How did you start blogging? I've been a member of the Frugal Village forums for several years now. Sara, the FV owner, was testing her new blogging site, Village Blogger, and asked for volunteers to test the beta version. I volunteered, and my first blog (about decluttering my house as a Flybaby) was born.
Did you intend to be a blog w/a big following? If so, how did you go about it? Not at first. Eventually, I started participating in memes and games and I realized that it was a lot more fun to blog when I knew I was getting readers & comments every day.
That's why this blog came to exist on Blogger rather than my previous host... I discovered that I could comment on lots of other blogs and have an automatic link bring them back here. I quickly learned that people don't usually visit you back if they have to cut and paste your link, but if they can just click on your picture, they're more likely to come. That auto-linking comment thing got me a LOT more hits each day.
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? I can't say that I have any major goals here... I just enjoy connecting with others and sharing "mommy" stores (here) and recipes (on my cooking blog). I've made some friends and I've won prizes in a few contests (tea and a book) ... so it's all good!
Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How? Definitely. My first blog was all about decluttering my house... interesting for me, not so much for readers. Soon after that I started my cooking blog, which I really enjoy, and which seems to appeal to more people. Then, I realized that the blogs I read the most aren't topic-specific... they're what I call "mom blogs", mostly written by Christian moms. I figured if that's what I enjoyed reading, I might as well write that way, too. So, I moved to Blogger (see #2) and here I am.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started? That even someone with my limited HTML skills can learn to customize their blog. I was much happier with my cooking blog after I created my currrent chili pepper theme... it was just more me.
Do you make money with your blog? No. But I've been giving serious consideration to doing some pay per post things after I read someone's blog that talked about getting paid $5 per post. I just don't want to scare away readers by looking like a big commercial.
Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why? I've told people & sent out mass emails inviting them to visit, but to my knowledge, only one of my three sisters reads it, and only occasionally. My husband knows about it and really couldn't care less... he only reads it when I physically drag him to our home computer. My parents? Extended family? Real-world friends? To my knowledge, none of them is reading, or if they are, they're not commenting. It might be time for a threatening email...
What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?
- Find or create a template that's really you. It makes your blog more enjoyable both for you to work on, and for readers to visit. If you don't know much about HTML, do a search for "free blog templates" and you'll find tons, or check out helpful sites like Blogging Basics 101.
- If you're in doubt about having any traffic, add a counter or the MyBlogLog thing to your blog. That will reassure you that you have readers and encourage you to write more.