Monday, October 5, 2009

ON BLOGGING ~ October(Blogger)fest...

(October, 2009)

Time for our monthly installment of The Bumbles Blueprint. Last month we covered all our intended topics and features. But instead of the typical Blueprint format this month, we are going to celebrate our ONE YEAR Blogoversary!

A year ago, we unveiled our home here with THIS stellar post. OK, so not that exciting. But it was Miz B's meme that motivated us to set this blog up to begin with so that post holds a special place in our heart, even if no one left a comment.

We got a little shy and stepped away from posting for a couple of weeks to set up a proper blog sidebar and fill it with every widget we could find to try to dress things up a bit and make it more interesting since we didn't have any material or friends to tempt anyone with. Our trap worked because Wendi B. way out in Seattle fell for it and left us our very first comment. We thought we had become famous!

A week later, we decided to post our first original, non-meme related material and promptly alienated ourselves from the entire Tampa Bay region. That post even provided us with our first ever angry commenter which got us all fired up and determined to spread our love of good quality music, and baseball, to the blogosphere. It was also the first in our daily posting trend which has continued ever since.

We spent our first month finding, selecting and participating in a daily staple of memes to highlight the broad categories we had set out to cover from the very beginning. We had no trouble finding memes about books, music and photos. But there wasn't anything out there for movies. So, we started our own. It took a couple of months, but we eventually got it listed on The Daily Meme and finally got some exposure.

It also helped that we were introducing ourselves every day to all those other bloggers playing along with the memes we had joined. Memes often get a bad rap but if it weren't for them we wouldn't have started a blog, we wouldn't have been exposed to built-in communities of like minded souls and we wouldn't have drawn as much interest to our blog through the one we host.

At the turn of the New Year we got really excited because Sherry of Nite Swimming became our first known Follower (which we thought meant she was stalking us until we read up on the term) and then Jo-Jo at Jo-Jo Loves To Read gave us our first blog award. We were just completely overcome with the fact that at least two people (that we hadn't paid and that we weren't related to) wanted to read our blog. Recognition and a warm fuzzy feeling is always good motivation.

We spent a lot of time visiting blogs and making sure we treated all visitors to our home with respect. That meant leaving them a comment back in return that served a purpose and not just ourselves. And adding their blog's site to our blog roll for future reference and link love. We discovered that this common sense approach - not unlike the way we behave in the real world - was successful in building real relationships with others.

In the Spring, Molly was really into the groove of daily writing and decided to get bold and ask the UpTake travel website to let her provide guest posts. After requesting some writing samples she linked to our blog and they hired her to provide posts each month for their Attractions Blog. She was in heaven!

This opportunity allowed for our blog to be seen on a bigger stage so we decided it might be time to hear what a real blogging expert had to say and gain some tools to improve our home. So we joined Darren Rowse of ProBlogger in his Build A Better Blog month-long free course offering daily assignments and tips on doing just that. Our first assignment felt more like homework but we kept going and learned a lot. We changed the look of our site after some input from a blogging buddy we paired up with in one of the course forums. We dropped the plethora of memes we were overloaded with and built in more original posts. And we networked with some great people who we still visit - like Cardiogirl.

Darren's course encouraged us to begin using Google Analytics which is something that allows us to track our blog stats. It would have been interesting to see how we fared over the full year, but what we have is data from the last six months instead. It lets us see which posts are striking a chord and drawing attention and which ones aren't. It lets us see where all of you come from across the world and whether people like to drive by or stick around and come back for more. It shows that we are headed in the right direction and that as always in life, there is room for improvement.

So we keep setting goals and working toward them. Just in the last month Molly saw a job posting on ProBlogger and applied for that paid blogging gig. She submitted a sample post and asked readers here to check it out and leave a comment there to help her in her bid for the job. Without the support of those who did, she may not have been hired. So now she tries to return the favor by sharing links to her posts on LifeSnips which provide tips and tools in all facets of daily living. Just another example of how our blog here has been a benefit to us and why we continue to keep it going and interacting with anyone who wants to take the time.

Thank you for your interest, support and for the lessons you share. We know we are wordy Bumbles who like to bounce around from one thing to the next. But variety is the spice of life. And bland Bumbles are just plain boring. So we'll keep trying to entertain this month and always. Stay tuned - you never know what we'll come up with!


Sandy Nawrot said...

Wooo hooo! Happy birthday! (I have one coming up at the end of the month!) Little did I know that when you wandered onto my blog early this year (I think it was the Suite Francaise post) that you were so new! Also, who would have thought that it would have resulted in such a wonderful, satisfying online friendship. Did you know that you gave ME my first award? And who would have been so thoughtful to actually send me a bottle of wine (BTW, I owe you an e-mail...we drank it this weekend!)

I think you guys have one of the coolest, most entertaining blogs around. Your posts are my daily highlight. I'm quite proud of the writing gigs that Molly has...she is my hero!

Here's to many more years of the Bumbles!

Susan said...

Happy Blog Birthday, Molly and Andy! I really enjoy reading your blog and found it through Sandy's, in case you didn't know. I'm not so much into the sports aspects, but I love the movie meme. It's probably my favorite meme.

I had to laugh at your response to the first angry commenter. That was great! And what a stupid song! You were absolutely spot on with your critique!

Hope you have many, many more years of blogging to come!

Clarity said...

Happy Blogversary, I saw your comment at Amy's were you kindly provided her with html advice.

First of all, you have a charming blog and secondly, would you mind if I asked how I can widen my main area so I can post widescreen youtube videos and not have the edges chopped off? so unsightly. By the way your first post now also has a first comment from me.

Missy B. said...

You Bumbles are awesome! Happy Birthday and congratulations on all of the hard work that you spend on your shows. :)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Happy Blogoversary! May you have many more!!! Loved reading your post on the Rays lyrics! (That is, "DUDE," loved reading your post!)

ds said...

Happy, happy Blogoversary! May you have many more, and never run out of cool posting ideas (your online "confessional" is inspired). Today's word verification reads "grati." Couldn't say it any better: Thank you, Bumbles, for being here, and for being you.

Kathleen said...

Happy Anniversary! I read your blog everyday and always enjoy it (even if I don't always leave a comment). Thanks for creating a unique blog that captures my attention and gets me thinking about sports, music, travel, books, movies...I love it!

Beth F said...

Happy, happy day!!!! You are natural bloggers, and I'm so surprised that you're only a year old! Hoping to be entertained by you for many more years.

Lynn said...

Happy anniversary to you! This is a great post, showing the thought behind your blog and how you've tweaked it over the last year. The very thoughtful Bumbles :) I have sure enjoyed your blog. You always have interesting book recommendations, and of course I love to read your baseball thoughts. You also have introduced me to some movies that were new to me. Yours is one of my very favorite blogs to check out. So . . . a long overdue THANK YOU! Keep up the great, uniquely Bumbles, blogging :)