Guest post: blogging for beginners

Erica Douglas, aka Littlemummy, has gone from startup blogger to a mover and shaker in the blogging world, helping scores of newbies with her blogging e-workshops. Here, she guest posts at BMB with her best tips for those starting out. Here’s her best advice:

So you’ve set up your blog and now you’re wondering what next?

Blogging can be pretty daunting when you first start, as a newbie it’s easy to feel on the outside of what seems like a very exclusive club.  I’m here to tell you that there isn’t anything exclusive about this club.  Of course there are groups of bloggers that seem close as they’ve shared experiences such as attending Cybermummy 2010, going on a review trip or doing charity work in places like Bangladesh but this doesn’t mean that you can’t approach these bloggers if you’re interested in what they have to say.

Blogging is a social activity and you shouldn’t feel worried about just diving right in.  Many new bloggers wonder if there’s a right or wrong way, and the answer is emphatically no.  Blogging should be a creative outlet and something that comes from within.  However there are some ‘popular’ ways of doing things that work for most bloggers and their readers and I’m going to cover those briefly in this post along with a few pointers on how to immerse yourself in the strange and wonderful world of mummy blogging.

Your Blog
1.     It always helps to have both an ‘about’ page and a ‘contact’ page at the minimum.  If I’m on a new blog, I’ll always click onto the about page to get an overview of the person behind the blog. Keep your about page brief but interesting. Try a different format like doing a list of facts about yourself and always include a picture (unless of course you decide to go anonymous).

2.     Your sidebar should reflect a bit of you as well as acting as navigation tool for your readers.  You may want to include badges of causes you support and things you’ve done.  Don’t forget to include your categories or archives.  Make it easy for readers to find more of the content they’re interested in.

3.    Add interest to your posts with images and multimedia.  Try experimenting with different types of post, for example a how-to, top ten or photo blog.

The Community
4.    You’re already a member here on BMB, which is a great start.  Have you dipped your toe into the forums yet?  Maybe you’re ready to write your first post inside BMB?  Keep taking small steps and you’ll soon feel a part of it.

5.     Link up to the community on Twitter.  There’s a strong network on there that acts like a coffee-shop style hub for many bloggers.  Start by following myself @Erica and the BMB team  @amodernmother @JHowze and @cafebebe – we’ll be happy to introduce you.

6.     Get involved with community events like;

The BMB Carnival – This is a roundup of great posts that a different person hosts on their blog bi-monthly.  You can submit your post to the host and if it’s chosen it’s a great showcase for your blog.  Don’t forget to visit all the other blogs too, reach out by commenting and the favour will be returned.  Check out the BMB Carnival schedule.

The Gallery – This is a weekly event where top mum blogger Tara Cain sets a weekly topic and participants post a photo with a story or few words on that topic.  This is a hugely popular weekly event that can send lots of new visitors to your blog.  Find out about it on stickyfingers1.blogspot.com.

Silent Sunday – Set up by the lovely @cosmicgirlie this is a weekly event where you simply post a photo on a Sunday.  Follow her on Twitter for details.

That should keep you busy for now but if you’d like more tips and advice like this then you’re more than welcome to sign up for my free mum blogger eCourse which has already been taken by over 700 bloggers like you.

Next month I’ll be back with ‘Blogging for Bloggers’, a post about how to improve your blog once you’ve mastered the basics.

Until then happy blogging and I hope to catch you in the blogosphere some time.

photo credit: mightymoss

— Erica Douglas, Littlemummy.com

Share Button

About Jennifer Howze

Jennifer Howze is the Creative Director and co-founder of BritMums. She blogs about family travel at Jenography.net, tweets at @JHowze and Instagrams at @JHowze. Previously, she wrote the Alpha Mummy blog at The Times and as a journalist has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, Budget Travel, CNN.com, Allure, SELF and Premiere, among others. She won The Maggie Award from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America for a health article in Seventeen magazine.

10 Comments

  1. 05 April 2011 / 09:13

    Brilliant advice, Erica. I wish I’d had you around when I started blogging! I don’t think I even got a comment (apart from my Mum!) for the first six months!

  2. 05 April 2011 / 09:22

    Haha, yes! More comments now that there are a few more of us.

  3. 05 April 2011 / 09:26

    Lovely to see some straightforward simple advice, though coming from you, I don’t know what else was to be expected. It’s nice to be reminded what a positive thing blogging can be. Thanks for the things you have taught me about blogging, even if they were back in the days when we would tentatively email each other to humbly request we comment on something we had written! One thing I would add is that once you have started blogging, don’t feel under pressure to keep it up in terms of how often you blog because you see other people doing it loads, just take it at your own pace. x

  4. 05 April 2011 / 09:28

    Great advice Linda. It’s worth remembering that first and foremost mum blogging should be a hobby.

  5. 05 April 2011 / 13:21

    Erica I always love your posts cos I know they’ll be clear and simple and I’ll learn something. Brill advise as usual. 😀

  6. 05 April 2011 / 13:22

    Or adviCe… (What English Degree??)

  7. 05 April 2011 / 14:38

    Some really excellent tips here Erica x

  8. 05 April 2011 / 22:22

    great tips,looking forward to the next one.thanks 🙂

  9. 06 April 2011 / 09:16

    Love blogging and taking baby steps to join the community…. 🙂

  10. 05 June 2012 / 22:53

    Thank you you have reiterated the points my chum who got me started told me. I am a needy newbie! Not only is blogging a new world to me computers and the language that surrounds them are too! Both points are apparent if you look at my blog but ‘slowly slowly catchy monkey’ (or something like that). Have managed to teach myself a few things and just keep telling myself that like you say there is no wrong or right to blogging.
    Defo feeling the ‘exclusive club* vibe at the moment! Although I’m really enjoying joining in with linkys and things.
    Off now to follow all of the folk you mentioned, yourself included of course!