Admit it: At least once, while dealing with your endless piles of laundry, you have fantasized about being a famous mommy blogger. After all, mom of four Ree Drummond’s blog The Pioneer Woman got her a cookbook deal and a spot on The View. And rumor has it a movie is in the works, based on her blog posts about her transformation from single city girl in heels to the wife of a handsome Oklahoma rancher.
Northwest moms and über-bloggers Giyen Kim and Jen Zug want you to know that launching your own blog is super-easy. Kim writes the hilarious blog Bacon Is My Enemy. Zug practices her craft as a writer and reflects on life and motherhood in her blog This Pile.
A blog, says Kim, can connect you to other moms, maintain your technical skills, and keep you connected to your circle of friends and family. And you can earn income through advertising on your site.
For moms who think they are going to be getting a book contract à la Julia Powell or make a massive income from blogging, Zug cautions that blogging is more likely to barely pay for your lattes. “You need pretty high traffic to your site to generate significant ad revenue,” she says. But Zug says blogging can also be a way for moms to bust out of the very isolating and sometimes frustrating job of being a mom, and get some relief from — and sympathy for! — the universally challenging issues moms face, everything from potty training to postpartum depression.
Melissa Willard Parent is a mom of three whose youngest child, James, was diagnosed as having an autism spectrum disorder. She writes about their journey at It Is Not Autism. “I hope it will help families embarking on the same journey to feel less alone, less crazy, and maybe talk about some options that no one mentioned to them or spark suggestions for us,” Parent says. “But above all, I want it for James, so that when the time comes that he can read it, he will know that he was, is and will always be the absolute love of my life, exactly how he is.”
“Think about what you want to get out of it first” before starting a blog, says Kim. “If it is a part-time income, treat it like a business, versus writing so that you can have a connection to community.”
Choose a name and register your domain name, then decide if you want to be “self-hosted” or “hosted.” When you “self-host,” you have your own URL and the blogging platform is on your server. When you are “hosted,” your URL often includes the hosting provider’s name as part of your URL and you are not hosted on your own server. Self-hosted blogs often have more customization, says Kim, but hosted blogs — on sites such as WordPress — are often free and include many intuitive tools to help you get started.
Zug encourages moms not to be scared away from blogging by the technical challenges. “Free blogging tools really make it intuitive,” she says. “If you can get a picture from your camera, you can blog.”
Choose your topics
Once you’ve chosen your hosting option, pick a schedule of topics you want to write about, says Kim, and set up a regular blogging schedule. Picking a theme for certain days can often help with the process. Some bloggers have “Wordless Wednesdays” and just post a photo.
Decide up front how much to reveal of your kids and what level of privacy you will maintain, says Zug. “What goes on the Internet stays on the Internet,” she says. “When you blog, what you reveal about yourself or your family can now be found by someone. It isn’t like Facebook with privacy settings — everyone can see everything you post to your blog.”
“I’m not a very good liar or secret keeper,” says Zug. “I believe in transparency. I’m really open and honest. I talk about frustrating things.” But she admits she has changed just how revealing she is on her blog now that her oldest child has entered school. “I recognize that her friends will be online and may read about her.”
Another thing to avoid? Turning your blog into something that feels like being trapped looking at photos from someone’s vacation. Says Zug: “I don’t write about every cute little thing that happens in my household. I stick to more universal things, both emotional and spiritual.”
Reflecting on the already stressed-filled lives of moms, Zug’s final advice: “Have fun with it!” Don’t let your blog become a source of pressure. Your mommy blog should be a way to have fun, make connections and maybe blow off a little steam.
Sammamish mom of two Kathleen F. Miller will be launching her blog as soon as she puts away the Mount Rainier–size pile of clean laundry on her couch.