6 Dos and Don’ts for Busy Parents Who Blog

by Suzannah Windsor Freeman

Mother and son hugging

For parents—especially for full-time moms—blogging can be a a lifesaver.

It’s a way of communicating with the adult world when we’re surrounded all day by children. For some, it may be the only form of intellectual stimulation we get during the course of a week.

However, blogging can also be a big commitment if you aim to do it for more than just an emotional outlet.

If you’re a busy mom or dad who blogs, or you’re considering starting one, consider the following six dos and don’ts:

1. DO define your reasons for blogging.

Starting a blog just because you can won’t get you far. Think of how many millions of blogs there are out there—many of them abandoned after just a few posts once the novelty of blogging has worn off.

Why do you want to blog? Is it to promote yourself and your writing through social media? Are you looking to learn more about a specific topic and share your new knowledge with others, or keep up your professional skills by writing about your area of expertise?

If you can’t think of a good reason beyond creating an online diary, why not try something other than blogging? How about joining a support group or a moms-and-tots club, where you can meet other like-minded parents and get a little adult interaction? These options may require less time commitment and effort than blogging.

2. DON’T get yourself in over your head.

Maybe you start out posting twice a week. Soon, you think you’ll get more subscribers by posting three times a week. After you get a couple hundred followers, maybe you decide to start a newsletter. Soon you’re accepting articles from guest posters, doing book reviews, collaborating with other bloggers…and becoming a whole lot busier than you were to begin with.

Take on only the amount of responsibility you can safely commit to. It’s far better to have a blog you can easily take care of than one that eventually leads you to crash and burn.

3. DO focus on quality over quantity.

There’s no need to write long posts all the time. With so many blogs to choose from out there, shorter is often better. Likewise, posting one or two great articles per week is better than posting average ones every day.

Focus on quality. Fill your blog with short-but-powerful articles, and you’ll soon develop a loyal following.

4. DON’T be a no-show blogger.

Commit yourself to a reasonably regular blogging schedule. If you can only manage one post per week, that’s fine as long as you consistently post once per week.

When people subscribe to your articles, they want some sort of predictability. If you post twice a week for a month, and then go missing for a month, your readers may think you’ve given up on your blog and unsubscribe.

5. DO guest post to grow your subscriber list with less effort.

There are many different strategies for growing your subscriber list. Writing great content is the first step, and social media like Twitter and Facebook can help boost your numbers, too.

But one of the best strategies for growing your blog’s audience is guest posting for other blogs. In my first month of blogging, when I had just 23 subscribers to Write It Sideways, I wrote a guest post for Write to Done.

That one guest post more than doubled my subscribers over just a few days, and put me in contact with a published writer who then asked me to guest post on his site, as well. It wasn’t long before that handful of subscribers became hundreds.

For a busy parent, writing just a few guest posts can take your blog further, more quickly, than writing your heart out in your own little corner.

6. DON’T give up during the busiest times.

Life happens, and we all have moments when we’re completely snowed under. During those times, it can be tempting to say, “Right, I’m done with this blogging stuff!”

As a busy mom, myself, one key I’ve found to not giving up is to plan ahead for those times. I always have a long list of article ideas ready and waiting for days I feel uninspired, I ask for guest posts from other bloggers to help with the workload, and I try not to leave writing articles to the last minute, either.

You know you’re going to experience overload at some point, so have an action plan ahead of time to prevent going into give-up mode.

Are you a blogger who has young children to care for? How do you approach blogging so you reap its benefits without overcommitting yourself?

  • http://serbaughman.wordpress.com/ Sarah Baughman

    Ack! Guilty as charged. I really fell off the wagon with blogging this holiday season, and felt off-balance as a result. I like your suggestion about preparing in advance so it’s not as easy to give up and not blog. The regular posting schedule is also a great idea. Maybe if I put “blog post” on my calendar, I’d be less likely to neglect my blog even during hectic times. Thanks for a great post!

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      I know, Sarah, it’s so difficult to keep up with a blog during the holidays. I was very fortunate this year to have enough guest articles to cover the season, but I remember in years’ past cutting back a little bit. I think that’s okay during the holidays when people are reading blogs less, as long as your readers know you’ll be back in full swing once the holidays are over. Good luck getting back into your regular routine!

  • http://www.healnowandforever.net Jodi Aman

    Very helpful. What about parents of little ones, who blog, work full time and are writing a book? Huh? Just say “don’t.”

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      Jodi, I’m glad you found these points helpful. I probably feel a bit like you in that I’m caring for my little ones, writing a book, and blogging all at once, although I’m not working full-time. Still, some days I feel like it! It’s important to rest, though, so I’m off to get some much-needed pregnancy Zsss!

  • http://www.travelswithcharliebrowne.blogspot.com Lillian Browne

    As a mom of three, I “dual purpose” blog. I set aside time during the week (Monday mornings at 6 AM) to blog. I have a running list of ideas, so if I am running short on time, I can just go to this list for something that is already “started”. The blog is a way to chronicle my travels and also serves as a spring-board for travel articles and reviews.

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      Great system you’ve got going, Lillian! Thanks for sharing your routine.

  • http://granbee.wordpress.com Rose Byrd

    This is such a great article, I am passing it on in muliple ways. Even though I have no little ones still at home, I think this is good advice for me, also. Blogging to connect and grow along with other writers is critical for me, especially living in such a conservative small Southern town. However, blogging by the guidelines you give us here certainly makes imminently good sense!

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      Glad this hit the spot, Rose, and thank you for passing it along!

      • hamid

        thank you for all
        i love you

  • http://eawestwriting.blogspot.com Elizabeth Ann West

    There is a great blogging goal group called A Round of Words in 80 Days. Round 1 for the year just started, but you can easily jump in! We make our OWN writing goals for 80 days and check in on Sundays and Wednesdays (optional, you can check in when you can) and we share our check in blog posts with Linky Tools. That way, when someone visits your blog, they see a list of links to your other ROW 80 friends. And your blog is listed on all of the blog posts in the Linky Tool. It’s a great way to expand your reach as you are effectively “guest posting” every week!

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      Sounds like a great idea! It’s wonderful to hear of ways bloggers are helping one another to expand their readerships!

  • http://2kop.blogspot.com Susan @ 2KoP

    Having a “hook” or theme for your blog can also really help. My blog, Two Kinds of People always begins with “There are two kinds of people in the world …” Honestly, just writing those introductory words brings up plenty of ideas, not to mention all the suggestions I get from friends and readers. I also really love the schedule feature, which allows me to post ahead when I’m inspired to write more than one post.

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      Having a hook is a great idea! I love being able to pre-schedule posts, too, especially for things like having babies :) Thanks for sharing, Susan.

  • http://www.gaylenewrites.blogspot.com gaylene

    Great article. I agree with all of them. Maybe I’ll try doing a guest post somewhere — I’ve never really thought about it. I’m not sure what I’d say on someone else’s blog, though…

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      If you want to guest post somewhere, try choosing a blog that covers similar topics to your own. When I guest post for other people, it’s almost always about writing, parenthood, or education (because I’m a trained teacher). Good luck!

  • http://shambolicliving.wordpress.com/ Janine Fitzpatrick

    Great advice. I’m still a bit too shy to offer myself for guest posting but will work up to it. I am worried about “blogger burn-out” and I’m going to take your advice to have some posts prepared ready to publish on days when I’m too busy, too tired, or too brain-dead to think of anything decent. Thanks for the tips.

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      Forget your shyness, Janine! Like I said, I only had 23 subscribers when I first guest posted for a blog that (at that point) had about 10,000 subscribers, and now has over 30,000! Write some great content, and get yourself out there :)

  • http://carldagostino.wprdpress.com Carl D’Agostino

    I have always wondered about the nature of a person that does a daily diary blog. I mean, like who cares and what value is there in following such a blog? Join me in worshiping my kids or my pet blogs make me gaga too. One thing that is very important is reciprocity with your subscribers by commenting on their blog. Soon it does not become obligatory because interesting people flock together in their little network and we are genuinely interested in what their next post will be. I have blogged for a year and a half now and have met so many delightful and talented people from all over the world. I wish we could have a week long convention to meet each other in person and just chit chat the hours away.

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      I think diary blogs are great for the bloggers and not great for the readers. Although a select few have made it work and really have a good following, the majority do it just for themselves. Thanks!

  • http://www.touchinglives4good.blogspot.com Irene O.

    These are very useful tips. Thanks for sharing them. When I started blogging 3 months ago, I was told I would need to be consistent and committed to stay on course. I have found this to be true especially during the weeks I had to be away in the hospital. I am also shy about guest posting but I’ll look out for opportunities to do so.

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      Guest posting is simple and effective once you get the hang of it! Don’t be shy :)

  • http://www.sandramadeira.com Sandra Madeira

    Great post as always Suzanne – working full-time I struggle to write posts in advance as I have one daily blog, two weekly and I also prepare one Technorati article a month. Having said that, I have prepared one blog post for this weekend which is going to put less pressure on me and that’s a good feeling (so I must keep that up).
    Thank you for all the tips in the article which has inspired me to write today’s post in My Writing Notebook.

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      You’re welcome, Sandra! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your blogging routine with us :)

  • Pingback: Note 255 – Writing commitments as a busy parent « My writing challenge()

  • http://www.ileandrayoung.com Ileandra Young

    I’m well into my second year of blogging now but I have twins on the way, ready to hit my life in May.
    I hope that I will be able to keep blogging the way I do right now, though part of me is already beginning to feel that I’ll at least need to reduce my schedule from three days a week to two.
    I’ve no idea what’s going to happen yet, its all a bit scary; but knowing that people DO still manage it makes me feel a whole lot better. :)

    • http://writeitsideways.com Suzannah

      Ileandra, not sure if you know that I’m expecting twins, too, in March! Congratulations to you, and here’s to hoping we can both keep it all together once they arrive :)

  • http://communicatecreativity.com/ Rebecca Burgener

    This post is perfect timing for me! I have four kids this side of Heaven ages six down to six months, and we’re a homeschooling family. I relaunched my blog last August after some wishy-washy turbulence that included deleting all my previous posts! However things quickly fell by the wayside once again, but I am determined to make it work this time starting in February.

    We’ll see how it goes. I am forever tweaking my schedule to manage in that precious writing time. I will keep your thoughts in mind.

Previous post:

Next post: