It’s hard to believe that my 6 month blogiversary was last week! In some ways I feel like I have been doing this for years and in other ways I feel like I just started yesterday. I have had a lot of successes in the past 6 months, all of which I am very proud. But, at the end of the day I am still a total newb who is just trying to navigate her way through this crazy blogger life.
This corner of the internet started out as a hobby for me, an outlet. And, in many ways it still is. It’s something that is mine and only mine. I get to experiment, express, and engage. It’s a labor of love, for sure. All of that said, I’ve made some mistakes along the way and discovered a few things.
Research First. I started this blog on a whim at 10:00pm on a random Wednesday night. I thought all I had to do was buy a domain and start a WordPress.com account. Wrong. I should have started out with with a self-hosted site through the WordPress.org site (yes, they’re different). I’m limited in my plug-in and analytic abilities because of this mistake and will soon start the process to move to a self-hosted site.
Choose Your URL Carefully. You might have noticed that the name of my site is Memoirs of a Working Mom but my URL is workingmommemoirs.com. At 10:00 on a Wednesday night I didn’t think that was a big deal; I thought memoirsofaworkingmom.com was too long. What I found was that all I did was cause a bunch of confusion and it’s probably hurt my traffic. A new URL will be coming soon, too (when I move to self-hosting).
It’s Okay to Experiment until you figure out what works for you. There are things that I posted 6 months ago that are no longer on my blog or my Instagram feed because they ended up not flowing with everything else. I thought I was going in one direction and my “brand” would be one thing but the more and more I dove in, I organically went a different direction. In many ways, I’m still trying to figure out what my “brand” is. For example, I at first thought that my focus would be on working moms and my struggles. What I found once I started writing is that at the end of the day, every kind of mom struggles with the same things. So, while my angle may slant towards working moms (because I am one, after all), I try to relate to all moms. Because we’re in it together. Some of my “experiments” flop. Badly. And that’s okay. I learn from it and move on.
Don’t Underestimate the Amount of Work that goes into blogging. Again, I started this as a hobby but once I realized I could help supplement our family’s income while doing it, I jumped right in. Because why not, right? But holy moly, y’all. I haven’t slept in 6 months. No joke. Remember how I said it’s a labor of love? Yeah, Team No Sleep over here. There are so many things I want/need to do to boost my readership and reach but just don’t have the time to do it. Blogging is time-consuming work.
Other Bloggers are a Huge Help. I have no idea where I would be or how much my blog would have grown if it wasn’t for the help and support of other bloggers such as Mindy Fewless, Jeeyoung Dubs, Chanel Van Reenen, Brittany Ashmore, Jaclyn Kent, and so many others that have helped in big and small ways. Since I started, these amazing ladies have each provided meaningful support in different ways and and I’m so grateful! Take a moment to encourage other bloggers; it goes a long way.
Read Other Blogs. This should be a no-brainer but, honestly, I didn’t read a lot of blogs before I became a blogger (probably why I learned #1 and #2 the hard way). Other bloggers can be a great wealth of information and inspiration. That said…
Stay Genuine. People can spot a “fake” blogger easier than a fake handbag. Don’t be a cheap replica of someone else, be the real version of you. I say this because it’s easy to get overwhelmed and to compare yourself to the successes of others. I often find myself wishing I had “so-and-so’s pageviews” and “so-and-so’s feed” or engagement rate or brand sponsorships or writing ability (you get the picture). It’s easy to want to replicate what works for others. It’s easy to want to “Keep Up with the Joneses.” But I’m here to tell you that someone out there is trying to keep up with you. Don’t be a cheap imitation. Be you. Success will come.
Know Your Worth. The ladies mentioned above have taught me that even if you don’t have the highest number of pageviews or the most followers or the flashiest collaborations, your time and your work is valuable. Time is all we have in this world, my friends, and yours is worth more than you may think. Assert yourself as such and don’t settle for less.
Pinterest Matters. Don’t ignore it. If you want more traffic to your site, create high-quality pins and pin them often. I made the mistake of focusing on Instagram and while that is a good source of traffic for me, I am totally missing the boat by not actively focusing on Pinterest. Now I feel like I’m playing catch-up.
It’s Okay to Take a Break. I owe this lesson to Chrystie Vachon, who probably doesn’t realize she’s my blogging mentor (she’s everyone’s, isn’t she?!). If I have nothing to post, I don’t post. I’d rather post nothing than something I threw online just because I felt like I needed to.
Bonus Lesson: Blogger Drama Exists. Avoid it at all costs. I’m happy to not have been involved in any yet and hope to never be, but I’ve seen it and it isn’t pretty. Avoid.
And, in case you’re wondering, here are my 5 Most Viewed posts to date:
- Dear Stay-at-Home Mom
- I Held You Too Long Today
- Dear Working Mom
- 10 Tips for Pumping at Work
- Why I Don’t Share My Kids’ Faces Online
So, tell me – are you a blogger? If so, what lessons have you learned? If you’re not a blogger, what have you noticed in your reading of blogs? What do you like? What do you hate? Tell me below!