I call myself the anti-blogger.
It sounds much more rebellious than it is- honestly, it's a lot less anarchy and angst, as it is a lack of concern for 'best practices' and consumer preferences. Yes, consumer. Because I am the publisher and you are consuming my content, whether it's of the most mundane incidental topics, or intended to help get you to buy a brand of butter used in my latest recipe. Even in the absence of physical advertising, I am selling myself to you, the reader, asking for your time viewing my content in exchange for my time creating it. And, let's face it, there are MILLIONS of competing 'advertisers' out there.
But that, my friends, is where I couldn't care less- I don't care whether I have 20 subscribers, or 20 million. Sure my sponsors do- but if I never got another sponsored opportunity to blog again, that would be fine with me. Just as long as my personal branding always remains genuine and in tact.
With this in mind- let's step back in time for a brief moment.
On Monday, June 21, 2010 I sat down at my laptop with a kitten curled on my chest and a cup of coffee on my desk. I'd been married 8 months. A previously full time (3 jobs full time) working independent woman who'd been asked to leave her job and stay home in anticipation of the family she would never start. (But that is another story, a story strewn across the pages of this blog.)
I began in 2010 as a review blog- yet another place in the Blogosphere dedicated to someone spouting their opinions and insight on a myriad of items they may or may not have ordinarily used, except for the fact it arrived on their doorstep. And in less than a month I registered my blog as a website, a domain, a 'dot com'.
At the time, paying my hosting fees and setting up a web address seemed like all I needed to do to feel 'legit'. I was proud of my accomplishment, which had taken a whopping 8 minutes, and felt I was just as entitled as any other to run my mouth on the most mundane of topics with really no expertise or qualifications. www.mommatoldmeblog.com- it was concise, it was to the point- this was a web address for a blog called Momma Told Me. Looking back, I wish I'd known to really focus on that instant, that moment, of defining my voice. A personal domain could have truly helped me stand out as the individual I was, and am.
Where I started out as a bored housewife, in a failing marriage, with a point and shoot camera and a growing propensity for Crazy Cat Lady like behavior, my little space on the internet not only grew with skills and knowledge, but with me. When my marriage ended I re-focused my energy on myself, and who I was. I slowly stopped writing reviews and hosting giveaways, and soon began focusing on how I could share the parts of me that added value to my voice. (Want to learn a little more about me? Check out this post!)
My fellow bloggers would tell me how they'd taken this class, or invested in this new camera, and how it had elevated their content. I'd politely nod and listen, then return to my-point and shoot.
In fact, while my photography has come so very far in 6 years, and could without argument benefit from professional education or equipment, I still, to this day, only shoot in natural light, with the same camera I've had going on 4 years now. Surely the first photos I took with that camera have come a long way to the photos I share on my site today- I have grown tremendously without buying in tot his or that. Why? Because I have always felt honing my voice, and sharing in my vision, and my style, is far more important that creating styled photos that look like a 5 million subscriber model-blogger.
Do I spend time worrying about those posts? No- the people who click through on the less frilly, more raw, otherwise offering nothing but an opinion or story, content, those are my people. They're the people I really blog for. Those are the people who saw my last name change, Truffles the cat turn into #TrufflesTheTuxie, and the first photos when we brought Nora home.
That's why my second biggest tip is to give your voice the most memorable, and accurate, depiction of yourself as you possibly can. Domain.ME is a premium domain provider that helps, really anyone, do that. Whether you're a small business just starting out or an aspiring blogger with a big voice and a passion to share. .ME's receive all the same benefits as a .COM and are in no way penalized by SEO, so you can add a little flair to your place on the web and really stand out with personal branding.
In fact, I've been thinking of a few domains I might try to register with Domain.ME that might really sum up who I am and what Momma Told Me is all about- For example, how awesome would it be to log onto MommaTold.ME to check out my daily adventures? If you had a personal domain ending in .ME, what would it be, and how would it sum you and your online presence up? Why not head on over to Domain.ME and see if it's available? The internet can seem like a crowded place- but as long as you stay true to your voice with originality, and candor, you'll find your audience!
What Daughter Says: Don't lose sight of yourself- stay true to your voice and you'll always find true success.