Chilihead over at Don't Try This At Home is challenging fellow bloggers to tell their story. Here's mine.
How did you start blogging?
Way back when, my friends Matt & Ashley started blogs. Days later, I jumped on the bandwagon. I'm amazed at how long I've stuck with this and how regularly I've posted.
Did you intend to be a blog with a following? If so, how did you go about it?
At the beginning, I intended to be part of the blogging community among my friends from college- it was a way we stayed in touch and a part of each other's lives. As it is right now, I wouldn't say I have a 'following'- though, through sitemeter & Google Analytics, I see that about half the visitors to my blog are 'regular readers' and the other half randomly find this place then leave. Since January, I've blogged like crazy, and my readership has jumped from 10-20 visitors a day to an average of 40. Don't know why.
As for if I intend to have a following... I don't. I want this to be a place where I can mull over and discuss ideas, share little excitements and recount grand adventures. If I wanted to have a following, I'd stick with less-controversial topics, probably sound less cynical, and avoid sharing personal stories, because they're probably boring. So those of you that ARE here, thank you for putting up with me!
That said, I have participated in "carnivals" lately, which has brought more people here. (Speaking of that, shameless plug, look for Make It From Scratch HERE TOMORROW. We're having a party!)
What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?
As I mentioned before, part of the goal is to stay in touch with friends & family. Mission accomplished. My in-laws & parents seem to enjoy keeping up with us through the blog when we don't call as often as we should. A group of friends has stayed in touch with each other's lives via the blogosphere, and I think it's fun.
The second goal is to make people think. I love thinking- hearing different ideas and considering them against what I think I believe. It's fun. I challenge others to do the same. I want controversy and discussion here, so we can learn from each other and have a bigger view of the world. I'm continuing to achieve this goal as I continue to bring up issues that are worth discussing, or at least thinking about.
Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?
My posts have gotten longer, for sure. I've been bolder about the ideas I discuss, and I talk less abut day-to-day details without a larger reflection or point.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started?
I wish I had posted more pictures. My early posts are boring and un-illustrated. The pictures I did post or linked to were hosted on my school account, which is now gone, which makes for some confusing posts.
Do you make money with your blog?
I don't, but have considered options as of late- including sponsored pay-per-posts and Google ads. I'm still not sure. I've not brought it up, but have meant to ask my regular readers- what do you think? Would advertisements be detrimental or annoying, or would they be OK and un-bothersome, as on other sites? I want to clear it with you first before I do anything.
Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?
My husband checks it when I mention there's a good discussion going on or I posted something interesting. Most of the stories & discussions he's already heard, so I can't imagine they're very interesting to him. Some of my most faithful readers are my parents & my husband's parents. As for my extended family knowing it exists... I think my father-in-law has told everyone :)
What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?
1. Consider your words carefully. You've got a big audience: friends and family, employers, future employers. Don't tell stories that would damage the relationship with any of your audience. Blogs are for building relationships, not tearing them down. We don't need any virtual-world help with that.
2. Don't get discouraged. People may read. They may not. They may comment; they may not. That's not the point. If you love writing, write. I've found that my blog has become an amazing journal and "external memory" of my last 3+ years. I can look back and see how I've changed, see when I got a job or finished a project or saw an old friend. the timeline held in these posts is pretty cool from a personal standpoint. So if no one takes notice, that's fine. If someone does, great, you've got a buddy to join you on your journey, as you discover where you're "swept off to"