Wednesday, September 1, 2010

guest blogger-harper's happenings.

holy crap-i am really excited right now.


just a little bit ago one of my favorite (and local) mommy bloggers attended blogher 2010 and then told the world blogsphere that they could too. 
that post struck me at the perfect time as i was feeling the call to move my blog in a whole new direction but feeling a little less than important. 
so i reached out to her letting her know how clarifying that post was for me and i bet a lot of people were feeling the same way and needed to hear the word-the word of mandy, from harper's happenings.
if you don't follow her blog. get on that. if you don't follow her on twitter-i am wondering what is wrong with you. then you can correct that here. ps, i am pretty sure i could snuggle her little lady all day-she is the cutest thing ever. ever.
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hello readers of hi, baby! melissa has so graciously asked me to come on over and visit and i'm pleased to do so. she had mentioned she really enjoyed my post "i don't suck and either do you" (http://www.harpershappenings.com/2010/08/16/i-dont-suck-and-either-do-you/), so i thought i'd take that posts a few steps further and expand on a few things i've learned about blogging.

i get tons of emails each week asking me how i got my blog to the place it is. i love getting reader emails and try to answer each one, but there are times when there are negative undertones about the writers blog and how "little" it is, how it isn't "as good as ______'s blog" and so on and so forth. i see it all over twitter, facebook, and pretty much everywhere i turn on the good old internet. i'm sick of it guys! every blog, no matter what the content, design, or topic, is important to someone. it's important to embrace your writing and your space in order to make it in to whatever you'd like it to be.

when i started my blog, i knew nothing. i didn't know about themes, widgets, monetizing or buttons. it was strictly for family and friends to keep up on Harper (i barely knew how to post a photo!). somewhere along the way, people started finding it, other blogs linked up to it, and over a year and half later, i can say happily that blogging has become a huge part of my life. the friends and community i have found through blogging is something i never expected, but has been the greatest surprise.

by no means am i any sort of expert, but i can share with you some things that have worked for me (and not worked!) as the Haps has grown. it should go without saying that not everything works for every blog, but i think these are some pretty universal tips.

blog for you. i can't stress this enough. if you create a blog hoping to become the next Dooce, your blog will suffer. if you enjoy writing, start a blog. if you enjoy making cakes, or taking photographs or sewing, start a blog. document things you love, for you. mine started so i'd have a place to go back and fill in the blanks in Harper's baby book. i still blog about Harper, her milestones, her funny quirks and all that - but have found my voice and love for writing and photography. once i realized it was my space to do as i pleased, i began putting a lot of different aspects of my life in my blog, and people loved it. most importantly, i love it. my blog is mine. make yours, yours. you will be so much happier in the long run, as opposed to if you start out with the hope of being "big" or making money.

"big" is relative. it's easy to look at a blog and it's number of comments, twitter followers or facebook fans and be intimidated. or even think that person is better than you. i've done it, it's called blog envy and it's real. but it's important to remember that that person puts their pants on one leg at a time and their poop stinks, too. the bloggy world is big, and you will never stop coming across new blogs with tons of readers. whats important is building your community. i promise you, if you have loyal readers who accept and love you, and you engage with them, it will be much more rewarding that having a million comments. i promise.

read blogs. this may be a silly statement, but it's true. you can't just expect to blog and have people flock to it and just invest themselves. find blogs you enjoy reading and comment when you like something they've blogged. i can't tell you how many real, true friends i have made strictly through finding a random blog i could relate to and saying hi. comments can make peoples day!

tweet tweet. i've only been tweeting for about a year. i'll admit i didn't want to do it and didn't understand it at first. however, if you're interested in really engaging with your readers, i highly recommend starting one. it only took me a short time to fall in love with twitter and i think it's one of the greatest resources for finding to new readers (and new blogs to read). you can interact one on one with people as opposed to them just commenting on your posts. again, the friends i've made there is countless and it's a great place to throw out a question and get answers from all sorts of people. as a mom, i've found it to be better than google!

trolls happen. i will probably never forget the first mean anonymous comment i got on my blog. i sat there staring at it with an open mouth and y'all? it stung. bad. but the fact of the matter is, there are people out there who have sick, sad issues and it's nearly impossible to blog without the occasional troll. it could be jealously (in most cases i find this to be true) or maybe someone didn't get enough hugs as a kid. who knows. what i do know is you cannot let it stop you. also, do not engage them. as mad as you are, as much as you want to defend yourself, hit the delete button. you can read my post telling trolls where to stick it here (http://www.harpershappenings.com/2010/04/12/be-nice-or-get-out-of-my-house/), to get inspired. they deserve no space in your space.

don't hold back. this can be hard, especially because of the trolls. putting yourself out there is hard. hitting publish on a breastfeeding/formula post i did was one of my scariest blogging moments. however, that post had hundreds of comments from women who had a similar experience to mine and it became one of my favorite posts. it got people talking, sharing their experiences, and coming together. sometimes you have to put your fear aside for something you feel strongly about. of course if you don't want to blog about that kind of stuff, then don't. but if you do, stand behind it and be proud of your writing. you just may be really helping someone. the internet? it's a powerful thing. as is your voice.

have fun! i mean, that's why we're here right? well i am. blogging for me is therapeutic, fun and something i really enjoy. the day it feels like work or i dread doing it is the day i will stop. play around with your blog, your theme, whatever makes you happy. make it your place. it is your little corner of the internet and you govern it. enjoy "meeting" new people and finding friends around the country (even the world!). don't put pressure on yourself. it's all what you make it!

happy blogging, friends. :]

2 comments:

Brooke said...

thanks for this post and introducing me to a stellar blog!

Chelsey - The Paper Mama said...

So fun to read all her thoughts. I'm in for BlogHer next year.