13 November 2009

The Secrets of My Blogging Success!

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.



  1. Well done, Sandy!

  2. Yep, totally agree with everything you've said. And well done. Like I said before, number 5 is amazing xxx

  3. well done on your number 5 spot. still trying to get myself involved in the "community"

  4. Wow, I had no idea you'd only started blogging this year. Well one on getting to number 5!

    Thanks for sharing the secrets of your success too.

  5. Oh Sandy honey that made me cry! Both because I am SO proud of you and then all of sudden there was my name out the blue...

    So, so kind of you, thank you so much (and not at all deserved but means so much to me anyway!)

    Well done again on your terrific shoot up the charts today.

    Keep going girl!! There's no stopping you now!

  6. Fantastically well done you and thoroughly deserved. Love the Field of Dreams paraphrase! x

  7. I'm so so so pleased for you. Love your blog and you've become such a good supportive voice in Mummy Blogging. Well done, I'm so proud of you xxx

  8. Thank you for the tips! I'm hoping I'll have a good number of followers like you one day!


  9. Congratulations Sandy...well deserved. XX

  10. Well done on the #5 position. Well deserved indeed!


  11. You forgot good content, if your blog wasn't good people wouldn't read it! Congrats on your top 5 listing. xx

  12. Congrats on No. 5 - totally deserved. Yours is one of my favourites! I've loved following your blog and your developing skills as a writer.

    I think your best point is that you should write for yourself and for the enjoyment of it. Anyone who does has something readable. It is so apparent in your blog that you love the writing and that is one of the things that makes you so readable. Here's to the next 6 months!

  13. Very well done Sandy, you really deserve the Top 5 spot! I've always enjoyed your blog and I think you HAVE found your voice, one that is full of warmth and kindness and humour. Best of luck with your creative writing - I hope you get a chance to share some more of it with us too. x

  14. First of all well done on being number 5!!! and secondly I can't believe my blog was the first you had read I'm very honoured hun. May our great community continue to grow x

  15. what a lovely post hun, the mummy blogging community is a really lovely one indeed :) xxx

  16. That is amazing!! Your blog is very special to me because you were my first follower (and first to welcome me on BMB too!) so you have really made me feel part of a community. Thank you and millions of congratulations!

  17. Just wanted to say hi and well done! You're doing so well. I sometimes think my blog is a bit of a mish mash but then again when I started it I though nobody would read it and I was pleasantly surprised :)

    Mel xxx

  18. Well done!!!! You have done so well.

    Like you say I think that the real reason of your success is that you don't come across as trying too hard. You write what you want about what you want and you do it well. You also come across as a lovely person and that helps keeping your readers loyal and coming back.
    I, like you, had to slow down a lot on the commenting as my professional career is slowly taking a turn and more of my time, but I always come back :)
    Well done again and well deserved x

  19. Well done Sandy and thoroughly well deserved too! You're definitely a supportive member of the blogging community and I remember you being very welcoming to me when I started out as a newbie too. Your blog comes across as one written for pleasure rather than trying to score well on any ratings system so it must be hugely rewarding for you. And I agree with Very Bored Housewife - you neglected to mention your talent for writing and excellent content!

  20. Well done Sandy....keep it up I love reading your blog, it was one of the ones that inspired me to start my own.

  21. Congrats to you. I read you all of the time even though I don't always comment. This is good info and I'll incorporate it into my blog experience.

  22. Hi Sandy. A wonderful post and hugely deserved congrats on the Top 100 5th position - wowza! You're clearly getting the balance right and sticking to what is true to you - and it's working! Here's to your continued blogging and writing success! :)

  23. Congrats Sandy - a very well deserved place on the top 100.

    Btw, I'm having problems leaving comments on your blog - this is my third attempt!!

  24. Congratulations Sandy. A meteoric rise? (I know your song lyric is 'rush' not rise, but that's what I'm humming)
    A hugely well deserved place at the top of the blogs!

  25. Well done you! Very cool indeed.

  26. Happy 6 month blogoversary and congrats on the number 5 spot. I don't get the chance to comment much but your blog is one of my faves, I can't believe you've only been doing it 6 short months!

  27. Sandy i was so pleased for you when i saw you at a whopping no 5 in the top 100 - you go girl!!! Congrats and it is completely deserved, i also love that quote from field of dreams. Can't wait to read some of your "creative" writing ou've been working on x x x

  28. Thank you all for your kind and generous comments. I'm overwhelmed and in tears!

    I will reply individually as soon as I can.

    Thanks again, Sandy x

  29. Congrats Sandy on your 6 month blogoversary and your number 5 spot. Kudos to you!! Also thanks for the very many tips you've shared with us here today. I'll certainly be following some of them.

    Well done. You very much deserve all the recognition and judging by the amount of comment left for you many others think the same!

  30. Where you at? Number 5??? Holy moly! Award for you at mine. You got any room on your sidebar?

    Love RMxx

  31. Hello top lady. If there was a list for top nice people to help others and be generally tops then you would be atop that too. xx

  32. Very well deserved and some great advice there!

  33. Great to hear that you are at number 5 Sandy because your blog is such a delight to read. What I love about you is this unassuming quality that comes through in everything that you do. You are a generous person with your time and support so keep at it. Look forward to hearing how the creative writing goes.

  34. Rosie, thank you x

    Maternal Tales, thank you x

    Snaffles Mummy, thank you. From my experience if you start commenting on posts then people will get to know your name and check out your blog. Good luck!

    Helen, thanks and you're welcome :-)

    Josie, you made me cry too. Your blog IS wonderful. xxx

    Liz(LWK), thank you. I love that film! x

    Liz(VP), thank you. It's really lovely of you to notice. You are the most generous person when it comes to helping others. x

    Kate, you're welcome. Keep at it and I'm sure you will. x

    Chic Mama, thank you :-)

    Insomniac Mummy, thank you and likewise, well done on your massive leap too :-)

    Very Bored Housewife, thank you, very kind of you to say x

    Fraught Mummy, thank you. The feeling is mutual. x

    Ella, thank you so much. What a lovely thing to say. I really don't feel worthy of all these compliments. I'll let you know how the creative writing goes, but I'm a bit nervous about posting short stories on this blog. x

    New Mummy, absolutely! Bet you didn't know you were so inspirational?! x

    WADs, thank you, it certainly is x

    PlanB, it was my pleasure to be your first follower. The first of many I'm sure, I'm enjoying your blog very much. Thanks a million :-) x

    Mel, thank you. I think variety is the spice of life. I love the way you combine your passion for your home with posts about your life x

    Peggy, thank you. I think if you try too hard to improve your top100 score you will lose what your blog is about. I'm so pleased to hear your business is taking off. You totally deserve it, you're a lovely person too x

    Emily O, I'm filling up again. Thank you so much. Yes, I remember reading your blog when you had just started, and very good it was too. It's even better now. I like that expression 'writing for pleasure', so true. x

    Lorraine, thank you, I'm so glad you started blogging - more posts please! x

    Gaelikaa, thank you x

    The Mommy Daddy, likewise, I always read your posts. I wish I had more time to comment. I think you're doing pretty well already, your content is always interesting and varied :-)

    Hot Cross Mum, thank you. You too, well done on your leap as well, thoroughly deserved. x

    notSupermum, thank you and thanks for persevering with the comment. Flippin' Blogger! x

    Really Rachel, 'top of the blogs' Brilliant! Thank you and thanks for listening to my songs. That's another thing I don't spend much time on any more. Ah well. x

    Surprised and Excited Mum, thank you x

    Tartan Mummy, thank you and thanks for de-lurking! I don't know where the last six months have gone! x

    Wife of Bold, thank you. I'm a bit nervous about posting any of my creative writing - watch this space! x

    Gloria, thank you, very sweet of you to say x

    RM, thank you and thanks for the award. I can always make room on my virtual mantelpiece! x

    Linda, I'd be below you on that list lovely x

    Laura, aw thanks x

  35. Kate, thank you, what a lovely thing to say x

  36. Well done, I think also you write well and readers become engaged, that is a big part of your success! BTW have you ever checked out the "Baby Bunching" blog, for mums of kids less than 2 years apart? They feature bloggers with "bunches" of kids, very nice people, check them out if you haven't already!http://www.babybunching.com/baby_bunching/2009/11/kodak-party-in-da-house.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+BabyBunching+(Baby+Bunching)&utm_content=Google+Reader

  37. Geeky Mummy, thank you and thanks for the introduction to Baby Bunching. I'd never heard that expression before! I'll definitely be heading over there. x

  38. Thats really inspiring to read im quite new to blogging myself and its often daunting thinking you will never get there! its lovely to see what you achieved in a short space of time. Thankyou for following making it as mum it lovely getting comments and followers xx


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