I come from a rural Vermont town growing up on a small homesteading type farm. We didn’t raise animals or produce to earn money for our family but to put food on the table, this was the foundation to who I am today. Homesteading is a lot of hard work; hand milking cattle, churning butter, splitting wood, harvesting, canning, working the fields, culling and processing meats for the winter months, it all takes a lot of time. However there were nice parts, like having my own horse to ride whenever my chores were done plus experiencing my early years living in such a bucolic place.
I have maintained an organic gardening all of my adult life and look forward to each new season. After leaving the farm I began weight training, yoga and cardio as my source for physical activities. At this time I am moving away from my career in accounting as I expand my knowledge base to study web design, programming and IT management, this has been a lifetime interest of mine.
So tell me about your blog, when and why you started it and how you came up with the name for it?
The name BodynSoil started with my first web design class over ten years ago, that course required me to design a page reflecting my personal interests. The roots of the name are a simple combination of my two main hobby’s of fitness and gardening. In 2008 I started my first blog on blogspot.com also using the name bodynsoil, that is a part of who I am at this point, in 2009 I registered my domain as bodynsoil.com. March 2011 was when I moved my blog from blogspot.com to a self hosted WordPress site, initially I was overwhelmed with all I needed to learn but now feel more confident with the process. I write about my personal interests of fitness, nutrition, organic gardening, green living, my travels and any points of interest I might happen upon any given day.
Do you find blogging takes up a lot of your time?
Before March of 2011 blogging was a casual hobby; I hadn’t taken it seriously until the WordPress site was moved over to my domain. Right now I have a huge time investment as there is a lot to the blogging process that I need to learn, no longer can I jot a few thoughts down and hit publish. You might be surprised to learn that I have a fear of writing; posting on a blog is like immersion therapy for this phobia and has helped me to move past it. I am sure as I become more familiar with the blogging format the daily time investment should be more manageable.
Where would you say most of your traffic comes from for your blog?
Initially the majority of my traffic came from customers, friends and twitter followers. I have a few older posts that are still very popular; I get a lot of traffic from keyword searches pertaining to those posts. As I learn more and expand my reach I am seeing traffic changes that now include twitterchats, blogengage and backlinks from my posting comments.
Do you use social networks to promote your blog and if so which ones would you recommend to other bloggers?
As a beginning blogger I couldn’t depend on word searches to generate my blog traffic. I do use social media sites as a tool to introduce my posts to people I interact with. I was on social media before I became an active blogger, I had a good opportunity to see how others handled promoting their blogs, what I felt was a positive experience and which approach I wanted to avoid. First and foremost, I wanted to build relationships and trust before I did a full on promotion of my page or posts, I didn’t want my followers to think I was all about pimping my page. I find that the best response is from Twitter, Facebook, forums pertaining to your interests and now I can add BlogEngage to the list.
How do you promote your blog? Have you created a promotion plan?
Promoting my blog is something new to me and I am just now researching all the various avenues available. As a new poster I am in the process of studying the experienced bloggers, I was excited to find that everyone so far has been happy to help a freshman blogger and take them under their wing.
As for blog promotion, I’ve learned the importance of commenting on other blogs. Until recently I would write a synopsis of a good blog with a link back to the original blog to read the whole post. I have now learned that not only should you comment on a liked post, but need to set up a means for people to track back to you from your comments. Gravatar is a very important piece to becoming an active blogger as many sites require a Gravatar account with an added advantage of having your avatar linked to your blog or website. CommentLuv is another extremely helpful tool when posting comments. Once you have your CommentLuv setup, with blog linked, you will have the opportunity to choose from 10 of your recent posts to attach to your blog comments. From there an interesting blog header might lead to a click-through from a reader of the blog posters comments.
If you could give some useful advice to new bloggers, what would it be?
I would say the best tool to improve your success as a blogger would be to connect with other bloggers and read, plus comment, as much as you can. Join blogging groups like BlogEngage, CommentLuv and others that offer learning tools and support to fellow bloggers. Subscribe to blogger tips that come directly to you, if you want to be a serious blogger you want to learn about improving SEO, RSS subscriptions and Alexa rankings.
Determine your why for blogging: are you promoting a business, writing for fun, who is your audience and what will your topics be about. Accuracy is always important and so is grammar, spelling and proofreading, which is my personal nemesis. Your blog layout is also very important, visit blogs/websites to see what layouts you find appealing. Most importantly, interact with your commenters and build a rapport with them; this will keep them coming back for more visits.
Note from Admin: A big thanks to @BodynSoil for submitting this interview to the @BlazingMinds blog.