Beltway Bargain Mom is a personal blog written by mother in the DC area named Laura. Laura is a mother of two and blogs about saving money, financial decisions and events that are friendly for both families and their wallets. The blog, “Beltway Bargain Mom!” Was started in 2009. It originally started out with the name of “Frugal Friends in Northern Virginia,” but 3 years after, Laura realized that this name wasn’t too catchy or well encompassing of the topics that she was blogging about. Her blog includes deals on food, coupons, free food events, reviews and family events for those who are frugal.
The layout for Beltway Bargain Mom is a two-column blog with a personalized header. It has two main photos: an isolated icon and a faded background. The isolated icon serves as the logo and has the name of the blog on it. The background photo is a map of the Washington, DC area. Both photos share a single-color scheme – a light green-blue. There is also menu bar under this header photo. It highlights the different sections of the blog. They are separated into the following: frugal lifestyle, grocery deals, restaurant deals, travel, tech and contests. The only one that has a photo icon next to it is restaurant deals. It has a cutlery setting image next to it. Above the header, off in the right-hand side of the website, there is a sub header that lists the links to the about, contact, press & media, policies and a search bar. The footer of the page is very simplistic and follows the same color scheme as the header. It includes copyright information as well as the design theme.
The rest of the blog is split into a right and left side. The right side is a smaller section that includes a welcome message from the creator of the blog. There is also a widget for all the social media sites that related to the blog. There is another widget to sign up for emails from the blog creator. Additionally, this blog runs adds and has sponsors as well as a section for the blogger to exhibit who her partners are. Included in this small column is a widget that shows the most popular articles that have been posted. There is also the option to click on the most recent, and categories on this widget. By clicking on the section in this widget, it will automatically update the listed articles based on your preference. The left side of the blog exhibits the main posts and articles that Laura shares with her audience.
The homepage is quite sparse with images and videos, but as you click into each page, there are videos, pictures and other external links to click on. Each blog post has been carefully tagged and categorized to help the audience better find articles that fit their needs. The most popular articles are the following:
- Quicken Loans National PGA Golf Tournament Family Fun
- July 3rd (Capitol Fourth) Dress Rehearsal Concert Free in DC
- The Top Kings Dominion Rides For Kids
- Safe Driving: Phones Down Home Run with Ryan Zimmerman
- Hey DC Metropolitan Couponers – Best Sources For Coupon Inserts
While these posts were the most popular, there were not many comments made on each one. There does not seem to be a large presence of commenters on this blog. Most posts had at most 4-8 comments on them. There does not seem to be a very vocal following on this blog, however, they do have over three thousand followers on their Facebook page.
Even though there does not seem to be many commenters on this site, there is a very clear “leave a comment section” at the end of every post. The “leave a comment section” serves as a closer to the page and is the last thing to come up prior to the footer. Some blogs leave a “meet the author” type of section at the end of each page, however, this author has hers listed on the top right column of each page.
If you click into the “about” section of the blog, you are greeted with information about the author and the blog. This specific page is split into 3 parts: about me, about this blog and connect with me. Each of these sections allows for the reader to learn more about the author, the set up of the blog and ways to connect with the author.
Overall, the Beltway Bargain Mom is a very user friendly blog that is full of interesting information for parents and for individuals in the DMV looking to save money on goods and activities. Every post is set up for easy social media sharing – and it has worked well for the blogger. She has raked up over thirty-seven thousand followers on Twitter alone! However, there is no way for a reader to see how many times a specific post has been shared on a specific social media platform.
While the blog is meant for families and mothers, the content and style of the blog can easier be read and utilized by any individual, even if they don’t fit the target demographic! The author has done a magnificent job categorizing and organizing her posts so that those outside her target demographic can better utilize the information that is provided on her blog. Everything in terms of organization works perfectly on the site, however, it would be interesting to see what the statistics were on sharing on each post. I think showing how popular posts were with specific numbers would be helpful and also motivating for others.