A QUICK GOOGLE search will reveal that there are between 150 – 250 million blogs online.
How many of those are abandoned is anyone’s guess.
The problem with our digital age is that there is so much information online, especially in the blogosphere.
The task of finding someone who actually has a talent and unique voice becomes almost impossible, which is the aim of this series of blog interviews on #Reid2Write.
The most heavily trafficked sites don’t necessarily suggest better quality of content.
As I began to swim in the WordPress ocean, I avoided the bunched crowds parked around the cool water features, venturing out into the perimeter and found a few bloggers, unconcerned with fame and fortune who had something substantial to say.
One such site was ‘My thoughts on a page‘, which I’ve been following for about a year now. Tric may not be a heavyweight in the realm of blogging stats, but what she lacks in numbers, she more than makes up for with loyal readers, keen to follow her clever and witty posts on parenting and life.
She is also the winner of Best Writer and Best Personal Blog at the 2015 Irish Parenting Blog Awards and I was delighted when she agreed to appear on my blog.
Tric, first of all, congrats on your success in 2015 with the awards and another year under your belt! What were your own blogging highlights or milestones from the past year?
Thanks Aidan. Definitely hearing ‘My thoughts on a page’ being announced as a winner at the Irish Parenting Blog awards takes some beating.
When I first began to blog I’d never imagined anyone I know reading what I write, but my brother found me and he’s been a reader since. This year coming up to the referendum on the rights of all couples, including same-sex, to marriage, he wrote a beautiful letter to me titled, ‘This is my life’, about what the day meant to him. I asked permission to post it and he sent my stats booming.
That was a very special moment for me and certainly one of this year’s highlights.
If I were to pick some sort of milestone I think it would be the steady increase in those reading and commenting every day. As my blog is not one which people tend to stumble upon, it thrills and amazes me to know those who read, chose to do so. I am not a stats fanatic, but occasionally when I do calculate how many read daily or weekly what I write I am both thrilled and freaked out.
Many new bloggers are desperate to build up their own little tribe which you’ve managed to do successfully since starting in 2013. What are your 3 top tips to build an engaged audience?
My three top tips would be
- Write regularly, be it daily, twice weekly, fortnightly, monthly or whatever. Your readers like regularity.
- Blogging is a two-way street. Read other blogs and always reply to comments. If a reader reads your blog regularly it is only right (IMO) that you also call over to theirs when possible and when you do, leave a comment. I have ‘met’ many amazing bloggers and consider some to be friends, even if it’s only an online friendship.
- Tag your posts correctly, especially if you are on WordPress. This will help bring new readers to your blog.
You’ve received many plaudits from fellow bloggers about your writing style. What is your own writing background?
I don’t have one really, I’m a total amateur. I have always loved writing and began a diary shortly after my father died almost thirty years ago. I found writing in it hugely helpful and continued to document the ups and downs of my life for the next twenty-five years. Three years ago my eldest brother suggested blogging. I’d never even heard of it but within a week this blog was born and a whole new world opened up to me.
I write mostly as I think. Some describe my writing as honest or real, but truthfully there is no thinking behind it. I just write.
Last year I did a creative writing course and that has helped enormously.
Do you have aspirations to write a book or short stories that you would be willing to share with your readers in 2016?
I love writing short stories and yes I also have the bones of a book in my head and even have the first chapter written. I do laugh at myself whenever I write that, as having a first chapter written is almost nothing, but it makes me feel as if I’m nearly there.
How difficult do you find juggling your blog with your other daily responsibilities?
I have no real issues finding time to write. I think it’s almost an addiction in that I can’t not write. I’ve tried writing early in the morning, but I’m a bit boring at that time, whereas if I write late at night I find the writing flows better. I’m especially productive after a glass of wine!
If truth be told I often put writing ahead of everything else, but don’t tell anyone.
What can readers of your blog expect from your site in 2016?
I hope more of the same. I write as I feel from day to day and don’t really have any future planned for my blog. It is a hobby and I don’t work at actively growing it by any other method but writing and hoping others visit and enjoy what they read enough to return.
I did a series on my blog a couple of years ago where people sent in letters they wished they had written someone. I think I’d like to do that or something similar again as the letters were amazing.
Which other blogs (famous or otherwise) do you regularly visit and why?
I regularly visit quite a large number of blogs so it’s hard to name names. Among them are blogs from bloggers who have supported me during difficult days after the death of my friend’s young son.
I also follow some great writing blogs, but the blogs I’d miss the most are those, who like myself, blog about the ups and downs of life. They make me laugh, cry and rant, but always leave an impression on me.
Why did you start to blog? What keeps you going?
As I said above I began to blog as a suggestion by my brother. If I am being entirely honest I never for a moment thought one person would read any of it. I naively thought it would be like an online diary and nearly passed out when I saw the little star from WordPress light up at the top of my screen. It felt like a stranger had opened my locker and peeked into my diary. However, I quickly got over that!
One of the bloggers who read some of my very first posts, Duncan from Madhatters, still reads and comments regularly and I would count him among my online friends.
It is, without doubt, the sense of community that keeps me blogging. The interaction and sharing of lives online is something I’d never have understood or believed in, prior to beginning a blog.
What’s the best and worst things about blogging?
Apart from the writing, which I suppose could be done without a blog, I think the best thing, specific to blogging, is reading and replying to comments.
The worst thing is the feeling of frustration at times when life gets very busy and I’ve not had time to read some of my favourite bloggers.
Have you met any bloggers offline, or attended any events for writers/bloggers? If you have, what was your experience and would you recommend it?
I’ve met a fair few bloggers from the Irish Parenting Bloggers group and I’ve loved that. Putting faces to names and enjoying their company in real time is fantastic.
I’m also really excited this year as at least two bloggers I am great ‘pals’ with online are coming to Ireland. I would love to get the chance to meet them as there is nothing in their writing would make me worry they are serial killers!
I’ve not attended any specific blogging functions bar the Irish Blog Awards and Parenting Blog Awards, both of which I hugely enjoyed. Then again I’m a great woman for a night out so any excuse.
Finally, do you have any parting advice for bloggers who aren’t getting any traction on their blogs, and are frustrated at getting their voice heard?
I think the best advice is to read other blogs and comment on them. Build up relationships online and write regularly. This is what will bring others to your blog unless you are developing a commercial blog which is totally different as that will be driven by search engines and clever posting scheduling and titles.
However, my number one piece of advice would be, unless you are a commercial blogger, enjoy your blog every time you write. It should never be a chore. It is your space, your little piece of the internet for you to enjoy irrespective of whether others decide to call by.
Tric can be found on the following channels:
Further Reading – Archive of #Reid2Write Interviews
image attribution mythoughtsonapage