How do you make the move from nervous to confident blogger. In my series of interviews with female bloggers, Cath from BattleMum describes her journey.
Why did you start to blog?
I began my blog as a sort of online diary when our son was 10 months old. I had kept paper diaries throughout my pregnancy but a long and slow recovery after his birth meant I never kept my writing up. Fast forward 10 months and I felt it was time to start documenting our lives together and BattleMum was born.
How did you feel when you started blogging?
I was nervous if I’m honest. I didn’t think anyone would read my blog and in the early days I felt like a fraud, like no one was interested in what I had to say. I had no idea what I wanted to get out of it and had no idea where it was going to go, or what the point of my writing was. To say I was completely unsure about what I was doing would be an understatement.
How do you feel about blogging today?
I feel a lot more confident and know, now I have found my niche, that I have useful things to say that will be helpful to people. I am happier now that I have a few years under my belt and am happy to help fellow bloggers where I can. I feel experienced enough to speak out when newer bloggers are running into problems and need help. I also know that the articles I am writing and publishing on my blog are of a much better quality than in those early days too.
What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?
My proudest achievement has to be that I’ve stuck with it for over three years. In the early days when I really didn’t know what I was doing, there came several times when I thought “what’s the point?”. However, I carried on and with time more people started reading my posts, commenting and sharing them and it boosted my morale. My blog is now over three years old, and while it hasn’t got the huge statistics other bloggers who have been at it for as long as me, I still get readers and their comments mean the world to me. I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long!
What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?
I attended BlogON in September 2016 and I had a blast. I met some lovely bloggers there, made contact with brands I went onto work with and came away with a refreshed feel about my blog. BlogOn renewed my love for the blogging community and everything around it as a whole and I’d love to attend again.
Do you monetize your blog and if so, how?
This is something I’d love to do but haven’t had much luck with. Although I’ve managed to drill down and focus on one niche for the last six months, I haven’t had anything of real value in terms of money come my way. And to be honest, I can’t see it happening for me. Whether it is just too tough a niche to monetise, or whether my readers just aren’t interested in the links I have, I don’t know. But I’ll keep trying for now.
What do you find most challenging about blogging?
Fitting it all in. People looking in from the outside think blogging is simply writing some words, sticking a picture in and pressing publish. But there is so much more that goes on when it comes to blogging. A blog post needs nice graphics for both social sharing and Pinterest. The pictures have to fit the post and look good at the same time. And after you’ve hit the publish button it doesn’t end there. There’s the promotion of your blog posts, engaging with your readers and followers, and networking to build up your presence. So, the biggest challenge I find is fitting it all in around day-to-day family life.
What surprised you most about blogging?
There have been a few things that have surprised me about blogging. The first thing is the work involved to even get a blog post published, and looking good, as I’ve discussed. How I used to fit in blogging while working a full-time job I’ll never know. The second thing is the friends and contacts you can make. I’ve met some amazing people through blogging. Also, the opportunities that came come your way as a result of your hard work.
But there are also some not so nice things to blogging which surprised me. The jealousy that some people feel towards other bloggers who they think might be doing better than them, or are getting more brand opportunities than they are, is something that shocked me. I’ve seen this more evident in the Irish blogging community, possibly because it is smaller overall than the UK community (I’m Irish myself). There can be a lack of support for fellow bloggers and it often comes down to jealousy and it’s something that has both shocked and saddened me.
How do you balance blogging and family life?
I try to do as much as I can these days while my son is in kindergarten, but it doesn’t always work out that way. The guts of my blog work is done during the day but I will freely admit I can still be glued to my phone in the evenings catching up on blog threads on Facebook and responding to comments on Instagram. However, I don’t blog at the weekend and keep my social media to a minimum so that we can enjoy family time. I also take this stance while we are on holiday, possibly only posting a picture to Instagram now and then. But it’s a constant struggle.
What would lead to you giving up blogging?
If I lost my passion for it, or it became more of a trial to write than an enjoyment, then I’d give up. There is no point in continuing with something you no longer enjoy. It would become something to do for the sake of it and, I believe, it would become apparent in the posts being published.
What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?
If I could only give one tip, aside from going self-hosted as soon as possible, is to take your time, write good quality content at your own pace and try to get your head around SEO for posts you want to rank for on Google. I had no idea about this when I first started and am only now feeling like I know what I am doing for those types of posts which I want Google to rank me for. I am having to go back to old posts, particularly ones that give me organic Google traffic, to ensure they have better SEO. I think once you do it for a few posts it’s much easier to do for future posts going forward. It can be a scary term for someone starting out, but it really isn’t that bad.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Blogging has been a great way to find a little piece of the Internet all for me. What started out as parenting blog has now transformed into a family travel and lifestyle blog and I’m so much happier writing in this space than I ever was before. Writing about travelling gets my fingers typing furiously on the keyboard and they are the posts that come much easier to me. I enjoy sharing our travels with others, and hope that I can inspire other families to get travelling wherever their budgets allow. I know many people fear travelling with their kids, especially while they are young, but I hope I can encourage them to take that leap of faith by showing them what we’ve managed to do with our son since he was a few months old.
Huge thanks to BattleMum for sharing her story and if you would like to share your blogging journey with me, please do get in touch.
Are you a nervous or confident blogger?