Momma Told Me: From Here To There: Lessons Learned In 6 Years of Blogging #BeginningOfME

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From Here To There: Lessons Learned In 6 Years of Blogging #BeginningOfME

This post was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal domains that end in .ME. As a company, they aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The true secret to being a sucessful blogger is.....#BegginingofME #AD
Momma Told Me: You've come a long way, baby.

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.
And, whether you intend to blog for profit, or fame, or simply to share with family across the country the progress of your growing family- it's the authenticity of your voice that truly sells your content. SEO, fancy photos, interactive widgets- they're all just tools to help market your voice to those who would naturally be drawn to it, but may not have otherwise had the tools to discover it.

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 writing my blog because I was lonely, lacking a challenge, and desperately wanted to be heard. For months I'd read others and found insight in their stories, recipes and general life anecdotes. I was fascinated by the sea of characters I'd come to know and love, characters as real in life as myself.

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.
Naturally, that's how Momma Told Me began- but that's not what Momma Told Me is today.

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.
At it's core, blogging is about growing with your audience, and giving them a bit of you that is real enough to bring your online character to life. While my very first post, to this day, has only 79 views, I have content with over 200k, and some social media with half a million shares. And yet, I still write an organic post here and there that only seems to reach a few hundred, or a thousand.

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.
Of course, I'm not saying the tens, or hundreds, of thousands of views on my recipe, hacks, or craft posts are any less important. I value each and every person who takes even a few moments of their busy day to see what I've created, or weigh in on my opinions. In an ideal would would my PINs for content I spend countless hours generating, hard earned money on supplies for, and painstaking time crammed in my little photo nook shooting be seen by every possible person who would find it of interest or use? Of course! But at the end of the day my blog is my voice, and I have a life outside my blog (gasp!) so it's all of the people who discover me, and keep returning, because they love the pieces of me I share, that really make blogging successful.
Domain.ME #BegginingofME #AD
Of course, as excited as I was to register my blog as a domain, those 6 years back, defining your voice by registering a domain is nothing to balk it. It is a big deal. If you are going to stress over a technical aspect of your blog, it should be the physical address people use to view it. After all, it's the first 'face' they put to you, right?

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.
http://dot.me/BeginningOfME

8 comments:

  1. You have quite an inspiring story! I'm glad you were able to stay true to who you are. Personal branding really gives you ownership of your blog, that's for sure!

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  2. This is a great story! I've been blogging since 2007 and my personal branding has evolved over the years but I have always tried to stay true to myself. My blog is called What's That Smell? but the .com was not available so I had to improvise. whatsthatsmell.me would surely be memorable LOL

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  3. I loved reading your story and seeing how you have grown over the years. Not losing sight and selling out is what makes you super cool!

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  4. Thanks for sharing your story! I love reading about everyone's personal journey. Staying true to yourself is so important. It's funny what gets the most hits on our blogs sometimes!

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  5. Blogging is quite the journey, isn't it? I love your story- so inspirational! I love your blog and how well you have branded yourself and your posts are incredibly creative and unique. I have been blogging since 2007 (This December is officially 9 years!) and I have been ever changing and evolving especially when it came to branding!

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  6. Hey I really like that mommatold.me :)
    I like your blogging journey story, it's much like most of us that start without a real sense of direction. But one thing is true, we must stay true to ourselves- our brand.

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  7. I have been blogging since 2009. There is definitely a learning curve over the years! I enjoy reading your blog, you are very creative!

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  8. My favorite blogger and so sweet of you to give me a shout out. Wasn't this fun to write? But also so hard to edit yourself?

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