Interview With Barbara: Author of Blogging Without a Blog

Today we have a special guest. Barbara of Blogging without a Blog will be joining us to talk about her blogging experience. I have never seen someone so capable of generating a discussion and building a community of fellow bloggers out there. She always has insightful questions to ask and I do believe she has helped me make my blogging better because if it. So without further adieu, here is Barbara…

Barbara, you are one of my favorite bloggers out there. I am sure all your “regulars” would be sad if suddenly your site no longer existed. We are all glad you got started in this whole blogging gig, but please tell us what inspired you to start blogging?

It’s not so much “what” as it is whom. When I started blogging I wanted to share all I’ve learned over the years, and that which I continue to learn. What I found was, when I started getting comments and meeting other bloggers, it was the visitors to my blogs that inspired me to go on. Something amazing happens when community begins to build on a blog.

Who is your current audience and why should they visit your site?

The audience I have are new, not so new, transitioning bloggers and some who don’t have a blog (yet). For any blogger who wants to hear what other bloggers are saying or who want to be challenged to think about that which we encounter when blogging, would feel comfortable in the BWAB community.

You have created a great community around your blog. Can you give us some advice on creating a similar community around our blogs?

First, I am very grateful for all who leave comments on my blog. Secondly, I carefully read each comment and strive to answer each and every one (although I may miss some that land on older posts). Third, I try to reciprocate and visit the blogs of those authors who visit mine. I see it as common courtesy and most times will also subscribe to their blogs so I can follow their progress. It’s not just about watching my community grow, but it about helping other grow theirs, too.

What do you think is the biggest benefit of blogging for society as a whole?

Blogs are filled with a vast amount of knowledge. What I love the best about blogs is that which is written (in blogs) is often not something we can find in a text book. By visiting blogs on a variety of subjects, we can expand our knowledge base and learn from the mistakes of others, as well.

What are your top 5 tips for new bloggers?

1) Make time to become active in blogosphere and comment on other blogs, especially smaller ones. This will aid in getting your blog found and building a community of like minded people.

2) Be courteous to other bloggers. I see our blogs as our “home in blogosphere”.  Respecting the blogs of others is imperative. Even though we may disagree with an author’s point of view, we should never attack the author.

3) Blog responsibly. If you’re stating facts, do your research and make sure what you post is accurate. Also, choose your words carefully.

4) Be patient. Blog success does not happen overnight. Most big name bloggers didn’t begin to get recognition until they had blogged for nearly two years.

5) Don’t get hung up on the numbers. Compare your visitor statistics from month to month, not day to day. Checking your stats too often can stunt your creativity.

Who are your favorite bloggers that you read often and why?

Jeremy, I read too many to list. I like to read blogs on all subjects even if it’s a topic that does not affect me. I use blogs as a tool to become better educated on all topics.

How much time do you spend blogging every day?

That varies. If I’m busy on my paying job, I may only spend 2-3 hours a day blogging. However, if I’m caught up with my work, I can spend up to 8 hours a day on blogging activities. On weekends I only spend a minimal amount of time on my blogs.

You have some great ideas such as your “A.S.K Darren Rowse” posts and your New Blog of the Week. How did you come up with such amazing ideas for your blog?

The New Blog Of The Week series started in January of 2008 when I realized it was time for me to begin to pay it forward. I knew what a difficult time I had getting my blog “found” and I wanted to create a way of showcasing new bloggers so they would be “found” quicker than I did, and not get discouraged. My hunt began and the rest, you might say, is history.

The A.S.K. (Answers Sharing Knowledge) series started after I interviewed Lorelle. As I read her answers I realized how much knowledge she shared. That became a light bulb moment, thus A.S.K was born. When I interviewed Liz Strauss, Darren Rowse, and Andy Baily, I included them in the series. As I pursue interviews with other experts, their words of advice will be added.

It is obvious you have a lot of traffic coming to your blog. How did you do it?

Since I don’t use SEO (search engine optimization) very often, I find most of my traffic comes from referrals and from me visiting other blogs. For me that has worked well and my blog has grown at a pace that has been easy for me to adjust to. Had I used more SEO, I could have experienced faster growth, however I’m a big proponent of quality over quantity.

Do you have any blogging mentors?

Yes. My blogging mentors are those I’ve followed even before I published my first post. They are Steve Pavlina, Darren Rowse (Problogger) and Lorelle VanFossen (Lorelle on WordPress)

What do you credit your initial success to?

Belief in myself that I could be a decent blogger. Add to that, patience, determination, perseverance and a love of sharing and helping others.

What do you think will help you to succeed even more in the future?

As I learn more about what goes on behind the scenes of blogging I’ll be able to spend less time tweaking my blog, and more time writing, visiting others and building my online reputation/presence.

What is one personal growth tip you can give our readers?

Be true to yourself. It’s easy to compare ourselves to others in blogosphere, but remember, you are a unique individual.  There will never be another “you”. Blog accordingly.

Thank you Barbara for a wonderful interview. To read more and to join the BWAB community please head on over to Barbara’s website, Blogging without a Blog. See you over there!

Comments

  1. Hi Jeremy,

    Thank you for the privilege and honor of being interviewed for Insight Writer. Oh, what fun I had answering your questions. My hope is other bloggers will be able to benefit from what I’ve learned, what I observe, and in the process find joy in blogging.

    Your kind words are truly appreciated.

    Barbara

    Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog’s last blog post..Color Me Gone

  2. Great interview Jeremy! Always great to know more about some of the many faces out in the blogosphere. And, Barbara is one of my favorites!

    Barbara, you’ve been a real inspiration to me over the last several months! I’ve learned so much reading your words, and the words of all who contribute on your site to the conversation. And really, that’s been a big one for me – understanding how to grow community. You’ve been an integral part of me getting a better understanding to how to do this. And it’s become one of the greatest parts of blogging – developing community with others – so powerful!

    To both of you – have a wonderful holiday season, and enjoy the many connections you have – both online and off!

    Lance’s last blog post..Sunday Thought For The Day

  3. Good interview. I came here from Barbara’s blog, which I’ve been reading for a few months now.

    Happy holidays!

    Mike Goad’s last blog post..A Christmas Window Display of Toys — 25 Days of Christmas: Day 21

  4. Nice interview Jeremy. Barbara’s blog is great. I really like her new substitute teacher (guest post) series as it adds a new dynamic to her blog.

    I have to agree with Lance – Barbara has been a real inspiration for me as well. She really does read and respond to every comment and visits her community member’s blogs as well. I don’t know how, but she does it.

    John Hoff – eVentureBiz’s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  5. I love Barbara. She featured me on her blog and because of her I was able to find many blogging friends that have supported my blogging rise. I still have much work to do, but the more that apply Barbara’s techniques the larger my community becomes.

    Karl Staib – Work Happy Now’s last blog post..Day 18 of 30 – Bonus – No Complaining

  6. Hi Lance – Thank you so much for your kind words. Isn’t amazing how much we can learn from others, not only in our own comment section, but on their blogs, as well? I often look back and realize how much I would have missed if I had not started blogging.

    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog’s last blog post..Color Me Gone

  7. Great intereview, and a nice read! I blog for… well, self-therapy, in a way! And to develop my writing skills. But I do enjoy the little blog community that’s popped up as a result. And I really like reading Barbara’s blogging tips. Good to get to know more about the author behind the blog. 🙂

    Svasti’s last blog post..Circles of samsara

  8. Hi Jeremy – you’ve interviewed someone who is a tireless giver. I have learned so much from Barbara and have been so grateful for the friendly communication she has extended. She leads by example in the blogging community, and it is a pleasure to be associated with her. Thank you so much and enjoy your holidays!

    Betsy Wuebker’s last blog post..ENTHRONED IN WORLDS ABOVE . . .

  9. Wow! You BWABers are the greatest! I truly appreciate your kind words. I couldn’t do it with all of you. For that, I am forever grateful.

    Hi Mike – Happy Holidays to you, too. Thank you for dropping by and checking out the interview.

    Hi John – Thank you. Haha! Sometimes I don’t know how I do it either.

    Hi Karl – Thank you. I’ve noticed your community is growing nicely. Keep doing what you’re doing.

    Hi Svasti – Thank you. You mentioned you blog for self therapy. For me, when I started blogging that became a natural benefit to sharing my thoughts. Isn’t that great how that works?

    Hi Betsy – Thank you. Blogging is great for sharing communications, isn’t it. We can learn so much from each other.

    Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog’s last blog post..Color Me Gone

  10. Thank you for letting others know of Barbara’s Blog and her ways of attracting such a diverse group. She teaches people each and every day!

    Happy Holidays !

  11. I forget how I first found Barbara’s blog but I knew immediately I’d hit the motherlode on better blogging. I know what she does is hard work and she combines a good system with creative ingenuity, but it seems more like plain old magic to me.

    — Jannie (currently “reigning” as NBOTW)

    Jannie’s last blog post..Totally Somebody Now

  12. Hi Jeremy and Barbara. I have to echo what Betsy said, “You’ve interviewed someone who is a tireless giver.” Barbara’s blog was the first one I ever commented on when my blog was a day or so old. Her comment appeared on my blog very swiftly after that. She asks some terrific questions that start good conversations. The new substitute teacher series is great, unruly fun.

    Davina’s last blog post..A Positively Dysfunctional Christmas

  13. Hi Linda – Thank you. My goal has been to help bloggers be more informed. I’m happy to hear I’m accomplishing what I set out to do.

    Hi Jannie – Reigning New Blog of the Week (NBOTW). “Plain old magic”. I like that. Thank you.

    Hi Davina – Thank you. I remember when you started your blog. It made me proud to be the first blog you commented on. Now you’re a regular and what fun we have visiting each other.

    Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog’s last blog post..Color Me Gone

  14. Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for sharing more of Barbara and her wonderful blogging life story here. She is responsible for making me take the first step (leap of faith is more like it) into the blogosphere and it’s been a fun and exciting experience thanks to her and her BWAB community. I’m very happy you highlighted her accomplishments here. She is a very special person.

    Happy Holidays to you both!

    Linda Abbit’s last blog post..Funny Fridays: Because It’s Better to Laugh than to Cry!

  15. Good stuff.

    I like these points:
    – see our blogs as our “home in blogosphere”
    – There will never be another “you”.
    – expand our knowledge base and learn from the mistakes of others
    – belief in yourself

    I particularly like your point between the lines — enjoy the process as you go and stick to your values (like quality over quantity.)

    Belief in yourself is so key. I bet you rank high on the self-reliance scale and that’s a good thing.

  16. that was a great interview jeremy and barbara. i’ve read at least 3 interviews of barbara’s and with each one, i’m able to learn something new about her as well as helpful. barbara, i don’t know how you do it everyday, i would burn out, but keep up the good work, always a pleasure.

    Natural’s last blog post..You’re So Vain You Probably Think This Post Is About You

  17. This is greatly appreciated and due the timing.I am considering it a Christmas gift.

    Thank you both for this influential interview.

    Bunny got Blog’s last blog post..2 Short Stories By Bunny

  18. I like the advice “be true to yourself.” When you think about it it’s the only way to stand out!

    You’re such an inspiration to me.

    Tess Marshall’s last blog post..How To Choose An Adventurous Life

  19. Barbara & Jeremy, that was a great interview. I’m just getting started with blogging and I really appreciate the thoughtfulness of the questions and the focus of the answers. I’m sure I’ll be reading this post several time to make sure I’m incorporating all of the little nuggets of insight shared. Thanks again!

  20. “Be true to yourself” is a great tip. People will flock to your blog to read what you have to say…to embrace what is unique about you. They don’t want to see a copycat; they want a new, refreshing, experience.

    Stacey / Create a Balance’s last blog post..Gifts From My Dad

  21. Thanks for the interview. Every time I read about Barbara’s strategy it seems so clean and simple. Be who you are and be kind and thoughtful to all. That about sums it up and she does it better than anyone else I’ve seen.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work’s last blog post..Five Tools to Sharpen Your Authentic Edge

  22. Excellent interview. I’ve been reading Barbara for some time now, and she always has something fresh. 🙂

    Dennis Edell’s last blog post..UPDATE: Free Permanent BackLinks: Are You A Subscriber Or Following Me On Twitter?

  23. Jeremy and Barbara,
    What a wonderful gift at this time of year – a great and thoughtful interview from a thoughtful and knowledgeable person and a good series of interview questions from a person who questions and shares about living life with fullness and vitality…Wow a nice combo to enjoy. Barbara’s blog was one of the first that I visited before I began blogging and it was such an inspiration.
    I started out researching Buddhism and the Zen lifestyle practices and discovered BWAB…and then Jeremy made a comment on BWAB and that is how I found him…I think that’s how community works and grows…isn’t it neat how that works – like Jannie’s magic!

    Patricia’s last blog post..Oh Baby! You Light Up My Life

  24. Hi everyone,

    I am so glad to do this interview. I am also happy Barbara could look after things while I have been traveling. So thank you Barbara for the interview and everything! 😉

    Thank you all for visiting! I am glad you guys are getting a lot out of this interview. Please check out my other interviews as well. Let’s keep building some great community!

    Cheers,
    Jeremy

  25. Hi Linda Abbit – Thank you! I know you’re happy you took that leap into blogosphere. And, so am I.

    Hi J.D. – Just like on your blog, you highlighted the key points to my beliefs. The one thing I hope all bloggers get out of the blogging process is to be themselves.

    Hi Natural – As you know, I’m now down to four days a week. That’s made a big difference. It’s giving me time to regroup and catch up on behind the scenes stuff.

    Hi Bunny – It’s a real pleasure meeting you. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the interview. I’m hoping we’ll see you here again, as well as on BWAB.

    Hi Tess – What a pleasure to meet you. Yes, we do need to be true to ourselves. Thank you.

    Hi Geuka – Another new face. Nice meeting you. I wish you much luck with your blog. It’s a wonderful journey. Enjoy each step and take one day at a time.

    Hi Stacey – Well put. “they want a new, refreshing, experience”, even if you’re writing on the same topic as hundreds of others. It’s “you” that keeps them coming back.

    Hi Tom – You’re welcome. You’re right. Too many will try and complicate blogging but it doesn’t have to be. Thank you!

    Hi Dennis – Thank you. It’s great hearing you find my writings fresh.

    Hi Patricia – Isn’t community a wonderful thing? And just like you said, that’s how it grows and friendships are made world wide. Awesome.

    Hi Jeremy – It was a pleasure answering the comments. I see a lot of BWABers here plus got to meet some new people, as well. The interview was a joy. Your questions let me share more of myself and how I do, what I do. Thank you, again.

    Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog’s last blog post..Color Me Gone

  26. Hi Barbara and Jeremy – Great interview. I totally agree about not getting hung up on numbers. Every time I had a bad traffic day – I used to worry that I’d written something that had made folk switch off. And as Barbara says – when you’re feeling like that it can be difficult to write another post. It’s the same if you have a huge traffic spike – it can really give you stagefright.

  27. You’re definitely not the “norm”. For instance, in my experience, most don’t reply to their own guest posts (or interviews in this case) 🙂

    Dennis Edell’s last blog post..UPDATE: Free Permanent BackLinks: Are You A Subscriber Or Following Me On Twitter?

  28. Hi Jeremy and Barbara, thanks for sharing the interview! Barabara, I follow your blog as well and it is great knowing more about you through this interview. Thanks for having such an open and sharing mindset towards fellow bloggers 🙂 (esp with the NBOFW)

    Celes | EmbraceLiving.Net’s last blog post..Become the Master of Your Time

  29. Hi Catherine – I’m a little late answering, having taken time off for the holidays, but I wanted to say it’s great to see you here. That’s a great point of how a big traffic spike can stunt our creativity.

    Hi Dennis – Haha. I like not being the “Norm”.

    Hi Celes – Thank you for following my blog. I truly appreciate it.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Stick – Stickier – Stuck, How To Overcome Writer’s Block

  30. Good interview, very inspiring!

  31. Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

    I’m Out! 🙂