Nov
19
2010

Blogging 101: This Is How I Did It

Know how to write,

write it well and love what you do.

No one cares about what you made for dinner unless it caused you to set your house on fire.

I’m going to say that for some reason I think this subject is taboo.  This is what people pay the big bucks for in order to go to and learn these things at conferences.  I could be wrong but it seems like blog training is like talking about salaries -  you don’t do it.  I’m going to do it. I’m sick of emailing it.  Now I can refer everyone who asks to this post and get page views out of it. :D

I have NO IDEA how I’ve gotten my following. I think it’s the way I talk to people.  If you haven’t noticed, I’m not your typical mommy blogger. I don’t even have time to find followers, it just happens (except when I can do a giant email blast.  I did that for Facebook). As for blog monetization, I get asked that constantly so I’m going to take a second and tell you what I did and save myself a lot of time.  I get about a dozen people a week asking me and I have an email I saved.  This is pretty much it, with alterations.  You might be a successful blogger who thinks my methods are total shit but they worked for me.  I started out scared and alone, thinking all blogs consisted of mom’s posting pictures of their kids (I actually had one of those just for my  family) and now I own my own LLC corporation and do fairly well for myself.

First off, it’s best to get a self hosted wordpress or blogger blog and buy your own domain name. If I created a momspective.blogspot.com, someone could easily have gotten momspective.com and could rip me off.  I hate Blogger.  I’ve logged into my friends accounts to do things for them and even though I understand it, I hate it.  Loathe it. I think WordPress allows for easier blogging, design and manageability. Starting your own website can be costly though like buying the domain space and the .com, .net and .org and anything people could use to confuse people into thinking their you,  but do what you are comfy with.

Blog design is KEY. You need to look professional. Just look at some good ones (*AHEM* mine) and see the things they have in common. Also, Google everything you want to know. I started blogging with no concept and taught myself everything. Photoshop, HTML, web design…you can do anything you want to if you Google it.

Backing up, you need a good name.  A really creative one.  You want it short and memorable.  If you have www.mysupersuperlongdomainname.com, no one is going to remember that.  If your blog name doesn’t match your domain name, no one is going to remember and you might be driving traffic somewhere else.  When I first started, I was CoolMomGuide.com.  That’s now my corporation name.  There’s another site that’s way older than me and it’s a COMPLETELY different type of site and our visitors were getting all kinds of twisted up.  It look be about two days to come up with Momspective.  I don’t even like my blog title but I am a mom and I have a skewed perspective so it fits me.  It’s not just a blog name.  It’s ME.  I am Momspective now.  I am my own brand.  I have a trademark pending (they take FOREVER and cost A LOT).

Don’t forget you have to pay for someone to host it.  I used GoDaddy to start and they were fine until the day after my birthday when I was nailed with three viruses in two weeks that cut my numbers in half.  I wholeheartedly suggest using Lagniappe Marketing (http://lagniappemarketing.net/).  They are attentive, affordable and you’re not one of the masses.  They pay attention to detail and you’re sure to develop a fantastic working relationship.  Also, and this is important, you can tell them what you’re looking to do (integrate Facebook. Twitter and Google ranking) and they will apply the plugins necessary to do it.  They monitor your database to keep it clean and they are perfect for blogging beginners that just need their blog to be networked properly. They are NOT paying me to say this.  I pay THEM to host me.  What does THAT tell you?  That I like using CAPS?

You’re going to set up a feed so people can follow you.  There are so many ways to get people to visit your blog, you can’t just rely on Feedburner to check your stats anymore.  People might choose to read you through Networked Blogs on Facebook or Google Friend Connect – make sure you set all of them up and put them on your page.  I have absolutely no idea what my numbers are.  I never look.  I happened to accidentally see my page views the other day and did a happy dance but I won’t go back there to look again.  If you have a spike in numbers you might put too much pressure on yourself and if you don’t have good numbers you might give up.

Please for the love of *insert worship of choice here* just moderate your comments.  CAPTCHA is like blog DEET.  Countless people won’t bother commenting on you if you use it and I know people who won’t revisit a blog that uses it.  I also don’t want to do math so cut it out.  That’s why WordPress is better.  Get the Akismet SPAM plugin.   It works.  I rarely get SPAM in my comment section and I always scan the spam section throughout the day before I delete it to ensure no real comments went there.  I use monitoring as a tool to make sure I return comments.  Every time I approve a comment, I open up a new tab with that person’s blog and I always comment back.  I took a survey once and every blogger said they’d prefer a random comment back over a comment within the email or via email.  We all want traffic.  Bottom line.

As far as monetizing your blog, you have to build a following first.  Then you sign up with an ad network.  BlogHer won’t let you do reviews so if you want free stuff you need a review sub-domain like I have if you end  up with them.  Pretty much everyone starts off with Google AdSense.  Even I did.  I took all the steps up like you have to.  Start with it, even though it’s total crap just so you can get used to seeing ads on your site.  No flash, no popups and never put an within your post.  It’s tacky.  You can’t make money from the ads if no one wants to return to your site.

As you grow a following you’ll figure out who the other ad networks are and you’ll apply and sign a contract with them.  You’ll also have people approach you for ad space.  Be reasonable and please don’t put a blank space telling people to advertise.  In my opinion, it’ll make it less likely someone will want to place an ad on your site. I also tend to keep all public ads on my left side and all of my personal promotions on the right to keep things clean.  You want to promote yourself first and foremost and I think people look to the right over the left when they first click on a page.  I also make a lot of things up in my head.

You need a bio.  Create an “About” section.  No brand is going to ask you to work on a campaign with them or advertise with them without it.  Who are you and why are you as awesome as I am?  What’s your background?  You need to give a general overview of your stats, where you come from and how they can contact you.  I have two boys, I don’t want girl toys.   Don’t put your ad rates up, you’re locking yourself in if you do.  What if someone comes in and offers a higher number?  If they see that they’ll win out.

Another way to get fun stuff like reviews and sponsored posts for your blog will simply be brands approaching you from seeing how you Social Network. You’re going to want to have your Social Media name reflect your blog name and you can set your blog to auto post your posts to all Social Media outlets you’re linked to.  I spent weeks signing up for every single one – DIGG, StumbleUpon and whatnot and even though I only use Facebook and Twitter they all link to your feed and every time you publish, it tells your readers. The more people who follow you, the more the big companies will approach you. Companies look at Twitter numbers, Alexa Ranking and Google Page rank. Once your blog is set up, you have to list yourself on those places (Trust me, this is a pain in the ass. Turning your blog into a business is a 40 hour a week job). I rarely approach a company for campaigns or sponsorship. Maybe three times. I let them come to me. I don’t know what they’re looking for (types of tweets, followers or what) but I think I’m just lucky. Others may not agree with me and have had success, it’s just my opinion because I swear A LOT and I talk about messed up stuff so if a company wants to pitch to me, I’m assuming they clearly know who they’re dealing with.

Companies should eventually approach you to review products if you seem like you’ve got your stuff together. Only review what fits your blog and don’t let them bully you into giving a non-biased review. By law, you have to have a disclaimer policy on your posts because if someone gives you shit for free, you have to disclose it or people will come after you and them and that will be very bad.  If you review something on your own, state that as well.  I started reviewing things on my own so companies could see my review style and said “This is all mine”, pretty much like my Pillow Pet story (unless they give me free pillow pets so I can have a pillow pet orgy).

Just remember, it is a huge pain in the ass and it takes time. A lot of people started blogging when I did and I watched as people tried like hell to make money, got frustrated and gave up within six months.

“They” say most people don’t see success for 2 years and that’s why people quit. That’s the average because of the Google sandbox – Google has some policy that they won’t give good page rank to new blogs because all the spammers by domain names and use keywords just to get big, so that’s how they try to ensure only real websites qualify.  Just like with dieting, if you don’t get an immediate result, you give up. I’ve seen great writers just quit because of the time and effort needed to be successful. Especially if they have a regular job.  This is my only job. I work from home and have childcare. My kids are in school.

There are other ways to get money too, through affiliate marketing. That’s something you can do right away. Say you find a deal or write a review, you have an amazon affiliates account and you go through there and link to your product there. If someone clicks on it and buys something you get a percentage. I get more from ads than affiliate stuff but there are sites that get TONS from that. I don’t review sale products and always forget to affiliate link to new products because I’m too lazy. You’ll need to Google how to do that or ask around.  I can’t help you there.  I’m willing to bet I’m losing some good money and I seriously should start linking to Amazing but like I said – lazy.

I think I’ve covered everything.  I know I forgot something but this is really long.  If you have questions, ask them here and I’ll put a Q&A at the bottom of this.  I think it’s a very valuable post and I think all people have the right to know.  When I first started blogging, I was introduced to some great people like me and they gave me advice and if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t be here now telling you.  I think everyone should have a chance but remember to start small.  Yes, buy your own domain but you can hold off on buying every possible version of it and the .net’s and .org’s until you get a feel for it.  It shouldn’t cost too much.  Buy one year’s worth of hosting and your blog name (if it’s available) and see how you feel.

Q1 -I’ve never asked anyone, but how the hell do you use twitter to promote your blog? Does it have the RSS feed, too? Or, do you just tweet what your recent blog is about?

A1- I don’t know about how Blogger works but with Word Press, you have plugins you install that will automatically post a customized tweet or Facebook Wall Post.  There are tons of them to choose from. I use “Sociable”. I also will put links back in there from time to time just by manually publishing them.

*Bows and asks you to lick “Like” below so I know if you dig this, I have a growing obsession with seeing tiny faces under my posts all of the sudden*

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Written by Julie Maloney in: Step 4: Have Fun!

55 Comments »

  • Danielle says:

    I wanna see your very first post. What is the name of it because I want to read it.
    Danielle´s last blog post ..Writing Between Diapers by Mayra Calvani

    Julie Reply:

    http://www.momspective.com/tribute/

  • Ane says:

    This is why I love you. I learn so much from you. :)

    I want to earn from blogging as much as you, but unfortunately most companies only go after blogs based in the US or Canada. You have no idea how many pitches I get to do reviews and stuff and then they find out that I’m from a 3rd world Asian country and I never hear from them again. I do get some text link ads so I guess that’s a start. :)

    I think it’s also important for a blogger to have their own identity, because if you’re just like some other blogger, then no one will want you, especially if that other blogger is better at what you’re trying to rip off..

    You are absolutely right, it is a 40 hour per week job and it kicks ass. I am seriously thinking of quitting my day job and make a career out of blogging too, BUT, I am scared to fail. So, I’ll save some money first and then quit. BTW, I work as a link builder for an online pharmacy that sells viagra. I am not one of those people who leaves SPAM comments on blogs with high PRs and then links to the viagra site, but the company I work for does that. LOL. I just write the e-mail pitches and adverts about the sex drug. :D

    Wow, my comment is like one long post.. LOL

    How did you put that Facebook “Like” button below you’re post?
    Ane´s last blog post ..Thursday Thirteen- 13 Things I want Right Now BUT Cant Have

    Julie Reply:

    I never even thought of that. Sucks you can’t review. I can’t even hold most of my giveaways for Canada. Usually US only. It’s a WP widget called the Easy Facebook Like Button.

  • Harriet says:

    You goof.
    Congrats on everything you’re happy about :)

  • Morgan says:

    I’ve never asked anyone, but how the hell do you use twitter to promote your blog? Does it have the RSS feed, too? Or, do you just tweet what your recent blog is about? I’m figuring out using facebook, and I have a twitter account, but am so lost when it comes to that…

    =)
    I do love your writing style and your blog, btw, lol.
    Morgan´s last blog post ..Thirsty Thursday is DEFINITELY Calling Me

    Julie Reply:

    I don’t know about how Blogger works but with Word Press, you have plugins you install that will automatically post a customized tweet or Facebook Wall Post. There are tons of them to choose from. I use “Sociable”. I also will put links back in there from time to time just by manually publishing them.

  • Todd@PhitZone says:

    You covered a lot of info, and all of it spot on.

    My biggest piece of advice would simply be to love what you’re doing. Love it so much, that if you didn’t make a dime, you’d still do it. We haven’t made much from PhitZone, but I absolutely love what I do there.

    I use affiliate ads almost exclusively, but have thought about trying an ad service. I won’t use Adsense (they kicked me out because I clicked on a couple of the ads on my site… big no-no).
    Todd@PhitZone´s last blog post ..Body of Water

    Julie Reply:

    That’s basically the bottom line. If you don’t love it and you’re not good at it then don’t bother. I don’t know shit about affiliate ads. I should probably learn.

  • Nicole says:

    I love it! I’ve been thinking about asking all you “big” girl bloggers that I follow on Twitter what the magical secret is to growing up into a big girl. This post was awesome, thanks for sharing what worked for you!
    Nicole´s last blog post ..The Blog Post Where I Tell You My Eggo is Preggo

  • Christy says:

    Duh! It is because you have great hair!
    Christy´s last blog post ..Celebrate winter holidays with Hershey’s

  • Brian says:

    Great tips, now I’m just working to get the “viewership/listenership” up there to where I can monetize, although I don’t really care all that much, just ranting on is fun.
    Brian´s last blog post ..Episode 20 – Social Economics

  • You are seriously too Kool for school!! Thanks so much Obi-Wan for all the advice! Am switching to Sociable as soon as I log off your site…Danke, Danke :)
    Stefanie Zucker´s last blog post ..Why Sniffles Hit Hardest At Night

    Julie Reply:

    That’s hilarious. My friends call me Yoda because I can teach them the way of the free beer :)

  • Ane says:

    Oh I see! Blogger doesn’t have that and I can’t figure out how WP works.. LOL :D

    Hey since you’re big now why not hold a giveaway I can join? hehe
    Ane´s last blog post ..Thursday Thirteen- 13 Things I want Right Now BUT Cant Have

    Julie Reply:

    I have constant giveaways. I have 6 on my Wii Mommies blog and I’m closing one on my review site later today. I’m about to start 3 more. Giveaways are A TON of work. Wah.

  • 1stopmom says:

    Good post Julie! I agree with you about doing what you are comfortable with. Hopefully this will save you a bunch of emails. You gave me another reason to say “You are awesome”!!
    1stopmom´s last blog post ..Giving Allowance Manager A Try

    Julie Reply:

    Yeah, from now on I’ll just refer them here and get page views lol

  • Acadia says:

    “Backing up, you need a good name. A really creative one. You want it short and memorable. If you have http://www.mysupersuperlongdomainname.com, no one is going to remember that.”

    I’ll back you up!

    Sincerely,

    superficialgallery.com

    LONG IS AWESOME!
    Acadia´s last blog post ..Here’s to you- Local News Fail

    Julie Reply:

    YOU ARE AWESOME

  • Rebekah says:

    This is a great post. At your recommendation I am checking out Sociable. Our current plug-in has not been doing its job of automatically posting to Twitter.
    Rebekah´s last blog post ..On life intentional

    Julie Reply:

    It looks like I’m using it and I haven’t had any problems but I don’t pay attention to anything now that I hired out for all of it. I’m SO lazy.

  • frogmama says:

    Great tips. I’m going on almost 3 years of blogging, which blows my mind. Haven’t made a buttload of money, but I love that I’ve “known” my favorite fellow bloggers for years. Gets me tingly in my girlie bits.
    frogmama´s last blog post ..Its that time again

  • Shannon says:

    Hey, I love the down-to-earth bloggers. I noticed I started to be the type that could put a PCP-addict to sleep. I need to start writing more like I actually speak and remove the stick. My posts are going to start to reflect more of my “social” personality (hell, it’s my blog). I’ll save my pages for those who want to get a look at my serious side.

    Love your personality. It definitely comes through in your writing.
    Shannon´s last blog post ..Specializing in Vascular Sonography

    Julie Reply:

    That’s another thing I should have said. Write how you speak and people will read you that way. The benefit of reading me is that you can understand me. I talk FAST and I say A LOT. I have a radio show proving it.

  • Gina Alfani says:

    Hey Julie . . .

    I found your blog while dropping EC. It is one of those days that I have actually taken the time while clicking to read and comment on blogs. Love your style, thanks for the tips . . . I’m following you now :-)

    It is like anything else . . . be persistant! My blogging has been for the love of writing, expressing myself through illustrations to go with the posts, etc. . . . now I’m starting to think of it as a business since I love it. You have to make money doing what you love.

    Again, thanks for the tips . . . I’ll be back to explore more of your blog!

    Have an awesome weekend . . . Gina

    http://peacelovehappinesshappens.blogspot.com
    Gina Alfani´s last blog post ..Dont Settle For Second Best

  • Lauren says:

    Great post! As far as using Twitter to promote my blog, I found an app that tweets a post every time I publish. I can’t remember what it’s called, but I bet Google would know. Google knows everything and is always correcting me, “You must mean …” What a smarmy search engine.

    Thanks for the great info.
    Lauren´s last blog post ..Driving Monologues – Fork in the Road

    Julie Reply:

    I’m all for apps. I’ve gotten “big” enough (lazy) to have someone more awesome than I am take all that over.

  • Amy says:

    Thanks for all the great ideas. This is my first time here on your blog.
    Amy
    Amy´s last blog post ..Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up – Take Two

  • Keely says:

    when’s the post on free beer?
    Keely´s last blog post ..Meditates- ruminates- cogitates- deliberates- speculates&helliphyperventilates!

    Julie Reply:

    Harriet posted bout me? That’s awesome! I just got online I can’t wait to see!

  • Catherine says:

    How did I overlook you? You are freaking hilarious. My niece recently told me I have a potty mouth, so I’m watching my language. Thanks to Harriet for posting about you and Thank you for the great tips and laughs.

  • tammigirl says:

    This is an overwhelming amount of information. Thank you. I’m not sure I’m ready to move on this advice, but I am so grateful to you for sharing it with us.

    I am saving it for when I am brave enough to push through.
    tammigirl´s last blog post ..My Review of Free-Arm Sewing Machine with 26 Stitches

    Julie Reply:

    I’ve decided to make a button for the top of my sidebar to help the bloggy world lol

  • Awesome words of wisdom. It is refreshing to read advice from someone that knows what they are talking about and explains things in a manner that is easy to understand and digest.
    William K Wallace´s last blog post ..Hanukkah Comes To Trafalgar Square

    Julie Reply:

    Kick ass, thank you!

  • Ane says:

    Anything you have going on that’s world wide so I can participate? :D
    Ane´s last blog post ..Thursday Thirteen- 13 Things I want Right Now BUT Cant Have

    Julie Reply:

    The giveaway on my review site is – a $50 gift card but you have to pay your own shipping out of there, so that might deter people.

  • Jessica says:

    Thanks for the advice! I’d love to hear more as you think of it. Kind of like having a blog mentor!
    Jessica´s last blog post ..Book Review- Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

  • I am so with you about the Blogger. I hate it with all my heart. The comments are so hard to leave, I have to constantly sign in somewhere or copy and paste my URL. I am so so happy I did not waste any time on Blogger and started with WordPress right away.

    And nothing NOTHING can beat WordPress plugins. Ok, I like CAPS too :)
    Marina at My Busy Children´s last blog post ..Noctis Designer T-Shirt giveaway

  • Thanks for writing this! What I hate about people in general is that they never share the blood, sweat and tears it took to get them successful; all they want to share is success. Is it no wonder that bloggers think that blogging is a get-rich quick scheme? Thanks again!
    Iva @ This Side of Perfect´s last blog post ..Watch Out! Ivas on a Mission

  • aunt melmel says:

    Sweet. Here’s a random comment.

  • Jesselyn A/Jesstinger says:

    Thank you for providing your very first post – which I enjoyed both for the writing – and the sweet story. I also appreciate your sharing your experience, imparting wisdom and as a reading, how you and your wonderful blogging talents have evolved and expanded splendidly!

    Thanks Julie

  • SuperKerri says:

    I have a feeling I have an awful lot to learn. But at least I can learn from the best ;)
    SuperKerri´s last blog post ..The Zombie Flicks I’ll Always Watch…

  • Jerri Davis says:

    So glad I found your pink website its great and has wonderful giveaways. Thank you. Jerri Davis

  • Jean says:

    Thank you so much for this post – I can attest that I follow because I like your straight-talking style. Hubs and I have an idea for a blog so I genuinely appreciate your thoughts as a successfully blogger.

  • eugenia says:

    too much work. :)

  • eugenia says:

    that a lot of work.

  • eugenia says:

    impressive

  • Rebecca Parsons says:

    Wow what a great piece of work. Seriously think I am lacking in experience after reading this. I used to own my own graphics site and let me tell you it was a pain in the buttocks trying to get people to visit. It finally took off and then my computer crapped out. I am always looking at different blogs and see a lot of unkempt ones. I do like how clean and uncluttered your blog is. Bookmarking this for future references.

    Julie Maloney Reply:

    Thanks! I appreciate it! I don’t like clutter, I get very confused when a site isn’t streamlined. If you ever need advice give me a shout through my contact page. I don’t know everything but I have the gist of it down pat.

  • Wow. That’s an amazing amount of information. Wow. I think later I will go through this post again and make a list of everything you said to do. I’ve been looking for this kind of advice. Thanks!
    5 Hearts, One Family´s last blog post ..3 Kids, 3 Directions, 1 Frazzled Mamma

  • Anthony Dunn says:

    Just started a Carolina Panthers fan blog in October 2013 on blogger. I want to buy a domain name to get me out of .blogspot.com purgatory. Right now our domain is carolinacatchronicles.blogspot.com. Our brand name andis Cat Chronicles. The .com for catchronicles is not available. I was wondering if you find .us or .net to be offputting? Is so and needed to go with .com, I would have to go carolinacatchronicles.com.

    Oh and #keeppounding !!!!!!

    Julie Maloney Reply:

    People are less likely to think of using a .net or .us and they’ll automatically go to the .com which sounds like will redirect them to a different site so I would go with Carolinacatchronicicles.com and remember to direct the original .blogspot to that domain so you don’t lose your readers!

  • Anthony Dunn says:

    Thanks a lot Julie. I really like your work by the way. Kind of outside my typical reading genre, but it is nicely put together. Nicespective.
    Anthony Dunn´s last blog post ..Mike Mitchell “Confident” He Will Re-sign with Carolina Panthers

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