Today on The Blog Lowdown, I’m delighted to be hosting Sara, from Mum Turned Mom
Please Introduce yourself:
Hi I’m Sara, I blog at Mum Turned Mom. I’m a Scottish mum of three; two boys and a girl; currently living in the US. Before moving to the US, I worked in construction… an engineer turned project manager!
When did you start blogging?
I started my blog in December 2012, as a journal of our time here in the States, but it wasn’t until around April 2013 that I started to blog more often; discovering linkys and getting involved in the wonderful blogging community. I then went self-hosted at the end of January 2014.
Tell us a little about your blog
My blog is a parenting and lifestyle blog, and to a certain extent an expat blog. I write about our days out and adventures; baking and crafts; family and parenting; motherhood and identity. I also write about the challenges and opportunities that relocating overseas brings, as well as the tough days and the misunderstandings 🙂
Who designed your blog?
Me… not that there is a lot of design there at the moment! After I went self-hosted I started playing around with icons, fonts etc. I like a fairly clean, simple template (I currently use the WP 2012 Theme), so I have started to play with the colour scheme and layout. It’s on my very long to-do list!
Which of your posts have been the most popular? Are there certain types that get more interest?
If I look at my most popular posts from the last 12 months, it’s a real mix! In the top ten there is a post on how to build a volcano for a school project, my recent Lego Head marshmallow pops, a poem about how my children reflect my husband and I, a discussion on American gun control, an apple pie recipe, snow painting and finger painting! I told you it was a mixed bag 🙂 In general, craft and baking tutorial posts are popular, especially those that are picked up on Pinterest. Posts touching on identity, motherhood, parenting: the good and the bad, have always generated good discussion. At the other end of the scale, my Silent Sunday posts also do well!
How do you promote your blog posts, and which methods do you find to be most successful?
I publicise all my posts through Twitter, Facebook and Google+ (and Tumblr, although I don’t really use it!). I’ve recently started pinning them too and using Instagram more. Excluding traffic coming directly from linkys, Twitter has always seemed to drive the most traffic, but as I make more of an effort with Facebook (still not convinced!) and G+ (starting to like it a lot!) I am noticing more referrals from them. Linkys are still my best generator of traffic though.
Which linkys do you most enjoy joining in with/reading?
There are so many, and I would love to join in with more! I have some I join every week (almost without fail); Country Kids, What’s the Story, Magic Moments, Project 365 and Silent Sunday. I try and join in with Tasty Tuesdays, Let Kids be Kids and Creative Challenge too; and occasionally join All About You (clearly I have to work harder at getting some me-time…!). I also love Word of the Week (here at The Reading Residence), and The Theme Game and The Gallery, but I just haven’t had the time recently to join in with either of those! There is of course my own linky The Prompt (shameless plug!) and since starting that I have had to cut back a little on other things, there are only so many hours in the day…
When are your busiest days on the blog, and why? (if you know why!)
Friday (due in part to The Prompt), Saturday (Country Kids and 365) and Sunday (Silent Sunday and The Prompt) are my busiest days. Having said that, Mondays are often good too because of Magic Moments and What’s the Story.
Can you name 3 things that blogging has brought you?
A sense of belonging: Being so far away from home and friends, and still in the process of making new ones, the friends I have made through blogging have been hugely important.
A sense of purpose: I became a SAHM when we moved and I still have days where I struggle with this, having worked full time before we moved. My blog has given me focus and a creative outlet.
Inspiration: Reading other blogs has inspired me to do more, get outside more; to bake and to craft; to make the most of my time with the kids, to notice and record the ordinary and special moments; to take photographs. And, most importantly for me, it has inspired me to write. I have discovered that I love to write, and now I get to do that everyday 🙂
My top five tips are:
1. Join in with linkys. They are a fantastic way to get to know other blogs and for others to find you. But, you will only get out of them what you put in, don’t link dump! Comment, comment, comment! If you engage with other bloggers, they will come and engage with you. Start a discussion, if you love a post share it on Twitter or G+, show the blog love and it will come back to you 🙂 Try your best to reciprocate comments. None of us have time to comment on every post in every linky, and it isn’t expected, but if you never reciprocate people will stop visiting you…
2. Make your identity clear. There is nothing worse than someone leaving a lovely comment on your blog, and then you can’t find them because they haven’t used a badge, or their blog name, or left you a URL with their comment!! I wrote a whole post about this particular subject 🙂
3. Use social media for more than just promoting blog posts. This is something that I know I am guilty of when I’m busy (especially with Facebook) but you will get more out of it’s use if you engage and chat and share.
4. When you are using images, consider the size… Full width images can occasionally take longer to load, but are much more effective. Small images do not have the same impact, and can actually be difficult to make out at all, especially if it’s a collage… It may be my advancing age (!) but it’s worth a preview before you hit publish, and choosing ‘large’ instead of a 300×300 box.
5. Write about what you love and what you know. And, most of all enjoy it. Blogging should be fun; if it’s not, take a break; we’ll all still be here when you get back.
Thanks very much, Sara! I know just what you mean about linkys, as I love joining in and there are stacks that I love, but only so much time, as I do like to reciprocate and comment. And yes, with your own to run, too, it gets tricky! Great tip about the photos there and that final point is crucial, I think.
If you’ve any questions for Sara, feel free to comment on this post, and she’ll pop by and check in. Next week, we will be hearing from Sarah over at Boo, Roo and Tigger, Too, so be sure to pop by for that on Sunday evening. You can catch up the previous posts from other bloggers here, too, if you’ve missed them.
If you’d like to feature on The Blog Lowdown, just get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Posts are booked up for the next few weeks, but I’ll be happy to book you in as soon as there’s an available slot 🙂
To ensure you don’t miss any, you can now sign up for my newsletter, and I’ll always include The Blog Lowdown round up in those.
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