Thinking about starting a blog? When people find out about Two Kids and a Coupon, one of the common reactions is that they think that they want to start a blog too. I also regularly get e-mails and messages from readers asking questions about starting a site. Here’s part two of this series of what I wish someone would have told me before I started my site.
There’s More to Blogging than Just Blogging
It may sound funny or surprise you, but having a blog is a lot more than just writing. It’s networking, it’s website design. It’s social media. It’s marketing and promotions. Probably less than 20% of my time working on my site goes towards actually writing the articles here on Two Kids and a Coupon. The rest of my time is spent making connections, posting on social media like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, working with sponsors and more. There’s a lot of hours behind the scenes that goes into blogging that never shows up on the site and it does take some time to learn how to learn how to do all the different things to get your blog rolling.
Get on Social Media – NOW
The main way to grow your blog is to get social. If you are not already on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram and more, create your accounts and get on there now. This is not only a great way to draw new readers, but potential advertisers and sponsors are going to want to know how many followers you have for each of these groups so it pays to spend time to develop your following. The longer you wait, the harder it will be.
Don’t Start Your Blog Just to Make Money
While it is possible to make an income blogging, don’t create a blog only for that purpose or your readers will see right through you. Sponsors will also become hesitant to work with you if your site is nothing but advertising or affiliate links, you need editorial content as well. Be sure to offer content that has value and will give readers a reason to keep coming back.
Don’t Let Your Blog Rule Your Life
As your blog grows and begins to show some profits, it can become a bit addicting, and also time consuming. Don’t let it consume your entire life, your marriage, or your time with your kids. Know when to step away and to take a break. The world won’t end if you don’t publish every hour, or every day. Take some time to have a life too.
Let Your Family Have Fun With Your Blog
My whole family has gotten involved with the blog. The kids love product testing the toys and posing for pictures. They loving our shopping missions we have to do for different sponsors and my husband has recently started blogging for the site as well. If your children are older encourage them to help write their own reviews – it’s great practice and fun too!
Buy Your Own .com Domain
Not all, but many sponsors will not consider you serious with a blogpot or wordpress in your blog title. Plus a custom blog domain is easier for readers to remember. It’s only about $10 a year and if you’re really going to make something of your blog, you can’t afford not to have one.
Make Sure You Renew Your Domain Names
As much as we like auto-renewal and auto-bill pay, it doesn’t always work, an occasionally something gets screwed up. Make sure you know when your blog domain names are up for renewal and that you pay the fee. I have multiple web domain names that I own. They were on autopay,and while I approved payment, something happened that didn’t process the payment on one of them causing the domain to expire.Fortunately it wasn’t my primary one, but somebody still grabbed it on me. They aren’t using it, and I’m trying to get it back. It’s been a major headache and I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to get ownership again. Long story short. Know when your domains expire and make sure you renew them and save major headaches.
Other Bloggers Will Always Get Cooler Opps Than You – Get Over It
Getting a little green with envy that some of your blogging buddies are going on trips, making big bucks or going to movie premieres? Suck it up and move on. Instead of wasting time being jealous, spend that time working on making your site better to qualify for better opportunities yourself. If you want feedback and know the blogger well, ask them what they’re doing on their site that helped them get selected and if they have recommendations on what you could do to give you a chance. It will probably always seem like someone is always doing something that is cooler than what you’re doing, but what you don’t realize, is that there are probably other less experienced bloggers who are actually jealous of you. Oh… and those “cool” opps? I’ve gotten some of those and there’s usually LOTS of work involved that most folks don’t realize
Blogging is a Lot Like High School. Not Everyone Plays Nice
If you’re part of any blogging groups or forums, chances are you’ve seen at least one drama or incident or two, or maybe you’ve even had another blogger not play nice with you. While most bloggers are absolutely fabulous, just like real life, there’s always a few that, well, aren’t always aren’t so nice as well. You’re going to have a few people who are going steal your content, stab you in the back, try to swipe your sponsors and more. It does suck, but don’t get dirty and lower yourself to playing on their level. Save your tears and don’t loose any sleep over it. Trust me. Karma will come back and bite them in the butt.
You Don’t Have to Work For Free, But Occasionally it Can Pay To
Once your blog gets rolling, your inbox will start filling up daily with all kinds of stuff. You’ll start getting review opportunities, press announcements and all kinds of e-mails from companies and PR reps who want you to write about their companies for free. Obviously working for free doesn’t pay the bills, and usually for these free coverage requests I e-mail back to them with a proposal with my rates for paid posts. That way they are guaranteed coverage and it helps cover our time here at Two Kids and a Coupon for publishing it. Other stuff that is totally unrelated to our site I do just delete.
That being said, sometimes it can be beneficial to run an occasional article or two for free. When I’m reviewing e-mails and submissions that come into my inbox, here’s what I consider before I publish it on my blog at no cost.
- Is this going to drive traffic for my readers? If I know a particular topic will be a hot one will my readers I will sometimes run it because my main interest is keeping them as informed as possible.
- Is this for one of our current partners? Because we value our ongoing relationships with our sponsors, we will sometimes run releases or mentions of news for our existing sponsors. We don’t publish everything, but when it is interesting and relevant to our blog and to our readers.
- Is this going to open the door to new opportunities. Occasionally I will run a release to open the door to new opportunities with a new company or PR firm. This has helped us secure some great new partners and while we still work hard to keep this content relevant to our site and readers, it can sometimes pay to publish a press release or article because it leads to new opportunities.
Be sure to check out part 1 of this article tips for starting a blog and watch for part 3 coming soon!
What are your tips you wish you would have known before starting your blog?