Navigating the ins and outs of the blogosphere can be intimidating—especially as a stay-at-home mom! Lucky for you, lifestyle blogger and mama, Liz Joy, is here with five essential steps to get you started on the path toward creative fulfillment through blogging.
When I decided to leave my corporate job behind and stay at home with my kids, I knew it was just a matter of time before I would need a little more in my day than the routine of kids, carpools and house. Though I truly enjoy domesticity, I have a lot of creative energy in my spirit and it’s been such a blessing to discover blogging as a way to let this creative side of me soar.
I’ve learned a thing or two over the course of my 3-year stint in blogging, and I’m so happy to share few of the essential steps you need to take if you want to join in on the fun.
Decide On A Niche.
You’ve already got your niche—motherhood, right? Or, is there something more specific under the umbrella of motherhood that you love? Could it be fashion, recipes, DIY or interior design? Is it a mix of all of the above, to be characterized as more general lifestyle? Or maybe you’re fascinated by something totally different, be it the local art scene, restaurants, etc.? Find something—or a grouping of things—that you really love. It needs to be something you want to become an expert in, and a topic you know you will want to write about for years to come.
Research, Research, Research.
What I’m going to say first under this heading is don’t stop here. This should be a step that propels you, not one that makes you spin into a never-ending circle of watching from the outside. Figure out a way to get yourself in. Study what others are doing within your niche and refine your own. Start your own vision with a notebook, a binder of images, a new Pinterest account—whatever works best for you—and make it clear to yourself (and others) what you’re aspiring to communicate via your very own blog.
Claim Your Brand Name.
This is a tough one! It can be so hard to find the right name for your new brand, but think long and hard about it. What image do you want to come into your reader’s mind when they hear your brand’s name? Make a short list and talk to your friends and family about it. That said, keep in mind that this is ultimately what feels right to you.
How To Get Started.
Once you’ve got your name, buy the domain on a site like godaddy.com and set up your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube accounts. Once you have your domain, you’ll have to host it somewhere and there are lots of great platforms for you to start with, often free of charge. The biggest ones are Blogger, WordPress and Squarespace. I’ve been on all three and recommend WordPress because it’s the most customizable. You can pay someone to set this all up, or you can dig deep into YouTube tutorials and figure it out yourself.
As far as the design goes, there are so many people who are talented in this area and can get you set up with something to your liking. Pick out your categories (the tabs on your menu bar), write a stellar “About Me” page and let others know what social platforms you’re on. Start producing content under your categories and let the world know you’re here. Post your new blog to your Facebook page, start interacting with others within your niche via social media and email, follow people who inspire you and comment on others’ blogs. This is the fun part, where you get to interact with the outside world from the comfort (or “disaster” if you’re like me) of your own home. I can’t tell you what this does for me—my mind and my soul.
Being a SAHM can get lonely, but once you immerse yourself in this virtual world of inspired creatives, you have a beautiful outlet to socialize—just don’t forget about your real friends and family!
Set A Schedule.
As a SAHM about to launch her own blog, there has got to be some structure within the house when it comes to dedicated time for work. If you can get it done during nap time or while the kids are at school, that’s amazing, or if nights are more your thing, go for it. The point is, mama needs time alone to work because it’s not fair to you or your kids if you’re trying to do both simultaneously. There have been so many times when I’m on my phone answering emails or uploading a quick Instagram, and I look up to see my kids waiting for me to be present for them. I’m being honest here, it’s not cool and I regret every single one of these times. I make a huge effort to dedicate myself 100 percent to work time and mom time. At this point, I get a little help from local babysitters who allow me to shut the door and work and that’s huge for me. My kids adore them, and it gives me some time to hustle alone in my office.
Claim A Space.
Speaking of an office, having a room to dedicate as your workspace is a luxury that most do not have. For years, I worked out of little spaces I carved out in our home. My last “office” was on a little white IKEA desk in the corner of our living room. I kept it minimal with a lamp, some flowers, my planner and my computer. That room had a lot of natural light, so I knew that was where I needed to be. To drown out any outside noise, I just put on my headphones and it was like I was alone in an office. My point is, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a studio apartment, there has got to be a place you can designate as your blogger oasis, even if you use a desk in place of a nightstand. This will become your favorite place in your whole house, promise.
Lastly, Have Fun!
Don’t worry so much about monetizing in the beginning. Get a solid following before you try and push anything on people—that’s really important. You’re making an investment at this phase, and investments “vest” over time. Give into your passion and love your new blog and this new side of you—a new life you’re about to discover.