Tuesday, August 1, 2017

#themomblogcollective // 5 tips for starting a blog and instagram

Hey babes!  I get asked all the time on  Instagram how and why I started blogging and decided to have a public social media account.  I've gotten together with nine other mamas (who I adore!) and we've started a new series called #TheMomBlogCollective.  Twice a month we'll share about a topic related to blogging or influencing-how to get started, social media, working with brands, photography, motherhood, and more!  We will all answer the same question so you can read each of our perspectives.  We have a wide variety of styles so there should be something for everyone! If you have a question you'd like answered, please comment at the bottom of this post!!

Up first, we're all sharing our top 5 tips for starting a blog and/or Instagram.

When I was first asked to share on this topic, I really didn't feel qualified!  I sort of fell into blogging and feel so lucky to have found success.  I had a much different start than most bloggers and I think it's important to share why.  I actually started a public Instagram account because I had a handmade shop.  When Sloan was a baby I sold little handmade bracelets with charms and tassels on them.  My shop was more successful than I could have ever dreamed, but it was also very time consuming.  It became harder and harder to run my shop after Phayre was born (my second daughter) and eventually I decided to close up so that I could focus solely on being a stay at home mama.

Because I love photography (mostly just photographing my kiddos!) and because I had made so many great relationships on Instagram, I decided to keep my account public.  I continued sharing photos of my girls and little bits about our life.  People kept saying, "You should start a blog, you should share more!"  So I did!  And my blog has brought me so many opportunities and has been the perfect way to document my quickly growing babies.

My Top 5 Tips for Starting a Blog and Instagram

1. Decide what you're passionate about, what void you're filling, and why you want to blog.  Write it down (sort of like a mission statement!).

When I first decided to start a blog, I sat down and wrote down what I wanted to blog about.  I knew that I wanted to share about my family and my adventures in motherhood, connect with other mothers, and document my family as we grow and change.  My main focus was to be as real as possible, while still respecting my families privacy and safety.  Writing a lifestyle blog allows me to write about everything I'm passionate about and experiencing, but I always try to come back to my main focus-documenting my adventures in motherhood.

Really think about why you want to blog and what your main focus will be.  Brainstorm topics from there, but keep within your initial focus.  This will help you create a brand, people will know what to expect when they visit your posts.  To really hone in on your focus, answer these questions: What makes you different than all of the other bloggers out there? Why will people be interested in your life and your passions?  What's your niche... Do you love to write?  Are you a natural storyteller?  Is photography your passion?  Etc.  Answering these questions (and more!) will help guide you in the right direction when it comes to your goals or your "mission" as a blogger.

There have been times when my blog and social media has become overwhelming and I just feel burned out.  I always go back to the why.  Why did I start my blog?  When I revisit why I started blogging and what it has brought to my life, I am always able to refocus and get back on track.

2. Choose the perfect name and make sure it's available.

This is huge, take it from someone who's had to change their social media handles.  My bracelet shop was called Sloan and Co., which worked perfectly when I had one daughter.  Once Phayre was born and I decided to transition from a shop to a blog, my name didn't fit anymore.  It took me awhile to not only think of the perfect name, but also find a name that was available on all social media platforms.  And changing my name on every social media platform was a major pain!

When deciding on a name, choose something that is meaningful to you, won't ever change (don't name your business after your child if you plan on having more children!), and is catchy.  Take your time and come up with the perfect name.  Remember, you're creating a brand so your name is important!

Once you have some ideas, search to make sure that those names are available on all social media channels and that you can purchase the domain name.

3. Choose a host and invest in your blog.

I didn't think about this when I first started blogging, but a successful blog becomes a brand.  If you're hoping to grow and make money through your blog, you need to look like a cohesive brand.  It doesn't take a ton of money, but you should invest in your blog.  You want your brand to reflect your style and message and with blogging you usually only have one chance to grab someones attention.

Choose a blog host (most bloggers use blogger or wordpress, do some research and choose what's right for you).  Once you have a blog, purchase your domain (website) name and a blog template (there are thousands of super inexpensive templates available on etsy).  You may even want to think about hiring a graphic designer to create a logo for you.  These are simple things that won't cost a ton, but will make your blog look legitimate.  You want your blog to be visually appealing and cohesive so that people want to come back!

4. Be social (on social media!).

Once you've started your blog, choose 1-2 social media platforms to focus on and get social!  Social media is a great way to promote and drive traffic to your blog.  Each platform can be really time consuming though!  Do your best to be really active on one or two platforms.

Once you've decided what platforms work for you, make sure you're interacting with your followers.  Answer comments and messages regularly.  Follow others and try to virtually mingle by liking and commenting on their photos/posts.  Make friends and support each other!

5. Just DO IT!  And be yourself.

I drug my feet forrrrrever when it came to starting my blog and I wish I wouldn't have!  If sharing is something you're passionate about, just go for it!  Even if you don't have a flock of followers right away, stick to your true passion and be yourself.  If you're being genuine and real, people will come!

When I was thinking about starting my blog I knew I wanted to share, but I was really afraid of being judged.  As my blog and Instagram have grown, I have been judged.  Sometimes unfairly and it hurts when people perceive you wrong.  BUT, I have always stayed true to myself and kept my focus in mind.  I have made real friendships and been afforded wonderful opportunities because of my blog and Instagram.  Bottom line, it's all been worth it and I'm really proud of what I've accomplished!  If this is something that you want to do, do it! Be yourself and don't let anyone bring you down.  Just go for it!

I hope these were helpful!  I will be back in two weeks with a new topic, but let me know if you have any other questions below!



You can find all the other blog posts linked below:
Occasionally Perfect | @occasionally_perfect


  1. Thank you for sharing! I've been following along since you were Sloan and Co. and have loved it all! Your personality, and that of your girls, shines through your work and you should be so proud of the beautiful brand you've created. Envious over here :) I am getting to the end of my "free space" on my blog that I started years and years ago and was contemplating if I should really be spending the money every month on the blog upgrade since it doesn't generate any income and I'm also pretty sure the only people looking forward to my posts are my mom and mother-in-law. But, it's more of a hobby for me to share and a fun outlet so even if it never turns into a business, I think I want to keep documenting our life. There's so much more i've wanted to share but not enough space to do it all. I wasn't aware that you could purchase blog templates on Etsy, so that's good to know! I've never loved my blog layout so there's some definite improving that could happen. Thanks for all the insight!

    1. Well first of all, thank you!! That's so incredibly kind of you. Maybe look at switching to a free host so you can share as much as you want (blogger is free!), but if you enjoy doing it and it's a creative outlet for you-KEEP DOING IT!! You'll love having all of your memories documented! Thank you for following along, it means so much to me!

  2. This is awesome! I am a professional children & family photographer, and since I am pregnant with my first and due in september, I have decided to make my blog / Instagram account more of a "mommy blogger" space with tips and tricks, everyday moments, spotlighting vendors and products I love, and doing it all while making use of my two main passions: writing and photography! I really want to connect with other moms in this time of life and also be able to share "real life" moments. Your Instagram account and blog have been an inspiration for me! My main question as I make this transition is- how do you continue to grow your account / blog and gain more followers that are actually interested in what you share? I have tried to be strategic about location sharing, tags, and shout-outs to other vendors/businesses- I really want to collaborate- is it just starting small and being patient as you grow? Any advice? My insta handle is taryn.photography and website is www.tarynphotography.net if you are interested in taking a look. Thanks!! �� -Taryn

    1. Congratulations on baby boy!! He'll be here so soon! Definitely continue using appropriate hashtags and keep connecting with and tagging brands/shops. Once baby is here, make sure you tag any of the brands that pop up in his photos. When brands repost your photo, it's a great way to get in front of a new audience. Search the mommy hashtags you're using to find other bloggers/influencers and follow them. Like and comment on their photos, be friendly, and try to make connections that way. Once you've made those connections, try to organize some mom crush mondays or follow fridays! It's a great way to connect with other mamas and get in front of new audiences! I hope that helps!!

  3. I love this! I've been contemplating starting a blog, but haven't for all the reasons you mentioned! I have been researching tons! I have an isntagram and hope to start a blog soon! I have been inspired by you and many other moms I started following after becoming a sahm! What a wonderful community! I love following your blog and instagram! What host do you use?

    1. You are so sweet, thank you!! I use Blogger, it's totally free and connects to all my other google accounts :).


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