A Year of Blogging

In a year of blogging, I’ve discovered many things. I found out more about myself and analysed the way I parent. I’ve discovered my love for writing and my hate dislike for folding washing. I’ve almost quit numerous times and picked myself up the same number. Through my blog I’ve met wonderful people and uncovered a job I can do from home. Blogging makes me feel — alive.

After a year of blogging, I’ve listed my 12 top if-I-could-go-back-and-do-it-again tips.

12 Blogging Tips

1. Write about what you love!

What do you love? What are you passionate about? This tip comes in at number one. If you are writing about something you love, it will drive you and your passion will come through your writing. It’s a winning combination.

2. Write well

Being a blog author provides you with an opportunity improve your writing skills. I cringe when I read my earlier posts but then, I see how far I’ve come, and how much I’ve improved; it’s a journey; keep learning. I am.

3. Don’t be afraid to be selective

Don’t be afraid to be selective about your blog content. Did you know there’s a blog soley inspired by owls; a blog collecting one million giraffe pictures from people all around the world; a blog about all things vintage and retro? Be creative. Write about your passion.

4. Branding

If your blog content is broad, for example, a parenting blog, consider creating a brand. Be A Fun Mum is really me, but then it’s not. Be A Fun Mum has become its own entity. Consider creating a logo, slogan, custom template, defining components, inspiration, philosophytestimonials, quotes and categories to blog about. This doesn’t have to be expensive: I have no design qualifications, IT or marketing experience and I’ve been able to achieve all of this myself; I’ve not paid one cent to an outside party. If in doubt, google it. There is endless amounts of advice out there {waving arms}.

5.Write personally but with a broad application

Balance the “keeping it personal” and the “keeping it widely relevant”. If you plan to write a personal blog for family and friends — got for it. However, if you are planning a blog to appeal to a wider audience, think about crafting each post with the above-mentioned balance.

Instilling Fear: A family Zoo trip turned into a post about passing personal phobias to children.

Dr Tired and Cranky: “Feeling tired” turned into a how-to-survive list.

Choose Which Hill to Die On: The Terrible Twos: A horrible morning with my toddler (beginning of post) turned into general advice on toddler training (end of post).

Turn on the Autopilot: A school drop-off story turned into a visualisation technique lesson.

Self-regulation, Concentration, Anxiety and Video Games: Pictures of my daughter’s growth turned into a child developmental timeline.

Inhibiting Play: A pirate ship turned into a personal reflection about inhibiting my children’s playtime.

An example: Susan went to the local shop to watch the free Dora the Explorer concert with her two children, Sophie (5) and John (2).

Post option 1: Blog about the going to the concert. I’m sure family and friends would enjoy hearing about the outing; however, is it relevant to a wider audience? Probably not.

Post option 2: John was squirming and, basically driving Susan nuts. Mum used creative ways to keep him occupied so big sister Sophie could enjoy the concert. Widely relevant? Absolutely.

Post option 3: Susan writes a humurous story about taking a 5-year-old and 2-year-old to a concert. Widely relevant? Probably, if it’s well written and funny.

6. Voice

Stay true to yourself. Be who you are and show personality, or “voice“, in your writing. Think about how you speak, and well, you know, like, um, sorta — feel your way through the words. HA! But make it readable. Be you.

7. Edit

This means spelling and grammar — of course — but also the often neglected conformity in post layout and design. Think about headings, underlining, font style, text alignment and photo placement. Experiment to find what works best for your blog style.

8. About and Contact

Keep your about page and contact page current. The about page is the first page I will look at on a newly-found blog. Depending on its contents, I’m swayed to subscribe — or not.

9. Social Media

Social Media sites like Facbook, Twitter, BlogFrog and Formspring are a helpful way to bring exposure and community to your blog. Start with an application you are comfortable with, for example a facbook fan page. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

10. Community

Blogging is personal: it’s about communication and community; it’s about viewpoint and passion. I try to reply to every comment (through my comment thread) and email. Visit many blogs and leave a comment, especially in the early days of blogging. Bloggers help bloggers.

11. Welcome Page

Create a welcome or site map page. As your blog content increases, it’s important that archived posts are accessible. I’ve created a landing page for visits from Facebook and Twitter to allow first time visitors a chance to get to know my blog.

12. Mix it up

I like to think of my blog as an online magazine. I keep posts varied and interesting. Some posts are filled with pretty pictures and some posts are crafty. I’ve had the opportunity to interview interesting people and write what’s on my heart. I’ve talked about fashion, done product reviews, and found some really cool stuff. I’ve written l–o–n–g posts and short ones. I’ve done all this but keeping in line with what Be A Fun Mum means. Keep it interesting. Keep it varied. Mix it up.

Practical Advice

Alexa

What: Alexa produces free analytics for web users, in an effort to provide intelligent and constantly improving data. As a blogger, it’s imperative to claim your blog site as many rating platforms use this information to produce their rankings. Read more.

What to do:

1. Claim your website. Click here to claim your site and follow the instructions.

Technorati

What: Technorati‘s goal is to aid blogger’s success by collecting, highlighting, and distributing global online conversation trends. Technorati has expanded to a full service media company connecting advertisers to bloggers, in essence introducing blogs to consumers. Read more.

What to do:

1. Claim your website. Click here to claim your site and follow the instructions.

Regator

What: Regator collects only the best blogs from around the world. The Regator difference, compared with Alexa and Technorati, is the “human” factor. Every blog is subject to review by editors for well-written, topical content. Read more about how blogs are selected here.

What to do:

If you’ve been blogging for at least 3 months, consider nominating your blog on Regator.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Optimisation is, as Wikipedia puts it: “…the process of improving the visibility of a web site or a wepage in search.” In my words: helping people find you on the web.

Colin, from SuperParents, has kindly been working with me — oh-so-patiently — for a little while now. He has been working to convert me to the benefits of SEO. I was reluctant at first because it was like, so over my head (am I really that thick?). Secondly, I was concerned about compromising my blog content and writing style for the benefit of SEO. I would rather stay true to myself and have lesser exposure than the other way around.

The good news is I’ve been making small sustainable changes to increase the chance of searchers finding my content — and without any apparent defect to my blog style. Now, if you are like me, and all this seems too much to absorb, just take one step at a time. For me, it has been a slow progression of understanding and implementation.

What to do:

1. Make sure the URL links (called permalinks) are not numbers but are set to contain header/title information.
2. USE keywords and tags (metatags) for each and every post (I didn’t do this for a while because I didn’t think it was necessary)
3. Link to yourself (deep linking) and other website and bloggers, and keep linking back and forth.
4. Create a site map of favourite links

If you start with these sustainable changes before you move on, you are well on your way to helping people find you without compromising your content. I have a long way to go on this one.

Further reading:

Search Engine Optimization for Blogs — SEO

SEO for Blogs

Analytics

Tracking statistics is important. Through gathering data from your blog, you can see which posts are most popular, what time of day most readers visit and a host of other useful information. Also, it gives you an opportunity track your progress as a blogger. A word of warning: analytics are a tool, not a goal.

What to do:

Google Analytics and AwStats are my free picks to use in conjunction with each other. AwStats uses logfiles and Google uses JavaScript to keep a record of visits.

Has blogging been a success?

For me the answer to that question is an absolute “YES!” Time consuming? Yes. Frustrating? Yes. Worth it? Yes.

Want to blog? Be driven. Be passionate. Be you.

External Links

ProBlogger: a man who’s makes blogging, his business.

Get in the Hot Spot: empowering tips for life and work.

41 Blog Tips I learnd While Starting a New Blog: Must read for the first time blogger.

Resource

31 Days to Built a Better Blog (which I haven’t done yet but is on my list to do)

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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

Latest posts by Kelly - Be A Fun Mum (see all)

Comments

  1. Nicole says

    I love your blog, I only read a couple now since going back to work (I am a bit busy) but I love that you make me want to be the best mum I can be and I love that you make me feel normal, especially on the pick your battle days. I hope you keep blogging for as long as you love it and feel inspired but dont ever feel you owe us (your readers) anything. When you need to take a break, take one! We are happy to follow your family on Facebook :) And yes it is amazing what can happen in a year!

  2. Annette says

    As someone without children, I’m learning a lot from your blog about how to be a good parent in the future.

  3. says

    Congratulations Kelly! I can’t remember how long I have been following your blog now, but I am sure it would have been the early days. I love your blog, your message and the sincerity of you that shines through each and every blog

    x Sarah

  4. says

    This is one of the most useful articles I have read all year! Thanks so much for your generosity in sharing and the time you took to write this Kelly. I am slowly working through it. (Alexa’s requirement has me stumped at the moment but I plan to find a magnifying glass that recognizes html tomorrow!)

    • says

      HA! Took me a while too. Just paste the code into a post you have already done and save it (even if it looks wierd). Then get Alexa to check of it. Once it’s been checked you can go back and detele it from the post. Hope that helps. Email if you want to ask anything.

  5. says

    Wow. I can’t believe you’ve only been blogging for a year. I (and many of my real life friends) love your blog Kelly. Hope you are blogging for many more years to come!

  6. Peta Wright says

    Hi Kelly.

    I’d just like to say that you do No. 6 “Voice” of your blogging tips really well. I always feel, when I’m reading one of your blogs, that you are having a personal conversation with me. I like your use of language, which is obviously very natural to who you are as a person.

    I also have a Harrison who has just turned 3 and it has been interesting watching your Harrison grow up just as mine has over the past 12 months.

    You are an absolute inspiration, your get-up-and-go attitude keeps me moving on the days when it all seems too much. You come across as a very genuine woman, a fantastic mother who loves her children, but still respects herself as an individual.

    I am really enjoying your My Style and have learnt a lot from your Make-up and Hair tutorials. You have such a varied array of subjects that you have covered and Be A Fun Mum is one of my most favourite places to visit.

    So be encouraged, that while you are writing, even on the days where it seems like it’s just for you, you are touching, teaching, and inspiring many others out there in the big wide world of the web.

    You’re awesome!

    Lotsa Luv, Peta

  7. says

    Super post Kelly. I have just posted a link to it in the Newbies group over at AMB. It will be so helpful to new bloggers. And of course congratulations on one year of blogging!

  8. Annette says

    How do you start a blog? I want to do something focusing on good health and updates about us. After all I have had experience of recovery from health problems and leading a successful life.

    Annette

  9. says

    Happy blogaversary!

    Wow, this incredible post is food for thought. Thank you so much for taking the time (and I imagine this would have taken a whole lot of time) to post this valuable information and provide all of the links. I really need to learn more about the social networking that is available for bloggers. You have inspired me to check this out. Thank you so much Kelly.

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