So great to have Zoey as a featured blogger. You can find her all over the internets, where does she find the time?
When and why did you start your blog/s?
I started my personal blog in 2009. I had a 1 year old and thought that I would use it as a kind of online scrapbooking tool. I hadn’t written anything for years and I found the idea of attempting a new draft of a novel or working on anything of that scale really intimidating. I liked the immediacy of a blog because it cut into my perfectionist tendencies. You published and then it was done.
Describe your blog/s in 20 words or less
Over the years my personal blog has evolved. In the beginning it was definitely a blog that focused on parenting and had a lot of pictures of my children. Motherhood in the early years can be pretty all consuming and my blog definitely reflected that. When my youngest was about 20 months I was diagnosed with severe depression and my blog changed and it never really returned to what it was before that. Now, I tend to focus on my areas of interest like running and social media.
In 2013 I created an online magazine called The Shake and it focuses on tech how-to, current affairs, creativity, food and entertainment. It was inspired by my belief in two things. One is that I think there is room for nuanced conversation about current affairs and social issues that doesn’t start from a place of sensationalism and two is that everyone is creative and I like to tap into that interest in other people.
In the same year I partnered with Kate Young to help her create her vision for Operation Move, which is a site dedicated to fostering fitness in a supportive, community environment. We currently offer courses in Getting Moving, Learning to Run, Training for an Event, Wellbeing and Nutrition.
This year, I’ve also ventured into photo blog territory with Women Who Run. I’ve only just started it so at the moment it is mostly photos of things that I see on my runs but my vision for it is to feature a whole range of women with an interview portion as well. I was inspired by my first half marathon with the absolute diversity of runners and thinking I would love to hear all of their stories.
What are your 5 must have tools for blogging?
1. Headphones – listening to music and being able to block out external noise is essential to my writing process
2. Camera – I have a DSLR and a good iphone camera that are invaluable to me
3. WP Editorial Calendar – it’s a plugin that keeps me sane
4. Coffee – nothing happens before coffee
5. Picmonkey – it’s photo editing for free.
What do you enjoy most about being a blogger?
I love creating spaces online. Whether they be for writing or photos. I love that it all has a home and those things that I choose to put on there have a place and are treasured. But the best bit about being a blogger is when people send you emails. I don’t get emails from readers very often – maybe once a year? But they remind me of what a great honour it is to be able to put my words and pictures in a space for people to see them.
What would be the biggest thing you have learnt since starting your blog?
Being kind is more important than being right.
What advice would you have for new bloggers?
Don’t worry about what your blog is going to be about or reading up on how to start a blog. Just do it. Your blog will change a million times but the only way to figure out what your blog will be is to write your way into it. Dive in. It’s the best way.
What has been your blog’s biggest achievement?
My blog was a finalist in the Writers Centre Best Blogs competition in the Personal category last year. That’s probably the biggest achievement. But the thing I’m most proud of is some of the comments that people leave me from time to time. It might be as simple as I love the way you write, or you said something that I couldn’t put into words but it stays with you.
What do you find is the best way to help promote your blog?
I don’t really promote my blog anymore. But for the commercial sites at The Shake and Operation Move I would say that Facebook is where the majority of our audiences are so it’s about finding creative ways to work with EdgeRank and expanding our presence into networks that are also being used by our audience like Pinterest and Instagram.
What are your tips to overcome the dreaded Bloggers block?
Have a shower or go for a walk/run. Those are the two places where I have my best ideas. But I think the best thing is to not have too much pressure on yourself in terms of posting. If you have a commercial site and you want to post 5 days a week that’s great but get far enough in advance that if you have a few days where you don’t have anything you want to write about it’s no big deal. And if you have a non-commercial site, don’t put pressure on yourself to post to a schedule. People are going to be happier to read your blog when you have something to say rather than just something you felt you had to write.
Do you (or do you plan to) make any income from your blog?
I don’t make any income from my personal blog, although I have made money as a social media consultant based on people knowing me through my blog. The Shake and Operation Move are both commercial sites and we make money through advertorials, advertising, ambassadorships and e-courses.
What future goals do you have for your blog?
My personal blog I don’t have goals for. It has a really small audience and I love that. So I will just keep doing my thing over there and posting will probably keep being only once a fortnight or once a month. The Shake and Operation Move we have really big plans for. I think we are building something great in both of those places, so I’m excited to see how it turns out.
What is your all time favourite post that you would love people to read?
This is so hard. It probably changes depending on what mood I’m in. This one is my favourite at the moment. Language warning.
What is your most popular post (in number of comments, or traffic received)?
Recently, this was the most popular post.
but overall this is probably the most popular one and it was featured over on BlogHer
I’m excluded my ZOMG I just had the cutest baby ever post here, even though she was completely awesome.
Who are your 5 favourite bloggers and why?
THE PRESSURE. Ok. I’ll give it a go.
Gourmet Girlfriend – I’m so inspired by her food and the way she involves her kids in cooking and food adventures and her bowl of coffee.
Yer Mum – Pretty sure Emma is the coolest person I know and she definitely has the best sense of humour.
Wouldn’t It Be Loverly – Cat makes everything so beautiful.
Bright and Precious – I’d like to be Deb when I’m a grown up writer
Humans of New York – This is my absolute, hands down, favourite part of the internet. It’s an intersection of honesty and beauty and quirkiness and simplicity all done with a sense of great empathy and great fun.