The Tuesday Thirteen: Improve Your Blog With the Help of Blogelina
The Tuesday Thirteen
Tanya P, Blogelina
I find that I have two kinds of readers. Readers who like to read blogs for recipes and information, and other blogger friends. Are you a blogger? If you are, this interview is for you. I am sure you’ve already heard of Tanya and her blog, Blogelina, but if not, be sure to go check it out (stick around and read the interview of course) and I bet you will learn a few new tricks along the way!
Every few days, you churn out some of the most useful information on the net at Blogelina.com. How do you keep coming up with such great topics to inform us about?
Tanya The topics that I choose for Blogelina are ones that I, myself, either want to know more about or things that I know I needed to learn to get started with my own blogging. I also use questions I get from readers to see what my readers are really needing to know about. In Blogelina’s online class, I was seeing some repeat questions quite often so I decided to do posts to answer them!
You offer a service to transfer websites from Blogger to WordPress – which I used and highly recommend – has there been a big market for this and what has been your biggest challenge with conversions?
Tanya Yes, there’s a huge market! Blogger has quite a few bugs which have taken down blogs for days. I’ve received emails from so many saying that they are just done dealing with the glitches and want to move their blogs to their own hosting in order to get more control of their content. The biggest challenge has been in dealing with those same Blogger glitches which can turn an ordinary blog transfer into a nightmare!
Speaking of switching from blogger to WordPress, what do you think is one of (or the) biggest mistake new bloggers make due to lack of research and the excitement of getting started?
Tanya Honestly, starting a blog on a free platform such as Blogger or WordPress.com is one of the biggest mistakes – because then you have to deal with the headache of transferring your blog later. And, the bigger a blog gets, the harder it is to transfer. If you’re wanting to start a blog and know, for sure, that you are never going to want to blog for profit, those free platforms are just fine. If you ever want to monetize your blog and build an audience and brand, you need to have WordPress.org on your own web hosting.
Tanya No, I’m definitely not superwoman… There are so many minutes in the day that I wish I was, though! Yes, I do have a team in place to help me – I don’t know where I would be without them! Also, I have learned a lot about the importance of scheduling. I’m a SAHM to three little kiddos – and my family life is my priority, not my blog. It’s taken trial and error but I’ve found the balance between the two that works best for our family. I know how many transfers I can take on, how often I can teach the class, etc. and I adjust the blogging schedule accordingly. Finding that perfect balance is a hard thing – it’s important to stay flexible and adjust as life brings new things your way.
What made you want to go into business helping people make their own blogs better?
Tanya Because I SO wish I had someone to help me when I was getting started! It can be such an overwhelming process and having someone to share what they’ve learned in their own experience would have helped me so much. Plus, I wanted to provide a forum (our online classes) where readers could ask their questions and actually get answers! I made so many mistakes getting started and want to help others avoid doing the same!
Having a niche site seems to be the way to go. How do you suggest people hone in on a particular niche if the passion is very broad – like cooking or crafts?
Tanya I always recommend to my students that they sit down and write several posts for each area they are interested in. Which area do they still have a passion for after writing 10 posts for it? Where are they starting to run out of ideas? Blogging is a long term thing so it’s important to have the ideas and the passion to keep going, not just for the next few weeks. I also tell them to think of something they love so much that if they blogged about it for years and never made a dime – would they still be happy and find fulfillment in their blogging?
Reader engagement seems to be a top concern for many bloggers. What is one tip you can give to get readers to engage more?
Tanya I have to be honest – encouraging reader engagement is a HARD thing to do. There is so much information out there and so many options available to readers these days, that getting them really plugged into your blog takes a lot of thought and planning. I highly recommend setting up an autoresponder for a blog. It gives you the opportunity to actually communicate with your readers, other than just sending out blog post updates. Provide information for your readers that they really need – really help them – and they’ll remember you.
As you mentioned, the web is full of information overload nowadays. What is your suggestion on creating an action plan on where to begin when it comes to taking blogs to the next level?
Tanya Really think about your reader. What are their real needs, real desires? What can you offer to them that they can’t find other places? At Blogelina, I really wanted to give that personal touch. I knew that there were some pretty big, impressive blogs out there that I would be in “competition” with. What could I even begin to offer that they could not? From there, the ideas behind Blogelina were born.
Follow through is probably my hardest obstacle. I love beginning new projects, but when I get overwhelmed I tend to take a step back and my steps become too big to move forward again. Do you have any suggestions for combating that?
Tanya Does it help that I feel your pain? I definitely tend to be the same way! I try to stick to trying one thing at a time. To give that one idea some time to show whether it’s worth continuing or not. Ultimately, though, if something isn’t accomplishing what I want it to – it has to go. I cross it off the list and either continue with what was working or move on to trying something else that might (or might not) be more successful.
What is your favorite organization tool?
Tanya I LOVE Excel – I have so many spreadsheets, tracking my finances, my schedule, my ideas, my schedule. I’d be lost without them!
How much time should we realistically expect to spend on our blogs (daily) to make it a full-time venture and create a steady stream of income?
Tanya This is a tough question to answer because it really depends on your niche, on your target audience, and on your relationship with your readers. In the beginning, there is a much larger time investment than when it comes to the maintenance part of things. Before I was able to get my team in place, I would guess that I was spending an average of 5-6 hours a day on my blogging.
You have been able to grow your blog in two years. What do you think has contributed the most to the success of Blogelina?
Tanya To be honest, I put a lot of time and work into my blog, but I completely give the glory for my success to God. I’ve been blogging at Blogelina for two years but have been working in the blogging world for closer to 5 years. Those first three years were spent on blogs that saw some success but never where Blogelina has gone. Two years ago, I was deciding whether or not I should keep investing my time in blogging or if it was time to quit. I felt that it might be the end for my blogging ventures – I was doing everything the “right” way and not seeing the results that I really needed to see to keep going. I prayed about all these things, honestly asking the Lord for direction, knowing that direction might be to stop. Within a week, we had a landfall of business – more than we were ready to handle and it’s been rolling ever since! For me, it was a lesson of – yes, I need to put in the work doing the research, the planning, the actual blogging – but in the end it’s God who blesses my efforts. It’s Him who actually gives the increase.
What is next for Tanya and Blogelina?
Tanya I’m actually really excited to be launching a new blog, OccupationWAHM.com, next month! As I’ve been pursuing my blogging through the past several years, I’ve learned a lot about working at home with little ones. Occupation:WAHM is a blog meant to provide resources and encouragement for other moms as they want to make money from home – in order to be able to stay home with their kids.
Thank you so much for this interview opportunity, Miranda! It’s been an honor and a pleasure working with you!
Such a great interview, Tanya and I can’t wait for OccupationWAHM.com! Good luck on your upcoming ventures and we will continue to follow everything that you and Blogelina have to offer!
Readers/fellow bloggers: to get the most from Blogelina, subscribe to her super informative posts! You won’t be dissappointed and I guarantee you will learn something new every time you read. Follow Blogelina on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
The Tuesday Thirteen is an interview series that asks thirteen questions to your favorite people in food and blogging. If you have questions you are curious to ask food bloggers, cookbook authors, publicists, food photographers, etc., please send your questions to email@example.com.