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.
I recently celebrated the sixth anniversary of my personal blog. When I started it was as a joke. I was even anonymous for about six months. I was shy about writing and wanted that buffer. I most certainly didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know SEO or personal branding from a hole in the ground.
When I started to get serious about blogging I read everything I could get my hands on: technical blogs, business blogs, even actual paper books. I know!
I thing the most difficult thing about starting a blog is that branding. You have to come up with it first when you really know absolutely nothing. It’s hard to change once you get going, and it can really limit you. I never would have picked the word “mom” if I were starting out now. I’m so much more than a mom, and my kids are almost grown anyway. I still get offers to write about kid products, but I never get hired for those since I don’t have any cute babies to take pictures of. My sixteen-year-old daughter has flat out refused to even try on the diapers!
I am transitioning to using my name as my branding. It’s reflected in my header and on all my social media accounts, where I’m Anne J Parris. I’d be Anne Parris, but SOMEONE has the Twitter profile despite never using it. #NotBitter
One of my first posts was How to Parent Like a Bond Villain. I’m cringing re-reading it now. It took me forever to photoshop a picture, and I’m only mostly sure the other picture I used was in the public domain.
If I were starting a blog now, here’s what I would recommend.
- Use WordPress.com. Don’t bother building your blog on other platforms. WordPress is easy to use and gives you so much utility. In my opinion, other platforms have limitations or aren’t user friendly.
- Learn from experts. So much excellent information is out there for free on great blogs. My favorite is ProBlogger.com by Darren Rouse. He’s at the top of the heap still after all these years, and is also just a great guy.
- Invest in courses and conferences. Don’t go crazy here. Budget for these and start small. The best conferences if you are new are usually anything small or regional. Get your feet wet first with not too much of an investment. If there’s an event close to you, so much the better not to spend a lot on the cost of travel and a hotel.
- Focus on multiple streams of income. There are so many ways to make money blogging. Selling products, courses, printables, services, freelance writing, sponsored posts, and affiliate marketing are just a few. Sponsored posts and ambassadorships are great, but find ways to make money where you work once and get paid over and over.
- Pick branding that doesn’t limit you and meets your long-term goals. I recommend avoiding anything too cutesy, too general, and conversely too specific. Are you going to want to write about nothing but cookies forever? Do you want to build a site and sell it? Are you using your blog as a platform for a future job with a company? Consider all these things as you plan out your personal brand. Check out a ton of great branding advice on Domain.ME. They are such a great resource whether you are an expert or just starting out.
I’ve enjoyed working with Domain.ME for the last few years, and recommend checking them out for a .ME domain name to make the most of your digital persona. I’m jealous of my friend Lisa Frame, who’s name is perfect for a LisaFra.ME site. How fun is that? Using a .ME gives you the opportunity to have a short and memorable domain name with a personal feel to it.
Big sites like Dispicable.ME and ti.ME magazine have thought of clever ways to incorporate the ME into their URLs. I’ve certainly spent some time trying to think up something smart like that, but I’ve settled on using my name for the in-development AnneJParris.ME that will be a hub site that will link to my multiple websites and act as a digital resume for me, and a way to manage my online reputation.
See if .ME is a good fit for you by clicking here: http://dot.me/BeginningOfME. CLICK IT or the logo below for more info!