Start Blogging – 1: Making a Plan February 20th, 2013
One of the most common questions I am asked when I meet business mums out and about, is how they can start blogging, either alongside an existing business, as a new business or sometimes just for a hobby.
With over 4,000 ‘mummy blogs’ now registered on the Tots 100 site, and blogger communities like BritMums organising events, conferences and workshops for mummy bloggers, it seems like starting a blog is the next big thing that all mums should have a go at, alongside crafting, home baking, saving money and gardening.
Some of the top mummy bloggers have almost become household names – how many of you read Sticky Fingers, Red Ted Art, Frugal Family or A Mother’s Ramblings? We use these blogs to help us negotiate twenty first century parenting in the same way our parents used Doctor Spock.
I haven’t taught my popular Blogging for Business workshops for a while now, mainly because with a puppy in the house I can’t get out like I used to. But I have on the side, helped a few of my friends to launch and run blogs and to improve struggling ones.
So, taking the demand that still seems to be there for information about blogging, and the knowledge and experience that I have built up after nearly three years blogging, I have decided to write a regular series about starting and improving your blog.
So where to begin? The first place is for you to decide exactly why it is you want to start a blog, what it it for and who you want to read it. Consider which, if any of the following statements ring true for you:
- I want to start a blog so I can document my children growing up and all the happy memories of my family
- I have a child with a medical condition/ unusual family situation and I would like to reach out an connect with other people in the same situation
- I want to be a blogger because I want to join the blog communities and meet other mums
- I have a business and I have been told that starting a blog will help me to promote my business
- I have heard that you can make money by blogging and so I want to start a blog business
- I really only want my family and friends to see what I write – it is mainly for me
- I want my blog to be seen by the wider blog community so I can share with them
- I am/would like to be a writer so my blog is a way of getting my writing seen, by the wider world and hopefully by publishers
- I want my blog to be seen by prospective clients and to pull people into my business
- I want to be a famous blogger and my blog to be read by everybody
Those are some of the main reasons that mums give me for starting a blog – maybe you ticked some of the reasons here or maybe you have completely different motivations. But, whichever it is, you do need to get your motivation clear, because depending on where you think you are going to be going with your blog, I would give different advice on where to start.
- If you think your blog is mainly for you and family and friends that you will invite to it personally, and/or if you think your main interaction with other bloggers will be through the blogging communities,then you can easily get started by going to blogger.com, setting up a free blog and going from there.
- If you eventually want your blog to be read by people outside of your current circle, if it is for business, or for reputation or fame, or if you have ambitions to make money from it, then I would thoroughly recommend that you invest a little bit of money at the start, buy a domain name and some cheap web hosting, and set up a WordPress blog.
The reasons for going with self hosted rather than hosted on a blogging platform is that you retain full control. You can fully customise your theme, and you can control your own search engine optimisation to get your site found and indexed by the search engines.
Many new bloggers shy away from this idea, because they worry that it will be expensive to set up, or complicated, just beyond their technical competence. But it doesn’t have to be this way – you can of course pay somebody to set it all up for you, or indeed, using sites like fiverr.com you can pay somebody to do just small bits of the set up and do most of it yourself. This is the cheap and clever way – I will show you how.
Over the next few weeks I am going to be providing step by step instructions for setting up a self hosted WordPress blog and getting started with blogging. Of course if you have decided to go with blogger.com then you will be up and running before I even publish my next post, but please stay tuned – you may be interested in some of my later posts on writing good headlines, choosing and formatting images or connecting with blogging communities and social media.
And if you have a blog already, and just want to make it better, there will be some nuggets of wisdom for you too – so please bear with me while I get the new people up and running.
If you would like access to some step by step videos that will take you through the basics of setting up a WordPress blog and starting to blog, please take a look at Get Started with WordPress
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 at 10:00 am and is filed under Mums in Business, Start Blogging, Stay at Home Mum. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.