Everything I wish I’d known before starting a mom blog: This is my one month update.
Blogging… Oh my gosh it’s a whole lot of work!
But seriously, if there’s anything I’ve learned about blogging after one month, it’s this: there’s a reason so many people start and quit their blog before it’s even launched.
An incredible amount of work goes on behind the scenes – things I wouldn’t have even considered.
I don’t want to discourage you from this endeavor, but wow, it would’ve been nice to know some of this stuff before I started. So, please let me share with you…
Here are my 5 things to consider before starting a mom blog. (Or any type of blog for that matter!)
1. What’s your purpose?
Why do you want to write a blog in the first place? This is super important to consider because it’s going to directly influence what you’re willing to give (or not give) – in time, money, mental effort, everything!
Is your main goal monetization? — You hope to make the blog a nice little side gig or perhaps a full-on career through ads, affiliate programs, sponsorships, etc.
Do you want the blog to function like a journal or family newsletter? — Every once in a while, you’re just going to share it with your friends and family on Facebook.
Is it meant to be an additional platform for your established brand or company? — Maybe you have clients or customers who need to be able to access one site for news and products.
Or are you just wanting a creative outlet, and you couldn’t care less who actually reads your posts?
Take a moment. Have a good honest chat with yourself about your motivation and goals.
In my case, I started this blog as something to do during my kids’ naptime. #momlife. I needed something that would be a personal challenge, with measurable results. It seemed like a good creative outlet. And I wanted to form a community of mama’s, a place where we can all laugh and stress and figure out this motherhood thing together. (And you know, earning a little extra money on the side wouldn’t hurt. ;))
So, you can see that for me, starting a mom blog included multiple goals. But it was really important to acknowledge those goals before I jumped into the nitty gritty.
Okay. Now, have you determined your purpose? Keep it in mind as you read on.
2. The time commitment
Here we go. Exhibit A for why you needed to define your blog’s purpose first.
If you’re creating a family newsletter vs trying to monetize and drive a ton of traffic to your site, the amount of time you spend to set up and work on your blog is going to look very different.
Before beginning this endeavor a month ago, I was honestly so naive about the time commitment it takes when starting a mom blog. I knew there’d be a bit of set-up and then writing posts every once in a while. But holy moly, I had no idea how much time and effort actually goes into it! (I’ll elaborate on that part later ;))
In my one month of experience, I’ve done very little writing and a whole heck of a lot of set-up – branding, backend site work, connecting my accounts, learning about different programs and plug-ins etc etc etc
I’ve probably put 50 or more hours into the blog this past month, learning everything I can, and trying to make it as legit as possible (remember my previous point- I wanted a personal challenge. Well, I got it!) All during my kids’ naps and bedtimes. I haven’t even gotten to things like SEO yet because I’m still in set-up mode and not quite ready for the traffic.
Compare that to a family newsletter blog.
I remember when I was younger, I made a family blog, as a church project.
There was little-to-none customization or functionality besides just writing posts and adding a couple of pictures here and there. I spent maaaybe 2 hours on set-up and then got to writing.
There was nothing else involved. I could write as much or little as I wanted, and no one cared (except my grandma, who wanted the family updates). Zero cost, minimal set-up, and few readers. And honestly, that was perfect for my purpose.
So, be prepared. Whatever your purpose, the time commitment is going to be on par with the desired outcomes.
3. Be ready to learn a new language
Perhaps you’re asking, “Jodi, what even took so long? Why did you spend all that time in prep-work?”
Here’s the thing. If I were to set up a blog now, I’d probably move through the process a lot faster. It’s like learning a second language. Once you’ve got it, you’ve got it. And before that, you… don’t.
I use siteground and wordpress for my blog. Brand new to me.
I purchased a theme (rather than use a free less-customizable one), have added plug-ins to increase site functionality, and use multiple outside programs to do things like send emails and create templates. All brand new.
I had absolutely no previous experience with any of those things! So it was a major learning curve – and I’m still learning. (*insert sweating emoji here*)
Unless you have someone to set-up your site and completely run it for you (in which case, I’m jealous), be prepared to basically learn a new language.
While I think it’s been worth it, and I absolutely love seeing everything come together, I have to say – learning this “language” is not for the faint of heart.
3. The $ investment
Okay, this can be a tricky one: the money. But, I’ve got to get it out in the open.
The cost of blogging (for a purpose other than hobby/personal) can add up quickly. This was another area where I was pretty naive. I honestly thought there’d be a little monthly charge for starting a mom blog, probably around $30 or so, and that’d be it. But (potentially), there’s a lot more to it.
To use siteground (or bluehost, or any other hosting platform), it’s going to cost you a monthly fee.
To get a theme that looks more professional or has better customization, there’s another cost.
Want to upgrade a plug-in for improved features?
Or get the best SEO program?
Or increase traffic through Facebook ads?
$ $ $
And that’s barely scratching the surface.
Of course, there are ways to minimize costs and be conservative when you’re starting out (use the free version of a program, or price compare all of your options).
But some costs are just unavoidable, and it’s nice to be prepared before jumping all-in.
If you want a more in-depth look at the cost, you can check out this blog that I found super helpful.
5. Don’t attempt it alone
I’ve been wanting to start a blog for years. But you know what always held me back? Actually, it’s kind of a funny reason…
I felt bombarded with information.
“How to start your blog today” “Make $10K this year by blogging” “Blogs – The best side hustle for moms”
Seems like a good problem to have, right? A plethora of information. Pages upon pages of tips and tricks.
… Nope! It was extremely overwhelming for me.
Everyone was giving a little advice here and a little sneak peak there.
And oh my goodness, there were so many webinars. With promises that their blogging course was the best of the best.
But I either didn’t have the money to spend on the course, or I wasn’t totally convinced.
And… remember how learning this blog thing is like navigating a whole new language? I felt lost, like I just couldn’t figure it out alone.
I didn’t know how to go about piecing the free information together.
And there was some worry about missing something crucial- probably something that I didn’t even know existed in the first place. (Plug-ins and widgets, what are those? SEO, huh?)
So, the last thing that has been so very very helpful in this first month of blogging is this — I’m not doing it alone now!
I did finally find a program that I felt was reputable and completely comprehensive, and it has been a game changer! It’s called The Blogger Bootcamp (linked here), created by Christina Galbato. (I’m not at all paid to share this information – I literally just want others to avoid the struggle that I experienced before finding her course.)
She walks you through the very beginning stages of creating a blog (finding your brand voice, setting up the site, adding plug-ins) all the way to making your blog next-level worthy (creating an email list, increasing blog traffic, strategies for monetization).
The program is very thorough. Trust me, I’ve tried to find something all-inclusive like this for years.
Christina is very upfront about the course cost on her website too, so you can save up for it, if it doesn’t currently work for your budget. (… Instead of others I’ve seen, who try to hide it until you’re absolutely hooked and sad that you got your hopes up for nothing.)
I also love the Mom to Momtrepreneur guide (linked here) from Cassie Scroggins. It’s a 120 page ebook/workbook that is very affordable (only $7, what have you got to lose?), and it also walks you through setting up a blog.
It’s helpful for anybody who wants to start a blog. But specifically, it’s unique because Cassie understands how little time you may have as a mom, and she breaks down the process of starting a mom blog into easy-to-complete tasks during naptimes. So, it was perfect for my own situation.
And it’s kind of like having a second opinion to the Blogger Bootcamp.
Plus, “Mom to Momtrepreneur” is presented in written format (easy to digest even when kids aren’t napping. Woot!) instead of a video course.
So, here’s two successful bloggers who share different experiences and strategies that have worked for them. And it gives me the chance to explore a little (little being the keyword here – again, I want to avoid that awful overwhelm) and choose what works best for me.
Now, I’m not saying you have to purchase Christina’s program or Cassie’s guide.
But my biggest point here – the most impactful thing I’ve learned in the past month – is that blogging is going to be a whole lot harder without help and 100000 x’s easier if you get support from someone who’s been there. (And like I mentioned earlier, sometimes the investment is worth the outcome.)
Okay, but what if blogging is your dream, and you just don’t have $500 to put into a course right now? (Because you’re also considering that there will be other costs later on, remember?)
That’s okay! Don’t stress and give up yet.
- Do you have a friend who blogs and would be willing to help you? Maybe that’s an option. It sure would be nice to have immediate feedback and support.
- Do you have the time to create a comprehensive document with blogger freebie tips you’ve found, organized in one easily accessible place? That’s a good start. (I’m not talking about a Pinterest board that directs you to 30 different articles. Yikes, overwhelm.)
- Is there a different program/ebook/podcast you’ve found that is going to guide you along in the process and be a better fit for your situation?
My whole point is, please don’t fumble around, lost and confused, trying to learn that new language on your own. If you can, get help from someone else.
I’m so glad I waited until I found some help, because without it, this past month would’ve likely been a headache. Instead of the challenging but Super Exciting endeavor it’s actually been!
So, that’s what I’ve got. My experience after one whole month of blogging. Phew!
This has been a busy, busy month. I’ve loved having this project to look forward to during nap times, alongside my daily routine as a stay-at-home mom. It’s the perfect self care right now, as I balance everything in life. Annnnd… starting a mom blog is part of my 30 before 30 goals (check out that post here)! So, I’m thrilled to watch it slowly (but surely!) come together.
Have you ever wanted to start a blog? Which of these 5 considerations was most helpful to you?
Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you and support you in your journey.
Are you new to the blog? Check out these other posts about personal goals and projects – finishing college with a baby or using Canva to create your own advent calendar cards & other projects.