Before I had kids, I was moderately crafty. I mean, why not? I had plenty of time. So when I was pregnant, I took myself to Michael’s and bought a big old scrapbook from the Martha Stewart section of the store (only the best for my babies) and some gender-neutral cardstock. I envisioned a unique book of memories that they’d treasure as adults. (Snort.)
Well. You might guess that that big red Martha Stewart scrapbook is still sitting at the top of my closet, still shrink-wrapped, seven years later.
While I was too tired, too overwhelmed, too everything to contemplate pulling out my bins of craft supplies, one thing I could do with a spare few minutes was get on my laptop, upload a few of the hundreds of photos I took every month, and slap them in a blog post.
So that’s what I kept doing and still do to this day. I post a photo of them on the fourth of every month, and I log their milestones and their stats from the pediatrician. I mean, it’s the 21st century. My blog is a digital baby book, an ever-growing written history of their childhood.
I’ve had my blog for far longer than I’ve had kids, and it’s a big part of my life, even leading to my dream job in 2013. But it’s never too late to start one of your own, to record your children’s lives in a far more user-friendly way than Facebook. (Ever tried to find an old post in Facebook? Yeah, not fun.)
Getting started with your own blog
1. Choose a blogging platform. I may be biased because I work as a Happiness Engineer for WordPress.com, but there are other options out there. But there’s a reason 23% of the web runs on WordPress, so why bother looking anywhere else? There are two flavors of WordPress – the free hosted version on WordPress.com, or you can choose to host your own WordPress blog. (The former is easier and gets you excellent support ifImaysaysomyself, but the latter will give you a bit more flexibility.)
2. Decide if you want to make your blog public or private. Do you want to just invite friends and family to read your blog? Or do you want to share your children with the entire world? With WordPress, you can choose to make individual posts private, or your entire site, so you have a lot of flexibility there. Blogger also allows you to set your site as private.
3. Give your site a design that suits you. All blogging platforms will let you customize the look of your blog to some extent, whether it’s a theme, template, or by changing the colors and graphics.
4. Start posting! I always advise our bloggers to use tags and categories to make your posts easy to find down the line. For instance, all of my posts with monthly photos of the boys are categorized accordingly, so I can easily scroll through all of those posts at once. The New Orleans Moms Blog runs on WordPress, and we categorize all of our posts to make them easier for you to find.
5. Spread the word! If you choose to keep your blog private, you can invite only the people you want to read it. If you want to make it public, then share links to social media. WordPress will allow you to automatically publicize your posts to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other social media sites.
6. The most important step…keep posting! I can’t tell you how many abandoned blogs I come across, with just a post or two written. They make me sad. There’s no excuse not to blog often, when there are apps that enable you to post on the go. You can snap a cute picture of your kid, and upload it to your blog just as easily as you can post it to Facebook, but it’ll be easier to find later on.
So, great, you say, how am I going to share this “baby book” with my child’s future prom dates? There are several services that will turn your blog into a hardbound book, so you can still have the experience of flipping through an actual book.