added and scheduled.) That way I can see what days need posts, and what I have to do or don’t have to do for the day. If you are going for quality posts, I wouldn’t recommend writing more than 10 posts in one day for future scheduling. You start to lose focus and tend to rush things.
Doing 2-4 posts a day and taking a day off here or there is best. If your post isn’t ready, DO NOT SCHEDULE! Just save the draft and come back to it later. I’ve got tons of saved drafts that are ideas I’m not ready to tackle or just ideas I had that are still in the works. In my notebook I also have ideas for blog posts, scribbled down. It’s good to brainstorm every so often to come up with new ideas. I have my notebook with me at all times so I can always write down an idea as it comes to me. I seem to get great ideas when I’m in the shower, or driving, go figure.
Make sure you have your social media connected to your blog to post on other platforms when your post is published. Also in the blogging world, you need to live about a month in advance. You should be posting Christmas ideas around November. A good rule of thumb is, if Target is selling decorations for it, you should be blogging about it too.
DAYS OF THE WEEK POSTS!
A lot of blogs out there, mine included, often times have “Day of the Week” posts. Tutorial Tuesday, or Foodie Fridays. These are great ways to get people to keep coming back on those days in particular, especially if you only plan on posting a couple times a week. It’s totally optional, but it helps.
BLOG HOPS AND LINK PARTIES!
This is probably one of the most important tools out there for getting noticed. Usually bigger blogs will host weekly linkup parties where you can go and link up your social media accounts, or blog posts with other bloggers. You get a chance to see what everyone else is doing, and it gives you a chance to get noticed and possibly featured the next week. It’s also a great way to get new followers and viewers on your blog, which means a higher likelihood that they will share your content with their followers as well. Here’s an ever expanding list of blog hops and link parties I attend each week.
It’s important to follow the link up rules, which generally include following your hosts and visiting some of the other bloggers pages and leaving a comment. Something to the effect of “Awesome thing you made that is awesome! Following from that Link Up I saw you in.” I’ve gotten a lot of new followers simply by sharing my favorite posts from the week. Other rules might include adding their “button” to a part of your website, being a sidebar spot, or in a Link Party page. It also makes it much easier on you to find the same link up the next week.
DOMAIN NAMES AND HOSTING!
If you really want to get on the more professional side of blogging, like making money and getting products for review, you’re going to need to buy your domain and get a web host. I use GoDaddy.com (Use code WOWMLW35 to get 35% off your order, and I’ll get a credit too!) It looks much more professional, and some marketing companies require you self host, instead of using a free blog, if you plan to go that route (but that’s another post). It’s pretty easy to move your blog over to a hosted domain name, and there are lots of blogs out there that can help you with step by step instructions.
I hope this gets you off on a decent start. As I navigate the marketing and advertising world, I will post about how to get into that, and which ones are best to use and join. Plus what blog networks are good affiliates to work with too!
Do you have any good tips or tricks to getting a blog started? Did I forget anything? Do you have a link party or blog hop you would like added to my Party Page? Let me know and post in the comments below!
Make sure to check out the next post in my “blogging series” How to Organize and Plan a Months Worth of Blog Posts!