People Won’t Take Your Blog Seriously Until You Do {Guest Post}

I hear it all the time. People say things about their blog like “no one ever reads my blog” or “my blog is so small.” But really? Until you take your blog seriously, no one else will. Yes, that even applies if you are just blogging for fun and to express yourself creatively.

 

That applies even if you don’t want to work with brands. Don’t you want people who are not brands to respect your blog? Or possibly you want to do freelance writing, or write a book someday, or get a job or a gig.

 

Your blog is your online presence. If you have a blog, you are a publisher. That is a pretty big deal.

 

If your blog only gets read by your mom, you still have a reader (I would say a pretty important one).

 

So here are some tips for taking your blog more seriously (and having it show).

 

Stop Publicly Insulting Your Blog

 

First of all, don’t say negative, apologetic things about your blog, especially in public spaces like Twitter and Facebook.

 

Instead of:

 

“No one reads my blog” or “My blog is so small!”

 

How about:

 

“I love my tight-knit group of loyal readers!”

 

Stop Being Sloppy

 

This certainly doesn’t apply to everyone, but I see blogs with haphazard designs and littered with typos and grammatical errors.

  1. Clean up your design. There are some wonderful tips in a series on blog design at Mommy Words. If your blog is a hot mess (especially that sidebar), it isn’t just companies that will leave. Readers will, too.
  2. Clean up your posts. The tough thing about blogging is we don’t have editors like traditional media does. Even if English wasn’t your favorite subject in school, you can still get some help. After the Deadline is a WordPress plugin that checks grammar and spelling, or even save your post and then paste it into Word with spelling and grammar markup enabled.

And I am just going to say the unspeakable, even if it gets me haters. If your header or your avatar involves you depicted as a cartoon, I think it’s pretty hard for people to take you seriously. That is just a personal opinion of mine, but I know many others share it. If you are concerned about your face being known, consider doing a photo with your face partially obscured instead.

 

Stop Ignoring Your Numbers

 

Numbers matter, especially if you actually do want to bring in advertisers or work with companies. Be sure you are using, at the least, Google Analytics. It is free.

 

Do NOT use Webalizer or Awstats, as those stats packages record every hit (as in every image loaded, every script loaded, etc.) and those numbers are meaningless and can be ten times your actual numbers. If you don’t mind paying a small amount, I also love GetClicky and I run that with Analytics on my sites.

 

Once you know your numbers, put them together in a one-sheet PDF or on your about page. It can simply be a rundown of monthly visitors, monthly page views, Twitter followers, Facebook friends and fans, RSS feed subscribers (use Feedburner or Feeblitz if you want tracking on that), etc.

 

And be sure you have all of your basic information somewhere easy to find, such as an about page, including your contact information. I am surprised how often I find blogs where you cannot even reach the blog owner unless you comment publicly. Not good.

 

Stop Kissing Up to Companies

 

You know what is more important than getting a company’s respect? Getting your readers’ respect. Without the readers, you have no numbers to give the companies.

 

I see lots of “reviews” that are nothing but a commercial. That is not a review. When you write a post (shoot, even a sponsored post), you always need to be mindful of your readers.

 

A good review does NOT have a headline raving about the wonders of the product, but simply has the product’s name followed by review. (Bonus: that way it will also be much more likely to show up in Google search results). It has both pros and cons. It shows the reader you took the time to test it out for them.

 

I think many times bloggers fear a company will not work with them unless the review is glowing. This is not true. They have worked with traditional journalists for years, and those reviews are balanced. They also know readers do not trust a review that is nothing but sunshine and rainbows, and that readers will be much more motivated to buy if they’ve gotten the full low-down on a product.

 

Start Taking Yourself Seriously

 

Those are just a few tips that I think will help you take your blog seriously and, once you do, help everyone who encounters you and your blog take it more seriously.

 

Do you have any tips as well? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Kelby Carr (@typeamom) is the founder and CEO of Type-A Parent, a social network and multi-author magazine-style blog for digital moms and dads, and Type-A Parent Conference. A former journalist with 15 years of experience in newspapers, she is the publisher of Investigative Mommy Blogger, providing daily breaking news and investigative journalism for moms, and the author of Mom Blog SEO. She’s been geeking it out on computers since she was 10, social networking online since the 1980s, web publishing since the early 1990s, blogging since 2002 and tweeting since 2007.

 

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Having Mommy Cake and Eating It Too {Guest Post}

I adore being a stay-at-home mom, and am so blessed that my family’s financial situation affords me that opportunity. Although being a stay-at-home mom is a truly rewarding job, it is very different from having a “traditional” outside the home job. Rewards at home are measured with smiles, hugs, and kisses among other things, however I don’t have a boss giving me quarterly reviews, patting me on the back for a job well done, the ablity to work with a group on a large project, or having a celebration when I accomplish something BIG {like potty training!}.

Because of my own personal desire for the traditional rewards that a work outside the home mom gets, I decided that blogging would be something I could not only use my degree {B.A. in Communications} for, but it would allow me to be the mom I wanted to be while getting the gratification of working outside the home.

Let me first say, “What was I thinking??!?!?” It is very hard to find the home-work balance when I am both a mommy and a business woman throughout the day and into the wee-hours of the morning.

I started my first website as a way to do something different than being the domestic goddess mommy that I am, but once I realized that I could actually make some extra income doing what I love to do, I was even more excited about my future business.

Having both my 4 year old and 1 year old at home I certainly cannot devote all my time to blogging, however I am currently laying down the ground work for when they start school. That way when they’re older, I can have my cake and eat it to, I can attend my girls school events and be home for them before and after school, and have a great job that I love that’s contributing to my family.

I’m not sure if there was one particular moment that was a turning point for my blogging hobby turning into a revenue builder. I can however tell you the several moments, reasons I was able to focus on the business side of things.

I joined an amazing group of women in Social Media, moms actually, who through encouragement, personal stories, and sound advice, made me realize that what I do really is work. They helped me understand my value and that I could make money for my hard work and through my great connections.

Now I not only have two great sites that I love with all my heart, but I am bringing in income, and most importantly I have a sense of worth that comes from a place other than my girls and husband. Although it in no way compares to what my family provides for me, it’s an amazing feeling and I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life right now.

If you are considering starting a blog or even monetizing your current blog the advice I would give you would be to make sure you can devote time to developing your brand {even if you’re up way past the kids bedtime}, make sure you can balance your life with the additional work that it takes reaching out to companies and networking, and be sure to work with companies that you love, and build on-going relationships.

Relationships are key to this line of work, knowing a lot of people is great, but what is going to help you with not only business but having a satisfying life is making those true relationships and connections in any profession from stay-at-home to working mom. If you make lots of money and acquaintances, but you don’t have relationships and connections what do you have?

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Jennifer Bullock lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and two beautiful little girls ages 4 and 1. She is the founder and main contributor of MommyB Knows Best, a “hodge-podge” parenting site filled with tips, product reviews, and giveaways. On February 1st 2011 she launched The Charlotte Moms a local parenting resource site with 4 mom-xperts writing on all things Charlotte from activities to food, healthy living, deals, and home life. Jennifer is also a proud Brand Ambassador for Juice in the City Charlotte. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.
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Making It? {Guest Post}

When I think about how I got to where I am in blogging, I sit here at at times with a goofy look on my face, making Scooby Doo noises. However, when my dear friend Michele asked me how I “made it” online, it forced me to sit back and really think.

I’ve been at this game called blogging since 2002. That’s eons in blogging years and a grueling pace to keep up with…which is why I’ve also had many extended breaks. Back in 2002, I was a mommy blogger. I moved on to blogging about the craft of writing, followed by environmental blogging, some tech blogging, blogging without a niche, with a smattering of other blogs here and there, and finally back to being a mom who blogs. Try saying that really fast three times in a row.

The day I chose to turn my blogs into a business was the day it was no longer hobby. And I’d been a hobby blogger for over seven years. Sure, I had considered turning it into a business many times, but it was never the right time. Actually, it had always been the right time. However, due to a life long lack of self-confidence, I never felt I could turn it into a business. So, I watched other reach their goals and achieve their dreams. Secretly wishing someone would “find” me and offer me what I desired.

It doesn’t work out that way.

My father-in-law had two strokes and a heart attack in January 2009. In February, I lost my oldest friend to brain cancer. April gave me a six week journey into hell, watching my Grandfather, the man I called Daddy, die. A double bypass for my father-in-law in June. Losing my 22 year old cousin to a drug overdose in November.

I was sitting at home, pretending. It was better than facing my own insecurities. After all, who wants to really look at themselves in the mirror. We do to get ready, but do you ever go into the bathroom and just look yourself in the eyes? The kind of look that has you digging deep into your soul. Facing your own personal fear of failure, as well as the voices you’ve heard in the past discrediting what you were doing or wanted to do. Everything you had closed off from in order to protect yourself is right there in front of you. Raw. Exposed. Aching.

Rock bottom.

Funny thing when you hit rock bottom, you have no place to look but up. However, it’s not an easy climb out of the cavern. That was the day I decided to turn my blogs into a business and started over…from scratch.

Oh, I had A Daily Pinch, but it was time to change. If I was going to do this, I needed to be serious. Rebranding, WordPress initiation and educating myself on the more technical side of blogging.

I hated it.

After the past year, I just wanted to be on easy street. But, something told me to stop. Quit fooling myself and get to get over my pity party and get to work. And work I did. Throwing myself so far into the backend and educating myself about every parameter of blogging and social media possible. It was like the medical degree my mother has always pushed me to get, except I was doing my residency and doing everything I had learned, but in a real life setting.

I worked harder than I had in years. With my dear friend, Emili Bower, I launched Mommyality.com, rebranded Daily Pinch and built my social media reputation to an even higher level. I started working for Savvy Source, writing on assignment for My Life Scoop, MomLogic, and Savvy Source, and really showcasing myself. I think I finally realized how much I could do and my own personal value when I was invited to the #FordGreen event in Detroit earlier this year.

That being said? It’s not been easy. I prefer educating/coaching other bloggers and would love to do it for free. I give as much of myself as I can to my Social Media Moms group as my way of paying it forward and as a silent thank you to my mentor, Stefania Pomponi Butler of the Clever Girls Collective.

Yet, do I feel like I’ve made it? In a way, but there are so many avenues I haven’t explored. Yet, when I ponder those avenues, those feelings of self-doubt start creeping in. So, even though I’m a level I never thought I’d be at, I’m still working and striving for that next level. I’ll always be doing that. Pushing myself through insecurity and doubt to reach my goals…so I can truly say “I’m making it.”

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Lisa M. Frame is an over-achieving, under-organized Southern-gal. Blogging since 2002, Lisa has developed a solid community and has turned many in her Social Network into her Real Life Network. She was part of the groundbreaking #Tweeta20 featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy for social media fundraising. She is a writer, avid reader, photographer, coffee addict and best described as a whirling dervish. Lisa also has a knack for cooking memorable meals (some for the wrong reasons), lives as green as possible, and blogs about whatever comes to mind over at A Daily Pinch, while sharing the reality of parenting (and things to make it easier) at Mommyality. Most recently, Lisa started her own company, Powered by Women, determined to inspire and empower all women.

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I hope that Lisa sharing how she took breaks, gets you thinking. We all need a break every now and then. She took many breaks and feels she’s making it in this business! That is awesome since I have taken breaks and feared it would hurt my ladder climbing but you have to take care of you and family first! My question to you: do you take breaks? Don’t you think that sometimes we need to?

Same time, same place tomorrow!

Chele