Thinking of starting a blog, or written your first post and wondering how to get people to read it? I’ve joined up with 6 other current successful bloggers to help you. Here are 7 insider tips for writing and maintaining your lovely shiny new blog. Happy blogging! 🙂 

Use your Voice. 

Write as yourself – write in your own voice as you would talk in real life and let your personality show through. People talk about finding your niche, the truth is, YOU are your niche – your voice, your opinions – no one else is you and no one else thinks exactly like you. Use that to your advantage by showing readers the real you.

Debbie from My Random Musings has loads of blogging tips and advice over on her blog and is also a fiction author.

Help your Reader. 

Create Useful or Helpful Content – Some really successful bloggers primarily use their blog as a journal, charting everyday life etc, and that works well for them. But personally, I would rather write, and read, posts that focus on either a specific topic, are opinion-led, thought-provoking or helpful to readers. For example, if you switch up the post “An update on my baby’s weaning.” to “Ten Steps For Easy Weaning” it becomes much more interesting and useful.  

Laura is a big mental health advocate and writes a lot about PND and anxiety among other things over on her blog The Butterfly Mother 

Don’t Get Caught Up

Remember why you started – It is so hard to not get obsessed with stats and followers to the point where it can completely take over. I went through a phase when I was constantly checking how many people were reading my blog or getting upset if I lost followers on social media. It took me a while to realise that this is not why I started blogging. I started because I wanted to document my girls life. I started because I wanted something for me. I started because I love to write. When it all gets too much (and it will at times)  you just need to remember.

Mum of 3 Natalie writes about her busy life as a mum at Meme and Harri

Get Organised and Plan

Get organised and consistent! Keep a notebook or some way to take notes, with you at all times as you never know when inspiration for a blog post might strike. Plan well in advance for things that will send you off track (such as school holidays) so you can stick to your posting schedule.

With the tagline ‘memories from the madhouse and more’ you know Natalie is great at planning to stay on top of things and produce great content regularly over at My Chaotically Eclectic Life

Keep your Reader in Mind

Know your audience and write with them in mind. When I am writing my blog I usually try to visualise the people I am writing for: you can see who your audience is from Google Analytics.  I often think of a few friends (who are the right age, gender, stage in life) who would be interested in what I am writing about and I try to write as if I was talking to them.  I find this helps my writing as I am directing what I am saying at real people, but to keep a little distance there I pretend that they have brought a friend or two along that I’ve not met before so I explain things fully.  If you want to branch out your audience a little start including a man in your imaginary audience (if most of your readers are women) or someone older or younger or with different interests.

You can find loads of new food inspiration over on Erica’s blog A Little Luxury For Me

Remain Accessible to all

You may have your target audience in mind, but many people, including those with disabilities, may stumble upon your website.

And this is a chance for you to be as inclusive as possible.

Alt text is the blank area for you to give your reader a visual representation of what is in your photo or image. Many bloggers unknowingly believe that it’s for keywords within your post. This is the most important tip I can give to anyone: describe your images, photos memes and pins so you’re blind and other disabled readers can be included and not confused.

Award nominated blog thinkingoutloud-sassystyle has been shortlisted for the Health Unlocked blogger award 2017, Sassy herself is blind and she writes to raise awareness of disability including mental health.

 

Thanks ladies for sharing your expertise and wisdom. My top tip is:

Don’t be Shy! 

Join lots of blogger groups on Facebook. This is where you will garner info about linkys and good places to share your content. Don’t just sit back and wait for people to read your posts, you might be waiting a long time! Promote wherever you can. Get over your shyness early on and appreciate your creativity. You write for people to read it so don’t be ashamed to promote it!

Go get ’em tiger! Blog, eat, sleep, repeat. Welcome to the community! What’s your top tip for newbie bloggers? Share below, you never know who you may be helping. If you found this post helpful, share it! Thanks very much. 🙂 

Bloggers trade on their stats. As callous as that sounds, the truth is, wider audience = more paid gigs. Every Facebook post, or picture on Instagram, or blog post, is published with our reader in mind. Every blogger out there will tell you they want to be successful and most can tell you round about figures of their followers off the top of their heads. So why then am I happy to be losing followers? Because I remembered why I started blogging in the first place.

Business or Pleasure

None of us started our blog with business in mind. Most bloggers began keeping an online diary, an outlet for life with little ones that allows us to let off some steam. Some of us had a life changing experience that we wanted to share with others who may be going through the same thing, and some of us may have been reading parent blogs for a while, admiring them from a distance and thought ‘I want to do that too’. Every reason for starting a blog is valid and unique. Somewhere along the way we might get sidelined by our blog’s influence on google (Domain Authority) and stats but that original reason remains close to our heart.

My reason for my blog was to share my birth story. As I sat in hospital searching online for anyone who had been through a similar experience to me I realised I could contribute. By sharing my birth story I hope one day maybe another mum sitting alone on a post natal ward with her newborn in NICU having been through the most difficult and scary experience of her life might stumble across my story and derive some form of comfort or solidarity from it. Sharing my birth story publicly was a way of dealing with what I had been through too.

Actually my reason goes further back than that as I had been sitting on the idea of starting a blog for a good two years prior my son’s birth. Essentially I just like writing, and a blog seemed the perfect place to indulge myself. Now I am a bone fide blogger I love everything about it, the writing, the community and finding little gems of other blogs of amazing writing to read.

In the Beginning

When my baby was 3 months old I took the plunge and signed up to WordPress. I decided I had googled ‘How to Start a Blog’ enough times and I had to virtually slap myself across the face and just do it. All was going well until I was faced with the name your blog page. Two hours later and a bit of a back and forth of ideas with my husband I typed in ‘The Hippy Christian Mum’. I wasn’t fully happy with the name but I was determined to be up and running by the next day.

The Hippy Christian Mum Header

Although I wasn’t entirely happy with the name it gave a good impression of what I would be writing about, what people could expect from my blog. Or so I thought. As I worked to grow my blog’s audience I started to feel like I wasn’t doing myself any favours with the name. From eating at McDonald’s (I can’t hide it) to being big on equal rights I discovered the things I write and post about probably don’t suit a lot of the people who might come across my blog.

It was when a person on my Facebook page put an angry face on a cute little video of a nursery in Sweden that purposefully doesn’t encourage gender roles that I knew I wasn’t presenting my blog in the way I would like. The connotations of the words ‘hippy’ and ‘Christian’ are so open to interpretation that it wasn’t a fair representation of my blog.

Choosing a Blog Name…Again

I’d wanted to change the name of my blog for a while but I didn’t know what to change it to. In the end I decided to use some form of my real name to cover a broad range of ideas and topics and to stay true to me. Can’t get any more ‘me’ than my real name! I felt a bit of a fraud under The Hippy part of The Hippy Christian Mum but my name is just me. Also, in the long run I think it gives my blog the space to morph and change as I do and that is a great feeling.

I lost likes on my Facebook page on the day I re-branded and at first I felt a bit rejected but then I was genuinely pleased. It meant my reasons for re-branding were good. People who felt my blog is not for them quietly left and there is so much room for those who feel connected to my posts. I still feel like a bit of a hippy, I’m still fully Christian but I feel like I’ve shed those assumptions my old blog name carried.

Stay true to yourself – McDonald’s eating and all –and you’ll attract the right crowd; in real life and online too. 🙂

 

Exciting Times!

I have re-branded, The Hippy Christian Mum will thus forth be known as Kate Lili.com.
I have been questioning the name The Hippy Christian Mum for a good long while [time for change post] and been back and forth over the decision to change. Well finally at the end of July I got the shove I needed and voila here is KateLili.com!

But Why?

As my blog gains momentum and I’m on social media daily for my blog [1st year stats post] I came to the conclusion I am not adequately serving either of my current 2 main audiences. Basically if you’re searching for a blog about natural parenting and eco-friendly ideas my blog is only covering the tippy top of the ice-berg. Similarly if you are looking for a Christian blog to read about faith and spirituality you might leave mine feeling a bit non-plussed. And I won’t stand for non-plussed! I want you to read my blog and feel connected, identified, and like you’re not the only fish in the barrel swimming in that direction!

What’s New?

KateLili.com will still have posts about being a Christian Mum raising a family and thinking on the green side when it comes to fair trade and thoughtful shopping [Uncommon Goods] along with the usual opinion pieces I can’t help but flatter my ego with thinking that people want to read [Zombies]. I am still the only contributor, writing, posting and vlogging about being a mum, family life, blogging, reviews, relationships, baby-wearing, church, parenting, extended breastfeeding, feeling included, education and Anne Summers parties.

Why the name Kate Lili?

The idea behind the name change is to more accurately portray what my blog is about. That is why I went with my name so that I can keep the topics wide open. I also wanted something that doesn’t make me cringe every time I type it out! Still a mummy blog, still me.

katelili.com

Still Me

When I began blogging, I wanted to get my birth story [Breech Birth] out there for other women to read who may have had a similar experience so they could feel less alone. I still want my blog to be a place where people come and feel less alone. I want you to read the posts on KateLili.com and know you’re not the only one who thinks that way. Whether the post is about a difficult day as a mum [Silent Reflux] or being allowed to be bit of a hippie without feeling a fraud, or being a Christian who swears and supports Pride and doesn’t have a problem with it. Whatever it is, I want to welcome you into my thoughts and ideas and have you say “Yeah, I totally get that too!”

Keep up!

Leave your email below if you think that’s something you would like to be part of and you will receive a summary of posts once a month straight to your inbox for you to choose which ones to click on (and you can say you were there right from the beginning ;))

I feel so mushy when I think of all the support I’ve had starting this blog I want to say a quick thanks to the people who choose to lift me up and also the critics who push me on, other bloggers I read who are rocking it and close friends who support me virtually and in real life. Money can’t buy it. The little likes and re-tweets are a wave that say chin-up Kate, keep going. Thanks! 

My little blog is one year old. I am feeling wistful but rather than wax lyrical – as I did about my son turning one – about how much I have enjoyed blogging this last year, I thought a post about how to blog might just be a bit more useful.

Why take my advice?

You can check out some of my blog stats here in my first year stats post including my follower numbers but first and foremost blogging is awesome!

I absolutely love blogging, it has brought me so much more than I thought it would; it’s a creative outlet that I didn’t even realise I was missing and being part of the blogging community is brilliant. I have worked on my blog in some way every day of that year (yes every single day, weekends included). Any time I can snatch an hour it’s the first thing that pops into my mind to do, at any time of day. When I am doing anything else if I’m not with the kids I can’t help but wonder what I could be doing with the blog (sorry friends!) or what I could do later or what I could write a post about. And when out with my friend Ceri at MyahzineTV I relish being able to go full geek, sharing our fails and wins, tips and tricks, or even popping up a laptop to quickly finish some editing 😉
So that gives you some idea of how much you can choose to put into your blog but hopefully also goes some way to illustrate how enjoyable it is!

So without further ado here’s a quick run-down of how to start your blog AND get people to read it.

how-to-start-a-blog

 

1. Set up a blog with WordPress.com

It’s really simple to do just go to the WordPress website and set up your blog following the start up guide. I would recommend buying your url name from the outset which I did as part of the set-up process. It was around £23. For the year. It prevents gaining a good following then finding later down the line that someone else has purchased the url for your name. The hardest part about step 1 is choosing your blog name! There are other platforms you can choose but I found WordPress really easy to use. You can go self-hosted from the outset but most people start with a free blog site.

2. Write a blog post and publish it!

Easy right! Some people like to have a back log of draft posts ready before they get started other people write as they go. There’s no right or wrong way to do it just get yourself out there. The only rule is to be authentic.

be-yourself-everyone-else-is-taken

3. Set up all your social media.

I would say do this the same day you set up your blog if possible. Be consistent across all the social media platforms you use, so try to use the same name. I would suggest using the same picture because if a reader comes to find you on Twitter from your blog, it makes it easier for them to find you. Side note: remember people will search for you by typing in your name so try to make it start with the same letter on Twitter if your name is already taken. It’s not essential but it can help. There is so much to say about social media in regard to blogging, it’s a whole other ten blog posts!

4. Do a bit of research.

Find out about SEO (search engine optimisation). This is basically finding out about the ways that Google puts your blog in front of potential readers when people do a search. There are ways you can write your posts to make them easier for people to find if they are searching for a particular topic such as using lots of key words. There is a lot of info out there about SEO and it sounds intimidating but once you get your head into it you feel like you’re getting the keys to the castle. 😉

5. Promote promote promote

Get used to the idea that you write because you want people to read it. That is totally OK. It took me a little while to really get into the idea of promoting and sharing my posts and I feel like I wasted a bit of time here. Not everyone is going to love what you’ve written but a lot will, and the support from friends and family will make you feel like a million bucks.

thank-you

6. Join the community

Find other bloggers on Twitter and other social media, see what groups they are part of and request to join any open ones. We’ve all been the newbie and so you will find bloggers are a great bunch who are willing to help new people just starting out. Also, there are thousands of people blogging so you’re bound to find a few on your wavelength if you get yourself out there a bit. I would say here also, do not link drop in groups it is considered very bad etiquette (we all have links we want to share but every feed would get clogged if everyone only used the groups to link drop) and ask yourself what can you contribute before wading in with a million questions. Can you answer someone’s question that has been posted? Can you re-tweet someone’s content?

Blogging is brilliant fun and it’s always great to see new blogs pop up and watch them grow. No one is better than another and get the idea out of your head that your writing is not good enough or you don’t have anything to offer. We are each unique and that is a good enough reason to start your blogging journey. Go for it and let me know when you do – I will come and have a read and follow you on Twitter!

 

*Please kindly ask me before using any of the images herein many thanks thehippychristianmum@gmail.com

I’m not much of a hippy. I’m an impostor. In fact I kind of feel a bit rude borrowing the name from the real hippies out there making a change for the good in the world while I still shop at places so cheap their production practises are probably questionable. I have sort of covered why I chose the name The Hippy Christian Mum in my blog post and my About Me page. It was to do with certain personal  parenting choices I have made like home birthing, longer breastfeeding and baby-wearing. But I’m a luke-warm hippy at best. No more or less a hippy than most people really.  I love the idea of not flushing chemicals out into the waste system but at the same time I really just want to clean my loo.

babywearing

 

So although I’ve never claimed to be an all out activist I do wonder if my blog name is right overall. I really do not want to mis-lead. I also do not entirely fit into the Christian blogger groups as my posts are never super spiritual. I never meant for them to be, and that’s OK with me.  This was always a mummy blog and that’s what I want it to be. I’m secure about my faith so I don’t mind being a bit off the beaten track with that.  I enjoy reading those posts too.

So either I don’t really fit anywhere or I’m a blogging genius and I’ve created my very own super niche. Which is more likely I wonder? Does the name just exclude me from both groups, just frittering on the outskirts of all of them?  I certainly do connect with and enjoy reading other hippy type blogs. And with the name The Hippy Christian Mum I could be more likely to be approached by companies who are thoughtful about their environmental impact. That would be right up my street because I think that’s really commendable. The idea of a complete re-brand seems daunting, and restarting at a DA of 0, but the general advice seems to be if you are thinking of doing it to do it earlier rather than later.

blogging

Maybe I’m experiencing some sort of blogger nerves as my blog approaches it’s 1st year anniversary (May 27th if you’re wondering). I am actually a lot more excited about that than I thought I would be. I cannot help but compare my blog to others that have been going about the same length of time. Usually I fall short but then I remember how much I love blogging and I suppose that can’t be measured in page views. (That’s not to say people with high numbers don’t do it because they love it too!)

I go from buzzing with ideas about really driving my blog to days where I feel silly for even thinking like that. I wonder if The Hippy Christian Mum really just sounds quite condescending. The original thought behind it was to juxtapose two terms-even though they actually go well together when you think about it.

Maybe if I’m happy just pootling along then there’s no need to change the name but if I look to the long term and hope to forward it then perhaps a change would be good?

The only thing is I just got some business cards made up.

What do you think? Have you ever changed the name of your blog before? Was it easy and are you glad you did it? Did you get 1st anniversary nerves? Or is that just me?! Would you change the name of your blog?

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday