12 articles Articles posted in Blogging

Being a Better Blogger

When I started blogging back in 2010, I never thought it would be something I would still be doing 7 years later, but here I am still tapping away. My blogging has gone through peaks and troughs, with various levels of effort from me. When Sausage started school, I was able to go along to more blogging events during school hours and I went to some really cool things, like the gaming event in a hotel basement or the time that I got a manicure and makeover in a spa just because the brand liked my blog.

Burrito Baby is going to be three in a couple of weeks which means that, from Easter, she could be in nursery for a few hours a week if we decided to. I’m still umming and ahhing about it, and haven’t made any concrete plans, but I do like the idea of having a few child-free hours aweek again so that I can focus on myself.

Being able to travel more for blogging would be really great; I miss the hustle and bustle of events, meeting up with other bloggers and just getting a change of scenery for a day. I’d also like an excuse to buy a lovely new laptop backpack for travelling with my tech, but that doesn’t seem like a concrete enough reason to put my baby in playschool!!

I’m also planning on investing in a new camera this year and possibly some sort of backdrop set-up for taking better pictures. Every single blogger who I’d consider a ‘top blogger’ has beautiful imagery on their site and although I’m happy with my blog I’d really like to take it to the next level. I’m also looking into photography courses so that I can learn the basics of how to really get the best shots.

Another thing I’m planning to do is getting involved in more blog hops and regular linkys. One of the hardest parts of blogging is coming up with new, original content on a daily basis and it’s something which really fluctuates for me. However, when I blog more it somehow makes me more creative and I’m able to come up with more things to write about, so getting a few prompts each week should really help.

Another thing which makes a good blogger is by reading other blogs and sharing their content. Blogging is a community and as such a bit of love can go a long way. People are always happier to share posts and leave comments if there’s reciprocation but it should also be natural and genuine – if you find a post you love, share it and comment on it without the expectation of reciprocation and it’ll always be nice when it happens!

Do you have any plans for being a better blogger in 2017? Do you know of any amazing linkys that I should be joining in with? Which events will you be attending this year?

Ways to Improve Your Blogging

I’ve been doing this whole blogging thing for over six years now and I never dreamed that I could make a living out of it, but here I am doing exactly that. I do try to avoid ‘blogging about blogging’, not least of all because I certainly don’t feel like I’m in a position to be telling other people HOW to blog, but I have picked up a few things along the way which have taken my site from unread to having several thousand subscribers, so I thought I’d share a few of them here.

Invest in a Good Camera

If you intend on taking photos to go on your blog, investing in a decent entry level camera (Sensible Reviewer has some great suggestions) will help you to take your images to the next level. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with natural. off-the-cuff photos taken on a smartphone or compact camera but all of the most successful bloggers I know also throw well-styled images in, especially if they’re working with a brand.

Get a Proofreader

Before I hit ‘publish’ I always proof-read my own posts, but it’s still really common for mistakes to fly below the radar, especially when you’re reading your own work. Many bloggers fall into the “spelling and grammar doesn’t matter” school of thought, and that’s fine for them, but I usually feel mortified if I read a post back from a while ago and see a mistake which has gone unnoticed all that time. Husband casts an eye over things for me now to see if I’ve made any glaring mistakes!

Formatting Consistency

This one may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I like to format my posts a certain way to give consistency down the page. All of my posts are aligned justified down the page to give nice straight lines as I just think it makes my whole site look tidier and my images are usually centred, which also makes the page look neat. If I go onto sites where the text and images are all over the place it often puts me off of reading further.

Don’t Blog for the Sake of It

I know a lot of bloggers who blog to a schedule and that’s fine if you’ve actually got something to write about, but I also see people blogging simply for the sake of getting something published so that their site doesn’t sit dormant for any length of time. Blogging shouldn’t be forced and it’s really easy to spot posts which have been thrown up simply as ‘filler’.

Don’t Be Scared to Promote

Writing a blog is all well and good, but if no-one reads it you’re basically doing the digital equivalent of shouting into an empty room. Utilise social media to its fullest potential, don’t be afraid to write posts with the words “If you like this please hit share” and don’t forget to join some of the Facebook groups for bloggers which are a great place to join in with comment posts and sharing circles.

Do You Blog?

blog-372771_1280Today, we’re hosting a post with some great tips for bloggers.

Setting up a blog can be an amazing experience, letting you share your ideas, help other people and even make a living writing about something you have a passion for. However, if you are going to do it right, there’s more to think about than just the content. Here’s my three top tips for setting up your blog.

Build your blog with the right platform

If you’re going to start blogging, one of the things you are going to need is a good quality, well designed website. A website with an attractive design, where your writing and images are clearly presented, will make visitors stay on your site longer and encourage them to return, leave comments, share your posts on social media and sign up for your newsletter.

Whilst there are platforms available that will provide you with a free website and host it for you, they often come with a big disadvantage; they won’t allow you to make money from advertising and as a result you are prevented from turning your blog into a business.

Instead, you should consider building a website using a platform like WordPress, which offers free software that allows you to create your blog with relative ease. Besides letting you make money from your blog, platforms like WordPress come with hundreds of free themes to suit any style of blog and have thousands of free plugins; these are software add-ons that let you add a massive range of features to your blog. There are over 74 million WordPress sites online and millions of others built using similar platforms like Joomla and Magento.

Use secure antivirus software to prevent hacking

One essential thing you must do when you set up a blog is keep your site safe. Over the years, you may put in thousands of hours of effort to build up a substantial body of work and, hopefully, a significant online audience. Your blog may be financially very lucrative. This is why it’s important to install a great quality antivirus; so your content is always safe and you cannot be hacked. A hacker can destroy in minutes what you have spent years creating. Installing anti-virus software on your blog, right at the beginning of your journey, is an absolute must.

Set up real-time email verification for your newsletter sign-ups

An important way of growing your blog’s audience is to allow visitors to sign up for your newsletter. Doing this means that you can regularly remind visitors who haven’t checked in for a while about new articles or let them know about competitions or giveaways. Newsletters are considered as the key feature to developing a blog into a business, as it’s these returning visitors who are statistically more likely to trust your site and buy something you promote.

Once you’ve put in place a ‘sign up to our newsletter’ feature, you will, unfortunately, get two kinds of subscriber; genuine ones and fake ones. The fake subscribers are often people (or automated computer programs) that sign up in order to obtain a user name and password. They will try to use these to hack the admin section of your site. To protect yourself, make sure the newsletter subscription service you use comes with real time email verification. This will allow you to tell immediately if the email address is real of not. Doing this prevents hackers from accessing the site and stops you having a database full of fake emails. Trying to send newsletters to hundreds of fake email addresses can lead to you being penalised by internet service providers, and even having your website’s email address blacklisted. Try a service such as BriteVerify’s email verification.

Blog Your Heart Out

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One of my favourite bloggers in the whole world, Sonya from The Ramblings of a Formerly Rock and Roll Mum, has tagged me in a meme (ooh, I do love a good meme…) where I have to answer some questions about blogging. So, here goes…

Who/What encouraged you to start blogging?

I started blogging when Sausage was 2, back in 2010 – I was still in the grips of postnatal PTSD, spending a lot of time shut indoors, scared of the outside world. I somehow stumbled on some American blogs while trawling the internet during one of Sausage’s nap times, and thought “I could do that”. I’ve always been an over-sharer and it seemed like it could be really cathartic for me.

How did you choose what to blog about?

I don’t think I ever did, to be honest! This blog has always just been a random selection of whatever falls out of my head and onto the keyboard. I’m the sort of person who would get bored of only writing about one topic and even now, I still toy with starting new blogs to have somewhere to write about other things which may not quite fit with my site.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

That’s a tough one…over-sharer here, remember?! Erm…okay…I did belly dancing for two years in my early 20’s and actually got pretty good at it. I performed in a few proper shows and even trained with a couple of world-renowned professional belly dancers.

What three words describe your style?

Hopefully entertaining, yeah?

What do you love to do when you are not blogging?

These days its mostly an elaborate juggling act of trying to care for Burrito Baby, spend time with Sausage, earn some money, stop the house from looking like a squat (and mostly failing) and trying to squeeze in some quality time with Husband (which usually means me falling asleep in front of The Sopranos). The elusive balance! I really want to start writing more, about different things, and I’ve had the basis of a novel in my head for a while now so this might be the year that I finally get started on that, too.

Now for the tagging! I nominate the following bloggers to Blog their Hearts Out:

Ruth at Dorky Mum
Emma at The Syders

Another Year of Mum’s the Word (part two)

The Best of 2013

Following from yesterday’s post rounding up the most popular Mum’s the Word posts from January to June of 2013, today’s post is finishing up by showing you what our readers loved during July to December.

JULY

The beginning of July saw us exploring a local heritage centre, Prittlewell Priory. I was also pondering whether Brits would be healthier if the weather wasn’t so bad, and wondering if our kids are lonelier than we were when we were little. In mid-July, I shared our family’s secret recipe for the best sandwich you’ll ever eat and also confessed to being a Helicopter Parent. Finally, I mused over whether saving the planet has become the reserve of the middle classes and whether us in a lower wage bracket could offer as much in the way of conservation.

AUGUST

In August, I decided that I’d much rather be a ‘Hippo Mum‘ than a Tiger Mom. I also wrote a post to celebrate mine and Husband’s 7 year wedding anniversary as well as musing over why people have an inbuilt expectation for people to have kids as soon as they get to a certain age. Finally, I was asking why, in this day and age, people still seem to look down their noses at electronic devices for kids.

SEPTEMBER

I announced my pregnancy at the beginning of September and continued the month by comparing my two pregnancies and talking about my going onto insulin. On an entirely different note, I also wrote about the Michael LeVell rape case and a separate post about the shocking statistics related to women not reporting cases of rape.

OCTOBER

I kicked off October by thinking about giving kids a social conscience, after Sausage asking if we could visit Russia one day and having to explain about their hard-line approach to homosexuality. I also shared one of my all-time favourite recipes, for authentic southern chili, given to me by my mother-in-law. I finished the month with three Sausage-centric posts, one about the issue of boyfriends, another about how annoying I find it when toy companies make ‘girls’ versions of things by making them small and pink, and finally wondering if baby number two will struggle to live up to her super awesome sibling.

NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER

We’re still in December (for the next 36 hours, at least!) so I thought I’d roll these into one. I’d been thinking about this post for almost a year before I finally wrote about whether artists need to be poor to be relevant. Since I became pregnant, Sausage has had to be more independent, and I was worried it might affect our relationship for the worst. I also got rather upset by the Government proposal to reward breastfeeding mother with vouchers, and pregnancy hormones were definitely on my mind. One of the most important and personal posts I’d written all year was the post regarding the foetal cardiology scan we had to have done in November.

We got crafty at the beginning of December with our woollen baubles and Christmas papercrafts. I also got thinking about TV shows and how they don’t all age as well as others and finally got on my soap-box about discrimination against redheads.

So there you have it; a full year of Mum’s the Word in two posts! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading what I’ve had to say over the past year and continue reading Mum’s the Word in 2014. If you want to receive posts straight to your inbox, you can submit your email address in the box over there ——-> in the sidebar, or click on the button below to subscribe via Bloglovin’.

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Happy New Year to all of our readers!

Another Year of Mum’s the Word (part one)

The Best of 2013It’s hard to believe that this little ol’ blog of mine will be into its 5th year of life in 2014 – I can be flaky at the best of times and I never thought my blog would be going this long, nor have the readership it has now, let alone some of the fabulous opportunities it’s given us a family in those years. It’s gone from strength to strength, especially over the past year, and I’m really excited about the year ahead, not least of all when we’ll gain a new family member in February, who’ll no doubt be featuring quite heavily!

In the meantime, I thought I’d give you a round-up of my favourite posts from the year and those which have been most popular amongst you guys, to give you a kind of ‘Mum’s the Word in one post’ and maybe show you something you might have missed. Hope you enjoy!

JANUARY

There were two post from January of which I was particularly proud; this rather scathing account of what it means to be British is a good read if you need a chuckle, while my summation of the ‘horse meat scandal‘ might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it will hopefully make you think.

FEBRUARY

Sausage had us worrying about her self-image at the beginning of February, thought not for the reasons we’d expected. I was also offering some alternatives to the usual Valentines schmaltz, to help you if you aren’t a fan of generic outpourings of affection.

MARCH

A leading charity had me rather upset at the beginning of March, with their poor approach to fundraising. I also got sick of spam and came up with a way to save myself a serious amount of time each day. This letter to Sausage for International Women’s Day was one of my favourite posts of all time.

APRIL

April was a busy month, with a few posts that I’m rather proud of. Firstly, I shared my Bavarian-style pretzel making, which was a huge success. I was also mourning the loss of More! magazine, a publication which was huge during my formative years. I was also getting you to delve a bit deeper with this (wholly tongue in cheek) post about domestic goddesses and whether they’re really as on the ball as they seem. Obviously, April was the month in which Margaret Thatcher died, so I also had a couple of political posts, one about her directly and another about expanding our political options.

MAY

Sometimes, as a blogger, you find that comments on posts become bigger and more interesting than the posts themselves, and this post about the correlation between Christianity and the spread of AIDS in Africa was certainly one of those cases. The end of the month saw me getting onto a couple of women’s issues, namely make up and feminine hygiene products.

JUNE

June was a mega-busy blogging month which kicked off with me blogging about our absolutely awful trip to Chessington World of Adventures. Things took a more serious turn when I asked my readers their thoughts on the death penalty and continued with a different post about whether Ian Brady should be allowed to take his own life. On a lighter note, I was all over the complaints that the BBC received when Holly Willoughby wore a mildly revealing dress. I blogged about my hormones at the end of the month (when I was pregnant and didn’t even know it!) and finally, I was INCENSED about my Husband calling me ‘The C Word‘…though it might not be the one you think it is…!

I hope you liked the selection of posts I chose – and don’t forget to check back for part two, later in the week!

BritMums Blogging Carnival – Current Affairs

Today, I have the esteemed honour of hosting the BritMums Blogging Carnival, a round up of all of the posts that fit my chosen theme, which is ‘Current Affairs’. If you’re a regular reader of Mum’s the Word, you’ll know that I love nothing more than to ride the highest of horses, sharing my opinions on just about everything in the loudest of voices, so I thought it was probably time to turn the tables and see what everyone else has to say about what’s going on in the world at the moment.

So, to kick off, ‘Orli, Just Breathe‘ tells us all about what it’s like to live in Gibraltar. The British Overseas Territory has been in the news a lot of late, owing to the dispute over the British Government attempting to create an artificial reef just offshore, while the Spanish government claim that it’s actually an attempt to thwart Spanish fishing efforts, but Orli gives an insight into what real life in Gib is actually like, behind the headlines.

If you watched this BritMums Hangout before the birth of the Royal Baby, you’ll know that I’m not exactly a Royalist, and this post from ‘Over There to Here‘ is a brilliant example of how the Royal Family is still stuck in the dark ages, with its attempt at placation when it comes to sexism.

Back on a more family-oriented note, Bod for Tea wondered last week if children of these modern times are losing their imaginations, and whether outdoor play would encourage them to use their creativity a bit more. It’s an interesting point that I’ve talked about myself in the past, and it’s good to know it’s an issue that’s being considered on a wider scale.

This next post by Single Mother Ahoy! is one that I absolutely loved when I read it. I must confess to having been guilty of tweeting the odd picture of unusual names that featured on a Coke bottle, but only because my awkward spelling of ‘Jayne’ means that I never get my name on anything and am insanely jealous! This post exposes the kind of parochial, sanctioned racism in the best way possible.

One recurring current affairs hot-button is social media and technology, especially children’s usage of either, and Emma and Three is questioning “how much is too much?”. In a refreshing twist, she acknowledges that social media and technology are as much of an addiction for her as they are for kids.

Jenny is tackling health issues, over on Cheetahs in their Shoes, specifically how difficult it can be to get a diagnosis for a rare condition, and how that process can be made even more difficult when the NHS is stretched almost to breaking point because of budget cuts and staffing issues.

Ellen at In a Bun Dance is entertaining with a humorous post about David Cameron and his waxed chest, which may be funny but makes a very serious point with which I wholly agree. Should the private lives of public figures be aired for all to see? You may say a strident ‘NO!’ but as Ellen so eloquently demonstrates, it’s not always that simple.

Domestic abuse has been all over the news recently, after the whole world saw Charles Saatchi’s very public assault on his wife, Nigella Lawson, but perhaps the scariest thing has been the public reaction to the incident, which ranged from the right and proper ‘outrage’ to downright flakiness. Lexicon Lane puts an excellent perspective on it all.

There’s been an influx of ‘shock’ journalism lately, mostly by women associated with the Daily Fail who don’t care who they hurt as long as they make headlines, and Autism Mumma tells us why Liz Jones’ latest fountain of bile is a step too far.

Finally, Five’s a Fellowship has been giving an honest and insightful update on her anxiety and depression and showing how, while there can be down-sides to anti-depressants, it is sometimes possible for people to regain balance when opting to go down the medicinal route. Given that it’s estimated that one in 4 Britons sufferes from some form of depression, I hope this post can help a lot of people.

So there you have it, my pick of the bunch! If you know of any other posts that you’d like to share, on a Current Affairs theme, do leave a link in the comments below.

BritMums - Leading the Conversation

S.E.O – O.M.G!

I started blogging in 2010, a Golden Age of not long ago when bloggers could make money from their sites in a number of ways. Sponsored posts, sidebar adverts, paid-for links, it was all gravy. Then belts got tightened, laws were passed and it got harder for us to make a buck from our sites.

Google got wise to companies who were buying their way up the search results and decided to crack down on it – you all know about the Interflora scandal right? And I bet you all know a blogger who’s had their page rank stripped because of these types of links?

The rules are simple:

1. Paid for links MUST be no-follow

2. Advertising of ALL FORMS (so, if anyone has paid you to add a link in any form) must be declared as such and explicitly so.

The first rule is decreed by Google. Kings of T’Interwebs. It’s not ‘The Law’, but it’s their way of saying “If you value your site, don’t fuck with our algorithms”. I get it, I mean it’s not fair to consumers who are innocently Googling something and the first link they find is not the most popular, just the one that’s splashed the most cash about (a bit like Google’s own sponsored links at the top of any search…*ahem*).

The second rule was decreed by the Advertising Standards Agency and as such IS THE LAW. You can be penalised with fines or prosecution and call me a harbinger of doom if you like, but these guys have already started to make examples of people so no-one is immune.

The problem is this – SEO companies don’t like these rules. People who ‘do’ SEO have an agenda and that’s to get their client to the top of those search results. Don’t confuse them with PR people – these guys tend to use their noggin a bit more and come up with creative ways to get bloggers writing about stuff.

I get a lot of emails from SEO companies, some of whom are happy with full disclosure and no-follow links as they just want their client’s name in as many posts as possible. Many, however, are trying to baffle bloggers with bullshit to get their way. This is a snippet of an email I received from an undisclosed source, after I informed them that I would have to disclose the post as paid-for:

“Thanks for letting me know. Unfortunately I cannot allow this, as paying for links is actually against googles terms, therefore if google came across a post on your site marked in this way, then your site could get penalised, as would the brand.

I could allow this to be marked as ‘guest’ ‘feature’ or an ‘associated’ post, but ‘sponsored’ is something that google has picked up on, therefore risks you losing your page rank.
Let me know whether this would be possible at all, as I couldn’t agree to it otherwise.”
My response:
That’s not quite accurate –  It is not Google that stipulate whether something can be labelled, they only give guidelines on follow and no follow. In terms of labeling, the law states that all paid-for content must be labelled or I could be prosecuted.
If you need any further info, I’ve found this very useful: GO HERE
Let me know how you wish to proceed.
Their response back to me:
Would it be possible for you to label this as featured or guest post? It isn’t actually advertising that we are looking for – it is SEO. This is why we request that the links are very subtle and discreet, as if not, google can penalize blogs, in a similar way to what happened with the Interflora situation. This may be helpful to you – http://www.linkresearchtools.com/case-studies/interflora-penalty/

I just want to let you know that what we require is for a link to look natural, as if you have placed it without being asked, as I wouldn’t ever want your website to get penalised.

My last email:

The whole point is that Google require paid-for links to be explicitly labelled and no-follow, otherwise I stand to lose my page rank so I’m not quite sure how you’re trying to help me to not get into trouble.
The other, bigger issue (because although I love my blog, I value my freedom and finances more highly) is that the ASA could prosecute me for placing PAID FOR links, which are advertising regardless of how you gussy-up the language, without letting my readers know that I am endorsing a product or site for money.
The ‘natural’ links you talk about are exactly the problem and while I don’t want to be personal, this is exactly the problem that bloggers are facing when dealing with SEO companies at the moment because you dangle cash in the hope that it’ll blind us to the jargon you use.
I’m not a millionaire, I could use an extra few quid here and there like the best of us, but I’m not willing to lose my blog or get into serious trouble for the sake of cash.
Thanks again.
Do you know what I think gets me the most? The fact that these people are willing to lie to us to get their way and the assumption that I’m stupid enough to go along with it. I think I was very patient to begin with but how can I go on communication with someone who clearly lacks scruples?
Enough is enough.
(As a footnote, I want to add that I make no judgement of people who accept posts containing follow-links etc., I know that times are hard and people want to make some extra money and that’s the personal decision of each individual to make, so please don’t think I’m attacking other bloggers for their choices.)

Blogging When You’re Time-Poor

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that things have changed a lot over the last few months in the Mum’s the Word household and for me personally, the biggest change has been going back to work full-time. The way in which this has impacted me the most is that my time is a lot more scarce that it used to be.

A typical day goes: Get up at 6.45 am, jump in the shower, get out, iron my work clothes (yes, I know doing this in the morning isn’t the most practical solution), get Sausage up, make her breakfast, get myself ready, get Sausage ready, gather bags/flasks/keys etc, say goodbye to Husband, take Sausage to school, go to work, get home from work, do dinner or eat dinner that Husband has made, watch The Simpsons, get Sausage ready for bed, snuggle, invariably fall asleep in front of the telly, drag self to bed and get up at 6.45am, ad infinitum.

As you can see, there’s not much wiggle room in there and one thing that struggles to get a look in is blogging. Now, I may not be winning any awards for my site (but if you want me to, you can nominate me here <—- SEAMLESS PIMPAGE), but I adore blogging and am not in a hurry to give it up, so I’ve had to make a real effort to fit it in where I can. I know that a few of my blogging buddies have also faced a struggle in terms of where blogging actually fits into their lives, so I thought I’d give you all some tips and share how I’ve been coping.

1. Technology is Your Friend

I realise that many bloggers are super tech-savvy, but there are plenty out there who aren’t and the best advice I can give them is to get to grips with mobile blogging. The WordPress app for Android and iOS is really rather good and if you spend some time getting used to it, you can get a lot out of it. I’ve composed whole posts, including pictures, in my lunch hour at work. Sure, typing on a touchscreen can be frustrating, but if you take the time to get used to it, it really can be a great tool. I have a photo editing app which I can use on the go too, which can enhance any mobileography you do. Also, if you’re an old-fashioned type and still like pen and paper, check out the Livescribe 2GB Echo Smartpen,

2. Make Notes

I have several ways of making notes, from a permanent file on my iPhone with ideas for posts, to writing on scraps of paper or even the back of my hand. I think most bloggers would agree that there’s nothing more frustrating than having an idea for a post and then forgetting it before you get a chance to write it out. I know of other bloggers who actually use their blogging platform to store ideas too, giving a new post a title and possibly some bullets before saving it as a draft and coming back to it at a later date which, if you take note of tip one, could be a great solution if you use a blogging app.

3. See Time Differently

If you’re poor on time, you often find you can scrape some seconds back if you start to see time differently. Don’t see your commute as a wasted half an hour, see it as time in which to think or even write. Use your lunch hour to start posts and if you don’t finish them, get them polished off while daddy reads the bedtime story. So often, people get stuck in a blogging rut and do things almost formulaically including when they choose to write. Shake things up a bit and you may find you have plenty of time to write (like now, for instance, Sausage is in bed and Husband is having a pre-bedtime session on Far Cry. Also, I started this post on Saturday night, finished it on Sunday morning and have scheduled it to publish now!).

4. Think Ahead

This one depends on your blog, but I tend to find that if I publish a post at a certain time, it just doesn’t get read. I’ve spent a fairly extensive amount of time looking at my stats and other info and know roughly when a post gets the most hits, so scheduling is a good way to get around this. If you take the advice of tip number one and think about using a third party app for posting to social networks (like Hootsuite) you can also schedule your social media posts too, so even if you’re busy, your posts will still be publicised. I know some bloggers also keep a blogging diary or calendar where you can plan posts as far ahead as you need to and this would work especially well if you’re a craft blogger or regularly write themed posts, i.e. for Christmas, etc.

5. Go Easy on Yourself

If you’re blogging for the sake of blogging, it’ll show in your posts. If you’re mega busy, super tired and barely have time to think, give yourself a break. Your blog isn’t going to die on its arse because you miss a Silent Sunday and your readers will forgive you for taking some time to refresh and ultimately, you’ll be doing them a favour as when you do have something to write about, it’ll really be worth reading.

Going Public

A couple of things have happened this week that have made me think about the way I feel about my blog. Firstly, a new work colleague suggested that I add her on Facebook. I post all of my new posts onto both my personal timeline and my blogs page, so if I were to add her on there, she’d become aware of Mum’s the Word fairly quickly. Secondly, I was talking to one of the mums of a girl in Edith’s class and she mentioned that she was friends on Facebook with some of the other mums. Although I was already friends with two other school mums on there, I realised that I was cagey about who I added because of them seeing my blog.

The thing with blogging is, although I’ve now met several other bloggers in real life and consider a few of them to be very good friends, I mostly forget that real people read what I write!

I had a message the other day from some who was in my class at school. She got in touch to let me know that she really enjoys reading my posts and that she felt like she knew me even though we’d not spoken in over ten years. I was so touched that she took the time to make contact and it really made me think about the fact that, even though I’ve been pouring my heart onto a computer screen for the last two and a half years, the thought of people reading your thoughts is quite an abstract concept – until they tell you!

I like to think that this blog is a pretty good representation of me. I’m brutally honest about my thoughts and feelings, probably to my detriment at times, but I find it hard to censor myself for the most part. What’s the point of writing if you’re not being honest? If my writing wasn’t authentic I’d be better off writing fiction, surely? But, when you put your heart on a page, you leave yourself open to a lot of stick.

I think it’s mostly paranoia. I reckon other bloggers would agree that writing a blog is brilliant when people comment on your posts or engage you via social media about something you’ve written. I’ve had debates in my comments that I’ve been thrilled about, even when people are being negative about my opinion on something, but by contrast I have this overwhelming fear that I’ll write a post and then walk into the playground or my office and see people whispering about me or judging me in some way. The stupid thing is, they probably do that anyway, everyone gets judged by their peers, but it’s one thing being judged and it’s quite another to serve up a WEALTH of material for people to judge you on.

I asked in my fave parent blogging group on Facebook whether I should say “screw it” and go public and I had a mixed response. Some said that they have hundreds of co-workers who read their blog and they love it, others blog completely anonymously and wouldn’t have it any other way. Someone also made the VERY cogent point that basically anyone who knows how to Google could find my blog anyway, without very much effort at all.

Basically, I’m in blogging limbo.

Am I right to be scared? What would you do? Perhaps I’m missing a trick and I should be littering my every path with my blogging business cards?! Who knows.