So you want to start a mommy blog, huh? You aren’t the first mom to see what your peers are doing and want something to call your own. Some moms even make a decent amount of money blogging about their life experiences. Everyone gets tired of the social sites after awhile and starts to want something that is completely yours, deeply personal, and all about you and your family, a blog is a great way to do that.
Blog Set Up
Setting up a blog can be easy. While there are free sites to set up blogs, we don’t necessarily recommend those. You want to own your content and have all of the control you want over how it looks and what you can do with it.
First you’ll need a place for your blog to call home. This is literally the computer that will store your blogs files. There are a bunch of cheap web hosts around. Something cheap from GoDaddy or Bluehost should do the trick.
Choosing a domain name is tough, but you can always just keep it simple and include your family name in it. Don’t put too much effort into being too cutesy or you’ll never get started. Head to GoDaddy and start searching. Domains cost about $12 a year, so they are affordable and if you need to switch later on it’s not too big of a deal.
Content Management – WordPress
You don’t want to learn how to program at the same time, using a content management system like WordPress will allow you to log into your website and write blog posts without touching a line of code. WordPress is the most popular blogging system used by millions around the world. The best part is, most web hosts will have an easy one-click install process for WordPress already!
Choosing a Theme
Now you need to find a theme or template for your website. This is kind of like the skin that makes your blog look a certain way. Most of them are customizable and allow you to change colors and other things to personalize your blog just for your family. There are thousands of themes online or on a site like ThemeForest. Some are free, some cost money: often you get what you pay for. We’re biased of course, but you should check out our theme Family Blog that was built just for this purpose!
Blogging is an intensely personal thing. The more you do it the better you will become at it. People love to read blogs because they want to know what is going on in your life and what you are really like. You are giving someone a peek behind the curtain of what makes you and your family tick. If you open up a bit, you will be amazed at the response you get!
On social media sites it may be common to have short little blurbs about where you went over the weekend or what you ate for dinner, but we’ve found it best to do more than that with this format. Find ways to tell stories about you and your family. Give them the context, give them some detail, talk about the “characters” and the “imagery” of the story. Talk about your emotions, how did you feel, what were you thinking at the moment?
Do it Often
Everyone has a neglected blog, and that’s fine for some people. The ones that get read the most often are the ones where they don’t stop writing, each post spurs on the next one and pretty soon they develop a following of people who can’t help but read the next post and pass on your site to someone else. Keep lists of ideas for posts, always be thinking in the back of your head – would this moment make a good blog post? Write a few posts in a sitting and schedule them out over a few days or a week. The more you do it the easier it will get! Sometimes just schedule a time to sit down and write and you will find that you have something to say even when you think you didn’t!
Lots of Visuals
People are inherently visual people, especially on the web. They want to see what they are reading! Pick up your camera again and start taking pictures of the kids. Take it along on your walk or when they’re doing something funny. Don’t let those pictures rot on your memory card, use them! Make sure you pick a WordPress theme that elegantly incorporates your family photos and videos. (Shameless plug: Family Blog)
Before you begin, ask yourself what your purpose for starting a blog is! For many people, they aren’t too serious about it. They just want a fun, personal place on the web to share their thoughts and photos. For some people though, they want more. They want to rule the world. They want to make the million. Well, it’s going to take a lot of work to get there, but here are some ways you can monetize your blog.
Once you start getting visitors to your site (we’re talking like more than a hundred a day) you can start putting advertisements on your website. Until your website is really, really popular you won’t make a ton from this, but it’s always nice to get a small check just to make you feel good. Google Adsense is the easiest way to do this, they allow companies to bid for a position on your blog. They pay you cents per click, some websites even get paid 1-10 dollars for every click! Obviously the bigger the audience (and the more targeted content) that you have the more those clicks will be worth.
Companies will pay you money for helping them get new customers. If you send someone to their website and that person signs up or ends up paying them money, they will pay you! Amazon Affiliates is the most largest and most obvious example here. Lets say you are talking about your new KicthenAid and how great it is. You should link to it with your affiliate link and then anyone who ends up clicking on your link and purchasing one would earn you a percentage of that purchase price. The larger the item, the more you will make.
Sponsorships, Contests, and More
Once you have a large following, your followers are worth money. Companies will be willing to give you free items for a giveaway or pay you to talk about them in a blog post. There are thousands of ways to do this. Pay attention to what others are doing and you’ll get plenty of ideas.
Making a mom or family blog is a ton of fun and extremely rewarding. Even if it never reaches thousands it is still totally worth it. Your family, friends, and associates will love to follow along your family and their adventures. Plus, much like a journal, it always helps you to look back at where you’ve been, and where you want to be going. Good luck!