Why I Blog with Dai from daimanuel.com

After a break last week from the Why I Blog series, I’m back and with a cracker of an interview with Dai from daimanuel.com. Where do I start? Dai is a dad, a blogger, motivational speaker, athlete and when he isn’t flat out doing all that, he is the Chief Operating Officer at Fitness Town. So with all that out of the way, I’ll let Dai tell us a little bit more about himself and then dive into the interview!

The following exert is all about “My Why” – full story can be seen at http://www.daimanuel.com/about/

My passion is to engage and challenge people in living healthy, more active lifestyles.  With increasing obesity rates and a lack of focus and education on preventive medicine, our country is facing a health epidemic.  The solution starts with parents modeling a healthy active lifestyle for their children to follow.  Everyone needs inspiration to change and someone to hold them accountable to their fitness goals.  It’s my promise to offer inspiration, education, equipment and training – specifically supporting families – so that childhood obesity is no longer an issue in our country.

Dai, your blog is filled with all sorts of health related tips, workouts and stories about your 2 daughters, how did your blog come about and how long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging since 2008 on and off. What started as an accountability tool for myself to diarize my workouts and ventures into the world of CrossFit has morphed several times over the past 5 years. As someone who has been in the health and fitness industry for 16 years, I’ve dealt with many differnt types of people. Many of the questions I’ve been asked (and am still asked today) have been responded to in the form of blog posts.

The underlying messages of my blog is to promote the benefits of healthy lifestyles, smart nutrition, and being active (moving with purpose). I prefer to SHOW rather than TELL people what to do, and much of what I write about is based on personal happening that my family and I experience throughout the course of our daily lives.

As busy as life gets, we can all make better daily decisions as fathers, husbands, friends, mentors and/or role-models and lead a life full of family, fitness, and FUN!

You are speaking at the Dad 2.0 Summit, has your blogging career lead you to this speaking engagement and how would you suggest aspiring bloggers reach the same level of success you have had?

I’ve had a lot of different opportunities present themselves to me over the last few years. Some of these include interviews with the media, inviations to special events/trade shows and conferences as well as speaking engagements. I truly believe that its best to be transparent in your beliefs, share these substantiated beliefs with confidence on the topics that resonate with yourself and your audiences. If you do so, they will seek you out eventually as long as your information, opinions and personal beliefs offer value, inspiration and knowledge. You blog it, they will come. 😉

Have you learnt anything specific from blogging on daimanuel.com? 

Yes, I’m learning continuously. Like many great philsophers have said before, “there is no better way to learn than to teach” (Tweet this!).

Many of the topics I blog about are on subjects that I have gained knowledge about over the years as a father, husband and fitness professional and through sharing this knowledge I only further my own understanding of the topics. I love blogging and find it very therapeutic as one of my creative outlets. You have a niche that is in your “go zone”, share it! You’ll only further your specialization and become an sought out expert in your field.

Can you list 2 benefits to starting a blog?

Benefit 1. Creating a living, breathing diary of “me” – DaiManuel.com – something that I can be proud of and share with my children when they get older. They’ll be able to look back and get an in depth understanding of who their dad is.

Benefit 2. Borderless! I’ve always been a big believer in helping others, but was contrained geographically based on the areas I worked. With my blog I can now connect, network and help people in countries around the world – not to mention make some great lifelong friends along the way.

Dai, you’ve got a large amount of content on your site. Is there anything specific tools that you use for blogging? e.g. Evernote, notepad?

I leverage my time well with the use of a number of tools and services. I utilize Evernote to save cool ideas, facts, snippets and the like for future posts. I also utilize the features of a responsive layout to better provide content to a larger spectrum of browsers and electronic devices. Aweber has been my preferred email newsletter service provider, and there’s a number of widgets I’ve found that assist with layout and functionality improvements to my blog as well. When it comes to getting the content out there – of course, like many, I love HOOTSUITE!

Where can readers find you blog and how can they get in contact with you?

The advantage of having a unique name, “Dai Manuel”, is I’m very search engine friendly. Type it into any search engine and you’ll find that the bulk of the first few pages are typically to me. My blog URL is www.DaiManuel.com or www.MooseIsLoose.ca – I’m also on Twitter at @daimanuel and Facebook at facebook.com/mooseisloose.ca — always eager to chat to people about my passions, so don’t be a stranger!

Why I Blog with Tom from ideas4dads.net

Here comes another instalment of the “Why I Blog” series where each week I sit down with a different Dad Blogger to find out how they got started, what they’ve learnt from blogging and whether they have any special tools that can help you become a better blogger. This week, I sit down with Tom from ideas4dads.net, but I won’t take up any more of your time, here is a little bit about Tom!

I am a 35 year old chap whose life just over three and a half years ago changed forever – I became a Dad!

Parenting for me is the final frontier in terms of the life challenges and the one that I really want to succeed at above all others. I am married to my beautiful, supportive (and very patient) wife High Command, and together with our 6 year old chocolate labrador called Millie who is as mad as a box of frogs, I am also the proud owner of two daughters No 1 aka Trumpet (aged 3 and a half) and No 3 aka Digger (aged 1 and a half) with the final addition, No3 aka Tilly, due in March of next year……….so to say I have my hands full would be an understatement.

Tom, how long have you been blogging?

I first set up my blog 2 years ago after my second daughter was born on wordpress.com. I got it up and running and wrote a couple of posts but at the time my heart wasnt in it.

Fast forward 18-months and I revisited and thought I’m going to give this another go and set up a self hosted wordpress blog last September and the rest as they say is history.

How (i.e a friend showed you how) and why did you start your blog?

I set up the blog myself and with the great telephone support from GoDaddy hosting.

I decided to start the blog to share some of the helpful hints and tips I had picked over the past couple of years on my quest to be the best parent I can be.

In doing this I hope that it will provide dads with lots of ideas and tips on how to make the most of their time with their kids. Because as we hear time and again ‘they grow up quick’ and parenting, just like life, isnt a dress rehearsal.

Have you learnt anything specific from blogging?

Its been great fun.

Very cathartic. Have learnt lots of geeky stuff about websites (not that I have to need to know it but rather I find exploring that sort of thing fun).

But by far and away the best thing I have learnt are lots of useful tips from other bloggers on how to be a better parent.

List 2 benefits you can see from starting a blog?

– a hobby to help you switch off from work and benefit your family

– embracing something that encourages you to reflect on yourself as a parent and steps you can take to improve

Do you have any specific tools that you use for blogging? i.e. plugins?

– I would be lost without my Android WordPress app which allows me to write posts and manage my blog using my Smart Phone or Tablet

Justunfollow is a great app for managing and expanding my twitter followers

– Would be lost without my Hootsuite app to schedule and manage my social posts.

Where can readers find you blog and how can they get in contact with you?

Come on over and have a look at my blog at www.ideas4dads.net and if you like it please leave a comment

You can also find me on twitter @Ideas4Dads

Why I blog with Mike from twindadtalks.com

Each week I’ll be bringing you an interview from a different Dad Blogger from around the planet. The idea behind the ‘Why I blog’ series is each week a fellow blogger can share tips and some motivation about what drives them to blog.

Kicking off the series is Mike from twindadtalks.com here’s a little about Mike before we get started.

Mike with his girls. Find him at twindadtalks.com

I am a middle school assistant principal and father of twin toddler girls.  I have contributed to The Good Men Project and Grown Ups Magazine and have articles pending in TWINS magazine and Multiplicity Magazine.  I have authored an e-book entitled: “Twin Dad Talks: Help for First-Time Fathers Navigating Pregnancy” and am starting a Twitter chat for twin parents called #TwinsChat on Monday evenings.

I’ve been married for over seven years to my wife, Holly, who also has a blog called “When Two Became Four: The Adventures of Twin Girls”.  I enjoy blogging about my family, specifically, raising twins.  I also talk about other stuff that may be relevant in the news or in my head, but the focal point is family blogging about raising children.

Mike, how long have you been blogging?

I have been blogging for five months now.  I started my blog in late July after I saw how much fun my wife had with it (hers is over a year old now) and went “public” with it on August 2.

How (i.e a friend showed you how) and why did you start your blog?

My wife’s blog is through Blogger, so I knew it wasn’t hard to begin.  I started blogging because I needed a hobby and golf was too expensive.  I’ve always enjoyed writing and people I know tend to find me funny.  I’m also quite sarcastic at times, so I thought the combination would go well in a blogging atmosphere that is not deeply saturated yet.  Daddy bloggers are not a huge community yet, but they are growing.  In addition, I felt as though I could approach it from an interesting angle because there are not a lot of dads with blogs who also have twins and are school administrators.  I felt as though I could give interesting views on topics in my family and about education.  However, I don’t write much about education, because that’s what I do and I try to separate myself from that when I’m at home.

Have you learnt anything specific from blogging? 

I’ve learned that someone that writes really good content can go a while and not get a lot of pageviews.  I’m not saying that my content is awesome, but I know I’ve written a couple of decent posts that if exposed to the right communities, it could get a lot of views.  I’ve also learned that being active on social media is pretty much everything.  Before blogging, I had less than 10 followers on Twitter, now I have 1500.  But, I’ve spent a lot of time following other people and recently, joining in some Twitter chats to get my name out there.  Ideally, I’d like to tell you that I just do it as a hobby to document my thoughts, but realistically, I want people to read what I write.  That’s why I’ve put myself out there for writing for online publications.  I enjoy doing it, but it can get time consuming, and if you’re not getting paid for it (I’m definitely not), you start to wonder what the point is.

List 2 benefits you can see from starting a blog?

1. You have something that your kids can look back on.  They don’t have to ask you all the time, they can read your blog and know your thoughts when the situation happened.  When they ask you about family pictures 15 years from now, you tend to forget some things about it, but if you keep a blog and update it frequently, it’s kind of like keeping a piece of history.

2. If you have interests in freelance writing or something on a bigger scale, it’s a place to start.

Do you have any specific tools that you use for blogging? i.e. plugins?

I use the Twitter buttons like “follow” and Tweet the post, but I had my blog design customized by someone on Etsy.  I highly recommend if you are serious about blogging and want it to look nice to have someone do it for you…I know very little HTML and would have a really hard time trying to do any of it myself.  The free themes you can find are good to get started, but ultimately, you want it to look unique to anything else.  I also purchased my domain name through GoDaddy.com and got a huge discount, I think I purchased www.twindadtalks.com for $3.00.

Where can readers find your blog and how can they get in contact with you?

My blog can be found at www.twindadtalks.com, and I am on Twitter at @TwinDadTalks.  I also have a Facebook page for my blog Twin Dad Talks and have started an account on Pinterest (mgcrider).  I love connecting with new people and want to join conversations with other parents on what their joys and frustrations are in parenting.  I’m also trying to start a Twitter chat for parents of twins, since I have not seen one on Twitter.

I also enjoy taking the opportunity to do interviews like this, and I’m very appreciative of the opportunity.  I’m honored that people read my material and like it, and I just want to be able to enhance my writing and submit material that people enjoy reading.  Thanks James, for allowing me to be a part of this interview!

Liked reading this interview? Sign up to the Raising3daughters.com mailing list to receive more tips and motivation from fellow bloggers around the world.

Why I Blog with Jim from busydadblog.com

Why I Blog continues this week with Jim from Busy Dad Blog. Jim has been blogging for over five years and is one of the most experienced Dad Bloggers kicking around the internet. Let’s get going with the interview, but first, a little about Jim.

Jim Lin is a digital strategist by day and a dad blogger by whenever-he-finds-the-time. To the outside world, his blog is a repository of lighthearted parenting adventures; to Jim, it is a roadmap that helps him piece together where he’s been the past few days, when he suddenly wakes up drooling and disoriented in the office. He enjoys parenting, Scotch and training Muay Thai, all of which explain the above.

Jim, how long have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging 5 and a half years. Like Yoda in internet years, equivalent that is.

How did you learn to blog and why did you start your blog?

I started my blog because I had a 4 hour round trip train commute to and from work. I tend to fall asleep when I read, which isn’t the best state of being when you’re riding the LA Metro, so I blogged to stay awake and alive. I chose to blog about my adventures as a dad because social media didn’t really exist back then and I needed an outlet to share 500,000 pictures of my kid and me building Legos. Prior to starting my blog, I had never read one, so I really learned by doing. When your only reader is your mom, anything you put out there about her cute grandson will of course be awesome.

Have you learnt anything specific from blogging?

I’ve learned that the internet is at once wonderful and horrible, so it’s best to stay open to opportunities but grow a thick skin. Remember folks, when you close that laptop, the internet stops existing. That’s the best part about it.

List 2 benefits you can see from starting a blog?

1) Connections: the best thing about the internet is that you can find all kinds of people on it (in fact, I met my girlfriend because of blogging – that’s kind of like the mother of all connections). I was the only guy in my social group with kids, so I didn’t have a peer network of people who could relate to that part of my life. Blogging enabled me to meet other folks who could relate to the day to day challenges, chuckles and triumphs that can only be had when you are physically, fiscally and emotionally responsible for other miniature human beings.

2) Voice: When you make connections, you find your voice. Having a voice and being able to “field test” it with an audience is one of the most satisfying things in the world. Face it, we ALL want to be heard. Having a blog gave me an avenue through which to achieve that. Of course there’s social media now, so you kids have it easy.

Do you have any specific tools that you use for blogging? i.e. plugins, evernote?

None whatsoever. I’m a very freestyle (read: lazy) blogger. I write what I feel like, when I feel like it… unless it’s part of a sponsored campaign or series, in which case I do some of my best and most timely work (hey, it’s beer money and I take it dead serious).  I use Evernote to organize absolutely everything in my life, but I actually use it very little for blogging.

Where can readers find you blog and how can they get in contact with you?

My blog is at: www.BusyDadBlog.com, you can email me at jim@busydadblog.com, and I’m most accessible via tweet at @busydadblog

Why I Blog with Seamus from Dadinating

It’s been a while since I’ve been published a post in the “Why I Blog” series. For that I am sorry! Life has been extremely busy which has taken my focus away from my blog! But don’t fear, I’m back with Seamus from Dadinating. Seamus recently joined the ranks of the Aussie Daddy Blogger group and we couldn’t be happy to have him on board with us.

So without taking up too much more of your time, here is Seamus!

IMG_20131023_091242 edited I am a father of two, a teacher and an amateur tree changer. I’ve been married to The Mamanator (the love of my life) for nearly 4 years. We met at uni, took almost 8 years to find out we were in love, and now have a family together.
Our family moved out of Metropolitan Melbourne to Central Victoria in 2012, and we now live in sunny Guildford (a town of about 250 people, 15 minutes out of Castlemaine). My son (The Lad) is 2 years old, is a ranga and loves “Helicopters, swimming, flowers, rainbows, fire trucks, racing cars………”. The list goes on and on. Let’s just say he loves life. My daughter (The Lass) is 4 months old, born with a full head of dark hair and piercing grey eyes. She likes to poke her tongue out.

Seamus, how long have you been blogging?

Australia Day is actually my Blog’s birthday. It turns (or turned depending on when you post this) one this year! (Cue birthday music)

How did you learn to blog and why did you start your blog?

I have been writing stuff online for a while, I even kept a personal blog going for years via a service called “Livejournal” (which still exists by the way). Back then the blog was purely a journal, recording thoughts and events in my life.

I started “The Dadinator” because on becoming a parent I had thought after thought firing around inside my skull about raising and caring for my children, and I wanted to record them somehow. Blogging helped me to make sense of these thoughts by putting them into words. It also let me share them with other people, to show that we are all sometimes tired, impatient, unsure, insecure and emotionally vulnerable as parents – and that we can and do get through it.

Have you learnt anything specific from blogging?

As you would expect, it’s helped me hone my writing a lot. I’ve also learnt a great deal about parenting while doing research for blog posts, whether about pregnancy symptoms, child safety or simply reading about other people’s experiences of fatherhood and parenthood.

List 2 benefits you can see from starting a blog?

It gives you an opportunity to think and reflect on yourself, whatever the topic of your blog; parenting, health, fashion, music a particular hobby etc…. Writing stuff down makes you turn it over in your mind and it makes you spell out your thoughts and feelings. So it helps you clarify issues for yourself. It also encourages you to read more widely on topics/issues you might want to write about, opening your mind a bit.

You also have a chance to connect with other blogs and bloggers out there – which has a stack of different benefits range. It can act as an online support group, give you a sounding board for your own thoughts, help you write better material etc. I have split my sides laughing and come close to tears reading some of the stuff out there, and I’ve learnt a great deal too.

Do you have any specific tools that you use for blogging? i.e. plugins, evernote?

I use an app called Bloglovin to keep track of other blogs out there, as well as pinterest. I also use Google keep and Google drive for writing and saving links or little tidbits of information.

On the blog (which is wordpress based) I use a range of plugins. The most important are Jetpack (which is essential if you’re self-hosting wordpress), Disqus (better than the default commenting system in my view) and shareaholic (because the sharing buttons look cool, that’s the only reason).

Where can readers find you blog and how can they get in contact with you?

My blog can be found at www.dadinating.com. I also have a facebook page (www.facebook.com/thedadinator) and can be found on twitter (www.twitter.com/dadinating). If you wish to contact me directly, email me admin@dadinating.com

Why I blog with Mike Cbay of YDad

Keeping up with the weekly Why I Blog post, this week Mike from YDad joins me. Mike is an 80s-born dad with two young sons based in Sydney, Australia. A massive fan of turntablism, family wagons and coffee, Mike is also a fellow Aussie Daddy Blogger and an all round top guy. Let’s get into the interview!

How long have you been blogging?

I’ve been dabbling in blogging for a few years, starting with a music-related blog (I was somewhat of a DJ in my past). However, I changed my blogging focus from music to my experiences as a dad just before the birth of my second son.

How and why did you start your blog?

I was mentally preparing myself for my second son’s birth, and wrote down what I was thinking and feeling at the time. What I came up was a little piece that turned out to be self-reflective: I gave advice to my past self, about becoming a dad. I saw value in sharing it for those who may be going through the same thing.

Have you learnt anything specific from blogging? 

I’ve learnt that blogging requires a higher level of planning and strategy – not just to grow but also to maintain your readership. It’s also something that can push you and keep you on your toes, mentally speaking.

A great piece of blogging advice that was passed down to me in terms of dealing with brands is to never compromise your personal ‘voice’; if a brand wants to work with you, then they already know what they’re in for.

List 2 benefits you can see from starting a blog?

– I believe a blog is a great self reflection tool, and there’s a certain freedom that it brings.

– Blogging is an excellent way to exercise your creative brain-muscles as it doesn’t only have to be based solely on written work. You can incorporate graphic design, photography and video to tell your story.

Do you have any specific tools that you use for blogging? i.e. plugins?

This is an area I’m currently exploring to try get the most out of blogging. WordPress SEO by Yoast is what I can recommend from my experience. I recently stumbled upon a web service called Dashfolio that connects to your Google Analytics account which I’m in the process of sussing out.

Where can readers find you blog and how can they get in contact with you?

You can find YDad at ydad.com.au and facebook.com/YDadAU, and also on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as @mikecbay.