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Have you ever sat down to begin your blog post and then stop because you had no idea what to blog about? I have.

A lot.

It’s a struggle sometimes to find something to talk about because, let’s face it, we want our blog posts to matter.

Whether you are a mom blogger or own a business and using it as a marketing tool, our blog posts are seen by (potentially) thousands of people. We want those people to at least walk away with a sense of respect (hey! she really knows what she’s talking about!).

There is nothing worse than what I imagine a conversation that my potential reader may have after he or she reads my post, “Gosh. That was awful. Why did I waste my time with that?” Whether they do that or not, I have no idea. I’m hoping they don’t.

But how do I keep a steady supply of blog posts that are interesting?

As I thought about it, I came up with three ideas, that when put together, will give you a full monthly/yearly blogging schedule:

  • blogging calendar with a twist
  • alliteration
  • SEO

There are a few blogging calendar’s floating around the ‘net (type in “blogging calendar” with the quotes on Google). However, I don’t like them. Not that I don’t appreciate the time and energy that go into creating them but because they aren’t in depth enough for me.

For those not in the know, most of the blogging calendar’s are just lists of what months celebrate what events and holidays. For example, March is Women’s History Month.

I can see the quizzical look on your face from all the way over here and I know what you’re thinking: what has that got to do with my blog or my readers?

Depends. How many of your readers are female? You have a 50/50 chance. Well, that isn’t the point of my blog. Okie dokie then. Is there anything in common between the “general idea” of your blog and “Women’s History Month”? Anything at all? Oh, well as a matter of fact, I think that….

Ah. Now we start getting somewhere. You don’t actually have to celebrate Women’s History Month (although it would be pretty cool if you did) but if you can come up with 3 to 4 ideas that are related to women’s history and your blog, you have at least 3 to 4 blog posts. You can even take that a step further and give link love, product reviews, or memory posts (I remember when…) based on those 4 ideas that you just brainstormed. All with that general spark of “Women’s History Month.” And, by the way, you don’t have to use those topics in just the month of March!

Onto alliteration. According to Webster’s Dictionary, alliteration is “the commencement of two or more words of a word group with the same letter.”

Now, I’m not trying to toss out some fancy schmancy English terms at you. I bet you alliterate every day or see it every time you read a blog. Stop blushing. You have a seriously warped mind, did you know that?

Follow Friday? Thankful Thursday? Wordless Wednesday? Meatless Monday? Any of these a-ringin’ a bell? (Thank you, Sid the Sloth, for that line!)

If you can come up with an alliterative theme for each day of the week and then brainstorm 3 to 4 sub ideas for each theme, you have LOTS of blog posts ready to go. Let’s look at an example, shall we? Meatless Monday.

Well, the first Monday we can give out a vegetarian menu for the week/month. The second Monday, we can review a vegetarian book (with a recipe thrown in for good measure). Third Monday might be a guest blogger who talks about vegetarianism or something related to it. Fourth Monday might be the health benefits of meatless meals with the accomanying recipes. You can keep doing this til the cows…oops…flowers…nah, cows come home.

The last idea I had for blog post topics came to me from Twitter’s trending topics (although you can use Google Trends or Google AdWords just as easily). It’s pretty simple actually: see what people are talking about and then talk about it too.

It’s an easy way to find something to blog about that generates traffic to your blog. I know, it seems kind of underhanded, doesn’t it? And it smacks a bit of  “keeping up with the Joneses.” Well, if you feel that way try staying within the parameters of your blog’s main topic or idea(s).

For example, my blog is about working from home. I do talk about lots of other stuff, mostly because it’s my personal blog and not a professional one. If I was desperate for a topic, I could type in “WAHM” into the Google Trends and voila! Literally hundreds of articles from the past 5 years pop up about WAHMs that can give me some ideas on what to write about.

If I use the trending topics on Twitter, I can find related items about working from home and, say, Star Trek. Maybe. If not, I could probably use it as a segue and then brainstorm. Either way, I end up with a blog post!

Or I could run over to AdWords and do the same thing to see what people are searching for. You can use this as a SEO tool but I like it as an idea generator.

I know what you’re asking. “So what?” Actually, that’s a fabulous question. Use it every time you get a trending topic or search term. Then answer it. Then keep asking “So what?” over and over, answering it every time. Do it enough times, and you end up with a viable list of topics for your blog.

So how does this create a monthly or yearly plan of blogging topics? Well, if you do the above three things, calendar with a twist, alliteration, and SEO, you should have at least one thing every day to talk about for a month.

And then you can do it again and again. Mix it up and keep it fresh. I like doing My Opinion Monday and WAHM Tip Wednesday (alliteration). I also add in some SEO and trending topics in there (check out my post from Tuesday). And, there is the events calendar (Mother’s Day, anyone?). In between I manage to squeeze in some posts that don’t have a defined theme other than they are mine and related to me as a woman, mother, and WAHM.

By the way, some people like to use Google Docs spreadsheets as a way to track what they will discuss on what day. *ahem* It’s a useful tool but don’t be married to it. If you find something that is outside of the “blogging calendar” then by all means blog away about it.

It is, after all, your blog!

Do you have any tips or tricks about generating blog topics? I want to know! And more importantly, so do my readers!
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On hold until the doctor calls with the results of the xray. Seems I was a bit too enthusiastic with the exercise. Oh well. I’m thinking of finding some kind of cardio workout on the ‘net for people with knee injuries.

If you know of any, leave a comment!

Even though I’m out for the moment, my hubs is still going strong! I’m so proud of him. He’s not quitting at all. Go honey go!

I love my job. Period. I dig in and really get involved. Unfortunately, I also lose track of time. And with amount of work I need to do on a daily basis, this is not a good thing. It fouls up the flow of not only myself but all the other people in my department that count on me. Something needed to change (mostly me).

So, I resolved to find a solution. And what a simply elegant solution it is too: an eggtimer for my iGoogle.

Without going into the various merits of the plethora of personal homepages (i.e. mashup) available, let’s just go with iGoogle for the moment. If you don’t have a personal homepage, feel free to check out iGoogle. If you already have a gmail account, try logging on with that to see if you already have access to it. You can then go under Tools>Options>Main and set it as your homepage (FireFox).

iGoogle has a variety of gadgets that can be added to the homepage. The one that has worked so well for me is called Timer by Poturi.

Timer by Poturi for iGoogle

Timer by Poturi for iGoogle

You input the amount of time you want to use and it counts down for you. When it gets to zero, not only will it flip back to your home page from whatever webpage you were on, the browser will flash, a small pop up will appear, and it plays a sweet little “tingaling”.

Let’s just say that it gets your attention.

Why not use an real honest to goodness egg timer? Mostly because I don’t have one. And since I’m on the computer quite a bit, this works really well for me. I stop what I’m doing and move onto the next item on my ever growing “To Do” list (for which I use “Remember the Milk” but that’s another Tip!).

Do you have any WAHM tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you!

Woot! A whole week has passed and we managed to workout every single day. It’s a new world’s record (for us at least). My stamina is a bit better than on day 1 but still not ready to move on to level 2. Maybe by the end of next week. The hubs and I will decide on that next Wednesday.

I did weigh myself this morning and realized I hadn’t lost a single pound. It was a bit discouraging but the hubs said it has, after all, only been a week. We’ve been on WeightWatchers on and off for the past 9 months and I’m definitely a lot lighter than I was (try 40 pounds lighter). But I’ve set a goal of 135 pounds and I mean to get there by the end of July. I’m pretty sure I can do it but it will take some dedication on my part. I’ve put the exercise into the mix so I think the next big thing is really focusing on what I eat.

A couple of the Shredheads have voiced concerns about menu planning. Ladies (and gents) you aren’t the only ones. I have struggled with planning healthy meals that not only don’t break the bank but actually taste good too. If you need a bit of guidance, check out the article “Weekly Menu Planning” for some ideas on how to change up your eating routine.

If you’re like me, though, and you need to be hit over the head with information, feel free to check out my menu plan. This is for one week and I’ll be adding to it as the weeks go by. Use it anyway you want. Share it with others.

Feel free to post your favorite recipes, menu ideas, or links to this post!

Rather than send an email out to everyone, I thought I’d post this here where you will actually see it. 🙂 I did get the hubby to agree to do this so I’m very excited! I hope that you join me in making our voices heard.

On Saturday, March 28, 2009, at 8:30 pm, I am taking part in Earth Hour – a global event in which millions of people will turn out their lights to make a statement of concern about our planet and climate change.

I want to invite you to join, too! Sponsored by World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour got started just two years ago and is now the largest event of its kind in the world. Last year, more than 50 million participated and the lights went out at the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and the Coliseum in Rome, just to name a few. Even Google’s homepage went black for the day!

In Israel, President Shimon Peres personally turned off lights in Tel Aviv.

This year, Earth Hour will be even bigger – already 250 cities in 74 countries have agreed to take part including Atlanta, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and Nashville with more signing up every day. Around the world, cities like Moscow, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai and Mexico City will turn out their lights.

But Earth Hour isn’t just for big cities-anyone can participate. To get a better sense of the event, check out this video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjWD8pbK5t8.

Participating in Earth Hour is easy, fun and free. I hope you will join me for this amazing event.

To sign up, visit http://www.EarthHourUS.org where you’ll learn more including ways you can spread the word about Earth Hour, plus creative things to do when the lights go out in case you need inspiration!

We want the US to turn out more lights than any other country in the world during this historic event so please pass this note along to anyone you think might want to take part.

Let’s all turn out and take action on March 28 at 8:30 pm.

www.EarthHourUS.org

Thanks.

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