Bonjour, Blogger! : Carla

bonjour-blogger-carla-toddlebabes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAName Carla
Age 38
Location Reading
Blog URL Toddlebabes

What is your blog about?
I blog about parenting, health, fitness and nutrition, beauty, educational activities, art and crafts, tips and advice to make life easier, recipes and also shopping and product reviews. My goal is to share the journey of parenting whilst offering good practical (tried and tested) advice for babies and young children as well as helping parents to feel confident in educating their children.

Is this your first blog?
Yes. I came up with the idea in my first year at home after baby number 1 and have stuck with it since launching in October 2008.

When did you start your current blog?
Just after my second child was born in 2008. He was just 8 months old when I started and my eldest had just turned 2.

What made you do it?
I decided that I was doing so much with my own children and researching so many topics relating to babies and children that I should document my findings and share the tips and ideas I learned along the way. I also wanted to help parents be their child’s first teacher as I have a teaching background, and felt I had a lot to offer parents of primary school age children.

What was your first blog post about?
Healthy bedtime routines for a happy child! My eldest was just going through the move from cot to bed and I shared some ideas and tips on how to make the transition smoother and less stressful. I read it back now and it is all so serious and factual. I definitely write more anecdotally now.

What do you think is the most useful tool to you as a blogger?
My imagination and just living day to day. There are so many potential posts just waiting to be written, you just need to spot them. On the practical side, I used to carry a little notebook around to jot down things I wanted to write about but now I tend to jot them into a notelet on my phone.

Do people in your real life know about your blog?
Yes
If yes, has your blog helped you career wise?
Because I am currently a SAHM, it has not had any impact on my career. Rather it has been my career as a teacher that has helped my blogging. I started blogging full time as of September 2014 (with the aim to make it my career) as my youngest has just started school and I have more time to write. I definitely don’t keep mt blog a secret and have recently jumped into the social media side of blogging to help me achieve my pro-blogger dream quicker and grow my readership.

What has been the one thing (blog post, project, etc) that you have been really proud of?
I can’t say it’s been one. What makes me proud is when my readers message me to say they tried an activity or recipe or followed a tip or certain piece of advice and it turned out well for them. I get a kick out of knowing I helped make someone’s parenting journey that little bit easier. Some of my crafting recipes have been printed on pamphlets and have been distributed to parent groups in my area. It was really amusing to see my work printed on paper.

Where do you see your blog in a year?
I have drawn up a comprehensive weekly action plan which I am currently implementing and hope that it will pay dividends in increased exposure and a happier more engaged audience. I hope that my blog will become even more popular and grow into a trusted and well known resource in the parenting community.

What do you wish you knew when starting your blog?
That if you have something to say, someone out there will want to read it. I held back on many topics I thought were a little silly, but in retrospect would have added a little flavour and uniqueness to the blog. Also, don’t be shy to network. I lost so much time by thinking I could just blog quietly away and readers would find me. You have to go and find them.

What do you wish you know more about now?
I still find all the different social media platforms confusing. I am trying to get to grips with the ones I am using before I add anymore. Hashtags are a new thing to me and all the SEO that needs doing just to get a post noticed can take me longer than writing it! I do a lot of research about producing high quality posts for my readers, so when I’m not writing , I’m reading about writing!

How do you keep motivated to post?
I have a schedule that I try to stick to. I have a few ideas for each day of the week that I can pick from. for example a Monday will always be a recipe or a arts and craft activity, Thursday might be a product review or parenting advice. I like to have 3-4 options for each day of the week so that I don’t feel pressured to write about one genre on a specific day but it still keeps me focused for each day. Keeping little notes to remind me of any ideas I’ve had also often sparks of a post topic. As does talking to other parents in the school playground.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Blogging is a labour of love. It takes time to get established, time to set up networks and time to write good quality content. It is both tiring and exhilarating and can be really rewarding. I am very happy that I am able to use some of my experience in education and as a parent to give a little back to my readers. I look forward to many more happy years growing my blog and doing what I love.

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