Monday 7 February 2011

Metal Mummy Talks About Your Blogging Identity

Day 2 and today we welcome Metal Mummy! 

Metal Mummy is a completely nuts 26 year old mum to one crazy but precious toddler demon, Freyja. She is a Stay at Home Mum who works part time at a local rocker bar in Portsmouth where she has recently bought her first house with her husband-to-be. Having started the blog in 2009, it was only in September 2010 that she actually made an effort with it and has found the mummy blogsphere to be a hugely welcoming place and has enjoyed every minute of finding her feet. She loves metal music (obviously), horror films and reading crime fiction and wears her heart on her sleeve. She hates liars, beasties with more than 4 legs and puppets.

When I first started my blog back in June 2009, it was in no means supposed to be anything other than a record. A record for Freyja to look back on when she’s older. A record of her milestones and all those special times I didn’t want to forget.

That was what it was supposed to be anyway. I started wanting to write more. I wanted to rant and rave when I felt the need to, or write a post just for the hell of it. Although I wanted to base the blog around my daughter, I didn’t want it to be solely about her.

So, in September 2010, I basically started again. I had been reading a few mummy blogs for a while, and I thought to myself, “Why can’t I do that?” – Why couldn’t I try and get my blog out there? I had as much chance as anyone to have a popular site. I wanted to share my experiences, my opinions (and obviously, my fabulous daughter) with all the other wonderful mummy (and daddy) bloggers in the blogsphere. I never realised the phenomenon of parent bloggers stretched so far. There are thousands of us writing about our lives, and thousands reading and finding interest.

When I decided to try and interest other people with my blog, rather than just my hub and a couple of select friends, I tried to make it more appealing. I considered changing the name. I decided against it, and I’m glad I didn’t. I guess re branding works for some people, especially if they are focusing on one area of themselves, their specialty or their work for example. Metal Mummy was my blog name from the start. I really didn’t want to change that. It represents me. I’m a mummy. I love metal music. I did wonder whether the name “caught” the reader as much as some blogs do. For example, I think Sticky Fingers is a fabulous name for a blog and another favourite is The Boy and Me – simple, but effective. I did question whether Metal Mummy would cut it in comparison to other blog names out there. But I stuck at it. I had managed to gather a few select subscribers, and registered on forums and things. I didn’t want to have to start that again with a new name. Not when the existing one suited me fine.

Once I had decided that I was going to stick with Metal Mummy, I wanted to network. I had no idea how to do such a thing. My social networking capability stretched as far as Facebook and that was mainly to catch up with friends or giggle at drunken photographs. I rarely used Twitter and didn’t know anything about #hashtags or forums. I don’t know how but I managed to find my way to British Mummy Bloggers – a fantastic site full of handy tips and conversations – it’s also a brilliant place to meet other bloggers. I then discovered Blogger.ed – a site now bookmarked and visited daily.

It’s only been recently that I have had my site redesigned. It’s pretty handy having a web developer as a hub. I do like the free Wordpress themes you can get, but I wanted something personal. I wanted something to catch peoples’ eye as they navigated my site. I didn’t want a bog-standard layout because I’d had one of them since I started rambling and I was bored. I see all these fabulous themes and headers on other peoples’ blogs and they are fantastic. I wanted that. So my hub set to work and, although it’s still being tweaked, I love the end product. I felt good about the appearance of my site for the first time since I started blogging.

If you are planning on making an identity for yourself, like I planned to with Metal Mummy, I think personally, it’s important to stick to the same name throughout. Although I already had a Twitter account, I started a new one so that it was recognisable with the Metal Mummy brand name.  
Twitter has proved to be an absolutely amazing place. I can see how people get so addicted to it. So many lovely people to talk to and laugh with, to offer advice or to listen. I’m still learning about it though – I’ve only just got to grips with hashtags, and my knowledge of that is pretty flaky. Once I knew my domain name was here to stay, I set up my own Facebook page too. It’s fairly easy to do and it’s a nice way of expanding your social network. I still need to remember to actually use the page though...

That’s my main problem. Although I have other social networking accounts – ways in which to spread the Metal Mummy word – I don’t actually use them half as much as I should do. I see some fabulous bloggers on Twitter all the time, pimping themselves and chatting to each other – I think it’s fantastic, I really do. I just forget to do it, and the lure of the TV of an evening, or the lure of a friends’ house during the day is too much for me to stand. I would like to start using Twitter more than I am though – especially as I’m off to Cybermummy – it would be lovely to get to know a few more bloggers before I roll through the door!

I think my whole Metal Mummy identity is pretty set now. I have a twitter account, a Facebook account, I’m on the forums. I’m gradually working my way up the Tots 100 – I’m number 166 this month – I was so chuffed with that, considering I was in the 300s last month! I have a blog that I’m proud of. A blog that’s been designed just for me.

The only thing I need to worry about now, is finding stuff to write about to keep you guys interested... Oh, and what to wear for Cybermummy...

Thank you Metal Mummy!  Also just to add from me, one of the things I found most useful when creating my blogging brand or identity was to find an image that suited my blog.  For me I have my big bright heart and that image is now everywhere, I have an avatar of the same, a gravatar and am currently creating a Favicon.  On every forum I visit or comment I leave my heart appears and that endorses my presence in the world of parenting blogging.  My only exception is twitter where I am told people like to see my face(!) and thus I have one single picture I use of me, as whilst variety is nice, it is much easier to remember me if I present a united front. 

My advice is to have a fun afternoon exploring google and see what free images you can find to use or go and visit a professional designer such as Violet Posy and get yourself a very smart blog makeover. Whichever way you choose is your decision but there is so much great help in the world of blogging that you Will be able to do it.

Tomorrow on MFTH... New Bloggers Fortnight there will be a post to direct you to tons of super tutorials, giving you tips in how to back up your blog, create a clickable badge, take great photographs and loads, loads more.
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