How to Build a Popular Blog While Working and Raising Kids

96 amazing comments

grow a blog while working and being a mom
Image ยฉ Benchart Dreamstime.

Last Update 9th December, 2015

Everyone wants to build a popular blog.

But what if you also have a full time job, a bunch of kids to raise and a whole host of other family commitments to take care of?

Well, then it gets tricky.

I often get emails about this issue, but last week one of them really stood out and so I decided to try and do a big ol’ post about it.

Here are some tips and strategies that my mates and I have used to build successful blogs while holding down a job that pays the bills, or looking after kids at home.

Shall we?

A mom with a blog and not enough hours in the day

Let’s begin this post by sharing the email that Katie sent to me.

It gives us a really good starting point because Katie explains the issue so well (she’s clearly bloody smart), and I’m sure a lot of people out there will relate to it.

Of course I’ve asked her permission before sharing.

Hi Ramsay,

I came across your blog after searching & browsing blog optimization topics. I read several of your posts and then happened upon the one about moms.

I’m a stay-at-home mom currently who just started a blog. And what I have to say here probably applies to anyone starting a blog these days.

I picked a topic a month ago out of interest (theperfectbrownie.com) and hope for maybe a future publishing opportunity, and then once I got started and began reading about SEO (of which I had no previous knowledge) I researched my keywords and found that luckily within that topic there were some low to medium competition keywords with good traffic and some commercial value. So I felt hopeful about my prospects.

And then I hit a wall. The more I read about how to get traffic, the more frustrated I’ve gotten. I’ve read:

  • Don’t use backlinks / You must get backlinks
  • Blog & forum comments are worthless / They’re valuable
  • Write good content and you’ll get traffic / Content is worthless, SEO tricks matter more
  • You need to be on every social media site / Don’t waste your time on social media

Like I said, I started this blog a month ago. I get maybe 20 hits per day. I go through swings of mood where one day I feel like I can make this work, and the next I feel bummed out because I feel like I’m wasting my time.

As a stay-at-home mother, I barely have time to do what I need to do around the house- so I squeeze in a blog post a couple of times a week when I can. And I’m left with all this conflicting information. I don’t have advertising money, oodles of free time, or the money to pay some computer whiz in Bulgaria to spam me to the top of Google. That doesn’t mean I’m slacking; I’m very good about optimizing my on-page SEO, I have a (lonely) Facebook page for my site, and I’ve run up a Twitter following of about 800, mostly foodies & other bakers.

There’s just only so much I can do in a day. Why am I telling you all this? Well, you write about your mom, and I like that. Your post encourages women to blog, and I like that, too. So maybe I’m just hoping that you, or maybe another “how to blog” person that you could pass this along to, could write a post for people like me (moms or not). Boil it down and tell us the things we absolutely must do, and the things we can let slide while we attend to life’s necessities- and yet still eventually get traffic. Because there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Thanks for listening. You have a great site and I’ll be coming back to read more. Have a good day.

Sincerely,

Katie

 
I guess I should start by saying that I have absolutely no idea about raising kids and the pressure that puts on a person. I can only imagine how stressful and time consuming it must be – especially because the women and men that raise kids aren’t just “moms” and “dads” they also do and are a lot of other things.

This is the only kid that I have…

cute cat

That being said, if you’ve read my post on how to start a blog you might remember that I used to work as a cleaner in order to pay the bills while I made my online business thing work. I used to do a shift from 6am to 10am and then come home and work on blogs and client projects.

During the transition from part-time to full-time online business I learned a few things that might be useful for people who want to grow a blog but are struggling to find time – especially stay at home moms and dads who find themselves constantly interrupted as well as busy!

You get the idea.

Tips for building a popular blog when you’re a mom, dad or just can’t find the time

Like I said, I’m going to share my experiences but I’ve also asked my best mate Justin to jump in here because he is a successful online entrepreneur who has built million-dollar online businesses while bringing up four young boys.

If you have any of your own tips please leave a comment and let me know.

It might really help someone.

1. Recognize that it takes longer than people say

One of the things that new bloggers often face is that the whole “overnight success” thing really is a bunch of BS for most people. Even this site, which got over 11,000 visitors in its third week, was a culmination of a lot of screw ups an years of experimentation and toilet cleaning.

My mate Justin told me in relation to business and kids:

It will take you longer than single people who can focus 110%, 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 5 years. But… the time will pass anyway… so, you may as well build something…

I think that is a really vital point because it helps you do something very important: relax. It’s so important to have a wide focus when it comes to this stuff because often the disillusionment comes not from getting no results but from getting slow results.

In that respect the best thing you can do is set some short, medium and longterm goals.

That’s how you know if it’s building slowly or dying slowly.

You might want to check out my other post on some predictions for things you’ll need to know before you start a blog as that will give you some items to watch out for.

2. Learn to track, test and tweak as early as possible

One of the things that I wish I had learned earlier was the importance of testing.

In fact, my mates Justin and Glen would constantly tell me to test things, or tell me about a test they did that resulted in huge rewards, but I still didn’t learn.

In this regard Justin said:

The 80/20 rule applies. Get the biggest bang for your buck, and focus all your energy on that.

In the beginning this means a lot of testing and research because you might not yet know what produces the best results for your blog or online business. This is so important because if you are time-poor you want to find out what works the best and then go with that.

Take opt-in forms as a simple example. Let’s say you reckon you can make $100,000 a year from 10,000 subscribers. Well, what if you could increase the sign ups to your list from 2% to 4% by doing some simple tests? You’ve just halved the time it’ll take you to reach your number.

This comes back to two things: experimenting and running split tests.

3. Find out if you are a writer or an entrepreneur ASAP

If you have a look at any successful blogger you will notice something important.

They all outsource as much as possible.

Some of them even have offices full of staff that they pay full time wages to.

This is no coincidence. These guys and girls recognize that it is extremely difficult to grow unless you are outsourcing the things that take the most time, or the things you are no good at.

Why spend five hours tweaking your blog’s theme if it’s the writing that you are good at?

On the flip side, why spend five hours writing a blog post if you’re better at ideas and business development? You could pay someone to do that and grow your business a lot quicker. I’ve talked to Chris Ducker about this:

I really encourage people to not think of this as a cost but as an investment.

If you start to think of your time as being worth a dollar amount (say $100 an hour) then you will be less likely to waste away the day on things you don’t understand.

But that also means backing your business and really wanting to give it a shot. There’s no point spending money unless you seriously want to give it a go.

4. Forget about Twitter, Facebook and Google+

This always sounds really weird but I think it is such good advice.

Social networking sites are, for the most part, a big waste of time in the beginning. They don’t bring in huge amounts of traffic and they take up a huge amount of time.

(Side note: Here’s some Google+ tips and tricks if you want to still learn about it)

Sure, you have to be on them, but it’s not necessary to spend a lot of time there unless you are spending money on advertising or have an existing strategy for building networks with other bloggers in your niche.

Small businesses that have a physical location might be a bit different in this regard (read this one) but for the most part we need to stick to something else.

Point number five.

5. Write amazing, brilliant, sexy content… but not on your site

Again, this might be something that a lot of bloggers already know, but if you’ve missed this one it can cost you a lot of time.

Writing amazing content on your blog is good. But it doesn’t help in the beginning.

Why?

Because no one knows about your blog!

The first year of blogging really should be about getting guest posts, advertising and mentions on as many other relevant websites as possible. I used to try and work to a 1 to 3 ratio – for every one post that I put up on my blog I would do three guest posts.

6. Connect with people who have done it already (or are on their way)

I can’t emphasize this point enough.

You will get no where in any business unless you know the right people. It is extremely hard to make reasonably fast inroads unless you are getting tips, help, feedback or support from people who have made it or are well on their way.

Justin has a great idea here:

Find friends in similar situations, but ideally slightly further along, and meet up once a week or month and exchange ideas.

I am lucky enough to have people like Justin and Glen and so on in my life. Having them on the end of an email has made a huge difference when I need feedback on a new product or a testimonial for a landing page.

At a very minimum it helps to have gentle, kind and like-minded people around you if you just need a break with someone who can listen and understand where you are coming from. Justin and I catch up a couple of times a month and see a movie or go to the gym.

Sometimes we don’t talk about business at all but it’s really nice to know that he knows why I’m stressed without having to explain the whole thing every time.

7. Steal (read: borrow)

Okay, so I don’t want anyone to steal.

That is a really bad idea.

But I do encourage competitive research. In fact, it’s one of the most important skills you can have in the online world.

One of the best ways to get ahead in the blogging world is to look at what the most popular blogs in your niche are doing and then do it better. Or do it differently. This can help you improve your SEO as well as stand out amongst a crowd of “same”.

Write down all the keywords you’d like to rank for and the do a Google search. Visit all of the top sites and examine things like their:

  • Brand and layout
    What makes them different from the rest? What are the main impressions you get when you visit the site? What format, colors, etc. is it all presented in? Who is the target audience?
  • Distribution
    How often do they post and what type of content is the most popular? Do they do videos, eBooks, long form content, daily updates, etc.?
  • Most popular gear
    Finally, take a look at how they got popular. Look at the sites they’ve been mentioned on, the posts that have the most comments and social shares and so on.

Good research skills can help you figure out not only what to write, but where to get it publicized. It can help you tap into markets and niches that you were’t aware of and, most importantly, it can give you ideas about how to be different.

Just like I said in my post about starting a fashion blog; if you’re not different you’re dead.

Not exactly the blogging advice you thought?

As I got to the end of this post I started thinking about how these tips probably aren’t the exact things that Katie was talking about.

I haven’t really said “write one post per week and Tweet it 3 times an hour” or anything like that. Mostly, we’ve just gone over general ideas and concepts.

But, to be honest, those are the things that I wish I’d know about when I was really busy and looking to grow my blog.

Posting schedules, headlines, subject matter – all of that stuff is different for each industry, niche and individual blog. But testing, making networks and competitive research are all skills that translate anywhere.

What blogging tips would you give?

I know a lot of the Tyrant Troops have children, full time jobs, etc. and struggle with these issues. I’d be really curious to know what tips have made a difference for you on your journey? What advice would you give for Katie or someone like her who is struggling for time but obviously very keen to get it right?

Please leave a comment. It might really help someone.

SO, WHAT'S NEXT?

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96 Comments. Join in. *Closed after 30 days*

  • chris

    The advice I give to people is to find out if you really have the time by doing the following.
    1. Record the time for your current full-time or part-time job.
    2. Record the time you want to spend with your spouse / kids.
    3. Record how much sleep you need each night. Be real about it.
    4. The time left is how much time you have to devote to a web site biz. If it’s not enough time then don’t do it.

    It’s too easy to work a little more here or there and next thing you know, you aren’t getting enough sleep, spending enough time with your family, and everyone suffers because of it.

    If you do have enough time, then break time into two areas; administrative time and production time. Take one day each week and do your planning, creative thinking, research, etc. Then, spend the rest of the time in the week implementing; writing content, developing a web site, etc. This will prevent you from wasting time “thinking” all week and never executing anything.

    ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Ramsay

      Always with the good comments! Thanks mate.

      Do you have kids?

      I can’t agree enough about the scattered work life. If you’re trying to work all the time you really do notice your relationships and even mental health being negatively affected.


      1. chris

        Yes, one in college and one in high school. I’ve had a few eye-opening moments about how my work was affecting everyone in my house. And EVERYONE needs to know this…IF YOU ARE WITH YOUR FAMILY BUT THINKING ABOUT WORK, **YOU ARE WORKING**.


        1. Ramsay

          Agree 100%.


        2. Shawna Giefer

          That’s a really great point, Chris. I am too often thinking about work when spending time with my toddler. Great reminder, thanks


        3. Craig McBreen

          Hi Chris,

          Great comments and I agree. I have a 20-year-old and my youngest is a freshman in high school. My wife and I have worked, slowly, but surely, to simplify our lives, but we certainly can’t do what your average 20-something with no kids can ๐Ÿ˜‰ We are working at it though.

          And I like Ramsay’s advice about avoiding social, sounds counterintuitive, but it can become the biggest time-waster on the planet.

          Have a plan and focus, focus, focus.


      2. Dennis Seymour

        Hi Ramsay, great topic and post!

        I’ve been having a LOT of trouble with my schedule lately since we are preparing for a newborn (which means less work time) plus handling a blog and clients.

        That’s a great suggestion from Chris as well. I will have to try that along with your tip #3 which is what I need to decide on now.


  • Emily Journey

    i use “dragon naturally speaking” voice transcription.


    1. Ramsay

      Ah, nice one! Have never used one of those but a lot of people rave about them.


      1. Emily Journey

        Yep. Very practical. You can even upload your voice recordings for transcription. Imagine walking the dog and blogging at the same time.


        1. Ramsay

          Who can I get to walk my dog for me? ๐Ÿ˜‰


      2. Emily Journey

        Yup. It’s a practical tool for bloggers who better at talking than writing.


    2. grahame

      Hi Emily

      Thanks for sharing the โ€œdragon naturally speakingโ€ voice transcription. Never heard of this one before reading this blog post. I must seriously consider getting the module.

      Thanks also to Ramsay. Love reading your articles. Such great advice.


  • Lucy

    Thanks for writing a piece for people like me! I’m a SAHM who also runs a handmade business. I’ve been blogging for about a year now to hopefully get the word about my business out there. I love the process of blogging but feel it doesn’t really show any results for my business. I haven’t really done any of the things you list above. What I’d like to know about is the the testing thing. What should I be testing? In the last month I’ve decided to take a much more relaxed attitude to my blog to get more fun out of it. I’m enjoying it more again now, which is a good step!


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Lucy.

      What should you test? EVERY THING! Ha. Just kidding.

      Really, you want to be testing what brings the most sales. So you’re trying to figure out where people get stuck in that process.

      A lot of people start out by learning how to test their opt-in forms to see which one gets the most people to subscribe to their blog. That’s a nice play to begin, I think.


  • raj

    Hi Ramsay

    I really wish you had disqus plugin installed. It would make it so easy to leave comments.

    I would be much more inclined to do so.

    Kind Regards

    Raj


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Raj.

      Sorry to say but that won’t ever happen here, I don’t think.

      I really don’t like Disqus personally and I’ve seen a few examples of popular blogs switch to it and then comment numbers and engagement drop.

      Sorry mate. I hope you keep leaving comments here.

      Ramsay


      1. raj

        That’s interesting and rather counter intuitive.

        Any who your posts are awesome so I don’t really mind. But you could perhaps just ask for name or email rather than ask for all three name, email and website.


        1. Ramsay

          Hi Raj.

          Thanks for the feedback.

          The reason I ask for the website is because a lot of people do networking here in the comments. If you get the top comment you can drive quite a lot of traffic to your website – which can help some people.

          Thanks again for the kind words.


  • Deborah

    Ramsay,

    Can you elaborate on guest posting? Not sure how to go about getting those gigs.

    Thanks you!
    Deborah


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Deborah.

      Best place to start is to go to all the good blogs in your niche and look for a “write for us” or “guest post policy” and see what it says.

      Ideally you follow those people on Twitter for a while, mention them on your blog, and then eventually work up to a relationship where you can pitch the idea of doing a guest post or a collaboration of some sort.

      Hope that helps.


  • Averil

    Wow Katie hit the nail on the head. In fact she sounded like me. Thanks for the great write up Ramsay!


    1. Ramsay

      Glad you enjoyed it!


    2. Katie @ The Perfect Brownie

      It’s nice to know someone out there feels the same way. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And I agree- thank you very much, Ramsay, for the excellent post!


  • Luke Guy

    3 guest post per main blog post works great. Good ratio here.

    I think guest posting and linking to an opt-in form is easiest at first though.

    Get a list of a 1,000 people before starting you’re own blog would be best.

    Build connections first and blog later.


    1. Ramsay

      Have you had success with building a list without a blog? I’ve personally never tried that.


      1. Luke Guy

        Myself? No. But I’ve seen those who’ve done it. THE easiest way to build a list without a budget. Pat has an example of this in a guest post. But I’ve seen it other places.


      2. Rodney Robinson

        Excellent Advice, Ramsay. I am in the same boat as a father and full timer. But one thing that has really helped is doing something small everyday. I draft posts, make lists of what to accomplish, and kill the low hanging fruit. My wife edits my posts before they publish and I dedicate the remaining time to the more time consuming items. This had worked beautifully!


  • Alexis

    I’m a SAHM with a reasonably high-traffic blog so I can totally relate. The food arena is hard because there are SO many food bloggers. Personally I would spend a few months (6-9) getting your own site perfected, putting together some really excellent cornerstone content, and generally tweaking the layout, plugins, etc. After things are pretty solid on the home front, THEN I would look into guest posting and whatnot. Because I’m mixed on just how successful a strategy that is (what exactly is a good clickthrough rate to expect for a guest post) but I’m confident that your guest posts will be wasted if your site isn’t ready to turn those visitors into loyal readers.

    For me, readership has taken years to develop. I recently gave a talk on blogging and shared my traffic numbers from 2011 to today and there is a long flat line before anything started to happen. It’s hard to stay motivated when nobody is paying attention and some bloggers have mastered the technique of rising to the top relatively quickly. But for most of us (especially when you’ve got kiddos around) I believe the trajectory is more likely slow and steady. Good luck!


    1. Ramsay

      Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing Alexis.


    2. Katie @ The Perfect Brownie

      If I may ask, by a “long flat line,” how low was it for how long? Feel free to reply “MYOB” if you’d prefer not to give the numbers. ๐Ÿ™‚

      It’s just that I have a hard time finding benchmarks to compare to, so I’m never really sure how to answer my own question: Am I doing well for how long I’ve been doing this?

      I wish I’d seen your site back in 2008! My infant had awful sleep troubles. I must have read everything ever published trying to find an answer. Eventually she grew out of it, but it felt like forever.


      1. Alexis

        Katie,

        My line was totally flat for 1 year, started to pick up some between 1-1.5 years. So like 1,400 daily page views at the 1.5 year mark then blossomed up to 8-10K now.

        And honestly I’m just like you – I don’t have fancy SEO specialists telling me what to do, my content isn’t optimized, I’m not guest posting on Copyblogger and whatnot. Just a SAHM chipping away at it over time.

        I like the perfect brownie angle, I think if you can stick with it, you’ll get there too ๐Ÿ™‚


        1. Katie @ The Perfect Brownie

          Thanks! As long as I can afford the hosting I’ll stick with it, I think. ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Ken

    This article more than any other has made me think about my own blog (currently just getting it going). I run another business as well (from home) and would like to utilize my blog to help others. You have made me question exactly what my brand is and who I am trying to impact. When I think about the keywords that I want to be found under I realized I am not doing anything to go after that target.

    Thanks for the post, I plan to ensure to follow you for further advice on this topic.


    1. Ramsay

      Love hearing this! Please do let me know how it all goes.


  • Lisa Worland

    Once again an article written well and perfectly timed, thank you. I work with my husband, and our business is (I think) becoming an online business. I write blogs as I have a background in writing and I enjoy the experience but knowing nobody is reading them makes me feel deflated… especially since I have three young children that are hungry for my time… its a tough juggling job, this week I have been able to post on two guest posts so fingers crossed things may move forward… but it will be at a snails pace as I struggle to write anything more than one blog per week… but I am impatient!!!


    1. Ramsay

      So what’s the next step to make it change?


  • Rochelle

    Katie sounds like me for sure. I’ve got 5 kids (ages 8 to 4 months old), I homeschool them, work part-time in the early early mornings, and then run my blog in the late afternoons/evenings. To say I’m busy is an understatement. I really do struggle with all the conflicting advice. I like the research idea you’ve posed, and I think I’ll start there as a first manageable step.

    I will have to do some brainstorming for the testing part.

    As for the guest posting, I don’t know what my aversion is to it. I really need to get over it. Maybe it’s the whole fear of putting myself out there. Or thinking I don’t feel like I have the time to be on that person’s blog all the time commenting, tweeting, and engaging with their content. I guess when it comes down to it I need to get over it and set aside time daily for it and to think of it as a good use of my time, and not worry about the other things I “should” be doing.

    That list is sooo eternally long that it’s hard to know which is the most important, especially with so many voices out there.

    Thanks for a great post Ramsay


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Rochelle.

      You sound like perhaps the busiest person in the world…

      I guess this is why I advocate testing so much. If you try a guest post and it brings you 1000 subscribers over the year and 10,000 visitors then something is working and needs to be focused on.


  • Kimberly Coleman

    I started my blog on a whim when my first son was 1 (he’s 10 now) and it has allowed me to profitably work from home for the last decade. My biggest tip is to be clear on what your personal priorities are and fit your blog around your life instead of vice versa.

    Be realistic regarding how much time you have to devote each week to your site and guard those times ruthlessly. (Be sure to speak with your partner/spouse and make sure that you two are on the same page first! A blog is not worth messing up your immediate family relationships!)

    Also know that this is a season – the kids get older/go to school for the full-day and you will have more chunks of time to devote to your blog/other business endeavors.

    All the best…


    1. Ramsay

      Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing.


  • Peter Ewin Hall

    Hi,

    Intreresting debate. Some thoughts and comments on the post and comments so far.

    Comments – I personally think Disqus is a pain and discourages comments as you have to log in and doesn’t then provide a direct link back to blogs. I don’t get why it’s used unless it’s to cut down on comments and blog admin. But is commenting worth doing? Aside fromrelationship building with the blog owner does it build much traffic?

    Guest posts – I’ve just started on this trail and had my first guest post. Underwhelmed by the traffic it generated. Is there some guidance on sites not to waste energy on such as those that post too much content and use Disqus!


    1. chris

      Based on my experience with guest posts (and I do a lot), the article should be focused on the same area of your specialty. Don’t write general articles, write articles on specific problems.


      1. Ramsay

        Hi Peter.

        There is also a bit of an art to finding the right blogs to guest post on. You really want to be getting spots on the big blogs with large traffic and high engagement.


  • Karen

    Hi Ramsay, so far we’ve been doing the maintenance of our website ourselves and it’s often tough. We’re not PHP programmers: fixing broken links and other webmaster tasks are difficult to handle. Many internet marketeers’ advice is to outsource the work but we have concerns as we’re not making money yet. What would you recommend?


    1. chris

      Karen, setting up a web site should be easy. Using wordpress, a nice site can be set up in a day. You shouldn’t have to be doing any php coding. I just tried accessing your site and got an error page. Check out Ramsay’s link at the top to “start a blog in 5 minutes.” If you are at that point, you might want to consider starting from scratch.


  • Joshua Lawson

    Good advice, Ramsay. Now do it with three little ankle-biters running around and I’ll really be impressed. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    1. Ramsay

      NO. ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Beth

    Hiring a virtual assistant was the best investment I ever made when I first started. She could return emails and handle all the little things for me during the day when I was at work. Also, I agree with Alexis. You need to get a firm grasp on your content direction and make it appealing to readers. Building a small loyal following is important.


    1. Ramsay

      Congrats Beth. Where did you find your VA?


      1. Beth

        I met her online in a ning network years and year ago. (back when ning networks were popular). We worked together for over 6 years. She retired and I’m now searching for a new one. Know any good VAs?


  • Ros Emely @ stressfreemommies

    Great post! I needed to read this because i am a mother of three,i go to college and i am also a stay at home mom. On top of that i am making some time for my blog and it can be a little frustrating not to get the results that you want. I will be looking at guest posting since it sounds like a great way to get noticed. Thank you.


    1. Ramsay

      Good luck Ros!


  • Fiona

    I built my site and blog up whilst at home with my son and the biggest thing I learnt was don’t set yourself unrealistic targets. I fell for the whole ‘you have to post 3-5 times a week’ thing and was struggling to keep on top of impossible schedules. I got stressed out and ill and almost gave up on it all.

    Now (5 years later) I take it much easier, I have a rough plan for what I want to write over the next few months and do it as and when I have time. If I don’t have time to write something fresh I re-promote older posts to keep the traffic coming in and only write something fresh around once a week, if that.

    I keep an ongoing list of content ideas and dip into it when I can, sometimes I’ll draft posts and then come back to them weeks later to finish. I know now that I’ll get there in the end and it doesn’t really matter if something takes a few weeks longer than planned as long as it’s good in the end.


    1. Ramsay

      Nice one Fiona. I think being relaxed is important as it also helps with ideas and energy.


  • Kat

    Great post Ramsay, although how am I meant to get the first comment if you keep publishing in the middle of the night!

    Katie, I feel for you. I read a post on Tropical MBA a year or so back that resonated. The idea was that it can take around a 1000 days to see real success in this business. Some will get there sooner obviously but it’s something that helped me keep going through the tough times.

    I think you are right on target, just pick a few smart people (like Ramsay) to listen to, cut out the rest of the noise and then keep going ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Kat.

      Sorry about the schedule! Just seem to get the most traction when I post on USA time.


  • Lisa

    Hi
    Thank you so much for this great post! It came at just the right time for me I was thinking about Facebook and whether to do a business site, what I would have to do etc.
    I don’t know much about Facebook so this would have been a big thing. I’m so glad you say that it’s not a priority at this time.
    I work part time and have 3 children so you have saved me a lot of time. While I’m here I want to thank you for all of your amazingly helpful posts, I am finding them really useful.
    Thanks x


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Lisa. I’m glad something on here was useful.


  • Oloyede Jamiu

    Hey Ramsay,

    Its not easy to build a popular blog while having a full time job or raising children but one has to face the reality and try make the best out of one’s time in building the blog.

    One of those things i find difficult these days is guest posting on other bloggers’ blogs after the time my wife got pregnant.

    My time is full of house works……… i dont have much time to build my blog.

    Thanks for writing this Ramsay.

    Have a nice day ahead.

    Regards,
    Oloyede Jamiu


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks mate. Congratulations on the baby!


  • Africa Inside

    The best advice if you want a super popular blog is to be in a niche that is popular: (self help, how to be a better blogger, finance, tech and health advice are the hot topics). Otherwise no matter what you do, there are not enough interested people to make your blog popular. Lori from AfricaInside.org


    1. Ramsay

      I don’t really agree with this, sorry.


  • Simon

    Thanks, I enjoy your posts, and look out for them.

    5 kids, 11 – 3, plus studying, working, cooking, washing up and school runs.

    One aspect is to (try) and focus on the thing that needs dealing with most immediately. Your end up prioritising ruthlessly. I know you’ve said this as well, but the ‘good enough’ rather than perfect principle really helps to keep you sane.

    It can be a real challenge to finish a sentence sometimes. It keep a notepad to hand, with a live ‘to do list’. At the end of each day, rather than giving myself a hard time about what I didn’t get done, I prioritise which goals / tasks are the most important to do the next day and ensure I start with them first.

    I also try to be ruthless with twitter, facebook and linkedIn too. I use them to publicise my posts, check for comments, and then get out again as quickly as possible. If not, the limited time I have goes too quickly – I keep checking back to what was top of the prioritised to-do list too, to make sure I’m doing what is important rather than what has just come in.

    I know this is also a bit of a social faux pas, but I also don’t have a smart phone yet, and this actually seems to really help in terms of writing more!

    Thanks again for the post and all the really interesting and useful comments.

    Cheers Simon


    1. Ramsay

      Hi Simon.

      Great comment.

      There has been a number of times in the past year where I’ve thought about ditching the iPhone. It’s great for social media and photos and things but, really, I think I waste more time on it than I spend producing things.

      Cheers.


  • Amiria

    Hi Ramsey,

    I often read your blog, but hardly ever find the time to comment, but thought I would offer my thoughts today, to offer Katie encouragement that it is possible.

    After a year of creating my first WordPress site (with no prior experience building websites or blogging) I hit over a thousand visits a day. I then decided I should take it seriously, and redesigned the site (moving from WordPress to Drupal), so that users could interact more. It is another year and a half later, and we are at over 8,000 visits a day, with traffic continuing to grow steadily. It grew slow at the start (you can see a screenshot of the trajectory here: http://www.studentartguide.com/articles/how-to-make-an-artist-website) but then starting ramping up.

    I am a stay at home mother and also struggle to find time to do anything. I manage 4 articles a month if I am VERY lucky – usually it is 1 or 2. I often work in the middle of the night (hence me writing at 1.30am in New Zealand now)!

    Here is my advice (I havenโ€™t checked out your site Katie, so these may not apply to you)

    1. Make your site look professional and nice to look at. This is not as crucial as some of the other steps, but even when you have minimal content on a site, you want visitors to instantly feel that your destination is worth returning to.

    2. Make every article on your site the most phenomenal resource you can. Research the other high ranking articles / web pages covering the same topic and make yours better. Make each page long and comprehensive. I am for a minimum of 1,500 but often end up around 4-5,000

    3. Make images awesome, with lots that are tall and vertical. Pinterest is killing it. And it requires minimal effort, other than making nice pinnable images. Especially in the food niche.

    4. Use the Keyword Planner. This is crucial. Otherwise you are just floundering in the dark. Start with longtail keywords and work up to the big hitters. We’re just starting to rank for really big keywords โ€“ itโ€™s exciting!

    5. Learn the art of headlines. (Iโ€™m still learning). For example, study the likes of viralnova and work out how to apply their clickable/shareable headlines to your own site. Itโ€™s hard to do this in a legitimate way on a โ€˜normalโ€™ site, but this is something I suspect will work wonders.

    I wouldnโ€™t bother worrying about links or guest posting.

    I forget where I read this, but it remains the best advice I have ever heard:

    Go to your browser. Close every window / tab that isnโ€™t your own site. Now, work on your site.

    Yup, thatโ€™s pretty much it. Make your own site as awesome as you can. If you can do that, the rest will come.

    Right, time to sleep! ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Ramsay

      What an amazing comment! Thank you so much for sharing.


    2. Katie @ The Perfect Brownie

      Great advice, well put! I’ve done a lot of that except for the viral headlines. I find that more difficult to do when pretty much everything on there is a recipe. ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Sue Anne Dunlevie

    You and I totally agree on not putting so many blog posts on your own blog till you have the traffic from guest posting.

    I had told many a client to stop posting 3xweek and start guest posting 3-6 times a month and their lives will change for the better.

    Thanks for sharing this great info for parents!
    Sue


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Sue. Appreciate the input and having you around. Let’s build some popular blogs!


  • maria

    Brilliant post Ramsey! I definitely think it is important as you mentioned to recognise that it can take a while. A lot of people want quick results but on average, SEO results can take months to start appearing and again as you mentioned, only with trials and tests can you get to your end goal, it’s never a one time task, it’s constant hard work and requires serious patience! If you start checking your rankings every day and pulling your hair out then you might struggle!


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Maria. Appreciate the comment.


  • Starr Aughenbaugh

    Hello!

    I’m new to reading your posts, and finding them invaluable to a brand new blogger.

    I’m Starr, and I own a metaphysical store, read tarot, and blog about tarot, psychic ability, and personal empowerment. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you for sharing your info with the world. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Blog on!
    Starr


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks Starr! Glad you like the blog.


  • James Chartrand

    First, that cat is gorgeous and adorable. Puts my two tabbies to shame.

    Second, I could write a small novel on this topic. (I’m sure you will, Ramsey, considering you now have enough fodder from the comment section for 50+ posts, so I’ll let you do the heavy lifting!)

    My thoughts?

    1) The days of fast success on the internet are long gone. Building a successful blog today takes as much time, if not more, as if you were starting a brick-and-mortar business on a street. Imagine someone told you today to open a retail store or a restaurant… you couldn’t just open shop in a week and watch cash start to roll in.

    Can it take less time? Of course. If you can dedicate yourself to your blog or business like a full-time job, you’ll be in the black sooner. If you take it on part time, or say just an hour a week, it’ll take longer.

    Are the stories about people going from zero to hero in 3 months true? Yes – but they are the exception, not the rule, and those people put in a lot of hard work and dedicated themselves to making it work.

    2) Your family and kids will not die if you have to focus on your business. Moms are often made to feel like we need to be superheros, but in truth, the practical application of superhero to everyday life, where you have to cook and clean and wipe noses and go play outdoors and do laundry and help with homework and do groceries… it just doesn’t work, and being supermom isn’t realistic.

    So set the guilt aside. If you need to focus on your business more than your family so that you can build an income stream that gives them a more secure and better life, then you do. You find ways to make it work. Your kids will survive, and they won’t end up in therapy because you weren’t there helicoptering over their every move 90% of the time.

    3) Pay attention to the “you should do this and that” advice that abounds out there… but don’t drive yourself nuts with it. It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of everything you SHOULD be doing and forget that you’re here to build a BETTER life, not a stressed-out-run-ragged-ohmigod one.

    Have fun with what you’re doing. Lightning won’t strike if you don’t do everything right. Play. Enjoy yourself as you work towards building your blog. Otherwise you’ll burn out and end up hating everything about it.

    Okay, enough opinions for now ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully they helped a bit!


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

      I really love the line about the kids not dying. Society really expects women especially to focus on just “mothering” when kids come along. It’s old fashioned and weird. There’s nothing wrong with working as well as doing a bunch of other things.


  • Kirsten Oliphant

    I loved this post. I also love that you saw I linked to you and came for a visit. That’s exactly the kind of thing that goes with growing a blog– connecting with other bloggers and actual people. Responding to comments, visiting other blogs, responding to people who share things. Linking to this on FB!


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for following me back here! ๐Ÿ™‚


  • tom martin

    Great Post Ramsay

    Name’s Tom – long time – first time

    My advice is – suck it up.

    It’s tough, and you’re tired but no one cares except you and it’s you that’s going to have to just do the work.

    I have a full time job, a 3 hour roundtrip, a two year old son and a relatively new blog. I really felt like giving up so many times but after 6 months i’ve finally been given a thumbs up by google and my rankings are climbing fast along with traffic.

    No ones going to give you extra time so you need to sacrifice your own time (not your family time – IMPORTANT) and it will pay off.


    1. Ramsay

      THREE HOUR round trip. Far out.


  • Darren Rowse

    It is a great question and one I get a lot too. I’ve also grappled with it on a personal level with 3 young kids in the house (where I also work) and me attempting to play a fairly active role in their day to day lives while my wife works part time and also blogs herself.

    For us it really comes down to:

    – knowing your goals (both personal goals for your family and professional ones for your blog/business)
    – setting boundaries in place to allow those goals to have a chance (putting time aside for the things that need to happen – both personally and professionally)
    – communicating those boundaries effectively to those around you (bringing family along for the ride and having them involved as much as possible is important. While young kids might not fully get your goals I find that they do understand boundaries, increasingly as they grow older).
    – using your time effectively and being disciplined to maximise how much you can get done (this means really focusing upon the important things for your business and trying to avoid the distractions). Again this is partly about setting boundaries in place around the key things you need to do to get success from your blog).

    That all sounds incredibly simple but it’s a daily balancing act!


    1. Ramsay

      Great advice Darren! Thanks so much for sharing. I really appreciate it.

      I really can’t imagine doing it. The boundaries are so important even without kids – I find that I get lumped with a lot of extra home jobs just because I’m there. Even if I’m working.

      Gonna share this around.


    2. Katie @ The Perfect Brownie

      About having the kids involved:

      I was surprised at how excited my kid got when she saw the photos of “Mommy’s brownies” on the computer. As young as she is, she seemed to get it!

      Now she rates my brownies and points out her favorite photos. It’s a great reward that I really wasn’t expecting.

      Love your blog by the way! ๐Ÿ™‚


  • John Gates

    Great advice, as always. A thing that I do is to use Klout and Buffer. Whenever you publish a post, push out a quick tweet or Facebook post to redirect the reader to your site, and also punch out a couple of Klout tweets. Make sure that they are topical, and you will get lots of appreciative comments and more followers. Only takes a few minutes a day, but I do it often so that my social media pages are churning, even when I’m not personally posting there. As always, it’s a slow process, but if you are not spending too much time there, it should be time well spent.


    1. Ramsay

      Thanks for sharing, John. Appreciate it.


    2. Katie @ The Perfect Brownie

      When I publish a new post I knock out FB, Twitter, and Pinterest immediately, then tweet it again occasionally during the week. I also run “Revive Old Post” plugin that tweets an old post once a day.

      At first I was so frustrated by the lack of interest on FB, but Twitter does bring me a tiny stream of traffic each day, and more importantly I’ve connected with some nice bloggers who are active on Twitter.


  • Tom

    I tend to do any blog work after the chimp is in bed, or even whilst at work *cough*.
    I have another chimp on the way, so it might get a bit more complicated in the near future. How do blogs cope with Word documents being pasted into them? I think I might start bashing the content out in Word and then copy it across. I use a self-hosted WP blog, so I imagine it should be fine, with a couple of format tweaks here and there.

    Maybe everyone already does this and it’s me that doesn’t? Can you tell I’m new to this? ๐Ÿ˜‰


    1. Ramsay

      I’ve never tried the Word thing. I’m an Open Office man.


  • Susaye

    This is something I am really struggling with. I just had my first child and she is demanding. I can barely find time to write but I am trekking on. Keep up the good work.


    1. Ramsay

      Congratulations! I’m sure you’re going to smash it!


  • Craig Makepeace

    “It will take you longer than single people who can focus 110%, 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 5 years. Butโ€ฆ the time will pass anywayโ€ฆ so, you may as well build something”

    Great point by your friend. And very relevant for me ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Ramsay

      Yep. Hey did you ever make it down here?


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