My smart guide to blogging

I had something of an epiphany recently; I’ve become a professional blogger. Since I quit my job eight months ago, the official line has been that I’m a freelance copywriter. However, while I was updating my earnings spreadsheet the other day, it struck me that this blog has accounted for most of what I’ve earned since going it alone. In fact, apart from one regular job that brings in a couple of hundred a month, Diary of the Dad has been the family’s only source of income. I was somewhat surprised!

I’m very much of the school of thought that, if I can do something, then anyone can and this leads me on to the main point of this post. To help promote their Smart Meters – which show you how much energy you’re using in real time and allow you to keep tight control on how much you spend – E.ON got in touch with me to ask if I’d like to write a ‘smart guide’ to my passion of blogging. So here goes…

Be true to yourself

Cheesy though this sounds, this is the most important factor in keeping a blog going. This one started as a means of recording family life and has obviously evolved a bit since then, but my writing style and tone have stayed the same and I’ve not forgotten why I started – namely to embarrass my children when they bring home significant others later in life!

Content is king

Your story is the content that will keep readers coming back and I can prove this! In my first year of blogging, I won an award. Back then, I only published words – there were no pictures at all for a whole year – and the design was the same free basic template that thousands of others used. People can only have voted for me because they liked my bewildered musings about becoming a dad.

Don’t fret about stats

It’s so easy to worry about how many people read your posts, the tally of followers you have on Twitter and where you are in the latest monthly rankings but, ultimately, none of this matters. Having something you’ve written resonate with one person to the point that they leave a comment is a wonderful feeling and better than 100 faceless hits to your site any day of the week.

Know your limits

As with anything in life, you should never push yourself more than necessary. Worried that you don’t have anything to say for a little while? Don’t be. And don’t write posts for the sake of it! I’ve had quiet spells and, although they were frustrating at the time, I’m glad I didn’t write filler content. Quality, not quantity is the mantra here.

Be prepared for awesomeness

Blogging has opened up so many opportunities for me; I’ve made some great friends, learned about all kinds of weird and wonderful things and picked up several new skills as a long-term result of that first sleep-deprived post about why I identified with zombies. As I mentioned at the start, it even pays the bills now and, more importantly, has allowed me to spend more time with my family. It’s amazing where it can take you!


Competition time

Enough from me! Here’s your chance to win a £100 John Lewis voucher. To be in with a chance of winning, use the widget below to share your own smart guide tip. This could be about anything from advice for following a passion to an everyday life hack that frees up some all-important time to do the thing you love doing. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions

  • The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered
  • Open to UK residents aged 18 and over
  • Competition is closed to employees and relatives of the host* and E.ON
  • The competition opening date is 11 April 2016, and the closing date for entries is 24 April 2016
  • One entry per person
  • Entrants must log into Rafflecopter and leave a comment stating a tip of their own which links to the blogger’s post
  • The winner will be chosen by using a random number generator built into the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted direct on the email address provided. If the winner does not respond within 7 days a new winner will be drawn
  • The winner’s name will be available on request. By entering this competition participants consent to their full name being available by request from the host
  • The prize will be sent within 28 days of receipt of the winner’s address
  • E.ON reserves the right to amend or withdraw the competition at any time without notice or liability
  • Entry to this competition confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions
  • This competition is governed by the laws of England and any dispute shall be governed by the English courts.

* The host = the participating blogger

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post and the competition is brought to you in partnership with E.ON Energy. See if you could save money with their gas and electricity deals today. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

134 Comments
  • Tracy Nixon
    April 11, 2016

    Apply some butter to the sliced end of unfinished cheese to keep it preserved longer!

  • aaron broad
    April 11, 2016

    Open a Banana the ‘opposite’ way around is much easier

  • Jenna Parrington
    April 11, 2016

    When it comes to blogging, blog for yourself 🙂

  • Chrissie Curtis
    April 11, 2016

    A little life hack I like especially with spring and summer on the way is using a straw for drinks and popping them through a cake case so it covers your drink stopping bugs from getting in!

  • sharon martin
    April 11, 2016

    Adding a teaspoon of of baking soda when you boil eggs and the shell will come off easily.

    • Emma h
      April 23, 2016

      Place a wooden spoon over a boiling saucepan to stop it bubbling over

  • Niki Clifton
    April 11, 2016

    add a tea spoon of olive oil to the water when cooking pasta so it doesn’t stick together

  • ashleigh allan
    April 11, 2016

    Bicarb is the best for cleaning your oven!

  • Stephanie Coals
    April 11, 2016

    Put some newspaper at the bottom of the rubbish bin to soak up any food juice that escapes the bag- saves having to clear out moldy/sticky juices because all you need to do is change the newspaper every time you empty the bin!

  • Sam McKean
    April 11, 2016

    Take your nylon tights into the shower with you to wash them.

  • clair downham
    April 11, 2016

    use a rubber glove to get hard tops off

  • Tony Metcalf
    April 11, 2016

    DON’T TOAST YOUR TOAST. FRY IT.
    Warm some butter or olive oil over medium-high heat. Lay in bread and fry until golden on both sides. Sell your toaster.

  • Sinead ORourke
    April 11, 2016

    Half a lemon with bread soda to clean the glass of your shower.

  • laura banks
    April 11, 2016

    using dental floss to clean under the knobs on your oven

  • Evie Clarkson
    April 11, 2016

    quality over quantity! xx

  • Heather Haigh
    April 11, 2016

    If you are shy or self-consious remember most people spend most of their time thinking about themselves and their own lives, not you. Really taking this on board made me a lot less self-conscious.

  • abigail edkins
    April 11, 2016

    dont bother ironing, no one really notices or says wow look at that great ironed outfit

  • Natalie Crossan
    April 11, 2016

    Use washing powder to remove stains from teacups and spoons!!

  • tasha hood
    April 12, 2016

    Use a post it note to clean your keyboard

  • Kelly Hemmings
    April 12, 2016

    Have a lovely Spring clean and sort out everything that you don’t use. Sell them on eBay or have a car boot to make some extra pennies. Buy nice tubs & baskets to keep the place clutter free. Once done your day to day tidy will be quick & simple and clutter free

  • Beverley Cousins
    April 12, 2016

    If you want to get fit and healthy, then why not have a go at jogging with a difference…Walk 2 lampposts then run 4 and this way you want over do it and the enjoyment you get from it is wonderful!

  • Tracy Newton
    April 12, 2016

    Nylon tights buff up leather shoes to a nice shine

  • Jodi hill
    April 12, 2016

    Sauce pans stained?
    Add vinegar and bicarb to the pan and slowly bring to the boil! By burn marks!

  • Peter Davidson
    April 12, 2016

    Just chill out and enjoy life

  • Nicki Simpson
    April 12, 2016

    I love reading and hate the boredom of traveling in the car but I suffer from horrendous travel sickness …..if you cock your head to the side whilst reading….you don’t feel as Ill! Horay!

  • Liam Bishop
    April 12, 2016

    Ctrl + T opens a new tab in your browser, good little short cut!

  • Farhana
    April 12, 2016

    The early bird really does catch the worm, I find the day to be so much productive when I manage to get out of bed before the kids 🙂

  • Sara Goodman
    April 13, 2016

    I love looking for vouchers before going shopping or for discount codes when shopping on line. It certainly all adds up!

    Thanks for a brilliant giveaway 🙂

  • Prerna Gupta
    April 13, 2016

    wrap the stems of bananas in plastic wrap to prevent them from getting brown and over ripe!

  • Cassandra Mayers
    April 13, 2016

    Make to do lists!!! Makes getting things done alot faster as you dont need to keep thinking about what to do next!

  • Jess Mary
    April 13, 2016

    Shrink a pimple in minutes by putting a dab of Listerine on it. The alcohol will dry it up and cause it to fade. Been using this life hack for a few years now and works everytime! 🙂

  • leanne abel
    April 13, 2016

    Rubbing a walnut over scratches in your furniture will disguise dings and scrapes

  • MICHELLE
    April 13, 2016

    use hot water and a rubber band to open stubborn jars

  • Steve Hearne
    April 13, 2016

    Use a rubber band on lids and jars that are to tight to open

  • Hayley Elvin
    April 13, 2016

    Bicarbonate of Soda and Lemon juice mixed together to make a paste will leave your shower doors gleaming

  • jo
    April 14, 2016

    Great post on starting blogging – you inspired me to finally press publish.

  • Jane Willis
    April 14, 2016

    Even if you don’t use them in the tumble drier, keep a pack of tumble drier fabric softener sheets in the house. They make great anti-static dusters, perfect for electronic goods and synthetic surfaces that tend to attract dust, as they help to prevent dust from settling. And if, like me, you are a papercrafter, a wipe over your cardstock will help to prevent it sticking in fancy dies, help it to emboss smoothly when using a scoring board, and help to prevent specks of embossing powder sticking in the wrong place when stamping.

  • Diane Carey
    April 14, 2016

    When you open a new bottle of cooking oil/olive oil/medicines put it inside a sandwich bag. Then everytime you use it any that runs down the side will go in the bag and your kitchen shelf won’t get messed up and sticky

  • CAROL PATRICK
    April 14, 2016

    A little dishwasher rinse aid added to water cleans windows & keeps them streak free & gleaming

  • Lindsey Stuart
    April 14, 2016

    I have a money saving tip that I have only just discovered myself!!! :O 😉
    If you travel to work, share transport/share lifts this works out so much cheaper than traveling yourself day in day out 🙂

  • Kathryn Davies
    April 15, 2016

    Have regular clearouts and make some money by doing a car boot sale

  • Sam Goodwin
    April 15, 2016

    If you can’t open a jar, tap it on a hard surface, and try again, the lids pops right off!

  • mandy austin
    April 15, 2016

    add vinegar to water to clean windows they come up sparkling

  • Damien Hudson
    April 15, 2016

    When boiling eggs add a lemon wedge to the water so that when it’s time to peel them, it wont stick and should slide right off the egg!

  • Rebecca Beesley
    April 15, 2016

    My smart tip is to totally love your freezer – It saves so much money by avoiding food waste and it saves loads of time by having lots of food available when you need it. So I freeze egg whites, bread crusts (to make into breadcrumbs), green veg like kale, beans etc once blanched, lemon juice frozen into ice cubes, garlic, chopped up onion, and portions of cooked meals frozen in old butter tubs to make perfect homecooked ready meals for future use.

  • Laura Harrison
    April 16, 2016

    Use newspaper to clean widows so it doesn’t smear xx

  • juliette
    April 16, 2016

    freeze some fruit juice as ice cubes and add to water – less juice more water so healthier

  • Sheila Howes
    April 16, 2016

    Make time for yourself – don’t be afraid to have some Me Time!

  • tracy james
    April 17, 2016

    add a small amount of cooking oil to water ,it will stop pasta from sticking together.

  • Angela Weir
    April 17, 2016

    If you want to hold a family meeting turn off the WiFi and wait in the room where the router is kept.

  • esme mccrubb
    April 17, 2016

    keep on top of clutter regularily doing a room at a time

  • sarah fielding
    April 17, 2016

    Keep on top of everything!

  • Nikki Hayes
    April 17, 2016

    Doing your grocery shop online saves time, money and temptation to buy unhealthy treats :o)

  • hannonle
    April 17, 2016

    My life tip is to check your bank accounts and see what interest you are getting. Do it right now! You might have savings languishing in a rubbish 0% account and in a quick 5 mins the money could be moved into an account that actually pays something (even if it’s only a small amount more, every little bit will help).

  • abby gower
    April 18, 2016

    to freshen up your microwave, slice a lemon in half and microwave it for 1 minute, it leave it smelling really fresh 🙂

  • Marianne Daniels
    April 18, 2016

    vinegar is a great and cheap antibac cleaner!

  • Jayne Kelsall
    April 18, 2016

    I always go shopping with a list, that way I tend not to waste money on things I don’t need and I also get round the supermarket in half the time than if I don’t have a list. x

  • Eva Vida
    April 18, 2016

    The simplest way to slice a bunch of cherry tomatoes is to sandwich them between two plastic lids and run a long knife through all of them at once!

  • Keshia Esgate
    April 18, 2016

    Cook in bulk and freeze extra portions in small containers to save cooking in the week!

  • Hannah Smith
    April 18, 2016

    Take photos of product labels you like in the shops and then google them when you get home (or on a smartphone) to see if they are available cheaper online!

  • Monica Gilbert
    April 18, 2016

    Just discovered this with a mug that was getting a bit dingy from lots of cups of tea. Right after washing it with hot water and a sponge, I decided to dry it with a textured tea towel. It took the majority of the tea stains right off! I don’t know how well it would work with an older mug, but it’s definitely great with newer ones.

  • Michelle Cheeseman
    April 18, 2016

    Give the kids a piece of cheese after eating sugary treats. It neutralizes the acid and prevents tooth decay!

  • Ema J Lowe
    April 19, 2016

    when break eggs, if you get little pieces of shell in the mix, use the bigger shell to scoop it out, works much better than a spoon.

  • Margaret Gallagher
    April 19, 2016

    Always buy food that’s in season and batch cook stews pasta dishes and soups -most fruit can be frozen too
    This way you save money and are less tempted to eat unhealthy food
    Saves time too

  • Vicki Nicholls
    April 19, 2016

    Pick your battles.

  • Leila Benhamida
    April 20, 2016

    Use Beeswax to waterproof your shoes and nail polish to identity your keys with different colours.

  • Melissa Crowe
    April 20, 2016

    take each day as in comes

  • Layla Thomas
    April 20, 2016

    Wow I’ve loved reading everyone’s tips and I’ve certainly found a few I’ll try. My tip is for those hard to open jars, if you take a butter knife and give it a tap all around the lid it will break the seal and make it easier to open.

  • Rebecca Taylor
    April 20, 2016

    Try and get a routine going to make it easier when planning blog posts

  • graham wright
    April 20, 2016

    Bicarb is the best for cleaning your oven!

  • sarah kochan
    April 21, 2016

    do what makes you happy – take risks 🙂

  • Lucy Bishop
    April 22, 2016

    My tip would be to write for the right reasons – write what YOU want to write about, and your passion will shine through.

  • annmarie Crawford
    April 22, 2016

    To remove stubborn pet hairs from fabrics just put on some rubber gloives and rub your hand over the area it collects the hair brilliant

  • Melanie Southey-Hill
    April 22, 2016

    Online food shopping has really helped with budgeting. Stops the temptation of buying stuff you don’t really need on the way round the supermarket

  • Karen Barrett
    April 22, 2016

    Use bio washing powder to clean your oven shelves. Soak overnight, cooking spills just wipe off, no scrubbing required

  • Michelle Sykes
    April 22, 2016

    Use rubber gloves to help remove pet hair

  • Craig Boneham
    April 22, 2016

    Live everyday with a smile cause who knows when it will be your last

  • Samantha walker
    April 22, 2016

    Rub toothpaste into scratched CD’s to stop them from jumping!! Learnt from my nan when I was about 8

  • Jacob Barnard
    April 22, 2016

    Make sure you set smaller goals to reach your “bigger” goal as it’ll be much more attainable that way 🙂

  • Jacqui
    April 22, 2016

    If I have household jobs to do, I try to get them all done in the morning when I’m most energetic. That way, I can have a relaxing lunch knowing they’re all done and the rest of the day is mine to enjoy 🙂

  • Rachel Bell
    April 23, 2016

    I’m not sure if this is the kind of thing you mean but I live by this….smile every day!! Even if you don’t feel like it, sometimes you have to choose to be happy 🙂 xx

  • Dale Dow
    April 23, 2016

    hit the supermarket around 5 each day for reduced bargains #CheaperTea

  • claire fawkner
    April 23, 2016

    Add vinegar to the water when boiling eggs – stops them from breaking

  • Jade Leigh
    April 23, 2016

    Baby oil on stainless steel get’s rid of any marks.

    Also avocado & Sugar used as a facial scrub

    GOOD LUCK ALL xXxXxXx

  • Jemma edge
    April 23, 2016

    Put a tea spoon in the left over champagne / sparkly bottle to keep it fizzy xx

  • Jenny Prest
    April 23, 2016

    Soda Crystals in your washing machine with every wash, helps your machine live longer!

  • sarah hayes
    April 23, 2016

    To get chewing gum from fabrics, rub an ice cube over it until it is solid then carefully peel it of the fabric, leaving no residue of gum or no stickiness and no sign of chewing gum 😉

  • Zoey P
    April 23, 2016

    When cooking make extra portions that you can freeze, these are perfect for those hectic days when you don’t have time to cook something from scratch.

  • JAYNE HALL
    April 23, 2016

    follow your gut instincts your almost always right

  • Angie Pickering
    April 23, 2016

    De clutter your house. Not only will it save you time on cleaning and finding things but it will make you think more positively

  • Dee Griffiths
    April 23, 2016

    Use baby wipes for dusting the house….takes dust off surfaces easily and leaves lovely smell as you dust

  • lishy Brown
    April 23, 2016

    hot water with fresh lemon in the oven, makes it smell nice 🙂

  • Hannah Hayland
    April 23, 2016

    When blogging think of advice you’d wished someone would’ve given you.

  • Julie Camm
    April 23, 2016

    Download an auto-filler for online forms…… really speeds things up….

  • Lisa Mauchline
    April 23, 2016

    Look at the reduced shelves in supermarkets. You can get meat cheaper and freeze it. You can also find products reduced due to the manufacturer changing the packaging.

  • Lisa Rowsell
    April 23, 2016

    Cook in bulk, and freeze when you can so there’s also something you can just pop in the oven/microwave when time is of the essence.

  • Jill Fairbank
    April 23, 2016

    Washing powder is great for hard on burnt fat but rinse off thoroughly

  • Caroline Blaza
    April 23, 2016

    Use vinegar on glass for a lovely shine x

  • Leeanne Clifford
    April 23, 2016

    Blog about what is close to your heart and that you are passionate about.

  • Stuart Dunlop
    April 23, 2016

    Simple – Just enjoy life everyday.

  • Emma Allton
    April 23, 2016

    I have zero tips…. But have really enjoyed reading all the others

  • Lucie Aiston
    April 23, 2016

    Blog for you and you only. Don’t be a crowd pleaser. If you love your work thats all that matters!

  • Karen Harrison
    April 23, 2016

    When you’re cooking, make extra and freeze so you have leftovers for lazy evenings.

  • tony gray
    April 23, 2016

    No need to re cork wine or use a stopper…… just drink the rest of the bottle 🙂

  • Tamsin Dean
    April 23, 2016

    shopping apps for supermarkets are ace for getting money back on the day to day items like bread/milk and adds up really fast

  • Debbie Hoare
    April 23, 2016

    Lids that dont come off jars . . . immerse the lid in a small container thats filled with boiling water and the lid should loosen and then come off easily.

  • Anna Brown
    April 23, 2016

    Place a lemon in a bowl of water and
    Heat in the microwave for 3 minutes. Remove and wipe away the water. The microwave will be nice and clean and smell fresh.

  • Jessica McDonnell
    April 23, 2016

    Carry around a small roll of cellotape in your handbag because it can be used to fix so many things and doubles up as a lint roller.

  • Melissa Mcdonagh
    April 23, 2016

    After cleansing, splash face with cold water to close pores

  • Cristín Williams
    April 23, 2016

    My tip is to finish one task before starting another! By this I mean large tasks, so often we start to decorate a room or clear out a cupboard when we get distracted and start something else. Then we end up with two unfinished jobs and I get angry because I can’t live in mess.

  • Christine Beake
    April 23, 2016

    Rub baby oil on stubborn sticker residue – works a treat

  • Mary Chez
    April 23, 2016

    Use price comparison websites and cashback sites to get best deals

  • Karl Borowy
    April 23, 2016

    plan your day

  • Patricia Avery
    April 23, 2016

    When you buy anything that needs washing (from clothes to curtains) only buy easy care fabrics. I have done this for years and now never need to iron at all 🙂

  • Chris kendall
    April 23, 2016

    Take everyday as it comes don’t stress you won’t go as bald as quick

  • Beryl drake
    April 23, 2016

    When youve ironed your bedding place duvet and remaining set in one of the pillowcases . Keeps them together and your cuboard tidy

  • Lucy mills
    April 23, 2016

    My son lives peeled and sliced apple in his lunchbox so at the beginning of the week I will do the full weeks worth at the same time and soak it in water with a touch of salt for 15 mins to keep from Browning but it still tastes as it should 🙂

  • Ruth Wollerton
    April 23, 2016

    Live in the PRESENT, don’t waste time on the past or concentrate what’s going to happen in the future. Concentrate on the NOW to have the most fun. Thanks

  • Rebecca Lis
    April 23, 2016

    When you’ve washed your bedding, fold it up and put each set into a pillowcase to keep it all together

  • Alica
    April 23, 2016

    When freezing minced meat, flatten it out in a Ziploc bag for faster thawing.

  • Meena Hindmarch
    April 23, 2016

    i love this one: be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about

  • Maria P
    April 23, 2016

    always add a bit of baking powder to the self raising flour, the cake would be higher

  • j coulson
    April 23, 2016

    love your blog!

  • cheryl hadfield
    April 23, 2016

    add a tablespoon of water to minced beef when cooking so it does not stick together

  • Anita hargreaves
    April 23, 2016

    Use a old sock as a hand duster for cleaning laminate flooring

  • Gee Horsfield
    April 23, 2016

    Always go food shopping with a list of what you’ll eat/cook the week ahead! You save a lot of time and money also helps avoid buying all the junk that pops out on offers!

  • Tammy Stevenson
    April 23, 2016

    I think my top tip would have to be when you are stuggling to keep the house tidy while you are busy and have a toddler. Pick up a few things or tidy a few bits up every time you walk into the room that needs done or clean one area. Everything gets done by the end of the day and you will possibly even have time for yourself to relax!

  • Karen Howden
    April 23, 2016

    Start training your dog as a puppy and keep going, put the time in when they are young to have a dog that is well behaved for the rest of its life

  • Simone Kilshaw
    April 23, 2016

    leave the debit card at home and just take the amount of cash you need. Its too tempting to spend more as well when you don’t see the money exchange hands.

  • Nicole Farao
    April 23, 2016

    Always have a pack of baby wipes handy. They are so versatile and can clean just about anything, from sticky hands and dirty faces, to making taps sparkle.

  • Suzie Wilder
    April 23, 2016

    Just goes to show if you are true to yourself, your feelings blogging can be successful ! But you need to have fun with it x

  • Emma Gough
    April 23, 2016

    I’ve just discovered a new hack for heating my baby’s milk, if giving a 5oz feed use 4ozs of cooled boiled water, then top up with 1oz of fresh boiled water, add your milk powder and shake. Your milk will then be the right temp for baby to drink

  • Pia Stephens
    April 23, 2016

    Laundry – always use colour catchers, you can literally pop any colours in the wash, saves time and no need to do half loads anymore x

  • Gillian Mcclelland
    April 23, 2016

    Don’t iron bed sheets

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