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. 🙂

 

 

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.