Welcome to another interview in my new series, as mentioned before each week I will be interviewing a fellow blogger who has kindly answered my blogging questions, so let’s get on with it…
Q: Please tell my readers a little something about yourself?
A: My name is TammyJo Eckhart, PhD. The PhD is in ancient history with minors in Folklore and Women’s History. I’m an Iowa native who has also lived in NYC and currently lives in south central Indiana. I’m a published fiction author, book reviewer, and once upon a time I was a college professor though I haven’t taught for four semesters now. I’m currently applying to academic jobs but also training to be a museum docent, which is a teaching tour guide.
Q: Hi TammyJo, so tell me about your blog, when and why you started it and how you came up with the name for it?
A: My blog is called “The Chocolate Cult“. I’ve been joking for years that there seem to be cults and religious movements about almost anything you can imagine so I should start a chocolate cult. When the job market turn completely sour last year, I got very depressed. With the support of my family I decided to start a cult for fun but now I use it inform people about chocolate and cocoa and to help myself combat a lifetime of chocoholism.
Honestly I searched to see if anyone had the names “The Chocolate Cult” yet and no one had it so I took it. The religious quality of the blog is part humor, making fun of this trend of religiousity and the sad capitalistic nature of some religious practices and institutions but it is also part serious. As I learned to appreciate chocolate more fully myself and learned more about it at all stages of creation, I find that I want to make healthy choices both for my body but also in regard to my relationship to the rest of the world.
I hope readers can appreciate both the humor and the seriousness of my posts.
Q: Do you find blogging takes up a lot of your time?
A: On average I think I spend about an hour a day on it. This is focused writing time and networking work time.
Whenever I consume something related to chocolate I take notes and I use those notes for future posts. For the “Saturday Sacraments” and other “Sacraments” it can take up to five hours to work on a post since I write those live and something I have a dozen or more flavors to try. “Sacraments” are limited to companies who send me products by the way. I do other reviews of chocolate related items that I buy or which are personal gifts as well.
Q: Where would you say most of your traffic comes from for your blog?
A: Most of my readers seem to come from English speaking parts of the world — USA, Canada, UK, Australia — but when I check the information for my unique visitor counter, I find people from all over the world look at it. About half come each day probably from the announcement I make about new posts to various network sites but the other half are looking for specific information about a topic or a brand of chocolate.
Q: Do you use social networks to promote your blog and if so which ones would you recommend to other bloggers?
A: I use a lot of difference sites. MySpace, Facebook, FoodBuzz are the biggest but also Twitter, FuelMyBlot, Digg, Stumble, The FoodieBlogRoll, BlogList, Half Hour Meals, Petit Chef, Total Blog Directory, Food Blog Directory, Foodista, Blog Catalog, and Blogger Now.
Some I joined on purpose, some I’ve been asked to join.
I recommend doing as many as you are comfortable with frankly.
Q: If you could give some useful advice to new bloggers, what would it be?
A: Do something that you enjoy first and foremost. Make it fun for your, make it useful to you. Try to write 5-6 times a week. Include a few pictures if you can but don’t over do it because it will slow load time down. Try to comment on other blogs when they relate to something you are doing on your own blog but don’t let that consume your entire day. If you ever start to worry about “will I make money” or you start to feel stressed about it, I’d reflect on why you started to begin with.
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