Most (make that all) of the blogs I read regularly are about web design and development. So it takes a pretty sparkling blog to attract my attention if it’s not about my online passion.
Enter Miss Britt – a gem of a blog written by Florida-based Britt Reints. Britt is a mommy blogger – proud owner of two gorgeous small people Devin and Emma and wife to long-suffering Jared.
Britt began blogging in 2006 when she was 26. She’s since monetized her blog and has an online store.
And it’s rivetting – not in the way that reality shows make us voyers watching other folks’ mess up their lives but in a way that makes Britt a transparent and honest writer. This is real life and it’s hilarious.
Since I found Britt via StumbleUpon we’ve emailed a bit, I became her friend on Facebook and then decided I wanted to share her with you – specificially to look at how she has made her blog a success. And why people like me who don’t read THIS kind of stuff are hanging on her every post.
Why did you start blogging? (What motivated you? Did you read other blogs and get inspired?)
I found out about blogging from a friend of mine (Amy’s Musings) who had been doing it for a while.
I started and stopped a few blogs about being home with my daughter, but couldn’t stay interested. When I went back to work, I started blogging again and stuck with it. I guess I liked reading her [Amy's] funny posts and wondered if I could write, too.
Why do you keep a blog? (What makes you keep doing it day after day?)
It depends on the day.
Sometimes I keep doing it because of all the relationships I’ve made through blogging.
Sometimes I keep doing it because writing has become so theraputic for me. And sometimes I do it just because I feel like I’ve done it for this long – why stop now?
When did you first realise ‘Crap! I have lots of readers?’
Well, I think the term ‘lots of readers’ is obviously relevant. The longer you blog, the more people will find you and read you. About two years ago I got over 10 comments on my birthday and I was amazed!
And then one day someone told me about Dooce, and I realized I didn’t have ‘lots of readers.’
I don’t think anyone really knows how many readers other bloggers have, or what’s ‘a lot.’ It’s like trying to determine who is popular in high school – it all depends who you ask.
Which elements of your blog do you think make it super successful? (and no dissecting of the words ‘super successful’)
From what I’ve been told by people who read my blog, the honesty in my writing is what makes it different from other blogs.
Some people tell me it’s funny. The truth is, I read a lot of honest, funny blogs.
I think the biggest ’secret’ is that I’ve been doing it a while and have met a lot of other bloggers. I think most of my readers are bloggers.
Do you have a writing schedule?
I used to. I used to write every morning. Then I wrote every night to publish for the next morning. I still kind of stick to that schedule, but I also skip days when I just don’t feel like it.
I also sit down in the middle of the afternoon and write if something is really pissing me off.
When did you decide to monetize your blog? How has this gone?
I think I put ads on my blog about a year ago. My thought was that if I could keep doing what I was doing anyway and make some extra money – why not?
It’s gone OK. I make a couple hundred dollars a month from ads and a few hundred dollars from writing on other blogs. It covers my expenses and gives me a little left over. I think that’s damn good for a hobby.
If you were starting out all over again would you do anything differently to develop your blog?
If I could go back and not write crap, that’d be great. But I think that’s unrealistic. I think you get more comfortable with your own voice and style and boundaries, etc. with practice and time.
So, no, I don’t know that I’d do anything differently.
What advice do you have for folks new to blog writing?
Don’t listen to anyone who tries to give you advice.
Someone is always posting rules and tips and do’s and don’ts and lists of things they hate on other blogs and inevitably, that makes people freak out and wonder if they’re doing it wrong.
Do what’s right for you. Do what you love.
If you’re being true to who you are, you’ll get what you’re supposed to out of it. If you spend all of your time trying to do it ‘right,’ you’ll start to hate it and won’t be able to maintain anyone else’s standards anyway.
Britt mentions Dooce – a popular blog authored by Heather Armstrong.
Last year I commissioned an exclusive interview with Heather for the National Screen Institute website. Heather is interviewed alongside fellow blogger Maggie Mason. In this one-off interview recorded last summer at VidFest in Vancouver they talk about how they got started and the pitfalls of blogging.