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Blogging Mistakes for Beginners

I was researching best practices in blogs the other day and come upon an article that Hubspot did: The Fundamentals of Business Blogging that is worth repeating.

“Seven Easily-Avoided Mistakes for Beginners   1.  Never actually launching it:  This is likely the most common mistake.  Sure, you’ve been meaning to get your blog kicked off.  You may have even authored your first article.  But guess what, it’s not a blog until you actually publish something.   
2.  Using a sub-domain (ex: myblog.typepad.com):  If you’re going to go to the trouble to start a blog, then you owe it to yourself to get started right.  Even if you decide to use one of the many popular free blogging services, you should register your own domain name.  There are many reasons for this, but the most important is control over your website URL.  This is one of the few decisions about your blog that is going to be difficult to fix later.  Trust me on this one, the price is worth it.  [Note to self:  Add a check to the website grader to let people know when they’ve made this blunder] 
3.  Spending too much time on design: Don’t let the design of your blog get you bogged down.  Pick one of the many existing templates out there that are free or close to it and go ahead and get started.  You can always change templates later.  Besides, blogs are fundamentally about content.  Aesthetics help, but your first focus should be on authoring great content.  
4.  Not telling anyone about it: The beginning days of a blog are the hardest.  You don’t have anyone linking to you, the search engines are not ranking you (and maybe not even indexing you).  So, there’s really only one source of traffic:  Direct contact.  The best way to get a new blog launched is to tell people in your network that you now have a blog.  Many people are a little reluctant to do this becomes it seems vain or boastful.  As long as you’re sending the notification to people who have an interest in your topic, there’s nothing wrong with it.  
5.  Getting discouraged too early: Most things in life worth doing take time.  Blogging is no different.  You should give yourself at least 6 months (perhaps even a year) to determine what kind of interest there is out there before giving up due to lack of traffic.  Early momentum is hard, but once things start moving, lots of things will start working in your favor.   
6.  Too many widgets: Given how easy it is to add various blog widgets to your blog, it’s tempting to go overboard.  Resist the temptation.  In the early weeks, focus on the basics:  Content, comments, categories and perhaps a blog roll.  Save the fancy stuff for later.  
7.  Monetizing too early: Just because Google makes it easy to throw ads up on your blog doesn’t mean you should.  With minimal traffic, the amount of money you are going to make is negligible (probably pennies a day).  If you’re serious about blogging, you’ll first focus on building an audience before even attempting to try to make money at it.  Trying ads out on your blog too early will reduce the chances of your getting that critical early traffic.
 
You don’t have to blunder in the beginning of your blogging efforts.  HubSpot’s training and support program make it super simple and easy for you.”

This is so true even today, now that Google has changed the way to searched and gives relevance to blogs.  Changes in the way to bring blogs to market are in order if you are starting today.  If you already have a well established blog that is getting good traffic, then I would not touch it and start a second blog and grow that for the new ways fo the blogging world.

Tapping into Mommy Bloggers to promote your product or services.

Mommy Bloggers are the new alpha females of the marketing opinion world.  An entire industry has grown with conventions and all for the Mommy Bloggers to meet, exchange ideas and even more important, to promote their blogs to companies and marketers to do product reviews, sell advertising, hold promotions and drive business for the companies that tap into this Blogging  marketing venue.

There are two upcoming Mommy Blogging conventions you may want to check out.   BlissDom 10,  Feb 4-6 in Nashville (which is already a sell out), and the blogger conference  BlogHer  which is in NYC Aug 5-7.  These conferences have big time package goods sponsors all trying to woo the Mommy bloggers.  Sponsors on the BlissDom website include: Con Agra Foods, Orville Redenbacher, Hunt’s, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Arnold, Blue Bunny, Hallmark, Invisalign, iRobot, Lands’ End, Lifetime Moms, Red Plum.

Mommy Bloggers sell sponsorships of themselves to represent you at the conference. The ads say: “Why I am the blogger you company should sponsor for BlissDom  ’10.  It is done through blogs as ads that will tell you things like:  Blogger with 2000 + subscribers seeks sponsorship to…

 The Mommy bloggers use ad badges provided by the conference to promote if they are looking for a sponsor.  Like the one shown here is for the Blissdom10 Conference.  It is a way to get them to the conference and their costs paid and get your product known in the Mommy Blogging world.

The bloggers are from all walks of life and interests,who go to these conferences.  They go to network, go to seminars,promote their blogs and twitters, as well as write blogs and promote their sponsors who helped pay to get them there.

Their blogs have a female focus target on home making, babies, or products, all subjects aimed at women readers.  Some have advertising on their blogs at cheep rates.  Some show you what they have done for other companies, some have HTML badges for their blog  to be taken and promoted on others website or blogs.    The Mommy Bloggers do contests and sweepstakes, coupons codes and deals, product reviews, tips, recipes.  A really nice business model, from thier kitchen counter.

BlogHer conference has been held for 5 years on the West Coast and Midwest and is now going to NYC.  Bloggers like Domestic Debacle, badge shown on the left,  promote that they are looking to represent you.  As disclosure, they did a promotion of a product called Fridge-It that I am involved in and that is what got me interested in this subject of Mommy Blogging. The connection was initially made in the Twitter world and then moved into the blogging world. 

 The BlogHer advertising materials on the website says that they reach more than 16 million unique women each month and states that BlogHer is the leading participatory news, entertainment and information network for women online

Here are some Mommy Blogger examples, that will show and explain the concept.  There are many, many more, and if you are a Mommy Blogger and want to add your Mommy blog to this lists, please comment and give some info on your Mommy blog.

Mommy Blogger examples: Thriftymaven.com , Domesticdebacle.com , Abusymommy.com   , Thepennypinchingmama.blogspot.com 

Can I hear a wOOt?!    BTW: What does wOOt  mean? W00t” was originally a truncated term for players of Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game for “Wow, loot!” The term wOOT was used by the web culture in video game communities, now it has lost its original meaning and is used simply as a term of excitement. Sort of the new Ya Hoo….