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What My Wife Has Taught Me About Blogging After Just 3 Months

Next week marks the 3 month anniversary of Vanessa (my wife) starting her first blog at Style and Shenanigans.

It’s been a fascinating process to watch her plan, launch and grow her blog.

Some might imagine that being married to ‘the ProBlogger’ means she’s constantly being told what to do and being given secret tips and advice – however I’ve been remarkably restrained in my involvement and very impressed by what she’s intuitively built already.

While she’s not got a huge readership – it continues to grow and it has already opened up some pretty cool opportunities for her.

In fact having watched her over these last 3 months I have been somewhat inspired and learned a lot and in this post want to share some of the things I think she’s done well that have helped her to grow her blog’s traffic and profile already.

My hope is that in doing so it’ll help others at the beginning of their blogging journey to get their blogs rolling.

1. Focus Upon Community Management

Perhaps the #1 thing that I’ve been impressed with so far is Vanessa’s commitment to engaging with her readership.

This has shone through in a number of ways including:

  • writing in an engaging style – most of her posts end with a question that invites comment
  • every comment on the blog is responded to
  • every comment on her Facebook Page is responded to
  • every incoming Tweet to our Twitter account is responded to

This is partly just who Vanessa is (she’s very engaging and inclusive in real life) but was something that probably stretched her a little too. I remember in the early days when she would get comments from people she didn’t know for the first few times it was certainly a bizarre feeling for her to engage with them – but she’s fully into the swing of things now!

Interestingly she’s now well and truly passed the tipping point of having more ‘strangers’ reading her blog and following her on Facebook and Twitter than she has ‘real life’ friends.

2. Personal/Personality Driven Content

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 8.15.43 pmI wrote a few weeks ago about Vanessa’s first foray into including a few ‘selfies’ on the blog. These more personal ‘Everyday Style’ posts have continued and have been received well (they’ve been the most commented posts on the site). In fact her ‘Everyday Style’ series of posts have become something she’s become well known for of late.

Other experiments with a more personal style of content included a post about a dinner party we threw for a few friends and a couple of posts about a short trip we took.

And then there’s Facebook…. this for me has been one of the most fascinating parts of the journey because her blog Facebook Page has gone ‘off topic’ and into a more personal space than I would have predicted.

There are certainly the predictable updates that are links to new posts on the blog – but mixed in are plenty of slightly more personal updates. Photos from things she’s doing, questions, funny family moments, personal quick tips and random off topic humorous posts.

The result is that she’s got a page with pretty high engagement – in fact if I had the engagement she had on my pages relative to how many people were ‘liking’ my pages I’ve be over the moon!

3. Helpful Content

The other key thing that I think is going to work in Vanessa’s favour is that the bulk of her content on the blog is ‘helpful’ and solves problems for readers.

V is what Malcom Gladwell would describe a ‘Maven’. She is a gatherer of information, a watcher of trends and LOVES sharing what she finds. She’s been doing this on the topic of style in her friendship circles since before I met her and her blog is an extension of that.

The bulk of her content reflects that and is basically her curated collections of different themes of fashion and home wares.

Her typical posts feature a collection of suggested products on a colour style or brand theme and the comments I see on them are often people saying thanks for the suggestions.

Also of interest to me is that I’m starting to see readers leave messages asking for advice on particular areas based upon her posts.

4. Understanding the Audience

Her 7am post - got decent engagement.

Her 7am post – got decent engagement.

This morning Vanessa was posting an update to Facebook at 7am and I suggested that it might be a bit too early in the morning for her readers to be checking Facebook.

She responded that it was one of her best times of day and that when she posted that early she often got a lot of responses by 8am as people checked their phones over breakfast.

I had my doubts but as I ate my porridge I watched the comments come in on Facebook and the blog and realised she had her finger on the rhythms of her readership perfectly.

Also of interest is that she’s already noticed that some days of the week seem to get more comments on posts than others and that certain types of Facebook updates at certain times of the day get more interaction.

This is golden information!

5. Getting OFF her Blog

I’m always talking here on ProBlogger about how important it is to ‘get off your blog’ if you want to grow traffic and to monetise your blog.

Vanessa has intuitively started to do this without much prompting at all.

It is a challenge – she’s a busy person with 3 active boys (two home during the day), working a day a week, involved in a variety of community activities etc – but she’s going beyond just writing content and responding to comments.

This has happened in a variety of ways including:

  • when she’s mentioned brands or other sites in her posts she lets them know (this has already led to one brand suggesting that they might like to work with her and others linking up to her blog!)
  • reading and engaging on other relevant sites/Facebook pages
  • involvement in a small Facebook group for other bloggers in her niche
  • responding to opportunities that other bloggers and media have already offered her to guest post on them

By no means is it easy to get everything done (and there will always be more that you can do) but I’m always amazed at what happens when you push open doors and get active about engaging off your blog with others.

The key lesson here is to not just build a great blog and expect good things to happen to you. You need to take some initiative and get off your blog to see those good things come into being!

6. Involving Others

Screen Shot 2013-11-14 at 8.22.52 pmIt was several years after I started blogging that I even considered the possibility of other people writing content on my blogs. That’s not the case for Vanessa.

Just 3 months in she’s already had two guest posts. Both have been submitted by the one person – a good family friend – but both posts have added something to the blog that V couldn’t have written herself.

The key is that she’s found someone who writes in a similar voice and that the posts have complemented existing content on the blog (for example this post from Mandy on toys for Girls was a follow up to one V wrote on toys for boys).

7. Visuals and Creating Content for Social

CR-CollageA couple of weeks ago I shared some great image creation tools that I use to create visual content for my blogs. Vanessa is also a convert to PicMonkey and Canva and a regular feature of her posts are collages of the products that she’s talking about.

I suspect that the visual element of her blogging will only evolve in time but these simple collages have been really popular with readers and I think are a big part of the reason that her Facebook Page has had great engagement.

Visual content is gold – particularly on social!!!

Lots More to Learn

By no means am I suggesting that Vanessa has arrived or is a poster child of blogging. She has a lot more to learn (as do I). I just have loved watching her growth and development in these early months.

What did you learn about blogging in the first few months that has stuck with you ever since?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. You see, when your wife is in the same profession as you, the support seems to multiply and acts as enzymes. Very few lucky ones find themselves such partners.
    I wish I would get one for myself.

    • Temmy says:

      Exactly my thoughts. Just the thought that your spouse ‘gets it’ and in the same boat as you keeps you moving. Great tips here!

      • Femke says:

        True, it is handy if your spouse “gets” what you are doing but on the other hand:
        - you then spend 24 hours a day together! Normally you both also have a separate life because you go out to work. Trust me that is also a challenge…!
        - and as we both work on the same blog we quarrel sometimes on the way to take…

        But then, it is also great fun ;-)
        We create something together and are self supporting with it! No boss here.

        • Thats true Femke…
          You get to spend 24*7 with your wife and children. No going out separate ways to work. Here in India, 40% of the women don’t work, so being a blogger they can work at home if their husband is a blogger.

          I wrote one article on “Why you should marry a blogger” – http://anchitshethia.com/why-you-should-marry-a-blogger/

          The infographic in article was made by my colleague and depicts some awesome facts.

    • Nishant says:

      I completely agree with your thoughts. I just started blogging few months before and what i have learnt is that unique content is the king of blogging world.

  2. Thunder says:

    I just came across your website. I run a Michigan sports blog, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to help it take off. I think I’m going to start visiting here regularly. Anyway, I appreciate the content, and I definitely think your wife has some good ideas. I, too, have found that posting early in the morning has been helpful because people get on their computers/phones in the morning to find out what happened after they went to bed.

    • Mark says:

      Same here Thunder! I just came upon this website last week and have been digging in since. I also purchased the Problogger book off Amazon. The material I found here has really added fuel to my writing fire and I am currently in the building process of my own blog. I’m going to keep coming back here for sure.

  3. Charmie says:

    Hello Darren,
    The thing which fascinated me the most is that being a MOM, a wife and of-course herself how easily is she managing all those stuffs? And as you appended that she has been also doing some other activities apart from blogging and yet finding time for her readers so that they are not left behind in any ways.
    I am a student as well as a part time blogger and yell at times after getting frustrated of “Phhheeww….I am runnin outta time..” and this post has really inspired me to carry over both the things. Its just a matter of handling your “TIME” and nothing else.
    Thanks Darren for sharing this story with us.

    • Dejla says:

      lol for that. awesome stuff you got into Darren. well, I can’t say nothing wrong bout this and yes TIME is a treasure and we all know that. Thank for the inspirational topics you share to all of us. I am wishing for all the best for you, your blog, your site or whatever you call, you’re spouse must be very proud of you. thanks lot.

  4. Angelina says:

    I appreciate the content, and I definitely think your wife has some good ideas. I, too, have found that posting early in the morning has been helpful because people get on their computers/phones in the morning to find out what happened after they went to bed.
    Thanks..!!

  5. John carry says:

    your wife has some good ideas and I though wife’s are just head ache :)

  6. Rahul says:

    I see a great partnership going on between you and your life partner. We mostly hear wives getting inspired or getting some sort of help from their husbands. But you are getting inspired by your wife. This is really great to hear. Hope your partnership lasts long. Cheers.

  7. Nicole Pyles says:

    What I learned in the beginning is commenting on other blogs builds engagement! Also, from another blog I started, shorter posts often draw more attention. I can’t say that I have kept that up, but it’s definitely been two basic tips that I see give me my best success!

  8. john says:

    That was refreshing. It’s only been a month since I started my own blog site and I only have 8 posts so far. Your wife must’ve been cranking it up a notch to find time while doing all those things! I can take away a couple of the things you shared here especially the one about enganging your readers. Thanks!

  9. Shamsudeen says:

    Is a good thing she not only support you to blog but started her blog too. While I was starting up, I learn to always keep learning. The internet is ever changing.

  10. Hey Darren,

    as John said, ‘refreshing’ is the word. Very interesting to see another blog from the start from this perspective juxtaposed with yourself as a successful blogger.

    To a certain degree blogs are about personalities and we all have subtle differences in our approaches and the ‘feel’ we put out there, even if using the same tools and techniques.

    Also I’m betting as the landscape has changed so much since you started that’s a fascinating thing for you to watch too from close quarters.

    Thanks for sharing – great stuff!

  11. Anirudh says:

    Women can always judge persons, and as you said she helped you in Judging your Blog’s Audience. Nice to hear that your wife has also entered. Gonna check her blog. Good Luck Mrs.Darren! (:

  12. sarah says:

    I’ve spent 3 years to learn how to make a good blogs

  13. It’s great how we can always learn something new even from someone who is beginning their journey. Good luck with her blog!

  14. Maktuhin says:

    Is a good thing she not only support you to blog but started her blog too. While I was starting up, I learn to always keep learning. The internet is ever changing. Windows 8 Loader

  15. Amardeep says:

    Yeah, I think if the content is interesting and usefull to the crowd then only blog gets success best example is your blog :)

  16. Dixy Robin says:

    Nice blog. Thanks for sharing about your blogging experience. You have inspired me to write a blog.

  17. Best of luck to her! Nice blog and I’m sure it’ll be a great success… Will keep checking in.

  18. Mike Swan says:

    Well you are very lucky to have such a good life partner as being is ame profession too. Now your power is double in blogging arena. I will def look into the blog for further post.

    Cheers

  19. SK Yadav says:

    I really like the way she made posts with rich media content. The images included in posts made me to explore more and more posts for interesting stuff.
    Simply, Nice blog.

  20. Kalen Bruce says:

    This is a great article! I have been trying to talk my wife into starting a blog for a while now or at least posting on my blog. She is full of great information and I know she would be an amazing blogger. On another note, it’s interesting to see an experienced blogger like Darren watch someone who is fairly new to blogging (or at least to having their own blog). It shows me that we can all learn something from every other person. Thanks for the article.

  21. zimmy says:

    After a little bit of prodding, I was able to get my wife (Gypsy) to contribute content to my Money and Potatoes blog. She never thinks that her content is good enough for other to read and enjoy but I beg to differ.

    I also think that us working together on a blog has made us a little bit closer. :)

  22. Hi Darren,

    What makes your wife’s blog saling to new heights is that the content are helpful. Reading the post gives me a huge impression that she is helping her readers to gain some benefit from reading her blog.

    It gains trust, friendship and authority all at one go. Can’t go wrong with that. Very impressive i must say.

    Ha!Ha! Even i am looking forward to her new posts.

  23. Abdul Rafay says:

    You’re lucky man because you got a intelligent wife :-)

  24. Yosa andrean says:

    Very nice post thank you for your information

    http:/cahrimba.mywapblog.com

  25. Your wife’s blog is very nicely designed. I especially like her social network buttons and the typewriter font she has used. Also some very nice posts too – very personal.

  26. Chris Filter says:

    It’s true that women pays attention to details and that details are something that almost men ignored because they think it’s annoying, but you’re the actually listen to her and I think thats amazing

  27. Getting engage with the visitor is very important to improve the visibility of your blog post. I personally suggest all the blogger no matters what your blog content is about. Please answer the visitor question too gets maximum response, Also provide article according to your visitor. Share up to the point that as much as possible.

  28. Hey Darren it’s really good to get ideas from different sources specially from the one who really cares a lot and understand you more than anybody else, yes i mean it’s your wife.

    i always involve my sub-ordinates, friends those are not related to marketing and writing industry and others and it really help me a lot to get loads of ideas for not only marketing but for content and blogging.

    Actually all you need to do is to grab and understand how you can utilize the words of others to utilize them effectively in your industry as you have mentioned one example that by focusing a little more can convert your relationship stability into readership consistency.

    Sometimes i talk garbage to children just to get inspirations and getting involved your own wife will help a lot. At last it’s really great to see Darren you are happy with partner and hope this chemistry prevails in future too.

  29. I love your style and for sure it had made us interested on your post. You have a beautiful wife, I guess you too are living happily.I learned something from this blog.

  30. Bilal Memon says:

    wow man your wife is so intelligent you are lucky god bless you thanks.

  31. ccnis says:

    wow, your wife must be very intelligent
    this post is very interesting.
    a very good quality article.
    thanks for posting :)

  32. Angus Pryor says:

    Hi Darren

    what I struggled with most is coming up with fresh, relevant content that people actually want to read. I guess what I learnt was to be constantly keeping my eye out for new material.

    Regards

    Angus

  33. John Tahan says:

    Hi Darren,

    Nice work, you have a well constructed blog site and your wife well she’s way up there too, I like her blog structure. She is getting a lot of good back links, I checked her DA and PA (domain authority and page authority with a score of 38 and 27 well on her way to climb up the pagerank ladder. Keep up the good work.

  34. wahyu says:

    I hope my my wife can taught me too, in short time..

  35. How refreshing to hear what I am currently experiencing is in all-good terms, NORMAL. Thank you for the insight. Lovely blog. Would love to have feedback on mine, since I just started.

  36. BaconAnalyst says:

    Lots of good advice here! Thanks for sharing! The hardest part to follow for me is getting off of my blog. I don’t really give Facebook the attention that it deserves!

  37. kartik says:

    That was refreshing. It’s only been a month since I started my own blog site and I only have 8 posts so far. Your wife must’ve been cranking it up a notch to find time while doing all those things! I can take away a couple of the things you shared here especially the one about enganging your readers. Thanks!

  38. adhinatalia says:

    Hi Darren,
    This post is very generous and helpful.. I get many lessons in just one article. And I’m bookmarking this page right now.
    May I ask you a question? Is guest-post still good to do as I read bout it’s getting more spammy than it should be nowadays.. and the value of it been decrease every day? Just want to know your opinion on this… Thanks for sharing and answering..

  39. karan says:

    your wife seems to be very smart in the field of blogging and surely she has some good ideas, specially i like the point of “helpful content and solving readers problem” i think this should be our motto while posting an article.

  40. Nice blog. Thanks for sharing about your blogging experience. This is my site – http://www.dedefilm.net

  41. AquilaRO says:

    Well, you are very lucky because you have a double power,,,,

  42. soffiaherrla says:

    Hey Man you are lucky guy Because your wife is very intelligent , I think your wife already working on blogger after that She is make the good booger you

  43. rama says:

    heii daren it’s very intersted for me. congrats and keep moving forward :)

  44. What your wife taught and you explained was right… I really appreciate this blogging way.

  45. Rai Suartama says:

    Hi Darren,
    First, I would like to thank you for sharing your wife blogging experiences. This article motivates me so much as a new blogger, in the future I want to become a full time blogger just like you did. I am now managing 5 blogs with average traffic, hopefully with new tips from this article I can increase traffic for my blogs.
    Thanks again.

  46. Hey, Its really nice post and its a good post about the blogging. You have shared the good blogging experience of your wife. And your wife taught you to be a good blogger. Its really a good way of creating blog and give benefits to the viewers or readers of the blog. I really want to thank you for the post and I would like to thank specially for your wife.
    Thank You.

  47. WindySeo says:

    This are really good points to be considered for improving blog. I regularly do bloggin. and this will help me a lot. Thanks for sharing.

  48. Fahad Zahid says:

    Great post; understanding your audience is one of the most important aspect to promote your website skill fully among your loyal audience.

  49. Andrew Nadar says:

    Hello Darren,
    The thing which fascinated me the most is that being a MOM, a wife and of-course herself how easily is she managing all those stuffs? And as you appended that she has been also doing some other activities apart from blogging and yet finding time for her readers so that they are not left behind in any ways.
    I am a student as well as a part time blogger and yell at times after getting frustrated of “Phhheeww….I am runnin outta time..” and this post has really inspired me to carry over both the things. Its just a matter of handling your “TIME” and nothing else.
    Thanks Darren for sharing this story with us.

  50. Having a partner in same profession can increase the spending time with each other and also helps being productive. You both are your own bosses. I feel really jealous when couples work on a same thing. I want my wife to be with me and support me in all the stances of life.
    Really loved your article.