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    Tips for Better Instagram Photos + A Cohesive Feed | #THEMOMBLOGCOLLECTIVE Week 3

    Hey guys! Back again for our THIRD installment in #themomblogcollective series! Today is one of my faves! We are chatting about Instagram photography and achieving that cohesive look to your feed! This is something I am always playing with and working on and I love hearing how other people take, edit and plan their photos! So let’s get right into the questions.

    Share a little about your Instagram feed and style. What look do you go for and why?

    I don’t even know how to describe my feed! It’s something I’m always working on and tweaking sightly. I know what I WANT it to be, but it doesn’t always (or ever) come out that way for very long. This is a classic example of being our own worst critic. I’ve reached out to someone in the past to ask them for editing tips/how they got their feed so smooth – and they were like “WHO ME? I hate my feed! I love yours!” and we had a good laugh!

    I do like to go for bright, clean images. I like to keep the same colour scheme in my feed which right now is bright white, grey, soft pinks, greenery, and some brown/beige. I like to keep most of my photos white but honestly doing that for every photo is completely exhausting to me and I find it stifles my creativity. I never want to love a photo so much and want to share it, but hold it back because it doesn’t “match” so I try not to get too themey with it. I do the same editing on every photo so thats how I try to achieve a themed look. Some of my fave feeds include lots of colour and different styles of photos but the same editing throughout and I LOVE how that looks. (here are some examples – Ginger, Kaley, & Chrissy). I love how their feeds still have a look and a theme, but they aren’t afraid of lots of colour or grassy photos and I feel like you get a genuine look at their lives – not just plain white wall after plain white wall.

    How do you create a cohesive feed on Instagram?

    Step one in a cohesive feed is taking the RIGHT photos. I recommend taking photos in natural lighting only. A natural light photo will never look cohesive next to a photo you took at night with the light on.

    Next is choosing a filter. As I mentioned above, using the same filter(s) on every photo is the best thing you can do! Some people switch between two or three similar filters, I just use one (more on that later). I love using the Copy/Paste Edits function in VSCO. If you have a photo of yours that you love the edit on, you can copy those edits, apply them to another photo and then just make small tweaks from there to fix exposure, warmth, etc.

    As nice as it is to have a filter to slap on and call it a day, I recommend finding something that sets you apart a bit. A small, unique edit that is yours. There are only so many filters out there and a lot of the same ones come up a lot so find something to make your audience KNOW without reading the name that they are looking at one of your photos. Maybe you really cool things down, mix 2 filters, apply a slight pink tone, up the fade a lot for a lower contrast look, anything to make it your own.

    Last thing. Feed planning apps like Snug, UNUM or Planoly are so helpful for achieving a cohesive feed and being able to see how it all looks together before you post.

    What do you use to take your photos and how do you typically edit them?

    I take all of my photos with my iphone 6s. I have a DSLR but honestly hate carrying it around and like the convenience and organic (messy/grainy) look of iphone photos when it comes to Instagram.

    For editing I use a mix of apps. My faves being VSCO, Snapseed and Facetune.

    I always start in VSCO and throw a filter on it. I’d say 90% of the time I use A6, but have done S2 or HB2 on some photos if I was feeling it. Sometimes, the stars align and the photo looks great just like that. I save it and upload it and I’m done. Most of the time it needs a little more work. Still in VSCO, I usually play with the exposure a bit, I always sharpen, I up the warmth, drop the skintone, and add a bit of tint (which gives the image a slight pink tone). I also sometimes drop the saturation if the image has a ton of colour or up the contrast if it needs it. I know that seems like a lot but at this point it’s second nature to me and takes me about a minute. If it still needs some work, I’ll take it into Snapseed and use the select tool to brighten/expose a certain area of the image. I also love the dodge and burn brush if I’m still seeing any yellow or shaddowy spots. I use Facetune for the patch tool to remove anything I don’t want in the photo (gum stuck on the ground, food on my kids faces, a stain on their shirt, stuff like that).

    How do you get your kids to participate/smile for the camera?

    This question makes me laugh. My kids have gone through stages of loving having their photos taken and also running away as soon as my phone comes out. To be honest, about 2 years ago, I used to care so much about Dex being in photos and I just wanted him to enjoy it. I would feel so frustrated when all he wanted to do was run away from me.  After a particularly stressful shoot, I decided I was just done with it and wasn’t going to force it anymore. From then on, when we are planning on shooting something, we do one of two things. We either shoot something natural like a picnic, or the kids being as silly as they want. This way there’s no “smile” or pose required. Just have an actual picnic and we will document that! We also now ask Dex if he wants to be in it or not. Sometimes he says no, and we respect that and Elle (who still LOVES getting her picture getting taken and would yell “mommmmyyyy” the whole time if we didn’t have her in it) and I will snap a few shots. If the kids just aren’t feeling it that day, we just say “not today” and move on from it as fast as possible,or I’ll be in the picture alone (always awkward but better than arguing with two toddlers). It’s just too stressful and not fun trying to force a photo and then in the end none of them work out anyway so we’ve found what works and it usually only takes a couple minutes and then we are done.

    What photos of yours tend to do well? What do your followers really respond to?

    I don’t know if I’ve figured this one out yet. I know you guys love seeing photos of my belly these days haha and I can’t blame you, I LOVE belly pics! I think photos taken in my home tend to do well too – I think it’s just personal and real and people respond well to that. Also really bright, white, clear photos with context/lots going on, tend to do better for me than just me or just my kids and a really plain background. I’m still learning this and always trying new photos and trying to get creative in that way so it’s not just the same photos over and over again.

    Thanks so much for reading!

    Be sure to check out the other mamas in this series my clicking their blog links below!

     

     

     

     

    House + Home, Pregnancy

    Top Nursery Items at Ikea

    Recently my family and I took a little trip to Ikea, we needed a couple of things and I also wanted to start looking for simple and affordable items for baby girls nursery. Ikea is amazing for that – when you don’t have a big budget but want a couple little things to instantly update a space! I love their simple, modern and on trend pieces and I always see things there that I didn’t see last time!

    One thing I always keep in mind when shopping at Ikea is that most items can be used many different ways. So, just because you’re in the kitchen section, doesn’t mean that item has to be used in a kitchen. I love the idea of a spice rack as a nursery shelf, or a utensil organizer as bow/headband storage in a dresser drawer.

    We grabbed a couple things for our home while we were there and need to make one more trip back but I thought it would be fun share my favourite nursery decor items at Ikea. These aren’t exclusively nursery but so many of them make the perfect nursery pieces in my opinion! Also I know my photo is geared toward a more girly nursery but if you change out the pillow and towel, it could be for anyone!

    1. EKBY ÖSTEN SHELF – This is my fave shelf at Ikea and I also think it’s the least expensive. I love the wood brackets and think it adds a warm, cozy vibe. They come in at under $10 so grabbed a couple of these for all over our house (office, playroom, nursery). If wood isn’t your thing, Ikea offers a mix & match type thing in their shelving section where you can choose your shelf piece and then the brackets that you like the best.
    2. SMYCKA ARTIFICIAL BRANCH –  I loved this as soon as I saw it. Eucalyptus has such a soft, soothing look and I think a couple of these inexpensive faux branches would look so cute in a vase on a dresser or shelf in a nursery.
    3. GULLKLOCKA CUSHION COVER – I love this colour and use it a lot in Elle’s room already. I love that this pillow is super soft and has like a nubby texture instead of just being plain. So sweet styled in a baby’s crib (obviously, not when they are sleeping in it) or as a decorative pillow on a rocking chair. MY blogger friend Erica, shared a room tour the other day and has the most amazing tip!! Ikea pillow inserts never fill out the whole case and after a month or two they always look kinda flat and droopy. She recommended filling each cover with two feather inserts for a big plush look! (YES! Why didn’t I think of that?)
    4. RISATORP BASKET – I love this sturdy metal basket for on top of a change table or dresser to hold essentials like cream, hand sanitizer, wipes and all that other stuff you need at arms reach. I love that it has a wood handle and could easily be moved room to room, to make diaper changing convenient and easy all over the house.
    5. FEJKA ARTIFICIAL FIDDLE LEAF FIG – Okay – I know it’s fake and maybe not even the most convincing one out there, but hear me out. Two, beautiful and expensive fiddle leaf fig plants have died under my watch. I treated these things like my children, I even gave them showers to water them (after a friend recommended it) and they still suffered the same fate as most other plants that enter my home. I want to be better at this but until then, I’m banned from buying expensive houseplants. This one is affordable compared to some of the other faux one’s I’ve seen and the stress of not having to keep it alive it worth it to me. I’m gonna have a baby to keep fed and watered and clean – I can’t be worrying about a tree.
    6. SNIGLAR CRIB – Elle already has this crib and we love it so much! We are planning on getting a mini crib for our new baby because Elle is still in hers, but I had to include it as our TOP Ikea nursery pick! It’s under $100 and so sturdy! We love the look of the natural wood and the fact that she couldn’t chip paint off of it when she was in the chewing stage.
    7. ÖSTERNÄS LEATHER DRAWER PULLS – LOVE THESE! Such a fun way to update an old dresser or even an Ikea dresser that needs some personalization.
    8. TILLGIVEN HOODED BABY TOWEL – Okay this one isn’t really decor but I love it so much I had to share. I also like hanging items like this from an accordion shelf or hooks on the wall and when they’re this cute, they kind of act like decor. I always had a hard time finding hooded towels I liked. I mean they are all cute but most have ears or a face and are usually a little too colourfil for my taste. I love this one with the muted pink detail and little loop for hanging.
    9. SJÄLSLIGT GLASS CACTI SET –  Another one for all you mamas with a black thumb like me (okay so far all my live cacti are still kicking but it’s really only a matter of time I’m sure). I love these little decor pieces and thought they would be so cute styled as a trio on a nursery shelf.
    10. TEJN RUG -I think we’ve bought one of these every time we’ve had a baby. We use it as a cozy rug, throw it over the back of a rocking chair, even as a cute photo back drop. I also like to line my moses basket with this for a super cozy place for baby to hang out while we play around her.
    11. FLÅDIS SEAGRASS BASKET – When I asked on my Instagram story what to get at Ikea THIS little basket was the item I got the most messages about. At only $13, it’s the least expensive belly basket I’ve seen and it’s super versatile. Use it to hold your rolled up swaddle blankets, stuffed animals and toys or as decor with a snake plant in it.
    12. MOSSLANDA PICTURE LEDGE – We have these all over our house too. They’re intended for photos, but we love to stack 3 of them and display our favourite books.
    13. GRÖNADAL ROCKING CHAIR – Admittedly, probably not the most comfortable rocking chair for those marathon nursing sessions, but this one stopped me in my tracks. I love the wide back and natural wicker vibe. I also totally love how something about it also reminds me of a rocking chair my family had in the late 80s/early 90s.

    So that’s it! My top nursery picks from IKEA!  I would love to hear from you guys, what are your favourite or go-to items at Ikea?

    Thanks so much for reading!

    Maternity Style, Pregnancy, Style

    Second Trimester Update

    I kinda can’t believe it but we are already into the third trimester with our little lady! I know everyone always says this but this pregnancy is flyyying by so much faster than my other two. I truly feel like we just found out and took announcement photos, and here we are almost 10 weeks until she’s here. This has absolutely been my best  pregnancy yet, I don’t know if it’s actually any different or if it’s a change inside of me but I’ve just been feeling so grateful and happy and ready for this little one to be here.

    Movement:  So much! This sweet girl is my wiggliest baby yet! Always bouncing around and waking me up each morning with a good kick or two.
     
    Total weight gain so far: 23 lbs – for sure gaining faster and quicker than my other pregnancies. I can’t blame the baby though – wait until we get to the part about my cravings – it’s all me.
     
    Favourite maternity clothes right now: Hands down my fave item these days is this dress from Dwell and Slumber. I call it a dress – but as the company name suggests, it’s so much more. It’s a perfect casual and comfy dress to wear out, especially when it’s hot and you don’t want something that clings to the bump. I’m only 5’2″ so I love knotting the bottom to hem it up a little bit. It’s also the most perfect lounge and sleep dress..EVER. Seriously, I have to stop myself from throwing it on the second I walk in the door. I wish I had more because when it’s in the wash I have a tough time finding something other than my husbands baggiest t-shirt that can even come close to how comfy this is. It’s also nursing friendly and will be perfect for lounging after babe arrives.
     
    Stretch marks: So far none. Still using my fave stretch mark cream and oil.
     
    Sleep: Sleep has been SO much better. My friend Leah lent me a pregnancy pillow and it has changed my whole life!!! I don’t think I can sleep without it at this point.
    Mood:  My mood in the second trimester was so good! I swear those hormones evened right out and I’ve never felt better mood wise! I kept saying “I love being pregnant” and my jaw used to hit the floor when people said that because I could not comprehend loving pregnancy but my other two were just so different than this one.
     Favourite moment in the second trimester: Our 20 week ultrasound, finding out she is a GIRL and our 3D ultrasound to confirm her gender because I was SURE they got it wrong. I cried when they showed us her face. She’s the prettiest little thing, just like her big sis.

    Most Challenging Moment: Honestly, the second trimester was a dream. Like, the best I’ve felt in a long time (including when I’m not pregnant). Call it hormones or summertime but I felt like I was on top of the world in the second trimester. I’ve already started slowing down and feeling those third trimester pains and my mood has been a lot more sporadic but that second trimester was GOOD to me! Made me want to do this a couple more times!

    One Thing I’m Proud Of: I’m proud and happy about the way I’ve documented this pregnancy. I know things like that get harder with each child and I know she probably won’t care too much when she’s older but baby books and pictures and blogging this pregnancy are just things that are important to me and make me feel happy! I have loved filling out her baby book as each trimester passes and just taking notes in my phone about preparing for her arrival.

    One Thing I Wish Were Different: I wish I had less anxiety about pregnancy/this baby/my other kids. This is something I wish was different all the time in my life and something I actively work to change and improve. That negative self talk and letting those fears go from 0 to 100 is the worst and only takes away from the joy of a moment or season. With this baby, I’ve had this nagging thought that she will be breech and I will need a c-section. Not the end of the world, and still WAY too early to worry about it but it’s just something I feel anxious about. After having a c-section and then a successful VBAC, to have another C-section would just be tough on me. Obviously something I’m willing to do for this babe and it’s something I have little control over anyway but I DO wish I could just let all that go more easily and chillll out.

    Favourite Food: Ugh – I don’t even want to answer. The weirdest thing happened this pregnancy – the first trimester all I wanted was healthy food. I loved salads and veggies and fruit. Now, all I ever want is chips and dip, candy, lemonade, pretzels, white pasta, anything other than healthy food. Things I normally love just seem “meh” to me and I don’t feel very adventurous with my food choices. I have become absolutely obsessed with those thin oreos! Seriously, best ever. If you have’t tried them, do not, because you will be mad at me for making you love them so much. I have been loving veggie pitas and veggie subs – so thats not too bad but it’s still from Subway or Pita Pit – because I hate cooking right now.

    Least Favourite Food: All meat still doesn’t really appeal to me. I can cook it and eat a little but I’ll still pick some out. I’ve literally thought that now would be the time to become a vegetarian because usually I think I could never give up meat but right now I feel like I could never eat it again and I wouldn’t miss it.

    Symptoms: The worst heart burn of all time. It sometimes keeps me up when I’m trying to fall asleep. Also braxton hicks have been pretty steady since somewhere around 20 weeks.

    Random Things Strangers Have Said and Done: I have heard a couple “Are you sure it’s not twins in there?” and “Looks like you’re going to have that baby today”. To which I just laugh because it honestly doesn’t bug me and if this is what my body needs to do and be for my baby then bring it on! Grow baby girl grow!

    Nursery & Baby Gear Preparation…

    • We purchased some plants and a shelf for her nursery nook from IKEA
    • We are waiting on a new car seat for her since we really hated the one we used with Dexter and Elle.
    • Ordered some new bottles
    • Purged (and are continuing to purge) all the clutter in our house.
    • Still deciding on a mini crib
    • Slowly collecting little girly clothes, blankets, toys and bows.

    Things I’m looking forward to in the Third Trimester…

    • Meeting our baby girl
    • Finishing her nursery nook
    • Getting back into our fall routine and checking some things off our nesting list.
    • Organizing all of her things. Right now it’s just a big basket of stuff and it’s stressing me out.

     

    Thanks so much for reading!

    Blogging

    Building Your Online Community | #THEMOMBLOGCOLLECTIVE Week 2

    You GUYS! Thank you so much for the amazing response to our first post in this #themomblogcollective series! We are so happy to hear from you and know what inspired or challenged you. Seriously – that’s the kind of thing that makes blogging so fun for me!

     

     

    Last time we chatted about getting started with an Instagram account or blog, so now that you’ve done that, you’re going to want some awesome people to be there on the other side of all your posts – so this week we are diving into How To Build Your Online Community.

    For me, the community part is hands down the most fun and rewarding side of social media. I like taking photos, I like editing and curating, I like being able to contribute financially BUT all of that is nothing if it wasn’t for the amazing friendships and community that I have built over the past 3+ years. Connecting and chatting, finding common ground and inspiration, sending and receiving random encouragement when it’s the most needed, all of that keeps me going.

    Let’s get into it!

    What are your top tips for building an online community and establishing your brand?

    My first tip when trying to build an engaged and solid community is remember that IT TAKES TIME! A long long long time and it should! I hate to bring up the tortoise and the hare here, but seriously. Quick to rise, quick to fall – and while I know that isn’t ALWAYS the case, generally things that are worthwhile and long lasting take time and attention and patience to grow. So approach it with the understanding that it takes time and try not to take it personally when you’re in a slower season of growth. It happens to all of us.

    The best thing to do in those slow seasons, is the EXACT same thing you do in the seasons of amazing growth. Stay true to yourself, genuinely engage with others, follow accounts you actually love and connect with. There are seriously endless ways to cut corners, and grow faster, and they appear to come without consequence, but, in my experience, that isn’t the case. It might not be right away, but taking a shortcut (on social media or otherwise) usually takes away from the reward of reaching the goal and the joy of the journey. Not to take it all too seriously here, but if you want to build an engaged and exciting community of likeminded clients/customers/friends – you need to ACTUALLY build it.

    For growing your brand it’s a lot of the same thing. Stay true to yourself. Be honest. Connect with people you genuinely love following or feel like you have something in common. Know your audience, the questions/needs they have and how you can help them. Be consistent. All of this will slowly build a consistent and amazing brand that others will naturally gravitate to!

     

    How did you grow your Instagram in an organic way?

    I grew my following on Instagram in a couple of different ways.

    First (and this goes back to the above), I’ve been at it for a while. I feel like that alone is a big reason. Time and consistency and

    Second, I have always made an effort to follow accounts I love. I’ve never cared about how many people I’ve been following or anything like that – if I love your feed/captions/anything, regardless of how many followers you have or whether you plan on following me back, I am clicking that follow button.

    Third, I interact big time and I (important part) MEAN IT! Have you ever gotten a comment on say a photo with a sad or heartfelt caption that says “so cool!” or “that’s awesome!” – so awkward! Don’t be that girl!

    Comments are key on Instagram these days – and not just because it “bumps you up in the algorithm”, because who can crack that code anyway? It’s important because it connects you to people who will get to know, trust and like you and who you will then have as a longtime follower/friend, reading your posts, buying your product, messaging you just to say hi, etc. It also increases interactions for you because when you leave that genuine comment on a post, relating to a mom’s crazy day or sharing a funny story – other people who agree with you or think you’re on to something will click your profile and reach out or follow you too. I always am clicking through comments (for example on a homeschool post) and I almost always go follow a bunch of the mamas who commented that they were homeschooling because I’m into that and we have something in common!

    Fourth, posting consistently! I’m not always the best for this but it is really up there as far as organically attracting engaged followers who love what you’re sharing.

    And finally, giveaways. Giveaways are a great way to partner with brands and bring some value to your followers by offering them the chance to win something you love. It’s great because it benefits the brand, the influencer, the winner and the people who entered might just find some new feeds they love. While entrants are usually required to follow you, it’s still their choice and often it will connect them to brands or bloggers who they would enjoy following anyway (for example, a new mama giveaway connecting a expectant mama with mommy bloggers and some amazing small shops).I’ve recently done a few loop giveaways (something I wasn’t sure was a good way to grow or not) and to be honest, the jury is still out. They are fun to be a part of when you love the shops/bloggers involved and I love being able to offer a chance to win my fave things to my followers. They definitely get your feed seen by a bunch of new people who otherwise wouldn’t have found you, which is the goal, but whether they end up being engaged followers, or even sticking around at all, I’m not sure yet. I’ll let you know. 🙂

    How do you engage with your followers? Why is this important to you?

    I love this part. Seriously, I wouldn’t even be on Instagram if it was just to have this one way conversation with a bunch of people. I love engaging with my followers by responding to DMs and comments as much as I possibly can.

    I think about it this way, if someone was to say something to you in person, would you just ignore it? No, that’s so awkward! So if someone asks a question via DM or comment I always try my best to get back to them. I’m not perfect at this and sometimes I get a lot of messages or I’m taking a social media break and some slip through the cracks but in my heart, I genuinely want to connect and message all of you back.

    While I’m sure this helps with your Instagram “success”, I think it’s more important on a human level than anything else. As a stay at home mama for the last four years, being able to log in and connect with other moms from all over the world has been incredible. I’ve built lasting friendships and been inspired and encouraged almost daily on this app and that just doesn’t happen by me just posting, letting the comments roll in, saying nothing back and then repeating the next day. I would have quit looong ago if that was the case.

     

    So there you have it! Much like last week, it’s not a matter of just throw it out there and they will come. You’ve gotta go out and “find” them. By engaging, following accounts you love, leaving a comment on something you relate to, liking photos that stand out to you, host a giveaway and see how it goes – and it can’t be just to get another number up at the top of your profile. In the end if you’re just collecting numbers, it just won’t pay off the way you had hoped. I don’t want this to sound like trying to gain followers is a bad thing, it’s not! Instagram to me, is still part business and a big part of that is growing your following. You just want the right followers, and for me, once I started to look at it that way, I could take some pressure off of growing super quick or even losing a ton of followers (something that used to totally stress me out).

    I hope you liked part two of our series and learned something new about growing your online community!

    Be sure to check out the other bloggers in the series..

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Blogging

    5 Tips on Starting a Blog and Instagram | #THEMOMBLOGCOLLECTIVE Week 1

    Today on the blog I’m sharing my Top 5 Tips for Starting a Blog or Instagram account! This post is the first in a new series on my blog called #TheMomBlogCollective! I’ve teamed up with 10 of my fave mom blogger friends and together we will be sharing the answers to the questions we get asked the most often about blogging, motherhood, social media, growing your brand and even making money. Some of us have been blogging full time for years and some of us are just getting started, but we all offer a completely different perspective and have a mutual desire to share and help others who might want to follow a similar path!

    Each week we will be focusing on a different topic and answering similar questions pertaining to that particular topic. Our hope is to share what worked for us, what didn’t, things we learned along the way, and things we learned last week. We know there are many ways to do this whole blogging thing so we hope to offer some perspective and encouragement to anyone hoping to pursue this path!

     

    This week we are each sharing our Top 5 Tips on Starting a Blog and Instagram.

    But first, a little background about my blogging journey! In 2012, I started as a beauty blogger. I was working at Sephora and my husband was on tour a lot and I wanted a creative outlet and way to connect with others who were beauty obsessed like me. When I became pregnant in 2012, I started my second blog to document and share my pregnancy with my family and friends (who are mostly located 6 hours away).  Then came Instagram! I fell hard and fast for the visual aspect of Instagram and the way I could “microblog” on the fly, rather than compose an entire blog post. I started posting (really bad over-filtered photos – it was just so bad) and connecting with other moms and small shops. I posted to my blog every now and then but Instagram became my focus. Around 2014, my best friend and I started a motherhood/lifestyle blog called Three Little Crowns. We lived around the corner from each other, hung out every day and just wanted to share, inspire and connect with others. This was so fun – but SO much work! This is where I started learning how to work with small shops and got a taste of how this whole blogging thing could actually function as a job and potentially make some money! We agreed to end our blog in 2016 and I took a long break deciding what to do next. My Instagram was growing and I knew blogging was a LOT of work, but I missed writing and documenting and would get questions on Instagram that needed a longer response or that I thought others could benefit from. Which brings us to now. I launched this blog before Christmas last year as another outlet and way to share more thoroughly and document family life, pregnancies and anything else I feel like sharing. Through the last 5 years of blogging I have learned a LOT so let’s jump into the tips!

     

    Find Your WHY

    You want to start a blog, or get serious about Instagram – that’s awesome, good for you! BUT you first need to know why. What are your goals? What are you hoping to achieve through this? For some people, it’s a desire for a creative outlet, having a place to journal and document their lives. For others, it’s creating helpful content and eventually making an income. Others, eventually want to write a book, and use blogging to launch that. Of course, your “why” can change over time, but it helps to know what you are looking for when you get started. I put this first because I feel like it sets the tone and will help you to manage your expectations and workload moving forward. I feel like there is sometimes a lot of misconception about blogging. That it’s all cute outfits and free stuff and that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s sometimes emails and writing and editing for hours after the kids to go bed. It’s deadlines and hard work and building relationships with brands. And it goes in waves depending on your why! Your why is kind of like your mission statement or vision statement for your brand/blog. Knowing it will help you discern what you should spend your time on and what you should say no to. It will also help you to be more successful if your why is that you genuinely love writing, sharing and providing interesting and helpful content to your readers. Ask any successful blogger, and most of them just started sharing because they loved it – and doors and opportunities unfolded from there. The why and motivation behind it needs to be genuine.

    Decide on a Name and Vision for Your Blog/Brand

    Have a little planning session for your blog/IG. You will first want a name. Try to come up with something meaningful and unique (this is easier said than done – naming Three Little Crowns took us like 3 months!) because people will ask what your name means. It’s also good if your blog name tells the reader right off the bat, what they can expect from your blog. Once you have some ideas, make sure they are available across all your social media. It will enhance your brand if your name is the same across the board. You will also want to make sure your domain is available. I recommend a .com but there are other options as well. Now is also a good time to start thinking of a “look” for your blog. What is your vibe? Bright and colourful? Clean and minimal? How will you edit your photos? What kind of logo? This part is fun for me and makes me so excited when it all starts to come together. You don’t have to be a pro and it doesn’t have to be perfect. I use Canva or Pixlr to design most of my banners and logos and VSCO to edit all my photos. I also recommend sitting down with a pen and paper and actually writing down a bunch of post ideas. Then step back and look at them, grouping them together and deciding what categories you are most passionate about. Your niche will kind of reveal itself this way. You won’t be able to blog about every category or thing that interests you right off the bat so just pick the ones you’re the most passionate about.

    Purchase Your Domain and Hosting

    This is the boring but necessary part. There are so many options (Blogger, WordPress, Squarespace, etc) and you can decide which is best for you. My blog and domain is through WordPress and my hosting is Go Daddy. There are a bunch of youtube tutorials and Pinterest pins explaining this better than I can so go check those out for sure! It isn’t expensive and doesn’t take long and is a crucial step in actually having a blog. Once you’ve got all that set up you will be able to play with the look and back end of your blog. There are free themes available and you can also buy a theme off of Etsy (which is what I did).

     

    Create Content, Post Consistently and Connect!

    (I know that’s three but they’re all so important!)

    Time to create that content! Start writing! At any given time, I have a note in my phone titled ‘Blog Post Ideas’ and I keep track of anything I think I could offer a unique perspective on or have a lot of fun writing. Your posts don’t have to be long or even super packed with information. Just get something up there. It will be good practice and you will get to know the posts that are really doing well or getting a good response. Even if you haven’t launched your blog yet, publish them anyway. That way when people come to your blog they will get a good idea of what you are about.

    Try to decide on a consistent posting schedule. Even if its once a month, be consistent with that. I’m not going to lie, I am not the most consistent blogger. I try to post really consistently on Instagram but sometimes I have to let blogging go, in order to have time for my other priorities. So with Instagram, especially when you’re getting started, I would recommend posting once a day. It’s better to post something often than to wait for the the “perfect photo” and post once a week.

    Now to connect – share your posts everywhere and try to connect and engage with other likeminded bloggers or Instagram accounts that you love (we are going to go WAY more into this in a couple weeks). It’s important to not just throw your content up there and wait for people to come. They won’t. It’s a super saturated blog world out there and unless you’re putting yourself out there, no one will find you and that can be discouraging. So make friends, leave genuine comments and start building that tribe.

    Just START!

    This is hands down the biggest piece of advice I have for anyone who wants to start a blog or take their Instagram to the next level. Don’t think it to death. Don’t wait until it’s perfect. Don’t plan and plan and dream for months. Just start it. Get the ball rolling. Take a single tiny step in the right direction and you will be amazed at how that makes you even more motivated to take the step after that one. If I’m in a blogging rut or having some writers block, I’ll take 20 minutes and play with my logo, make a list of potential blog posts or post to Instagram and ask a question about what my readers want to read. Even if doesn’t seem like the MOST productive thing you could be doing, do it anyway. You won’t ever be prepared or perfectly ready to “launch” your blog. You will always be tweaking and making improvements and you will ALWAYSSS be your own worst critic. So just start. Publish. Post. Reach out. Share it on your Facebook and then give yourself a pat on the back for even taking a tiny step in the direction of your goals. Tomorrow when you wake up you will be a tiny step further ahead then you were yesterday and that is something to be proud of!

     

    Thanks so much for reading guys and I hope this post was helpful! If there are any other specific questions or topics you want us to cover, be sure to leave them as a comment here or search #themomblogcollective on Instagram and comment on one of our photos!

     

    And be sure to check out the other posts in the series (linked below):

    A Blessed Nest | @blessednestblog

    Ashley Noel | @_ashley_noel_

    Britt Havens | @britthavens

    Cultivate Motherhood | @cultivatemotherhood

    Darling Nightingale | @darlingnightingale

    Kole Impressions Blog | @steph__pollock

    Hello Baby Brown | @hellobabybrown

    Mrs Seacannon | @mrsseacannon

    Occasionally Perfect | @occasionally_perfect

    The Love Designed Life | @thelovedesignedlife