Wisdom from Mom Bloggers: Tips for First-time BloggersBabble Editors
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of bloggers here at Babble. Last fall, we launched Babble Voices, showcasing some of the standout writers that personify the blogging community’s best attributes: humor, intelligence, honesty, and heart. We rounded out the year by naming 2011’s Top 100 Mom Bloggers, and since we want to get to know them even more, we asked them a question a month for 2012. This month, we picked their brains for their number-one tip for moms who are new to the blogosphere.
Check out the top 25 answers after the jump!
Choose the name of your blog carefully … 1 of 25... Keeping in mind that you may not always want to write exclusively about stretch marks, sippy cups, and poop. Not that there's anything wrong with stretch marks, sippy cups, and poop. But if you pay for www.stretchmarkssippycupsandpoop.com, you'll establish your online presence to that persona indelibly, locking yourself into that theme. It's not an easy thing to change without inadvertently losing readers, links, or momentum. It's the same as naming a kid.
- Kate Inglis, Sweet Salty
Comment and email a lot 2 of 25Comment on other blogs. Email people you admire. Don't try to sell your blog. Try to make a connection with other people in your same boat, and mean it. The point of a blog is to be a part of an online community, and to have a good time creating new relationships. Don't get too caught up in page views and numbers of comments. Just get out there and play.
- KJ DellAntonia, Motherlode
Photo Credit: Earl Wilson for the New York Times
Don’t write anything you wouldn’t tell someone to his or her face 3 of 25The person you never expect to read your blog might just eventually end up on your site.
- Sarah Braesch, Sarah and the Goon Squad
Write for yourself, first 4 of 25Don't write to net the most comments or to be the Pied Piper of the blog world with the most followers. You'll try too hard, veer off course, and forget why you decided to blog in the first place.
- Jennifer, Bug and the Sweet Banana
Edit, edit, edit 5 of 25I write a post and then go back and delete half of it. Don't say in 10 sentences what you can say in two. This answer is an example of how not to do it. Stop talking, me.
- Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess
Know who you are blogging for 6 of 25Outsiders, family, money, creative outlet, or are you blogging so you have a record of your life for your children? Once you know what and whom you want to blog for, your blog posts will be meaningful and flow better.
- Stephanie Nielson, Nie Nie Dialogues
Be true to yourself 7 of 25Be as honest and genuine as you can. Don't expect to become wildly popular overnight. Enjoy your community. Ignore your stats. And for the love of God, don't sell out your hard-won integrity for the chance to win a measly gift card. Be strong: hold out for the new refrigerator.
- Julie Robichaux, A Little Pregnant
Read 8 of 25Not just other blogs, but books, magazines, and newspapers. The writing of other awesome writers has always been a source of inspiration for my own.
- Kristen Chase, Motherhood Uncensored
Find a blogging mentor 9 of 25When I first started, a good friend who had been blogging for a while really helped me learn the ropes. But I also emailed a more established blogger I admired (Hi Mr. Lady!) to ask her opinion about something, and she gave it to me straight. Don't reinvent the wheel — there are friendly people out there who can and will help you find your way.
- Iris Beard, The Bearded Iris
Educate yourself 10 of 25It's important to find your voice and blog truthfully, but it's also a good idea to have a fair understanding of the workings behind your blog, like SEO, how to promote posts, what plugins to use, and what widgets are. Blogging is a technology-based platform. Get educated about it first. If I could only go back in time ...
- Cecily Kellogg, Uppercase Woman
Keep it simple 11 of 25The sea is still very vast. Find some bloggers you love and get to know them. Don't try and copy anyone. Be your own cool self and realize it takes time to be found and time to develop your voice. You have to JUST WRITE.
- Amy Turn Sharp
Show, don’t tell 12 of 25I mean, "My daughter was constipated all weekend and she was sad," is just not going to paint as vivid a picture as, "We had to midwife a stuck turd the size of Grant's tomb while the baby cracked all our windows with her screaming." Sometimes I worry about blogs that seem mostly to be boring accounts of boring events. "Trader Joe's was out of dried papaya, so we had to go to Whole Foods, and they were out of it too. LOL." I worry about the people writing them, and what it is they like to read themselves. Discarded shopping lists? Although I write that and think, I'm sure I'd actually love to read discarded shopping lists. Besides, a reviewer did once call my blog, book, and entire life "plotless," so who am I to judge?
- Catherine Newman, Ben and Birdy
Understand that people who leave you nasty, hurtful comments … 13 of 25... Are just sad, miserable people living in their mom's basement with too much time on their hands.
- Joslyn Gray, Stark Raving Mad Mommy
Hone your authentic voice 14 of 25Too many times I think new bloggers can fall into the rut of wanting to emulate a blogger they truly admire. I did and it didn't work at all.
- Shay Stewart-Bouley, Black Girl in Maine
Don’t feel like you need a huge plan 15 of 25Just start! Post about anything and everything that makes you smile, even when you revisit it in a day or three. Write in a voice you'd use with your best friend. And use pretty pictures; the power of a gorgeous photograph is almost immeasurable because it can take you places you've never even dreamed!
- Gabrielle Blair, Design Mom
Turn off comment verification 16 of 25Please! When I first started blogging, it was a multi-step process for a reader to comment, and looking back, I can see how that could have discouraged people from leaving their input. I needed that input the most when I started out, so I made it as easy for people as possible. And don't worry about spammers. It's easy enough to delete those comments. Also, don't feel compelled to blog every single day. Maybe you're sick or tired or the kids are running circles around you. Then give yourself the day off, unless blogging is what is going to recharge you. Take the pressure off. Conversely, it is hard to keep up with a blog that only posts once every 6 months. By the time I read a new post, I've completely forgotten what's going on in your life.
- Elizabeth Jayne Liu, Flourish in Progress
Don’t use filler 17 of 25If you have nothing to write about, don't write! My graphic design professor used to say, "Your portfolio is only as good as your weakest piece." It's okay to choose quality over quantity. Also: leave comments on other sites. Be thoughtful and helpful. People/readers will find you. I promise.
- Michelle Boudreaux, Mihow
Get out there and play 18 of 25Write. Design. Connect. Be whimsical. Be aspirational. Be vulnerable. Don't worry about being perfect; don't worry about being small-scale. Never again will you dance like nobody's watching: this is your chance to try on all the hats to see what fits for you.
- Bon Stewart, Crib Chronicles
Your blog should always be on your terms 19 of 25Do you want a focused blog about a topic? Do it! Do you want to write about your life? Do it! Do you want to write beautiful prose about dustbunnies all day? Do it! Write about what you love and feel passionate about. If you don't absolutely love it, it will become a burden and just another task on your to-do list. Write it for you as a complement to your life. Telling your story, or the story of what it is you love, is a powerful gift to the world, and to yourself. The dirty little secret is no one will read it for a long time, and that is okay. It is best to start blogging and build up your mojo without a huge audience. As your blog content and skills build, so will your readership. Neither Rome, nor successful blogs, were built in a day!
- Alli Worthington
Decide from the start if you’re comfortable using details of your life 20 of 25Your location, kids' names, last name, etc. Once you let all of that information out, it's out forever.
- Jill Smokler, Scary Mommy
Figure out your motivation for writing 21 of 25Many people used to keep journals and then when they became moms, thought the rest of the world would care how many days, weeks, and hours your child was when they cut their first tooth. Not true. They don't care. But if you make the story funny or have a way of telling it that is unique, then maybe you're ready to start a blog. If not, just keep plugging away at your journal. I'm sure your children will love that someday!
- Kelly Wickham, Mocha Momma
Stand out from the pack 22 of 25There are a ton of mom blogs out there, and yours will need to stand out from the pack if you're going to build an audience. Weird is good. Oddball is good. Different is good. Being just like everybody else — a member of the herd — is deadly.
- Tracey Gaughran-Perez, Sweetney
Write every day 23 of 25I know that sounds crazy and impossible, but hear me out. If you take even five minutes to jot down a few thoughts or experiences from the day, at the very least you will have a great record to look back on. But, you will also be starting a great habit of writing regularly. Writing is like anything — the more you work at it, the better you'll get. It takes a while to find your voice as a writer, and if you write every day, you'll find it a lot faster.
- Heather Spohr, The Spohrs are Multiplying
Do it because you love it 24 of 25The people who end up famous and/or making money are the ones who do it for the right reasons and because they don't know how not to, not the ones who had a business plan. Trust me.
- Mir Kamin, Woulda Coulda Shoulda
Remember it’s worth it 25 of 25You may not ever get above 100 hits per day, but the record you'll have of your ups and downs, the unbelievable things your child did, and the soon-to-be-forgotten memes you thought were hilarious for a day and a half will be priceless. Mostly for you, but maybe also eventually for the child(ren) at the center of it all.
- Eden KennedyFussy
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Missed hearing from your favorite mom blogger on the top 100 list? Check back next month on MomCrunch, when more of our favorite moms reveal the greatest gifts blogging has brought them (spoiler: much more than a Walmart giftcard)!