I still remember sitting in my old house, in our big "marshmallow chair" with the laptop. I was determined to create a place to write and express myself. My goal was to eventually make $100 week so I wouldn't have to waitress anymore. I had no idea how I was going to make that happen but I was determined.
Hell hath no fury like a mama starting a blog.
I googled, went on other blogs and researched how to change HTML. I was up many nights until two or three in the morning. I worked harder on starting this blog than I've worked on anything in a long time. It was a labor of love, and what was once a constant struggle (why is this in the wrong place? How do I get a link over here?) is a habit.
Since I started working as an athletics secretary my blogs have been fewer and farther between. My traffic has declined as a result. But I've held onto a nice amount of traffic and paid programs, which have been excellent extra income.
In no particular order, here is what I've learned about blogging.
1. It's work. I can't even tell you how many people assume you stay at home and do nothing. Meanwhile, I was wrangling kids, writing posts, trying to get my blog design down. If you want to get paid for blogging, you have to make it like a job. I spent two hours every morning blogging and designing and pinning on Pinterest. I went to bed late trying to get everything the way I wanted it.
I built my blog.
It's worth it.
2. There are days you don't feel like writing anything. You have no juice in the cup. You're drained. It's okay, write about that.
3. Make friends! Visit other blogs and participate in "blog hops." Get on social media. Tweet, pin, use instagram. Pinterest is my number one or two source of traffic every month. This goes along with #10, so keep reading...
4. Write a "how to" or other informational post. This was by far and away the best advice I'd ever read as far as blogging. It's great to write and tell stories, but if you want regular traffic you have to write about something people will search for. Think of what you know and tell people about it. Give them instructions on how to sew, cook, bake, clean, garden, etc.
I'm a Disney World fanatic, and the day I pinned my first post about taking kids to Disney my blog changed forever. My traffic exploded. Those Disney posts keep my blog alive even when I've ignored it far too long.
Write as many posts as you can that give information.
5. Don't expect to grow your blog overnight. You need to be patient and keep writing and designing and researching. It will happen with good content. Keep your writing crisp and don't get too wordy. Make your point and keep your passion.
6. Give your blog a purpose. What are you writing about? Try to keep a theme and stick with it. Whether it be parenting, landscaping, baking, travel, etc.
7. When you have built up some traffic, try to get involved in a publishing program or find some ads for your page. You can sell adspace to other small companies (etsy is a great place to find some smaller businesses that might be willing to pay a small fee per month for adspace) or use a service. I like being a part of a publishing company. I wouldn't have half of the writing opportunities I do if I didn't work with BlogHer.
8. Breathe. Enjoy your blog. Don't fret about traffic or comments. Every day will be different. You need to look at the big picture.
9. Stay true to your blog. Don't take paid opportunities that don't fit your message. Your readers won't be fooled. I love applying for writing opportunities that I know I can write about easily. I just did a post for Kellogg's. I love Kellogg's. My post was authentic and I was super excited to receive a package from Kellogg's a few days after I wrote it.
They wanted me to keep writing about them and their wonderful products, and in turn they sent me some serious swag.
Another reason I love being a blogger. There are many little moments that make you feel appreciated, and they keep you going.
10. Use pictures. Bright, vivid pictures keep readers. It's just like books with pictures. When people are looking to be entertained they like a visual. Try to include a picture in every post. Remember tip #3? Great pictures that "pin" well or share well on Facebook or instagram will make all the difference when it comes to attracting readers to your blog.
Use a picture editor like picmonkey to edit pictures and add text and other designs.
Most importantly, be you and have fun. Isn't that true with everything?