Today's Bloggin' post is from Summer from Hobo Siren. She is blog-married to last week's Bloggin' writer, Kady from A Lady Reveals Nothing. Lately they've been doing podcasts together. Hilarious.
|That's Summer on the left. She's an insomniac. Kady is|
on the right. She's not an insomniac.
1. Does your blog fit into a "niche" and how do you choose what to write about?
Have you ever pulled a post after you published it because you regretted it or got
some horrible feedback?
I’m not sure about my “niche.” I tend to describe it as being about travel and
being cheap, and stories about weird and awkward things that happen to me—
mostly while traveling or being cheap. I’ve called it a “lifestyle blog” before, but it
made my stomach hurt a little.
I haven’t been doing this that long. I wrote less than a dozen posts intended for
less than a half-dozen friends when I moved away once, and I kept a blog when
I was in Southeast Asia (again, target audience=family and friends). I started
blogging regularly in late August 2011. I went back and deleted some really
boring posts that just weren’t very public-audience-accessible. I’ve never gotten
negative feedback, but frankly I don’t write about anything controversial. I just try
to not be boring.
My inspiration mostly lies in weird interactions with homeless people, bad
marketing, and bullet-points. And after this description, perhaps I should just say
that my blog is verbose and sure does likes italics.
2. Do you read a lot of other blogs? How many? Have you had contact with the
bloggers, or are you a lurker?
Not as many as I think I’m supposed to. The thing is—I’m a full-time student who
can’t manage to read everything I’m supposed to read for class. Honestly, I’m
kind of a slow, obsessively thorough reader. It’s like how I have a super slow
metabolism… so why would I eat skittles? They taste like sour potpourri; I’ll have
a steak, thanks. Did I get lost in my metaphor? No, I don’t read a lot of blogs and
when I do, they better count.
I do have contact with other bloggers. Sometimes I feel like Kady (of A Lady
Reveals Nothing) and I are in some weird blog partnership but she has way more
readers than me at this point. We pass blog-jealousy back and forth. I mean she
was just featured on Forbes.com.
3. Do you comment on a lot of other blogs?
I like to let people know when I’m into what they’re doing.
4. How important is it for you to get comments on a scale of 1-10?
8? It makes it so much more rewarding. There’s nothing like an “Oh my gawd
you made me laugh so hard my whole office was like, ‘what is SO funny!?’” I also
love love love group participation, like for my out-of-context-photo-Friday-contest.
It makes me feel like a mama bear. When I started doing Ask Hobo Siren video
responses, the comments were a huge relief. Putting a video up was terrifying,
even if it felt funny to me.
5. Do you respond to your commentors?
6. How many followers do you have? How did you get them?
I have an embarrassingly low number of followers. This might be because I’m not
sure if I have a “follow this blog” button. Hmmm…
7. How do you promote your blog?
I’m the worst at this. I honestly can’t say I’ve done anything to promote. My
version of promotion is inserting hyperlinks in this response I’m sending to Sarah.
I post my links on Twitter, but only have about 60 Twitter followers. I’d like to
think if I build it, they will come, but this does not seem to be the case.
It’s not that I don’t want to work to get more followers; I just don’t want to look like
I’m working to get more followers. Hey, Sarah’s followers (both of you): do my
8. Do you write for any other sites?
Not regularly. I will be featured on this blog shortly. Would you like me to write on
your blog? I can do this:
9. What is your most favorite and least favorite thing about blogging?
Hands down, making people laugh is all the validation a middle-child chubster
from a dysfunctional family needs. Every so often, someone says, “I read your
blog… it’s really funny.” Man, this makes my day. They’re always the phantom
readers; sometimes this message comes via a sibling in the form of, “Man, your
sister’s blog is really funny.”
Least favorite… the numbers game. I’ll get a huge spike in readership for a bit,
but it will taper out over the months and then all of the sudden, I have the same
readership I had my second month blogging. It makes me wonder what I’m
doing wrong and in turn makes me critical of blogs with heavy readership (how
awesome is the phrase “heavy readership”?) Like, why does this girl who posts
photos of her outfit have 700 followers? I have outfits!
Also, I am a writing student (technical writing/communications, editing, etc.) and
I’d like to make a living as a freelance writer. I’m always torn between trying to
build my blog as a portfolio (like actually show “professional” writing) or simply
build it as what it is right now—a silly anecdotal picture diary.
In addition, I hate feeling guilty about not posting when I’m dry and the
occasional—why do I spend so much time on this?
10. What advice would you give to potential bloggers? What do you HATE when
you see on a blog? What do you like to see on a blog?
I would encourage bloggers to understand that writing is rewriting. I don’t
necessarily sit down and write a post that goes up the next day. I have lots of
drafts floating around. They might contain just a title or the outline or bones of a
post. When I’m feeling buzzed inspired, I’ll sit down and dump a bunch of words
on the screen then come back and clean them up. This is also a good way to
avoid publishing over-confessional, over-earnest, over-bitter stuff you will take
I would also encourage bloggers to have sort of one or two cheaty-gimmecky
regular features, because I think a lot of us feel pressure to produce content most
days of the week and we’re not getting paid enough (wait, are you guys getting
paid?) to work that hard or long at producing content, so you will eat your
Sunday Guh and your Weekly Hybrid Neologism and you will like it.
I tend to groan over extremely earnest, inspirational stuff that encourages us all
to think stuff like, we are all awesome and amazing and beautiful and creative.
Frankly, I’m not sure that’s not a dangerous message and it’s a bit tacky. Saying
stuff like that is probably not the way to increase readership, huh? I also don’t like
fat or short bloggers.
I once found this blog—I was two posts in and thinking, yeah this chick is funny
and irreverent—but she completely lost me with a post about how Rihanna’s
crotch-grabbing was sexually-empowering.
I’m just kidding about not liking fat or short bloggers. Was it necessary for me to