It is just over a year ago since I started my blog, and in many ways it is like a one year old child. It is time consuming, demanding and I always feel like I am not quite doing a good enough job. But it is also very rewarding. Not in a financial sense, but I’ve met some great people through it.
I’d loved the idea of blogging for ages, but just never felt I had anything worth writing about. Suddenly as a new mum I had lots of inspiration. It may not have been original and I don’t have a special angle, but I had a topic I was passionate about suddenly.
When I first started my blog I did it primarily to keep my mind occupied when I was on maternity leave, and help me order my thoughts. I hoped people would like it, and in the back of my mind I secretly hoped it might become a bit of a community and I might get lucky and it might draw in a few paid opportunities.
I quickly realised how naive I was, and the successful mummy bloggers don’t get followers or make money because they get lucky, they work so damn hard. They have to be skilled at writing, social media promotion, photography, graphic design, understanding search algorithms, basic coding, tagging, pitching to brands and so much more. They also invest money into self-hosted sites and design support.
On top of that they are also mothers, so it isn’t all cups of coffee and pristine laptops like blogging can be portrayed, and I have a new found admiration for them.
I have read a few “how to” articles about blogging and I know I am doing everything wrong. I am not writing posts in advance and posting at regular intervals, I just write when the mood takes me. I don’t schedule social media posts for the most effective times, I just post when I feel like it. I’m not repeatedly pinning my posts. Most importantly I write about myself – people want to read things that are useful for them not about someone else.
For a while I compared myself to other bloggers and felt a bit inadequate. I kept telling myself if I had a more consistent theme or better scheduling, or wrote in a more magazine style I might do better, but I don’t have the time or energy to commit to that race, where it would never feel quite enough.
Instead I had to stop comparing myself to others and remind myself why I was doing it, which was primarily because I enjoy writing. Now I don’t measure success in followers or paid opportunities, but as long as each post gets a bit of engagement and a few people reading I’ll be happy.
Over the past year the blog has changed. At first I was struggling to find information online to choose places to go with my baby that I knew would be stress free for feeding and changing. I wanted to primarily write reviews of places I went to help others. I still write that a bit, but it has become less and less the main focus.
I found I really enjoyed reading other people’s posts about their baby’s development or the struggles they faced and how they coped. I was inspired by the great bloggers I read and I figured if that’s what I enjoy reading I might enjoy writing similar.
At the start I was adamant I wouldn’t include pictures of my baby girl in the blog, but that soon fell by the wayside. It’s something I wrestled with, because I completely understand that she hasn’t consented to sharing images, and there are some weirdos out there that do strange things with photos. However I get better engagement with real pictures rather than stock images, and it feels more authentic to me. I’m careful with which ones I use, no naked bath shots – I’m saving those to show her at her 18th birthday. When the time comes and she is old enough I will share my blog with her and hopefully she will like the record of our time together, but if she asks me to delete it of course I will. As for the weirdos, as long as they don’t know us in real life I figure that’s safe.
There are days when I really struggle to find time to write, and when a post gets no responses it can be disheartening, so I’ve often thought of stopping.
The thing that keeps me going is all the positive comments from friends and family, and the wonderful new people I’ve met. I love reading other parent’s blogs, and it is so satisfying when you find someone living a very different life where you still share so much in common.
A few really started to feel like friends but then they suddenly disappeared as they gave up on their blogs, and I wished I’d commented more if it would have kept them going.
At Christmas a group of bloggers did a secret santa gift exchange and the gift I got so well suited me it felt like it was from someone I’d known for years. The strange thing is I may never meet these people, but they really help me navigate the roller-coaster that is parenting, with laughter, advice, inspiration and empathy.
If you are reading this and thinking of starting a blog my top tips would be:
- Be very clear with yourself what your goals are.
- If you want to make it pay financially be prepared to commit time and money to it.
- Think about your strengths (writing, photos, crafts) and play to those strengths.
- Follow other similar bloggers to get inspiration, but don’t compare yourself to them too much.
- Take time to read and comment on other blogs.
- Only do it if it makes you happy.
Hopefully I can follow that advice and keep going for another year, and fingers crossed get a few more followers even if it is an imperfect blog of my rambling thoughts.
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