Blogging – The Madness Behind the Method

November 18th, 2009


Lately, I have had an overwhelming urge to talk about blogging and my own experience with it.  I am one of those people that is always searching for some kind of meaning in what I do.  It doesn’t necessarily have to have a lot of meaning, but I have to feel like there is some value in the way I am spending my time.  I often question the value of blogging.  In fact, I question it so regularly, that I have to fight with myself several times a week just to decide whether or not I should post another entry.  My life is not exactly riveting, mysterious, daunting, heroic, cataclysmic, romantic, important, useful, or surrounded by a backdrop of intense natural beauty.  I live the same life of thousands of other people and there is nothing that distinguishes me in any truly significant way.  So why then blog?  And why not only blog, but attempt to grow the blog? 

I started writing this blog when we were knee deep in building a house.  This was a very exciting time in my life as building the house was a dream come true.  I wrote a lot about the construction process and joined my blog to an umbrella site called houseblogs.net. My blog grew to about a hundred readers a day.  Around this time, my friend Jenny took a trip and while on the plane she picked up the in-flight magazine and read an article about blogging.  The article said that once a blog reaches 100 readers a day it is a benchmark, a point where the blogger should consider taking the blog seriously. When Jenny told me this, I got very excited.  Maybe I was a real writer after all.  I began to think about how to attract a bigger audience.

I did some research on how to gain readers.  The predominant advice was to comment on other people’s blogs.  The idea was that a comment creates a gateway from other blogs to your blog and people would jump over to your site and instantly become devoted readers.  I found this to be very difficult advice to follow. I slave over writing a comment.  I have to go through twenty revisions before I am absolutely sure I am communicating clearly and not sounding too snarky, while retaining a slight edge of the appropriate amount of sarcasm and still being uber friendly.  It was an exhausting process and even on my best days I needed a nap after leaving only four or five comments.  If I simply left encouraging comments… or friendly comments… or comments for the sake of commenting comments – why would anyone follow them back to my blog?  It seemed to me that the comment had to be pretty darn artful for anyone to want to see where it came from.  I read a lot of blogs, but I rarely comment. It is just too much work.

A much more viable option to me seemed to be to buy an ad on a well known blog.  At the time I had a google ad on my site. Every once in a while an an ad would pop up for a blog called Life of a Farm Blog.  I was frequently sucked into following that ad and reading the updates the author had posted about his farm, his farm animals, and strangely, his farm machinery.  I never became a devoted reader of this blog, but I did think that buying an ad was a far more effective way of gaining readers than leaving a trail of comments behind me.  I began to research the various ‘famous blogs’ to decide where to buy an ad.  

Dooce seemed like an obvious choice.  Her blog was the most widely read personal blog that I knew about at the time.  I suppose there might be some debate at this point on who is more widely read –  Dooce or Pioneer Woman – but if you look at the ‘intel’ I think Dooce still wins. She may not have the clicks that P-dub has, but her blog is not set up to suck people into four different areas, nor do you have to click to read her main page. Though her content is often volatile and laced with what seems to be an almost formulaic amount of four letter words, you get the distinct feeling that she cares about what she posts and how she writes it.  Pioneer Woman’s blog, these days at least, seems to just be about generating click-able content.  Did I just say that out loud?  P-Dub’s fans are rabid and her blog may soon be more widely read than Dooce, but even though she wins the click contest, she does not appear to currently be winning the individual reader contest.  Dooce still has a higher Technorati ranking of 568 – while Pioneer Woman is barking at her heels at 526.  Federated Media puts Dooce at having five million page views a month while PW has fifteen million page views a month – but again – Dooce’s site does not require extra clicking to read her posts.  

Dooce and Pioneer Woman were the only two blogs from which I seriously considered buying an ad.  The idea of purchasing an ad from Dooce was outright scary to me and at the time an ad on Dooce was going to cost over a thousand dollars.  This was way beyond what I could afford so I was relieved to cross Dooce off the list.  I decided to go with Pioneer Woman who was far less intimidating and far more affordable.  Still, two years ago, when I was comparing prices, an ad on PW was going to cost over two hundred dollars.  I hesitated at spending that kind of money to promote my web site. Instead, I decided to do a test ad.  I bought an ad on Federated Media’s cheapest parenting blog at the time (Dad Gone Mad).  The ad cost seventy dollars. It ran for a week and resulted in only twenty one visitors or clicks to my site. This was clearly a failure and ended up costing me three bucks a click, but I still thought that an ad on Pioneer Woman was a good idea.  I shut my eyes tight and pushed the button to purchase a small ad on PW.  The Pioneer Woman ad ran for seven days and was clicked fifteen hundred and eighty seven times (costing me thirteen cents a click).  After the debris settled, my readership had doubled. There can be little doubt that this campaign was a success.  I occasionally think about buying another ad for my site. Both PW and Dooce are now far out of my price range, but there are still some affordable sites out there that would probably add a few readers to my site.  I’ll let you know if I ever try one of them out.
These days I have around 1500 visitors on days that I post – with around 900 visitors on days without a post.  The blog earns around one hundred and fifty dollars a month which is just enough to pay for hosting, a small WordPress fee and a few giveaways.  Blogging continues to be an ever evolving process for me.  It has moved past the euphoric- Holy Crap!!! Look!!! Look!!! People are reading what I write!- stage into something far more wobbly and unsettled.  In recent months especially, I have moved beyond the idea of posting a quickly consumable goof goof goofagoof story to writing something that I feel is actually worth reading.  My posts are frequently longer.  I spend a lot more time writing them.  I attempt to include real information and a few facts which means more time spent researching.  I have stopped trying to post daily.  I have also made a personal determination to write more honestly.  This has wreaked havoc on my intestines, but has been very good for my soul.  If I really want to improve as a writer (and I do!) I have to be able to say what I really mean.  It is never my intention to make people angry, but it is certainly my intention to prove (at least to myself) that dissenting commenters are not on the editorial board of My Sisters Farmhouse.  Thank God that David Sedaris, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, Harper Lee, Mark Twain, Thomas Hardy, Helen Hanff, Stella Gibbons, The Bronte girls, T.S. Eliot, C.S Lewis, Charles Dickens and the writers of the Bible did not have a bunch of angry commenters reading their blogs.  They may have given up long before they wrote their masterpieces!  Which opens up another huge can of worms – that of the influence of commenters on a writer.  I will have to cover that subject on another day as this post is clearly way past the quickly consumable goofy goof goofagoof post limit.

Comments

  • Uh…purdy pictures.

  • Years ago, when I first got the computer and I started posting on message boards someone told me I had to develop a thick skin. After being on them for a while, I learned what that meant but I was never really able to do that. So I stayed off them. After reading some blogs, I can see the same applies to blogs. I started a blog that I don’t really write anything controversial because of that fact. Although pretty much anything written could become controversial if the wrong person reads it. I think it’s wonderful that you want to blog honestly, I think it’s just if your willing to take the heat from it that counts. I love the things you write but sometimes it’s hard to distinguish what is being honest and what is your wit (if that makes any sense). I say if your brave enough to do honesty people will respect you for that although there will always be detractors that you will have to deal with. Good luck.

  • I love what you had to say. First of all I don’t blog for the comments although it is nice when people do comment. I don’t blog for money. I blog because I love to write and this is my outlet. Also and too if I can make one person, usually my dad, laugh with my post then I feel as if I accomplished something.

    Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts with us.

  • Wait, I can’t leave it at that. I don’t know about all this advertising and strategies to gain readers stuff. I’m perfectly content with five regular readers. Okay, that’s a lie. I’d like a few more than that, but numbers just don’t matter that much to me. I have no desire to be a famous blogger and the numbers Dooce and PW get would freak me out.

    There are many different reasons people blog (or comment which is almost as much fun and sometimes more). My life isn’t exciting or extraordinary, and I may seem silly or self important to think that anyone would want to read about it. Really, though, I would write even if no one read. I could do this in a private journal, but there is something empowering about putting my thoughts out there for anyone to read–whether they actually do read or not. So, first and foremost, I blog for me–not that I don’t try to make it interesting or entertaining for whoever might happen to read it.

    In considering whether anyone would want to read about my very average life and thoughts, I have to consider what I like to read. My favorite bloggers (and my favorite authors) write (or wrote) about very average people, too. Laura Ingalls probably didn’t consider her life to be that unusual or interesting, but she took the time to write her story, and millions of children and adults have read and loved her books. Her story couldn’t have been that different from other girls who grew up during the same time period. It isn’t the events or situations or circumstances of a person’s life that I find make their story interesting; it’s the perspective. Even when the basic framework of the story is the same–two people telling of the same events, for example–it is how each person sees the story, what it means to them, and how they retell it for an audience that makes the difference. That is what I find so endlessly fascinating about so many ordinary stories about common people.

  • Pam:

    Thanks for some interesting insight on the workings of blogging. I agree with you about PW’s blog. I’ve been a reader since her first year, and lately the way it’s structured makes me feel vaguely manipulated. It’s lost alot of the genuineness that attracted me in the beginning. Kinda like Starbucks took over the local coffee shop. Anyhow, I enjoy your blog and your writing.

  • M.R.:

    Keep it up.

  • JenC:

    Who’s Dooce?

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    Interesting stuff. And more power to those of you who blog. I don’t. I’m still trying to get used to facebook – sharing tidbits of my life with peers I haven’t seen in 20 years, to far-flung relatives I’ve met once in my life and have nothing in common with. I don’t think I could blog and be totally myself considering such a vast audience.
    I just happened upon a blog about 2 years ago – a farm wife with a mostly routine daily life. But the differences and similarities between her life and mine made it interesting and I was hooked.
    Then something was in the paper about PW last winter, then there was her KS-Americans post, and I started following you, April and Jenny, plus a couple of others I happened upon and found interesting thru my own interests. Honestly, I don’t pay much attention to advertising or click thru commentor’s links very often. I would never get anything done.
    But to be able to sit down for 15 minutes a couple times per day and see what’s going on with a handful of people scattered around the world, read their views whether similar to mine or not, discover and learn new stuff, and mostly, be inspired by even the seemingly smallest of things – that is pretty cool and I thank you all who do.

  • Okay I just learned way too much about blogging. You can make money? Amazing.
    Sadly my blog is like someone above mentioned. An outlet for me and a place for family and friends and practically my whole town to read about me and my family. My biggest problem with my blog is people learning way too much about me! That in itself is pretty scary stuff.
    Pretty pics btw!

  • jamoody:

    I have to agree with Viki that sometimes with your writing style it is hard to distinguish facts from your very humorous fiction…but it’s one of the things I love the most about this blog of yours. I think you have a wonderful and unique personality (from what I can tell on here) and an equally wonderful and unique writing style. It’s a gift, nurture it however you see fit.

  • Jenny E.:

    Great post–I don’t have a blog and am interested in what goes on behind the scenes as well as the numbers you have to have to make any amount of money at it.

    I applaud you for resolving to write what’s honest…writing honestly and exposing yourself to the world takes guts. Every time I think about starting a blog I think about my mother and my coworkers reading it, an icy chill goes down my spine, and I immediately shut down my laptop.

    I think you’re very funny and love reading what you write, so thank you for blogging!

  • Peggy in TN:

    Rechelle, I found your blog via PW I don’t think it was an ad, just a “go look at this blog the girl is funny”. I have enjoyed your blog ever since as we both have the same kind of humor. I have commented on your blog only occasionally–usually I just “lurk”. I also read/love your sister’s blog. Today you answered some questions that were in the back of my mind about blogging. I have always wondered what kind of money a blog with a lot of followers like PW’s generates a month? I think (KNOW) her visitors increased when she started having really BIG giveaways. Look at the number of responses when she gives away a mixer or knife set. The giveaways have gotten more valuable too. I think she started off with the same intentions of you and Jenny, but I think somewhere along the way she got lost. Now her blog is about generating money. This is evident with the number of ads and sponsors she has. I guess, more power to her. No one has to click over there if they don’t want. Anyway, I will keep coming back to see what you have to say because I like you and like the way you write. I think we would be friends if we lived by each other. Keep up the enjoyable writing!!

  • I’ve gotten some regular readers just from leaving a comment for PW. I’m much to lazy to go to all the trouble of worrying what to write about or how to lure people to my blog. The quote on my header these days says it all.
    I love Ree. I’m fairly certain she was rich before she started blogging, and I’m certain she’s getting richer and richer. I’m glad! I’ll admit, some of her posts are just plain silly. Those get a quick glance, then I’m off. Meanwhile I say what I want to on my own blog.
    Take heed to Iris’ words:

    So I went running down a list of things
    some were real, but on some of them I lied
    ’cause I felt I had to justify each breath that I’d been breathing in this life
    Then I realized I was playing into someone else’s rules,
    trying to keep my score up in a game I did not choose
    Then I looked that ghost straight in the eye
    and said “You’d better not be coming back by again”

    And it’s true that I don’t work near as hard
    as you tell me that I’m supposed to
    I don’t run as fast as I could
    but I live just the way I want to
    and that’s the way I should.

  • Oh please don’t start saying the F word in your blog. I read Dooce, but I don’t subscribe ’cause she makes me feel a little skeevy. You’re funny and real and kinda scary, but in A GOOD WAY, really—don’t hit me.

    Smiles,
    Lisa

  • This is a great post. I always enjoy your writing, even when you get a little ‘out there’. Out There is a good place to be sometimes!

  • Shelly E.:

    Hello Rechelle, very interesting, thanks for that. I have only recently been introduced to blogging and I am hooked. I look at it as a way of getting to be noisey with permission. I really enjoy reading about others lives and looking at the pictures. I actually found your blog from my google, gmail, reader page, which made a suggestion based on what I am already reading. So I clicked on you page and started reading and have enjoyed it. Thanks

  • I have a blog and to be honest have had multiple ups and down with it. Almost quit a couple of times but have given in to those who say “please don’t stop” Mine is more about decorating than everyday life. I got depressed over the lack of “followers” as apposed to readers. Doing creative things is a very big part of who I am even though I am a nurse by profession. I guess I needed the “wow” from people to feel that I could compete with some of the more successful blogs out there. But there is always some one better, more creative and able to attract readers than me. People kept telling me to blog just for myself and that has helped turn my vision of blogging around. I have met some really nice people and luckily haven’t had some negative comments as some people have. Maybe it is because I don’t have the large readership that others do. Those of us who deny that is definitely an ego booster for what we love to aren’t being honest. I guess a person can only take so much rejection and then we become dumb to it. (that is unless someone is really unkind!)
    I really like your blog and guess I have come back consistantly as you possess several things that attract me. The first being that you live in Kansas. I grew up in Kansas. Secondly that you all are Jayhawkers, my school. Thirdly you were an art major as was I and lastly that you verge on the medical profession with the CD.
    I love your wild sense of humor, also. I guess the only post you’ve done that I didn’t care much for was the one about PW and the lice and I think that is part of what is disturbing you. Some of the comments you received certainly were meant to put you in your place but it was just one and there are many many that have given you great praise. It is funny how you can take such negativity to heart. You post for who you are, not necessarily all the time but as I’ve been told blog for yourself and let the chips fall where they may. If people don’t like what they read, let them go elsewere. That does not make you unseccessful. Keep up the great writing Rechelle. I am a faithful reader, blog on!

  • I check your blog site every day. You seem to be very sincere, and I like that. I found you thru PW.

  • Shay W.:

    Interestingly, most of the people to whom I’ve mentioned that I have a blog have seemed uncomfortable with the idea of reading it – as though they thought it was a personal diary. So my husband and a couple of friends are really the only ones who read. I don’t mind too much, though – takes the pressure off if I go a few days without having a chance to post! I have a different blog where I post pictures of the kids to keep friends and family updated, and though people don’t seem as uncomfortable about that one, it has really pointed up how completely un-blogosphere-savvy most of my friends and family seem to be!

    I enjoy this blog quite a bit. I can’t remember how I got here, but I’m glad I did.

  • Inga:

    Hey! Thanks for the information, it is very interesting.

  • lamitchell:

    Thanks for the information – I didn’t realize blogs bought ads on bigger blogs, although it sounds perfectly reasonable. I love your blog set up – PW’s is completely overwhelming to me and I rarely visit.

  • AngAk:

    I also found you through PW—I think it was the lodge trip post. I read you for your honesty and insight and life in your neck of the woods, and I check everyday. I could never, ever, start a blog. Writing is a struggle for me—nothing about it says “fun” or “creative” or “pleasure”. But I love reading about your lives. Maybe I miss the midwest because those are my favorite blogs! These comments have all been very interesting and some quite heartfelt and touching. One thing that REALLY turns me off though is when some commenters on blogs only comment to promote their own blogs. “come over to my blog, I have a giveaway”—-over and over and over again with each of their comments. I never click on those. I get so irritated by them. If this blog gives you pleasure, you just keep it up. and gosh, I loved DonnaW’s comment. I will be clicking.

  • MichelleG:

    Wow! I really appreciate the transparency. You answered a lot of questions for me…and I know what you mean about having to be true to yourself regardless of the effect it has on your popularity.

  • What I really enjoy about your blog is you honesty. PW’s if fluff (and has its place in the grand scope of things) If its a joy, continue, if its not ….still continue. 8D We come back for a reason, and this is not coming out at all like I want. You blog with your heart and aren’t afraid to step in tha pile of poo. We need blogs like yours so keep it up! Or, I’ll send allllllll my kids to your house.

  • Indiana Laura:

    I came to your blog from PW and have been checking it (almost) every day since. From you I went over to April’s blog also. I really enjoy your posts…even the goofy, goof-a-goof ones. As a 40 year old mom of 4 kids I appreciate the viewpoints of other moms. I also think it is amazing how many things we experinece are similar in spite of the differences in our lives. I have often thought after reading one of your posts…”I’ve SO been THERE!” …and it is beneficial to know that you are not the only one who has ever felt a certain way. So, thanks for your writing and for sharing your life’s stories with me. I definately appreciate it.
    Laura

  • Rechelle,

    I read your blog & 2 or so others–you truly have a gift for writing & your blog is the only one that makes me Laugh Out Loud! (Your prayer request post & the tour-of-the-native-grasses-used-to-make-tea post somehow leap to mind!) There is just a lot of hilarious truth in your writing.

    Another reason to keep on blogging? It is really great therapy if you happen to have TEENAGERS!

  • Rechelle,

    I think it is very brave of anyone to blog honestly about their life, viewpoints(especially when it comes to home-schooling), etc… I don’t read those other bloggers. I don’t even know who they are. But I don’t have facebook either, so I guess I’m out of the loop. I got introduced to your blog from a friend, who thinks you’re a riot, and then realized it was you, whom I already knew. So I kept reading to catch up on you and your family. Soon I was checking daily to look at your awesome photos, read your hilarious stories, and drool over your house. You’re an awesome writer, so keep doing it if it makes you happy. I’ll keep reading.

  • Enid:

    Always wonder about the add thing. I have a very personal one, and I write daily on that one. Then I have the one for the knitting patterns and I am having fun with the farm blog… I was very glad your sister help me when I e-mail her.

  • Kate:

    I like your thoughtfulness.

  • Great post! I was having this same conversation with one of my good friends who also blogs- what’s are purpose for blogging- what are we trying to achieve? I’ve been following you for awhile- I think it was about the time you wrote the post about your husband’s need to tape up boxes…I thought it was hysterical and remember some of the grief you took for that post.
    I learned some things I didn’t know from this post – about the commenting on many other blogs to gain traffic. I read a lot of blogs- but rarely comment. I do have 3 or 4 sites that I check in on daily- You and Your sister, PW, Bossy and the rest just occasionally.
    I appreciate your insight. I guess the takeaway is – write because you want to write and want to hone your craft- if you don’t feel like posting- don’t – . Do it for you and the rest that is supposed to follow will…I’m at an impass in that do I want to take my site to the next level or keep it status quo…
    I hope you’ll want to continue – I’ll keep checking in…

  • Martha in Kansas:

    Interesting and thought provoking. The comments too. I found you through what appeared to be a PW recommendation in the sidebar. This was an ad? So her recommendations are ads. Well! I found April’s blog through yours. Some time back I considered blogging, but decided against it. Too time-consuming and I never could figure out how much I’d be comforable revealing. I’m happy being a devoted blog reader. My friends think blog-reading is odd. Their loss. I check yours daily. One major reason is your always surprising topics, but many other reasons. Hope you continue!

  • Thanks for the post on blogging. I really appreciated the advice. It could not have come at a better time! It’s so funny that you mentioned that you got your start when you built your house. I just started a blog on thursday about renovating our 100 year old house!

    This is my first attempt at blogging. I stay at home with two small boys and wanted to keep my mind active. Sometimes I feel like my brain is going to mush and I want to preserve what it is left of it. I also wanted a way to keep neighbors updated as to what we are doing at the house. Blogging is also good therapy. It’s the only place I have that is all mine.

    Thanks for your honesty. I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I’m not sure that I have the courage to be as honest as you are, Yet! I’m very opinionated and tend to stick my foot in my mouth. I know I’ll get myself into trouble at some point in time.

    Thanks Again,
    Laura

  • Patricia:

    I love your blog – I read it daily. I don’t always comment, cause I don’t often have interesting things to say ! I enjoy your humor, your ‘realness’, and your photos – very much.

    I also enjoy PW’s blog and read it daily too. In fact, I did find your blog mentioned on PW”s – not an ad, Just on a list of blogs she enjoyed. I have never felt ‘manipulated’ on her blog – I’m not even sure what that means. How can a set up of a blog manipulate you ? Don’t get it.

    I read your blog, and PW’s blog, because they make me smile – they’re funny and well written. (Oh, and her recipes are really, really good ) Well, that’s what I think, anyway.

    See ! I told you I didn’t always have interesting things to say……

  • Patricia:

    Oh, forgot to say “thank you” for your blog…..

    Also, who is Dooce ?

  • Love the post–I’m always curious about how people actually make money from blogs. I found you from PW, too, from that same “recommendation” (an ad? how sneaky!), but am glad I did.

    Would never have found you from Dooce–she scares me a little bit.

  • I thought I’d blog everyday about ways to save money. It would be neutral. But what I found was that I just couldn’t open up my life to everyone and my saving ways would show to much of our family, so now my blog just gathers dust.
    I found you through PW, April through you, and then iambossy through April. Your 3 blogs are my favorite. I bounce over to PW now and then but to be truthfully usually only to see if there’s a giveaway. It’s too light for me. I enjoy a bit of snark and go to jezebel.com . Dooce reminds me of my days in Manhattan, too much selfabsorption/unimportant stuff .
    I admire you and your honesty. I admire your bravery. I enjoy your writing. You surprised me with your music background. You touched me with your euro disappointment. I see in you a lot of the “where the hell has the old me gone?” that so many of us mothers and wives struggle with. Have we all shrunk to fit the life goals of others? Have we actually grown embracing motherhood? Are we just working really hard while waiting for our turn again?
    Be brave. You have tons of talent.We would miss you if you stopped.

  • It’s hard to comment, knowing that you might be crushed under the weight of 36 other comments. But your words are healing, helpful, and encouraging. Not too sure that many of us will ever reach the stratosphere of so many followers, especially as we weave our lives into little corners and crevices that many are just not interested in following into. Nevertheless, this exercise has been deepening and broadening (blogging, that is), and you have been a large part of that process. Thank you, Rechelle. EFH

  • Carol:

    I found PW through your site! How’s that for a change of pace? I clicked to see who the “Pie Near Woman” was. Thought I’d get some pie recipes. Started reading you when you were the CDW on Houseblogs. Found Marilyn that way too. Thanks for the blogging insight.

  • Gina:

    I’ve lurked here a bit, but never posted. I’ve been reading blogs for about 6 years (including very early PW) and have often speculated about the business behind the whole thing, but I never really researched it.
    I agree that PW is struggling a bit these daysto strike a balance between her natural charm and the business of blogging. I do hope she figures it out because I think she is genuinely entertaining. I honestly don’t think she is in it for the money– she had plenty to start with — and I think she’s shown she’s inciteful enough to figure out a good balance.
    Your post is an eye-opening read, and I’d like to hear more of your thoughts on blogging.
    So, are all recommended blogs really ads??? Who knew!

  • Betsy:

    I don’t think PW is in it for the money, she was rich before she started it. I adore her blog, the photography, recipes, recommendations are amazing. Its interesting that you’ve gotten so many ‘clicks’ from her site but you seem to be so negative about her. Maybe you should pull your name from her site and see how many ‘clicks’ you get? You’re listed in her ‘favorite blogs’ section. I check your blog and your sisters blog daily, I think you’re both entertaining and very funny. Everyone has their opinion on whether or not they like Ree – seems like you’ve getting some who don’t like her. Way to stir up some controversy.

  • Just Kris:

    I guess I do not understand how someone is manipulated by a blog and the cult following some bloggers have. I get that you may enjoy someone’s photography, writing, recipes, etc. (I can raise my hand to that) but to look at that individual as some kind of expert opinion is beyond my understanding.
    I do not get the Oprah thing and certainly do not get the blogger thing. Maybe we all have too much time on our hands or are looking in the wrong places for fulfillment.

  • Stephanie:

    I think I’ve come to realize why I’m not so crazy about PW’s blog these days. Like someone else said, I also feel somewhat manipulated when clicking there. I used to really enjoy it, now it just seems like a business venture for her. Oh well, that’s just me. I can’t stand to read Dooce – ugh. You, however, I love to read. I feel like your blogging contains substance and you are very, very funny. And, I once won a give-a-way from you…”A Girl Named Skippy,” which was a great book. Thanks for your blogging efforts, and I really appreciate all the hard work you put into your posts.

  • This was very interesting to read. I started a blog a year ago and have a grand total of like 4 readers…heehee. I’m not necessarily trying to even get up to your level of readership…that seems like a huge commitment.

    Anyhow, I was wondering how you and other make a successful blog so thanks for sharing your process.

  • Suzy:

    I am just curious. Did something happen when you went to visit PW’s farm? It seems that your opinion of her changed after that visit.

  • Hi, I think I found you from PW, which makes sense, since my DIL showed me PW’s site. I keep following you because it’s interesting.
    I could commiserate with you about the europe trip, having suffered some of the same fate myself.
    When I found your site, I didn’t even know what a blog was. I was stuck with a blank myspace account!

  • Fran:

    Well, keep sharing, Rechelle. Obviously you are touching quite a few people with your blog. I learned a lot about the art and science of blogging in this post. Your post is one of several that I read almost every day. I love to read about you and your males, I love your photos and your interests, especially the books you read. Sometimes I’m a little baffled by you, but I keep coming back.

  • pamcake:

    Since I am blog-shy, I very rarely comment. However, recently, since the Europe trip, I feel like I actually saw a piece of you. Although it kinda broke my heart, I think that is really what I want to read about when I click on a favorite blog. Otherwise, I just roll my eyes and move on. Keep it up. It is good.

  • Sara:

    I love love love your sense of humor and honesty. You have made me laugh out loud so many times!!! Your blog and only a handful of others (from over 200 subscriptions from my reader list) are worth reading. I am about your age, married and have children, and really dont have time nor the patience to read a bunch of bs. I’m more about keeping it real, love it or hate it. Thank you and I hope you keep doing what your doing.

  • sheri:

    I just found you—probably from reading Pioneer Woman who I found from reading Smitten Kitchen. I’m new to the reading of the blogs but find them interesting and fun–a way to laugh and learn and cry and as different as and various as people are. There’s always something that reminds us of ourselves…our situation. Anyway—its hard for me to believe how mean people can be—I happened on some hateful stuff trying to find Pioneer Woman back once. And poor Dooce and the hateful comments…sigh. Seems like once you make money—everyone is mad at you. ??? WHY?

  • Loyal Fan of MSFH:

    Great blog today. I can’t believe that a publisher has not contacted you to write a book
    I am going to keep trying because I know you have a rare gift of writing.
    Today’s blog was really neat to see the heart of your writing.

  • Thanks for this post. I just started blogging this year, mostly because I wanted to get my writing juices flowing again. I majored in English but am now unfortunately in a job that requires no writing at all. I would LOVE to make money at writing, but at the moment I don’t have a lot of time to spend on the actual writing and jobs in that field in my area are scarce to non-existent. Anyway, that was a lot of unneeded detail to say that I appreciate your thoughts as I continue to think about blogging.

  • Hey, you’re a big deal! I never get 1500 on my posts, unless someone famous links to me. I’m tiny and obscure, but oh well.

    And I’m enjoying the deeper content, but I like the goofgoof stuff too! Keep up the good work.

  • Mitzi:

    I came to you via PW, too. Glad I found you!

  • Terry:

    Hello Rechelle, I also found your blog from PW and have been a semi-loyal reader for quite a while. I love your writing but please just resist the urge to use wit and sarcasm at someone else’s expense. You are funny all on your own.

  • DebbieD:

    Ditto what Terry said. BTW, you’re still listed on PW’s “other sites.” Free advertising from someone you don’t seem to care for any more.

  • Maryanne:

    Hi Rechelle-
    I have been reading MSFH/CDW for a while, since you burned your sister’s hair at Christmas service, I think. Anyway, I found you via Vonda Evans’ blogs. I enjoy reading your blog because you are refreshingly honest, even when it isn’t the most popular opinion. I read your public school series several times and have really thought about it in relation to my future children. I don’t agree with some of your opinions but I come back because it is obvious that you care about your topics.

    Maryanne

  • I’m a fan who came to you via Pie-near Woman. I love this post because it takes up a lot of what I think too. I have the same kind of readership you have – or slightly lower – yet you seem to have more comments than I do. Good for you!

    Oh – one thing I was wondering is HOW do you earn money on your blog? Through ads or what? I’m also on WordPress but the free one…

  • Nancy in AK:

    Your blog is riveting -because of the good writing, complete honesty, and varied content. I am interested in many of the things that interest you. Keep blogging! PS Dooce does make you click to get to see all her posts. Lots of clicking.

  • Bridget:

    I really, really enjoy reading this blog because it has a wonderful combination of fluff and more in-depth, thoughtful and/or intense entries. Your blog is probably one of my most favorite blogs especially what you wrote about your husband and the Europe trip. I could so relate- it felt good to share those feelings with someone. That is what has always bugged me about other blogs is that they gloss over the struggles they face in their lives and just make it seem that their lives are perfect and wonderful. That it is just daisies and cakes everyday.

    I always think that I am going to start a blog, but then I never follow through with the idea. I think because my goal is to make money off of my blog. Wait- let me say that in a different way. My first goal isn’t to make money, but I wouldn’t want to have a blog that didn’t get any readers. To me it wouldn’t be rewarding without having any readers. I want the attention- okay there I said it.

    But if I was going to have a blog then I thought one good way to get readers would be to make comments on other blogs or join message boards. But I think that people are too concerned with what they are saying or on reading the blog then to read through the comments and then click to other people’s blogs. Or you get buried under a bunch of other comments. Do you click on other people’s blogs if they made a comment? What do you, the people that commented, do?

    I really don’t think that Rechelle was being at all negative about either Ree or Dooce. Just pointing out that one of the ways they make money is by the amount of clicks that they get. And that they have set up their blog to increase their clicks. I think she is pondering if this is just plain good business sense or if they are manipulating their readers, that the money is coming at a cost to the readers? I don’t know. I didn’t read anything too negative about this post. I thought it was a good explanation of what it takes to be a blogger, what it takes to make money at it and the different decisions you have to make along the way in regards to making money, being true to your readers and yourself, and prompting your blog.

    I don’t understand the controversy in regards to popular bloggers. In a way I think it is funny that PW and Dooce make so much money when all they are writing about is their own daily, mundane existence. I don’t use mundane in a negative way, but more in saying that they are just like everyone else. Just living their lives, just like all of us. And people sort of idolize them, look up to them and do kind of treat them as some sort of experts. PW started an advice column on her website since people were writing into her asking advice and to make the doesn’t make much sense. Not on PW’s part, but on the people writing to her to ask for advice. I don’t understand the cult of celebrity bloggers, but then I also don’t understand the amount of interest and attention that regular celebrities get.

    What I have noticed that has changed the most with PW’s blog is that there are more and more fluff entries and less of the entries that made me interested in the blog in the first place. She used to have posts that had some substance to them. Now it just seems to be pictures of cows, horses, and more cows. I am only bringing up this up is because I think it highlights one of the changes that occurs as a blog becomes more popular. Often the problems with popular blogs is that the blogger doesn’t seem to put as much care and concern with crafting their entries as they did at the start of their blog. And their blog begins to feel as if it just an exercise in making money.

    A blog that I really like and I think has done an excellent job of staying true to its readers while handling blogger and book writing fame is the blog Cakewrecks. The writers of the blog even respond to comments even though they get hundreds of them a day. Also Smitten Kitten is another great example.

    Wow- I did not mean to write so much. I am recovering from a surgery and I think being isolated in my bed for a couple of weeks is not doing me any favors.

  • Hi Rechelle.
    I’ve all of my favourite blogs, book marked and you happen to be on that list. It’s been a long while since I’ve visited your blog and I must say, that I really enjoyed this last posting. You really make me smile and I find your writing refreshing – you really must get published – do a book ?! Everything you write, regarding the topic of blogging, is true and accurate. I started reading blogs about a year ago. Pioneer Woman, discovered by my husband, was the first blog I ever read. I had just moved to England, re-married and was missing my daughters and everything American. So, whilst adjusting to a new life, in a new country, my husband suggested that I start my own blog. It’s been great fun – a way to let my family know what I’ve been doing over here and a way to feature some of my photography. Prairie has been going for almost a year now and I have a modest following of about 200 readers per week. My subscription to TypePad will be up for renewal in a few weeks and I’m not sure whether I will continue with blogging as I want to spend more time on my photography business instead. Getting back to Pioneer Woman – her content is entertaining but too commercialized for me – I stopped reading a long time ago. PW has found her niche, is making money from it and I’m sure there will be a book deal, movie and/or possibly a TV series in the near future. Good for her – she has done well for herself. I was a bit taken back though, in reading your post, by how expensive it is to advertise on her site. Wow ! Anyway – so happy to see you are still blogging, Rechelle. Cheerio !

  • Wow, impressive amount of work going into your blog, woman! I’m still in the Goofy-I’m-too-sick-to-be-bothered-where-are-my-bon-bons? stage.

    Oh, and I was one of the Fifteen Hundred that found you through PW. And I’m glad I did. Mwah!

  • Margie:

    I quit reading you for a while, but I decided to come back and now that I have, I agree with one of the other commenters. I am wondering what happened between you and Ree. You’ve been kinda negative about her or so it seems. I don’t remember how I found you, but I’ve been reading you for several years now and rarely do I comment on anyone’s blog. But I do read. Keep writing.

  • siltedrepose:

    My husband recommended waiterrant to me. He’s alternately bitter, insightful, and funny. He posted a link to thepioneerwoman, whose site I read most days. I’ve started treating thepionerwoman like a sports team. Go team, go! She posted a link recommending your site. I followed your link to your sister’s blog and have been reading both on a regular basis. I also picked up expatfromhell recently. I’ve followed links to other blogs, but some of them just don’t pull me in. I tried reading dooce, but it didn’t work for me. I like reading pw because I like happy fluff, it’s a nice fantasy. I like reading waiterrant because I remember working in that business, and it’s nice to see someone else’s perspective on it. I like reading expat because it’s intense, dramatic, and provocative. I like reading April because there’s always something crazy going on. I like reading your blog because your flights of fancy are at once totally flying and rooted in the ground. I usually avoid reading heavy stuff, but if it makes you feel better go for it. I’ll stick around.

    I will say that I don’t like your new website. Usually I refrain from comment like that, but since we’re being honest, I thought I’d mention it. It’s hard to load since I can’t afford extra high speed internet anymore, and the colored background doesn’t go where it’s supposed to. I also don’t like to see a snippet with a link if you want to finish the post. This bothers me about newspapers, too.

    I do have a blog that I post to occasionally, and the 3 people who read it do get after me if I don’t keep the posts up. My husband will read my blog to see what it says, because often it’s a more accurate measure of my mood than what I actually say. I think up blog posts while I’m walking, while I’m working, but after I’ve voiced them to myself in my head they seldom come out at the keyboard. I design text to put under pictures that will never be uploaded. It’s possible I read blogs too much.

    I can’t read dooce. It just doesn’t work for me.

    Anyway, I would recommend buying an ad on a blog that posts the type of content you would like to be posting. You seem to be mostly considering the money, and blogs aren’t like paper towels. Blogs come in all different shapes, sizes, and styles.

  • siltedrepose:

    Groan. Can we pretend I proofread that last post and didn’t repeat myself?

  • cb:

    Cannot. Stand. Dooce. Worst. Blog. Ever. She doesnt’ deserve any of the notoriety she seems to have. Just a bunch of navel watching. Keep up your “voice”, and you will be heard! your blog is refreshing!