OK, I'll bite! Chili at Don't Try This At Home has a blogging carnival going on in which she's asking people about their personal blogging story. So here I go:
How did you start blogging?
It actually started with my website. The first time I can remember hearing the word "blog" is about five years ago, when I mentioned to my friend Don Elbourne, who is something of a computer whiz, that I would love to have a website. Don said he'd design a website for me, but he asked me if I wouldn't rather have a blog instead, that I could easily add things to. I was so ignorant at the time that I said, "No, I'd rather have a website." I really had no idea what blogging was all about.
The site is still there, but it's fairly static...I rarely change anything on it.
About a year later I was reading another friend's blog when I thought, "Hey, I could do this." So I signed on with Blogger on October 10, 2003. Here's my first post:
I guess this is my introduction to the world of blogging....a modern technological wonder that appears to be tailor-made for people like me, who can't seem to stop putting their thoughts on paper (or cyber-paper, as the case may be!)
I think this is going to be fun!
And it has been fun. I enjoy it immensely.
Did you intend to be a blog w/a big following? If so, how did you go about it?
I can't say I started out intending to have a "big" following--(and I still don't think of my blog as having a "big" following)--but I surprised myself by how quickly my competitive spirit kicked in. In real life, I really am not competitive. But not long after I started blogging, I realized I wanted people to read my blog.
So I began actively trying to attract readers, and I still seek to attract readers. I commented on other people's blogs, participated in blog showcases like The Christian Carnival, and even e-mailed "big" bloggers and asked them to visit my blog. I still do these things. The fact is, even though blogging is a personal outlet for my writing and creativity, I do want an audience!
What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog? Have you been successful? If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?
At first, my blog was more journal-y...more about me and stuff I was doing. I still include such things, but my blog has become more topical. I do the news and I'm a morning show co-host on a Christian radio station, , so I have a never-ending supply of info to pass along to my readers, some really important and some just plain fun.
I'm passionate about Christian fiction, and do frequent author interviews and book reviews. I like to use the blog to help promote the best of Christian fiction.
Lately, I've become more concerned about using this platform as "salt and light" in the blogosphere. I want to make it clear that I'm a Christian, and hopefully attract others to Christ. My personal mission statement, for several years, has been the Mother Teresa quote: "O Lord, let Your light shine on others through me." That is my goal in life and on this blog.
Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?
See my reply to the previous question.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you started?
Probably how to use pictures and links to make the blog more visually interesting and timely. But I learned that pretty quickly.
Also, I really don't mind Blogger, and I can't see myself leaving it...but I wish I had gotten a more attractive, less generic design earlier on. I've just had my Bluebird Blog design for a week or so, but I'm so thrilled at how Susie personalized my blog and made it soooo much more visually appealing. Wish I'd done it earlier!
Do you make money with your blog?
OK, maybe someone can help me with this. A while back, I signed up with Google Adsense. But I don't remember how to check on my account! If I was making any money from it, would they e-mail me or something? I honestly don't remember how it works. The ads are there on my sidebar, but I don't know if they're earning anything.
I'm intrigued by the idea of having ads on my blog. I may look into it. Does anyone have any advice for me?
Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?
My husband reads it pretty much everyday, but NEVER comments!?!
I think my son Jonathan, my sister Bev and my mom read it fairly regularly. Also some of my cousins in Texas. Other than that, no. My other son and daughter pretty much have no interest in it at all, I think. Bev, Jon and my cousins occasionally comment--thank you, dear ones!
What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?
Don't use the word "random" or "random thoughts" or "random musings" in your title or description...it's been done to death. I think I used "random" in my description early on, but I dropped it. My blog isn't really random anymore, most of the time, unless I do a post specifically made up of random thoughts.
Find something to set yourself apart, if possible. I play up the fact that I'm a radio personality. Do you have a hobby or something interesting about your background or career? Do you have a great sense of humor? Are you artistic?
Be yourself and let your personality shine through.
And here's a third one, no extra charge: Don't let blogging become a chore or one more thing you "have" to do. Blog only if you truly enjoy it!