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I have a confession… I purchased the web domain for Mom’s Balanced Life in January of 2016; I didn’t do much with it until September of 2016. I had visions of my well-behaved children and I enjoying our days and my new career of being a blogger fulfilling the dream of all dreams. In this illusion, I had time to clean and prepare wonderful meals. Then I had a reality check. Not a burst your bubble sort of check, just one that would require more work than I had originally anticipated.
Before officially launching, I read so many articles on blogging. How to blog, how not to blog, and of course how to make money blogging. I was trying to soak up all the information I could before really jumping in feet first. Now, I regret not jumping in then doing all the research. I was terrified. I was scared of the critics, I was not thrilled about working with something so foreign like analytics and to be honest I was just plain nervous. I would compare it to starting a new job except you have no one training you; other than the amazing resources you find online. I know I jammed more blogging information into my head than necessary. To the point where I get lost in my blogging thoughts and I bounce around too much. This post is only to share my personal struggles, not to deter anyone from chasing their dream of being a blogger.
Blogging is more than just writing
When Mom’s Balanced Life was just a pipe dream; I thought it would be all about the writing. My thought process was if I produced the content then everything else would just line up. Content is super important, but the part that is difficult for me personally; finding the time to write good, quality content. I want to put my best work out there. There are seven billion people in the world; I want to make sure I am writing on topics that people want to read while still being true to myself. The content is just a portion of the blogging life. It’s about marketing, technology, social media, and getting to know your audience.
Finding your own balance with life’s curve balls and chasing your dreams is required for blogging. You want to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons and make sure you are willing to make the sacrifices needed in order to grow your business.
Mom’s Balanced Life is still an infant as far as the blogging universe is concerned. It has only been live since October 2016. The strategy to having a successful blog is a slow and steady course. I am learning to find a good balance with my own full-time job, family, and passions. If you are still working full-time like I am, check out my post on how to balance your full-time commitment and side hustle.
Social Media is a must
When I began dreaming of the blogging life, I chalked up social media to being a quick little tool that helps get the word out. This is only the tip of the iceberg! I opened my Instagram account, switched my Pinterest to a business account and figured I was done.
Nope! Not even close. To date, I haven’t created a Facebook account for the blog because of time limitations. I want to keep going on content and managing the social media I currently have. I don’t want to get more behind and lose on the quality of my content. However, I have joined some Facebook groups who are all amazing! I am meeting so many people and learning from other bloggers! Check out this list from Drink Coffee and Prosper for a great list of Facebook Groups for bloggers.
Pinterest has fast become one of my top traffic systems. Group boards are a neat tool. I had no idea they existed until I took the Blog By Number Course by Suzi at Start a Mom Blog. These are huge! If you haven’t started utilizing group boards you really should.
A couple of my favorite group boards that I am a part of
Marketing is different and a little more complicated
Having a brick and mortar business requires marketing in the traditional sense. You get the word out about yourself through phone books ads, ad space on Facebook, business cards and word of mouth. Blogging is more about a formula so to speak. I am still getting mine down but learning SEO is one of the biggest tricks I am learning.
When you look up all the “how to’s “of blogging many of them suggest using social media as your marketing tool. However, you also have to consider SEO as a part of marketing as well as your Google Analytics. These all show the peaks and valleys of your blog’s traffic. You then can use the information to figure out your audience and if your social media tactics are working for you.
Check out my Blogging Tips and Tricks board on Pinterest for sources on both analytics and using SEO.
Learning Word Press can be intimidating
When I said blogging is like learning a new job and your trainers are online and via email, this is what I was really talking about. I love working with Word Press, it’s not too terrible regarding drafting up posts, pages and tweaking your theme. I went into Word Press blind, so to speak. I didn’t realize what I was looking at for awhile. This especially included plugins, editing theme appearances, uploading media and so much more.
The writing part of blogging is the fun part. Getting to know your word press and all the techie gadgets can be a bit daunting, but don’t let it push you away. Jump in and then do your research. Seriously, there is so much out there written for bloggers by bloggers. It’s an amazing community to be a part of.
Blue Host offers up youtube tutorials for many of your questions and the more you work in the back end of your blog the quicker you will pick it up. You can also check out all the blogging courses out there and see if there is something that jives with you. The best courses are the bloggers who started out just like us!
Sometimes inspiration doesn’t happen
I think most of December and a good portion of January I spent hoping for topics to just hit me. Then I would create an amazing masterpiece that you would want to read and BAM! Work all finished. This was my idealistic point of view. I love writing, I love that I have an outlet other than my journal to write in. I am a fan of doing research for the really in-depth pieces and writing from my heart all the time.
Inspiration doesn’t happen like I thought it would. In my reality, it hits at 2 am when I get up with a toddler or right as I am about to fall asleep and my mind is clear. Other times, it hits on my way home from work or something just speaks to me from the radio. While other times I end up with a sort of writer’s block or I get distracted from my blip of a thought and then POOF! Inspiration gone.
I just learned about batching and this week is my first hand at it. I got up and wrote down 5 topics for blog posts (didn’t schedule) just things that I have been thinking about. Then, sat down and worked on all the blog posts. I have no idea where this has been all my life, but it helps! I have been able to get through all the rough drafts, editing, and graphics. Through it all I was on task and able to stay focused. It’s been quite the feeling.
I wrote How to Balance a Full-Time Gig and Side Hustle and talked about being a better planner. I was doing pretty good with scheduling graphic creating, writing and editing before until some crazy life changes happened. Hence, trying the batching and so far so good. You should try it if you aren’t already!
Blogging is the hardest job you will ever love
There are few careers in life that you can thoroughly enjoy and feel passion about in the same regards as blogging. There are few careers where you can reach an audience like you can through blogging. But all the hype about how tough blogging is? It’s all true, every word of it. It’s tough but it is awesome too.
I have hit a wall a couple of times of being frustrated and feeling somewhat self-conscious about my writing and blogging skills. I also tend to be hard on myself and a bit of a perfectionist with getting everything done that day. Then I got tired of the self-doubt and the negativity living in my head; I wrote Embracing My Hot Mess Mom-ness and knew I would love writing no matter what was happening in my life.
All the early mornings and late nights are so worth it when I know I am chasing my dream and I am (hopefully) making my mark on this world. This blogging gig is tough for sure, but if you have a love and a passion then you will move forward, past the road blocks, and embrace the journey as a challenge you are taking on!
What have you loved about blogging? What surprised you the most?