No, NOT my birthday – my blogoversary!! And because this probably isn't why you read my blog, I'll keep it short.
Well, kind of. It's not for nothing that I've been known as Red Nomad 'too much information' OZ … but you can judge for yourself if that's a fair description or a cruel and evil misnomer!!
I can't believe I only discovered blogging a year ago! Why didn't anyone tell me before about this medium where you can express your creativity; research, present and promote your topic (no matter how bizarre or obscure); and draw an international audience to read and comment on it? And where else can you challenge your intellect, imagination and inventiveness so profoundly - for FREE?! Yep, I've only spent money I would have spent anyway on my blog (ie internet, photo processing) – can you tell?? HHHMMMmmm... maybe best not answer that ...
Followers from my first post - 'Red Nomad OZ is GO!' - may have noticed changes over the year (eg name, post frequency, style and length etc), but perhaps less noticeable is my plan for world domination! Well … in my field in the blogosphere, anyway!!
And how will I be able to do this? By the lessons I've learned from other bloggers!! ('Learning curves' are for wankers!!)
SO … today it's payback time! In no particular order ...
Lesson #1: Look after your followers OR 'your visit is important to me'!
Mary of the awesome 'One Perfect Bite' recipe blog reinforced this by visiting my blog after I'd become a follower of hers. While Mary has more followers than flies in the outback, she took the time to visit my humble blog and leave a comment - my first international comment!! Suddenly I had feedback (yes, positive!) from someone who didn't actually know me! Boy, did THAT make a difference to what and how I wrote!! Well … how much more I thought about it, anyway!
I must have done something right – she still visits regularly! Thank you, Mary!
Lesson #2: Blog to make a difference OR Blogging will change the world!
Jim's wonderful travel blog 'Holes in my Soles' was (and still is) inspirational. His integrity and passion makes for challenging and thought-provoking posts – AND he actually practices what he preaches!
I don't pretend to be in Jim's league in the 'making a difference' stakes, but reading his blog crystallised my own blog focus ('mission statements' are for wankers!), aims and goals.
And while I'm DEVASTATED I didn't win Jim's neat prize (haha!) I'm honoured that he actually follows my blog! Thank you, Jim!
Lesson #3: Your voice is unique OR There's room in the blogosphere for everyone!
I discovered Manzanita's gem of a blog - 'Wanna Buy a Duck' – a few weeks ago. Her passionate, involving posts that challenge and inspire made wonder why anyone would want to read my lightweight snippets about Australian travel! But clearly, some people do!
So while I'm in awe of Manzanita's work, my readers read my blog because, well, they appreciate MY voice - am I right? I guess so – considering Manzanita follows MY blog! Thank you, Manzanita!
Lesson #4: Observe the world around you OR The devil's in the detail!
There's something about River's blog - 'Drifting Through Life' - that keeps me coming back for more. Her ability to see (and photograph) in detail the beauty of the world around her is awesome, as is her ability to share the personal side of her everyday life - something that doesn't come naturally to me. Her blog reminds me of the wonders hidden away in detail we so seldom seek out; and to include more of the personal in my travel posts.
Besides – her description of morning coffee is the best I've EVER read! Thank you, River!
Lesson #5: Take your niche and make it your own OR how many posts can you write about one topic, anyway?!?!
Like my blogs, Kath Lockett's 'Gone Chocco' has a very specific topic – Chocolate! Kath showed me that good, humorous writing means you really CAN write about anything – her narrow topic NEVER gets tired.
AND … she gives GREAT comment! Thank you, Kath!
Lesson #6: Speak from the heart OR You can't fake it!
Jayne's intriguing blog, 'Our Great Southern Land' is absolutely genuine – whether she's reviewing a book, telling stories of her life, imparting historical data, hosting a giveaway or having a good old rant! What you see is what you get – and her fact-laced honesty packs a powerful punch. The card and personal message she enclosed with a giveaway I won on her blog (I swear that's got nothing to do with what I'm saying!), and a later Christmas card showed she also genuinely cares about her readers.
Jayne's blog is a 'must-read' because she speaks from the heart, doesn't pull her punches, inspires debate and is right on the money! Many bloggers – AND politicians - could learn a lot from Jayne's honest, no bullshit approach! As have I! Thank you, Jayne!
Lesson #6: Learn from the experts OR Get Help!
I found Annabel Candy's amazing blog 'Get In the Hot Spot' after she contributed a photo to a travel blog I follow! Go figure!! But a quick visit to this wonderful blog about blogging and I was an immediate devotee! Annabel's expertise – provided free to her readers – has been invaluable, as has the opportunity to learn from the many other blogging experts with whom she networks.
She's taught me to strive for professionalism, new possibilities and perfection (and world domination!!) – there's always something new to learn and put into practice!! Thank you, Annabel!
Lesson #7: Who are your readers? OR Who knows who's interested in what?!
Andrew's fascinating blog 'High Riser' about life in inner city Melbourne shows a world very different to mine (although in some ways, not so much!) - so I became a follower. Who knew he'd actually be interested in a blog about travel in Australia?
When I started my blog, I assumed my followers would be people wanting information about OZ travel or already travelling in OZ, or people who actually knew me – but I didn't think Andrew fell into those categories from reading his a) profile, or b) blog! So when he became a follower, the germ of the 'world domination' idea was planted... instead of limiting my target categories, why not aim my blog at anyone anywhere??
AND … if I'm going for world domination I'd be a fool to make assumptions about my audience! Thank you, Andrew!
Lesson #8: Catchy Titles and Great Pix OR 'Reel them In'
When I first visited the 'Blogs of Note' page I selected a random blog to see what it was all about. I don't recall that blog – but Cathy's catchy blog title - 'Wives with Knives' – immediately jumped out from the favourite blog list! How could I NOT visit?
Of course a catchy title isn't enough for return visits - but the excellent photography and recipes keep me coming back for more. Her blog is a great reminder to focus on a) what attracts people to your blog AND b) why they return! Thank you, Cathy!
Lesson #9: Anti-Circumlocution OR Keep it Simple …!
The best blog posts are nothing like a dissertation on the meaning of life – although aspects of the meaning of life can often be deduced from a great post! Toni's beautifully elegant blog 'ChickChat' is a lesson in the cumulative effects of good blog design and short, snappy posts – that ALWAYS get her message across!
As you can tell from the length of this post, simplicity is a concept with which I struggle (see also above about 'too much information' ...) – Toni's blog is a masterclass in how it's done! Thank you, Toni!
Lesson #10: Why do Bloggers Blog? And why do Readers Read??
Do I have the answer to this? No, but I know why I read Betty's beautiful blog -'Cut and Dry' – because it makes me feel good. I'm clearly not alone as Betty has a stratospheric number of followers – but she still responds warmly and positively to every comment.
Betty epitomises something shared by all those previously mentioned – they give more than they take. And that's a lesson worth learning. Thank you, Betty!
Of course there are many other wonderful blogs out in the blogosphere – a word which I'm not sure I actually like – but I'm going to prove I've learned Lesson #9, and stop at 10!
A heartfelt thank you (well OK – THANX!) to all my fabulous followers, subscribers, readers, visitors and drop-ins who've been part of Year #1– your interest and input has been great for me, and I hope it's been just as fabulous for you!
Stay tuned for Year #2!!
AND - hope you've enjoyed my b-day celebration as much as I have!!