01 December 2011

Dear Abby: How Do I ... ?

I'm not entirely sure how to begin a posting of this nature, so I'll just dive right in and see where it takes me.  A while ago I read a posting on someone else's blog exploring the benefits of Google friend connect, and discussing the merits and complications of blog followers.  The blog itself is a very established one, and is in the very enviable position (at least, from a young blogger's point of view) of having such a number of followers that the numbers are no longer important.

I believe that every blog, like every person, has its own journey; its own individual path to follow.  Perhaps this particular blogger struggled at inception as many of us do to find a foothold and an audience.  Perhaps not.  Perhaps this blogger has been online since the medium became popular, or maybe it's relatively new.  Clearly its following speaks to the mass appeal of its content, but is there something else as well that contributes to its success?

What makes a blog a successful blog?

I recently celebrated a significant milestone with my blog, surpassing one hundred postings.  I do try to be diligent about my entries, as well as creative and consistent.  I don't always succeed, but my feeling is that practice makes perfect; if I continue to work at it and work hard, success will follow.  It's how to define success that I'm not entirely sure about, nor how to accelerate the process (if it can be done), which is why I'm reaching out to the blogging community for guidance.  Here goes ...

After more than 100 blog postings and a year of blogging, I have eleven followers.  I appreciate every one of them
(Hi, Cheryl, Jenn, Serena and Cindy! Hello, Sarah, Sundeep, Shannon and Linsday!  Hola, Stacey, Patti and Alison! I'm glad you're here).  I also know of many folks who choose not to formally follow MPL but who check-in regularly for a visit (there are too many of you to name individually, but I know who many of you are and I'm so glad you're here too).  I am grateful to everyone who cares to share in my life and adventures, whether it's regularly or only every now and then, and I feel like I'm forming relationships with you one step at a time, which I love.  I want to do more of that, and with more folks, but I'm stumped as to how.

When I initially launched
Money Pit Love and decided that I really was going to try and make it "a thing" ~ and by "thing" I mean a living, breathing entity connected to me but also with a sort of life of its own ~ I reached out to a number of other bloggers whose own blogs I follow and read regularly, to introduce myself and make connections.  As in life, so too on the internet: some responses that I received were amazing: warm and welcoming; some were polite but distant, and some, of course, chose not respond at all.  I respect that - everyone has a different approach and after all, I was just some anonymous woman making online advances to strangers.  It was a lot to ask (and certainly more to expect) that folks just open their arms to me - me, new blogger and as yet unproven - and take me in.  To those who did, however, I'm eternally grateful.  It was a definite stepping stone in my blog's journey and I've done nothing but benefit from connecting and sharing ideas with you.

I also decided to create some regular features to lure people in: the TOP 10 lists seem to be the hands-down favourite of most visitors, with Design This Dish coming in a close second.  This says to me that my instincts were correct: keep my postings creative and relevant but also consistent, and the audience will come.  And come they have:
I've seen my audience build incrementally each month, which excites me to no end.  I have visitors from all over the globe: Money Pit Love has been viewed at least once in over 70 countries, which is astounding to me and also delightful.  So there's no doubt we're growing: people are finding MPL, and every day I'm making new connections.

So maybe I shouldn't be obsessed with the numbers, yet I still am.  Though my readership is increasing (slowly but surely), the blog's followers are not.  I am fully cognizant that it is the rare blogger who can make a living off of their blog and I'm realistic enough to know this won't be the case for me, but I wouldn't mind if something I love so much and love spending time on would pay some dividends (aside, of course, from just the personal satisfaction).  This means advertisers, but to get those I need a larger audience, which brings me back down to the numbers.

And so I ask you, all of my blogger friends: how does one build a blog?  How can I increase followers, court advertisers and drive increased traffic to my site?  I feel as though I've taken a few small steps in the right direction so far, but that I'm missing something fundamental.  I have great respect for all of you and if you're willing to share, am eager to learn from you.  So I ask you all,

What is the secret to your success?

A single piece of advice or a hundred: I'm all ears and an avid student.  Are you willing to share? Hit me up in the comments section or, if you prefer, email me directly.  I'd love to hear from you!