What inspired you to start Southern Belle Simple?
I was feeling a little bit burned-out with my day-to-day routine and wanted an outlet for creativity. I never thought anybody would read my blog, so I was mainly just writing it for myself.
You seem to have a huge following of loyal readers. How did you get the word out about your blog and what advice would you give about keeping readers coming back once they find your blog?
This is one of those things that sometimes feels like a fluke. We don't always know why some folks end up reading our blogs. Some of my loyal readers are my family and friends. Others are bloggers I've met along the way and connected with. I've found a great deal of support from other bloggers in this growing community. We are all in this together and I love how everybody encourages each other, as opposed to competing with each other.
How did you choose your niche? Do you think having a niche has helped make your blog successful?
When I first started my blog (back in fall of 2009) it had a different name (Small Town, Big Dreams), but I couldn't figure out a way to weave what the name represented into each post. It finally dawned on me that so much of who I am (positive & negative) has been established because of my experiences growing up in the south. I knew that because my love for the south runs deep, I would never tire of writing about it. Plus I wouldn't have to reach very far to find topics to write about because it's just what I know best.
I think having a niche both helps and limits a blog. While I sometimes dream of being strictly a fashion blogger, that's not what SBS is all about so I keep posts on fashion at a minimum, unless they are specifically southern fashion oriented. As far as helping a blog be successful, I think a niche is good because it lets readers know what to expect. My readers can be sure that they will never arrive at my blog and find a post about a hot-button political issue or me ranting about some current event. These types of blogs definitely have a place as well, but that's not what I wanted mine to be.
Why do you love blogging?
I love blogging because it gives me the chance to create something each day and share it with others. Other than the act of blogging, my favorite thing about it is the connection it allows me to make with other people. I have met so many wonderful people, many that I consider real friends (including you, Ms. Javacia!).
|Kate and I at the skirt! Creative Conference|
How would you like to see your blog grow and evolve in the future?
I have big dreams for my blog. I'd love for Southern Belle Simple to be a household name. I'd like to publish a cookbook of my anti-recipes, for folks like me who love to cook but are sometimes intimidated by lengthy ingredients lists and complicated procedures.
That being said, I don't care if I ever make a cent from SBS because I just love it so much. I want it to be a little bright spot in a person's day. I think one day blogs will serve as important historic records...letting our descendants know what we were all about and giving them a glimpse into our daily lives.
You do a lot of posts on small businesses. Is this something that you've found has helped increase your readership and foster relationships with the community?
Writing about small businesses has been a win-win for me. One of the desires I have (which I believe is God-given) is to use my blog to help other businesses succeed. If I can do a post on a fledgling restaurant and it makes people want to eat there, I feel like I'm helping that restaurant succeed. I win as well because it provides me with content for the blog and a great excuse to try out new places and shops. We're all in this together and I feel really honored if I can help someone's business grow, even a tiny bit.
Any other words of advice for bloggers hoping to one day have the success you currently enjoy?
There are all types of blogs. Some are personal journals full of family pictures, others deliver breaking news, and others just offer a bit of loveliness in that vast space we call the interweb. I would encourage anyone who wants to blog to dive in. Write what you know and don't try to speak with a voice other than your own. God put something inside each of us that is so special, so unique. I think we are doing a disservice to that if we try to be anything other than who we are. It might sound cheesy but also don't underestimate the power of helping each other. Also never judge the quality of your blog by how many followers or comments you have. Of all the posts I've ever done (a few of which I genuinely believed were thought provoking), my most-viewed post is about homemade pimento cheese. Sometimes we just can't explain these things.