Blogging Tips Part One: The Fluffy Stuff

Blogging Tips:
What I wish I knew before I started my blog.

I remember starting this blog with a vague image in my mind of what I hoped it would become. Nothing I imagined ever seemed like a reality, like something I might actually achieve {you know that feeling?}.

One day I woke up and I thought, You know what–I’m going to really do this! I am going to take all those crazy ideas and silly stories swirling around in my head as I lay in bed at night, and I am going to share them with anyone willing to listen to me. And so Little Miss Momma was born.

I had no idea blogging was so complicated–no really! Shortly after starting LMM, I learned that there is way more to this industry {yes, blogging is an industry now} than I ever imagined. Did you know that of the TOP 100 websites in the world, 22 of them are blogs???? {quoted at the Casual Bloggers Conference lecture in 2010, so it must be true}. WOW, right?!

When I jumped head first into the world of blogging I became overwhelmed at all there was to learn. I knew nothing about html, link parties, blog hops, buttons, sponsorships, advertising, followers, subscribers, page rank, unique visitors, page hits, anonymous comments, blah, blah blah.

Looking back, there is so much I wish I had known before I started, so much that would have made this whole process a bit more smooth–and today I want to begin to share some of those tips with you.

**DISCLAIMER**: I am NOT an expert–in fact, I am far from it! But I know what has worked for me so far–and perhaps it will work for you too *wink*

These “Blogging Tips” will be divided into two separate posts:

Part One: Fluffy Blogging Advice {content related}–TODAY’s post
Part Two: Practical Blogging Advice {techy, behind the scenes stuff}

I’ll be the first to admit how important it is to understand a bit of the techy stuff and the behind the scenes part of blogging–it’s critical to drawing people to your blog. But, I believe that the key to creating a truly successful blog lies in the CONTENT–because once people find you, you want them to stick around, right?!

And now on to the FLUFFY stuff…

Ask WHY, set GOALS, and then define SUCCESS.

WHY: Why did you start this blog? Was it to make money, to make friends, to share ideas, to promote your business, to vent, or to tell your stories. Now, write down your reason {and be specific}–because there will come a day a few months down the road when you will forget why you ever started this whole blogging thingy–you will lose sight of your original vision, your original plan, your reason for doing this in the first place–and on that day you will go back and read what you wrote down today, and you will remember why this is important to you. Let your “reason” be the guiding force behind your blog content–don’t lose sight of what’s important to you, or your readers will know, and they will stop reading.

GOALS: You know WHY you’re blogging–but what do you expect to get out of it? Set clearly defined goals for your blog. What do you want your blog to accomplish? It can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. Maybe you hope to create a place to store all your family photos and memories, maybe you want to launch the world’s most popular craft blog–in either case, create direction for your blog.

SUCCESS: Obviously you want your blog to succeed. But first you must clearly define what success means to you. Maybe you will define success by how many followers you have, by how many hits you get a day or by the number of comments you receive. Maybe you will define success by touching the lives of your readers, by helping Mom’s grow their Etsy businesses, by how much money you make, or by how many new friends you make. In my opinion, these are ALL great ways to measure success–but ultimately it’s up to you to determine YOUR REASON.

Post Pictures.
They are intriguing. They grab our attention. They keep us interested in what you have to say. I like to put a picture in EVERY post–even if it’s completely unrelated. I can’t really explain why this works, but it does!

K.I.S.S.
Keep it simple silly! In other words, keep the layout and design of your blog simple, clean and crisp. Clutter makes my eye ball twitch, ya know what I mean. I would rather have all my focus be on your fab tutorial or your hilarious story about your little munchkins, than be distracted by your blinking sidebar craziness. Does this mean you shouldn’t have anything on your sidebar? Absolutely not! My sidebar is jam-packed with info and links I think y’all will be interested in–but I do my best to present them to you in an organized and appealing {not distracting} fashion.

Be Honest.
Your readers will know if you’re not, and they’ll stop reading–immediately. Don’t endorse a product you dislike, or readers won’t trust your judgment and you won’t get the results your sponsors are looking for.

Be Vulnerable, Be YOU
You’re human. You have feelings. You have trials. You have bad days. Sometimes you feel fat. And we all like to know that we’re not alone. I have discovered that the posts where I show my true colors have been the most popular. Don’t want to get all mushy and personal on your blog?–no problem, just don’t paint a picture of a woman who doesn’t really exist.

Spread the Love, Leave Comments.
I have found some of my most favorite blogs via comments left on my blog. Some of these blogs I may never have found otherwise. For me, comments and feedback are a huge motivating force behind what I write. I admire other bloggers who are self-motivated to write–but that’s not me! I’m motivated by you, by what you find interesting about what I have to say, about what touches you. I write to connect with others, to remind myself that I’m not alone in this journey. And when I read a comment about another momma 1,000 miles away going through the exact trial I am experiencing, my heart melts and I am reminded why I started this blog. Leave comments.

This is not a COMPETITION.
There is something gloriously amazing about the blogging world that can’t be said about too many industries. You won’t get ahead by trying to compete with the blog down the street. Instead, you’ll find that the more you support your fellow bloggers, the more YOU will succeed. Take these three crazy popular blogs for example: UCreate, One Pretty Thing and Tip Junkie. These rad blogs focus mainly on promoting the rest of us, on helping us grow, on sharing our wonderful ideas with the world–isn’t that sweet of them?! And these blogs have a readership and loyal following that I dream about!

What’s in a name?
Chose your blog name wisely. This will become your “second name”–how you are referred to in the blogging world. Do you like the way it sounds? Does it suit the overall goal and theme of your blog?

Find YOUR voice.
Find your writing style and run with it. Don’t try to sound like another blogger you know and love–it will come off as forced and ultimately you won’t get as much satisfaction out of your writing.

Use Lingo {if it feels right}.
Don’t be afraid to use your own lingo–and throw in a few words like “awesomeness”, even if it can’t be found in the dictionary {this develops character}. A dear blogging friend of mine uses “hair flip” after a sentence describing her hotness–it cracks me up every time!

Sacrifice.
If you envision having a blog like Tatertots & Jello, or O My Family or the Pleated Poppy–then it’s inevitable that you are going to have to give up a few things to make time for your new hobby. Personally, I have given up a few of my favorite TV shows and sleep to keep my posts as up to date as possible. Most of my blogging occurs in the wee hours of the night when my little man is fast asleep.

KARMA.
Be kind to us little people. When I first started blogging I reached out to some of the biggies. I followed them, I read every post they wrote, and I admired their success. Simply put, I wanted to be like them. One day I got up to courage to send them a quick note letting them know about their awesomeness. Imagine my surprise when some of these girls responded to me emails. I was overwhelmed that they would take the time out of their busy schedules to send me a thank you–I mean these girls are like celebrities in my world. And you know the BEST part! They never acted better than me {even though they are}! They treated me likea “new friend”, not like a fan! So thank you Jen from Tatertots & Jello, thank you Becca from Blue Cricket Design, and thank you Kari from UCreate–you girls are Down To Earth and REAL, and that’s the best compliment I could give!

There is so much more I could share, but I can see that this post is becoming a bit long-winded–so I will step off my soap box and remind you that I am NOT an expert and these are not RULES, just tips according to this Little Miss Momma so take it for what it’s worth, and feel free to add your own tips!
Stay tuned for Part Two, which will include…
Blog design info
Html tips
How to find sponsors
How to review products
Blog Stats
Blog Conferences
Facebook and Twiiter
Keywords and SEO
Networking Websites
Advertising
Helpful Links
and MORE

CLICK HERE to view PART TWO: the techy stuff.

Ashley Stock
I'm Ashley. Sometimes I craft, occasionally I cook, everyday I write, and I'm always Momma. This is my blog. I keep it real while still seeing the rainbows and butterflies in all of life's lessons.
Ashley Stock
Ashley Stock
Ashley Stock

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Comments

  1. the little wife says:

    Thank you so much for this! I just found your blog, and I love it, its like finding a new friend! I just created my blog today, I've been wanting to do it for a long time now, and now I'm finally brave enough, thank you!

  2. amomwithalessonplan.com says:

    What great tips! I was pleasantly surprised to find there is no competition in this industry. I feel like I'm back in school, soaking up knowledge from so many teachers. Every time I find a great blog, they introduce me to 10 more!

    I can't wait to read the rest of your ideas!

  3. starkidzworld says:

    I love this write up as it is very informative. I am about to start my blog and I have been pondering about the name and how it should look like. But, this write has made it easier. Thank you.

  4. Cammie@Flutterbys and Frogs says:

    Just found your blog today and LOVE IT!!! :) Thanks so much for this post! I'm trying hard to get mine up and running so all the advice I can get is a HUGE help! :)
    Love and Blessings
    Cammie

  5. Jere and Cara says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog and i JUST found you today via topmommyblogs.com. Keep up the good work :) You are funny, talented and inticing with your work. Yay for you :)

  6. Thanks so much for this post. These are great tips! I'm just starting up a blog and it seems so overwhelming. Love all your great tutorials! I'll be following :)

  7. Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia says:

    WOW! You have given so much wonderful advice! Thank you! I from time to time post blog tips, I hope it is ok if I share this with my readers, they would love it!

  8. Natasha Crane says:

    Wow you are gorgeous and very articulate I am not so much, I am me however I agree with so many of your posts I find it hard to read all the blogs out there or even parts with a spirited toddler and two teens in the house as well as a sick mother I really need to do more commenting so I can let people see my name out there I am more wanna be crafty than anything I can recreate but thats it I a have been searching my whole life for my creative niche. I could use all the blogging tips I can get I used to be computer savvy and fell behind sometime ago. I want to put myself out there and perhaps make some money and give some back but I don't know where to begin or how to maximize my potential I don't get twitter although I signed up and have followers and don't know much about linky parties and giveaways and I recently found out I am gonna be a grandma my 16 year old is gonna be a dad my mom's cancer is spreading and my 18 year old has just lost her job and is temporarily without a home and my toddler hates me using the computer and I try to take care of my husband so the me time and the overwhelming task of learning all this stuff has kind of paralyzed me to where i have blogged twice on my own blog but no people have seen it and I dunno what to do from here. I feel like I have something to offer if not only my story but how to get it out there? Thanks I am sorry I am so wordy. I think!

  9. I don't remember how I stumbled across your blog the other day…but now I'm completely HOOKED! Thanks to your post and the words of several other craft-tastic ladies, my blog and Etsy shop will be launching in the coming months! Wahoo! So yeah, thanks for the nudge to get up and make it happen…and for the advice on Target brand whitening strips. They ROCK! :-)

  10. Lulubelles.Creations says:

    you are amazing! your encouraging words help me want to reach my goals… Thank you

  11. Harps and Ollie's Mom says:

    You're amazing! I love your blog and totally identify with this post…I just started blogging and am totally unskilled. I've picked up a ton of tips from other bloggers and totally appreciate all the love that's shared! Keep it up!

  12. Wow, i hope this doesn't sound weird… but this post got me all teary eyed. :) Really amazing and encouraging. I've got 23 followers and have been feeling kinda small lately, but this reminded my of we I have a blog anyway.
    love it! Can I re-post it?

  13. Debber-doo says:

    Wow!!! Thanks Ash I feel just like you did when u strted Out! I am stuck just don't know where to go from where I am at! I want bloggie Bff's! Lol

  14. Love it! What great advice! I forget how I found your blog but I am glad I did! I am a new mommy blogger and every inch of help is welcomed! Thanks Girl!

    Ginger
    http://literallyinspired.blogspot.com

  15. Thank you! I was surprised a few weeks ago when you celebrated your first blogging anniversary. It seems like you've been at this much longer! I'm working on building my blog that I started at the beginning of this month, and I really need the tech help. I tried to add a button yesterday, and it really messed up my post! I look forward to reading more of your blog help later after the kids are in bed!
    http://titus2moments.blogspot.com

  16. THANK YOU!!! From a "newbie" ;)

  17. While I'm not really new to the blogging world, I'm new to it being more than just a place to lay down my thoughts. I'm not certain the change, or what goals I have for my blog just yet, so I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog yesterday from pinterest.com. (PS, I love your loose wavy curls post) Thanks for sharing your knowledge, it is greatly appreciated.

    Sally@
    http://ablessedexistence.blogspot.com

  18. WOW!!! I LOVE this post! And I looove love your blog! So happy I stumbled upon it by googling "DIY baby jar ideas"

    Yeay!

    Delighted Momma

  19. MeganAmy says:

    Thank you for this!! I have just started a recent blog and am only about 4 post in… I found these tips very useful and I am going to put them to use in my blog (http://meganamy-jumpingbean.blogspot.com/)!! Btw I wanted to thank you for your 'awesomeness'! I love your blog! I have only been following for 2 days but you are already an inspiration! Now in the read part two of your tip guide!
    xo

  20. Bliss Accessories says:

    I just found you….I don't know you, but I already love you! Not to scare you….I just want to thank you a million for these helpful tips for this new blogger that has no clue. I'm learning though. Thanks again
    Monica
    http://www.blissexclusive.blogspot.com

  21. Bliss Accessories says:

    See I'm already sending false contact information. Here's the correct site.
    http://loveblissaccess.blogspot.com

  22. Simply P.Chee says:

    Just discovering the true craziness of this blogging world, great article… Thanks!

  23. Great post! I am new to blogging (still in first month) and I too wish I knew more before I started, but was antsy to get started since I follow pretty much all of the blogs you mentioned plus some. I am now a little miss momma follower!!!

    Thanks for the blog tips. They will help me make a world of difference on my blog!

    My blog is called imcraftylikethat.blogspot.com. You are welcome to take a peek at the flew posts I have made thus far :)

    Laura

  24. Elizabeth says:

    Thanks so much for the great list of blog tips. My oldest kiddo just started a new blog and she came across your tips and has been doing her research & revising her page based on all of the great ideas you have here. Thanks so much for the inspiration :)

  25. Thank you so much for taking the time to make this post!!

  26. Thanks, Ashley, for these tips and your wise words from experience. to me, you are one of those "celebrities" that you spoke about in your post! I've had my blog for a few years now, but have just recently gotten really serious about making it into something. Your blog and your honesty has really been inspiring to me. I thank you. Now I have to go, because I still have Part Two of this post to read!

  27. I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

  28. Really great article with very interesting information. You might want to follow up to this topic!?! 2012

  29. Just starting to take this mom blog thing seriously. Thanks for all your advice!

  30. thanks so much for the tips. thanks to pinterest-i found you!

  31. Thanks for all the great tips. I just started getting serious about my blogging since having my daughter in May and this really helped!

  32. Your blog is amazing and it has been very useful for me so thank you! I love your tips and your straight-facts approach to teaching us wannabe bloggers how its done. Keep blogging!

  33. I LOVE this–it was awesome, helpful and affirming–everything a blog should be. Thank you so much!

  34. Can I get an Amen! I am so glad I found you and your blog….
    See, I am one of those new wee-little bloggers lost in blog land. I am pretty much clueless as to what I’m doing. However, I can paint the heck out of some shabby chic furniture.
    Frantically, I’ve been reading all of your post, which contain so many helpful tips. THANK YOU. I needed you in a big way. (That sounds creepy. But really, I need all the help I can get).
    Elyse @ Shabby Sweet Tea

  35. {oh my lanta!} let me just say I have no clue how I came across your blog/posts, but am so thankful that I did! clearly I was meant to find this post – I felt like it was written just for me :) I’m a newbie blogger and found your site so helpful. Thank you!!!

  36. I see alot of blogs with BlogRolls listing their favorite blogs. Do you need to reach out to those blogs for permission first?

  37. Um I’m insulted u didn’t include my 50 letters tip, Ash! ;)

  38. I needed this today. I read your blog all the time, with hopes of mine growing up in a similarway. It’s nice to hear that your blog wasnt born huge, beautiful and perfect. =) There’s hope for me yet!

  39. Great information and help!!! I enjoyed reading your post, it make’s me happy to find “TOP” bloggers willing to share their tips and how to better our Blogs. Thank you

  40. Thank you for all the tips! I have been blogging for over a year but am feeling ready to grow my readership, I really admire your blog and love your style! I hope that I can be as successful as you at some point. Thank you for being open and helping!

  41. Thank you for this post! I am new at blogging and am struggling with finding my “blog voice”. I feel like I concentrate so much on my spelling and grammar, that I forget to put some of my personality into it. Your pointers are helping me let go a little!You are an inspiration to make me a better blogger!
    If you have some extra time, please visit my blog and offer any suggestions.

  42. I just found your blog and it’s so inspiring! Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned and highlighting the awesomeness of the blogging community! I love that we create our own words and creative ways of expressing ourselves through words and images.

  43. I’ve nominated you for a Liebster award because I love all your creative tips and down-to-earth writing style. If you want to keep it going, here are the rules:
    LIEBSTER AWARD RULES:

    List eleven random facts about yourself.
    Nominate (eleven) bloggers for the award.
    Let them know about the nomination.
    Answer the eleven questions you were asked when you were nominated.
    Ask eleven questions for the new award winners to answer.

    The 11 questions you may chose to answer are on my blog post. If you chose not to participate, you can still credit yourself with an honorary award without participating. It’s up to you!

    Best,
    Phyl

    I stay more up-to-date with FB than WordPress, so if you’re interested:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Phyl-Campbell-Author-Page

  44. Thank you so much for this!! I just started a couple months ago and there is SO MUCH TO LEARN!!! I found your blog through a google search, literally just typing in something along the lines of “how to make a blog”. I’ll be following you ! :)

  45. This is brilliant thank you so much. Your advice is so down to earth and honest. Very useful for a newbie blogger from the UK!

    Katie x

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  59. Hi Ashley,

    Thank you so much for this post! It is truly great for newbies (aka me!)

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  61. Thank you so much for this post! I have been searching high and low for someone to break down everything, and you’ve done it. I’ve just started my blog and I am completely over whelmed with everything it takes to get it up, keep it running and to keep going. This post was super informative and I plan on definitely using this as I start myself up. Thanks!

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  1. [...] you want to accomplish you will be able to blog with a purpose. I love that phrase. Ashley Stock of Little Miss Momma has some great pointers to share. The main focus being knowing what you want and following your [...]

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