1. “Should I start a blog?” If you are thinking about it, my advice would be to go ahead and just do it. It isn’t for everyone, but the fact that the idea is in your mind shows that you have probably already have something to say or share. And what have you got to lose? If you choose to do it on a small scale as a hobby, you have a way to share what has been happening recently with family and friends (and if you live far away from most of them like I do, that’s quite lovely). On the other hand, if you want to start a blog with the aim to it becoming professional one day, why not give it a go? It isn’t going to happen if you sit on the idea for years.
2. “What do I write about?” Remember that your family and friends will probably be the first people to read your words – so how about a post introducing your new blog and explaining why you have decided to write it? Talk directly to them and the words should come naturally. With so many parenting blogs around these days, however, I do think that finding a niche is a good idea – an angle that will set you apart from every other blog out there. It worked well for me to start a blog for mums of boys in the early days, for example, as it hasn’t really been done before. Find your own niche – and make it something you will find easy and enjoyable to blog about it. If you like cooking, for example, you could perhaps start a recipe blog for busy mums. If you have a unique hobby, you could blog about that. If you travel a lot, you could start a blog with tips for other parents. Or (and I really like this idea), why not start a blog about being a parent in your local town or village?
3. “How about the technical stuff?” I am asked this a lot – and the truth is that I am not remotely technical when it comes to things like this and have luckily always had friends to help me with the set-up bit (paying “mates rates”)! If you know someone, ask them! Bear in mind that these things are time-consuming, so offering to pay “mates rates” is a better tactic than asking for a favour – especially if you want them to help with any hiccups / updates in the future too. If you are more technically minded, I recommend setting up your blog through WordPress. But if it’s all Greek to you and you don’t have mates to help you out, why not just start blogging via Instagram and Facebook? It’s a great way to build an audience and following – and the blog itself can always come later.
4. “Do you ever regret starting a blog?” I wouldn’t say that I ever regret it, but I definitely have moments of doubt and spend time wondering whether I should continue. This is mainly because I worry whether I should be putting my kids in the spotlight when they didn’t choose it. It makes me feel uncomfortable when I think about it, as my kids are my number one priority (just like any mummy). However, I do take steps to protect my children with what I choose to post (or not to post, as the case may be) – I won’t divulge those details, but each blogger has their own rules. I also strongly believe that the benefits my children are getting from this blog means that the positives currently far outweigh the negatives. And let’s face it; this is the first generation that has grown up online / on social media – and there are no rules or manuals on how we should do it. And anyone that takes time to read my posts will realise pretty quickly that I do it all out of love for them. I hope this will be obvious to them too, as they grow up – and if they still hate it, I’ll stop blogging about them immediately.
5. “How long will you keep blogging?” This is a really hard question and pretty impossible to answer – but I can’t see myself stopping any time soon. I can definitely see my blog evolving as time goes on, though – perhaps if we ended up moving back to the UK at any point (no imminent plans, but you never know) or if the kids didn’t want to be involved in the blog as they grew up. The beauty of a blog for me is that it grows with you – so I guess when I no longer have babies anymore, my blog will change with it. But I hope you lot will stay with me, as I guess your babies will be growing up too. We’ll all be in it together (and I am personally DREADING the teenage years!)
6. “Is blogging competitive?” Yes, at times I think it is – but that’s just like any industry so I don’t think there’s anything too unusual or dramatic about that. However, I do have moments of self-doubt at times when I bother to compare my blog and social media posts to others. The problem I think is there’s a fine line where the ‘me’ finishes and the ‘blog’ starts – we seem to be one and the same – so it can feel very personal if someone criticises it or if a brand chooses to work with someone else. But I have learnt along the line that there is very little point in worrying about all this – my blog is my voice – and just like people read more than one magazine and shop from more than one store, there is plenty of space for blogs to co-exist with the same gang of readers. That’s why it pays to support each other, promote blogging in general, and try not to get too caught up in the competitiveness of it all. It’s nothing compared to the world of fashion journalism anyway (been there, done that, worn the over-priced T-Shirt).
7. “Can you make lots of money from a blog?” Well yes – you definitely can. Not that I’d even begin to count myself in that gang yet, although things are definitely moving in the right direction. But if you take one blog that makes serious money, there will be hundreds more that make very little. It definitely isn’t a quick fix to riches – it took me a good year of solid blogging to get offered my first sponsored campaign. You have to really love blogging foremost – and if you start making money, that’s a bonus. And even with over 80,000 social media followers and 2.5 years of blogging under my belt, I don’t make enough for it to be my main revenue source and I need to keep up my freelance journalism. One day I hope the balance will shift to my blog – that would definitely be the dream for me, as it’s the bit of ‘work’ I enjoy most.
8. “What’s the best bit about blogging?” For me, this is definitely the support network I have created with my followers and readers. I love nothing more than posting something on social media and getting streams of comments underneath. It keeps me sane on the hardest days of motherhood – and I genuinely hope it helps all you too! Of course there are other big highlights – like getting invited to do cool stuff (getting an email inviting me to a 5-day review of a hotel in the Maldives, for example, was a real highlight – sadly we couldn’t afford the airfare at the time, but just imagine if we’d taken the plunge!), placing a big advertising campaign, and being sent lovely gifts to my door on a daily basis. I also love it when people recognise me, which is happening more and more (both in the UAE and UK). I don’t love this in a ‘wow, I’m totally famous!” way (as I’m actually quite shy and can easily clam up in these situations) – but I love it because it means my words are clearly being heard, my blog is growing, and all that hard work is paying off.