How to Blog: Blogging 101 eBook for Mums

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Ever thought about becoming a mum blogger? Download our free Blogging 101 eBook from www.kleenexmums.com.au …

Ever thought about becoming a mum blogger? Download our free Blogging 101 eBook from www.kleenexmums.com.au
It's full of goodies that'll help you learn how to start blogging!

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  • 1. 3. Introduction: Want to be a top mum blogger?4. Why do you blog?6. What makes a great mum blogger?8. The newbie’s guide to starting a blog14. Four ways to make blogging a sustainable part of your life16. Five tips to help mum-bloggers make money18. Keep the ideas coming21. How to become part of the mum-blogger community24. How to get traffic and measure it 26. Six steps to law-proof your blog28. How to make a blog your own: branding and design basics31. Jargon busters33. “What I learned at ABC 2011”35. Useful resources and free stuff
  • 2. Blogging. What better way to express yourself, shareyour stories, your ideas, your frustrations and connectwith other like-minded people? But where do youstart? Read our eBook and you should be a little wiser.When you start blogging, there’s just so much to take in: Analytics, measurement, design,search-engine optimisation, monetisation (is that even a word?!), traffic, personal branding, Twitter, Facebook pages, avatars… The list of things you need to know about seems endless.And the truth is, mastering all the elements required to become a top blogger can takea long time. Some people will take to it faster than others, but it often depends how much‘me time’ you can regularly set aside and commit to it. And that level of commitment canbe enough to stop people before they’ve even started.How often do you hear someone say: “I’d love to start my own blog, but I just can’t seemto get around to it.” Or: “I wouldn’t know where to start.” Well hopefully it’ll seem a little biteasier for any parent to start a blog of their own once they’ve read our Kleenex Mums guideto starting a blog.We’ve pulled together what we think are the essential bits of knowledge any parent whoseever contemplated starting a blog will need to get themselves up and running. And for thosewho do take the leap into the blogosphere, we’ve also included as many links as we couldto great resources that will help you keep delivering top-quality content over and over again.Whether you want to blog about family, share your favourite meal ideas, or anything elseyou’re passionate about, we’re sure this eBook will give you a great head start.This eBook is authored by a number of authors. The thoughts or opinions expressed are those of Melissa Gassman and other creditedauthors and sources, and are not those of Kimberly-Clark Australia Pty. Limited nor the medical profession. All material here is forinformational purposes only and should in no way replace or be used as a substitute for professional or medical advice. Copyrightin this eBook vests in Kimberly-Clark Australia Pty. Limited. ®Registered Trademark Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. © 2011 KCWW. 3.
  • 3. We asked some of Australia’s top mum-bloggers why they put in the hard yards and what they get out of the blogging experience. Lucy Mulvany, Dimishinglucy I love to write, and keep a journal. Melissa Klemke, I always have, even as a child. Frills In The Hills I love to read the memories of others.Bianca Wordley, I have the diaries and photo scrap Primarily I blog for me. I blog to albums of all of the women in myBigwords express, connect and preserve. family. These stories bring these Blogging is a wonderful way to people closer to me. I have bloggedI blog because as an ex-journalist have a creative outlet whilst since 2002. It started as a journal.I found I had a driving desire to keep Megan Blanford, connecting with others and creating Then as a place to display photos.writing after I’d stopped working to Writing Out Loud a record of your thoughts and Then as a record of my weight losslook after my three children. Blogging experiences – and in my case – attempts. And then I realised thatgives me the opportunity to write recipes! I think the secret to having Why do I blog? I started blogging others, just like me, liked to share inwhatever I want, whenever I want. a great blog is to write something purely as a way to write. But I’ve words and stories and photos too.It’s an amazing creative outlet. The you’d want to read that provides kept blogging to connect with And so I blog.blogging community is so supportive something useful to the reader. others, to feel part of a community,and inspiring and I’ve been able toconnect with people throughout the to reflect on life, and yet escape world. It’s kick started my career in reality at the same time. I bloga whole new direction, opened my because it’s an exciting time toeyes up to the world of Twitter, taught be a blogger in Australia andme new skills and I’ve met so many there are so many opportunities.new friends. It’s so much fun! 4.
  • 4. Jodie Ansted, Mummy Mayhem Louisa Claire, A couple of years ago, I rediscovered Everything Is Edible my early love of writing by contributing to my sons’ school Kathrine Holland, I started blogging as a way to stay newsletter each week. I started Mummy Diaries in touch with family and friends Mummy Mayhem after a friend living interstate, and after becoming suggested I do so. I feel complete a Mum my blog became a way I am one of those soulless bloggers now that I write, and I love it when to record all the changes and that got into the game for the money my writing connects with others. milestones that we went through – not those meaningful connections Especially if the post I’ve written as a family, as well as the early that you so often hear mummy- helps people in some way. years of my daughters life. bloggers waffle on about. I often refer to my blog as myChristie Burnett, I found parenting incredibly But three months into blogging ‘hobby’, but I think it’s more thanChildhood101 isolating and so I decided to write an and without a penny earned, I had that. Blogging is a part of me now. uncensored version of motherhood. an epiphany that perhaps my blog It’s escapism. Joy. Expression. I feelAs a new Mum, I found that I missed I decided that if I could encourage wasn’t destined to be the second I’ve found my ‘thing’.having something for me as my or reassure even one Mum who coming of Dooce. Predictablywork had always been such an was feeling like I was then it would though, I had started to developimportant part of my life. My blog be worth it. “meaningful connections” withbecame what I did for me, an What I didn’t expect was that I other women – women that wouldoutlet for my thoughts and ideas would discover an online community comment and tell me to “keep myand feelings. I love that whatever who would in turn encourage and chin up” when my 6 month old wouldyour parenting style or philosophy is, reassure me; relationships that would keep me up ALL NIGHT and otherthere are others around the world spill over into real life. bloggers that would email just tofeeling, thinking and sometimes tell me they thought I was the beeseven enjoying a similar journey. knees... It’s a cliché I know, but that’s why I blog! 5.
  • 5. What makes a Mum blogger and avid mum-blog-reader Sharongreat mum-blogger? from Hear Mum Roar shares what she thinks sets great bloggers apart. Reading a great blog is like watching your favourite TV show. You anxiously wait for the next installment, desperate to know what’s going to happen. I could talk all day about getting traffic and followers. If you want to be a great blogger, the best thing you can do is write gripping content. Guilty pleasure content. The kind that sees housework neglected, because the reader must get their fix. Do this and, over time, the traffic and followers will come. Although I’m obsessed with writing my own blog, my other obsession is reading blogs. Each mum blog I read is vastly different from the next. But the great blogs all have things in common that make them special: They have a different point of view Isn’t this why we watch TV? Read books? We love journeying, experiencing something different to our own everyday lives. We enjoy some escapism. Great bloggers aren’t a generic model, trying to fit in with everyone else. They give us their unique, fresh perspective on life. They share their own experience as they see it. 6.
  • 6. You feel an affinity with the blogger They’re great writersI enjoy reading blogs from mums in a different situation to It’s important to write with correct grammar andmine, but the great bloggers make me feel connected to spelling. Great bloggers do this, but they also havethem. They’re relatable. They aren’t constantly telling me their own unique writing ‘voice’. Don’t panic if youhow wonderful or perfect they are. haven’t found yours yet. Just start writing!They willingly share their own imperfection and vulnerability. Your voice develops the more you write. GreatI see the perfection in their imperfection. I feel like I personally bloggers write well, but more importantly, they writeknow this blogger and that, if we met, we’d be close friends. as though they are having a direct conversation with you. This is another way we come to ‘know’ them.It’s like when I’m watching Mad Men; I see Betty Draperslumped on her couch from boredom and exhaustion, If you close your eyes during your favourite TV show,and I relate to her as a mother. Although we’re both in you can guess which character is speaking. Not justdifferent eras and countries, in that very real moment, because you recognise their voice. You know themI can identify with her. by their speaking style, the types of words they use, their tone and nuances. Think about your friends and family. How many times have you heard someone in your life say: ‘it’s so like her to say that!’ What’s it likeGreat bloggers inspire you when you talk?Great bloggers make me want more from life. It may be Try writing in a notebook. It doesn’t matter what youthe cute craft project or the mind-blowing time-saving write about, but scribble your thoughts down as iftip. Or perhaps a fresh perspective on how a mum handled you were speaking out loud. Do you see how uniquea problem with her child. your writing is, compared to trying to write like every other blogger you’ve read and liked?Other times, it’s watching a mum grow in strength as shekeeps getting out of bed to face another day of adversity. Great bloggers are willing to be themselves. Do youSome bloggers are just so cool, I wish for a moment I could have the courage to show your uniqueness to thebe them. world? Can you let your differences shine? Are you willing to let your voice be heard for what it is? MyThis inspiration makes me want to be a better person, best advice to any mum thinking about starting herdo amazing things and to live my best possible life. The own blog, is go for it! Read lots of blogs too, you’llgreat mum bloggers make me strive to be kinder to others, soon see for yourself what makes a great blogger.nurture my creative side, do a better job at this mummy gigand think outside my own parameters. 7.
  • 7. The newbie’s guideto starting a blog Fancy yourself as 1. What will your blog be called? Some people name their blogs after the content (eg a top mum-blogger “Craft Ideas for Crafty Mums”) while others choose a nonsensical name (eg “Bubbly Boo”). However, there but aren’t sure are no rules – you can even go for something simple like “Jane Smith’s Blog.” 4. What are the paid hosting options? where to start? There are a range of options for paid hosting. Run a search on “web hosting” and then chooseHere’s a step-by-step 2. Will you host the site? the one that best suits you. Standard hosting prices vary from $3-17 per month, while the more expensive guide to get you up A hosting service gives you a place to store all your blog’s data on the internet. You can either pay to services generally offer better customer support and faster speeds. and posting. have your own host, or you can use a free hosting service such as Blogger or WordPress. However, if you choose a free service, you won’t be able to Hold on for just a minute have your own domain. To use the above example, 5. Which blog platform is best for you? it would instead be something like A blog platform is the software that you will need tothough, here are five things www.janesmith.blogspot.com use to manage your blog’s content and presentation. you’ll need to decide There are various blog platforms you can use, but services like WordPress and Blogger both offer easy- before you start blogging. 3. What domain will you use? to-use free blogging platforms with a customisable A domain is part of the URL address that you type into layout. Signing up is simple and you can be posting your browser to visit a particular site. You can register within minutes. For the purpose of our newbie’s guide, your own domain and name it after yourself or your we have written our walk-through using Blogger. site (eg www.janesmith.com) for as little as $12 per year, if you wish. Plenty of bloggers start with the free option first and then move over to a paid domain, – some would say it’s not worth creating that extra step for yourself, so if you can easily afford it think hard about paying for your own domain from the get-go. 8.
  • 8. 1. Log in to Blogger.com using your Google account (set one up if you haven’t already – it’s as easy as Hotmail). 2. Choose a display name for yourself – this is the identifier that will appear on your blog posts, on your blogger profile and when you comment on other blogs. It might be your real name, or a nickname you like to use. Once you’ve got those five things sorted, it’s 3.time to sit down in front Next you will be taken to your Blogger dashboard; this is the control panel for your blog. Here, you can access any of your blogs or your profile. Start by properly setting up your profile. Click “Edit profile” and fill in the of your computer and requested details – select your preferred privacy settings, upload a profile photo, and complete your country settings. You can also add information get your blog started. about your interests, occupation and birthday – it’s up to you to decide how much you are comfortable sharing, be sure to pay it some thought. Here’s how to set up a blog using Blogger: 4. Then it’s time to set up the blog itself. Click “Create your blog” from the dashboard and choose a blog title and URL. The URL will act as the address for your blog so people know where to find it, and it will contain the domain name. If you have purchased your own domain, then the URL address will just be the same as your domain. However, if you are using the Blogger domain, the URL will be www.yourblogname.blogspot.com (in this example, the “blogspot.com” part of the URL is the domain). 9.
  • 9. 5. Select one of Blogger’s ready-made templates – a template is like a theme, and it dictates how your content will be presented (background colour, header, fonts, etc.) Once you’ve chosen a template, you can change the background of your blog by clicking “Background” and choosing a different colour or background image. You can even upload a photo of your own to use as the background.6. You can customise the layout – where each element of your page will be displayed – by clicking “Layout” and selecting from one of Blogger’s pre-set options. A two-column layout will load faster for visitors to your blog and puts more emphasis on your content, as you’ll have more room to work with. However, if you have a lot of widgets in your sidebar, or you want to offer ad space, a three-column layout might work better for you, as this will look less cluttered. Once you’ve chosen a layout, you can then adjust the widths of your page to suit your preference.7. Advanced customisation options allow you to tweak your text by playing with fonts, link colours and more. Choose something that will be easy to read on either a desktop or a smartphone. Top tip: over the years, research has shown that white text on a black background is hard to read for a lot of people. Once you’re happy with the look and feel of your blog, you can start8. posting. You can also make changes to your template and layout at any time later on if you wish to do so. 10.
  • 10. How to post 1. To add a post, click “New Post” from your dashboard. Then simply type in your post title and body text. To format your post, use the icons above the post box – these are similar to those used in Microsoft Word. You can also add Labels to your post – these are like tags that will help categorise your content and make it easy for visitors to find things on your site. To add a link, highlight the text you would like to link, then click “Link” and type in the URL. 2. To add an image, click the image icon (next to “Link”) and then choose a file from your desktop, or type in the URL of the image you wish to add, then click “Add Selected”. Once the image appears in your post box, click on it to add a caption or change its size or position. To add a video, click the video icon (next to the image icon) and then upload your own video, or search for one on YouTube. When you’ve found the right video, click “Select” and it will automatically be added to your post. Now click “Preview” to see what your post will look like. Then, if you are happy to publish it, click “Publish Post.”3. If you do not want to publish your post immediately, you can click “Save as Draft” and come back when 4. you want to publish it. If you want to schedule your post to be published at a set time in the future, click “Post Options” (just above the “Publish Post” button), check the “Scheduled at” box, and then type in the date and time when you would like your post to go live. To delete a post, click “Edit Posts” from the posting menu, then check the post you wish to delete and click “Delete Selected.” 11.
  • 11. How to create a new pageIn addition to your main page, you might like to havea page with your contact details, or an “About Me”section. Doing a good job on the latter is particularlyimportant if you want to build a loyal following andhelp anyone who visits your blog – including potentialadvertisers – understand what you’re about.To add a page, click “New Post” from your dashboard,and choose “Edit Pages”. Then click “New Page”, nameyour page and add in the text you want to appear onthat page. When you are ready to publish, click “PublishPage” and select where you would like the page toappear. Then click “Save and publish” and your newpage will appear on your blog. 12.
  • 12. How to add gadgetsGadgets (or widgets) are like mini-applications that add extra functions orcontent to your blog. Some basic gadgets that you might like to start withinclude: Popular Posts, Followers, Search Box, Subscription Links and LabelSphere. These will help highlight your best posts and allow readers to find information more easily.To add a gadget to your blog, select “Design” from your Dashboard, andthen click “Add a Gadget” in your element-layout. You can browse thegadgets by most popular or basics, or search for one using the search barin the top right-hand corner of the pop-up gadget menu. Select the gadgetyou want and then add it to your element layout. You can then click anddrag it to arrange your page elements in order of importance.Now what?Once you have set up your blog it will take some time to build an audience,but it’s important to keep up your blogging momentum. Try to updateregularly and include unique posts that people will find useful, entertaining, educational or interesting. If you continue to post good content, the readerswill come. As well as working on the blog itself, you need to take yourblogging-self to where your audience already are online. So if you aren’talready, get yourself set up in other social media, like Facebook and Twitter.Read the rest of the eBook and you’ll find a ton of useful articles all written to help you on your way to mum-blogging success. 13.
  • 13. Four ways to Once you’re up and running, beware,make blogging blogging could take over your life! Nicole froma sustainable Planning With Kids givespart of your life her advice on how to sustainably incorporate blogging into family life. If you are just starting out blogging, here are four ways you can incorporate blogging into your life that will help make it sustainable: If you have done any reading of ‘how to blog’ blogs, you will often come across the advice that to build your blog, you need to be blogging every day. When I first started blogging I aimed to post Monday to Friday. It was exhausting and unsustainable for me – it took too much time away from my family. After a while I set myself a more realistic schedule of three times a week. My blog may have grown slightly faster if I had kept up posting five days a week, but it would have burned me out. Work out what is your realistic posting schedule for the time you want to spend blogging and stick to it. 14.
  • 14. Batch writing is the process I use eachweek to schedule my posts. I will setaside time where all I do is write blogposts. I turn off all other distractions I have a content plan for my blogand focus purely on the content for that goes forward at least six months.my blog. Once you find your writing As with any plan I can change it asrhythm it can be very easy to keep the mood sees fit, but having a plan going and write all your posts for the allows me to continue blogging whenupcoming week. my home life hits its busy peaks. Try spending a couple of hoursI batch write on weekends when planning-out your posts for at leastmy husband is home and he is a month. Start by defining the style available for the kids. Having the posts of your posts: for example, Mondaysscheduled throughout the week takes will be a craft post, Wednesdays willthe pressure off me when family life be a anecdote and Fridays will be ais at its busiest. Prior to batch writing, book review – this will help you think ofI would write posts the night before topics that fit the scope of your blog. they were to be published. But if thekids were sick or I had meetings to go The real beauty of the plan is how Ito, I used to find I was feeling under can look forward and see what I willpressure to get a post out on time. be writing about next. I then have the topics rattling around in my head and over the week I start to almost write the blog posts in my head. By the time I sit down to write them, they take much less time to write than if I had sat in front of the computer with a blank slate.Blogging isn’t just about writing posts;it’s about interacting with an onlinecommunity. Commenting on other Blogging can have a fantastic impactblogs, adding to discussions on forums on your life when you allow it to fit in and using social media can very and not take over your family life.quickly eat up your blogging time.Try using a tool like focus booster andlimiting your time with these activities.There will always be more you couldcontribute, but to keep the number ofhours you are online to a manageablelevel, setting limits is vital. 15.
  • 15. There are dozens of ways to make money fromyour blog, but where do you start? Here arefive things you can put in place straight away.Want to soar off into the stratosphere as a six-figure salaried mum-blogger? First you’ll need to find your own distinct voice, your niche, and a subject so important to you that you’ll happily write about it for years to come. On topof that you’ll also need to have a clear strategy and be prepared to work atit consistently – take a look at our free resources page for help with the latter.For now, here are five things you can do straight away that will help yourquest for dollars:1. Remember, it’s all ‘about me’The ‘about me’ section of a blog is often overlooked. While it should be writtenfor your readers first – especially as it’s one of the most read pages by first-time visitors – keep in mind it will also be scrutinised by those who may be willing topay for your expertise.Your ‘about me’ should be well-written and clearly explain who you areand what you’re all about. If possible, try to demonstrate how far and wideyour word has the potential to spread, by providing links to your Facebookand Twitter accounts. Doing this will help anyone interested in working withyou quickly understand how many people are gathered around you andyour content. 16.
  • 16. 2. Make your own ‘media kit’ and know your numbers 4. Let people know you are PR friendlyAs a reference point for promoting the value of your blog to advertisers, After spending the past 50 years creating advertising messages they could control andfamiliarise yourself with the ‘media kits’ online publishers put together then broadcast to whomever was watching, the world has now changed for brands –– these are often found in links at the foot of well-known websites. and it makes some of them very nervous about involvement with bloggers. If someoneOnce you’ve got your blog ticking along nicely, it’s a good time to representing a brand wants to approach you about something, it can be encouragingcreate a media kit of your own. for them to know you’re open to listening and are discreet about such things. In Australia there is a growing list of ‘PR Friendly’ bloggers, and it can’t do any harm to sign up to itDoing this basically means providing all the juicy details on how many if you want to boost your chances of being approached by brands that reach out tounique visitors your blog attracts, the number of pages they view, mum-bloggers from time to time.bounce rates, and so on. And when you talk numbers, make sure you’reconfident about each stat and what it means; to make money from blogging you’ll have to become a wizz at understanding your data. 5. Don’t under-estimate the power of mum-bloggersYour own media kit is a useful document to have up your sleeve should Did you know that, according to research, 85% of brand purchases are made byany interesting opportunities arise – it’ll also save you time replying at women? Those working in the marketing industry certainly do, and they also know thatlength to every email request you receive for this sort of information. more and more women are spending time online – doing things like reading this eBook! It means that right now, if you’re a successful mum-blogger who can communicate well and command an audience, plenty of brands could be interested in you. One challenge3. Sign-up to Google Adsense or Nuffnang for mum-bloggers is that no benchmark costs have emerged for the different types ofYou can start to make a few dollars by signing up to Google Adsense, paid work available beyond advertising – be it consultancy, writing paid-for guest posts,a program that embeds ads and sponsored links into your blog. It’s pretty reviews, whatever. Events like the Aussie Bloggers Conference help bring together mumstraight-forward to do using Blogger or Wordpress, so try it out. There’s bloggers and fuel the debate about how to make money. So where possible, be a partalso the blogger-specific ad-network Nuffnang to consider. Once you’ve of the mum-blogging community and share any thoughts and advice you might havesigned up, Nuffnang basically finds advertisers it thinks are relevant to your with other mum bloggers out there.blog and serves those ads onto your blog. Nuffnang use statistics such asyour visitor numbers, and the number of people who click on the ads it has As you develop your skills as a mum-blogger you’ll comerunning on your blog, to work out how much you’ll be paid for displaying across literally dozens of ways to make money from yourthose ads. Nuffnang can also help get you involved with sponsored posts blog. So many that you could dedicate an enormousand giveaways. and successful blog to that one subject alone – just as quite a few people we’ve linked to on ourWhen you sign up with anyone to have ads placed on your blog, keep resources page have.a close eye on – and seek clarity on – what is served up. For example,if you’re a mum-blogger who specialises in vegetarian recipes, it mightnot be ideal to have ads for lamb served to your blog. 17.
  • 17. Keep the ideas Blogs are always hungry for comingmore content, but how do you feed their insatiable appetite and keep the quality up? Kelly from Be a Fun Mum shares some helpful secrets. Monotony. It’s what every blogger dreads and yet is something most (if not all) will experience at some point in the blogging journey. Successful blogging needs to be interesting, widely applicable and consistent. So, how do bloggers keep churning out interesting pieces of content week after week?First: you need to blog about what you like. Second: you need to develop a wide range of tactics to bring interesting posts to readers. 18.
  • 18. Ideas for posts are everywhere but sometimes it helps toknow where to look. Here are seven tips to help get thecreative juices flowing:1. Follow your passionBlogging without passion is like bread without butter.If you’re looking for topic ideas, the best place to start is you:What are you passionate about? What motivates you?What is your expertise?2. Think like a bloggerLook for blogging opportunities as you live life and don’tunderestimate the power of personal experiences.3. Read blogsOther blogs are a wonderful source of inspiration. However,make sure the content has your own unique spin.4. Ask questionsBlogging is less about the blogger and more about thereader. Ask your readers what topics they want you tocover or put the question out to Twitter.5. Use the mediaExplore hot topics in the media (television, magazines,newspapers, internet) and flesh out your opinion on them. 6. Events and holidaysStay one step ahead of holidays and events like Christmas.7. BrainstormingGet away from the computer with pencil and paperand jot things down as they pop into your head. 19.
  • 19. • Think about the posts you love most and why. • Look at your statistics and comments for popular posts. • Visit blog forums. • Check featured posts in your niche on social bookmarking sites. • Participate in blogging challenges, blog hogs and link-ups. • Take a small break to gain perspective.Once you have a list of ideas, it’s time to put them into posts.Single posts are always great, but mixing it up can keep thingsinteresting. Here are four tactics for putting posts together:1) Write a series 1. Highlight 10 of your best posts.Decide on a topic and write a number of posts covering thesubject. The subject may be something like “Back to School”. 2. Feature an inspirational picture and quote. 3. List five of your favourite blogs from around the internet.2) Lean on lists 4. Write a ‘quick tip’. This could be anything fromFormulating posts into a list is generally well received by where to keep clothes pegs to styling frizzy hair.readers, as they’re easy to digest. 5. Do a recipe post. 6. List 10 things you’re grateful for.3) Build suspenseIt can be fun to build interest in a post or event. This could 7. Interview someone.be something like a new blog design, a trip or surprise post. 8. Record a Vlog (video blog). 9. Invite a guest poster.4) Put a fresh spin on familiar topics 10. Blog about a great “find”.Topics that have been covered before are still blogging gold.Here’s a few ways to put a fresh spin on familiar topics:• Make a video to compliment the post. Post ideas are everywhere! Be creative and capture your passion to share it with the world. That’s what• Seek out a professional to give an opinion. blogging is all about.• Do a poll and add a graph to your post.• Be controversial.• Weave a personal story into a post applicable to a wide audience. 20.
  • 20. Zoey from Good Goog gives adviceon becoming an active member of theAustralian mum-blogger community.Starting a blog can be a daunting exercise. Especially when it’s justyou, a blank page and zero readers. And although the Australian mumblogging community is as dynamic as it is varied, in the beginning itcan seem like you’re looking at it from the outside in. But luckily youonly really need one thing to become part of this warm, generouscommunity – yourself.Does your blog really exist if there’s nobodythere to read it?To start off with it can seem like you might be writing into the great void.You have a blog but no followers, only the occasional family memberwho might throw you a bone and comment. To help put your blog onthe map, there are a few places where you can list your blog and thereare forums where you can connect with people of similar interests thatwill display your blog on your profile and in your signature.But really, the number one way to get your blog noticed is to commenton other blogs. When you comment, you usually have the option ofincluding your own blog address and your comment links back to yourblog. In the beginning, it’s all about comment, comment, comment! 21.
  • 21. g you en givin “...ev g or u al hu n a virt e whe ak d it.” cupc y nee eall you rProcrastination isn’t really a waste of timeWhere do all the Aussie mum bloggers live? On Twitter. Twitter is your newbest friend. It might take a while to get used to. It’s not really status updatesas much as it is micro-blogging. And unlike Facebook, it’s allows you to builda network that’s not just based on friends, but on common interests.But how do you actually find the people you want to find on Twitter? It is after all a very big pond. Most blogs will provide a link to their Twitter page Cross over into the real world and meet someand you can follow them from there. In addition, a lot of people createsome fantastic lists which are a great jumping off point. great people The tribe isn’t limited to online either. There are tweet ups, bloggers’Don’t abandon Facebook either. A good approach is to use a combination meet ups and even a bloggers’ conference. Although all of the aboveof Twitter, Facebook, forums and social bookmarking sites like Digg or do present some challenges if you plan on being anonymous online.StumbleUpon. This is because the bloggers might live on Twitter, but many of But who are we kidding? No one is really anonymous online!your potential readers will not. Nuffnang (a blogging advertising community) will often provide information on meet ups and you can keep your eyes peeled on Twitter for tweet ups as well.Find your tribe and your online home And the conference? A whole day of unadulterated blogging goodnessOnce you’ve had a chance to explore for a bit you’ll find your niche within and more bloggers than you can poke a stick at. This year’s has justa niche – your tribe. You’ll find people who you really connect with, people taken place, but if you start blogging soon, who knows, next year youyou look up to, people who inspire you and people who support you. could even be up on stage at Aussie Blogger’s Conference 2012.The community can provide the answers to those questions you might bejust a little bit embarrassed to ask and even some questions that you didn’trealise you should be asking. And support will come in many forms; from anencouraging comment, to good advice, to promoting your posts and evengiving you a virtual hug or cupcake when you really need it. 22.
  • 22. When in doubt, bribe readers and do it shamelessly A great way to build your readership is to run a blog giveaway. PR companies will begin to contact you with press releases or potential giveaways and you have the option of running them on your site. While your readers are busy entering your giveaway to win whatever it is on offer, make sure that your entry guidelines promote as much sharing and following as possible. So typical requirements are that to enter readers follow your blog, follow you on Twitter, like your Facebook page, tweet about the competition or anything else you can think of. Don’t be shy. As far as blog promotion goes, you can be mercenary. No one will hold it against you. Remember to have funComments are as irresistible as babies and The Australian mum blogger community has so many advantages forneed just as much attention blog promotion, getting a handle on the rather steep learning curve and having a ready support network. But really, the community is itsBloggers live and die by the comments. Well, not quite, but pretty close. own reward; finding your tribe online – the people who hold your hand But they don’t exactly look after themselves. You have to do that. You’ll on a bad day and cheer for you on a good one or are just able toneed to decide how you plan on filtering out spam. If you’re in Wordpress, understand – well, it’s icing on a pretty awesome cupcake.Akismet does a pretty good job of screening out spam and you also havethe option of needing to approve all comments, or only needing toapprove a commenter the first time a person leaves a comment. If you’re in Blogger you have the option of comment moderation similar to Wordpressor using Captcha.But it doesn’t end there. You’ll also need to figure out what your comment policy is. What kind of comments will you not allow on your blog? What kindof comments will you delete? How will you respond to comments – not at all,only on your blog, or via email?There is no right way. It doesn’t matter what kind of plan you have,just as long as you have one! 23.
  • 23. Whilst logic might suggest other bloggers who blog about similar things to you are ‘competitors’, the scale of the blogging world actually means they can be some of your most useful allies. Finding other bloggers like you and making friends with them is the best way to introduce yourself to the community, so do a bit of research and most importantly, do some reading. Zoey’s article on page 21 should also be a great help with that. Once you’ve established who your peers are, observe the sort of networking they already do.Dad-blogger and social media Are they members of blog networks that you could join? Do they have a ‘blogroll’ (a list of sites theyexpert Henry Elliss gives you the like) you could get on to eventually, or use to find other similar blogs? How often do they post? Findinglow-down on how to attract traffic out how your peers market their blog can be a realand measure your audience. head-start.Once you’ve got your blog set up, one of the first things you’ll find yourself thinking is: “Right, I’ve done my part, when do all the visitors arrive?” Hoping to attract readers on your Aside from just reading your posts, you’ll wantcontent alone is a nice thought, but until you’ve established people to comment on your posts too – as well asyourself as a writer that people will come back to, you’ve being a great way of knowing they are reading,got to market your wares like everybody else. it’s a good way of getting feedback. When people DO comment on your posts, you’ll most likely find There are over 200 million blogs on the internet, but don’t yourself clicking on their usernames and finding out let that put you off. Standing out from the noise is not as more about them – maybe reading their own blogtough as it might seem. Here are my top tips on attracting if they have one. Take that science and apply it tovisitors to your blog. Then we’ll look at measurement – after other blogs, and you’ve got yourself a great wayall, you won’t know whether or not you’ve increased your of attracting other bloggers to your blog. Don’t gettraffic if you’re not measuring it! spammy, just read their posts and write insightful comments. You’ll soon find yourself getting traffic from these comments back to your own blog… 24.
  • 24. With search engines like Google and Bing increasingly Whilst increasing your readers is an important job, you won’t know whether you’vereturning content from blogs and ‘social’ sites in regular been successful or not unless you’ve got some sort of measurement tool installed.searches, blogging about topical subjects increases the There are absolutely LOADS of ways you could go about this, and most of them arelikelihood that your posts will come up in search results far too dull to write paragraphs and paragraphs about. Needless to say, you needfor people researching those topics. It’s not really rocket to find a way of doing this quick sharp. science, but it definitely works. There are two ways to approach measurement that I’d personally recommend: 1. Most blog platforms will come with functionality to add ‘widgets’ or ‘plugins’ to your site. Wordpress, for instance, let’s you install a number of third-party stats packages, though I personally use the ‘Wordpress.com Stats’ plugin. A simple Google search willGiving readers the ability to share your content on sites like turn up dozens to choose from, so shop around before committing. Blogger (which isFacebook and Twitter is a great way to get the word out owned by Google) comes with its own analytics package already installed, insideabout your site. Assuming you’re using an “off the shelf” the “stats” section of your dashboard – you can get more than enough info in here,blog platform like Wordpress or LiveJournal, it should be very in my opinion.easy to find a widget or a plugin to add “share this” buttons and options like the Facebook ‘Like’ button to your posts. If 2. The second option I’d recommend, especially for those of you who want a littleyou’re not, doing a little Google research should give you more detail with your stats, is to install a more robust analytics package on your site.a reasonably good idea in how to go about this with only Whether it’s a free service like Google Analytics, or a paid-for service, these packagesa minimum of ‘coding’ knowledge. – once installed – will tell you a wide variety of things about your site. From the keywords people used to find you, the posts they read and what they did once they leave, to things like how long readers spent on your post, right down to the second! If this is the sort of insight you require, take the time to set-up and customise an analytics package on your site.If you’ve made friends and connections with other bloggers,see if you can get the opportunity to do a ‘guest post’ on However you choose to ‘market’ and monitor your site, I should reassure you thattheir site. You’ll almost certainly get to post a little bio and a the whole process is a lot easier than you might think. Once you get in to the swinglink to your blog at the end of your post, so guest posts can of commenting and networking with other bloggers, it’ll become second nature.be a great way to open yourself up to a new audience. Before you know it, you won’t even NEED to market it that much, as you will have built up a network of friends and a regular readership. A little bit of effort at the start can bring you big rewards in the long run! Henry Elliss is a seasoned blogger, a fast-learning father, and the Associate Director of Social Media at Tamar. Read his musings about fatherhood on his personal blog Henry’s Blog v2.0 . 25.
  • 25. Have a comments policySix steps to Bloggers have been sued not for just for the content of their posts but for comments that have been made by other people on their blogs. Draft a simple, plain Englishlaw-proof comments policy and have it as a sticky post or separate page on your blog with guidelines that comments: a. Be no longer than 200 words and relevant to theyour blog topic under discussion. b. Can be closed or removed on a post or conversation thread at any time. c. Written in any language other than English may be deleted. d. That contain links to other websites may be deleted.Mum, legal expert and bloggerMegan Macgregor shares someadvice to help keep your blog free Monitor and / or moderate all commentsfrom any brushes with the law. If you receive a lot of heated comments on your blog, adjust your settings to allow you to moderate comments before posting. This can be a nuisance for contributors, so“Most people wouldn’t decide to start publishing a print another option is to review comments daily and deletingmagazine or newsletter without finding out what you were these if these appear to:legally allowed to publish. For some reason people seem tothink that online publishing is exempt from the law.” – be defamatory or likely to damage the reputation– Amber McNaught, pro-blogger and owner of Midas Media of another personAs soon as you set up your blog, you are classified by law – contain obscene, offensive or blasphemous languageas a publisher. Publishers are bound by a complex web oflaws including intellectual property law, defamation law, – constitute a personal attack on anyonecontempt of court and equal opportunities legislation. That – discriminate against others on the basis of their race,means, for example, that if you post a video of yourself gender, sexual preference or religionsinging a karaoke version of an INXS song complete within-video lyrics, you are likely at some point to get a nasty – describe conduct or activities that could endangerletter from a lawyer like me. the safety or wellbeing of othersTo avoid this, here are my six top tips for making sure that – contain spam or links to sites that host harmfulyour blog is as lawyer-proof as possible. virus programs. 26.
  • 26. Play nice with other people’s trademarks Trade marks are distinctive signs, used to differentiateDon’t use other people’s copyright work between identical or similar goods and services offeredwithout permission by different manufacturers or service providers. Trade marks are a type of intellectual property distinct fromDon’t make a habit of copying and pasting into copyright.your blog: Famous Australian trade marks include:– Photographs that you haven’t taken yourself, unless the copyright owner has expressly given you consent Vegemite® via a creative commons licence otherwise R.M Williams®– Chunks of text from other online sources, Weet-Bix® e.g. online newspapers and blogs The Wiggles®If in doubt, it’s usually safe to post a link to the material You cannot use someone else’s trade marks to sellthat you want to include rather than reproducing it on products or services on your website either in your blogyour blog. name, URL or in posts. It is usually allowed for you to refer to trade marks provided you comply with anyDon’t post links that circumvent a password usage guidelines that the trade mark owner sets out,protected gateway. usually on a corporate web pageAttributing the owner of the work is a nice politething to do, but it won’t protect you from a claimof copyright infringement. Educate yourself Publishing and intellectual property laws are complex. Educate yourself by reading up onProtect your copyright images and materials the subject. See the resources page for links toUse copyright notices and watermark your Australian websites that offer useful information:photographs ensuring that the watermark covers If in doubt, speak to a lawyer about your rights.as much of your photograph as possible.Make it easy for people to contact you torequest permission to use your blog posts, artworkand photographs or to link to your site. In your‘About Me’ page have an email link that allowsvisitors to contact you about copyright content Megan Macgregor is a mum of two and a senior associate(theirs or yours). Alternatively, think about using at Axis Legal.a creative commons licence. 27.
  • 27. How to makea blog your own:branding anddesign basicsHow people feel about youwhen they read your blog –as well as the way it is designed– are important considerationswhen starting out. 28.
  • 28. Your logo Not every blog needs a logo, but if you’re planning to use a lot of your own photos and videos, or release eBooks, a logo can be a good way to brand your material. When designing a logo, ensure that it all works with your blog’s colour scheme and the type of fonts you use. If you’re not familiar with Photoshop or other design programs, there are several online tools you can use to design your own logo. Simply search for “design your own logo.” Developing a personal brand As well as identifying a theme or topic for your blog,Your blog design you should create a loose idea of how you want toChoose 2-3 colours for your blog that complement portray yourself online. How do you want peopleeach other and base your design around these to feel about you when they read your posts andcolours. Make sure there is enough contrast scan your ‘About Me’ page? People love a bit ofbetween your colours to make the text easy to read information about the writers of books they read,(for example, dark text on a light background). As a and blogging is no different. Keep your privacy ingeneral rule of thumb, less is more when it comes to mind whenever you set up a blog, but try to givedesign and colours – you don’t want to confuse your people enough information about yourself that theyreaders by having a blog design that is overly busy can pick up on key elements of your character. Ifor crowded. When it comes to menu items and your you’re having trouble nailing this down, try writingsidebar, order your page elements by importance. your personal brand out as a mission statement.Remember that most people – especially first-time Then carry your personal brand through to the wayvisitors – simply won’t scroll down on a website, so you write, your blog design and related social mediaput the things you really want your visitors to see profiles. You might also consider creating a display closer to the top of your layout. name for yourself based on your personal brand, or even an avatar. 29.
  • 29. Formatting postsWhen people read online, they tendto scan content rather than readinga whole page. Research shows thatpeople tend to follow an‘F Pattern’ when they read pagesas well; imagine a giant letter ‘F’superimposed on your computerscreen, the areas it covers are theareas people’s eyes are often drawnto when they view web pages.Dividing your posts into short, punchyparagraphs, and using sub-headingsto introduce each section will helpyour readers absorb the meaning ofyour posts quickly and more efficiently. While lists and bullet points are also Using Imageshelpful and easy for the eye to scan. When you start your blog, think about how youPosition your key points towards the left want to display images within posts. For example,and at the start of each paragraph, will you use your own images and put a watermarkand bold important phrases or on them, or will you use free stock image sites? Aresentences. Always align your text to you going to put a border around images or includethe left, as centring paragraphs makes captions? Whatever you decide, remember to keepthem difficult for people to read. it consistent across all the images you use on your blog. Keep in mind that having a very image-heavy page will take longer to load, so it’s best to resize photos or reduce your file sizes before adding a lot of images. There are a number of websites that offer free stock photos and allow them to be used copyright free. You can find free image links on the resources page. 30.
  • 30. Common online acronyms: LO Little one BRB Be right back LOL Laugh out loud BBS Be back soon LMAO Laughing my a** off BIL Brother in-law LMK Let me know BTW By the way MIL Mother in-lawJargon DD Dear daughter ML Maternity leave DH Dear husband MYOB Mind your own business DS Dear son OMG Oh my goshBuster FB Facebook OP Original poster FIL Father in-law PM Private message FTM First time mum PP Previous poster FYI For your information ROFL Rolling on floor laughingWhen you start your JJ Just joking ROFLMAO Rolling on floor laughing my a** offfirst blog you’ll suddenly be thrust into a world JK Just kidding SAHM Stay-at-home mumfull of funny acronyms HTH Hope this helps SIL Sister in-lawand technical-sounding GTG Got to go SO Significant otherjargon. Use this list to IMO In my opinion TIA Thanks in advancefamiliarise yourself during IMHO In my humble opinion TMI Too much informationyour early blogging days. IRL In real life TTYL Talk to you later JMO Just my opinion WAHM Work-at-home mum WDYT What do you think? 31.
  • 31. General blogger jargon: CPA Cost Per Action; an online advertising Plugins Add-ons for a program that add pricing model, where the advertiser pays functionality to itAfter the jump The continuation of an article for each specified action (a purchase, a on an inside page form submission, and so on) linked to the Post An entry written and published to a blog advertisement; also known as PPA orAggregator Software Pulls information from Pay Per Action PR Google Page Rank; a number assigned byvarious web feeds that you have selected Google to represents to relative importanceand displays any updates made to them CPC Cost Per Click; an online advertising of a web page pricing model, where advertisers pay theirAffiliate marketing A method of promoting host only when the ad is clicked; also known RSS Really Simple Syndication; used to publisha website, in which an affiliate is rewarded as PPC or Pay Per Click frequently updated works, such as blogfor every visitor, subscriber and/or customer entries, in a standardized formatprovided through his/her efforts CPM Cost Per Thousand Impressions; used for measuring the worth and cost of a specific RSS feed A web feed that allows the user toBlog client Software used to manage blogs online advertising campaign have new content delivered to a computerwithout the need to launch a web browser; or mobile device as soon as it is publisheda typical blog client has an editor, a spell- CTR Click-Through Rate; a way of measuringchecker and a few more options that simplify the success of an online advertising SEO Search Engine Optimisation; the processcontent creation and editing campaign, obtained by dividing the number of improving the visibility of a website or web of users who clicked on an ad by the number page in search engines via search resultsBlogroll A list of other blogs that a blogger of times the ad was delivered (impressions)might recommend by providing links to them, SEM Search Engine Marketing; a form ofusually in a sidebar list EPC Earnings Per 100 Clicks; the total amount online marketing that seeks to promote paid to all of an advertiser’s publishers, websites by increasing their visibility inBlogosphere All blogs, or the blogging divided by the total number of clicks in the search engine result pagescommunity same period SERP Search Engine Results PagesCMS Content Management System; these Flipping Creating and then selling a blog inare designed to simplify the publication order to generate profit Vlog Video blogof web content without needing to beconcerned with technical details Lead generation The creation or generation of prospective consumer interest or inquiryComment spam Comments left on a blog into a business’ products or services online;entry with the sole purpose of promoting a a lead is a sign-up for an advertiser offer thatcommercial service; usually has nothing to includes contact information and in somedo with the content of the blog entry cases, demographic information Permalink Permanent link; the unique URL of a single post
  • 32. When the dust settled on the inaugural Aussie Bloggers Conference,Kleenex Mums asked anyone who attended what they took awayfrom the event. Here’s what they said – we hope it helps inspire youto join the mum-blogger community. Toushka Toushka Lee I learned that there are no hard and fast Kirrily rules for blogging. The different ways of Didyabringyablogalong blogging in relation to content, regularity, commenting styles, time management, My greatest learning was on a personal privacy levels and relationship with readers level. I learned not to hide my writing are as varied as the bloggers themselves. light under a bushel (so to speak) and to be proud and confident with it. It was hugely confronting yet so rewarding, in equal parts, to meet people who knew me because of reading my blog. It was also incredibly beneficial to understand that as bloggers, we all started somewhere, we all have a voice and we are as unique and worthy in the Eden Riley blogosphere as we are in life offline. Edenland Susan Whelan I learned that when you take the Read Upside Down laptops and phones away ... we’re all left looking at each other. I learned that I’m not on my own; And laughing. And loving. Bloggers I’m part of a large, involved, dynamic seemed to climb out of the screen and diverse community. While many and into the real world. (Exactly like of my ‘real-life’ friends are dismissive that scene from the The Ring with of the value of social networking, that freaky chick with hair on her blogging and the online community, face ... except completely different.) #AusBlogCon2011 reminded me of the power of words and the value of Well done to Kleenex Mums for connecting with others, and the fact supporting this from the beginning! these things can be just as powerful online as they are face to face. 33.
  • 33. Lucy Diminishing Lucy Where do I start?! I’m buzzing with the whole vibe of the conference. The main thing that I took away was all of the wisdom, experience and Annie stories that I listened to; blogging has Annieb25 become the equivalent of a village – and with that comes support, I learned that I was in the company friendship and acceptance and of some amazing bloggers. I sharing. learned that we all share similar insecurities. I learned that the There seems to be not one foolproof people I have met online via way to blog or not to blog - there is blogging and Twitter translate no right or wrong. Content is vital, but seamlessly into real life; I was apart from that, the way your blog not disappointed. I learned thatDonna then evolves can and should be a blogging has, can and will changeNappydaze reflection of our true selves – that is lives and I’m so grateful to be a such a liberating thought. part of that.It’s almost a case of ‘what DIDN’T Ilearn?’! Besides the fact I now havefull permission to indulge in a socialmedia addiction – all in the nameof building my blog community, ofcourse – I took away the resoundinglesson that no two bloggers are thesame... and nor should they be. Corrie SerbieWe each have an individual voice – Retromummyeven if many of us are still strugglingto define it. And that bloggers are I came away from the day realising thatindeed writers (bless you Mummy what I think makes for a successful blog isMayhem for that massive injection not what someone else thinks and does.of confidence for someone who has Mummy blogging is growing but therealways labelled herself a “wannabe really is room for everyone and readerswriter” merely because I blog). will gravitate towards the blogs andI also never imagined I would have people they relate to.so much fun laughing and learningwith 170 veritable “strangers” in reallife – no matter how well I liked tothink I knew them via their blog. 34.
  • 34. There’s a mountain of free stuff available online that can helpyou promote your blog, improve your ability to understand your audience, and enhance your readers’ experience. Here’s a rundown of free stuff that has been mention elsewhere in thiseBook, or that we just happen to think could prove really useful. 35.
  • 35. Places you can list your blog If you’re stuck for ideas or Free images can’t find the time to postPR Friendly Blog Directory www.sxc.hu/Australian Blog Search BlogThis Challenges DreamstimeAustralian Women Bloggers Directory StumbleUpon StockvaultAussie Mummy Bloggers Directory Aussie Mummy Bloggers OpenphotoTechnorati Focus BoosterAlexa Technical assistance Become a better blogger, write great content, Blogging GirlParenting forums and make moneythat will display your Blogger Helpblog on your profile Problogger Blogger Unofficial FAQ blog Copyblogger Blogger Tips and TricksKidspotEssentialbaby Mummybloggersblog Blogmastermind Legal help and informationHuggiesBubhub Freebloghelp IP AustraliaAussie Mummy Bloggers The Arts Law CentreKleenex Mums Free tools for your blog The Australian Copyright Council Feedburner by Google Creative Commons AustraliaVia Planning Queen Google Analytics Axis LegalList of Mum bloggers on Twitter Google Insights 36.
  • 36. Kleenex Mums is a proud supporter of the Australian blogging community, and all parents who are online across the country. We put together this eBook in the hope that it will make things a little easier for any mum (or dad) who wants to start a blog; by asking other bloggers to share their knowledge we’ve created a resource based on collective wisdom for everyone out there to use and build on.The philosophy of making things a little easier (and a little lovelier) is one that’s in keeping with the three brands Kleenex Mums represents: VIVA Paper Towel, Kleenex Facial Tissue, and Kleenex Cottonelle Toilet Paper . Do remember to look to us, and the wider mum-blogosphere, when you need any advice or support. There’s always something interesting to read, share and comment on at Kleenex Mums. You can follow us on Twitter and join in the conversation via Facebook. We hope you found this eBook both inspiring and informative, as well as something that will help you make a little more of your precious me time . And who knows, if this eBook can help you start a blog of your own, you might even end up writing for us one day soon, too. ®Registered Trademark Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. © 2011 KCWW.