Thank you so much to Erika of Musings From A SAHM for taking the time to share her blogging tips with us. I’m so excited to be featuring several bloggers over the next few weeks – real-life successful bloggers – and hearing their thoughts and tips about blogging! So, pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, and be inspired!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog:
I’m a mom blogger and I have 4 children (ages 1 to almost 9) and I homeschool. To say I’m busy is an understatement, but I love it and I don’t think I’d know what to do if I didn’t have so much going on. I’ve always loved writing so it’s only natural that I would enjoy blogging. For me, it’s an “in” to the adult world that sometimes seems so far away from my life as a stay at home mom.
As a blogger, I try to share a combination of family life but also “mom stories” and articles I know that other moms can relate to. I want to be an encouragement to help remind moms that they’re not alone and there are others going through the same struggles. I also share recipes, blog tutorials, and product reviews and giveaways.
How did you get started with blogging?
I started my blog in 2007 as a journal. I didn’t even really know what blogging was. I would write down a funny story about the kids (I only had 2 back then) or vent about a long day. Those posts are still there if you look back (I do on occasion) and it’s funny to see how different my writing style was then. Now I write knowing that others are reading, while then I never imagined anyone other than maybe my mom or a friend reading my blog.
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started because it would have saved you so much time and energy?
To remember to be myself. Blogging is such an individual thing. Just like people, no two bloggers are exactly alike but I think many (myself included) have spent too much time and effort trying to follow another blogger. That’s just not going to happen. While I’m still learning everyday, it’s been great to stand on my own two feet and, at times, do things a little differently from everyone else because I’m me.
What is your balancing secret in managing a blog and a family?
I don’t have the magic formula, believe me, and I still struggle with this. Somedays I am able to blog while other days I don’t even have a chance to open my computer. What has helped me the most is to remember what my priorities are.. As much as I love blogging, my family comes first. I try to keep that perspective when I’m feeling frustrated because my little ones just won’t nap or when the laundry is piled high. I also recently started planning out my blogging schedule and that allows me to work ahead on the weekends when my husband is home to help with the kids. That way I’m not as stressed during the week.
What is the biggest mistake you made and how did you fix it?
I think my biggest mistake happened last summer when I really started getting into the reviews and giveaways. It was a lot of fun but I quit just blogging. I quit writing about the things that mattered to me. I became impersonal and I think my readers noticed. I didn’t have anyone call me out on it, but I didn’t get as many personal comments. I also got caught up in the stats and spent more time trying to improve my stats when I should have been writing articles. And blogging became more of a chore than something I loved and I knew I had to change. Since then I’ve made a conscious effort to keep my blog real and me. It might mean turning away some opportunities (I used to say yes to everything!) but that’s ok.
What has been your best readership building tactic?
I’m not a mega blogger by any means, but there’s two things I’ve noticed: 1) keeping it personal and 2) blogging consistently. You can do one or the other but doing both together is the real key. I’ve had times where I’ve done a lot of posting but it hasn’t been personal. I may have had decent stats for that time, but I have to wonder how many of those readers were just passing through.
And consistent blogging is so important when building readership. If people can’t rely on you for new content, they won’t come back. There are so many blogs out there, they’ll just move on and find another.
What has been your most successful way to make money?
To be honest, let me just say I haven’t made a ton of money yet, so take this with a grain of salt. But I’ve noticed that I’ve begun to make more when I’m not trying to blog for money. A couple months ago, I decided the pressure of monetized blogging was too much and I would just blog for me again. Since then I’ve gotten more offers and made more money than before. Go figure. But really I think people sense when you’re being genuine or whether you’re just writing for a buck. And there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money, but if that’s all it’s about, it just might not resonate with folks as much.
What is one tidbit of advice that you would offer to a new blogger, just starting out?
Be yourself and never stop having fun. And don’t compare yourself to others. It’s great to get ideas from other bloggers, but you will never be that blogger “across the block” so save yourself the hassle of it and don’t try. Be yourself and you’ll be the next great YOU.
Still Have Questions?
Leave them in the comments below – then be sure to head over to Erika’s blog – it’s a beauty and full-to-the-brim with some great info for SAHM’s!