The irony is not lost on me that I am writing a blogging tips post about not following blog advice and doing what feels right for your blog.  I spent the weekend at #BML16 with lots of amazing parenting bloggers.  There I met my blogging friends, my blogging heroes, and some people who up until now I didn’t know anything about their blog. 

I had planned for this months Blog Geek Tips to focus on my learning’s from one of the seminars I attended.  But actually what I left #BML16 with was the feeling that although there are thousands of parenting blogs out there, in our own way we are all unique.  Yet all of us seem to put so much pressure on ourselves to do things a certain way and follow a set of blogging rules and etiquette.

There are many articles out there telling you how to blog, but I have reached the conclusion that this isn’t a one size fits all option.  So this is my guide to finding the approach that suits you and being able to blog it your way.  


blog it your way


To Niche or Not to Niche:

There is a lot of contradicting advice out there on this one.  Some say find your niche and stick to it, others say diversify in order to expand.  I say, it’s your blog!  If you want to write about something then write about it.  If you want to try something new, then go for it. What do you have to loose?  

My blog has primarily been about the highs and lows of parenting, amusing stories, soppy ones, but always honest.  I started my blog geek tips, not because I am an expert, but because I felt I had something to offer.  It’s not the reason people come to my site but it’s an added extra!

I also started to join in with a five under £5 feature started by Rainbeaubelle.  It is really not my normal style and was very much out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to give it a go. So I did!  Not many people ready by five under £5 posts, but I love writing them.  It’s something fun, so I do it for me.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sticking to your niche.  But don’t let fear stop you from trying something new if that’s what you want to do. 


Social Media:

There are so many social media platforms out there that it can all get a bit overwhelming. I have read countless social media tips and tried to apply them, but you know what they don’t all apply to my blog.

It took a long time, but I have made peace with the fact that Pinterest isn’t really for me.  I can count on one hand the referral traffic I get from it.  For a while I tried to up my Pinterest game and I read all the tips and how to guides.  I have however come to the conclusion that despite my ‘pinable’ images, my site doesn’t have the kind of things that people search Pinterest for. In fact my most repined board is one dedicated to Gerard Butler!  

I may be committing some kind of cardinal blogging sin here, but I really don’t enjoy twitter.  I use it for promoting my posts and sharing others, but I am no where near exploiting it’s full potential.  It moves to fast for me!  I once attempted to join a twitter party and thought I might actually spontaneously combust in the process.  It was stressful.  I felt like I was at a party and I was the only person who had turned up in fancy dress.  

I’m more of a facebook kind of girl, despite the changing algorithms and how hard it is to grow your following, facebook is the place I can go and get lost for hours reading and commenting.

I’m not saying one social media platform is better than the other, just that concentrate on the ones you enjoy.  If you want to know how to increase your twitter following, or make pinable posts then read the fantastic tips that are out there and go for it.  But do it because you want to, and not because you feel you have to.


Celebrating Success:

Blogging success comes in many different guises.  A post being featured on Mumsnet, a RT from a blogging hero, a lovely comment from a reader whom your blog has made a difference to, being shortlisted for an award.

I have heard so many bloggers say they want a post to go viral and that’s how they know they have made it.  I have been lucky enough to have three viral posts.  And I say luck because as much as I would like to say it is my brilliant writing that did it, it’s not.  I got lucky.  

My first viral post was We Are Not Rivals.  It went viral on Huffpost, and whilst I am proud of the fact that it featured in their top 20 most read posts of 2015, it did nothing for my own stats on my site!  My second viral post was The Toddler-O.  I published it in May 2015, but randomly it started to get shared on facebook in January 2016 and went viral then, through nothing I personally did.  My last post to go viral was my letter to The Two Week Mum.  It was my response to a rant that had appeared on facebook and was getting people’s knickers in a bit of a twist, including my own.  It went viral because I got the timing right.  

The point I am trying to make not very well, is that often the success of a post is down to luck.  You may have written the most heartfelt post about a really important issue and hit publish at the same time a big news story broke.  Suddenly everyone is talking about the news story and your post is lost in the ocean.

Celebrate the success when they come, no matter how big or small.  But don’t set your goals for success on something that you can’t control.  


Don’t Obsess Over The Stats:

Remember when you first started blogging and the buzz you got because someone read your post?  Then suddenly you became immersed in this blogging world and learnt about things like DA and Klout.  Then before you know it you are obsessed with the stats and your ranking in the Tots100.  And you know what, you loose that thrill, because one person reading is no longer enough for you.  You can enter the danger zone of forgetting why you started and loosing the love of blogging.

I know it’s easy to say don’t worry about the stats, don’t get disheartened if you drop down the ranks and have to spend months climbing back up.  I get it, it’s frustrating and at times bewildering.  Just don’t let the stats define you.  It’s not the stats that make your blog brilliant, it’s you.  I have read posts by bloggers with a very small following that have moved me to tears or made me snort my tea with laughter. Those posts are better than some bloggers whose stats and social media following I can only dream to achieve.  Good writing is good writing.  Don’t let the numbers spoil it.   


Give Yourself a Break:

I am a parent first and blogger second.  And sometimes, actually quite often, the parenting takes over.  The blogging to-do list can be never ending; facebook, twitter, instagram, pintrest, stumble, commenting, replying to comments, responding to e-mails, linkys. Then there’s the part where you actually write a blog post!  It’s okay not to do everything. Sometimes the washing has to come before blogging if we want any clothes to wear. Sometimes you link your post to a linky and then one kid throws up in the car and the other gets sent home from school poorly and you don’t get round to commenting on any other posts.  Life happens.  

I’m going to admit to another cardinal sin of blogging here.  I hardly look at social media on the weekends.  That’s my family time.  We are all juggling life and sometimes we have to drop the blogging ball.  

Stop comparing yourself to other bloggers.  There’s no right and wrong way here.  I like to be organised, I work better this way.  But if you are a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person (which I often wish I could be) then following my organisation tips would just stress you out.  Keep flying and doing what works for you.


My blog doesn’t have the best photography.  You will never see me vlogging.  I do it for the love of writing, and I hope it’s a craft that I am getting better at.  You make the rules for your blog and make it something you love.  Because when you blog it your way, it will be unique and honest.  So throw away the blogging rule book and make your own.  

Although if you are after any tips pop back here next month for the next Blog Geek Tips 😉 


Thanks to BritMums for hosting a fantastic event, to all the brilliant bloggers I met, and to my sponsors Tappy Toes.   

For more Blog Geek Tips, including organising your blog, plugins and going self hosted, click on the image below.

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Claire Kirby

18 Comments on Blog Geek Tips: Blog it Your Way

  1. I completely agree Claire, the things that make our blogs OURS are the different way we approach. I think I have a bit of blogger burn out and a loss of mojo at the moment! Too much trying to promote and stats sucked the joy out so I need to write to write again. Fantastic reminder xx

  2. So glad I finally got round to reading this after seeing it come up shortly after BML. It’s funny, I remember you and I having a Twitter chat one day and you said something about how it’s to take a blog break when one is worried about stats. I remember thinking that didn’t apply to me as I hardly even remembered to look at mine. How I wish those days still existed! I’m so stressed about rankings etc now it is a real pity and I’ll be honest, even more so in the wake of the award which has also made me do a lot of blog soul searching! We can drive ourselves totally mad obsessing (or maybe that’s just me). Anyway, that’s all a very long way of saying this is a reassuring post. There really is no rule book or formula (despite all the how to tips!). Great series x

  3. Oh thank you for writing this! I was in a talk at BML and I think it was going on about finding your niche-eek! I don’t have a niche. I just write/rant about what I fancy but that’s my blog and it reflects me. I have a pinterest but I never pin and I sometimes remember to stumble but most of the time I don’t. Although stumble is brilliant if you have writer’s block. I really would love to make a little bit of money from my blog as I love writing but I am completely clueless to how I can do it without losing the fact that it’s my blog, if that makes sense? Probably not, I am waffling now. 🙂 #blogstorm

  4. Loved reading this. Thankyou. I haven’t been blogging for long and as much as i love it i have been letting all the stress overtake what i actually set out to do. I need to stop trying to do everything and do what i enjoy. xx

  5. This is brilliant advice. All the blog tips posts are only someone’s opinion. I love Pinterest, but I don’t get much traffic from there, I love it for personal use. I love Twitter though. I actually like that it’s so fast, and there’s always something going on 🙂 #blogstorm

  6. Great post! I often feel like I’m a bit out of it in the blogging world because I don’t constantly join in Twitter parties/promote my blog/join linkys. I enjoy blogging and I do what I can around my family, as with you, parenting will always come first. My blog is my second baby!


  7. Now, Claire where do I start?! You are so right about so many things… The niche thing is madness because humans are mutli-faceted. I want my blog to be funny, frenchie but sometimes I put on my ‘serious’ cap. Love you under £5 by the way… These notebooks from Sainsburys Social media is such game, I follow you, you follow me back and blablabla… Funny about Gerard Butler on pinterest. I wonder what you put on it? I will have to investigate this issue. For celebrations and being successful, it depends of the day. Sometimes, I must admit that I want it all and get better stats and sometimes, I don’t care, live my life and when I turn the computer on, it’s many nice comments about my writing. I am done here I think. Sorry I had to write so much, not finished really but I must leave some space to others! Love this post and its honesty!!!


    • Thanks. I think I find the it’s the social media etiquette that gets me down. Some people actually unfollow people who don’t follow them back. I find that strange and really don’t have the time! What can I say, people love Gerard!

  8. I needed this. I’m finding my feet still but need to focus as I’m losing myself in the blogging world. My family comes first and I’ll admit the last few weeks I’ve struggled to balance both. Gotta stop checking stats too. They bloomed for two days and now are back down to my normal views. Have to stop obsessing. I feel like I’m doing everything wrong but it’s my blog and it’s right for me again have to stop obsessing

    • I was definitely obsessing over everything and struggling to keep up. We went away for a week and I had no internet access. But the world didn’t stop! It was just the step back I needed to clear my head and refocus. If you are looking to increase your social media following, try concentrating on one platform for three months, then moving on to another. I think when we try and do it all at once we can tie ourselves in knots and feel like we are failing. x

  9. I really appreciate your perspectives, especially about having self-compassion. There is so much frenetic energy and activity in social media that it is easy to feel as though you are not doing enough to promote your blog every second of the day. A reality check from our kids and families can keep all this in perspective, if we are open to it!

  10. I really love your advice – we have to each stick with what works for us. I think a lot of the advice out there just causes stress! It was so nice to get to know you better at #BML16 I really enjoyed your company! x

  11. Yep, agreed – and well said. This all comes back to individuals defining what success looks like on their own terms and not other people’s. If your focus is on monetising your blog, you’re going to have to be active in certain areas but even then it’s up to you. (Some people are hugely active on Pinterest, others on Google+, while some just have a basic blog/Twitter/FB set-up and yet are hugely successful). And if you’re writing for writing’s sake, then stats are just for show and to salve your ego. They may be important to some, not to others.

    By many people’s standards I am unsuccessful – low page views, so-so social media follower numbers, absolutely terrible at Pinterest or with Stumbleupon or whatever happens to be flavour of the month. But I feel happier about what I do creatively than ever. I’m writing well, I’ve expanded my horizons with the podcast and my parody songs, and the applause I received after my keynote read/sing at #BML16 on Saturday is something I would happily trade a million page views for (not that I actually have a million page views …)

    • I’m all for monetising as long as it doesn’t become a chore. I hope my blog stays true to it’s routes and I would hate for it to be too commercial. I love your parodies Tim, but to bring them to life on stage like that took real guts. It was amazing!

    • Tim, you are a star in the blogosphere. Did you see all these women and their applause when you performed at #BML16. If that’s not love, what is it?! It’s worth all the stats in the world

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