How to be … a Mummy Blogger

Brillbrit I’m not sure why I’m writing this given that my blog is, erm, about a month old.

But I've just been given an award by the lovely Brits in Bosnia, and someone called me a "prominent blogger" today. Well, that might have been what he said, there was a bus going past at the time – it's entirely possible he was talking about my secret desire to work for the Forestry Commission (true story).

Anyway, lots of people have been in touch asking how they can get a bigger audience, how they can attract more comments and how they can get their blogs into the top 100 parent blog index.

When I thought about it, I realised that I’ve been blogging in various places for well over five years now, so I’ve probably picked up the odd useful bit of information along the way. So if you’re interested, here’s my *cough* wisdom on blogs. Feel free to add your own advice for blogging newbies in the comments:

  1. Be true to yourself. Without a doubt, the blogs that I’ve worked on that haven’t succeeded have been those without a real identity, or where I felt uncomfortable about the subject matter or business. I think people respond on quite an instinctive level to writing that’s honest and real – that’s so much more important than perfect grammar.
  2. Don't be lazy. Some bloggers think you can just throw up some random article you've got lying around in the virtual cupboard and people will magically want to read it. I just don't think it works that way. Blog posts need to be timely (there's a reason you posted about topic X today), they need to be personal (there's a reason why you have a specific perspective on this topic) and they need to invite discussion (it needs to be an issue or challenge other people are likely to have experienced or have an opinion on).
  3. Read other blogs. I read hundreds of blogs, as well as magazines, papers and books. Everything from Lainey Gossip and D-Listed to technology blogs, news blogs and Mummy blogs. My feed reader is seriously over-stuffed, but I love it.
  4. Get stuck in. I write blogs for companies, and one of the biggest mistakes they make is asking me to quote for writing X posts per month. I always refuse, because posting is only part of blogging. For me, a blog isn’t just something you write. It’s your gateway into a community – if you don’t read other blogs, comment on those blogs and link to those blogs, you’re not part of the community and why should anyone pay attention to you?
  5. Don’t forget the pretty. You don’t have to be a designer, but do think about the layout of your pages, the colour of links, the position of pictures, how text will be formatted. Always preview posts before publishing them – how do they look? Is your blog easy to read?
  6. Make it easy to comment. I’ve lost count of the number of blogs I don’t comment on because it’s too much hassle. I don’t want to join anything to comment on your blog, thanks.
  7. Manners. If people comment on your blog, always respond and thank them. Even if they’re disagreeing with you, it’s polite to acknowledge the time they’ve spent reading and thinking about your post. I’m always disappointed if I return to a blog where I’ve commented and the author hasn’t acknowledged me.
  8. Advertise. People sometimes find blogs by serendipity, but putting your blog on your business card, in your email signature, on your website on Technorati, Facebook and Twitter won't hurt either.
  9. Think SEO. Think about what ‘key words’ describe your blog, and its content. Try to use those key words in opening sentences, in final paragraphs, in Technorati and keyword tags for each post, and in the tags accompanying images on the blog. Make it easier for people to find you.
  10. Have a passion. Of course, none of this means anything if you forget to have fun – you're blogging because you want to communicate and share ideas. Don't get so caught up in promoting a business venture or chasing traffic that you lose that – because it's easy to see when someone's heart isn't in a blog, and it's no fun to read.


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.


  1. Happy Mum
    19th August 2009 / 5:10 pm

    Thanks a lot for that! I feel like printing it and putting it on my board as a reminder… and why not? Off to do it! 🙂
    BTW Congrats for the column!!

  2. 19th August 2009 / 5:19 pm

    great post- I think they’re all things we already know but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded. Time to get off my a$$ and start commenting on bajillion blogs I read.

  3. mizzpink
    19th August 2009 / 7:49 pm

    Loved your post, some great advise, and nice to be reminded why most of us started writing blogs in the first place.

  4. 19th August 2009 / 7:52 pm

    @HappyMum – thanks and thanks for the congrats. It’s not much money or anything, but I’m really pleased to be asked. So sad, aren’t I?
    @Lindy – yeah, start by commenting on mine, obviously. 🙂
    @Melanie – could you possibly post a comment on the August index. THat way we can’t forget you when we do the September rankings? Thanks!
    MizzPink – yes, I think it’s important to remember it’s fun first and foremost. I try not to take it too seriously, at any rate, and keep my stats habit in check!

  5. Hot Cross Mum
    19th August 2009 / 7:55 pm

    Great post, great advice – congrats on the lovely award. Have you considered writing a ‘Blogging for Dummies’? Not that you don’t have enough going on at the moment!

  6. Aly Hodge
    19th August 2009 / 7:59 pm

    Hello! you may have saved my blog from being extinct! Please could you please add me to the list. Much appreciated.

  7. 19th August 2009 / 8:04 pm

    I have a blog(not a mommy blog )and I totally agree that honesty and making part of the blogging world not only having people reading your blog but also you reading and commenting on other blogs is what makes the diference, and what makes it fun.
    I trully love your blog because you don’t pretend your a perfect mother and I can relate to many things you talk about. Besides you have a tremendous sense of humor. 🙂

  8. 19th August 2009 / 9:05 pm

    Great advice! (especially for a blogging newbie like me).
    Bigger audiences, comments and top 100s are nothing if you’re not enjoying what your doing and writing with your heart. The minute I start to focus too much on the other stuff I feel like I start to miss the point.
    However the replying to comments tip is a good one for me – I’m hopeless at remembering to do that! (too busy thinking about what to write next!)

  9. Half Mum Half Biscuit
    19th August 2009 / 11:23 pm

    Thanks so much for including me in August’s Tots 100 – I’ve been away and only just noticed! Great post above too. I’m in the process of putting together a couple of articles on the Why and How of blogging for One Space single parenting website (I put a call out for thoughts about that on my blog today). I may well link to your post, if that’s OK, plus Tots100 will get a mention. I’ll keep you posted.

  10. 20th August 2009 / 3:54 am

    Sound, sensible advice from someone in the know. The big one for me has been getting out there and engaging with the rest of the blogging community by reading and commenting, kind of has to get over a wierd virtual self consciousness, but haven’t looked back since! I’m off to continue working through my google reader right now! A great post thank you.

  11. 20th August 2009 / 9:34 pm

    Brilliant advice. Being part of the community is a good way to get your name out there, but if there were no stats or Tots100 I would still be out there.

  12. 21st August 2009 / 9:06 pm

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
    Well after reading lots of blogs recently I have decieded after reading your article to take the plunge and I’ve done it. If any of you lovely ladies have a few seconds spare can you please read an let me know what you think. I need to fiddle with the design but I think I’ll get it once I find the things I want.

  13. 22nd August 2009 / 5:11 pm

    @Hot Cross Mum – a book? I’m sure there are people who’ve done it already, far better than me!
    @Aly – if you want to be added to the tots100, could you possibly post a comment on THAT post? It’s to make it harder for me to miss anyone when I put the index together next week? Thanks x
    @Cecilia – Wow, that’s really kind, thankyou. Also, I don’t think anyone would be fooled even if I did pretend to be a perfect mother!
    @porridgebrain – cheers, and I’ve FINALLY got around to updating the team page on GTG. Congrats you’re promoted!
    HalfMum – that’d be lovely, thanks.
    @Claire – Quite right. Engaging is at least 50% of what makes it work – just as important as content, probably.
    @Sandy – of course, but you still love my tots100, right???
    @Brit – I’m going to take the “seems like longer” line as a compliment, right??
    @BareNakedMummy – oh, you’re very welcome and I’m so pleased you’re inspired. Heading over to take a look now!

  14. 27th August 2009 / 10:09 pm

    Thanks for the great advice – just what I needed, having been blogging for just under a week and trying to learn quickly.I’m really enjoying writing it and trying to get my head round all the technical stuff.

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