I’ve been writing online in one form or another for about five and a half years. It started with no more than my parents, some friends, and some of my mom’s co-workers reading about my semester traveling around the world in college as I sent photos and reflections back to my brother to post for me.
My friend Beth, who had been blogging for some time, encouraged me to start one of my own. For about a year I was posting everything from thoughts on religion to lofty essays on life to reflections of my childhood. Beth had suggested right off the bat to just keep writing until I found a focus and from there more and more people will come. For a little while I wrote a number of film reviews based on the Best Picture winners I had seen leading up to the 2006 Oscars and thought it might turn into a film review blog. That is, until I bought my first DSLR and my love for photography took on a new life.
Since then I’ve experienced a great deal of growth, in numbers of visitors, yes, but also in learning and inspiration. Through the advent of The Photoshop & Photography Blogroll in September of 2006 and the subsequent community of bloggers that has grown up around it, I’ve been amazed at the response to my online presence.
After going a few months with a small group of photobloggers (about 5 total, at the time) I began to get in touch with some prominent members of the digital imaging industry and the rest, as they say, was history. As I sent out my standard profile form and posted the interviews I would get return links from the blogs of those I interviewed. And from there my readership just took off. Now, the blogroll has over 40 members and it continues to grow.
In 2007 I made the commitment to myself to post something new every weekday and, with a few exceptions here and there, I’ve been able to keep to it. I mainly did it to see if I could be disciplined enough to follow through, but it was also done in an attempt to keep people coming back to see what’s new. My hope has always been that my daily, weekly, and monthly unique visitors would at least meet my averages for each category. And I’ve been shocked by how those expectations have been exceeded, especially over the past couple of months (we just hit 9,000 since September, that’s 1,000 since February 8th and 2,000 total since January 28th!).
With a few high-profile mentions on Photoshop User TV and the blogs of Scott Kelby, David Ziser, What the Duck and others I’ve been humbled, not only by catching the attention of such giants of the industry, but by the encouragement and collegiality with which I’ve been met. I try not to let it go to my head. But feels pretty good to be noticed for your efforts.
Creating regular features such as The P&P Weekly, P&P Blogger Profiles, and Geographic Composition have not only given me recurring posts to be working on, but it has also given me the opportunity to connect on a more personal level with other members.
Blogging has been, and continues to be, a great outlet for me. It allows me to share my creativity, feel like a part of a community of awesome photographers and Photoshop pros, and to learn and to grow. And I encourage you to give it a try in one form or another, whether it’s a photoblog or a more traditional written one.
- Set goals for yourself.
- Post a lot in the beginning as you get into the rhythm of it and find your voice.
- Join online communities and become an active participant. Put your blog URL into your signature(s), even your email signature, to help increase traffic.
- Focus yourself. Write about what you are passionate about. It makes it more interesting to read and will inspire others if you show your excitement.
- Create a recurring segment or project. It gives you something to work on, a regular post to put up, and people will come back to see the next installment.
- Don’t hesitate to contact other bloggers. I’ve been amazed by how approachable and willing to help other bloggers are, even some of the “big names,” and you may even get a mention.
- Attitude is everything. It’s your site to do with as you please, but it’s better to keep an open mind. Be friendly, courteous, encouraging, and respectful. It goes a LONG way.
- Spread the wealth. Link to blogs you like. Mention others and they may link back to you. In my P&P Weekly posts I don’t link to outside articles but rather to the member blog posts that link to them to help direct traffic to my members.
- Experiment. Bounce ideas off of your readers. Ask questions. Start conversations. Don’t be so focussed on your own point of view that you miss out on other interesting possibilities.
- Always read other blogs and look for new sources of inspiration and information. You’ll find new things to post and when you link to someone they’ll see it in their site stats and will stop by your site to check you out too.
I am always humbled by the words of gratitude and excitement I receive in comments and personal emails from people I’ve mentioned on the blog and how honored some feel when I’ve invited them to be profiled. I never foresaw such a response to my little blog and I, in turn, truly appreciate all of the support that I’ve been shown and I can only hope to continue supporting my fellow Creatives in return.