Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Blogging 101 - Two habits I am cultivating

I'm still pretty new to blogging. I am by no means an expert, but I am a nerd, and what nerds do when they take up a new hobby is research. Sister B has been giving me schtick about my 'academic' approach to blogging. It is just me. I just like to know the 'why' behind things.

As far as I see it, the two big blogging habits that seem to be critical in growing your readership are:

1. Write about interesting stuff: If you read anything about blogging, you will know that focusing on content is critical. The idea is you 'find your niche', write killer content and your blog will grow.

The niche thing is hard for me. I don't fit snugly into the "Mummy Blogger" niche because I rarely share photos of my kids and I stray from the topic quite frequently.

And while I've got twins, I am not a typical "twin Mummy blogger" either because I have two singletons and their adventures feature too.

My family isn't big enough to fit in the "large family" blog niche.

My writing isn't accomplished enough to be a "writing blog".

I write about my struggles with weight, but I am not a "weight loss blogger".

I am frugal but I don't focus on it all the time.

I don't do craft.

With my 'not quite' niche, it becomes tricky coming up with appropriate content sometimes. Trying to 'entertain' readers who have been attracted to my blog for different reasons.

But in the end, I remind myself that it is my life. My posts. My blog. So I just write for me. And hope that you dig it too. Perhaps I am a "personal blogger"?

2. Build a Community: I have to say that I 'lurked' for the first couple of months I was blogging. I didn't find it terribly easy to find things to say about other people's posts. Not that I didn't find them interesting, I just didn't really trust that I would be interesting to them (and I had read that a comment is like a mini-ad for your own blog. Way too much pressure for a woman who isn't into 'small talk'.)

Then one day someone (who wasn't related to me!) made a comment on my blog. It made me feel great! Excited! Like, "Wow! Someone is actually reading this thing".

It was all I needed (along with a stage of the Problogger 31DBBB challenge that MADE me make 10 comments). Now what I do notice is, the days I find time to comment on blogs are the same days that I receive comments on my own. (I told you I am a nerd. I notice these things).

So I have learnt to comment more frequently and more strategically. Add to the post. Be humorous. Write a long comment if all the others are short, and vice versa. Write a question if you want the person to contact you, or respond.

I am still haphazard at best, but it sure has gotten a lot easier. I wonder if it will translate into real life and help me with my 'small talk' problem?

So I will continue to cultivate my Top 2 blogging habits and see where that takes me.

What about you? What blogging habits do you have that you could share with me?


Nadiah said...

I really enjoy your "academic" approach. I was thrilled with the recent Mary post, as it felt like something I or one of my friends would say, and if blogging is about anything it's about people and making connections.

I reckon, even if it does cost you mainstream appeal, you should stick to what you enjoy doing and what comes naturally. While not every Mummy blog reader is an academic nor inclined that way, it may be possible for you to find your niche and build it, and for those left outside of the mainstream, we'll value you for it even more.

The Trousdell Five said...

I like your ideas! I feel the same way about the "small talk"! I personally haven't really thought about what my niche is. I, like you, just write about what my kids or my family is up to and often times it just turns out to be entertaining (I hope)! No pressure - just write what you write! :)

Maxabella said...

I love your approach to blooging (and life!) And wouldn't change a thing.

Making comments and being interested in other blogs really is the key. You find your 'gang' this way that you have a continous conversation with. To me, other people's blogs are the best thing about this whole blogging thing. It's like an invitation to be a fly on the wall and I love it.

The only other thing that I like to d on my blog is ask questions as I go to pull my readers in. Each post is a new discussion over a cuppa and I like to know how others feel about the conversation I've opened.

Your blog is uniquely YOU, Coo, and I foe one (of many) wouldn't miss a post!!!


PartlySunny said...

I'm just doing my best to put out good writing. I feel overwhelmed by the rest of it. And when that happens, I just try to step back and remember why I was doing it in the first place (because I liked it!).

Andrea said...

I love your style. It keeps me entertained. I have no suggestions. I think you are doing great just writing about what is on you mind that day.

My blog on the other hand was started to keep my family updated on my twins. I have never been a writer, so it is hard for me to share my daily thoughts or even a random post. Whenever I read daily posts like yours it puts my blog to shame. I try and tell myself that it is alright because my kids will still have the memories I do post about. Thank you so my for sharing your daily thoughts, ideas and mothering.

Kelly said...

I love your blog for all the reasons above. I once worried about where I fitted in the blogging world. Then I decided it didn't matter as long as I was having fun.

Rachel said...

I hear you loud and clear on the where do I fit in front... I started blogging to connect with other RAD moms.. that So didn't happen... I'm like the outcast of RADlings lol... but what I did find is a wonderful group of moms like yourself who have been more than supporting. I also sometimes read a post and don't know what to say ..... but I guess its better to say Hi than say nothing at all ..By the way I love your blog

Lori @ RRSAHM said...

Interesting post!! You are obviously doing a good job- your blog is on my "Never Miss" List ;) I likes.

Stay niche-less, I say- if you must go a label, go personal blogger. That way you don't feel restricted by topic. I call myself one of the dreaded mummy bloggers. Hehe ;)

I've been a bit slack at commenting of late. I seem to go through cycles- lots of commenting, then none, then lots again.

x0xJ said...

Ohhh this is very very intresting to read.
I too don't feel i fit into a "niche". I don't like to blog about more dramatic things like breastfeeding vs bottle feeding, and other parenting choices because, well i need to feel like i can bring a sense of light heartedness to it, and sometimes my mood doesn't allow me to write like that. And i too do not like to share personal details about my kids including pictures to protect their privacy, and respecting my partners wishes. So it can be hard to think up topics that intrest people and it's very hit or miss sometimes.

One thing i do not like about blogger is you can't reply to specific comments and get the reply to your inbox (if you are replied too). It gives me a headache trying to remember which posts i commented in (although i read all, i have trouble feeling i have anything "comment worthy" to add) and to find time to go through and check all the comments to see if i'm replied to.

Kristy said...

I write about all the things you mentioned above and I TRY to keep the main focus humor. In some way. That is the thread for me. Blogging is fun, isn't it?!

DancingInTheRain said...

As someone very new to the blogging world and finding my feet still this was very helpful and it was great to read everyone else's comments. Thanks for sharing. Your blog is always a good read and is what inspired me to get into it!

Yvonne said...

I just found your blog today and you've attracted a new follower because when I read, "But in the end, I remind myself that it is my life. My posts. My blog. So I just write for me," I said, "Right on!"

I don't fit into a niche either but I enjoy what I write, which is whatever is on my mind that day. I try to make it interesting and I hope I'm successful.

And thanks for the advice about comments. I also have a hard time finding something to say on other blogs and worry that I won't be as interesting as the others, so I've pretty much avoided it.

Hmmm...not sure this comment fits the bill either, but I'm trying.

MandyE (Twin Trials and Triumphs) said...

This is a great post, and it's really interesting to read through the comments, too. I'm laughing a bit at the "small talk" note, though...since I've joined the blog world, I just have to remind myself not to start too many conversations with "There's this blog I read..." HA!!!

I was inspired to start my blog by a couple of friends who blog for their family and friends to be updated on their comings and goings. I don't think many of my family and friends are into the blog world, though, so that didn't exactly fit for me. I do keep my blog focused (at least 95% of the time) on parenting our girls, although I try not to overshare personal details. I'm really comfortable with the direction of my blog, but there are times I wish I could branch out a little more with something just about "me", or get a little more personal at times...but I feel some kind of self-imposed pressure to stay the course. This may be interesting to revisit after a year or so of blogging...maybe time will tell!

Ebonie's Mummy said...

I only just stumled across your blog but from what I have read I would say you fall into athe personal blog category.
Whilst you do have kids it is refreshing to read something other then a post all about kids. I would say I fall into the mummy blogger category and it was by accident! People prob do get sick of me talking about my babies but otherwise I'd have nothing to write about!
Feel free to stop by
: )

Ms Styling You said...

I'm over from Weekend Rewind - and love this! Writing interesting stuff is so the key. I love the sense of community too, so really enjoy visiting and commenting on other blogs.

Diminishing Lucy said...

Oh how I love a fellow nerd blogger. I have geeky stat control test analysing blog tendencies myself...

And small talk is an over-rated concept I reckon- banal shallow nothingness lala vapid "conversation" will never be truly enjoyed, on either part.

I have slung back a couple of wines with you - you chat as you blog - interesting and interested.


Anonymous said...

Great tips. I love your scientific approach. All of what you say is true.
And, I think you do have a niche: you are the thinking mama. You think of the simple, green life you want to live, and you write about how you're trying to achieve it. I think a lot of parents relate to this, and appreciate your take on it.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

'Write interesting stuff' - yep, that's the key. Love this!

Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.

Hear Mum Roar said...

My habits are currently out the window as I try to re-construct my blog from a hosting disaster. Still have loads of photos to re-install. Long story. lol.

Jane said...

I think you're doing a fine old job here, MM - you've got this bloggy caper sorted! J x

todd carr said...

lots of long comments, so in fashion w/ what you wrote....I will keep this brief.

You Rock! No Niche! Just be YOU!


Madame Marielle said...

I can so relate to this. I have the same niche issues, and have arrived at the same conclusion. If I am to "write what I know about", then I will write about me. Can't say my blog is a roaring success, but at least it's honest (and well-researched- he he).

So, curious to know, approximately six months later, has your "small talk in real life" problem improved? ;)

A Farmer's Wife said...

I think having no niche is OK.

I don't do craft either....

Hope you are having a brilliant weekend.

Veronica @ Mixed Gems said...

Ha ha...I know I'm over a year late commenting on this post but I found it in a round about way after reading this post (http://pilesofwashing.blogspot.com/2011/09/getting-comments-on-your-blog.html). Roundabout because the link under the above post was pointing to a dead end (http://cootaitlees.blogspot.com/2010/08/blogging-101-two-habits-i-am.html) and I had to use Google to find the actusl post.

Anyway, I found it interesting to read what you wrote because I kind of feel the same to both points. My two goals to start blogging, after lurking for ages on blogs and twitter, was to write and photo blog as a creative outlet and to tap into a community with like-minded people. The latter point definitely requires a lot of commenting and tweeting too. It's just not so easy to keep it up so I've had to be happy with doing what I can and not expecting HUGE traffic. I get some and some of it repeat so that's community building for me.

Halina said...

Thank you for those valuable and insightful thoughts! I will definitely try them :)

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