I love this series! I do enjoy finding out more about what goes on behind the scenes of all of the blogs that I like to read, and getting more background information. I’ve shared here, and Redpeffer gave us the low-down last week, so it’s now the turn of Caroline, over at Becoming A SAHM…
I’m Caroline, 30, mummy to a 22 month old monkey. I’m a SAHM for the time being, happily married to my best friend and hoping to have another child at some point soonish. I love reading and enjoy a spot of crochet from time to time. I enjoy photography and wish I was better at it! I live life at quite a fast pace so can get really impatient with anything that takes too long to do. If I make a decision, I want to go for it and do it, right now. I’m pretty clumsy and quite often have a finger with a plaster on. I love cooking and baking though am a bit slapdash so while sometimes I fluke it, it doesn’t always go that well! I’m also a bit of a perfectionist… and I find this doesn’t marry particularly well with my clumsy, slapdash, impatient, always in a hurry side! I love bright colours and singing my heart out loudly to music with a good beat – even though I can’t sing and think I must be tone deaf as I go in and out of tune without even realising it (hubby, who is much more musical than I am, finds this hilarious and really bizarre!). I generally have a happy positive outlook, although having been through some difficult times in the past, I don’t trust life to be kind and appreciate every day how lucky I am to have my happy little life now. So that is me, in a nutshell.
When did you start blogging?
I started blogging over a year ago actually, in February 2013, but it was on a much smaller scale than it is now. I very much shied away from twitter or joining in with the blogging community in any way shape or form. I think I was just too nervous to do it. I’d never even heard of a linky! So for nearly a year it was just me blathering away to only a few readers. It was the lovely Jocelyn at the Reading Residence who encouraged me to join twitter and things have really taken off from there! In many ways I wish I had got more involved sooner, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and I’ve enjoyed blogging since I started, even if hardly anybody read it back then!
Tell us a little about your blog
My blog is called Becoming a Stay at home Mum. Making the decision not to go back to work after maternity leave was a long and quite agonising decision and this blog was born after I had made a decision I was happy with. Even though I knew it was what I wanted, I found that the transition from working full time to being at home with a baby full time was a real challenge. The idea behind the blog was to share what life was like as a new stay at home mum, figuring out how to stay sane and keep baby entertained. Sharing the bad times and the good with the idea of giving an honest account of our life in the hope that any other mums out there who felt the same as I did, would feel less alone. I guess I’ve always thought of SAHM’s in a rose-tinted way with spotless house, perfect children, always baking, and in reality found it an incredibly hard ideal to live up to, so the blog is about me trying to be the best SAHM I can be.
Who designed your blog?
Me! With a LOT of help from my hubby! I’ve had the idea for the header basically since I started the blog, but had no idea how to achieve it or even translate it to someone else to the point where I would get something I was happy with. After I connected more with the community of parent bloggers and I was getting a lot more traffic I decided it was all the more important for it to look the way I wanted, so I just went for it and I am so pleased with how it turned out!
Which of your posts have been the most popular? Are there certain types that get more interest?
One of my most popular posts ever is my recipe for Mary Berry’s Chocolate Cake. Somehow it pops up really high in a google search and lots of people have viewed that page! I have run my first ever giveaway this week and that has been incredibly popular. Other than that I find the posts about Monkey generally being a cutie tend to do well too.
How do you promote your blog posts, and which methods do you find to be most successful?
Social media is great for promoting posts, and it definitely works, particularly twitter I find. Linkys are fab too… I’ll go into this in more detail at the end, but for the most part I would say, connect with people. Via social media or by taking an interest in other people’s blogs. Read and comment on other people’s blog posts, chat on twitter and get to know many of the other lovely bloggers out there. It’s the best and most fun way of promoting your blog!
Which linkys do you most enjoy joining in with/reading?
There are so many fantastic linkys out there and I love linking up with as many as I can. You can find a list of the ones I try to link up with regularly here. I think Let Kids be Kids is great as it is all about having fun with your kids, as is Country Kids. There are some great general ones, where you can link up any post you’ve written, with no theme, which I love because sometimes I want to write something just because I want to write it, and these linkys allow you to share those posts. Linkys such as Mad Mid Week Blog Hop and Post Comment Love. Having said that I do also like being inspired by themed linkys such as The Prompt or The Theme Game, and I love Word of Week. I plucked up the courage to start my own linky recently, The Creative Challenge, and I have been thrilled at the response so far!
When are your busiest days on the blog, and why? (if you know why!)
Tuesdays have always been quite busy, very early on I posted a comment on a Bounty page with a link to my blog and as they send their emails out on a Tuesday I often get viewers from there. There is also a few linkys on aTuesday which is where I get a lot of traffic from now. Since starting my own linky on a Wednesday, Wednesday has become by far my busiest day, especially as there are some other fab linkys on a Wednesday too. Thursdays and Sundays are quieter days for me as there are fewer linkys I join in with on those days, but even they are getting busier! It’s nice to have some days that are slightly less busy though – good to get a bit of a break!
Can you name 3 things that blogging has brought you?
Confidence, both in my writing and in my abilities as a mum.
Inspiration, I get so many ideas for cooking/playing etc. by connecting with other blogs, and I am inspired to write more.
A purpose. Sometimes, as a SAHM I have felt like I am just doing what I can to get from one day to the next. Blogging about our life makes me look at things in a different way. I see Monkey doing something daft and I want to share it with other mummies who I know would find it funny. I try out a new playtime idea and even if it goes badly I can blog about it and feel like it wasn’t a waste of time. I have a bad day and write about it, then receive comments from other mummies in similar positions who feel less alone by reading my post. That makes it all feel so worthwhile and I feel my life has a purpose beyond that of raising my child.
Jocelyn has asked to do 5 top tips on something blogging related so here are mine:
Linkys are a great way of getting to know more of the blogging community, sharing your posts and therefore getting more readers. I’m no expert, in anything blogging related, but here’s how I have found to make the most of them.
1. Make sure that you include a post that is related to the theme if there is one. If you’re unsure, check with the host, but there are so many linkys out there and some great general ones, there is no need to link up a post that isn’t relevant to the theme of one.
2. Include their badge or link back to the hosts page. I have forgotten this once or twice but it really isn’t fair – good to give credit where credit is due. Running a linky takes time, effort, and sometimes money so I think it’s very important. As a thank you the host will then often tweet out your post, so it works both ways, scratch their back so they scratch yours. J
3. Link up early. I know linkys are often open for a few days but the best thing is to link up as early as you can. I link up early then go back later in the day to look at all the other posts. I very rarely go back to a linky a few days later as by then I’m on to the next ones. It’s not an exact science of course but I do find the earlier you link up, the more readers/comments you have the potential of getting.
4. Don’t just link-dump. Read and comment on as many other posts in the linky as you can. That’s the only way they work and they are pointless if people don’t take the effort to read each other’s posts. It’s not a one way street for you to get readers/comments without returning the favour. Some days I only manage to read a couple of other posts per link up, but on days where I do have a bit more time I try and comment on as many as I can, there are so many lovely bloggers out there that it’s not hard to find ones you want to comment on! It’s nice to reciprocate too, it’s not always possible with everyone but if someone comments on your post, it’s nice to read and comment on theirs too. One other aspect that I guess is a matter of opinion, is replying to people’s comments on your blog. Very early on I read some advice that recommended you reply to all comments. It is very time consuming and takes some effort, but honestly I really think it helps to connect with people and to build a rapport which means readers are likely to come back again. They have taken the time to read and think about a comment to write, and I must confess to feeling disappointed sometimes when bloggers don’t reply to comments. I don’t always have time to go back and check every post I comment on, but I do like seeing that I have received a reply to a comment, particularly if it’s a comment I took some time over!
5. Share the love – retweet on twitter, share links to linkys, spread the word. I find that the blogging community as a whole has such a generous spirit, and I guess what I am trying to say is that we all want to see each other succeed. Obviously we all want our own blogs to be the best they can be, but I also love encouraging other bloggers and if you like something there’s a chance others will too, so spread the word. The more popular the linky is, the better it is for everyone involved as it increases traffic and comments for everyone
Social Media Links
Thank you very much, Caroline! I enjoyed reading and getting to know more about you and your blog. So many brilliant tips there, and I couldn’t agree more with every single thing you’ve said as regards to making the most of linkys.
Caroline will be popping back over this next week to respond to any questions or comments you may have, so do feel free to comment on this post to her. And join me again here next week, when we’ll be hearing from Sam from And then the fun began.
Would you like to give us the lowdown on your blog, too? The series is currently booked up to early June with wonderful bloggers, but get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to feature here some time after that – be lovely to hear from you.