Hi guys, I love the world of blogging for the wonderful friends it has given me. I have done a Meet The Bloggers series in the past and am starting a new one today. I want to start off with the gorgeous and creative super mum – Sania! Sania blogs at All Things GUD. Her blog is a visual delight! You will find easy to read posts with a smattering of fantastic pics. Here are a few questions Sania answered –
Tell us something about yourself Sania.
I am a medical professional by education but a writer by heart. To me, writing about de-tanning or latest trends in bags comes as easy as jotting down the symptoms of basal cell carcinoma. I am an absolute tea-ohlic, love Pinterest and can’t do without whatsapp. Born in Delhi & (well) brought up in Lucknow, I think I possess a ‘super power’ to tell apart good & bad of – Food, Style, Decor and everything else that calls for a creative inkling. Monotony kills me so I keep myself allied with several things at a time. Recently, I became the Safe Food Ambassador for Tetra Pak. This gives me a vast scope to work in the field of food safety and spread the message of healthy and safe eating practices.
What made you start blogging?
Writing happened to me by chance. While I was on a sabbatical, being a new mum, I started doing online/work-from-home assignments in the medical & healthcare domain. Unknowingly the serious and heavy medical writing got replaced by fun to read, light and reader friendly generic content for various wellness and lifestyle portals. In the past 7 years, I must have written more than 2000 articles for the online media.When I realized people like what I write, I got motivated to have a space of my own where I can write or erase, upload or delete, publish or remove – what and how I want to. That’s how ‘all things GUD!’ came up.
What is your blog all about?
My blog ‘all things GUD’ is an eclectic mix of interesting ideas, recipes, reviews, health tips, DIY, fashion and everything that is GUD under the sun. The blog is FUN and vibrant! I constantly try to include content which ‘you & I’ can relate to in our lives. A lot of stories are derived out of my own personal experiences and happenings in everybody’s day to day life, and I guess for my visitors that’s what makes it an interesting read as they connect with content immediately. I receive messages and comments on my articles saying “The write-up was so realistic, as if it is taken out of my own life”, “Oh, this happens at my home also” and several like these. That is the USP of my blog! If I make a quick 3-minute biscuit cake, I would share it with my readers; I have an oops moment, I will put it across on the blog; a nice meal somewhere, it’s up there! My content strategy is very simple. I write what I would like to read.
What were the challenges you faced when you started? How did you get past them?
I had words but to put them together in a visually appealing manner online, I lacked technical skills. Initially I tried setting up my blog at Blogger (on my own) but it didn’t look professional and engaging. So I requested a dear friend to make a WordPress site for me. He did. Obviously I could not bother him every day for all the uploading, adding, deleting and managing the site. So I resorted to Youtube & Google. I remember doing extensive Google search and watching online videos to learn how to resize the image, add plugins, create menu, do SEO and other such stuff. I continually read tips & techniques for successful blogging, ways to promote the website and innovative ideas to create engaging content. So, basically Google helped me in knowing, whatever I did not know.
Your Facebook page reached 500 likes in just 2 months! How did you achieve this feat?
It was indeed flattering and motivating to get 500+ likes on FB page in just 2 month’s time. Being a ‘social’ (read Facebook) person, I had been very active on social media since the time I launched my blog. I invited everyone in my friend list to join the page, sent personal messages to close friends and requested them not only to like the page but also to invite their friends as well to like it, and most importantly I incessantly created interesting posts to be shared on the wall. So I guess, people engagement led to this quick rise in ‘likes’.
One of my blog post – I Am Not A Lazy Mom went viral with over 1 lac of ‘views’ and more than 2000 ‘post shares’.
Blogging takes up a lot of time and mothers are always pressed for time. How do you manage yours?
I have a full time job and an 8 year old daughter to look after apart from taking care of my over-worked husband. I also want my house to be spic and span, bed sheets crisp and not even a trace of dust on my artifacts. And as if this was not enough, I wanted to run a blog as well. Time and energy were definitely falling short. But then I am a firm believer of the old adage – You take out time for what you like to do. I usually sneak out time in early morning or late in the night to do my blogging stuff.
How tough was it for you to manage a home, a child and 9 to 5 job along with your blogging? Did your colleagues know about your blog? Were they supportive or judgmental?
Even with my 9 to 6 (not 5!) job I am able to blog in whatever time I get post office and household engagements. As I have already mentioned – anyone can TAKE out time for what he/she LOVES to do. This might sound like those cliché speeches but my family, friends and colleagues had always encouraged and motivated me. Their feedback, comments and opinions keep me going with writing new and interesting posts – day in, day out!
What is your message for anyone who wants to take up blogging?
If you have a way with words, definitely put them across in a blog. Get a basic website made (I would recommend wordpress out of my own experience) and start posting. Be consistent with your posts. Images play an important part in any blog post but not having a DSLR should not stop you from clicking awesome pictures for the blog. I learned some basic and easy tips of taking great pictures from a simple phone camera using easily available props at home through You Tube and Google, so can you. (All my blog pictures are from my phone camera and people have told me, some of them are superb!) Secondly, people like to read simple language. Conversational tone. Easily understandable content. Do not sound like a Thesaurus or Wikipedia.
How would you describe Sania – The Blogger?
Passionate, fervent & forever ready to write.
How would you describe Sania – The Person?
Creative, fun & loves all things GUD in life.
[Tweet “I mostly find myself on the ‘Write’ side of life says @saniashariq”]