By Julie Provost
“I can’t be the only Military Spouse that feels this way,” I thought to myself at the end of my husband’s second deployment. I was bored, ready for him to return to us in Germany, back in 2009. That was when I decided to start a public MilSpouse blog. I had a private one I used to catch friends and family up on what was happening with us, but I wanted to create something that could reach other spouses.
Little did I know how much my blog would bring me over the years. It has allowed me to share my thoughts and my story with so many other Military Spouses, from all different branches. My blog has also led me to my freelance writing career and has allowed me to meet so many amazing people along the way.
I believe that we all have a story to share, and if you have wanted to share yours, a MilSpouse blog is a great way to do so. Here are a few tips to help get you started.
1. Decide What You Want to Talk About
Not all MilSpouse blogs are the same. Mine focuses a lot on deployments, as well as PCSing and other military life topics. Others might have a focus more on moving, sharing personal details of the blogger’s day-to-day life, or heavy on the different resources that are out there.
Figure out the different topics you enjoy writing about and go from there. Make sure to talk with your servicemember about what they are okay with you sharing and what they would prefer to stay private.
2. Find a Platform and Create Your Blog
Before you can launch your blog, you will need to decide on a platform. WordPress tends to be the most popular, but Wix, Blogger, and Squarespace are also options. Take a look at each of the platforms and figure out the one that would work best for you.
You will also need to come up with a blog name. I would suggest sitting down with a piece of paper and jotting down ideas. You can create your blog title based on what you will write about, using your name, or anything you think might work. Check and see how the name looks together in a domain name and that you like how that appears. You should also make sure no one else has that name, especially in your niche.
After you have decided on your blog name, I recommend buying a domain name for your blog. Your domain name will be your blog’s addresses, such as www.soldierswifecrazylife.com. You can go to a website such as GoDaddy, or Namecheap to see if they are currently having any sales, which they often do. Enter your blog name into the search to see if you can claim the address. If you can’t, you should probably go back and find a different name for your blog.
Hosting is where the files of your blog will live. If you go with the free version of WordPress or Blogger, you can use their hosting and will not have to purchase it yourself. Self-hosting will cost you a little bit of money each month. I recommend waiting on paying for self-hosting until you have blogged long enough to know if you will want to stick with it.
- Tags — These are words you will use to describe the information in your blog. For example, I might tag a post about deployments this way: “surviving deployment”, “military life” or “military spouse”.
- Categories — These words also organize your blog but are a bit broader. Some of the categories I use for my blog are “deployment”, “PCSing” or “military marriage”.
- Widgets — These are small, pre-programmed content blocks that usually appear in your sidebar, or at the bottom of your blog. You can add a variety of things to them such as a search feature, an about me section, or your archives. Elements of some widgets are customizable so you can choose what they’ll say.
- Permalink — This is the Web address/URL given to each individual post. For example, https://soldierswifecrazylife.com/quick-tips-for-a-better-military-spouse-life/. The title of your blog post comes after the /. It is automatically generated by your blogging platform, but you can shorten it if the link is too long. Just be sure to keep all of the important words and to use a hyphen between each one.
- Blogging Theme — Your “theme” is what your blog will look and feel like — the design element. It will determine what your header looks like, your layout, and even text colors. Blogging programs offer free themes, or you can purchase one. Most are pre-designed to work with a certain type of blogging content (photography, storyteller, recipes, business…).
- Plugin — These are programs used to add functions to your blog, such as using Facebook as comments or adding a Pinterest button to your images. Your blogging platform will most likely recommend some to you, based on what can easily integrate with it.
3. Set Up Social Media
Once you have set up your MilSpouse blog you will need to set up social media to go with it. You do not have to be active on every social platform, but setting up those accounts would be a good idea anyway. You may want to use them in the future.
Ideally, you would have a Facebook and Instagram account, but a Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok account can be a good idea, too.
4. Start Writing
It might seem simple, but once you have your blog set up, the next thing you need to do is start writing. Spend time on a list of blog topics and work from that. Write from your heart, about topics you enjoy. If you can do that, the writing will be a lot easier to accomplish.
Think of blogging as writing a letter to a friend, whether you are sharing a story about your life, or teaching them something new. Simply stated, blogging is a creative outlet. A way for you to express yourself, and get your words out there into the world.
5. Start Sharing and Interact with the Milspouse Blogging Community
After your blog post is written, you will need to do your edits, publish and then share with the world. To be honest, this is the scary part. What if no one likes what you wrote? What if people don’t agree? We MilSpouse bloggers all have those fears.
What I like to remind myself is, not everyone has to like what I write. And what I write isn’t for everyone. But, there are people out there that will love what I have to say and will be able to relate to what I am talking about. Write for them.
After you hit publish, make sure to share your post on your social media accounts. Try to interact with other bloggers and make yourself known to them. Sharing one another’s work is a good way to get your name out there.
If you have any interest in setting up a MilSpouse blog, I suggest you go ahead and do so. Writing is therapeutic, and you never know where that blog might lead.