This post was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal domains that end in .ME. As a company, they aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Next month, I will have been professionally blogging for a year. Some of you are probably like “a year? that’s it?” and some of you are probably like “she has only been blogging for a year?!”
I can assimilate with both of those thoughts. While the past year has flown by, I have also learned so much.
I am no veteran or blogging expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I do feel that I have plenty to share. Especially for brand new bloggers, information about blogging as a business can be difficult to find. I spent hours upon hours googling and reading everything I could find about how to start a blog, how to monetize that blog, and everything in between. Blogging is a unique job that requires so many different skill sets to be successful. You must be proficient in basic web design and troubleshooting, writing and editing, photography, networking, marketing, and social media strategy. Not only that, but there is a plethora of information to absorb and remember about FTC laws, sole proprietorship and small business owning (including TAXES). There is always something to learn about any one of those subjects.With all that said, I will be answering some frequently asked questions here for you today! A few weeks ago I polled my social media followers to gauge some of the most commonly asked questions you guys would love the answers to. If you have any more, feel free to add them in the comment section and I will be happy to answer. Here we go!
How long have you been blogging?
I had a blog from 2009-2011 that was mostly to share information with family and friends. It’s awful. I’m not telling you where to find it. THIS blog, Twelve & Six, was born in October, 2015.
Why did you start blogging?
I needed an outlet to express myself, create things, and cultivate all of the things I love: writing, photography, networking. I also had a craving to reach other moms in the trenches of motherhood with honesty and humor. How else can we get through it? Someone needs to be on the interwebs encouraging other moms that we are all just as crazy. May as well be me!
How did you decide on your personal branding and your blog name?
I spent weeks thinking about my goals with having a blog. I thought about who I am, my personality, my lifestyle, and the long term vision of what I want. I didn’t want to be solely a “Mommy Blogger”, so I stayed away from the kitschy mom titles. At the same time, my kids are a huge part of my life, so Twelve & Six is an homage to them. You can read more about that here. I designed my own logo and produced marketing materials. I immediately knew I didn’t want a third-level domain. I wanted my domain to look legit. I went with a .COM domain, but I love the idea of .ME domain names and am definitely considering getting one! Domain.ME is a domain name provider that helps a user create a domain ending in .ME. This can be a really great way to brand yourself with a short and specific domain name that really reflects who you are. Did you know that over a million people use a .ME domain name? It’s definitely something anyone in the blogging world should consider!
How do you monetize your blog?
I monetize with sponsored posts, affiliate marketing, and ads. The bulk of my income is through sponsored posts.
When should someone monetize?
I think they should monetize as soon as they have a strong brand that they are happy with. Once I started to get some significant traffic and learned that I could actually be earning money doing what I loved, I explored monetizing and jumped in with both feet. For me, it was a ton of trial and error. I am constantly learning as I go. There is so much to learn in this industry. A blogger can start looking for sponsors immediately. The worst you can get is a “no”. It wasn’t worth it for me to start using ads until I had 50k+ page views per month.
Where do you find sponsors?
Sometimes they find me privately and email me. Sometimes I pitch brands and shops that I am interested in working with. I am also apart of several blogger networks that connect the brand to the blogger. I only work with brands that I support and products that I believe in. If it’s something I would already use, I am happy to use my platform to market their product. That’s my bread and butter.
Is social media important to a successful blog?
100%! Blogging these days is about 10% blogging and 90% promoting. Connecting with your readers and followers through social media is key. The vast majority of my traffic comes from social media. Primarily, Instagram. Take the time to learn how they work and use them.
What ad network do you use?
I use Monumetrics (formerly The Blogger Network). I have been very happy with them so far.
How do you know how to optimize SEO?
SEO is confusing to me. Luckily, there is a handy plugin called “Yoast SEO”. It gives you a checklist of sorts to make sure your post is the best it can be.
How do you manage everything?
I don’t. HA! It’s extremely hard and I don’t have it mastered. I have two kids and a husband who works a lot. My blog is a full time job at LEAST. I am learning to focus on one thing at a time rather than 100 things and it is making life somewhat more streamlined. Stay tuned.
Have you ever posted about something you actually didn’t like?
No, and I never would. I want my readers to trust me and the products I support. I have turned down opportunities with brands that I would never use or don’t jive with my style and habits.
What is your best advice for someone who is starting a blog?
Stay true to who you are. There is someone who needs to read what you have to say. Write what you know. Build a community. I cannot preach that enough. I attribute a lot of my success to the other bloggers I have built relationships with. Join blogging Facebook groups, throw yourself in, ask questions, find a mentor, sit back and watch the conversations being had by more experienced bloggers and soak it all in. Anything you want to learn about anything can be found on Google, Youtube or Pinterest. It just takes time to figure things out.
So, that’s it folks! I hope I was a little helpful. If you have questions, the answers are out there! If you get stuck, ask another blogger. Community over competition is my mantra and I hope it will be yours too.