This is actually a blog post about blogging. Sounds kinda silly, right? A lot of people ask me about my blog. Questions like:
- How did you get started?
- Do you receive all of the products you review for free?
- How do you make money from a blog?
- How diligent do you have to be?
Usually after answering these questions, I get responses like “wow, I didn’t know it was that much work” or “oh, that’s too much effort for me”. My 3-year blog-iversary is coming up, so I guess that’s a really good time to share some answers to these questions.
How did I get started?
Well, I gave birth to Lydia and realized that all the moms around me parented a particular way. Bouncy chairs, baby swings, formula, solids at 4 months, rice cereal, strollers, cribs, sleep training…the list goes on. I was none of these things, and I realized fairly early on that I either had to confirm to these methods or make new friends. I made new friends. However, that was not an easy task. I tried joining a meet up group called “Blissful Synergy” – that has to be a bunch of hippie moms breastfeeding their kids, right? Not so much. The play dates were okay, and I was glad to meet new people, but I didn’t feel as though I connected with anyone. As my modern-moms got pissed at my breastfeeding, cloth-diapering, delayed solids Facebook posts and deleted me, I realized that I needed to figure something out. This is when I started Huppie Mama. I needed a place to be myself, connect with like-minded mothers, and just vent. I found it here. I knew there had to be moms out there like me, who felt somewhat isolated and needed a way to connect with other moms. So, I just started writing. At first, it was maybe once a week – any time I felt inspired to do so. I asked some brands that I saw hosted a lot of reviews/giveaways on other blogs to allow me to do the same. It was a great experience early on, so I just stuck with it. A big milestone for me was purchasing my domain about a year ago and designing my own blog.
Do you receive all of the products you review for free?
For the most part, yes. Every so often I purchase something I really like, and I want to show support to that particular company, so I just choose to highlight it in my blog. Something like my ERGO carrier appears in my blog a lot because I use it frequently. Companies want you to review their products, and reviews can be used in one of two ways: to drive traffic through my blog and to take excerpts to use for marketing purposes on their end. It’s a nice relationship that bloggers can have with companies they support. Another relationship that you can develop over time is to be a Blog Ambassador, like how I am a Guidecraft Educator and Gallery Direct Ambassador. This is usually an ongoing relationship between you and the particular company you are supporting.
How do you make money from a blog?
This is something I’ve focused on greatly the past year. Since pretty much my first month as a blogger, I received free products, but only very recently have I built up enough of a following to actually make money. I attended the SheStreams conference last spring. Conferences are a great way to connect with bloggers, new and experienced, and companies. I got a lot of good ideas about how to boost myself in order to make some money. One thing that really helps is joining blogger groups. The BlogFrog, Social Fabric, SITS Girls, MomCentral, BSM Media are just a few. The one thing that I have to remember is that there are a lot of opportunities available, but in order to maintain my integrity, I need to make sure the content aligns with the vision I created for my blog. It’s great to make $250 for writing about low-fat TV dinners, but that would most likely not be a good option for my readers, so I would not participate in that particular opportunity. Values cannot be compromised for a few extra dollars.
How diligent do you have to be?
I watch my stats religiously (probably too closely). It’s important for me to monitor my traffic to be sure I maintain an optimal level of page views and unique visitors each month. Facebook has really made this a challenge now that they have reduced the amount of traffic they drive to blogs. It’s very disheartening that I have almost 1400 Facebook followers, and yet only about 100 of them see each post. And it’s probably the same 100, so I’m not reaching new readers. I try to post daily, I tweet my posts, post to Facebook, and I’m starting to post to Google+ with the hope that that will drive some additional traffic.
Blogging is a part-time job. Sure, it’s a leisure activity, too, but it’s a great way for work-at-home moms to launch their businesses, share their message, and connect with other mothers while earning some extra money. It’s not easy to start or maintain without the motivation and determination to keep it going. But as with most things – if you work hard at it, a little each day, you can be a successful blogger!
And just for fun, here are images of my original blog (before I designed it) and the sketch of my design. I think I need to do an update soon to include a preschool Lydia and toddler Bryce.