Become A Better Blogger - How Our Content Is Changing...

Published: Mon, 10/20/14

Blogging gets harder every day. And I don't mean because you run out of things to say… well there is that too, but I mean that the competition and the demands on bloggers get tougher every day.

In 2006, when we started blogging, it was a completely different world. You could write a blog post about what you did that day, not add any images to it and people would see it in their RSS readers, visit your blog to read it and likely even comment.

Today that blog post better be cleverly written, definitely include at least one “pinnable” image and to get anyone to read it, it needs to be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and maybe even Google+. Oh, and you may want to add a video.

Now I'm not saying that every blog and every blog post meets these standards, but to stay competitive as a “top” mom blog, most of your blog posts have to continue to push to higher levels of quality. 

It can be exhausting.

So in this issue of our “Become a Better Blogger” series, we'll take a closer look at how our content has changed over the years and where it's headed.

If you've missed any of the previous editions, catch up now...

Photos and Graphics

As I said, many of our early blog posts would fall under the category of daily life posts and many did not have photos. Even when we did add photos, they were smaller and very rarely had a title or other wording added to the image. We never even watermarked our photos.

Now we would never publish a post without a “Pinnable” image.

The types of photos and images we add to posts has changed as well. We regularly use both stock images as well as photos we take ourselves. Fortunately, Janice is passionate about photography and has been honing her skills over the years. Her ability to take high-quality photos has been a huge factor in our ability to grow and continue to compete in the current blogosphere.

Important aspects of creating powerful images for your blog are adding text, creating collages and otherwise editing photos. We use Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom for photo editing and we use PicMonkey and Canva for adding text and creating collages.

We've been through a cycle of how we have our blog graphics created. We started by creating every graphic on our site ourselves including our blog header, buttons, badges and banners. They were pretty low-budget but they worked well enough.

A couple years later, we moved on to hiring a graphic artist whenever we needed a blog graphic. And now, while we will hire a graphic artist occasionally for something very important, we create our own blog images and graphics daily.

We're continually learning from what we see on Pinterest and on other sites. While it's challenging to have to do "graphic design" type of work when we're not trained artists, it is fun to unleash and exercise our creative sides.

Types of Blog Posts

The types of content we publish continue to evolve. When our children were very small, we would write more personal stories about the challenges of parenting. But as our children get older, we tend to be more careful about what details we share. So while we still try to share a look inside our lives, there are areas we keep private.

In fact, Janice and I keep a great deal of our personal lives private. Many of our long time, regular readers may not even have realized when Janice and I both went through separations and divorces. It can be a challenge to live such public lives as bloggers while still respecting the privacy of others in our lives, but we've made it a high priority to do that.

As Pinterest changed how we presented blog content, it also changed the type of content. Pinterest continues to reveal what blog readers want to see and we do our best to serve those needs.

Thus, we started to create more recipes, crafts and kids activities, DIY and tutorial posts. And we will continue to create even more content in those categories.

We watch what pins well and what our readers respond to on our blog as well as what is resonating well on other "mom" blogs.


We've shot and published a variety of videos throughout the years, but it's never been a huge focus for us. However, the time has finally come that we can no longer ignore the need to regularly produce quality videos as clients are more often asking for video as part of campaigns.

You can see an example here of a video we shot recently for a sponsored campaign.

We're continually trying to improve our skills in shooting and editing, so you can expect to see much more video coming from us in the future.


We started running Giveaways in 2007 and they have been a regular part of our content. We feel interest in Giveaways is decreasing somewhat among blog readers in general, and so we may reduce the number and frequency of our Giveaways.


While Janice wrote most of our blog posts in the early years, we've always had several contributors. Finding blog contributors is another area that's more challenging these days... in the past, it was much easier to find guest bloggers and volunteer contributors, but now it can be costly.

These days Janice and I both write a fair number of posts and we have several writers - both volunteer and compensated.

We will be trying to increase our number of writers in the future.

Going Forward

Overall, we're encouraged to see how much we've grown and how our blogging abilities have improved over the years and we're excited to push ourselves further.

I'd love to hear if your blog has evolved in similar ways and what you're planning for the future.

Shoot me back a quick reply and let me know.

Next week I will share more about which websites, services and tools we use.

If you have any questions or topics you want me to write about, just reply to this email and let me know. 

Talk soon,

Susan (and Janice)
5 Minutes For Mom

ps. If you have any friends who might benefit from this "Become a Better Blogger" ezine, you can send them here.