So you wanna be a mom blogger?
I’ve got you covered with TEN TIPS to get you started. WITHOUT GOING CRAZY. Because you have more important things to do – like be an actual mom.
My blogging journey began in December 2015. That means this blog is in the 20-month-olds-are-cute stage and also 20-month-olds-keep-you-busy stage. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. The blog has grown from featuring just my writing to include the views of several amazing women. In other words, it’s become the MothersRest TRIBE.
Here are my tips and tricks, plus links to helpful and FREE resources, to make it easy for you to nurture and grow your own mom blog and tribe. Without going crazy.
Let’s get blogging!
For your convenience, I’ve included affiliate links. Read my Disclaimer to learn more.
1. Pick a niche.
What’s your passion? Cooking? Cloth-diapering? All-natural-cleaning-products-and-also-horses? Seriously, that’s probably a thing. Because the world is FULL of every kind of mom niche imaginable.
Here’s your assignment: Set a timer for 5 minutes and brainstorm a list of everything you enjoy in life. DO NOT JUDGE, simply write. When the timer rings, review your list and group “like things” together. Notice any themes? Perhaps your niche will jump right off the page at you!
You want a niche you’re excited about. Because sometimes blogging feels like, ho hum, here’s another chore on the to-do list for the week.
2. Name your blog.
To pick the perfect name, it’s time for more brainstorming.
To find MothersRest, which is about helping mommas overcome sleep deprivation and discover joy throughout the parenting journey, I spent a day brainstorming with my friend Ted. He’s not actually a mother but he is typically sleep deprived. Together, we prayed to the Google gods.
We queried Google for everything mom and sleep related to discover what words would emerge when other people searched those terms. And to see which blog names and URLs folks had already snatched up. I fell in love with MothersRest because REST means sleep OR calm OR joy OR peace…
In other words, REST allows me to expand my vision (and niche) beyond just sleep tips. Whereas I might have felt hemmed in by, say, MommasNeedSleep.com. (That blog name is available if you’re interested.) I’m not always a sleep-deprived momma. But I’m always a momma in need of calm and joy and peace.
3. Spend some money.
Your next assignment: Put a little skin in the game and shell out some cash. To claim your domain name.
I use BlueHost, super easy. And I paid them to HOST MY SITE, too. And while I was there, I PAID MORE MONEY to set up my blog via WordPress.ORG. (WordPress.COM is free, but your options are limited down the road if you want to get fancy. Do your research before going the free route.)
Then I PAID EVEN MORE MONEY to BlueHost for spam protection via Akismet. Because my friend Ted told me to.
Sounds like I spent a lot of money, right? I have no idea, the whole experience was a blur. I vaguely remember $200 on a credit card bill. But whatever, I wanted to blog and be legit about it. Definitely weigh cost options to make sure blogging fits within your financial goals.
I do love BlueHost, though, because, in my experience, they have responsive customer service folks who save the day if WordPress crashes. (This really happened to my dear friend – it was terrifying.)
4. Pick a theme.
Pimp your blog. WordPress offers lots of FREE themes, including Blog Lite, the one I use.
Editor’s note: From here on out, I’m only talking WordPress.org. I know nothing about Blogger, BlogSpot, Wix, or SquareSpace.
Don’t spend hours agonizing over a theme. Because you can CHANGE IT later. When you decide to switch, you can test out a couple themes with your actual content to see which one you like before pulling the trigger. (To ease my depression on Election Night 2016, I tested 30 different themes before selecting this one.)
5. Start writing.
JUST DO IT. Go back to your brainstorm list from #1 above and put fingers to keyboard.
You can do it in Word or open up WordPress and click the “Add New” post to get on with it. Don’t worry about word count. A post with 400 words can go viral as easily as one with 1800 words. Compelling content that you’re passionate about is what you’re going for.
Then gather up all your courage and hit the PUBLISH button. Congrats!! You’re officially a blogger 🙂
Doesn’t that feel great?!
Now don’t get too crazy on me. Since you wanna be a mom blogger, you probably have more important stuff (like children) to worry over. So your goal is to write one post a week – that’s it! None of this I-must-publish-every-day crap.
At first, no one has to know you’re blogging. (Or, hell with it, go shout it from the Facebook rooftop.) And don’t worry over your lack of audience – relish in it! Anonymity means you can try out different writing styles til you find your voice and vibe for your blog.
Having trouble getting started? Check out this FREE e-Course on how to write compelling copy: Sticky Blogging. I found it extremely helpful. Y’all, I revamped 60 posts after going through this course – did I mention it’s FREE?!
6. Grow your audience.
MailChimp is an easy newsletter platform that’s FREE if you have less than 2000 subscribers. Entice readers to sign up for your newsletter by creating subscription forms. You can add the FREE (and intuitive) plug-in, MailChimp Forms by MailMunch, to make the magic happen.
Here’s another assignment: Beg your friends and family to sign up and ask for their feedback whenever you send a newsletter. What did they like or dislike about it? Revamp the design as necessary. Again, revel in your obscurity – you can experiment freely without a bunch of strangers on your mailing list judging you.
Also, don’t be an email bore: just send one newsletter a week (please).
7. Make some money, honey.
There are millions of ways to make money blogging. Here are the easiest ways to start down the passive income path: ads via Google Adsense and affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is super cool. Basically, you include a link in your post to a product you love. And you earn commission if a reader clicks on the link and buys something from that retailer. At no extra cost to your reader. Win-win!!
Here’s a link to a FREE eBook to learn all the affiliate marketing ins and outs: Quick-Start Guide to Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers. I gained tons of tips from this book and look forward to being a millionaire one day (ha!) Dude, the author, Tasha, quit her partnership at a law firm to blog full-time and now earns more than she did as a private attorney. Say WHAT?!
8. Dive into social media.
DO NOT DO ALL THE THINGS. There are too many options. Pick one and automate a few others.
Here’s how I work the social jungle:
I focus on Facebook. I created the MothersRest community page and use Facebook’s FREE scheduling tool to post content 4-6 times per week. Which means I don’t have to go on Facebook every day to share stuff. (Let’s be honest, I go on Facebook. Every day. Lots of times.) And I need to give a shout-out to master blogger, Brittany Ann, whose Facebook community strategies have helped me double the MothersRest tribe in the past year. Check out her eBook, Strategies Worth Sharing, to learn more.
For Facebook, content includes my blog posts, other people’s blog posts, stories and pictures of my kids, polls, memes – basically, anything I think my followers might like. And by follower, I mean ME! I view myself as my target market, instead of stressing over market segmentation or customer profiling. Fingers crossed, if I find something interesting, the MothersRest tribe will, too.
For Twitter, I link my account to Facebook, so the system sends a tweet automatically whenever Facebook publishes scheduled content.
For Instagram, I post whatever I want. Here’s how I don’t go Insta-crazy: I maintain one account and share things I would’ve shared, blog or no blog. My only “rule” is that I don’t showcase my children a ton – enough to be authentic as a mom blogger, but not enough to attract a weirdo stalker. This is personal choice. Lots of mom bloggers show you EVERY FREAKING MOLE on their kid’s face.
For Pinterest, I have a board where I upload HIDDEN pins from each blog post. Folks can then save them to their own personal boards to read later. And I recommend the frikkin easy and FREE Canva online design site to create the vertical pins that everyone craves.
I will say, Pinterest is my number 2 traffic driver, so it’s probably worth going a little pin-crazy over it. In the last 6 months, I’ve grown monthly impressions of MothersRest pins from 6,000 to over 85,000! By posting on lots of group boards, filled with pins from other mom bloggers, using the automated, pin-scheduling tool, BoardBooster. Thanks to advice from Christina Root and her FREE eCourse, Pinterest Affiliate Marketing 101. (Yes, she teaches you how to make a little mullah, too.)
Google Plus can suck it.
9. Ignore SEO.
That’s called sarcasm. SEO is important, you guys. But here’s the deal: just write your posts and occasionally toss in a keyword or two.
What does that mean? Well, the title of this post is “How to start a mom blog – without going crazy.” I’ve used that exact phrase several times during this post so the search engines will get the point of this article and (hopefully) serve it up whenever anyone searches for mom blog. But mostly, I just write what I want to write, because Google also weighs authenticity.
If you use synonyms or words related to your key point, Google thinks you’re an actual human. Because we people use a variety of words when we communicate to keep things interesting – verses a robot that you could plug a couple of phrases into and who (which?) could spit out a spiffy, little (boring) blog post.
But while you’re at it, add the FREE Yost SEO plug-in.
10. Keep blogging.
Since our goal is for you to start a mom blog without going crazy, let me tell you how I find time to blog. In the midst of a full-time job, occasional university teaching gig, marriage, dog I keep trying to unadopt, and two boys under 5.
Here’s my secret: I put my children to bed EARLY. As in, by 7:30pm. I can’t guarantee they will sleep right then, but they are each locked in their rooms with a cup of water, extra stuffed animals in case one gets lost under the bed, a kiddie potty so they can take care of business. And sometimes I have to confiscate a lamp to get them to PUT DOWN THOSE TOYS and sleep.
With the boys in bed, I spend my evenings blogging. I can also be found on Sunday mornings blogging from the balcony at church. My weekly formula is 20% writing, 80% promoting.
Here’s a sample weekly blogging schedule that might fit your life. (Yes, it starts mid-week.)
Wednesday – Write a new post DRAFT and create a pin. Promote last week’s post or publish/schedule compelling content for your followers on Facebook (and Twitter automatically). Add a fun photo on Instagram.
Thursday – Promote last week’s post or publish/schedule content on Facebook (and Twitter).
Friday – Take a night off. (We wouldn’t want hubby to get too jealous of your new blog BFF, would we?)
Saturday – Proofread your draft post and PUBLISH it. Review your post on your smart phone to make sure it reads nice on mobile – edit as needed. Save the pin to Pinterest. Add a fun photo on Instagram.
Sunday – Take a night off. (To kill the laundry that will.not.die.)
Monday – Design your newsletter in MailChimp and schedule it to launch on Tuesday morning. Schedule your post to launch on Facebook on Tuesday evening. Promote last week’s post or publish/schedule content on Facebook (and Twitter).
Tuesday – Your newsletter goes automatically in the morning. Your post publishes automatically in the evening on Facebook (and Twitter). Spend the rest of the evening promoting your new post by responding to EVERY comment and “like” on Facebook. Share to applicable Facebook groups and ask your friends to also share it.
Ladies, Facebook is a big fat jerk and will only put your content into other people’s news feeds if it thinks people like your content. So FAKE THE SYSTEM and create engagement by bribing your friends to like, share or comment as soon as you post something. Text them to SWARM FACEBOOK NOW!
Then amp up the love by responding to their awesome love. This will MAKE FACEBOOK SHOW YOUR STUFF to other people who might not actually love you but do find you mildly fascinating. (Facebook totally makes me crazy, which goes against our goal of how-to-be-a-mom-blogger-without-going-crazy. But a momma’s gotta do what a momma’s gotta do.)
Bonus Tip: Build your pool of guest bloggers.
Recruit your friends or reach out to other mom bloggers (pick me!) to write a guest post. This will give you a blog-vacay every once in a while. To remember life exists beyond your laptop.
The MothersRest tribe of guest bloggers helps me keep my sanity. And they have an incentive to promote the blog, outsmarting Facebook’s stingy algorithms. Plus, they add a new perspective, like how to put up with your tween and other parenting minefields I have yet to explore.
Good luck! Before you know it, you’ll have your very own thriving and curious 20-month-old blog out there on the InterWebs.
Comment below or on Facebook at MothersRest with your questions. And please share your own blogging tips.
Photo credit: Lauren Mancke from Unsplash.com