*This views in this post are my own and are based on personal experience.
I have been a blogger now for just over a year. The biggest lesson that I have learnt about blogging is that there is a lot more that goes into it than just writing content. You have to network and know SEO (Search Engine Optimization). You also have to invest in social marketing, be great at multitasking and be able to generate new ideas.
Here is a list of areas that I have invested a lot of time into over the year, and a couple that I need to develop more for the next year:
I have worked hard to ensure that I have an accessible website. I am a creative writer and have tried my best to limit the use of idioms. My goal when I started my blog was to be able to maintain my writing style but be accessible at the same time.
My blog is mobile-friendly, and you can translate the text into a different language using Google Translate. I also use a text font which is accessible.
I have gone over my posts to see if there is consistency throughout the layout. I’ve made a few changes inserting subheadings and spacing out the text to make it more readable.
I use a lot of images for the majority of my posts, and for the most part, include captions and descriptions. Where I write a lot of text, there is an option to listen to the content via audio transcript.
The use of images and audio has an impact on my weblog’s speed, so I have to compress the files. (which I am going back and working on)
It is necessary to provide people with different methods to interpret my content, (especially people who are autistic, have learning disabilities, or may have limitations with reading text).
2. SEO and Coding
I must admit that I have not invested as much time as I should on my SEO strategy. Next year my goal is to learn more about it. I am a regular mother who is developing my blog on a budget, so it takes much longer to learn about canonical tags, coding and the technical side of blogging (I know what SEND, OT, EHCP and IEP mean if this helps?).
Working out coding, well, I try my best, and now understand that being a content writer alone is not enough to sustain a blog.
The majority of the traffic for my blog comes from organic searches through social media.
I schedule some of my content around trends and events happening, such as Rare Disease Day, Carers Week, Dyslexia Awareness Week and World Autism Awareness Week. The content is still an honest recount of our real-life experiences, but I optimise when I post the content to gain more traffic.
For other posts, I write in real-time, which gives me less time to write up a draft, take photos, proof-read and edit everything. I feel that these posts are great for people reading them as it captures the emotions at the moment.
3. Being Authentic
Staying authentic has helped me gain a loyal following over the year. My blog has consistently grown, and I have retained my subscribers. I’d rather have a steady growth of traffic oppose to peaking quickly and not being able to sustain that traffic.
I aim to inform other parents and give ideas, but not dictate how you should do things or go about your life. I stay true to what my son and I do and focus on his interests. I cannot blog about something that is not relatable to us or holds no value to how we live our lives.
I feel that I don’t have to write about autism all the time, although my blog has ASD in the name (even though it would help with ranking). The purpose of my blog is to show that my son is a person and not his diagnosis. We don’t talk about autism or his chromosome disorder all the time. There’s more to his life, and hopefully, I’ve achieved in showing you this.
I will still write about autism, (and rare disease) and we will attend autism events, but the difference now is I don’t feel the pressure to only write about it. Some people click onto my blog wanting to read autism-specific content, which is fantastic, and others may be interested in our arts and crafts posts or our day to day life. Whatever your preference is, it is fine with me, and I appreciate everyone being interested in what I write.
4. Responsible Blogging
The blog is subjective and focuses on personal thoughts and feelings. It is vital, to be honest, and transparent. Using disclaimers on my posts, as well as having a separate page outlining my policy informs people reading, the intent of the posts and blog.
For me, autism can be a difficult topic to discuss as a parent of an autistic child oppose to a professional journalist. There are a lot of sensitive subjects surrounding autism and barriers still.
My approach to addressing autism, rare disease and disability topics is to be respectful of others’ feelings and be aware that people’s opinions may differ from each other, and that’s ok.
I do express my opinion and have the experience, however, am not a professional. People’s experiences may be different from mine or my son’s. I also feel it is necessary to get my son’s consent before posting any content about him, including images.
To counterbalance my views, I do research, inject quotes into some posts, and get a different perspective by posting about other bloggers. I also conduct interviews and have asked my parents and my son’s dad, their thoughts and opinions.
5. Brand Awareness
As well as gaining organic growth, my blog has had some referrers on social media and on other blogs like Love That Max (where someone shared one of my posts), Autism in Our Nest, and have also being listed as Top 30 Autism Parenting Blog on Feedspot.
Next year, the plan is to guest post and to also showcase autistic bloggers and other parent bloggers, which I am keen to do. I have found the blogging community supportive and read a lot of posts from blogs that I follow.
I will continue posting different content on my Facebook Page to Instagram and will work on increasing my Email subscribers.