Thursday, November 8, 2012

So you want to be a Preemie Blogger

Some have asked how to make a preemie blog successful. Heck, I have even offered up blogging as a great way to help make it through RSV season. I credit a lot of my sanity to this very thing! Here are a couple quick pointers if you are thinking about starting a blog or wanting to take yours to the next level:

1) Figure out your focus. Do you want to write about the cute antics of your preemie? Or spend most of your time writing from the parent's perspective? Maybe an educational blog is more up your alley? Or a blending of all of these? There is no wrong or right topic. Only what you find interesting! I have tried my best to get a good mix of all things cutie pie Jack (with lots of pictures!), preemie info, serious being-a-preemie-mom advice, and random, lighthearted content. My point is that it's a good idea to have a theme, a focus, something to guide your blogging.

2) Post, post, post. You may not have many readers for quite some time, but keep it up. For the first year and a half where I took this whole blogging thing seriously, I posted five, sometimes six days a week. A post can be anything from a picture with a cute saying underneath it, to a paragraphs long rendition of your crazy weekend. Mix lighthearted with serious.

3) Publish posts on a schedule. I published items around the same time each day and created a routine where readers came to expect the structure for the first two years. I still keep this set structure to a point. In simple blogging 101 terms, the best day to post is Wednesday and the best time is noon. You will laugh when you see that I have posted this at 8:45am on a Thursday. Don't judge. Jack woke me up at 5am, which means I've had a few hours and I just can't wait anymore :) In general, weekend blogging will get the lightest traffic.

4) Read other blogs and COMMENT. There is nothing like a comment to a blogger. It's crack, seriously. When I first started out, I commented a lot. Like a crazy amount. In all reality, once your blog grows beyond the just friends and family reading stage, there are hundreds of readers for every comment left on a blog. That's why a comment is so special. It means you took the time to say "hey, I read this". It makes quite an impression. When someone sees your name a lot, chances are they will come over to your blog to see what you are up to.

5) Make your blog look spiffy. The learning curve on this one is pretty steep, but nothing you can't do or find out how on the internet. They call this HTML code. Or... learning how to work with a free blogging platform (Blogger, for instance) and be able to customize it to your taste. Interestingly enough, my foray into photography started with me just wanting better pictures on my blog. I saw some blogs that I absolutely loved. I wondered, hmmm.... what is it about this blog that I find so attractive? It was the photography. It was the clean layout. It was blog buttons. All things you need to learn eventually. And trust me, I am still learning and am working on a blog overhaul as we speak!

6) Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram. Get on all of these. It adds a whole other dimension to blogging. A way to promote posts and to connect. Facebook was the highest source of my traffic for quite some time, until Pinterest came along. Twitter is always there, under the current, pushing things along. Instagram is my new fav. I will be adding a nifty Instagram button (a link to my Instagram profile) on the right column here soon.

Those are my quick six pointers. Shoot me a question if you need more info. I have really loved this whole blogging thing. Mostly because I have gotten to know so many of my closest preemie mama friends through it. We have to stick together!
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Jackie said...

I need help with so many things, I don't even know where to start! ;-) said...

I struggle with where to take my blog now that Daphne is 3+ and her long-term issues are not directly preemie issues. Still, the blog provides great therapy and connection for me, and I think someday she will appreciate reading about all she's overcome. I love your clean design, by the way.

Amanda @Understanding Prematurity said...

Right now I blog for me-- it's my therapy. Sometimes I feel guilty for not being more of a help to other parents. Sigh. Thanks for all you do, though!

Jessi said...

Well I definitely should have mentioned that some blog just for themselves or their close friends and family! And that is totally cool. I guess these tips are more for those who are wishing to take the next step to grow their readership. By the way, I always appreciate your posts, Amanda. So well written!

Heather L said...

I've been waiting, waiting, waiting for you to write this post! Your blog was the first preemie parent blog I found after my son, Jack, was born at 28 weeks a little over 2 years ago :)

Angie said...

Hi Jessie, your blog was also one of the first ones I found, you have been such an inspiration, and funny you should post this today, because our neglected blog has been on my mind a lot this week. thanks for the tips. I spend a lot of their nap time catching up with you and Jack :)

Angela Sattler said...

Jessi - I found your blog after I had my daughter last August at 26 weeks. I have always found Jack's story so inspirational. I should have introduced myself a long time ago, but I always love your honesty and the glimpses you share about with Life with Jack!

Rachel Beer said...

All great tip, thank you! I found your blog after having my preemie a year ago. I'm working in getting my blog going so I really appreciate your tips!

Bees Allergies and Other Buzz said...

I do not have a blog as of yet. I have never even considered doing so... and then just recently, I receive about 30 to 40 private facebook messages from friends of friends asking for advice with their little ones. I dedicate many hours to responding and as of late have found myself sharing the same information repeatedly.
Then I found your blog on facebook. I could not stop reading about your family & beautiful son's life. It has helped heal me. It has helped me deal with guilt and remind me to see overall progress, and not the day to day struggles.
Yesterday, I began searching for more information on HOW to create a blog site. I came back to where the inspiration struck, only to find your question staring of "So you want to be a preemie blogger" staring me in the face! All questioning of should I do this or not has disappeared.
I have two beautiful sons. After seven years of infertility, I was blessed with a 36 week beautiful son. He is anaphylatic to eggs, fire ants, oak trees, and pine trees. Our littlest blessing was born at 32 and 1/2 weeks. He has had many medical struggles along the way. He is also anaphylatic to peanuts, tree nuts, coconuts, eggs and severely allergic to dairy and sesame seeds. He has outgrown soy and corn in the last year. He also has speech, OT, PT issues, developmental delays, and is absolutely amazing!! I hope to provide guidance to other parents that I wish I had years ago.
I wanted you to know how much your posts have come to mean to me. If you are willing to provide a little more hand holding via a private email, I would be very grateful for your guidance!!! I do not even know how to register or get a domain name, etc ;-) Thank you for everything.

Jessi said...

Thank you, that is such a nice and thoughtful comment!! Yes, you can definitely email me if you have any questions - I don't promise to have all the answers, but I can let you know what's worked for me. And thank you for sharing your story. It sounds like you would have a lot to write about and could encourage others who are walking a similar path.

Tatum said...

Great post, Jessi. I see I am breaking a lot of rules! 1) Wednesday is my day off. 2) I, nearly, never leave my URL when I post on someone else's blog (still didn't do it) and 3) I regularly admit that my iphone photos stink and pray that my kids are cute enough to make up for it.

Even still, it's the best therapy there is (and if you count time as money, WAY more expensive than traditional therapy) and has been a great way to transition from career mom to SAHM. Blogging builds in the routine.

Thanks so much for mentoring and promoting those of us behind you.

Jessi said...

ah Tatum, I think you're doing pretty well :)

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