Moms are flat out busy. When I set out to make money from home, the idea of starting my first blog was very different than the reality.
My blog took an astounding amount of my time; far more than I would have ever wanted or planned. My lack of experience and planning meant that I was learning on the job, making rookie mistakes and spending time on things that I shouldn’t have been.
As an experienced work at home mom who runs two companies, CEO & Founder of the WAHM Network and blogger who grew readership of over 30,000, my goal for you is to learn from my mistakes. You can build a profitable blogging business from home faster and more efficiently than I did. And if you want to stand out from the crowd, then you need to be faster, smarter and better than your competitors.
What to Know Before Starting a Blog
When I started my first blog, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I didn’t think it through particularly well; I didn’t have a marketing or business plan, and I certainly didn’t think about how it would affect my family.
I knew that I was blogging for my family, but I had no idea how the changes I was about to make to my life, would affect them. Blogging was supposed to be a little business from home, writing the occasional blog or endorsing the occasional product.
How much time would it really take?
As moms, our lives are filled with all the things it takes to manage a family and care for small children, yet not many of us use a workable time management system. If you plan to start a blogging business from home, or have already, leveraging your time effectively for maximum output from minimum input is essential. This is especially true if you want to enjoy a measurable level of success and adequately meet the demands and expectations of all those who rely on you.
One of my rookie mistakes was that I believed if I posted a MASSIVE amount of content on my blog, I would make money from this time consuming hobby by magically appearing in search engine results and gaining thousands of readers.
If only someone told me before I started blogging, that what I really needed to do was choose a niche, plan my website content and spend more time marketing it than promoting it, life would’ve been more enjoyable…and profitable!
Here’s another blogger’s take on what he wish he would’ve known before starting a blog.
Blogging is insanely powerful, if done correctly. Five years ago, getting international exposure was incredibly expensive and hard to do; now all it takes is a blog. If you are smart about how you do it, your blog can attract people from all over the world who are interested in what you are writing about.
When done correctly blogging can:
- Attract links from other blogs as you write good content, reaching more people in your target market
- Build relationships to grow your readership, subscriber list and business
- Establish you as the “go to” person and online expert in your niche
- Help you understand what your audience wants so you can write great content
- Build a mailing list of fans who are specifically interested in buying your products
Three Questions to Ask Yourself
The first step to building a successful blog starts with these three questions:
Am I blogging for business or pleasure?
It’s perfectly acceptable to blog purely for pleasure. This is how many very successful mom bloggers got where they are today—by starting an online diary that built a relationship with people over time. However, if you intend to make money from your blog it is better to be honest with yourself from the start.
Treat your blog as a business from the beginning; it’s not just a hobby. Fearing failure is one of the biggest things that will hold you from success. Reprogram your subconscious mind to think of your blog as a business from the start. This will help you make every decision from a strategic point of view.
If you want to make money, you must think of your bottom line every step of the way and only invest money where it has the potential to make you a future return. In working with thousands of work-at-home moms worldwide, this is one of the reasons women fail to make money. They don’t focus on their bottom line or view their business as a business.
Does my blog support my business, or is it my business?
If you have already have a business, then a blog can be a great way to build yourself as an expert and gain credibility (great for reputation), or sell more. As you grow a mailing list of potential customers, you can market your existing products to these customers.
It also gives you the opportunity to expand into other markets, if you are able to ship your product worldwide. If you do personal consulting, for instance, attracting a worldwide audience may give you the opportunity to work with people all over the world using modern technology such as Skype.
If it is my business, how do I intend to make money from it?
- If you want to attract advertisers, which ones?
- How much traffic do they require you to have before they would consider investing with you?
- Can you make money without worrying about traffic?
- If you intend to write and sell info products, which ones will you sell?
- How much will they cost?
- Will you offer an affiliate commission?
- Which payment provider will you use?
- How much will you have to give away in fees?
It’s not important that you have tons of products to sell at the outset, but you need to know this from the start. In fact, I recommend mom bloggers start with only one to two products and concentrate on marketing these and getting feedback before developing more.
Read how one blog made more than $20,000 in 12 weeks. This point leads us very nicely into the next one.
Treat Your Blog as a Business
A business plan is vitally important for your business from the start. It doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does need to be done. Answering these questions (at the very least) will set you apart from the other mom bloggers in the industry:
- What is your business?
- What are your products or revenue streams? (Advertising/eBooks/Info-Products)
- Who is your audience/target market?
- Who are your competitors?
Even if your blog just supports an existing business, you still need traffic and readers if you want to establish yourself as the online expert in your niche. And to get that traffic, you need to know exactly who you are targeting and what keeps them awake at night.
You cannot set-up a blog without knowing who you’re trying to reach with your message. If you do, you may find yourself frustrated, disheartened and searching for content without seeing much success.
Set-Up Your Blog for Success
Now that you have all of the above steps in place, the exciting part can begin. You can create (or make changes to) your blog.
Personally, I have several blogs in various industries that interest me. Some are simple blog sites, but all of them have a vision, business plan and a long-term goal. Every single effort I put into each blog has my long-term goal in mind.
People have specific interests, which bring up specific problems. If you address these problems, show them you understand their needs and then offer a solution—they will love you! People prefer to work with those they consider experts.
Position yourself as an expert or specialist by reaching out to a specific market about a specific topic. Rather than just being a Virtual Assistant by trade, you could position yourself as a Real Estate Administrative Specialist by niching yourself in the real estate market. Don’t overlook this massive unique selling point.
Set-Up Long-Term Goals
Having a long-term goal sets your subconscious with an expectation for the future. For instance, when you decide to have a baby you read up on when it’s the best time to conceive and prepare by eating healthy, cutting out alcohol and taking folic acid supplements. All these steps prepare you for the ultimate goal—the baby.
When you are pregnant, you read all the books, research the best equipment, prepare the nursery, decide whether you will breastfeed, and try to have as much in place as possible. This is to ensure you can be the best possible mom, and helps achieve your goal of successfully giving birth and becoming a parent.
Your blog is your new baby. Take a mid- to long-term view, plan in advance, decide on the systems you will use and the kind of “parent” you will be to your readers, and then go for it!
Do you have a blog?
What prompted you to start it if you do; if you don’t, what’s holding you back? Are you focused with your blogging, or could you use a help narrowing your market?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.