Bloggin for Beginners
Blogging has been one of the most rewarding things I have started. It has been an outlet to help me overcome my difficulties and the overwhelming emotions that have come with motherhood. When I was pregnant and right after I had Marleigh, I found myself reading countless blogs and loving all the different perspectives that everyone gave. Although it could get overwhelming at times, it was such a helpful tool when I was at a crossroads. I would take all the information I had learned and see what fit best for me. I have always loved journaling and expressing my emotions through writing. I created this blog to share my journey into motherhood, be a resource for other new moms, and vent and let out my emotions rather than bottling it up. I want a positive platform for mothers to come and see the joys of motherhood but also see the frustrations without getting into a negative mindset. Motherhood is hard - but it doesn’t mean that the hard times outweigh the good. I found so much through this platform. I have found friends in the social media world that have impacted my motherhood journey, I have found products that have made my life 10x easier, and I have been able to make an impact on other mothers around me. Nothing is more rewarding than receiving messages from total strangers thanking me for sharing my experiences and helping them with theirs.
So, you want to start a blog? I might not a blogging guru (still discovering the world of blogging myself) but I can share how I have started to flourish in the blogging world and you can too. (I don’t fully have all the answers on how to make it big in the blogging world, but I can help you with dipping your toes in the water before you take the plunge!)
A question I asked myself in the beginning was can I be a blogger and still devote most of my time to my child and family? YES YOU CAN. Although I have not made this my full time job, as my blog grows, the time I commit to this grows too. I don’t let it interfere with my time being a mom. Until this becomes a main source of income for me, I look at it as a hobby. I will wake up early, stay up late, or sneak away while she is napping and spend time on the blog. It is all about time management. Just remember the time you put will greatly affect what you get out of it. If you want to work hard and make it a job like other mothers, be prepared to put in the time and effort to get there. I have noticed in the past few months, the more time I dedicate to my blog the more it grows and the more my insights rise.
Okay now that you know you can start the blog, here are some tips to help you get started:
Find your niche.
You will hear this from everyone. It is great to have a platform that you can see what your focus is. This attracts people to your page because they know what they can find there. If you question if you feed is cohesive and works together, ask your family and friends to check it out. Ask them “what does it look like my posts focus on?” If they state what you are trying to showcase, then you are doing great. I will always ask my sisters for advice on a post. For example, my focus is all things motherhood, military, and lifestyle on a budget. My main focus is motherhood, but I do have some things that focus on military and being relatable as your everyday mom. You can focus on travel, food, home decor, education, animals, fashion, etc. Whatever you’re passionate about, make that your niche. It is so much easier to share things about a topic that you can relate to. When you pick your niche, don’t make it so narrow. I like to discuss my journey in motherhood because it allows me to kind of branch out a little. I don’t ever find myself running out of topics because it is broad, even though it is all under this same umbrella. For example, as a family we like to travel. Even though my platform is not solely traveling, I can tie it into motherhood and lifestyle. If you choose fashion, I would recommend not focuses solely on one brand or style but fashion as a whole because you might get in a rut if you run out of content.
Plan your content
This help with time management, planning, and being prepared. To grow in the blogging world, you need to be consistent with posting. One blogger that I follow talked about how she posted something every day for 5 years to help her grow. This consistency helped her create a platform, make a fan base, and grow. There are times where I am like “SHOOT, what am I going to post tomorrow?” I really try to avoid this by having items planned out. If I can do a weeks worth of content in advance, then I am gold. I will get all my pictures ready, captions prepared, and so on and so forth. If I have an idea come to me, I keep a list in my notes to jot them down and go back to it when I am working on my content. So, yes, make sure you keep your ideas somewhere so you can go back to them and build content around them. If it is your idea, it is much easier to produce content with it.
Plan photo times
This is my favorite part- the photos. I am always taking photos of my daughter. However, I try to set time aside to do lots of photos to have content ready. Whenever my husband has a day off, I will get some outfits ready, get some ideas written down, pick a few locations, and we will go take lots of photos to keep them on hand when I need them! (As I type this, he is sitting next to me rolling his eyes. I don’t think he particularly loves being an insta-husband but he supports me and takes one for the team!) Having lots of photos help with content for posts.
ENGAGE ENGAGE ENGAGE
The whole point of this social media community is to connect and engage. I make it a point to create a community in my following by engaging in their work. I want to be as a real as possible with my followers. It gets crazy as your following grows, but its worth it to leave comments on friends photos, message them and reach out, and make yourself available. Now don’t go and comment randomly everywhere, really engage with your comments. Make these connections because that is what this is all about. I am always trying to make connections! It also keeps friends coming back to your page because you are being your most authentic self. This is also in your posts as well; Make sure your captions are captivating and something that followers can engage with. Use a questions, have some type of action to go along with your post, and then when they comment engage back. The key is to be genuine when you are responding and commenting. Also, speaking of engagement…. my favorite thing is to do polls and quizzes in Instagram stories. I have learned so much about my viewers and I have told them so much about me through this and met people through these!
The more platforms, the better.
So I have a personal blog (the one you are on now), my instagram, a twitter, and a Pinterest. I keep them all connected and on brand. I started with my Instagram and blog. My sister had a blog so we combined our websites together. This was easy for us to collaborate together and make it easy for viewers to find us both. You can start your blog by purchasing a URL, or you can even find places to start a blog for free. I know many friends use squarespace or Wordpress. Choose your preference. Blogging can be tough at first online because you have to learn the website and all the features that boost your presence in search engines. This is something I am learning everyday myself to make it easier to access my website. There are still things that relate to my blog that I am just learning but that is all part of the growing process. As you get a better understanding, you can even link your blog, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. This helps spread your content and reach new people like a well oiled machine. If you are good at creating videos, start a Youtube channel, a Tumblr, a snapchat, etc. The more platforms you have connected, the more you are going to be able to reach out and get a bigger audience. Don’t go so big and get them all at once and then let things out of control. Find the one that is easiest for you and then grow. Many friends started with their Instagram, then a blog, and are now becoming vloggers.
Be authentic, be genuine, be yourself
Believe in everything you post and let your colors shine. When I first started I would put on my blogging face and hide my goofy side. I would do things I thought people would want to see. Don’t try to be something you’re not. Just be yourself and have fun with it. Your true followers will love it. I started letting that goofy side of me come out in my Instagram stories as I became more comfortable with using the platform and so many people would engage and interact with me. I am not going to lie videoing yourself can be very awkward, especially in front of people but it gets easier. Be yourself, be genuine. People will really notice and then love the real you. We’re human though - and not every day are we happy and bubbly like most days on our stories. That is okay - most people get that. On those days, I am open and honest and let my followers know I am in a funk and that’s why I am quiet on my feed.
If you have questions, feel free to ask. I may not be the biggest blogger in the world, but I am always learning and willing to help others and support friends that want to dive in and become a blogger. I started a blog to make connections and share my stories and if you feel that you are called to do that too, DO IT. Heck, maybe you can teach me a few things along the way too.