My top 5 posts in 2014 and what I’ve learnt along the way

Happy new year to you all or blwyddyn newydd dda as we say in Wales!! 2014 must go down as my best year yet….  I gave birth to my gorgeous son in May… But also started blogging!! 😉

The two are closely related, I’ve found the community of parenting bloggers and tweeters to be a huge help and support with any parenting-related matters from baby constipation (!) to highchair recommendations! I’ve really enjoyed reading blogs… And have read far many more posts than I’ve written but… It’s been great to give something back, reviewing some of the best items we’ve bought, with many mums saying these have been useful… similarly to our updates about things like weaning.

It’s been great to use my brain a bit and find a new hobby. It’s been great working with some big brands like Medela and Cow & Gate but it’s also been great to turn down work with other big brands because blogging is just a hobby for me and I never want it to take up too much of my (or more specifically, baby W’s) time.

I’ve loved keeping my brain working by getting obsessed with stats, and seeing my posts rank through SEO. I’ve not cared too much about the design of my blog or the poor quality of images I use!

A nice moment was one of my posts getting mentioned in a Britmums round-up called ‘newbie Tuesdays’

So in 2015, I just plan to do more of the same. I always have a huge list of ideas to post, there’s so much I want to write and don’t have time for and time will be even more limited with me going back to work. Without thinking too much about the year ahead, here’s my top 5 most popular posts from 2014 and some tips I learnt along the way that might be useful for you 🙂

#5 – Baby clothes haul – NCT nearly new sale

From this post, I learnt:

– we’re all a bit nosy, so blog readers love haul posts!

– we all love a bargain, so people love reading about bargains!

Another tip I learnt with this one is to post relevant posts in Facebook groups that you’re already a member of (not just ones that you’re only in for blogging purposes). So for example I’m in a Facebook group for Cardiff parents, I would never dream of posting all my blog posts in there but this one is relevant to Cardiff (especially when I can tie it in with upcoming NCT sales)

Because this post did quite well because of those reasons, it now ranks on page 1 on Google for things like ‘NCT nearly new sale Cardiff’ which helps drive visits.

#4 – Bepanthen offer at Boots

This is a totally random post that I posted quickly without much thought, and I didn’t promote it much. So thanks to the power of SEO, most of the visits have come from searches like ‘Bepanthen toys’ where I now rank right under Bepanthen! They started sponsoring some TV programmes with these toys, which got a lot more people searching for them!

So not sure what the tip would be here other than never discount a post because you think it’s a bad idea – it could turn out to be very useful for new readers!

#3 – REVIEW – Bumbo vs Mamas and Papas Snug

I had a feeling this one would do well – before I’d bought either I’d done a bit of research and had a lot of twitter conversations about it so it did quite well my usual readers who might have babies of a similar age to mine.

Again it now does well on Google for searches like ‘shall I buy a bumbo or snug?’. My tip here is if you don’t find the answers you’re looking for when you’re a post about it yourself and Google might rank it!

The other thing to note here is most of my reviews have been based around products that I’ve bought, as opposed to being asked by brands to review them. Personally I think this is a great way to build up Google-friendly content that’s also useful to parents. You can then use them to contact brands to show them what you can do – this is what I did when I contacted Medela asking if I could review a breast pump.

#2 – My breastfeeding story

This was prompted by a Medela campaign which I was more than happy to support as I’d worked with them on a review. I published it during ‘breastfeeding week’ and most of the traffic seemed to come from someone (no idea who) posting it in Facebook (no idea where!).

More established bloggers wouldn’t support a PR campaign like this without getting paid for it, but my tip for newbie bloggers is that joining in with campaigns like this for free can help you grow your blog.

#1  – Exploring Cardiff – Rhiwbina

Another post that I wasn’t expecting to drive much traffic – but this one went a bit viral!  A website based in that suburb published it on their website, and retweeted it etc – even the local MP tweeted a link to it!

So again, writing about ordinary days from your life can help grow your blog traffic. And I guess this post proves that a bit of flattery can get you everywhere!

To my regular readers, thanks so much for your support in 2014 – look forward to seeing you in 2015!

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