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Parents Who DIY
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Building A Dad Blog At A Glance:
- Will you maintain the desire to blog consistently?
- What is your primary goal?
- Choose your name or “brand”.
- Purchase your domain name.
- Secure social media accounts.
- Pick a web host.
- Build up your audience.
- Working with businesses and brands.
For me, writing a blog has always been fun. My first experience with a blog was almost a decade ago, and it focused on Star Wars. I maintained that blog for nearly four years. It included all sorts of content, including news articles, book and movie reviews, and even Lucasfilm employee and book author interviews. There are many aspects of it that I miss!
Needless to say, life grew very complicated with the eventual arrival of four kids. Talking about Star Wars was fun, but the time needed to keep the blog relevant disappeared altogether. Not to mention that a fan blog such as that one was not a real source of income, if you’re looking to make money from one. So, the time came to pull the plug on it and focus more on raising my family.
A few years ago, I returned to the world of blogging, but this time, it’s a dad blog, and it’s my full-time job. I’d like to share with you my experience in starting a dad blog and my goals for keeping it real and relevant.
Starting A Dad Blog: Where To Begin?
Successful blogs are ones that are genuine, consistent, and relevant to their intended audience. So, for starters, having experience in being a father is essential for a dad blog. Having a desire to share your experience and the ability to share it in a way that interests others is also necessary. There’s no question you’ll stay interested in being a dad, but will you stay interested in telling others about it?
In other words, to keep a dad blog interesting, you have to stay interested in your dad blog! Your readers will sense a genuine and engaged voice. As in all other areas in life, if you want to keep an audience around, it needs to be entertained. Inspired. Motivated.
Yes, the desire to share aspects of your dad life is essential. But what are your reasons for doing so? Some write a blog simply to document their experiences in life. Perhaps you want something around for your kids someday to read and reflect on. Others hope to maintain a blog as a source of income. If the later is the case, there’s certainly more to consider when it comes to how your blog is maintained.
In either scenario, your primary audience is the important factor, whether it’s just your family, or the entire world. But blogging with the extra goal of generating income introduces a far wider range of considerations. In this article, we’ll focus primarily on blogging with the hopes generating income.
Building A New Dad Blog: Your Brand
You have the desire to blog, and you have your primary goals in mind. Time to start building the blog! The first step now is to determine your name or “brand”. Who do you want to be known as? This is no small matter; there is tons to consider at this point.
As in any title, you want the name of your blog to be the determination your focus. For instance, look at Do It Yourself Daddy. As a father of four, I am obviously a daddy. So that covers a wide range of relevant topics to discuss, such as parenting, family travel, and entertainment that we enjoy as a family. I will never run out of things to talk about.
Do Research Before Deciding
But I also enjoy building things and taking on DIY projects. My conclusion was to be a DIY Daddy. However, because there are untold millions of blogs, it’s easy to determine that I’m not the only “DIY Daddy” out there. In fact, not long after I started blogging full time, I was contacted by another “DIY Daddy” in the world who requested that I altar my name because he felt he established the title. Even though I began the actual “blogging” after he was established, I actually bought the domain a few years before he even started blogging.
In the spirit of generosity and keeping the peace though, I did honor his request and changed the wording to match my domain name: Do It Yourself Daddy. It’s not exactly what I wanted, but it’s close enough. This experience here is a lesson to you: Whatever you want your “brand” to be, be sure to research names before trying to establish anything.
Domain Name And Social Media Accounts
Your domain name is your blog address. There’s a few ways to go about purchasing a domain. You can purchase the name and web hosting separately from two different companies, or, if the web host offers it, from the same place. There are more steps involved when it comes to connecting your domain to a host provider if they’re two different companies, but it’s nothing too difficult to deal with.
I purchased my domain through GoDaddy. Even though they offer tons more hosting services (we’ll talk about web hosting next), I just wanted to use them to buy the domain because it’s easy. And as I mentioned above, there was a period of time in-between me buying the domain and actually blogging. Even though my blogging goals were in motion, it took a few years for me to be in a position to do it full-time.
Buying a domain with .com on the end is the primary choice for mom and dad bloggers.
Social Media Accounts
Once your domain name is secured, it’s time to nail down screen names on social media. If you have a goal of collaborating with businesses (more on that later), you’ll likely want to get established in all the main social media companies, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, and make those “business” accounts where applicable.
There’s millions of screen names in use on every platform, so again, picking a name can be tricky. Your goal should be to pick a name that matches your blog name or as close as possible. Pick that same name for all of your social media counts to keep your “brand” consistent.
Social Media Training
A quick Google search will tell you that there’s TONS of resources out there from people who offer training on social media.
Did you know that the social media platforms themselves offer awesome information on how to use their platforms successfully? Here’s a few resources to check out:
- Boost With Facebook
- Facebook For Creators
- Facebook Business
- Instagram Creators
- Instagram Business
- Pinterest Academy
- Twitter Flight School
- YouTube Creator Academy
Building A New Dad Blog: Blog Hosting
In order to create the actual blog, you’ll first need to choose a web hosting service. There are tons of web hosting companies out there with all sorts of options and pricing plans to choose from. For this article, I’m going to narrow it down to two companies that I’ve had experience with.
Bluehost was founded in 2003 and supports more than 2 million websites worldwide. They are priced economically and are a great choice for a new dad blog.
You can purchase your domain name through them, establish your email accounts, and build your blog. Essentially, Bluehost has all you need to get your blog up and running.
Bluehost has been one of WordPress’ top recommended hosts since 2005. In fact, you’ll currently find them listed at the top of their hosting list page.
WP Engine is a more pricer option but they are a powerhouse of a web host. It only offers WordPress-based hosting, which also means it is staffed and maintained by people who know WordPress inside and out. Each hosting plan includes the Genesis framework plus access to 35+ StudioPress pro themes.
Likely, everyone who owns a blog will need to dabble into the technical aspects of blogging like plug-ins and editing CSS during the customization process. Customizing for me is always ongoing, and over the years I’ve gained a lot of experience in customizing a blog. But there’s been times when I needed help, and I could always find it at WP Engine. There is tech staff available for chat 24/7 (I even found help at 3am during a late-night editing binge).
Purchasing a domain name, though, isn’t an option at WP Engine, nor is email hosting. That’s not ideal for a new dad blogger, as you’d need to go elsewhere for that. As I mentioned, I already purchased a domain through GoDaddy, and I subscribe to Office 365 which provides email hosting, along with the other Office apps that I use on a daily basis.
WP Engine has been a great option for me. Decide which WP Engine plan is right for you!
Building A New Dad Blog: Using WordPress
Simply put, WordPress is the best content management system, period. I could write (and probably will write) an article dedicated to WordPress and how amazing it is. It’s easy to use, reliable, and perfect for a new dad blogger.
I’ve used WordPress for over a decade and consider it to be family. Someone new to blogging like I was 10 years ago can get a WordPress blog up and running in minutes. First you choose the look of your site or “theme”. There’s an abundance of either free or premium themes which not only differ in appearance, but also blog functionality.
You can further customize your blog by adding “plugins” to your theme, which add functions like search engine optimization, navigation bars, featured images, social media icons, and much more.
Writing and publishing articles is also very simple. Simply write your article, add media like photos or video, and click “publish” to post it live. You can also schedule posts to publish at a future date if you wish. The WordPress dashboard, or the “behind-the-scenes” portion of your blog, is easy to navigate and help is just a click away if needed.
Web hosts like Bluehost conveniently feature WordPress hosting and installation within their platform. What initially might seem to be the most difficult and intimidating part of creating a dad blog (physically building the blog) is probably the easiest step!
Pro Tip: Before you write your first article, change your permalink structure from the default setting to “Post Name”. This removes the date from your permalink and makes your URL look cleaner. In your WordPress dashboard, go to “Settings” then “Permalinks”.
Connecting To Google
There are several search engines that you’ll want to verify your site with, but the most important is probably Google. In fact, there are a few Google resources that you’ll want to connect with right away.
Google has an official WordPress plugin called Site Kit that allows you to connect with these services and others like Google Adsense right inside your WordPress dashboard.
Building A New Dad Blog: Building An Audience
You’re now ready to share your daddy life with the world. As I mentioned at the start, the best bloggers are those who are genuine, consistent, and relevant to their readers. Be a dad who writes about being a dad. Stay within the confines of your overall “brand”.
As you do so, you’ll develop an authoritative voice in your brand space or niche. If your content is genuine, consistent, and relevant, you’ll build an audience with readers who will return to read your latest musings.
Regarding the structure of your articles, content is king. Write articles that are engaging and tell a story. As much as possible, stay away from “press release” types of articles. Be sure to always include images, and get in the habit of creating videos. Text and images will always engage readers, but video content is poised to taking more and more control over the attention of those who browse the internet.
According to a recent study by Facebook, 75% of all mobile data will be video by 2020. You can improve your chances at being a successful dad blogger by making your blog and content mobile ready, and feature video whenever possible. Make sure your blog is mobile-responsive and check to see how your blog looks on your mobile device. Get into the habit of posting video content via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. You then have the ability to embed that content to your blog so it can be featured in the articles you write.
Building an audience on social media is much the same. Being genuine, consistent, and relevant will always set you up for success. But as in your blog, video content on social media is the preferred medium. It may be intimidating to consider, but get in front of your video camera! There are tons of free resources online if you’re not sure how start creating video content, such as the official YouTube Creators Academy.
Building A New Dad Blog: Collaborating With Brands
A dream goal for most bloggers is to collaborate with brands. For me, it’s humbling to think that a business thinks enough of my blog that they’d spend the resources collaborate with it! While I can’t guarantee that you’ll be able to work with any brand out there, I’d love to share ways that will increase your chances of a business collaboration.
Once again, all roads lead back to the quality of your content. You are more likely to secure brand collaborations if your content is genuine, consistent, and relevant to the message and goals of the brand that you’re trying to reach out to. You’ll also want to be prepared for an eventual meeting with a brand, either through email, by phone, or in person.
Research the brand before you attempt to contact them. Learn all you can about, not only what they offer, but also their overall mission. Tell them about you, but also tell them how a collaboration can benefit them.
But how do you reach out to brands? There are several ways.
Pro Tip: It’s best to follow basic rules of courtesy, etiquette, and common sense while interacting with others online. That’s especially true if you want to collaborate with companies. Being “PR friendly” is non-negotiable. Brands will likely steer clear of anyone who would reflect poorly on their own PR image. Always take the peaceable and high road if you find yourself on the brink of conflict, especially on social media.
Contact Them Directly
If you go to their official website, most brands have a “contact” page with their email address or phone number. A PR contact is the best, but any email or number is helpful.
Expect, though, that not every email you send out will receive a response. Sometimes it takes several emails before a contact is made. If you’re motivated to work with a certain brand, patience is key.
Most brands also have official accounts on social media. It may be best to try to contact them via direct message on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other accounts. However, when it comes to trying to contact a brand, either by email or social media, stay away from looking obsessive or spammy. I wont determine for you what that means; just use common sense.
Attend trade shows and blogging conferences
There are costs involved in these options such as admission tickets, food, travel, and lodging expenses, but if they’re in attendance, you’re sure to get an audience with the brand you want to collaborate with. Blogging conferences are great because the brands and sponsors have gone to considerable expense to connect with bloggers.
This can be your chance to shine in front of the right people! These conferences usually also offer various sessions that instruct bloggers how to improve in various ways, such as content, social media, SEO, and much more.
Like any business environment, be sure to get your blogging information on a business card so it can be given to others. I’ve used Vistaprint many times and have been very satisfied.
Here’s some blogging conferences that I personally have secured brand collaborations from:
Join Influencer Networks
Influencer marketing is a way to collaborate with brands. Brands work with influencer networks to connect them with bloggers and social media influencers in various campaigns. The goal is to extend the reach of the campaign as far as possible through the influencer (you) and your audience.
It can be difficult at times to secure collaborations because the campaign terms can be quite steep, such as having tens of thousands of followers on social media. In many cases, the influencer network will want to connect to your blog, Google Analytics account, and/or social media accounts so they can have an accurate measure of what your visitor stats and follower counts are. Others just ask you to list that information in their member dashboard.
The influencer network acts as a middle man for you and the brand, and usually you’re not permitted to contact the brand directly with questions or comments. Pay varies per collaboration and influencer network. Here’s a list of some popular influencer networks:
- Best Buy Blogger Network
- Blog Meets Brand
- Everywhere Agency
- Find Your Influence
- Massive Sway
Another way to generate income for your blog is to join Google Adsense and affiliate networks. These places enable you to place advertising on your blog in the form of text links, banners, and widgets.
Building A New Dad Blog: Summary
If your goal is to build and maintain a dad blog with the hopes of working with brands and generating income, this article will get you going on a good path. Be sure to be on the lookout for additional opportunities that will set you up for success.
Keep in mind though, that blogging with the hopes of generating income is a marathon, not a sprint. It can take years of hard work to get to the point to where you can blog full-time.
If you discover a great idea or great path for building a dad blog that’s not listed in this article, tell us in the comments!
Bryan is a husband of 17 years and a father of four. He worked in various construction trades in his younger years and more recently was a General Manager for a hand-forged iron furniture store and restaurant.
For several years he has worked full time on this blog and has partnered with various brands including The Home Depot, QUIKRETE, Ryobi, Sinkology, Rust-Oleum, Wagner, BEHR, Disney, Best Buy, and many more.