Six years ago when I started my personal blog, Mommy Needs Coffee, the title was cute. I had no problem being called a mommy blog. I did not mind that the word "mommy" was in my title and url. In fact, I thought it was cute because I still had a toddler calling me mommy.
Time marches on and now I have two teenagers and a second grader. There is not a lot of "mommy blogging" left in me. I have considered changing my blog title more than once. A name to reflect who I am now. The laid back mom who deals with the tougher parenting topics? The professional author writing about the ups and downs of writing her first book and the shock of landing an amazing agent? The freelance writer on the hunt for the next article or job? Or do I just let my writing represent who I have evolved into and let the name I have always had stand as the brand I have created over the last six years?
Can you successfully change your online identity? If you are a mommy blogger, can you change your blog name, what you write about and still keep your audience? If you are making money with ads because of your traffic, is it worth the change to have your blog better represent who you have become and what you want to put out there. There have been more than one successful blogger that has been able to do this.
One such blog had a huge following and went for the name change and she seemed to become even more adored. When Chris Jordan went from Big Yellow House to Notes From the Trenches, her audience followed her. Her blog name changed but her stories stayed the same fun and heart warming stories she had always written. It was a name change more than a massive blog overhaul.
Now take another mom blogger who has been around for years and became very well known by her blog name/identity. In fact, it wasn't until recently many of her readers discovered her real name. Many of us read, knew and hung out with Izzy of IzzyMom. In one amazing leap of faith she decided to shed that identity that many readers knew her as and started over. Meet Janet of The Caffeinatrix.
I've now reached a point where I'm more willing to self-censor, if necessary, for the trade-off of being who I am and opening a door that has been barely cracked to most of the people in my life. This decision didn't come easily but it was obvious my passion was starting to wither, that I no longer felt like living up to what was expected of me. So?no more carefully crafted "pieces" on specific topics, no more writing to avoid land mines.
In exchange for my freedom, I've chosen to give up steady ad revenue checks every month and a fair amount of name recognition/popularity, as well as the holy trinity of blogging.traffic, page rank and comments.
It takes a special act of bravery for a well known mommy blogger to do that. But for many of us, we have thought of and perhaps dreamed of doing the same thing.
What about the other side of the coin? What about bloggers who blog about infertility and then become moms? Do they lose the following they had gained through shared experiences? What about the community they create around a shared experience?
Many of us have followed Julia of Here Be Hippogriffs.
Julia Litton had four miscarriages over the course of three years before conceiving her son, Patrick, 5. And four years ago, the 35-year-old began trying to have another baby?and entered the dizzying world of assisted reproductive techniques. Seven more miscarriages and multiple fertility treatments later, Julia and her husband conceived twins. Caroline and Edward were born in 2008.
I know I was not alone each time I would log onto her site and read about another heartbreaking miscarriage. Though, I did not know her personally, I wept each time she had another miscarriage. However, after she had her twins, Caroline and Edward, did I stop caring about her? Not at all. Now I began enjoying reading about her adventures with Patrick and the twins.
But could becoming a mom after being an infertility blogger cause a blogger to lose her readers?
I have followed Julie of A Little Pregnant long before she was pregnant. I held my breath with her through all of her trials and infertility challenges. I wept when she became a mom to Charlie who was 10 weeks premature. Her site is an amazing showcase of talented writing and stories that will make you laugh, cry and cheer with her. It may even help you.
This site started as my personal journal during my first IVF cycle. As the days wore on and it became clear that this wasn't going to be a garden-variety pregnancy, I spent a lot of time scouring the Internet to learn more about what was happening to me. But I wasn't always able to find the kind of information that would have helped me.
This led me to continue my journal in a more public way. I don't know that anyone who stumbles across my highly opinionated account of my personal experiences will find it exactly useful, but I suppose it's theoretically possible.
Perhaps there are some who stopped reading these blogs because they were there for the commonality of the topic, but for those who left, there were many who came and read these blogs that were new to them.
Whether it is the former mommyblogger who is no longer writing about her children but about her life in general with no expectations or the infertility blogger who became a mom and is now writing about life as a mother, bloggers grow.
And some of us have the courage to do it out loud for the entire blogosphere to enjoy!
Contributing Editor (Mommy & Family) Jennifer Satterwhite also writes at Healthlinerx and Parenting and is the founder of Mommybloggers.Jennifer Satterwhite also writes at Healthlinerx