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June 2006

Peace At Last!

The house is quiet at last. My mum has just taken my two little girls shopping and the baby is sleeping. Silence is such a treasure sometimes. Although, I do miss the noise after a while! But right now the peace is great.

I think I burned myself out a bit with all the work I've been doing on www.breastfeedingmums.com over the last few weeks. I simply haven't had a day off since I started. Stan said I should have a word with the boss!!

I've decided to spend today giving the house a good spring clean. It's frightening how much junk accumulates in a short space of time. An awful lot of it is very important letters which can't be thrown out and the pile just keeps on growing.

Then there are all the toys. I put lots of the kids toys in the attic last week. Every now and again I do that and when they get bored with those that are left I do a swop! They love it as it's like getting new stuff all over again!

However, with three children, it's the washing that's hardest to keep up with. I wash it and dry it but it never seems to be done! The ironing pile gets bigger and bigger and then it starts all over again. I look forward to the day when a robot will do all the monotonous chores around the house!


Big Googly Eyes!

I've finally got around to adding a few neat little widgets to my blog. So now it's beginning to feel as though I'm running two websites - my blog and www.breastfeedingmums.com.

I'm spending so much time staring at the computer screen these days that I'm fear I'm turning into one of those halloween masks with big googly eyes!

I've submitted another two articles to ezinearticles.com, Bathing a Newborn baby and A Picture of Perfection; they'll be on my RSS feed on my website in a couple of days.

This morning I checked my sitelogs again and I had 111 visitors yesterday! So the numbers are still increasing, albeit slowly...

I've been doing a bit of research on automatic article submission programs. I've come across one that is interesting so I've applied for a free trial run to see if it lives up to its reputation. It is amazing how long it takes just to submit articles after you have written them!

I've widened my horizons a little bit by including my www.breastfeedingmums.com adwords ad on Australian, Canadian and American pages. This morning I got a pleasant surprise when I saw that 64 people had clicked on it. Previously it was getting 30 odd clicks a day.

By the way, my daily budget is set at just £3 so who knows how many clicks it would get if I increased the budget. However, tempting as this is, I want to try to earn some money rather than give it away! That's why I am putting so much effort into my articles.

And so I conclude and return to the laborious task of thinking of ways to tempt visitors to the site...


Time for a Change

Finally, after four long months I had time to get my hair cut and coloured! I had some blonde highlights put in a few years ago and had continued with the trend until last night when I went back to my own dark brown. Jack, my baby, didn't know me when I came home!!

It will take a bit of getting used to but I don't get that much time to look in the mirror these days so I guess I'll hardly notice it.

Checked my sitelogs today and had 105 visitors yesterday! Hurrayyyy! That's the most I've had in one day yet. Now I'm aiming for 200 per day.

Added more stuff to the site namely an ebay link, celebrities who have had postnatal depression and a few edits.

I've been checking my ezine articles and almost 450 people have read them! So things are going well at the moment.


A Lesson Learnt!

I've been busy adding a few new features to www.breastfeedingmums.com. I have a Recommended Products page which I have filled with products that I have used or am currently using. With my youngest child I searched high and low for a suitable double pram and eventually discovered Phil and Ted's E3 Explorer online. I decided to place it top of my list as it is so practical. Since I bought it many people have expressed delight that such a pram is available. It transforms itself from a single pram to a double and back again! It is one of my very favourite purchases and best of all it's easy to manoevre down narrow shop aisles!

I thought such a page would be useful, particularly for first time mums as it's hard to know what you will need or use. I used Mothercare as my link for the products as I always find the staff very willing to help, explain and advise. Anything I have purchased with Mothercare online and need to return is always dealt with very efficiently. One of my pet hates with online shopping is that often returns are very expensive. But if you order online from a big name store like Mothercare the returns are much simpler and definitely not so expensive.

Recently I purchased a steam press from a company that shall remain nameless. It was a small online company and the product was delivered promptly. After trying the press I was disappointed and decided to return it. No Problem, I was advised... except that it would cost me £60.00! I was told not to return it via Parcelforce but rather through a courier company! Needless to say this was a rip-off and rather than fork out  such an extortionate amount of money I kept the press. It now lies dormant in the attic! Money well spent.

If I had purchased it online through Argos I could have returned it free through my local store!

I always check the returns policy now after learning such an expensive lesson!

I decided it may also be an idea to cater for people who are on a budget or who love a bargain so I joined eBay's affiliate program. Many of my friends purchase items through eBay and my husband has ordered a few computer games and books. None of them have ever had problems and it appears to be a bit of fun having to bid for things you want!

So, all in all, the site is growing a little bit every day!


"Time goes by so slowly for those who wait..."

I had another busy weekend tweaking and fine-tuning my website, www.breastfeedingmums.com. I decided to make a feature of Picasa software and added a page devoted to it which showed my own photographs before and after Picasa. I was really pleased with the results.

I've been using a trial version of Webposition 4 to help me optimise my site and it seems to be really good. I made a few changes to my homepage and to a few of my articles based on the program's advice. It took forever but hopefully will be worth it. Now I just have to wait for the search engines to send their spiders a-crawling!

I think the most frustrating part of setting up this website is all the waiting that is involved. I am encouraged by family and friends who think the site is great. But the masses don't even know it exists yet!

My dad and my husband keep saying it's a marathon, not a sprint. But, I'm always in a hurry. I hate waiting.

I suppose I could learn a thing or two from Madonna when she sings, "Time goes by so slowly for those who wait..."


Marching To A Different Beat!

I wrote another article for ezinearticles.com and it is now available on my RSS feed at www.breastfeedingmums.com. This time I decided to write a piece of humour about family life. You see my whole life doesn't revolve around breastfeeding; I can do other things too!

Visitor numbers to my site still on the rise although a long way to go yet. Have spent most of the last few days studying the importance of keywords and optimisation. It's been very interesting and I've learnt a lot. Now the problem simply lies in turning the theory into practice. I fear I will be at it for quite a while...


Computer (Il)Literate!

It's Breastfeeding Awareness Week and my local breastfeeding support group organised a display stand in one of the local shopping centres. There was quite a bit of interest and I got to distribute some business cards for my website, http://www.breastfeedingmums.com.  A lady from the Women's Health Initiative asked me for extra cards to put in their Welcome packs for new mums. So, all in all it was good publicity, not only for breastfeeding but for my new venture too!

I was also invited to join the Maternity Services Liason Committee which allows professionals and service users to support and improve maternity services in the local area.

I submitted another three articles to ezinearticles.com and they've been approved and are now available on my website's rss feed!

I still think it's a bit funny me becoming computer literate! Who would have guessed? It has to be said though, that my husband has to take a lot of the credit as he has been so patient with explaining things to me and putting stuff on the site.

I wrote an article on Picasa software for my site. I put some of my own before and after photos on it and I think it has been a good move. Hopefully, some people will download and install the free software. but, as with all things in life, time will tell!


Treading the Keyboard!

I wrote another couple of articles for ezinearticles.com so hopefully this will drive some more traffic my way. I've also added some Amazon text links to the site; these show books relative to the page a person is currently viewing. I have high hopes for this - within 24 hours I had a lot of clicks!

I had a young lady apply to me for a job! I am not actually in a position to employ anyone yet but I took it as a good sign that someone wants to work for me! You never know - maybe soon I will need to get extra help!

This is Breastfeeding Awareness Week and a lady contacted me to ask permission to display the name of my website on a promotional display in the local shopping centre. I was thrilled. All publicity helps the cause. I will be delighted if even one person looks and my site and decides to breastfeed as a result!


End Of...

Well, after all the stuff I found out about forums and newsgroups I decided to delete mine from www.breastfeedingmums.com... temporarily at least. I've realised there are a lot of people out there just dying to have a go at everyone else. Having looked at a few of both recently, I noticed that people rarely give straight answers to questions. And if they don't like the question they avoid answering it altogether!

There are also a lot of assumptions made about people who ask questions by those who answer them! Not always fairly, I think.

Surely the majority of people who submit a question to a newsgroup do so because they want an answer or some advice. Or am I just a bit naive to think so?

And, oh boy, once a thread starts there seems to be no way to stop it. Or delete it. It becomes a runaway train.

And you'd better not make any mistakes - like accidentally submitting a well-intentioned article to an established group; they'll rip you to shreds.

I've become enlightened about the difference between slander and libel; and if you live in the US it seems you can pretty much say or write what you like about people you don't know and tarnish their reputations for fun. Surely, any sane person with a moral conscience would find this sort of action reprehensible.

Anyway, I suppose I feel a bit happier about things now. I know from my sitelogs that my visitor numbers are increasing and I'm in the middle of some plans for other things to try on the site.

I've had a few more ideas regarding new articles so I really need to sit down and start composing them.

All in all, I've learnt a few valuable lessons this week. Number one being never reveal too much about yourself... there will always be someone waiting in the wings to fling it in your face.


To Have Or Not To Have...A Forum

What a scorcher it is today! I've been too busy to get out in the sun yet as my little girl had to perform a poem in the local feis. I was so proud of her! Before she came on my palms were sweating; she is only six and it was her first time performing in front of an audience! But she did it beautifully.

My visitor numbers are slowly increasing which is nice. A lot of people have viewed my ezine articles and six publishers have downloaded them. Assuming they actually credit them to me, I hope to see even more visitors!

Friends, family and acquaintances who have looked at my site, www.breastfeedingmums.com, have all been very complimentary. I have lots of ideas about further publicising it but it really is difficult to get the time with three children to look after. I'm trying to do a little bit every day. As the old saying goes, 'a little goes a long way'.

I'm having second thoughts about having a forum on the site. Apart from anything else no-one has added anything! But given my experience over the last couple of nights I'm not sure I want to encourage individuals who take pleasure in intimidating and upsetting other mothers.

I am still reeling by the terrotorial nature of the people I came into contact with. It was shocking the way they made assumptions and ganged up with one another. I feel really sorry for the girl who owns the website, www.newmomsforum.com.  They are still having a go at her!   

Anyway, enough said about all that. Suffice to say I will not be participating in forums or newsgroups again for the time being!