Sunday, October 2, 2011

Protecting the Goods: Three key blog changes I've made

When I first started blogging a little over a year ago, I didn't think too much about what I was putting out there for public consumption. After all, it was only really family and friends who knew about my blog and I barely received any search hits. As my blog started to grow in readership and search prominence, however, this became much more top of mind as I realized (through personal consideration as well as following other blogs) there were some significant risks I was not guarding against which are part & parcel of creating a family-friendly online brand. As such, I've been making some modifications here at Manager to Mom to help protect myself and my family. Here are the top three changes I have made and why I believe they are important:

1) Registering my domain name - When I first chose the name "Manager to Mom" for my blog back in January, I was amazed that it wasn't already adopted as I thought it had such a snappy ring to it, and surely there were other "manager to mom"s out there who had decided to begin blogging? In any case, I loved it and I was excited to gain exposure for my new brand! My readership steadily grew and I began hosting reviews/giveaways in May which promoted another jump in traffic and new followers. Around this time, I thought hmmm, maybe I should register myself? Go Daddy said that was still available, and it was cheap, so really I had no excuse not to register at that time. But I procrastinated, and it wasn't until early July that I took the leap and Manager to Mom had its own Blogger-independent URL. I was definitely lucky that it was still available at that point, as I had about 200 GFC followers, had worked with several brands and was getting some substantial Google traffic. How much would it have sucked if someone had snapped it up and either created their own brand there or charged me an arm and a leg to buy it from them? And that easily could have happened. So again - I was definitely lucky, and I encourage any serious blogger out there who has not yet taken this step to do it ASAP. It's a quick, inexpensive initiative that can save you a lot of head & heartache in the future! For the record, I used which I wholeheartedly recommend. Clear & straightforward, good rates, a year of free WhoIsGuard privacy and minimal upselling techniques.

2) Branding my photos - In my early blogging days, I happily uploaded pictures of friends, family and important events as is, without batting an eyelash. This past Winter when I started entering reviews/giveaways, I noticed that most bloggers added their blog name and/or URL to all of their photos. At first I thought geez, it already takes long enough to write a thorough blog post. But to edit all of my associated photos as well? As a new mama, I don't have time for that! And how important is it, anyhow? But then logical me said to time-crunched, mama-brained me - "Well, not important - if you don't care about people out there stealing your work." Hmm, good point, me. And while personal photos certainly merit protection in their own right, this really hit home when I began partnering with brands on review/giveaways. For two reasons. First of all, it was *my* hard work and diligent photography going into the review write-up, and secondly, this provided visual evidence of my PR partnerships which could play a role in future brand networking. And guess what? It takes about 20 seconds to brand a photo. Or less. So lack of time is certainly no excuse!

3) Obscuring our child's name - This is the most recent change I made, and the one I oscillated on the most. The thing is, there is no "right or wrong" approach when it comes to how much personal information one decides to put on his/her blog, or on the internet in general. There are many different considerations, as this informed and astute Mommy blogger articulates. I personally felt (and still feel) that using my child's real name is more honest & genuine, however I eventually decided that the reasons against doing this had more weight. The biggest issue for me was the fact that our daughter's name is very unique - so unique, in fact, that doing a Google Image search on her first name alone drew up a veritable collage of her life. When I first noticed this, I was a bit creeped out and it has continued to bother me since. So eventually I pulled the trigger and changed her name throughout every blog post and FB page image. The process made me a bit sad because I love her name and it warms my heart every time I read or write it, but I do feel better having taken this step. For those of you who already know her real name, well, consider yourselves privileged, and let's keep it on the down low. ;) From this point forward, she will be known as "S" - simple, secret-agent like (which is kinda cool) and easy as dirt to type. And still just as cute, don'tcha think? (On this note, yes I am still posting family photos -  which is a whole other consideration, perhaps to be discussed another day.)

So how about you? 
  • For those of you who blog, are there any other steps you take which I haven't mentioned above to protect your brand and its associated property? Do you use your children's real names on your blog? Why or why not? 
  • For all of my readers, what is your level of comfort when it comes to submitting personal property & information (e.g. names, photos, events, etc.) on social media / sharing sites like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr?


  1. Great post. I follow all of these tips as well. I don't use my son's name on my blog either. I decided that before I started blogging about family adventures. We call him Lil' Dude at home so that is his alias on my blog as well.

    Besides his privacy, I just really love his name and don't want tons of people reading it often (especially attached to photos) and then deciding to name their child the same name. Seeing a name in the context of a real person makes it easier to imagine on your own child, I believe.

  2. Great tips! I often just refer to my son as "little guy" "little man" or just "baby c". I agree to hiding your child's real name.