Last week, I hit 100 followers on my blog. As well as saying a HUGE thank you to my first 100 followers, and a big WELCOME to everybody who has followed since, I wanted to reflect on my first months of blogging.
Since I started blogging:
- I read a wider range of kidlit. My comfort zone used to be MG fantasy. Since blogging I’ve especially gained an appreciation for contemporary settings.
- Reading has become a sociable activity. I can’t wait to share my thoughts with my friends on social media, and in weekly book chats. I’m also on GoodReads, and I swear I’m up to date nearly more than half the time. 😉
- My project management skills are developing. I finally invested in a mid-year diary, and have a system of green highlighting posts which are scheduled. It’s amazing how having a month’s plans on the page in front of you makes it more manageable.My goals:
It’s pointless to talk about goals in terms of stats. Either they will or they won’t. Generally, they’re moving upwards, which is good enough for me.I would like to widen the range of my blog to include early readers, picture books and children’s poetry. I would also like to widen reader participation. Think more guest posts, and some polls. (So, which of the above would YOU rather read about?)
- Blogging is ¾ friendship, and the highlight of my YEAR has to be The Salem conversation. The Salem conversation began when I tried to convince Amy from GoldenBooks Girl that Salem the cat isn’t creepy. Cue an hour long discussion, with contributions from my favourite bloggers (including Sarah, Donna and Charlotte. Love you guys) about children’s television past and present. Past was unanimously better.
- Change book tour. Not only is Change a fab book, it was a great opportunity, and such a pleasure to see YA poetry.
- Every time an author has retweeted, ever. Especially if they say I totally got their book. Makes my day, and makes me proud of my degree.
My advice to anyone thinking of starting:
- Unless you’re a coding wizard, WordPress is easier than Blogger. I spent my first three months on Blogger, and found it a nightmare. It was simple to set up a basic webpage, but tweaking a small part of that page? The other advantage of WordPress is it links users together – if you are on WordPress, other WP users can follow you, and see your posts in their Reader.
- Give time to the people who follow you, not the ones who don’t. It’s easy to get hung up on stats, but who would you rather talk to: the kid who thinks she’s queen of cool, or the people who like you for who you are? I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t connect with new people, but the ones who matter most are the ones who connect back.
- Don’t follow/unfollow/follow on social media. Might seem obvious, but if you were a technophobe in your previous life you might read about this ‘tactic’ for keeping your stats balanced at think it’s a good idea to cull followers. Well, balanced stats are one thing, but don’t unfollow people you like, or whose content you’ll want to read in future. (Cringe.)
Please be patient with newbies! I don’t need to ask most people, and I def. don’t want to rant.
The things I have wanted to ask over the past 6 months have been the trivial and downright embarrassing (so, what do you mean, ‘schedule’?) stuff that most people have forgotten. You think you’ve got something figured, then it turns out there is no hard and fast rule.
As a new blogger, you haven’t figured what you want to write about, how often to write, how to manage that writing and how much you want to share about your life on social media. That’s all fine. Take it one post, one sentence at a time. Blogging’s an adventure, and I’m so pleased I started.