The Holiday Post

Phony, contrived drivel ...bah humbug


It Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanza and Festivus time again, so the mines of bloggers turn to series swag from sponsors and the ever present holiday post. Everyone does them regardless of what holiday you celebrate.


It's a fluff filled post about how much you love your family and how thankful you are for everything. I hate these things. Don't get me wrong, I love my family, etc., but holiday posts are so contrived and formulaic that they are the blogging equivalent of literary vomit. I know, people are going to get all over me for this, but it's totally unnecessary.


You spend the year creating a blog that fits your niche. It take a lot of work and you make a point to not include frivolous posts. If you want frivolous, then shoot a tweet or Facebook update. Suddenly, the weather turns colders, the tree goes up and the world forgets everything they've been taught. I have written many Christmas posts for many different blogs over the years.


They often used memories from my childhood or recent with my family, thanks and joy for the season, etc. Everyone eats it up and you got an easy to write post for the day. Maybe I'm just a Scrooge that has lost the Christmas spirit. The holiday post is obligatory and you're going to do it, so just have fun. If you start feeling a little sappy about it, then revise it a little and put some meat into it. Talk about something that is connected to your blog niche..

Bring in the wife

When spouses get the itch to blog.

People often get the misconception that successful blogging is easy, but that's completely untrue. That doesn't stop spouses with Pollyanna eyes trying to start up their own blog and emulate their hubby. Mom bloggers have it a little bit easier as far as support groups, etc., but the competition is fierce.

There are mom bloggers on every topic under the sun and trying to carve out your own niche isn't easy. Dad blogging is much easier because let's face it: we're more laid back. We don't sweat the small stuff and if things don't happen as fast as we want, the we just go with the flow. This is where bringing in the spouse can get a little hairy.

They may want to get as popular or as many hits as you in a short amount of time. They want instant gratification and that's not going to happen. You need to sit down and talk to her about the logistics of blogging and what she needs to do to start her blog and make it successful. The talk alone might be enough to have her reconsider.

You can help her out by promoting her on your own blog and asking other blogging friends to do the same. Just don't fall in the “write this for me,” trap. It's where you're suddenly writing her posts because she doesn't have the time. Once you start, it never stops.

Having two blog writers in the home can be fun, but they both need to know that they are separate and things won't always be in the same ebb and flow.

Stop blogging and enjoy the holiday

Put away the!

There won't be many times when I actually tell you to stop blogging for a while. I've always said that a blog's sustainability depends on it ability to maintain a steady schedule. That daily or weekly post is something that your fans and sponsors count on.

My only exception is during major holidays. I don't mean you should stop blogging on holidays that means something special to you personally such as Veteran's Day, but the major holidays where pretty much the whole country shuts down.

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays. The whole point of being a dad blogger is to share your knowledge and experience as a father, but how can you do that if you spend all your time blogging? Take a break for this four-day weekend and enjoy spending time with your children and significant other.

Enjoy going to grandma's and gorging on turkey and stuffing until you bleed gravy and let the blogging pick up again on Monday. Heck, I'll even let you start writing Sunday night once the kids go to bed. Always remember that the reason you are blogging is because of family and they should always come first.

The break will also give you time relax and release all those tensions you have as well. Come back refreshed and ready to take on the world. You'll not only enjoy the blogging more, but your family will appreciate you even more. Let your family know that they are first by shutting that computer and enjoying a little one-on-one time.

Dad blogging at Christmas

The art of the gift guide.

It's that time of year again where everyone starts going gaga over gift guides. Christmas is a very important time for dad bloggers because it's the best time of year to get free stuff.

Everyone wants a review or contest for their product and they send these out in droves hoping the masses will read and buy for their kids or significant other. Toys and other items are given away for the sake of Christmas spirit.

As a dad blogger, you can wait for them to come to you or you can be proactive and go after them. Odds are if you're a blogger of any means, then you're going to be contacted by at least a few people. You need to decide how big a part of your blog Christmas giveaways and gift guides are going to be. I know bloggers who have multiple posts nearly every day promoting a new contest or gift guide.

If you want it to be a big part of your Christmas, then you're going to need to go on the offensive. You should start in September or early November to allow the items to be shipped to you in time to write the review. E-mail the public relations officers of the individual companies and give them your pertinent information.

Name, niche, various scores and why you want their product. Keep in mind the big guys are going to be hit up by hundreds if not thousands of people to don't forget to ask plenty of mom and pop and lesser known places in case the big guys don't respond.  

Dealing with success

Watching your numbers rise

In the blogging world, success is hard to come by, but when it does it can be exhilarating. It usually starts slow as you watch your page views gradually increase and your giveaways not only become more quality products, but the sheer number of entries begins to skyrocket.

It's possible that you may have even set and reached a goal you made at the beginning of your dad blogging journey. The last thing you want to do is take this success for granted and start sitting on your butt. Blogging is like a business and just because you've finally got a steady supply of customers doesn't mean you get to close the shop early.

It's easy to get sidetracked by success. I have seen many bloggers go from your average Joe to elitist because they found themselves in the midst of their 15 minutes of fame. Pretty soon, they start taking their friends and fellow bloggers for granted and even slow down on their blog.

They stop networking and reaching out to their fans because they think they don't need to anymore. They have arrived at their destination. In reality, the opposite it true. When you reach a level of success, then you are obligated to maintain that service or even go bigger.

If you slow down even a little, then most likely you're going to start losing those page views. You should never forget that you made that success through hard work and that it's going to take hard work to keep it.

Bringing in the relatives

When to say when

It's easy to have countless stories about your wife and kids on your blog because they make up the bulk of your family life, but there is an entire extended family to deal with as well. There are barbecues at your brothers' and Christmas at grandma's every year.

These are fruitful areas to pluck for your blog, but you have to be careful. You now not only dealing with your own immediate family, but others as well. Your brother may not like you recounting how his little hooligan decided to spread jelly on the walls or that your children mistook grandma's underwear drawer for a hat collection.

You always have to keep other people's opinions and emotions in mind when you're writing the blog. Will what I write be offensive or cause ill will if they read this? Odds are they may never read it or they could end up with it passed around the office. The best way to fix this is to simply ask them ahead of time.

If you see something blog worthy, then ask the people involved if you can put it on your website. If they say yes, then consider it the green light you were looking for. If not, then move one and pick something else. Your blog is important to you, but nothing is more important than family. A funny blog post isn't worth alienating a family member.

It can cause ripples that may take months or even years to smooth over. You can't get that time back, so make good use of it.

Rafflecopter: Good or bad?

Good for bloggers, bad for contestants

Rafflecopter has become the gold standard for contests and giveaways on blogs. It's an easy ad streamlined way to get Facebook likes, Twitter followers and comments. The question that I have to ask is if this good or more of a pain for the people entering the contests?

I started blogging back in the days before Rafflecopter. It wasn't easy, but we managed. You posted the giveaway and how people got entries. Often, it was a comment and then they had to say that they were a Twitter of Facebook follower.

When the contest ended, you assigned each person a number and put it through a randomizer that picked out a number and voila, the winner was announced. Rafflecopter came in a few years ago and steadily built steam.

It allows people to have hundreds of entries based on requirements of your choice. People can get five entries for liking a certain number of pages, another five for visiting blogs, etc. In the end, you click a button and Rafflecopter chooses a person at random as the winner. They even give you their e-mail address.

Rafflecopter also allows for several blogs to get together for large giveaways. Bloggers love it because its an easy way to run a contest, but as the person entering, I'm not a big fan. I don't mind liking a few people for a contest, but sometimes you have to like dozens of people. Sure, it's my choice and I could simply not to that one, but I know that most people are and I'm decreasing my chances of winning.

Rafflecopter annoys me and while I understand its use, it's taking the personal touch out of contests and giveaways.

Searching for topics

Ideas won't always come

Blogging isn't always easy. When you start out, you've got a hundred ideas for blogs and it takes only a few minutes to bang them out. Pretty soon, your blog is filled with great and informative posts and you're on your way to international stardom.

After a few weeks or months, the posts are getting a little harder to write. Posts that were once taking 10 minutes are now taking an hour to write and the topics aren't flowing from your mind anymore. You're going to have to bite the bullet and look for different topics.

If you can't think of anything from your life to write, then scour news websites that pertain to your niche. This works not only for topic ideas, but it's also timely so people will be searching for more information about it. It's important that if you quote directly from the website that you attribute the source.

Plagiarism isn't accepted by anyone, even if it's accidental. If the news sites aren't doing it for you, then you may have to start lurking on some of your friends sites and other blogs. You don't have to pick their topic exactly, but its perfectly OK to gain inspiration from friends and competition. Parents often have similar experience and while you may have forgotten it through the years, others haven't.

Their topics may spur a memory that you had completely forgotten about. Just remember that your blog is about your opinion and not others. So while the subject matter can be similar, everything else should be all you.

Taking out your frustrations

When to keep your mouth shut on your blog

A blog is supposed to be a place where you can tell people about your life and give your opinion regardless of what it is. There are many times in a marriage and parenthood when things aren't going great.

It could be stress, money or a millions of different things that culminate in short fuses and mean words. You may be tempted to share these on your blog. It's a great way to get things off your chest and odds are you probably find support from other in the same situation.

Don't! When your wife makes you mad, is always in a bad mood or even insults you in a horrible way, don't air your grievances on your blog. Odds are in a day or two whatever you were made about has blown over and you've move on to the next big crisis.

If you have a blog post up about it and she sees it, then you're going to be in a heap of trouble and not only have you brought that argument back to the surface, but also added an entirely new dimension. Many times people say marriage is about compromise, but in reality it about just making it through day by day.

You're going to have good days, bad days, good weeks and bad weeks. Live for the good times and try to put the bad ones behind you. Blogging about will only cause further animosity down the line. When it comes to airing your familial frustration, keep your mouth shut.

Changing your mind

Stick to your guns and own up

When you're a blogger, you are putting your thoughts and opinions out for the world to see and creating a written visual record on the Internet. Many people don't realize that when they start blogging and occasionally something you say earlier can come back to bite you in the behind.

As a parent, you may begin with certain concepts and ideas, but experience may shape you in a different direction. For example, a new parent may decry using the television as a babysitter, but five years later they're child's sitting watching Spongebob, so mom and dad can get their work or chore done.

It's a common occurrence, but if you write about one thing and then a few years later write about the opposite, it's possible someone is going to call you out. The fact is that changing your mind on certain styles of parenting is pretty common. When this happens and someone references your previous article and the new one, don't back track.

Don't try and explain it away. You should just simply tell the truth. Comment to them that you had those thoughts originally, but after living the last few years as a parent that you've now understand what others were thinking. Sometimes experience will cause you to change your mind and it isn't a bad thing. Just own up to it, when someone calls you out. If you do that, then you'll minimize the damage.

In a few days, it will all blow over and you would have created brand new blogs for people to talk about.