When you read online about how to start blogging or make money blogging it’s always this gimmicky get rich quick scheme. Like this-
That’s not real life for most people.
Lots of people start blogging but 95% of blogs on the internet are abandoned.
Have I made you excited about blogging yet!? If I had a catchy graphic for my blogging secrets it would be
I don’t earn much income blogging and I don’t have thousands of followers, but I beat the odds just by consistently writing for 10 years! In blogging years that makes me like 80 years old. So my seniority alone attracts lots of questions.
How did you get started?
How do you get readers?
How do you score sponsored posts?
It started in 2008.
One of my closest friends, who was also a new mom, was really into the Money Saving Mom blog. She got me started on couponing and saving money on groceries. I was so into it. I was even stopped by the cops for dumpster diving for newspaper coupon inserts. Yeah… hashtag thug life.
Anyway, at some point Crystal from Money Saving Mom did a series about blogging and I was instantly enamored! I have loved to write ever since I could hold a pencil. I was already journaling and chronicling Z’s milestones on a website called totsites (this was way back in the day before social media took off). Blogging sounded like it would be right up my alley.
So I signed onto blogger which was free and I purchased the messy mom .com which later I switched to just messy mom. This was a big step. I won’t give any numbers, but let’s just say my domain name is worth more than my husband’s car (for the record he has an old clunker but I am trying to make it sound like I have some valuable online real estate here).
Side note: Domain names and email addresses are getting snatched up every day so if you have a meaningful “.com” then consider yourself lucky! Domain names are an asset.
When I first started blogging I wrote about a different topic each week. It could be birth or music or anything. Eventually, it was too difficult to write as often as I was and to keep everything in a theme so I just started writing about once a week. I wrote my way through SJ’s diagnosis and all of the obstacles we faced at that time. I can’t even fathom how I would have coped with all the difficulty we went through if I hadn’t had that outlet. I know that this blog is a gift from the Lord. Needless to say, it’s more than just an online platform and it certainly isn’t a job. Messy Mom is a piece of me. I started blogging at the beginning of my motherhood journey. In a season where I have very little socialization and access to the outside world it has been my way to say
“I’m still here. I might be a stay at home mom changing diapers, skipping showers, and listening to the mind-numbing screams of sibling rivalry, but I still have thoughts. I have a voice and I want to connect.”
The readers have trickled in through the years. Traffic was pretty low the first 5 years. What really changed things for me was in 2013 when I came across a blogging challenge called Write 31 days where you write about one topic for 31 days. The challenge was about to start and I had no topic and zero preparation. At the time my family of five was living in a tiny two bedroom apartment and I felt like maybe I should write about that. Living in that cramped apartment was one of the lower points of my life but isn’t it awesome how God uses our weakness to show his strength? What the enemy wants to use to destroy you God will turn into a source of encouragement and He did just that! For 31 days I focused on the series “Lots of Hope for the Little Home” and it actually took off.
On top of that I connected with an amazing group of writers called the 31 Day Survivors who have also become friends. Many of them have contributed to this blog like this post, or this, this and this.
I started guest posting on other sites too. When I wrote for the Humbled Homemaker about small space living in 2015 the post gave me a windfall of new followers and yes I have a little bit of resentment that my all-time top post and video on youtube is about how to install laminate over hardwood. I wish I could say it was something deeper or more meaningful, but oh well. I am glad it’s helping people. I heard a fulltime blogger teach on how you just keep throwing things against the wall until something sticks and that has definitely stuck.
The biggest question I get from nonbloggers is “How does someone get paid to blog?”. It’s the same way you get any free service that is for profit: advertising. If you have a platform (viewers, listeners, or readers) you are an influencer and companies can use your platform as a way to influence an audience to make a purchase. The first 5 years of blogging I didn’t really make any money but in 2014 when I saw an increase in traffic from my 31 day series I decided to step up my game. That’s when I decided to I move my blog from Blogger to WordPress. I won’t get into all the technical stuff but wordpress.org is one of the ways to self host a blog. Self hosting is similar to buying a house. It is a big commitment and it cost more money than renting, but you own that house and have more control of what you can do with it. I studied. I networked. I listened to podcasts and read articles on the subject. Then in early 2015 I launched the new MessyMom.com. Since there were monthly costs to run the blog now I knew I needed to start bringing in at least enough revenue to cover expenses. The first paid writing job I had was because one of my 31 Day friends told me Huggies was looking for someone to promote their new Snug and Fit diapers. Ezie was at the tail end of diapers but I figured I could give it a shot. I applied for the campaign and got the job. Once I saw how simple it was I started signing up for more PR sites that help connect you with brands. Eventually, as I did more guest posts and sponsered posts I had brands start to contact me.
The bottom line is I can’t tell you how to make $10,000 a month blogging or how to triple your blog traffic in three easy steps. I can give you the same advice I gave a musician friend recently. I said,
If you love it and it’s something you are passionate about just go for it regardless of what happens. Play your heart out. There is definitely a place for strategy, marketing, and compensation. If you end up doing what you love fulltime that is incredible, but there is a reason for the phrase starving artist. It is hard to make it big, but if it is what you really love you’ll do it anyway. Big or small, you can’t go wrong.
If I had been blogging for fame or money I would have quit a long time ago. I’ve kept going because I love to write. I can’t not write. It’s my passion. My three simple tips?
Find your God given passion
Always learn and grow from it.
I’m not done growing. Going to a blogging conference is on my bucket list. I want to write several books. I have so many ideas and dreams to continue to build Messy Mom. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that faithfulness pays off in the end.