Hello hello helo! I hope this post finds you all doing AWESOME! For me…I have been so very busy getting this house ready to put on the market, taking care of my kids, seeing clients, writing this blog….
Ahhhhh the blog! My little baby here. Actually, the blog is exactly what I want to talk about today. Today…I want to share with you all why I blog, and exactly what it takes to run this blog. Why? Well, because I have recently had a couple conversations with readers that have reminded me that unless you blog, you have no idea what goes into one. And I’d love for you all to understand why I do this and what it takes, and then in a couple days I am going to share with you how you can share all the content I provide here and how you may not share it, and why.
Why I Blog
I started this blog almost 1.5 years ago because I wanted to help parents understand speech and language development and what was normal (and not). I wanted a place to share tips and information for both parents and professionals and my fellow SLPs. And I wanted to be able to share this information and help people, at no cost to them. (Unlike a book, which people would need to buy).
My idea for the blog came YEARS ago….the parents of the children I was working with always wanted more ways to help their child, and I didn’t always have the time I wanted to sit down with them to go over it. I wanted a place I could send parents that had the information I wanted them to have, so they could read it at their leisure. But I was working 50 hrs a week in the schools and then I got pregnant with my daughter and went back part time…I still didn’t feel I had the time or energy to start it up.
Then a friend of mine started a cloth diapering blog (Dirty Diaper Laundry) and I watched her turn it into a very successful site…and business. Some friends along with my husband encouraged me to finally get started and since I was staying home full time then, I had the time to devote!
I had no idea then just how much time it would take, however.
What Does it Take? Time, Time and more Time
Like I said earlier…unless you are a blogger, you probably have no idea what goes into a blog. Especially a blog like mine that is primarily informational. It takes a lot of time.
Some of my posts take me over 8 hours to write. 8 hours. Others take me 4 hrs. Most take a minimum of 2-3 hours.
But blogging isn’t just about writing posts. It is also about….
- research, research, research (and more research)
- planning, planning, planning
- research and understanding of basic copyright laws
- editing content
- taking pictures (when I do reviews or posts on activities)
- editing photos
- uploading photos (yup…takes time)
- creating “pinnable” images
- responding to comments
- blog design
- SEO (know what that is??)
- networking with other bloggers
- Attending conferences (yup…I’ve been to both SLP conferences and blogging conferences this year!)
- sharing on social networking sites (i.e. time on Facebook and Pinterest for me)
- Statistical analysis (seriously…no joke)
Not to mention the many, many, MANY emails I get daily from all over the world.
And I do make every effort to respond to each and every email, though sometimes I get backed up and it takes me a week or two.
On top of all that, there is a lot of technical stuff that goes into blogging. For one, I pay out of my pocket to have this blog hosted. I also pay for other technological things like extra spam control and back ups. I could not justify paying someone else to design the blog so…I taught myself how to do it all. I would go on other blogs and I would see how they had something set up..and I’d have to go research to see how to do it. All the pretty images on the side that link you to topics? I made them all on my own in Photoshop Elements (another program I taught myself) and then coded them to link to the right place. The banner image? Made that too (I bought the clip art on Etsy and bought commercial rights to the font). The organization of my menus? I did all that….trying to make this site as user friendly and as easy to navigate as possible…and it is still not perfect! The organization of all the categories probably took me a good 20 hrs of work over several weeks when I did my last redesign. I had to learn all about plug-ins and which ones I needed. I had to learn how to get my blog out there so people could find it..which meant in the beginning especially I spent hours and hours networking, commenting on other blogs, emailing other bloggers, participating in link-ups and such…I did all of this on my own…just me and Google. It was (and is) a lot of work!
Time, time and more time.
Time is Money
I am currently a mostly stay-at-home-mama. I work privately with a couple clients and do my blog and spend the rest of the time with my family. We made the decision for me to resign from the schools when my daughter became ill and suddenly needed procedures, physical therapy, occupational therapy, endless doctors appts and blood work. I needed to have a flexible schedule. Not to mention that I always wanted to stay home when my kids were little. But my goodness, it is not easy to live on one income where I live!
I have a day where my kids spend the day with their grandparents and cousins so I can get some work done and see clients. I blog when they are happily playing independently (like right this second). I used to blog after the kids go to bed but now I try not to do this and try to spend time with my husband. I used to blog during nap time, but both my kids gave up naps! I sneak in blogging time on weekends when my husband is home but also try to keep that time for family. It is a hard balance somedays.
But let’s face it: Time is money.
I could not justify the immense amount of time this blog needs without having some kind of compensation. Which is why there are ads on my blog, and why I will sometimes link to Amazon (I am an Amazon Associate…I make a small amount of $$ when you click on an amazon link and then end up purchasing something from Amazon, at no additional cost to you). It took about a year of basically working for free before I saw any decent income come in. But, when you all visit this blog, I do make a small income while you all get to benefit from my material at no cost to you at all. This small income helps to put food on the table, pay my daughter’s medical bills, and helps feed my Starbucks addiction 😉 And believe me, I would make a WHOLE LOT MORE money seeing clients directly than what I make from this blog…but I do have an income from here and it helps my family while allowing me to mostly be home with them.
Basically…I don’t provide my speech therapy services for free, so I’m not going to provide all this information without some kind of compensation.
Why am I Telling You All This?
I am telling you all this because for one, I think most people really have no idea what goes into blogging. It is a lot more work that I ever anticipated, especially the first year. The other reason I am telling you, is so you can better understand some of the things I am going to be going over in my post where I explain exactly how you can use and share the information I provide here, and why. Lately I have been getting many requests from SLPs, EI providers, other bloggers, magazines, etc wanting to use a post I have written for a newsletter, magazine, and other publications. How awesome is it that people actually like my stuff and want to use it and share it!
It is so awesome.
Believe me, it is awesome. And I want you to share! The right way. So please check in next week for my post on how you can use and share my content (and how you can’t) and why!
In summary…I blog because it is my passion to educate others about speech and language development and I want people to have a FREE resource they can turn to for all sorts of information on the subject. I want to help parents, SLPs, OTs, PTs, SPED teachers, Regular Ed teachers, EI providers, preschool teachers, pediatricians, and all those who work with children understand speech and language development, and how to help those children who struggle. That’s about it!
Happy Thursday! The weekend is almost here!!!