Today on The Blog Lowdown, I’m delighted to be hosting Zoe from Mama Geek….
Please Introduce yourself:
Hello! I’m Zoe, and I have a husband named James (Yes… like Jimmy Corkhill from that soap), and two daughters. Georgiana is three and Lydia is coming up to one-and-a-half far too quickly! I blog for fun at Mama Geek, post technical blogging tips at the UK Bloggers site, and work as a self employed web developer.
When did you start blogging?
I started blogging when I was in high school, many many years ago! I used a service called Easyjournal before moving to Livejournal, and then set up my first self-hosted WordPress site back in 2004! I began Mama Geek in September 2011, as I wanted to have a new blog to chronicle the day to day life as a parent.
Tell us a little about your blog
Mama Geek is my little corner of the internet for me to chat about what we are getting up to as a family, share the occasional recipe or idea, post about stuff we’ve been reviewing, and host a few competitions too.
Who designed your blog?
I did. It’s due for a bit of a refresh, really, but I haven’t decided what to do yet. I’m not sure I’ll have time!
Which of your posts have been the most popular? Are there certain types that get more interest?
My super easy banoffee pie post gets steady hits, and my review of the hauck travel cot gets quite a few search referrals with people trying to find out how to collapse them back down. Competitions are always very popular too.
How do you promote your blog posts, and which methods do you find to be most successful?
I tend to promote my blog posts by posting the link automatically to Twitter, Facebook and Google+, and then just occasionally tweet links or post on my Facebook page. If it’s a relevant post like a recipe I will pin it to Pinterest, but as I don’t really use the service myself I don’t put as much time into that as I perhaps should! I rely on regular readers reading my blog via email or rss/bloglovin subscription really, so I don’t like to annoy my twitter followers with thousands of links weekly.
Which linkys do you most enjoy joining in with/reading?
I enjoy Country Kids if we’ve been up to anything interesting, and try to post a photo once a week with My Sunday Photo which is lovely to look back on over the months as a visual record. Tried & Tested is brilliant for reviews too, and then there are some others I join in with occasionally. I don’t like to do too many as I don’t enjoy reading blogs that are all reviews, linky posts and nothing else.
When are your busiest days on the blog, and why? (if you know why!)
Probably Tuesdays as I try to join in with Tried & Tested weekly. Competition end dates are always busy too.
Can you name 3 things that blogging has brought you?
Great friends who I can talk to about everything from parenting woes to mental health issues and everything in between.
A place to write which I love to do, and which has resulted in a wonderful diary of my life and of the children for me to look back at (and for my parents to keep track of their granddaughters!).
Finally, a job that means I can work from home making other people’s blogs beautiful and easier to use.
My Top 5 tips for making your blog functional & look great:
1.Make sure you can read everything at a glance – if your header or content font, size or colour choices isn’t easily readable then people won’t hang around to read it.
2.Make it super easy to navigate – I’ve actually visited blogs recently where I’ve struggled to find any posts past the few displayed as part of their home page. Readers need to be able to find what they want, quickly. A clearly visible search box helps with this too.
3.Keep the focus on the content – don’t allow your header or any other design aspect to overshadow the writing/photos – content is king!
4.Don’t overcomplicate it – there is a saying “Keep it Simple Stupid” which really applies here. Avoid clutter – keep sidebar badges to a minimum and try to avoid flashy images. Keep colour and font choices to a minimum and be consistent.
5.Make use of plugins and built in functions to make your life easier so you can concentrate on creating great content. For example, instead of having a menu item linking to a page of manually updated lists of posts, link to a category page for those posts instead, or use a plugin to display the list for you.
Thanks very much, Zoe! Great to learn more about your blogging journey, and those top tips are really useful – I agree with every single one of them, too. Thanks for sharing.
If you’ve any questions for Zoe, feel free to comment on this post, and she’ll pop by and check in. Next week, we will be hearing from Mummy Tries so be sure to pop by for that next Tuesday morning. You can catch up the previous posts from other bloggers here, too, if you’ve missed them.
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