My smart guide to blogging

A laptop computer.

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.


  1. Chrissie Curtis

    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!

  2. sharon martin

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

  3. Niki Clifton

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

  4. Stephanie Coals

    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!

  5. Tony Metcalf

    Warm some butter or olive oil over medium-high heat. Lay in bread and fry until golden on both sides. Sell your toaster.

  6. Heather Haigh

    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.

  7. Kelly Hemmings

    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

  8. Beverley Cousins

    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!

  9. Jodi hill

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

  10. Nicki Simpson

    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!

  11. Farhana

    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 🙂

  12. Sara Goodman

    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 🙂

  13. Prerna Gupta

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

  14. Cassandra Mayers

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

  15. Jess Mary

    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! 🙂

  16. Hayley Elvin

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

  17. Jane Willis

    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.

  18. Diane Carey

    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


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

  20. Lindsey Stuart

    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 🙂

  21. Sam Goodwin

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

  22. Damien Hudson

    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!

  23. Rebecca Beesley

    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.

  24. juliette

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

  25. Angela Weir

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

  26. Nikki Hayes

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

  27. hannonle

    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).

  28. abby gower

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

  29. Jayne Kelsall

    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

  30. Eva Vida

    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!

  31. Keshia Esgate

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

  32. Hannah Smith

    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!

  33. Monica Gilbert

    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.

  34. Michelle Cheeseman

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

  35. Ema J Lowe

    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.

  36. Margaret Gallagher

    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

  37. Leila Benhamida

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

  38. Layla Thomas

    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.

  39. annmarie Crawford

    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

  40. Melanie Southey-Hill

    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

  41. Karen Barrett

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

  42. Samantha walker

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

  43. Jacob Barnard

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

  44. Jacqui

    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 🙂

  45. Rachel Bell

    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

  46. Jade Leigh

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

    Also avocado & Sugar used as a facial scrub


  47. sarah hayes

    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 😉

  48. Zoey P

    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.

  49. Angie Pickering

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

  50. Dee Griffiths

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

  51. Lisa Mauchline

    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.

  52. Lisa Rowsell

    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.

  53. Lucie Aiston

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

  54. Karen Harrison

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

  55. Tamsin Dean

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

  56. Debbie Hoare

    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.

  57. Anna Brown

    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.

  58. Jessica McDonnell

    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.

  59. Cristín Williams

    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.

  60. Patricia Avery

    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 🙂

  61. Beryl drake

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

  62. Lucy mills

    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 🙂

  63. Ruth Wollerton

    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

  64. Rebecca Lis

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

  65. Meena Hindmarch

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

  66. Gee Horsfield

    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!

  67. Tammy Stevenson

    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!

  68. Karen Howden

    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

  69. Simone Kilshaw

    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.

  70. Nicole Farao

    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.

  71. Suzie Wilder

    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

  72. Emma Gough

    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

  73. Pia Stephens

    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

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