Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Birth of a Blog 03: Growing Pains

Wanting to write means that you also want an audience. I installed feedburner before it was incorporated into blogger so that I could encourage my friends to at least sign up to have my posts e-mailed to them. Interestingly enough I also got my first subscriber that I didn't know— which was very flattering. So often when visiting other blogs I see that there are a lot of followers listed. When following was first introduced I was curious if I had any followers. I kept installing the widget that showed the number of followers and was disappointed in that nobody was following. It wasn't until that faithful day when I looked at my dashboard and saw I had one follower that I realized there were people who actually read my posts without me having to twist their arms to do so.

I also got a Clicky account so that I could track who visits my site. I found it to be very useful in figuring out where in the world people were visiting from as well as seeing how many visitors I have per day. I must admit that I have had at least one visit per day since November and the most number of visitors in one day is 43 back on February 10th.

I think that one of the things that helped me expand my audience is to participate in various themes. The first one that I remember was a theme called "Mission: Monday" hosted by Deb @ Dirty Socks & Pizza and Jay @ Halftime Lessons. The concept of Mission: Monday was a great way that I could find out about other people's blogs. Three featured bloggers each ask a question about one of their posts. You leave a comment (but not the answer). Then Deb and Jay pull a name out of a hat (or something like that) and post a winner. Not that I was much into giveaways, but it did give me an opportunity to read other people's blogs that I would not know of otherwise.

There are some posts which ask the user to write a post and link your story back to their post through Mr. Linky. These "participatory posts" as I call them, allow me to write off-the-cuff and put together a post that would otherwise take a very long time to write. Three that I regularly participate in are Tuesday's Tribute, Writer's Workshop, and The Spin Cycle.

Tuesday's Tribute was originally created by Deb and Jay after the Mission: Monday theme was difficult to manage. The idea is pretty simple: if there is something that you want to pay tribute to (other than yourself)… then this is the place to do it. Jay has gone on hiatus and Deb is currently in meme therapy trying to get over her addiction to memes— so the torch was passed over to Angie @ SevEn cLoWn CirCuS who also hosts Wordless Wednesday.

Writer's Workshop is the brainchild of Mama Kat @ Mama's Losin' It. In it she has a writing assignment post which lists several prompts to write on and the next day a new post is added so that you can link up to share your contributions.

Spin Cycle is hosted by Sprite's Keeper @ Sprite's Keeper. Every Friday a new topic is given which typically is one word. You are then asked to take your "spin" on the topic and let her know that you did. Throughout the week she lets her readers know that new spins have been added so that by the end of the week you can check out other participant's spins.

I even started up my own participatory post a few months back called Friday's Feast. I think of it more like a recipe swap, but you are not limited to recipes. If there is any food related post that you have, I encourage you to post it and link up.


Erin said...

I just wanted you to know I am really enjoying reading these posts about how your blog came into being!

Otter Thomas said...

Themes are definitely a powerful way to gain readers. I try to limit them though because they take away my control of what I write about. It is a constant battle of readers vs. independance.

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

Thanks for sharing the story of the birth of your blog Chris, it is fun to read!

in time out said...

CONGraTs...gave you an award...Thanks for the fun reading. Happy Blogging.

Come by for the NENO award, pass it along!!!

Halftime Lessons said...

Neat to read how you got started, and what you put value in for your blog. I got started in a similar fashion, and will return soon.

Thanks for the great shoutout Chris, really appreciate it.


Wendyburd1 said...

It is so cool to see how you got started!! And food was a great idea, everyone loves food!!

Sprite's Keeper said...

This is great! I love how you break it down! (Thanks for the mention too!)
I actually couldn't access your site yesterday. It would come up to the header, and then wait to download until it timed out. But today, it's working!

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