Last month I impulsively submitted my blog for a “website review” from the fine folks at Blogging Concentrated. I’d heard great things about their conferences and blog reviews, so when they offered a special, I jumped at it.
This review was very thorough. Dan went through all of my social media channels, my blog’s home page, my category pages, my About page, Media Kit, and even my Google Analytics. He had a lot of wonderful advice for growing traffic as well as making my site more user-friendly and more focused on the reader experience. This has always been of the utmost importance to me. Without happy and engaged readers, there’s no reason for me to pour my heart and soul into creating content.
One of the most difficult tasks he gave me was to rethink my bio (or my mission statement, if you will) across my social media networks. While bloggers may spend many hours writing about our lives and sharing our thoughts, ask us to write a bio and we freeze. I’m always editing and tweaking my bios, trying to come up with something that succinctly sums up who I am.
My bios used to read something like this (and they were all a bit different): “Christ follower. Lifestyle blogger. Foodie. Style Watcher. Aspiring runner. Gluten free. Momma to 3 littles. Hopeless coffee addict with a penchant for colorful handbags.”
But Dan had a different approach.
Rather than describing who I am or what my blog is about, Dan urged me to come up with a phrase that explains what it is that I offer my audience . . . what it is that I do for you.
This was 10 times harder than trying to describe who I am and what I write about. This task was particularly difficult for me because I don’t feel like I’m necessarily an authority on the subjects I write about. I write about topics that interest me at the time and I share what I’m learning, but I’m not an authority or an expert on specific topic. And it feels rather presumptuous to state that I actually offer a legitimate service among all the rambling that I do here.
But I also realize that if I’m not creating anything of value here, then there’s really no point writing this blog at all. On some level, I must want to offer something to the reader . . . whether it’s encouragement or entertainment or friendship or dialogue or information or expertise. Or why do this at all?
So I decided to take on the challenge.
First I played around with many verbs . . . do I teach? do I encourage? do I help? do I demonstrate? do I entertain? do I share?
I settled on helping — that doesn’t seem too presumptuous, does it?
When I share what I’m learning about food or fashion or the latest product that is sent to me, I share it to help other women who may be interested in learning the same thing. So help seems to fit.
The next question was, WHO exactly am I helping? Women clearly make up the majority of my audience. But what KIND of women?
This had me stumped. I feel like I reach many types of women. Liberal women, conservative women, Christian women, non-Christian women, working moms, stay at home moms, homeschooling moms, public schooling moms, women who eat gluten-free women, women who eat paleo, women who wish they’d never heard the words paleo or gluten . . . ha!
I mean. Where do I begin?
I came up with the “busy moms” label because, well, approximately 95% of my readers are moms, so that seemed safe enough. I decided on “busy moms” because while it may seem redundant (I’ve yet to meet a mom who is NOT busy) my reasoning was most women reading my blog like my posts about style and food and products because they’re too busy to research those topics themselves. They enjoy when I share what I’m learning so they don’t have to take the time to siphon through the information themselves. Most women reading my blog are juggling jobs, kids, husbands, friendships, church commitments, school commitments, etc. We are a pretty average, mainstream crowd, I’m guessing.
Helping busy moms. I like that.
But what do I help busy moms DO? Cook? Decorate? Plan meals? Stay in style? Stay up to date on products and trends? Stay apprised of current health and food trends? Decide where to go on vacation? How do I sum up the broad variety of topics I cover, and how is what I’m writing about actually helpful?
While I cover a l lot of topics here, these days it’s primarily food and fashion. Beyond that, I write about fitness, healthy living, travel, parenting, marriage, and technology. And I’ve been known to cover topics related to blogging and social media topics, and sometimes I even write about home decor, books and movies, current events and faith-related topics. But if I’m going to try to be succinct, I thought I should focus on the primary topics — food and fashion.
That’s when I settled on stylish and healthy living. I felt health covered fitness AND food. And style covers beauty and fashion and even home and technology in a way.
Finally, after much brainstorming and hemming and hawing, I came up with the bio that I now have across all my social media platforms:
Helping busy moms stay healthy and stylish while juggling kids, career & family. Author. Blogger. Mom of 3. Lover of puppies and pinot noir.
I added “author, blogger, mom of 3” to give some context about who I am, and I threw in the puppies and pinot noir because I felt like it was so sterile otherwise. I like bios to have some personality.
But the important part, the part that supposedly tells people what I do for them, is the first line: “Helping busy moms stay healthy and stylish while juggling kids, career & family.”
The thing is, I still see that and second-guess myself so I am coming to you with this question.
What is it that I do for you? For my audience?
And why do I care, anyway?
Well, that I can answer. This is important for two reasons. First, if I know what I’m doing here, I can do it better and more intentionally. I definitely can’t justify the time and energy that goes into this blog if it’s just for my own amusement, so I want to make sure that what I’m doing truly does provide value.
But also, there are so many blogs now and so much noise. We really have to rely on our social media channels to bring readers to our sites nowadays, and a person will only take about 5 seconds to determine whether or not they want to click over and find out more, so you sure better know who you are and how to convey that in an engaging way or you’ve lost another potential reader.
It’s hard for bloggers to keep our content in front of our audience these days. It used to be we just wrote stuff, put it out there, and people found it and read it. Mostly other bloggers read blogs back then, and we would comment on each other’s posts, and that is how we found new readers. A few years ago, I would have to explain what a blog IS whenever I meet someone new. Now it’s all about explaining what I do here. Which brings me back to the topic at hand. What IS that?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
48 thoughts on “What Is It That I Do Here, Anyway?”
I think your bio is PERFECTION! I think it describes to a T what you do here. I applaud you cause I know that was tough coming up with. Go girl!
Thanks, friend. We go back a long time in blog world!
I check your blog on an almost daily basis! It is truly my fav! I love how you research and share your findings, thought and results. Keep up the great work…it brings a smile to my face and is so very helpful! Proof that you are making a difference in blog world…i tried the lime mug cake this week, even when i put on a simple tee I make sure to accessorize and I’ll be stopping by Bed Bath and Beyond for the recommended coconut oil spray tonight before book club-very excited about this! I currently use organic coconut oil for lots of stuff and one of my faves is eye make-up remover…it works fantastic!! Have super weekend!!!
Thank you, it means so much to hear that.
I dont want to be critical because you put so much effort into your new bio, but you did mention a few days ago that you love comments and feedback so i’m just going to be candid. I really detest the phrase “busy moms”. It is so overdone. EVERYTHING tries to sell to “busy moms”, cereal, appliances, tv shows, ect… I see the phrase “busy mom” and i want to gag. Its so self centered borders on martyrdom. It screams “Whoa is me, i have children and my life is just so busy i simply cannot find the time to conquer it all!”. When in fact, that is the complete opposite of why i read Musings of a Housewife. You are so refreshing because you actually do put effort into things like fashion, and decorating and cooking. I love that you share the values of being a stay at home mom. I love that you dont think you have to “do it all”. I think your blog is really different from mainstream garbage and i think the phrase “busy moms” just puts it up there on the same generic shelf as everything else trying to market to frantic harried moms.
I think you should use “entertaining and inspiring” as your verbs. Because I am usually inspired by you. And when i’m not, I am at least entertained 🙂
LOL, Kate, THIS is the exact feedback I was looking for. You just reminded me of a post I wrote last year: https://www.jolynneshane.com/on-being-busy.html
I never even thought twice about buying into that nonsense when I chose that term. So thank you. 🙂
I wanted to tag onto the comment about using “busy mom”. That term almost makes me feel like I shouldn’t be reading because I am a step-mom and I don’t have the same daily function as a mom. I battled infertility all of my life and eventually divorced after years of abuse. At the age of 44 God allowed me to become a step-mom. We have him every other weekend. While I am not busy because of having children, I am busy. So, I don’t really qualify under the “mom” category as being the one making the lunches, driving the carpool, etc.
I read your blog because I like your family dynamic. I enjoy hearing how things fall into place for travel, mealtime, etc. One of my favorite posts was when you left your bag at home on a trip and Paul drove back to get it while you hung with the kids. My husband would do the very same thing. I enjoy reading about the meal planning, new skin care products, fashion, and business with the kids. I enjoy reading about the regard that your family seems to have for each other. It is refreshing. I know we don’t see all the stuff, but what you share is nice.
I think “mom” is too narrow – Women, you write for women. I am a woman – and I aspire to be this or that, but this is what I am getting done and this is how I am doing it – maybe it will help you. So, you write for every woman. You are one of the few blogs that I read that are not Christian focused – but I still let you in because I know that you are a Christian. I am bummed that you took that out of your new description.
Thanks, Yolanda, I really appreciate the feedback. I may tweak other parts of the bio but for now I am switching “busy moms” to women.
Someone else recently emailed me about removing Christian from some of my bios/about page. That wasn’t really intentional, but as I was narrowing down what I write about, that didn’t seem to be as essential – almost misleading. I consider myself a Christian who blogs, not a Christian blogger, if that makes sense. But after considering her words, I realized that being a Christian is so essential to who I am, and this blog has enough of a personal focus, that I wanted to make sure to add that back to the areas where I describe who I am. So I did. It’s not on all my social media channels because that is more focused on what I offer my audience, per this post. But the areas where I tell who I am, I put it back in and I’m glad I did.
It’s an awkward thing, religion. I’m not one to talk a lot about my faith in every conversation the way some believers do that I know. I don’t feel that it defines me the way wife, mom, writer, runner do. But rather, it is the foundation for everything that I think and do, you know?
All that to say, I very much appreciate your feedback. And your loyal readership. 🙂
I think switching busy moms to women is a good choice. I’m a mom now, but I followed your blog before I was a mom too. Unless you’re talking about parenting often, I see no need to say it’s a blog for moms.
I totally agree! I love reading your blog because of you, your voice, your being an inspiring and funny and entertaining WOMAN. Yes, you’re also a mom, but you seem like one of the few people who are actually a woman before wife/mom/etc. KWIM? You do occasionally blog about your kids but it’s not heavy-handed and you’re certainly the focus, not them. In a good way.
Totally agree with Yolanda.
Thank you! 🙂
I think the bio is great. I continue to read here because I find you to be very relateable. Your fashion style is similar (although not exactly the same) as mine! Your recipes are delicious, and you seem like a truly ‘nice’ person. That is important to me- no time for mean girls :-). I read every single day.
I agree. No mean girls allowed!! Oh wait, is that mean? Haha.
(thank you) 🙂
You give me ideas. I think I was reading your blog long before I became a mom – and I read plenty of “mom blogs” before I was a mom. I like the inspiration I get from reading other blogs – inspiration for recipes and decorating and even style inspiration.
So I think you help, but you also inspire other moms. (And, yes, we’re all busy. I haven’t met a mom who isn’t busy.)
Thank you. I almost wrote “inspiring” instead of “helping” but then I thought it sounded too conceited, lol.
I like your blog because I know that when you are writing about something you have truly researched it. You are giving us information but also your real life experience with the subject. And I feel like I can always trust your posts – even when they’re sponsored. I hate nothing more than reading a sponsored post when I can tell it’s forced or it’s untrue.
I love the bio – except the part about puppies – too cutesy. Perhaps Lover of Prada and pinot noir? Something along those lines anyway because I don’t think you’ve ever talked about Prada….
LOL. Yeah people complain about my expensive tastes, but Prada is way out of my league. 🙂 The puppies is because of my dog . . . I adore that little mutt. But I agree, it sounds a bit out of character to my ears as well. I will give it some thought.
I ADORE you and your blog!!! I love that you are stylish, *real*, informative, great recipes, modern, and personable. Unfortunately, I’m TERRIBLE at writing bios — it’s hard! However, when I read yours, I thought that it sounded perfect. If I were a new reader to your blog, I think that bio would give me a great glimpse into who you are and what your blog is about.
Glad to know I’m not the ONLY one who stinks at writing bios! 🙂
Those are hard questions. As a fellow-Christian, the first thing I noticed about your new bio is that you got rid of anything spiritual. And it may be that, as far as the blogging part of your (not ALL your life, obviously!!) maybe that’s the direction you need to go. You can’t blog about EVERYTHING (honestly), and still be a really successful blogger with a large readership. Or so I hear. I think your heart IS in helping people. You go the extra mile to do research and inform your readers. That’s a strong point. I tend to agree with the reader above who dislikes the “busy mom” label. It’s so meh. It’s overused and rather general. Is your blog for women who are not moms? I think so. Perhaps change the noun to women, and find a better word than “busy.”
But at a deeper level, I think many readers are looking for a friend … or at least a friendly person. Some of us bloggers have found truly deep friendships with each other. Your blog is very friendly, I think. YOU are friendly, engaging, unassuming, unpretentious, able to laugh at yourself. You feel like a woman who could be any woman’s best friend. You’re loads of fun, zippy, sassy, slightly disorganized, wise but practical. You’re opinionated but willing to learn. I think women who read here are attracted to the image of YOU that comes on the page.
I don’t read here as much as I used to, for two reasons. After a “blog party” a while back, I got SO many more blogs to sift through, and i was overwhelmed. The number of blogs that I read Every Post on, had to be trimmed way down. Eventually I jettisons some of the new blogs, but it’s still too many. Also, you do more posts that are for other companies, and gluten-free, neither which I’m really interested in. (Sorry … eek, I hope that’s not mean.) But I still love coming here and just hearing your VOICE — the JL that comes through your writing. And occasionally I have ill-informed opinions on your clothing — haha!!
You know I always love your feedback. 🙂 I was never so relieved as when my Udis contract ended. It became really forced to say the same things over and over. Of course, now I’m working with Krusteaz, lol, but it’s something fresh, and they have mixes so there is a LOT I can do with those.
Whenever you describe me, I feel like the coolest person alive for about 10 seconds. Then I realize I’m still just spazzy old me. HAHA!
I am aware that people read for me, more than the information I offer, which is why I always described myself and my content more than what I do for people. Maybe that feedback should have been taken with a grain of salt.
I read your blog almost every day Jo-lynne. I saw “almost” because sometimes I skip over the healthy eating ones…because they remind me I need to get healthy and if I skip over them I can still have my denial. lol.
anyway- i love that you really care for your reader. i’ve only been blogging for a couple months now, and actually only been reading others’ blogs for 5-6 months, and your’s is by far my favorite…and it’s because you care so much for all of us and it shows. Like, you really care about your reader and I appreciate that and it inspires me!
Jo-Lynne Shane, helping women navigate suburbia and beyond avoiding mom-jeans and boxed macaroni and cheese 😉
This one’s great! 🙂
Like many have mentioned, your blog is one of my favorite ones to read because it’s you being real. I have similar struggles, have kids near the same ages, and the way you share your life is so relatable. Love the good feedback you’re getting and I’m sure the new bio will be just right!
Love your blog and how easy you are to relate to. I appreciate how open and honest you are and love all of your style and food suggestions!
Perfect description Shaunacey, I completely agree!
I vote for “entertaining and inspiring” over “helping” since I see you more as a peer than a mentor.
I agree with the change from “busy moms” to “women.”
I’d take out the “juggling” part all together, since we all juggle different things–like I don’t have a career.
I agree the puppy part sounds off. Maybe “lover of skinny jeans and pinot noir.”
These are all just nit-picks. I read you daily and I stay for both your content and your voice (maybe stick “down to earth” in the description somewhere!). I’m just trying to help you with your slogan. You’re doing a wonderful job, keep it up!!!
Well for me, you give a perspective on fashion and life that is different from many other blogs I read or see. You are not the 20 year old, size 0 fashion blogger. You’re more like me, you’re close to my age, you have kids, you struggle with similar issues as I do, and for me, the stories you share HELP me feel like I’m not alone in whatever I’m going through. Whatever it is I’m struggling with, it’s not just me. I also like that you provide some inspiration to me as far as fashion and eating better. Thanks for doing all those things!
I agree with the “busy mom” thing….maybe it should be busy women! Although I am a mom, and I am busy, my child is well above the age of needing me 24/7. But, I’m STILL busy.
There are a few reasons I started following this blog. #1 is fashion. As a 40+ woman, I LOVE the posts for fashion the most. It was actually your orange dress that I clicked on on Pinterest. Once at your blog, I checked out your bio. Then realized, hey, she gets it! She knows what it is like to be a “normal” woman that has to deal with what life throws out like the rest of us. So, fashion is, for sure, the main reason.
Next, is decorating/home style. I love to see how you transform your house for the seasons. You do have a beautiful home and a talent for decorating. Next on the list is very petty of me, BUT, it is one of my pet peeves…you know the difference between the words “then” and “than.” I am not a grammer expert, but this bugs me and it is a major turn off.
I do admit that I am not as interested in the food as much as your other things, but I do look at the food occasionally.
Your travels and photography are also awesome. You share your experiences and give great tips on where to go and what to see and even how and what to pack! I don’t get to travel much because of my 4 legged babies, but I get to go on adventures via your posts.
Health, well, as a former couch potato I can totally relate to motivation, or lack there of, and now I know I am not alone. I tore my planter fascia in the spring and I can totally relate to your recent injuries and how they affect your fitness goals. I found a bike trainer is a great solution for exercise. Due to back issues, I can no longer ride my bike on a street.
You post daily….another thing I enjoy. Nothing worse than following a blog that was updated 5 months ago. It’s very frustrating and I usually drop those blogs after a while.
So, you DO help me. In more ways than (ha) one. Keep up the good work!
Thank you for sharing this process. I can relate to most of your reasons why a good bio is a hard thing to come up with. (I still need to improve mine!)
I’ve been reading you for a few months now and find most of your posts to be relevant, interesting, and thorough. Not to mention you come across like a real friend. I really enjoy your site- so glad I found you! 🙂
I like reading your blog because it makes me feel a little closer to my college daughter (in Kent, OH — I know,
I know, silly silly reason, but I like knowing you live kind of near where she is!!).
I like reading your blog because I enjoy your fashion tips and seeing the outfits you put together. I really
enjoy reading what you post about eating real food as that is a goal of our family’s, too. Seeing your menu
plans for the week gives me ideas also.
Your writing style is delightful, so I simply enjoy reading your blog each day to see what you have to say!
I read your blog every day, and you have been a huge source of inspiration to me as I start my own blog. Just the fact that you have put so much thought into your new bio shows how much you care about your blog and what you are saying on it. I love everything about it.
I think you pretty much hit it on the head. I come back daily because I love your voice, I love your sense of fashion, and I love your real life approach to real food. As you said, I’m a busy mom, I don’t have the time to research everything, that’s why I love having a handful of bloggers that I completely trust helping give me info on products, services, fashion ideas, etc. You certainly help, and entertain, this busy mom. 🙂
Dan is a smart guy! Are you a member of his Free Weekly Mastermind group on Facebook? TONS of great information. 🙂
Yes, I am! Just don’t have much time to hang out there. 🙂 I took his SEO course too. But I’m always so busy creating content and interacting in the comments and on Facebook that I don’t have a lot of time to focus on the nitty gritty.
I have been reading your blog daily for awhile, I can not even remember how I stumbled across it but at the time I never really understood why people wrote blogs or who even had time to read them. I subscribed to yours and I was hooked. I read it everyday and have never commented until today, when I read your blog on changing your ‘mission statement.’ Whether my opinions are just mine or possibly represent others among your following I am not sure, but here is why I read your blog everyday; its friendly, its real, and you write about uplifting issues that I wish I had time to research, read about, and somedays even think about.
What I would like to say about your new statement is that I don’t think STAY is the right term, I am not healthy or stylish but I am trying to be so helping me stay doesn’t really apply. Helping busy moms who WANT TO be healthy and stylish probably covers many more moms. Helping is so overused, its like using the word fine, nice, like, etc. How about an Online Friend? or Supporting, or even Promoting? I think you are missing a large reason why you have followers, you offer a kind of friendship that busy moms have a hard time finding time for – time with their own friends . And I definitely think NOT keeping more of of your original bio (not matter what Dan said) loses something about you. I was interested in a little something about you being a watcher, aspiring runner, etc. that’s what made me check out your blog, without those, I may have never been interested in learning about what you write. Keep doing what your doing, no matter what your mission is online. I love reading your blog and thank you for being my online friend.
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I think your insight is really profound and I’m going to keep tinkering with it.
I read your blog because you have a great “voice.” You’re never boring. You make me think and you inspire and you also make me laugh. Thanks!
I typically do not weigh in in the comment section. But, I wanted to say two things….well maybe three! I can’t remember how exactly I found you, but in my discovery of the blog world, I had begun to follow too many! It was overwhelming! And, so many of them aren’t realistic for me, they can just be too “over the top”. Having said that, I continue to read and enjoy yours! Why? Because of your authenticity, because you don’t always paint an unrealistic perfect picture of life. You are funny and offer a variety of topics.
I have raised my children, so I am somewhat older, but for me, the fashion tips (even though some of them may be too pricey for me, they give me great ideas!), beauty products and the fitness posts are my faves. Recently, because of traveling, and some stressful issues, I had gained a little weight and you happened to post about your struggles. I just found that so transparent and it encouraged me. I’m being more diligent with exercise and working my weight back down, but it was nice to have someone else write about their struggles! And, I thought, “if I met her, I would really like her!!”
As far as your bio, one of the reasons I stopped by in the first place was the fact that you were a christian mom offering tips and advice, so I would like to see that stay in your bio. Even though you don’t post often about that, it is who you are and that comes through in almost all of your posts, so for me it drew me in from the beginning. I also like changing “busy moms” to “women”, not that any of it bothered me at all, but I’ve raised my children and I find lots of tips that I implement into my empty nest life! p.s. I’m still a busy mom so that pretty much doesn’t end, it only changes; but, I love it!
Thank you for your wit and honesty! It’s truly refreshing. I’m a fan 🙂
I found your blog a few months ago after just beginning to follow “fashion”. I’m older and my kids are mostly grown but I’m just getting into looking nice. I was a “mom jeans” and t-shirt (albeit a cute t-shirt) addict. I just felt a “connection” with you right away. I love your real-ness, your transparency. We don’t feel so along in our struggles when we hear about yours. I love that you connect to women, not just moms. There’s something special about you. You seem so down-to-earth and reachable. 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to blog to us. I have to eat a nearly Paleo lifestyle (I do indulge in dairy and a little sugar now and then), so I appreciate that you have similar restrictions/choices and I can see how you handle them. I don’t feel so alone in my “special” diet. I don’t have any friend that have to eat like I do.
I only follow a couple other bloggers, but you are by far my fav. 🙂
Here’s to many more “connections” with you!
Thanks, Michelle, see what I said to Donna. It means the world to hear this. Thank you for taking the time to comment. 🙂
Well, I hope by so many responses you are pleased in knowing your readers enjoy your blog. I just recently found you, via Pinterest. So fashion is what brought me to your blog. Then finding you on IG. I’ve signed up for your blogs, and enjoy them. Getting to know you through social media.
I have 3 children who are all out on their own, married with children. I’m a retired teacher and enjoying life.
Keep writing, knowing you definitely relate to so many of us here in cyber land.
Donna, so nice to hear all this. I always feel awkward in posts that generate comments like this one. They mean THE WORLD to me, but then I always feel like it looks cheap, like I was begging for compliments, lol. But truly, it does mean the world to me, and I do need to hear it every once in a while since comments aren’t as numerous as they used to be (I understand, people read on mobile where commenting is awkward, and they tend to tweet or share on pinterest rather than comment b/c that’s easier) and because I do struggle with the notion that my content is generally quite frivolous for a Christian woman so hearing that it is truly helpful helps me feel validated in what I do here. 🙂
Frivolous for a Christian woman? Sorry but I actually laughed.
Oh wow, my total reply didn’t post. There was so much more. Ok, obviously something’s not working. The reply sounds insulting. My reply that I typed went on to say you’re not frivolous for a Christian woman. You’re a daughter of The Most High.
LOL, I wasn’t quite sure WHAT to make of that other comment, haha!
This is what I’m talking about. Pure awesomeness. 🙂
Agree! I love the bio! As for what you do for me? I read your blog because I can completely relate to you – how you dress, how you eat, how you feel about being a mom, a wife, etc. You keep it real with your good days and bad days. Keeping it real and letting me know that I am not the only one out there who may feel a certain way makes my day! I look forward to reading your blog, seeing your recipes, checking out your mom style and basically just feeling connected! Thanks for what you do!