My Blog’s First Anniversary: A Celebration of Chutzpah and Humility

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 :)

RELATED POSTS

How to Blog Without Annoying Your Friends and Family

Blogging Tips: What I Know Now (Written after six months of blogging)

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Nina is a contributing writer at Brain, Child Magazine's website and at Kveller.com. She's also a freelance writer with articles in several anthologies as well as in The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward, and elsewhere. Her short stories have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines. She was thrilled to participate in the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother, and she enjoys co-leading the book review site GreatNewBooks.org. Nina lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.
70 Responses to My Blog’s First Anniversary: A Celebration of Chutzpah and Humility
  1. Andrea Thomson Viner @ Iowa Dog Blog
    November 22, 2011 | 10:56 pm

    Congratulations on your one-year blogging anniversary, Nina! I’m so happy that your blog was featured in the Daily Post because that’s how I found you. I think you’re a voice of reason in the sometimes over-hyped, “more is everything” world of blogging and social media. So thanks for that.

    One question: Why did you decide to purchase your URL once you had decided on Nina Badzin’s blog? I’m just curious. I’m considering doing the same.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 1:46 pm

      That’s a good question! I definitely could’ve used ninabadzin.wordpress.comfor free, but I’m sort of a minimalist. I didn’t like how clunky it was. It’s not a great reason, but it’s true! I guess I also figured I wouldn’t be on wordpress.com forever and it was best to by my domain right away.

  2. Anne R. Allen
    November 22, 2011 | 11:30 pm

    Happy Blogiversary!! I can’t believe it’s only been one year. What an amazing year it’s been. So glad to have you as a blogfriend. Slow Blogging rules!

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 1:47 pm

      Slow blogging does rule! For anyone reading the comments, go check out Anne’s blog ASAP. She has wonderful tips and she was the one who encouraged me to switch from A Mom in the Middle to Nina Badzin’s Blog, AND the first person I knew online who championed the once-a-week schedule.

      • Kate
        July 11, 2012 | 3:01 pm

        Oh, it’s so nice to know I’m not the only one posting once a week!! Sometimes it seems like everywhere I turn, I’m reading that I should be posting so much more frequently, and with a full time job and other committments, I just can’t do it. I am working up to two posts a week, but have been resisting making that jump until I know I can keep it up.

        I like what you said about humility, too. I’ve noticed that I also spend more time visiting other blogs on the day and day after I post. What you say makes sense… I value every visitor to my blog, and each comment is like a nugget of gold, so I know other bloggers must appreciate it and I try to spread some comment love around!

        Really glad to have found your blog, Nina, am loving all your tips. Congratulations on your success!

        • Nina Badzin
          July 11, 2012 | 11:14 pm

          Sometimes (though rarely) I’ll do two posts in a week, but generally I like one because it gives readers a break. Writing one post kind of acknowledges that a good portion of the audience for a blog is other bloggers and we have all have lots of other posts to read!

          Thank you again, really, for your encouraging words about my blog. There are no shortage of great blogs out there and it’s quite a compliment that you feel my stands out in any capacity.

          Nina :)

  3. ramblingsfromtheleft
    November 22, 2011 | 11:52 pm

    Nina, I’m glad I have been around for some of this first year. It’s a pleasure to read your posts. When I started (two years Oct., 2011) my daughter had to walk me through, “Ma, you sure you want to do this?” I found my first friend, Christi Corbett, then another and so my nimble fingers found you. I love my mom/bloggers because they keep my spirit young and teach me not to be intimidated by the confusion of social networking. I’ve love your stories, read them all, I enjoy your reading selections, found some good reads from your list, and I love so much that you embody the best of what is in our blog world. Happy Anniversary, Thanksgiving and Happy first to your newest, Nathan :)

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 1:54 pm

      Thank you! By the way, your blog is also a great example of taking on different topics. It’s not 100% posts about writing or 100% anything. I enjoy those blogs the most. I really appreciated your Thanksgiving post today. And your little photo attributions underneath are quite tech-savvy!

  4. Hallie Sawyer
    November 23, 2011 | 12:28 am

    Congratulations on hitting your one-year anniversary! I’m very impressed at the impact you have made in such a short time and I think it has a lot to do with the attention you give to others. As well as your ability to tell others “like it is” while not stepping on any toes. That is a fine line but you walk it very well.

    I’m so happy that I’ve gotten to know you this year! I look forward to spending the next year getting to know you even better and reading your fantastic blog.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 1:56 pm

      Thank you, Hallie! I think we all have different strengths and a blog works when we play up to them rather than attempting to imitate someone else’s style. Like you and I discussed recently, I’m terrible at book reviews so I don’t even attempt them. It’s something you do really well, which is a natural way for you to connect with authors. That’s a wonderful part of your blog! Anyway, thanks for a being a reader. You know I’m one of yours as well.

  5. Celia
    November 23, 2011 | 12:54 am

    Congratulations Nina!

  6. Stacy S. Jensen (@StacySJensen)
    November 23, 2011 | 12:59 am

    Happy Blogiversary! I enjoy your posts. The niche thing is always a struggle for me. I like several different topics, but am always told people don’t want to visit you for x, y and z. Yet, I find myself following bloggers, who write about writing, life and motherhood mingled together. Plus, I put people in Twitter lists, because of your suggestion. I’m very serious about that now. :) Congratulations on the blog!

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 2:07 pm

      So glad you like the lists! When I’m nursing now I’m easily able to flip between lists on my Blackberry. I’m so glad I had that all organized long before the baby arrived. By the way, I have a blogging question for YOU. Why do you use your twitter page as the URL rather than your blog? Just curious!

      • Stacy S. Jensen (@StacySJensen)
        November 23, 2011 | 3:24 pm

        Since I don’t have a live wordpress blog, I often use my Twitter account when given the option. (I still use Blogger.) I don’t log in with Facebook, because that’s my personal account with the whole long name, etc. Plus whatever random photo of me and my toddler. So, it seems easiest to hit the Twitter button and log in this way. I’ve clicked through to a person’s blog before from a Twitter log in, so I think others might be like me. The downfall with logging in with Twitter is that the option of “notify me of follow-up comments via email” doesn’t work. Or, it doesn’t for me.

  7. [...] My Blog’s First Anniversary: A Celebration of Chutzpah and Humility (ninabadzin.com) [...]

  8. Jennifer King
    November 23, 2011 | 1:34 am

    Fantastic, Nina! I love the simple fact that you’re willing to share yourself with the world. And for that, thank you!
    Hugs to those sweet kids (and teeny baby) and happy Thanksgiving! xo jk

  9. Piglet in Portugal
    November 23, 2011 | 1:55 am

    Congratulations! I’ve enjoyed your posts, but I think one of my favourites is the”Twitter Thanking Crisis” Your post was so fresh and made me smile at a time when I was trying to understand Twitter! I look at everyone thanking and rethanking and I’ve even had people send me a DM because they thought they’d forgot to thank me for a retweet!

    Here’s to the next year

    Cheers!

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 3:32 pm

      Ahhh, that post is a favorite for me too. I wish more people would read it and follow the advice. For sure that post marks the height of my chutzpah!

      • Piglet in Portugal
        November 23, 2011 | 3:47 pm

        Trouble is Nina, I feel guilty because I don’t thank people. They may think I’m mean!
        PS I got to 6 days out of the 21 without sugar, but I am just a honey monster.

        • Nina Badzin
          November 23, 2011 | 4:27 pm

          Okay, so re: thanking . . . my message wasn’t to never thank people, but that people shouldn’t do it for every freaking thing and they shouldn’t do it in such a public way that all followers have to see it. So I often thank people, but ALWAYS as an @reply and not as a regular tweet. But my main point was that there are better ways to show our gratitude like visiting that person’s blog, RTing a tweet, etc. Anyway, I hope I didn’t make you feel like thanking people is an absolute no-no. That said, I NEVER notice if someone doesn’t thank me for an RT. Who can keep track of such things!?!?!

          RE: the sugar—It was brutal. I’m never doing that again!

  10. Anne Greenwood Brown
    November 23, 2011 | 5:43 am

    Whoa. Fast year. That’s completely scary! And congratulations! Why would anyone want to read what you wrote? Two words: Great Voice.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 3:34 pm

      Thank you, Anne! Of course you know my real struggle–now what to do with that voice!?

  11. Sarah
    November 23, 2011 | 6:15 am

    I only found your blog a couple of days ago, but I’m hooked. Here’s to the next year, and all the years after that.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 3:35 pm

      Thank you, Sarah! Do you have a blog or are we following each other on Twitter? Curious how you found me! (And so happy you did!)

      • Sarah
        November 24, 2011 | 1:11 am

        I don’t have a blog (although I’ve often thought about starting one) and I don’t tweet either. I came across you in a round about way – I was reading an article in a UK daily paper about naming trends, it took me to nameberry.com and I *think* I found your blog somewhere there.

        • Nina Badzin
          November 28, 2011 | 9:43 pm

          Yes, it must have been Nameberry. I’ve had two posts there. Thanks for sticking with me here. :)

  12. Patrick Ross
    November 23, 2011 | 9:07 am

    I echo the other commenters in extending you congratulations. I’d add something else to your list, something you have accomplished with a number of your posts–put to words your experience of something, something that readers are also likely experiencing. The social-media quandary discussion was how I found you, and you’ve written other posts that resonate with others. I’m always pleased when someone comments on my blog “I was just wrestling with that!” Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 3:36 pm

      Patrick, that’s a great point and something I’d like to keep in mind as I brainstorm future topics. Thank you!

  13. Annie Neugebauer
    November 23, 2011 | 10:24 am

    Congrats Nina! That’s really an achievement. I realized the other day that I had somehow not yet added you to my blogroll sidebar. Well, you are now. =) May you have many more years of happy and successful blogging ahead of you.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 3:38 pm

      Annie, that’s so sweet of you to put there. I WOULD have you on mine if I had a blogroll on the sidebar. I have you on my “favorites” list on Twitter if that means anything. It does to me since it’s my go-to list when I have a little time for Twitter, but not enough time to see everything. The “favorites” get read daily!

      • Annie Neugebauer
        November 23, 2011 | 5:30 pm

        Of course it means something! Consider me flattered. =)

  14. Jolina Petersheim
    November 23, 2011 | 10:29 am

    Congrats, Nina–I say you’re doing it right, girl. You give me hope when I give birth in a VERY few short months that if I time manage, I just might be able to “do it all” (or at least attempt to!).

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 3:55 pm

      I couldn’t keep up with the blogging or Twitter without a blackberry, which I can easily use while I’m nursing!

  15. Lara Schiffbauer
    November 23, 2011 | 11:00 am

    Congrats on the year and to many more! Great post, as always!

  16. jacquelincangro
    November 23, 2011 | 11:17 am

    Congrats on your blogaversary! I read so many experts who say that you have to brand yourself and find your niche. I understand why they give that advice, but it’s nice to know that you were able to build a successful following by bucking the trend.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 4:10 pm

      In all fairness, it’s easier for me to buck the trend because, as I said, I have no book to sell right now and I’m not trying to make money off the blog either. So I can be a free agent, which is actually kind of nice. (Though I’d be pretty happy to have a book to sell!)

  17. Sandy
    November 23, 2011 | 12:56 pm

    Congratulations! Happy Anniversary. I love your chutzpa :-)

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 4:08 pm

      Thanks, Sandy! Happy Thanksgiving and see you soon!

  18. Yuvi Zalkow
    November 23, 2011 | 2:40 pm

    Congratulations, Nina! Hope you and the family are doing well… Looking forward to more chutzpah and humility from you…

  19. Nancy
    November 23, 2011 | 2:59 pm

    Mazel Tov, Nina! I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by! I’m so proud of you for your dedication to your blog and am looking forward to this next year of tips, opinions, experiences and other random thoughts from the clever and insightful Nina Badzin!

    XOXO

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 4:12 pm

      Thanks Nancy! It was a fast year. I was pregnant for most of it too, which is crazy. So now I’m trying to think of some “fun” diet/exercise challenge to try and discuss on the blog . . . not going to eliminate sugar again though. Too hard and depressing!

  20. Cynthia Robertson
    November 23, 2011 | 3:22 pm

    Congratulations, Nina!! I’m so glad I found you and your blog. And, as usual, I totally agree with everything you’ve said here. Sometimes it’s enough (more than enough) to just be ourselves. Your blog is one of my favs.
    Here’s wishing you another great year ahead!

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 4:24 pm

      Wow, thank you so much Cynthia. That means a lot!

  21. Shari Lopatin
    November 23, 2011 | 4:39 pm

    Wow, thanks for the shout-out Nina! I clicked on your post from Twitter because the headline intrigued me, and … surprise surprise! Good way to start my Thanksgiving weekend. :-) But onto your post: CONGRATS on the one-year mark! I hit mine a few months back, and I started out like you: my blog had a different name and a different goal, but I quickly realized I never wrote about it. LOL! So, my current blog was then born. I couldn’t agree with you more, especially on the “avoid burnout.” I ignored the more-you-post-the-better advice too. I just didn’t have the time and once-a-week works perfectly for me. Great post, and again, congrats!

    • Nina Badzin
      November 23, 2011 | 8:28 pm

      Thanks Shari! Looking forward to the discussion of comments in a few weeks.

  22. Ruchi Koval
    November 23, 2011 | 10:58 pm

    Nina, firstly, can we have a stylistic decision on “blogoversary/blogiversary/blogaversary” – oy! Second, I’ll tell you exactly why I read your blog: you’re normal. Weirdly, that’s rare. You don’t dis others, you don’t use profanity, and you just have a positive, non-apologetic attitude. I, for one, am a fan. Keep going. One day maybe our paths will cross IRL.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 28, 2011 | 9:42 pm

      Ruchi,

      #1. Great question re: blogoversary/blogiversary, etc. I don’t know! #2. Love your comment about why you read that blog. Thank you! I read your for the SAME reasons. Really! #3. And I think we will cross paths in “real life.” We’re just one degree of separation!

  23. KKSorrell
    November 24, 2011 | 8:01 pm

    Congratulations and what you’re doing works! Yours is one of my favorite blogs!

  24. Lisa Ahn
    November 24, 2011 | 8:22 pm

    Congratulations Nina! I am so glad I found your blog — it’s always a pleasure to visit you here.

  25. Louise Behiel
    November 25, 2011 | 12:35 am

    congratulations on your one year anniversary. well done

  26. Julia Munroe Martin
    November 25, 2011 | 7:16 am

    Congratulations on the one-year anniversary; what a big month for you! I so enjoy coming here every week to see your consistently well-written posts — that promise to entertain and make me think. Thank you!

  27. Jen Klein
    November 25, 2011 | 10:59 am

    Congratulations on the Blogiversary! And it’s great to hear about the once a week schedule. My own schedule seems to operate more like five posts in a week followed by five weeks of silence. It’s not a good way to operate and I’m still figuring out how to maintain a more consistent schedule. As you know — mothering, writing, everything — the juggling act is tough! Thanks for the always entertaining words.

  28. Erika Robuck
    November 26, 2011 | 6:48 am

    I love your blog and you sure do it right. Happy Blogaversary!!

  29. Christi Craig
    November 26, 2011 | 10:17 pm

    Happy Anniversary! I love your second tip for success. I switched to a once-a-week schedule recently, a difficult but necessary decision. And, I think you’re right — the key is quality posts, not so much quantity. I’m looking forward to reading lots more here!

  30. Sara Grambusch
    November 27, 2011 | 3:59 pm

    Great post as always and congratulations on one year! Your “how-to” and “tips” posts are so spot on and helpful you DO know what you’re doing for sure! :)

  31. Jack
    November 27, 2011 | 10:53 pm

    Happy Blogiversary Nina. I look forward to reading your posts for years to come.

  32. Natalia Sylvester
    November 28, 2011 | 1:26 am

    Happy blog anniversary, Nina! I never would’ve guessed you’ve only been blogging a year. You do such a great job of bringing our writing community together, and we’re so lucky to have you. Can’t wait to see what the next couple of years have in store for you :)

  33. Joann Pensabene
    November 28, 2011 | 12:19 pm

    Happy Blogiversary, Nina. I stumbled upon you in August via your series, “The Art and Science of Twitter,” posted on Writer Unboxed. Loved the advice and checked out your blog. I like your welcoming style and the diversity of topics. Looking forward to year two.

    • Nina Badzin
      November 28, 2011 | 11:32 pm

      Thank you so much Joann! I appreciate you letting me know that the Twitter post helped, and I’m so grateful for your very kind comments about my blog. Nina :)

  34. brendamarroy
    November 28, 2011 | 2:23 pm

    Hi Nina,
    I’m a once a week blogger also and will celebrate my first anniversary in January. I enjoy your blog and have picked up some helpful tips from you. Thanks and keep on blogging.

  35. Frume Sarah
    November 28, 2011 | 8:12 pm

    Cannot wait to see what you’ve got planned for us in Year Two ;)

  36. julie gardner
    November 28, 2011 | 8:53 pm

    Congratulations on a year of wonderful achievements, my friend.

    I hope you know how fantastic I think you are and how grateful I am that the blog world has brought me to your door (so to speak).

    Because I do feel as if reading your posts is like a peek into your life (albeit in an appropriate, non-over-sharing way ;-)).

    You have chutzpah, but also class. Good taste and intelligence.

    You are thoughtful and deliberate (in my opinion) even when taking on controversial subjects. As a reader, I always feel respected; you don’t talk down to or pander to your audience.

    So hooray for such success! And I wish you much joy in Year Two of blogging.
    Thanks for letting me come along for the ride….

  37. Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson
    November 29, 2011 | 8:36 am

    Your blog was born on my birthday. Well, many decades later. But I’ll always remember. So glad to have found you! ;-)

  38. Melissa Crytzer Fry
    November 29, 2011 | 3:40 pm

    You’re such a pro, I’d have guessed you’d been at this far longer than one year. Congratulations on that milestone. When I hit my one-year mark in June, I couldn’t believe I’d been at it for a year. Keep doing what you’re doing! I still am floored that, with four children, you are reading a book a week. You are making me look BAD, woman.

  39. kvetchmom
    November 30, 2011 | 6:51 pm

    Hi Nina, My friend Julie Gardner recommended that I meet you (I’m new to blogging and tweeting). I just wanted to say Mazel Tov on your wonderful blog. It’s fantastic. I’m enjoying your posts & sense of humor. And the fact that you are able to read a book a week (or any books for that matter) makes you my personal hero.

    • Nina Badzin
      December 3, 2011 | 2:20 pm

      That Julie is quite the matchmaker! We all love her. I’ve already found your blog and followed. :)

  40. Marilyn
    December 8, 2011 | 11:23 am

    I love the linkage of Chutzpah and humility – it reminds me a lot of all of life. But what I am really jealous of? When I was nursing my babes (5 but not all at once – ha!) there was no blogging, no blackberries, no iphones….I’m so sad! that would have been so perfect. So I love the fact that you get to do two of my favorite things at the same time! Found you through a post on how to get people to comment, which I loved!

    • Nina Badzin
      December 14, 2011 | 11:56 am

      Hi there! Just poked around your blog too and you’ve done wonderful things in just a year. How cool that WP listed you as one of the people covering the biggest stories. Re: nursing and my Blackberry . . . YES! It’s wonderful. Not sure I could’ve handled all the coordination necessary to pull both off with my first baby, but by now with my fourth I’m an expert! ;)

  41. pipkinera
    January 18, 2012 | 3:29 pm

    Congratulations on the one year and two months! I found you through wordpresses tips on writing blogs and so glad I did :-) As a new blogger (just 5 days!) I really need some good tips :-)

    pipkinera

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