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. 🙂

 

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

 

What kind of numbers could you be looking at after your first year? Which social media channels should you focus on?

May 2017 heralds the completion of one full year of blogging for me. I started when my second baby was 3 months old and I started the blog to share my traumatic birth experience. I had no previous or relevant experience and started from scratch the way many people start- by Googling ‘How to Start a Blog.’

I love my blog. I love sitting down to write, I love finding inspiration for posts in my everyday, I love connecting with people in the blog community, promoting on social media, everything that goes along with it I really enjoy. It’s my creative space. Just mine.  However, I have avoided the anticipated pressure of turning my blog into a business.

The Hippy Christian Mum went self hosted at the end of last year (Dec 2016) in a bid to make it a bit more of an official capacity but I am still relishing the joy it brings of being a hobby rather than a business. I have been messing about over on YouTube too and really enjoying watching other vlogging families and making videos.

So here’s a quick low down of what my stats look like at the end of my first year blogging:

  • My Moz DA = 29
  • My Tots100 ranking = 1,752
  • Facebook page likes = 166
  • Twitter followers =1,221
  • Instagram followers = 383
  • YouTube subscribers = 76
  • Pinterest followers = 161

These stats are pretty poor really in comparison to other blogs that started out around the same time as me, but I know the why behind my stats (apart from one). If you have been slogging and slogging and not really seeing an increase in your stats then it might be worth asking where to concentrate your time. There’s loads of helpful blog posts out there about this kind of thing.

Moz DA is the internet domain authority, basically how good your site and posts are at showing up in searches. Mine is 29, some of the bigger bloggers I know are at around 40 and some very visible bloggers I see a lot in the groups who are regularly posting content are a bit lower in the early 20’s so I think 29 is OK. You might often see people advertising their DA when offering to give a backlink on their site to your site for a guest post.

My Tots100 ranking is dire. This ranking would be representative of a blog which does not post very often or is very new. This is the stat that I’m slightly confused about. Tots100 is great website for bloggers go and check it out! The scoring system is explained on their website but basically they take a few numbers and try to calculate where your blog ranks among all the registered blogs. My low number could be because my Instagram following is low compared to a lot of bloggers (Instagram is a whole other kettle of fish!) and I’m not on Klout so that may or may not attribute to the low score.

 

Facebook is actually one of my more successful platforms. Even though 166 likes may be considered really low, my post reach is quite high in relation to page likes thanks to very supportive friends who like, share and comment on my posts. My posts are never gonna go viral on there but I’m thankful for a lot of support from my friends. Facebook have been a bit hit and miss for bloggers and small business owners of late in changing their charging structure. I personally do not pay to boost posts there yet but I don’t see why you wouldn’t  if you felt it would benefit your page. I get enough from the engagement with my blog on Facebook to feel the benefit.

Twitter. Oh how I love Twitter. It’s like the detention room at school, all the funny people are over on Twitter! I used to spend a lot of time there, probably more than any other social media channel because I see things like posts, news, and funny articles that I don’t find anywhere else. However, the mummy blogging network on Twitter is – I hate to say it – a bit of a bore! It is mostly, and understandably, used as a marketing tool with most mummy blogger accounts using post schedulers to make their hard-worked on posts visible. So I’m missing the witty quips and indulgent swearing I used to get from my old personal account where I followed a lot of American comedians.

Instagram as I said is a whole can of worms, with the algorithm changing so frequently (or so it seems) that none of us can keep up. People are really tapping into the power of Instagram so the landscape has changed a lot in the last few months even. There are Instagram bots and ‘like for like’ and people following and un-following left right and centre! I go on there because my ego can’t help but think people are actually interested to see pics of my little family and what we have been up to but also there are some *amazing* photographers on there if you know where to look ;). There are some really cute accounts too and I must confess to completely enjoying the element of voyeurism Instagram affords.

YouTube is fun and scatty and has a really youthful, new vibe to it. I post these vids and wonder why people would want to watch me on a video but they do! And I watch them too! I’m actually currently a bit addicted to the Daily Bumps YouTube channel who are an American vlogging family. YouTube is exciting because it feels like you could find anything you want on there. Someone advised that if you look at YouTube as a search engine rather than another social media platform you will likely have more success over there. P.S. if you like YouTube check out my friend’s channel MyahZineTV it’s fab! My friend Ceri and her husband and daughter do crafts, kids recipes and weekly fun vlogs.

Pinterest to be honest can be found languishing in the corner. I love it but I tend to forget it’s there and I use it for personal use more than for the blog. I know there is masses of untapped traffic through Pinterest and I see quite a few of the American mommy bloggers doing a lot with it so I think this might be one for me to work on.

Anyway that was quite a long post for some stats! But the long and short of it is, enjoy your blog, make it unique to you, ask yourself how you define success and go for it! Don’t be shy. Good Luck.