... that's what this blog is to me. It's a place where I come to focus on whatever is happening around here, share a project or two, and spend time with other people whose company I enjoy ... some of whom have become almost like family.
I read something earlier this morning that got me thinking. It was someone's list of things that we all supposedly must do if we want to grow our blogs. The list included items that mandated that we must comment on other blogs to generate traffic on your own blog, must form alliances and mention and link to other blogs in exchange for reciprocal mentions and links, must promote our posts mercilessly on ALL of the various social media outlets, etc. Seriously? It sounds so calculating.
I guess I'm just a bit too naive about stuff like this ... I read blogs that I enjoy and I leave comments when I have something to say or when I want to offer encouragement or praise.
To be honest, I admit that I fell into the link trap early on. I participated in various 'link parties', with the hope that more people would see what I was writing. The only traffic I saw that those links generated was toward the hosting site, not mine. I do see traffic on my old blog posts, mainly from Google searches and from Pinterest pins. The posts of mine that get the most hits like this are ones that I wrote to put out something that I thought was important ... there's not a week that goes by without at least one hit from a search about how to make a dog throw up, how to install subway tile around an outside corner, or how to wax chalk-painted furniture. (That wax tutorial is my most popular post. It still gets hundreds of hits a week, even though it is more than two years old.)
I know that there are blogs out there that have grown to the point where they have become the blogger's livelihood. Many of these are ones that I used to read, but I now avoid them ... too hard to determine whether a post is intended to be genuine and helpful or if it is fueled by a sponsor (which makes it into paid advertising, in my book). How many times can we read about the virtues and wonder of 'whatever' product that coincidentally happens to be featured on dozens of blogs at the same time? There are blogs that I follow and enjoy that are very clearly meant to be an extension of someone's business ... with the blog serving to highlight the business's barn or antique sale, or market booth, or latest and greatest product. I'm okay with this. There's a difference between clearly marketing one's own business and what seems like a plot to produce content with keywords, back links, and the like, to drive traffic for pay-by-clicks to the animated advertising on one's header or sidebar.
I am a fairly transparent person ... what you see is pretty much what you get with me, and I try to be the same way here on the blog. You never have to wonder where you stand with me. If I like you, you know it. If I'm upset with you, you're the first person I will tell. I occasionally produce posts to promote things that I am selling, but this is clearly stated. I try to include aspects of the project that can help others if they are working on something similar. If I feature a product, you can be assured that it's one that I use and that I like and that I think will be helpful to someone ... I'm not doing it because the product was provided for me, because it wasn't. (Have turned down all offers of this so far, and I will continue to do so.)
Let me conclude by saying that I am grateful for everyone who visits here and spends time reading what I write. We are all given the same 24 hours per day, and I am humbled that you choose to spend some of yours here with me. I am especially grateful for those of you who go beyond reading, by offering comments and participating in email exchanges that have served to ignite true friendships. Even if you read and click away without speaking up, which I do while blog surfing most of the time myself, please know that I am glad to have you here. I want to keep this as a positive place, one where I share life and projects and pets and whatever is on my mind ... I guess today's post is one of those that fits into that last category.
This blog is my happy place ... it's where my friends are.
(Images in this post were modified using the Waterlogue app on my iPad. Thank you, Janet, for introducing me to this and to Karen for encouraging me to keep at it and to have fun.)