Why I started my blog...
Having been a writer my whole life, the creative freedom of self-publishing has tremendous appeal. I don't have to fit into publication guidelines or 'sell' my story idea to an editor. That feels as good as a holiday!
When I began, I thought "I'll give it a go for six months to see if I like it" before I get 'serious' about it. By serious I mean posting regularly, spending time (and a bit of money on advertising and design) to grow my audience and in the long term monetizing my blog so I can earn some income. My biggest reason and motivation to blog, beyond creative freedom and business aspirations, is because I want people to eat well. I want everyone to have the high energy and great health that eating a diet with no or minimal processed foods gives you. I especially want that for children. But what I want and what the momentum of big food companies and advertising wants is two different things, so it appears I have my work cut out for me. I am up for the challenge and have decided social media is a fantastic way to reach people and share stories.
How I blog...
I started my blog with the title 'word for word' thinking a broad title would allow me to cover a range of topics. Fairly soon I thought "what am I doing?! food is my 'thing' always has been and looks like it always will be" so The Wholefood Mama was born. Added to this realisation, everything I read about 'problogging' recommended deciding on a niche. Wholefood and family is still a broad niche but it is a good start and I feel like I have found the happy place where I can write about what I love and not get bored. Writing my blog definitely doesn't feel like work which means my motivation to continue is high.
To get some more tips about the 'how' I attended a beginners blogging course at the Council of Adult Education in Melbourne taught by Lady Melbourne , and scoured through Darren Rowse's Problogger site and this year bought a Virtual Pass to his Problogger training day. I would also recommend Darren's 31 days to building a better blog workbook, if like me you have young children to look after, a house to keep organised and a business to run I would re-title it to '3 months to a better blog' because I have not managed to find time to work through a task a day.
The midnight hour...
Finding time to blog means I stay up late. Like midnight late. I fantasise about having my posts planned out, dedicating a day or an afternoon to writing them and then scheduling them to be posted but I think that has only happened once in a year and half of blogging! The flow of family life is unpredictable. The flow of freelance writing work is unpredictable. So, I blog when the house is sleeping. The quiet is bliss and even the tiredness I feel the next day has a certain bliss to it because it is there from doing something I wanted to do.
Looking at other blogs is a great way to pick up ideas of what you do and don't like about certain designs. It also a great way to feel 'blog awe' which can translate to 'their blog is so beautiful/stylish...insert word of choice...how do they do it?!' Well I have learnt some things about this the expensive way. The first thing I would say before you spend any money on blog design is make sure that blogging is something that you really want to do. Once you are dedicated then you can consider if you want to work with a designer and spend some money. I started with having a logo designed by Melbourne based graphic designer Fiona McKerrill. Love my logo thanks Fiona. Then I went a step further and decided to switch from Blogger to a professionally designed Wordpress site because that seemed to be what all the 'probloggers' were saying is the way to go as Wordpress has more flexibility etc; Therein was my first mistake.
I didn't really have a need to switch. The Blogger platform was already capable of all I wanted to do which basically is write and post photos. Bloggers who have inspired me from the beginning such as Allison Tait, Jodi Wilson, Joanna Goddard, are doing very nicely on their blogspot blogs. Why? not because of any fancy design work (they have all paid attention to their visual design but nothing over the top) but because they deliver what their audiences have come to expect from them and they do it consistently. The switch to wordpress for me was short lived. I didn't enjoy the process of working with the 'back end' of wordpress and was inundated with spam in the comments. Not wanting to deter people from wordpress but this was my experience. So, I cut my losses and reverted back to my simple blogspot space that I have put together with my limited design knowledge and for now while I am building my audience (& design budget) I am happy.
That my friends is where I will leave my blogging story thus far, (for fear of boring you!) I hope this post was helpful or interesting and would love to hear where you are at with your blogging ways, whether you just read them, want to start one or are a big time blogger (surprise me if you are reading!) leave a comment or a tip.
If you are still hungry for more read Allison Tait's top 10 tips for writing your best blog
...update: just found another good link on Fat Mum Slim...Finding readers: how to get the people to your blog