How long have you been blogging?6 years. I first started bloggin back in 2007 as I was finishing my Foundation Course in Art and Design in Nottingham. I had discovered blogs when I was researching a project and I soon became addicted to reading them and my blog list of favourite blogs soon grew.
Why did you decide to start blogging and what was the main purpose of your blog when you first started?I decided to start my own blog, with a very limited knowledge of all things technical and found the Blogger templates and set-up to be just about manageable. After initial set-up problems I started the 'sooziebee-design' blog and began my blogging journey, recording my day to day activities, inspiration and diary. My motivation to blog came more from a personal motivation to record my own journey, it was more of an online diary. I knew I wanted to pursue a creative path and I knew that an online presence was a really important part of that process and I was really excited about the blogosphere and what it was doing for other creative people.
How often do you post?I post regularly about three times a week. Everything I read about blogging seems to say that regular posts are what keep your readers coming back so this is my goal. If there are times that go by when you don't posts from one month to the next your blog appears abandoned and readers will stop visiting. If I can't manage to post as regularly due to holidays or just the fact I need a break from blog land I will either schedule posts or let everyone know that I'll be back soon.
Who reads your blog and why do they enjoy it?I think it's mainly 'creative' types or small creative business owners who read this (correct me if I am wrong!). I ahve had a lot of feedback over the last year about my blog and people seem to be enjoying th e fact it's easy to read, personal yet informative, and people seem to be finding the posts about running a creative business really helpful.
What do you think are the important ingredients of a successful blog?Great content, variety, humour, regular posts, posting about things people find useful and things that help others out. I think that if the blog author is passionate about whatever they are writing about this comes across in their writing and people are drawn to that if they share the same passion and interests.
How do you promote your blog?I promote this blog through Twitter and Facebook mainly, but I also share some of my posts on LinkedIn, Folksy forums and UKHandmade forums. I tweet and facebook link all of my blog posts and also use Hootsuite to schedule tweets about certain posts. This is proving really time-saving and also it's increasing visits to the blog (I'll be blogging more about this soon!). There are also links to this blog from my website too so people can easily find their way here.
What kind of opportunities have arisen as a result of your blogging?Well, surprisingly lots of opportunities have come up as a result of this blog. These have included guest blogging for other blogs, features on other blogs, collaborations with other creative professionals, such as Pete Mosley, which has led to my first affiliate partnership. The blog has enabled me to forge links with lots of other professionals, such as Patricia van den Akker from the Design Trust who kindly took part in our Mentoring Series. I've also made lots of contacts nationally and internationally through my regular browse through Etsy, scouting work I like for blog features.
Watch this space for more plans in the future, I have a few up my sleeve, but cannot spill the beans just yet!
How do you manage your time with our blog and your other commitments?When I started blogging it was all very hit and miss, I would post when I could and I didn't really have a structure or timetable for posts. Now that the blog is more a part of my 'brand' and what I am known for I have to be a bit more organised, plus I have a day job and my own creative work to fit in too. After reading Blogging for Creatives by Robin Houghton I decided I needed an editorial plan for the blog. This it helps me to stay organised. It all sounds a bit grand (trust me, it isn't!). It's just a big list which includes ideas for new posts, creative people I'm interviewing, reviews of books and products, and whats coming up. I then try to get ahead of myself and schedule posts ahead of time so that if I have a busy month coming up or I'm going on holiday I can keep the posts coming.
People often ask me how I manage to do it all and fit everything in. I really enjoy blogging so it doesn't seem to be a chore to write posts. I sometimes write down ideas on my notebook on my phone if I'm on a train or having my lunch and I also use a Mind-Map to help me to map out new blog ideas. I think being organised is key, scheduling some time in every week to write definitely works for me.
What are the benefits of blogging?Building a community of like-minded people who share your passion, interacting with them, helping people out, sharing knowledge - feel good factor!! Also blogging has helped me to raise my own profile through the links I have made and also through recommendations from readers to others.
What advice would you give to new bloggers?
- Do your research. There are two great books I have read which have really helped me out. One is BlogInc by Joy Deangelert Cho and you can read my review of it here. The other one I mentioned above and it's called Blogging For Creatives by Robin Houghton. Robin has a blog which you can read here. Both are full of loads of practical tips and hints to help you get your blog off the ground.
- Only blog about something you are passionate about
- Just do it!