Although AkronOhioMoms.com has been around for a number of years, 2010 saw it flourish and really take off. Besides the countless hours put into it, I credit the rise of social media, the LIKE button, and some well thought out SEO activities. But 2011 is going to be different – and not just for me but for all mom/mommy bloggers. What will it take to succeed? How will the landscape change? Here are my predictions:
#1 -Localizing your Mom Blogs
A little self serving, it may be, but the rise of local mom blogs is growing. Whether or not the title of your blog relates to your location- I bet you’ll be considering it soon. Take for example Cat at 3kidsandus.com. Look at her header- it’s not just about her life, but about her location. A local mom blogger has access to her town, her city, her state. Local businesses are clamoring for attention on local media outlets- and, as a local mom blogger- you can suddenly have the reigns of a new horse.
How can I go local? In my opinion a local mom blog should make it clear as to its location. With google sensitizing its search results to keep more local results- it will require you to be obvious. I just stared posting maps of local events and locations using the mapPress WordPress Plugin. Be sure to list addresses and locations too.
#2- Social Media Links now COUNT – absolutely.
As if you didn’t already know this… Bing & Google have finally verified that social media links in sites like Facebook and Twitter (are there others?) influences site rankings. This isn’t actually a giant shock – but its nice to know its real and that those links count.
IF you aren’t managing your facebook and twitter accounts now to match with your website- you need to. Go and get that LIKE button for your website. Does it slow down your page loads- yes absolutely- is it worth it— uh huh.
The big question though – how do you become more of a sought after brand as opposed to a retweeter of other brands, giveaway shouter, and the like? – That’s a whole different topic that I wish I knew how to tackle better myself. I’m happy to take lessons if anyone is offering!
#3 -Mobile? Really? Still not yet
I know I go counter to what EVERY OTHER technology blog out there says. But guess what- I can.
I say no. Although you might check your facebook account on your phone, google a distance from grandma’s to the tutor, check out a youtube link or forward an email to your husband, the true statistics about mobile are a little dreary. The percentage of mobile web users who have made purchases online is in the low single digits (outside of smartphone apps and ringtones). For the gobs of money that is being put into apps, mobile shopping and the like, the reality doesn’t match. But is mommy blogging about money? Well, often, its about exploring great products and saving money. Check the research of marketers coming after us!
The smart phone display is too small for anyone to want to make a transaction on it. There is no comfort value yet. Human beings just don’t feel comfortable interacting with less than a web browser- and that took 15 years for people to adjust to in order to start making purchases online in the first place.
(Insert cavalry music here) -What’s going to make mobile computing provide users the interface that they feel comfortable with for making purchases (the web browser) is a larger, portable display(yes, iPad, good start). At the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas this year, two companies are showcasing some pretty flexible, flat, MANUFACTURABLE technology Organic LED displays. We’re talking the stuff of science fiction here- roll it up, put it in your pocket, and go. This kind of material/technology has been shown at the show since 2006 – but this year, they know how to make more than one at a time! Its going to be a few years before (I mean 5 or less years) before this technology hits us in the market- but, it will replace the tiny mobile phone screens for doing big things on the web. Checking weather? Facebook- your phone will still suffice for now- just don’t worry about getting your blog as an app.
#4 -Brand– for Savings
Research shows that the main reason moms come online to read mom blogs is to become more budget-oriented. It’s sad I know but it is not that they had their first child or wanted to connect with other moms—though those are important first causes—but that they were looking for ways to save money. This report from eMarketer.com says that the top characteristic of their favorite mom blogs was being budget-oriented, which came ahead of being informative, humorous, relatable or even fast to read.
Again, I doubt this is anything new- but it is a good reminder to learn how to provide readers with what they want- my opinion, a means to access suggested retailers with a coupon/coupon code in hand.
#5 -Blog Giveaways Continue…
Product Reviews and Giveaways are the life blood of some Mommy Blogs- although there are plenty of mom blogs out there who will complain about not being compensated enough for such efforts. I was even called out for participating in a Toys R Us Event (read the story AND find MY comments for my response- where I make them look foolish for their assumptions).
Anyway- if you didn’t notice from this Christmas season- every mommy blogger out there had 417 giveaways going at any one time- really making it almost ridiculous to be seen- even when posting on linkys and giveaway websites. Sure post Christmas things slow down, but… BUT One must find a way to stand out in order to bring excitement and attention to giveaways and reviews. One thing that we use is the Giveaway Countdown Plugin for WordPress. A Sidebar widget (you can see it on this page) it counts and manages your giveaways for you. It showcases multiple giveaways to your site visitors.
How else can your giveaways stand out? – make your contests as easy to read as possible- keep all of the entry methods simple yet descript, make your giveaway posts obvious that they are giveaway posts, and communicate every giveaway to ever subscriber.