It’s official: ninabadzin.com has been up and running for a year. On November 18th, 2010, I pushed the “publish” button on my first post. I called my blog A Mom in the Middle with the clunky URL amominthemiddle.com to match. I thought I would write about my life as a mom, but proceeded to publish six posts in a row about random topics—none of them relating to motherhood.
I changed the name of the blog to the bland title Nina Badzin’s Blog, bought the URL, and the voice of my site was born. I ignored blogging advice about niche and branding because for better or worse, I had (and still have) nothing to sell. What then would I blog about with a such a nondescript blog title leading the way? Anything I wanted, including motherhood. And it worked.
Of course, saying my blog “works” is open to interpretation. How can we measure a blog’s success if not in dollars? (I don’t allow ads on the blog; therefore, it earns no money.) Like many bloggers I’ve “met” in the past year who are also writers, I started the blog to experiment with my writing in a format that allowed me to easily reach readers. So much of what we write in our creative time stays trapped on the computer. I’m not entirely sure how I built a modest audience, but as an avid blog reader, I suspect some of the elements I discuss below helped.
KEYS TO A BLOG’S SUCCESS:
I consider my blog successful in the terms of my preferred definition; meaning, people read the posts. I say this based on the growing numbers of page views I’ve received month after month. (And I’ll discuss the specific issue of receiving and managing comments in a guest post for Shari Lopatin’s blog in a few weeks.) While the number of views and comments varies, it’s always more than one. That’s good enough for me.
#1A. CHUTZPAH: I’m hardly the most gifted writer out there, so why do people read my posts? I think what I bring to the blogging table, so to say, is a generous helping of chutzpah. (A good definition of chutzpah is “audacity.”) I’m not afraid to take a stance. Frankly, it takes chutzpah to start a blog in the first place. Why should anyone read what I think about anything? They probably shouldn’t, but I keep blogging anyway.
#1B. HUMILITY: Equal in importance to chutzpah is humility. Yes, I have the nerve to press “publish” week after week, but I ALWAYS keep the aforementioned sentiment in mind: Why should anyone read what I think about anything? I know I’m not entitled to readers, and I’m constantly grateful that anybody visits or leaves comments. And since I’ve experienced how great it feels to get a response, I dedicate time on the day I post or the day after to reading other blogs. I recently read on author and uber-blogger Jody Hedlund’s blog that she did the same thing when she started. I must be on the right track!
#2. AVOID BURN-OUT: In the first month or two of blogging I tried posting twice a week. With young kids and with other writing goals, I saw right away that writing two posts a week or more, promoting those posts, and responding to comments was going to keep me from my other responsibilities and goals. I changed to a once-a-week schedule, made sure each post was quality, and didn’t worry that my monthly pages views would most likely not be as high as someone who posts more often.
Since I wrote two other posts this year filled with blogging tips that I still stand-by completely (see below), I’ll stop now with the advice. Let me end by saying this: I’m so grateful to the people who visit my blog and make me feel like we’re in the middle of a conversation. I’ve had such a blast this past year getting to know other writers and parents in the blogging world, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount from bloggers who are far savvier about this gig than I am. And I’ve also appreciated the “likes” and comments (in person, on the blog, or on Facebook) from people I know in “real life.”
You’ve been so good to humor me this year. I hope you’ll stick around for year two when I’ll continue to read a book a week and try to publish short stories in literary magazines. I also hope to write a longer manuscript (might be a novel, might be a linked collection), and I hope to lose the baby weight, take care of these four kids without losing my mind, and still find the time and sense of humor to discuss things like friendship and marriage.
See you there! Nina
Blogging Tips: What I Know Now (Written after six months of blogging)