Welcome to Day 1 of No Blog to Pro Blog, a 90 day course series on how to open a blog
When I first became a blogger, making money online was few and far between. Sure, there were huge successes like Jon Chow in niche markets and big mom bloggers like Dooce, but actually making a living from home was few and far between. Comparatively, new bloggers now are so inundated with how “easy” it is to make an income because “everyone is doing it” that it may feel scary when that buck doesn’t happen immediately. Truthfully it took the same amount of work in 2008 when I came on the scene as it does now with the exception being that the tools are in place for you to learn a lot quicker. Since the beginning is always the best place to start, let’s just be honest. It took almost 3 years before I had what we could call a “decent” at home income.
I had spent more than 2 years struggling to get my business (ie blog) off the ground and was frustrated by my growth. It started out slowly, making just about $30 a month, then I managed to move it to $100, then $500 and then $1000. By that time I wondered if I could make blogging a full-time business and create an income right from my home. Could it be $5K a month? 6K? 10k? What was the limit??
I’m here to tell you I did crack the code. And so can you.
By using these proven steps and FREE blogging course to build your blog, I feel confident you will be able to create your own successful blog as well. Keep in mind when you are going through these 90 days to a professional blogger that you can go back to the beginning at any time. There is no right or wrong way to begin being a blogger, regardless of the impression you may get from others or the media. The articles you are getting ready to embark on are just as valuable as any paid course you will find online under any other bloggers name. I started with a computer, an office, and 1 child at home. I am now in a bigger office, 2 computers, a laptop, 3 IPads, 2 kids at home and a very profitable and FUN business. The work didn’t get easier, but it’s now routine and real life and one that makes me feel proud.
If you have the time and passion you can be successful online!
I think when we all start blogging we have a goal in mind and that goal can seriously vary from person to person. We are of course individuals and all have a very different reason for being online. We may be just wanting to connect with others, share a story, expand on a hobby, or the biggie that I hear quite often, create a steady income.
Wouldn’t it be nice to work with home? I know it’s something many people, especially moms, dream of. To sit in our cushy comfy house, take frequent pee pee breaks in a toilet that is cleaned more than once a month and be here to raise our kids, all while bringing home the bacon.
Cooking the bacon while bringing it home. I kill me.
As someone that creates a full-time income from home, I can tell you that while the money can be good, the hours are long, you will never have to be more disciplined in your life to get things done and you do a lot of waiting. You wait for PR, you wait for other bloggers, you wait for trips, you wait for ads, you wait for products to arrive, you wait for sponsorships, you want for contracts, you wait for an email, heck, you even wait for inspiration. And in all that waiting, if you are any good and take your job seriously, you are out there gunning it every minute. Your pee pee breaks are infrequent, your twitter, facebook, networking and blog lists are long, and you work hard. Nose to the grind hard.
And if you are capable of all that…you can start.
Day #1: No Blog to Pro Blog
It happens every day. You hear of a mom blogger that you never knew existed and she is now everywhere and you wonder, now how do I do that?
What does she have that I don’t have?
Marketing online can be quite scary in a sea of thousands upon thousands of blogs. Finding where you belong can seem a daunting task. While I don’t know a specific number, I would venture that just as many blogs are abandoned as start up on a daily basis.
A blog, much less a successful blog, can be quite a bit of work. Let me re-phrase…there is no “can be” a blog, even once successful, IS a lot of work.
Here are a few tips to ease the burden and give you some food for thought while creating your blog:
1) Define success: This goes back to when you were a child and your parents asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up. Have some goals to define what success is to YOU. For some, that may mean monetization. For others, comments. For still others, contacts and opportunities with companies are where they are happy. Generally, are all of those things interact with each other on some level, but you will need to know which is most important to you in order to outline how you will achieve it.
Simply put, you can’t move towards something if you don’t know where you are going.
One thing I caution against, especially as a ‘newbie’, is to define who you are based on your traffic. This is a mistake that PR makes as well. Building up a steady flow of inbound visitors takes links, google love, interesting content, social networking, and time. If you check your statistics every moment, they are very likely to frustrate you and cause you to lose focus. Checking once a few times a week is more than enough to stay on track and gauge your growth. And when you check it should never be about just looking at a hard number, but also diving into what your visitors are reading, how long they were there, if they went from one page to the next and to track your google words.
2) Find your niche (otherwise know as you can’t do it all/be it all): There are moms out there that write books, moms that do speaking engagements, moms that solely work on their blogs, and that is great, but I will tell you this:
You can’t do it all.
You can try, but you will either:
b) be stressed, overwhelmed, or family-less
The point is to find what YOU are good at it and stand out in that area. If you see a successful cooking blog, don’t create a knock off cooking blog thinking you can emulate the success of that person. Your heart must be into whatever you bring to the table.
Success for the sake of success will ultimately leave you unhappy and unfulfilled.
3) Your visitors should know what to expect: Having consistent online writing schedule lets your returning visitors know what to expect from you. Do you publish MEMEs on Monday, content on Thursday, contests on the weekends? Whatever you do, try to create an expected schedule that proves to your visitors that you are an active blogger with content. If you sporadically post, you will receive sporadic traffic. Bloggers should try to post at least once a day, but I strongly encourage more than once a day when you are just starting out.
Additionally, don’t get so caught up twittering, Facebook-ing, Pinterest-ing, and marketing that you fail what sent you there in the first place: Your blog. They are great out there on social media highway, but when you show up to their blog you are thinking…am I in the right place? Project the same image out there in the big wide world as you do on your blog itself.
4) Don’t try to be someone else: This is one of the biggest mistakes I see newbie bloggers make online. You see someone creating an empire and you think, “I want to be THEM”. In my opinion, that’s the surest way to get on the wrong track. It’s OK to admire someone, enjoy their site, learn from something exciting they do or watch for tips on what makes them so successful, but trying to copy someone is tacky and will prove pointless. I often get people copying my posts just for traffic sake…
You are YOU.
Shine at it.
5) Don’t spread yourself too thin: There is a lot you can do online- but it doesn’t mean you should do it. You can’t be in an online meeting all day. Once you get into the blogosphere, you realize that social networking can really take it out of you. So can reviews, giveaways, marketing, blogging, interacting, twitter parties, blog carnivals, digging, stumbling, pinning and more.
I also discourage new bloggers from opening 6 blogs. Or 5 blogs. Or even 2 blogs. Find a blog, stick with that blog, and grow that blog. To put time and effort into 2 sites online that are brand new, with an exception of a few special people, will generally end badly. There will be very few people, especially new people, that can start and grow more than one blog. In my opinion, it’s much better to concentrate and learn from one blog before deciding if you need two, but if you can do it, open up as many as you can handle. Some do make a success out of it, but it just isn’t for me!
6) Be realistic: While I strongly encourage goals and am a firm believer that nothing is unachievable, be realistic. 1.2 million visitors 30 days after opening your blog isn’t realistic. At least it wasn’t back when I started blogging. I have to add a brag moment and say that I have achieved over a million a month, I know hoards of people that have double that, but it does take work and time and effort. Do not beat yourself up over what can seem like a trickle of traffic. Even a blog with smaller traffic can have quite a bit of success online.
7) It takes Time: Longevity and perseverance are a bloggers best friend. While there can be short term success and even viral rewards, to gain a long-standing and interested audience takes time. Think of your blog visitors like friends. You don’t just rush into a slumber party with someone you met at the park. It takes time and consistency to build your social media accounts, to build an email list, to build an audience. And in today’s blogging world (2016) things have vastly change from 2008. People are less interested in reading huge long pieces of material and more often in glancing, grabbing tidbits and memes, and looking at images. Quite frankly, in today’s content society, they have short attention spans and need small short videos and quick teachings.
That being said, get to know your readers, respond to them in the comments, visit their blogs if you can, engage in online meet-ups amongst other bloggers- all of this takes time and is not done overnight. I have traveled to conferences, spent time on the phone with bloggers, attended many online meetings, skyped, IMed, and more! My most powerful relationship has been the forums however. When you can real time chat all day, you get to know bloggers outside their articles and view them as real people.
8 ) Give something back: Your blog will start to advertise yourself via Word of Mouth (the best advertising possible!), if you consistently give back. Now I don’t mean start up a charity and become the Mother Teresa of bloggers. I mean provide something that gives back to your visitors. Create content that is useful, share knowledge, guide those that have questions, provide a skill, a laugh, a tip.
9) Don’t be a blog snob. Every person has something to offer if you take the time to talk to them. There are plenty of women online that won’t talk to you if you don’t fall in their crowd. Don’t be that person. Yes, there are bloggers that partake in mini clubs, but MOST are amazing and will take the time to allow you in if you are as kind and open as they are.
Considering that blogging is a relationship with your readers, there is nothing worse than an unreachable blogger.
10) Find your tribe: Being an online leader takes time, patience, and oh, time. It also takes creativity, personality, and time. Did I say time? For those that cannot lead, you don’t exactly need to follow, but you do need to belong. Find a crowd that shares your same visions and goals and gives you feedback on your site. There are hoards of online forums, groups, chat rooms, and social networking opps for you to research. I host one on MomDot and it’s a private group. Feel free to friend me on my personal Facebook account and then message me and I’ll add you.
Having a strong community around you will allow you learn from others and grow your own brand at the same time.
11) Individualize: There are two things that will sink your ship online quite quickly.
One is zero original content and the other is zero originality.
Your blog, much like your clothing, is a reflection of what you are putting out first. It’s the impression they have of you when they surf in. Don’t be afraid to ask others what kind of impression your blog gives.
- Is it friendly?
- Easy to read?
- Does it entice your visitors to stay longer?
- How is the load time?
Take the criticism and then ultimately decide what works for you.
One of my biggest pet peeves is to visit a blog that looks like everyone else’s blog. While not everyone can afford to hire someone to create a blog, if this is your craft, your goal, your dream, it’s important for you to start learning a little CSS and HTML. The most memorable blogs I have seen have been custom designed or tweaked for the bloggers usage. A cookie cutter out of the basket template that has had a few color changes and a graphic splattered on the top isn’t the best way to stand OUT from the crowd. Sure, a lot of blogs that preach about SEO and design will say design doesn’t matter and part of that is true. Today’s world is mainly mobile and that strips nearly every pretty CSS and unique interface you have set up, but a nice blog impresses PR and also makes you feel like it’s your personal home and business.
My advice is to find features on a variety of templates that you like, open up a test blog with some fake content and start working on combining templates for your usage.
Content is only part of the equation. Adding real life pictures, quotes, quirks that are YOU and only YOU is what fundamentally paves your road to success.
To continue on your way to creating an online blog, I have included a 90 day outline so yo uknwo what to expect every few days on MomDot. You can start with
Now that you are excited about this journey, its time to do some homework!
Day 1 Homework:
1. Decide your “Why” and write it down. You will come back to this often both for help and inspiration. I have created a simple printable that you can easily print by clicking on the image or link below. How you fill this out is up to you. You can write down paragraphs on how making money from home would change your life or the dreams you have that could be fulfilled. Maybe it’s just words that mean something to you or cut-outs from magazines. I would also love to SEE your goals filled out, so feel free to send them to me email@example.com so we can talk about how getting your blog off the ground would make you feel.