Monday 6 February 2012

Welcome to New Bloggers Fortnight

Here we are at the start of the 2012 New Bloggers Fortnight.  Back in early 2011 I ran the first new bloggers fortnight, where I asked new boggers to write posts giving advice and tips to other new bloggers.  It went down really well and these old posts still get hits from search engine traffic now. Take a look at last years round-up and see if any of the posts strike a cord. 

With it being the start of a new year and there being the next influx of new bloggers it is time to host another new bloggers fortnight.

I have some superb guest hosts lined up and they will cover a whole range of topics that should be of interest to new bloggers. The hosts have all recently walked in your shoes and they have been blogging for between about 6 - 16 months, so are still relatively new themselves in terms of timing but all have well read and loved parenting blogs. It amazes me to see how quickly some people are able to establish themselves and look as if they have been around forever. Respect to them.

However, just to ensure that you do not start to beat yourself up and put unrealistic pressures on yourself I wanted to kick the week off by sharing my personal story of blogging with you (the in a nutshell version - you can read the longer version HERE if you fancy).  I have never yet been a trend setter in this parenting blogosphere, I do not tend to do anything before anyone else, I always lag along a month or a year later and I do OK.  Well, some might say more than OK but I'll reveal my stats to you later on.

I first pressed publish on 10 February 2008 and within days realised I had no time for blogging and stopped. Then 19 March 2009 I decided to try again and this really was the start of my blog.  Back in those days it was called 'My Life', as that was what it was about.  This blog was mostly a dieting diary with odd bits about my children thrown in.

At this time my blog was a private blog and I had given the URL to 5 people, they never commented and I never thought twice about that, I just loved the therapy of writing down all my thoughts. 9 August 2009 I changed the name of my blog to Mummy from the Heart... as I realised that summed it up better. 24 December 2009 I opened my blog for public viewing and to be able to be found in the search engines and then in the January 2010 I received my first comment and got all worried - I had been found!

In January and February I launched into blogging with a passion. Joining in with meme's, blog-hops and carnivals. I also joined British Mummy Bloggers (as BritMums was then) and thought all was fab. I received a handful of comments and did not spare a thought for twitter, facebook, google +, pininterest, stumbleupon, digg, technoratti, Klout, ebuzzing, Tots100 or any other measure of my blogs worth but still I end up too emotionally attached and take a break for the 6 weeks over Lent. 

Image Credit
This time out gave me a wonderful sense of perspective and allowed me to know that being myself on my blog was really important.  I am not the most fashionable or the most popular person in real life, why would my blog be any different? May 2010 saw me join twitter and then sign up for the Tots100 and Technorrati in June.  I had no idea what I was up to but I can be a crowd follower at times. At this point I had 45 followers via google friends connect and I recall being so excited that I would soon reach 50.

I love the organic way that my blog started out, it grew at its own pace and that allowed me time to find out who I was and to be really comfortable in my own skin. By August I was up to 80 subscribers and then about 100 by the end of 2010 and a move into the top 50 of the Tots100.

2011 was the year that I really found my feet and grew at a faster rate, moving from 100 followers to the 632 I have today. I currently rank 9th in the ebuzzing/ Wikio parenting charts, 23rd in the Tots100 parenting chart. I have about 2600 followers on twitter, 600 fans on facebook and on average I receive about 7500 unique visitors a month looking at roughly 13000 pages. I am satisfied with that but look how long it took.  I was hardly an overnight success but that is OK I am here for the long haul and stats are not the be all and end of!

My message here, you do not have to be the biggest or best blog in the shortest time, you can be the turtle and still be a winner!

I published a post a short while back titled 'My Blogging Charter' and in this I declared that bloggers blog for themselves and are answerable only to themselves.  Take a look, as a new blogger you may find it useful to know that in blogging there are no rules per se, you make them up!  Yes that comes with consequences and if you blog too fiercely you may find you end up with just a few readers, but if they 'get' you and love what you write and it satisfies you, then so what? This is not supposed to be a numbers game.

Tomorrow make sure you pop back to read a great post from Ruth at DorkyMum, she will be dispelling some popular myths you may have heard about blogging. Make sure you come back, it is a good one!

Do check in each morning over the next two weeks for a new post from one of my guest hosts.
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