Lindsay Joly didn’t set out to be a professional blogger. A talented writer who had a book published at the age of 17, Joly was no stranger to the written word. But now instead of fiction, she has taken to capturing the story of her life as a mom. Through You Are The Roots, Linsday Joly is blogging her way through first-time motherhood with photographs, personal anecdotes, product reviews, and giveaways.
Though she may not have intended to become an entrepreneur, Joly has found her hobby has now grown into a business that she can enjoy while caring for her now two-year-old son.
MomIncorporated: When you started your blog did you know right away that you were going to turn it into a profit-earning business?
Linsday: When I first started my blog, I did so as a means to document my first pregnancy in great detail, both for myself and for friends and family who lived out of state. It was a great place to keep the information overload from doctor’s appointments, weekly “belly growth” photographs and just my feelings in general to have to look back on and reflect. As my pregnancy continued, followed by my son’s birth and now his current toddlerhood, it sort of turned into something more. It wasn’t until my son was almost one that I decided to accept paid advertisements on my blog.
MomIncorporated: What steps did you take to monetize your blog? Did you have any background in advertising sales before you designed the ad structure?
Linsday: I had absolutely no background in advertising sales before deciding to take the plunge into paid advertisement. I decided upon three different ad sizes that fit nicely and unobtrusively on my sidebar and settled on three monthly prices for each. I also provide a promotion code to offer new bloggers a month of free ad space on the smallest size ad as a means of helping their blog grow exposure in it’s early days. After a while, it was hard to handle the advertising myself and I signed up with Passionfruit Ads which is a service that handles your ads for you.
MomIncorporated: With so many “mommy blogs” out there, what makes You are the Roots attractive to visitors and advertisers?
Linsday: I tend to focus on the natural, eco-friendly aspects of parenting and raising a child in this modern world. My blog is filled with outdoor and creative play, messy art projects and recipes for organic, natural foods. I’ve noticed that a great deal of the e-mails I get are from likeminded parents with similar interests, and the same goes for the companies who inquire. I also do “Tot School” with my son and my blog has provided me the opportunity to interact with other homeschooling parents. I’m just began a new weekly series called “Toddler Art Tuesdays” which so far has been very well received.
MomIncorporated: How do you market your blog? Does social media play a role in your marketing?
Linsday: Yes! I’ve always been a little “social media-phobic” but I’ve had to let that go when it came to my blog. Since my reluctant sign-up for Twitter, I’ve had my pageviews increase tremendously. You Are The Roots is currently on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and I have to say that they’ve all been valuable in increasing readership.
MomIncorporated: What kinds of mistakes have you made along the way and what did you learn from them?
Linsday: As an up-and-coming blogger, I’ve found that advertising in even the smallest form on another blog is a great way to increase your readership. In the early days, I’d advertise with whichever blogs that were offering cheap or complimentary ad space to new bloggers. It took me a while to realize that someone who read a lifestyle blog by a single, 20-year-old with a heart for fashion might not exactly be interested in my “mom blog.” It took me a few frustrating months of trying to figure out why no one would stay to realize that it’s worth focusing on blogs with a similar topic area, even if it’s a small sidebar ad, social media shout-out or a guest post.
MomIncorporated: How do you carve out time to work and what kind of hours do you keep?
Linsday: Finding the time to juggle staying home with a toddler, our everyday activities, cooking dinner and spending time with a husband who works an extremely busy schedule has been difficult. I try to do as much work as I can with uploading photos during naptime and giving myself quiet, creative time to work in the evening hours, but there are times where I find myself up at two a.m. typing out whatever is on my mind or jotting something down in a notebook at lunchtime as a reminder to later include it in a blog post.
MomIncorporated: What advice would you give other women about starting a business like yours?
Linsday: Make sure your heart is in it. There are several blogs out there that are solely for product reviews, which is great if that’s what you want it to be. However, starting a blog in hopes of receiving free products is going to be a quick way to drain yourself and lose the magic in writing and keeping a blog.
If you’re forcing yourself to write for the sake of updating, it’ll reflect in your words. Be real, listen to your heart, post from your heart and the rest will definitely follow.
Do you have a blog that is also a business? How does it work for you? What advice would you give to others who want to generate revenue from their personal blogs?