Hearing about the amazing ways blogging has changed people's lives is one of the best things about
working on TypePad. Incredible stories of breakthrough, success, connections, new friends, discoveries and much more.
One story I love is Susannah Conway's, which she kindly agreed to share with us along with some tips and tricks for others.
Susannah started her first blog in 2006. She had lost her partner a year prior and had moved to a new city, and she began blogging as a way to connect with others, discover herself more deeply, and heal.Fast-forward three years. Susannah’s blog,Ink On My Fingers, has a devoted following around the world and has spawned a series of online courses called Unravelling that are now Susannah’s primary business. “I’ve always been a very personal blogger,” Susannah explains. “My blog is about the intersection between life, photography, and healing. The courses were a natural extension of that – taking my own experience and using it to help others.”
A skilled photographer and writer, Susannah’s blog is not only gorgeous, but is also a treat to read. Her posts feel like letters from a friend – warm, chatty and intimate. She writes candidly about her life, and her transparency has fostered a sense of community and trust with her readers.
When she launched the Unravelling courses in January of 2009, she set up a separate private TypePad blog, where participants can access course material and interact with each other. “People form friendships during the courses,” Susannah says. “They often stay in touch afterwards.” In less than a year, Unravelling has attracted participants from over 25 countries, and has turned into Susannah’s full-time job. “The success was unexpected,” she muses. “I’m really delighted; I’m on my path here, and it’s so nice to mix my passions together as a business.”
Susannah kindly shared with us how she builds her blog traffic and provided some key tips for other bloggers:
Susannah’s Methods for Building Blog Traffic
- Building relationships with other bloggers. Susannah regularly reads and comments on other blogs, and spends time building relationships online. “Connecting with others is absolutely vital,” she says.
- Featuring other artists on her blog. Susannah runs features on other photographers, designers, and artists, which expands her blog focus beyond herself and adds a rich layer of content that readers value.
- Giving back to the blog community. Susannah often participates in giveaways on design and photography blogs, offering photographs from her Etsy store as a way to raise her own visibility and contribute to the culture of sharing in the blogosphere. She also frequently links to other blogs – giving back in another way.
Susannah’s Tips for Other Bloggers
- Be yourself. “Don’t waste time trying to copy other bloggers,” she says.
- Be authentic. How much you choose to reveal about yourself is up to you, but readers can always sense whether you’re being real or not.
- Check your grammar, spelling and punctuation. “There’s nothing worse than reading a post by someone claiming to give business advice and finding all sorts of spelling and punctuation errors,” Susannah says. “Craft your posts well, and take pride in your work.”
- Have a good "About" page, and give people a clear way to contact you.
- Keep it simple. Don’t clutter up your sidebar with every widget that has ever existed. Keep the focus on your content.
- Use images to add interest. If you don’t have your own photos, use some good stock photography images to keep your blog interesting.
- Focus on a few social media sites to grow your readership. Don’t try to join everything – it spreads you too thin. Focus on 2 or 3 that deliver value to you – such as Twitter and Facebook – and use them well.
- Remember that your blog is your home online. Of all the activities you do online, your blog should be your top priority. Contribute worthwhile content everywhere you go, but put your best into your blog.
We’re so glad Susannah took the time to chat with us – and we hope you’ll discover her blog if you haven’t already: Ink On My Fingers.
Let us know how blogging has changed your life in the comments below.