Tomorrow is my six month 'blogoversary'. My first post was only written on 14th May this year so I was shocked and delighted to find Baby Baby at number 5 in the Top 100 UK Parent blogs today. To paraphrase Norman Cook 'You've come a long way Baby Baby'!
A few people have asked me how this has happened so I thought I would share my secrets. Well, they're not secrets at all, but this is my blogging experience. (There is also an excellent post you can read over at Angels and Urchins that covers even more about how to start a blog).
I started on Twitter in February this year. One of my Twitter friends @Caroljs had started a blog New Mummy. I thought it was a lovely way for her to record her life as a new mother. This was the first blog I ever read. Thank you Carol x
In May I attended a session run by the Preston Writing Network, it was a Preston bloggers meetup. A journalism lecturer explained the technical 'how to' and I was able to chat with Ed from Preston Blog and the fabulous Jenn Ashworth about starting a blog. Before this I really didn't understand what a blogging was all about.
The best piece of advice I was given on that night was to become part of the blogging community.
In her wonderful explanation of the Top100 this month Sally writes:
"The blogs that really score highly in the index are those that are lively, thriving, interactive blogs written by bloggers who have thrown themselves headlong into the Mummy blogging community and feel passionately about what they do."
If you would like to know more about how the Top100 is put together, you can read all about it here.
When I started Baby Baby I set about finding the community. To do this I looked at Carol's blog and went through her Blog Roll (list of blogs she reads). I followed the blogs I liked and again looked through their blog rolls. I started leaving comments on other bloggers' posts. People were polite enough to visit my blog and either leave a comment or follow me back (or both).
I quickly realised that the mummy blogging community is a friendly and supportive place. It's a wonderful way to get advice, have a laugh or share someone's pain. I have cried with laughter. I have also sobbed my heart out reading some posts. If you're feeling down virtual hugs are a pretty good substitute for the real thing. People care.
I joined British Mummy Bloggers. It's a great forum. Here you will find plenty of blogs to read. Over time I have become involved in discussions and even started a couple.
Since joining BMB I have met some bloggers in real life. I email others and friendships are developing. I had no idea that this would happen.
I submit posts for carnivals. I occasionally write guest posts for other blogs. If someone has written a blog post that inspires me to write my own take on the subject I always credit them by linking back to their blogs.
I try to make my posts easy to read, although I sometimes struggle with Blogger - like today I can not get the font right over the whole post! I also try to keep my posts fairly short (she says, having written loads today)!
If I like a post I have read I will tweet about it, other bloggers do the same. The community is more supportive than competitive on Twitter.
So what do I write about? I started the blog thinking I would have a niche. I thought having two babies born within a year of each other would make an interesting read, but I haven't really written much about that.
I write about what's going on in our lives. I write about what I see on the news. I post photographs that I hope amuse you. In terms of Google searches (SEO), my most popular post has been Rainy Day Activities for Toddlers. I've been looking back over my blog posts and think the content is pretty varied, there are even a few recipes. I hope you find my blog entertaining.
You should write about what you know, what interests you, what excites you, what you feel passionate about. I could write about my children all day and I love reading about yours.
I take part in the weekly writing workshop at Sleep is for the weak. (I don't like to single anyone out because I have many favourite blogs, but I think this is one of the best blogs out there).
Before Baby Baby I hadn't written anything (non-work related) in the twenty years since I left school. The more I write, the more I enjoy it. I hope I'm getting better at it. I hope I'm finding my voice.
I haven't written quite so many blog posts in the last couple of weeks as I've been inspired to try my hand at creative writing. I started a creative writing course two weeks ago and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I've also joined a local creative writing group.
I'm not going to neglect Baby Baby or my Google Reader, but there are only so many hours in the day. I'm still reading all of your posts, and commenting when I have the time. I am so grateful to my lovely readers for all their support.
There are other ways to raise your blogging profile that I'm aware of, but haven't tried yet, such as hosting a carnival or using McLinky, or creating a meme. Some people's blogs look so stylish, mine definitely isn't, sometimes a makeover or sleek design can create a good impression.
Above all, write for YOU and enjoy the experience. Don't try too hard or worry about the Top100. Another paraphrase for you, from Field of Dreams this time, 'If you write it, they will come'.
I hope you've found this interesting. Happy Blogging!
If you would like me to explain more about any of the points raised above, please contact me via the comments box or by email to sandycalico at ymail dot com.