Monday, February 07, 2011

How to Launch A New Blog When You Already Have a Blog You Love


When I started this blog in 2004, my impetus was the immanence of Katryna's maternity leave and the resulting fact that I was losing my platform. I needed a way to blather without being on stage, and someone (I think Meth) suggested a blog. As an avid journalist (the kind who writes 3 pages a day in a composition book, not the kind who write for a newspaper)I was used to baring my soul on the page, and I figured blogging would be a nice synthesis of my daily pages and my songwriting.

I was hooked pretty quickly. What's not to love about writing in solitude and then publishing it right away and then getting feedback in the form of comments?

Pretty soon, I saw the pitfalls. A blogger who only blogs when she feels like it doesn't usually sustain an audience. Common wisdom dictates bloggers should post at least daily. And write short posts. And respond to all comments. And stick to their subject.

I broke all these rules. What was my subject? Usually just my life, prompting a couple of readers to label me narcissistic. Yes, well.

And yet, the blog goes on. There was a period of time readers might recall, when I blogged every day. This was in 2009, when my son was about six months old and my daughter almost three. It was fun to be so connected to the "page" when I was at the same time so deeply immersed in my babies, but the directive to post every day meant that my pieces lost something in terms of length and quality. I have not mastered the art of the short post.

But now, Katryna and I are getting ready to launch a new blog. And here's the truth; after blogging for going on seven (!!!) years, I still don't know much about the art and craft. This new blog needs to be about short posts. Titled "Singing In the Kitchen," it's to be an adjunct to our book which is coming out in September (All Together Singing in the Kitchen: Creative Ways to Make and Listen to Music as a Family). Our mission is to provide young families with ideas and stories and resources to be better able to bring music into their families, to make it a wonderful source of relationship building, bonding and community building. We hope to post several times a week; to recommend other artist and books and programs; to occasionally sing a lullaby via a podcast or YouTube video. We want to start a conversation with families about the many ways they incorporate music into their lives; how it can be a source of inspiration as well as immanently practical. And yet we don't want this blog to be a big corporate affair; after all, we are the Nields. It's going to be homemade, personal, imperfect and --it is to be hoped--lovable.

And so I need your help. What are your favorite blogs? Do you read any blogs about family or music to which we should connect and reference? Do you think it's necessary for a blogger to post every day? Do you hate reading long posts? (I guess you can't hate them too much, since you are reading me.) What about the look of the blog? Should we switch from Blogger to WordPress? Any tips you can give me will be helpful!

I forgot to say that another bit of conventional wisdom I hope to flout is that one should never write two blogs at once. I hope to keep May Day Cafe alive and strong, and make Singing in the Kitchen a success, and I really want to thank all of you who read this blog for sticking with me over the years. You have taught me much. Please continue to.

30 comments:

Deborah said...

I definitely don't think you need to write every day. I think twice a week is a good minimum, though. And I do not like reading long posts. These go together, though: the shorter they are, the easier it will be for you to write frequently. Good luck.

kris said...

Think of your audience...moms with small kids. How much time do you have to read blog posts? Short and sweet is probably best and most effective! Pictures of your families/kids making music; maybe some how-to's (like how-to make cardboard guitars!); new, fun ideas on artists and venues; invitations for people to share their experiences in the comments--maybe even guest bloggers. Lots of different ways to do it...you will be great.

Charlotte said...

I am a happy Google Reader user - a way to read the blogs I want all in one place and without ever going to the actual site so I don't think it really matters if you use wordpress, typepad or blogger personally. I think posting at least a few times a week is fine, but if you post more like 5-7x a week then I think you'd have more readers. Short posts for sure! I like blog posts the best when they start off with a short paragraph and then have lots of photos with a few sentences (or nothing at all) between each of them. I like Soulemama's blogging style. I think you could post every day but have some days be just one sentence and a picture.

I don't have any music/family blogs but I read lots of art/creativity/parenting blogs if you want some links. I really look forward to reading your new blog!

Dani @ Moderate Oven said...

I definitely don't think you need to write every day! I don't mind reading long posts, but the blogs I most enjoy are updated at most 2-3 times per week (often less) so keeping up with longer posts is not as much of an issue. I started a family food blog recently, and my goal is to post twice a week. No less, but also no more. I am weary of blogs that push quantity over quality of content, which is particularly rampant in the food blogging arena.

Switching to Wordpress is probably a good idea. Also, maybe consider moving to a self-hosted blog, since you already have a domain.

Beth said...

Doesn't need to be every day, but should be frequently enough . . . and on a regular schedule would help (there's one blog I know posts M,W, F so I know to check there then). Even once a week would be fine if it were on a schedule.

Another useful option is to have a related twitter account and post there when a blog post is up; a bunch of not-every-day blogs I follow do that, and that way I don't get frustrated checking and checking when there isn't something up.

I actually *do* like long posts -- but it's a tradeoff; longer if you don't post that often, shorter if you post more. If the blog were really just news or a "here's one idea of how you can integrate music into your family's life" then short would work, but for topics I care about enough about or writers whose writing I like enough to follow a blog on, I'd rather read longer and fewer than more and shorter.

My two cents. (Also make it easier for people to comment than on this blog!) I'm not even sure my comment will go through since I don't seem to have the right "identity" from the choices below. . .

tmarsik said...

I only read a few blogs regularly, and those for specific reasons. I enjoy the longer posts you share on May Day Cafe because it helps me get a glimpse of your art in a journal-type format. Similarly, I read blogs by a couple friends of mine to keep up on happenings in their lives (one focuses on activities and the other on her family).

With the new blog, since it has a specific purpose (sharing thoughts about making music as a family), I would think that shorter, more frequent posts would appeal to a wider audience.

Mikegtz said...

Have you decided not to do February Album Writing Month this year? I think the new blog is fine, by the way. We have to renew ourselves now and again.

Moorea said...

You're going to hate this but I also agree that you need to post on the new blog every single day. The blog I read religiously is Zooglobble and its also the most famous. The blogs i read religiously post at least three days a week. The rest, I often forget about. But I'm right there with you I need to work on daily posts on my own blog and its going to be hard while writing a book, fawm and everything else! One hint is that I've noticed that some people post such a short blog that its the size of a facebook post and they just link them up! It could be like "Try this today..." ala Flylady ;)

Luca Ozzano said...

I think you don't need to write every day. That rule was thought when the reader was supposed to directly visit your blog, and be disappointed not to find new posts for days.
Today, more and more people use, as I do, pages like My Yahoo, which can incorporate the widgets of the websites and the blogs you wish to follow. Therefore, you don't lose contact with your favourite bloggers even if they don't update their blogs very frequently. You just see when a new post is available, and read it.
Personally, I whink that for people like you, who are not shallow in their approach to life, long posts can be even better that short ones. But after all I'm more a book-reader than a blog-reader kind of person, so you should not take me as an example"

Adrian Segar said...

Nerissa, consistent posting is more important than posting every day. I post about once a week; some bloggers write one great post a month. Once your audience has a sense of the frequency of your new posts they'll accept it, as long as you're not too erratic.

I also don't think there's consensus on what length posts should be. Short and frequent or long and less-frequent are both viable models.

Trust your excellent judgment, coupled with what makes sense timewise in your life, and you'll continue to delight us!

Missy Carvin said...

"Consistent schedule" is more important than "every day". (And yes, I sometimes break that rule myself.) I'd suggest filling your google reader (or whatever) with blogs you like and I think you'll find that writing in that style becomes more natural as you practice it. Short posts aren't always easy, but neither are they always appropriate.

As for blogger vs. wordpress, I've done both and I prefer the self-hosted wordpress platform, because I found it more customizable.

However it's set up, I'm looking forward to reading the new blog and continuing to read this one!

Jeff said...

Long blogs are great for complex ideas. Your posts tend to tie various threads together, so they need more space. (I find it impossible to write a short blog, for fear that too much brevity will promote misunderstanding. Maybe if I was a better writer...(sigh))

I'm slightly concerned that the new blog will be more of a commercial enterprise to promote the book. On the other hand, I have always trusted you as an artist, so I feel safe.

Just hoping that May Day Cafe is not neglected in favor of your new one. It's one of my favorite stops for wisdom and insight while I ait for the new cd.

Nerissa Nields said...

Thanks, Deborah! I am going to shoot for twice a week. I hope to be so inspired that I am constantly posting, but with the reality of 2 kids, we shall see. Katryna will be posting too!

Nerissa Nields said...

Thanks, Kris! Definitely there will be how-tos on cardboard guitars!

Nerissa Nields said...

Hi Charlotte,

I LOVE Soulemama! She is our inspiration for our book in a lot of ways. Her publisher is Trumpeter, same as ours.

So good to hear from you!

Love, Nerissa

Nerissa Nields said...

Thanks, Beth. We are actually hoping to adhere to a schedule. In our perfect world, Katryna would post twice a week, I would post twice and we'd do a lullaby podcast on Fridays.

Nerissa Nields said...

Dear Mike,

I am not doing February Album Writing Month this year, sadly. Something had to give, and so I am focussing on finishing our grown up CD Ten Year Tin;The Full Catastrophe and launching this new blog!

Love, Nerissa

Nerissa Nields said...

Thanks, Theresa,

I love that some folks do like my long ramblings!

Love, Nerissa

Nerissa Nields said...

Dear Jeff,
I hear you. I too am a bit worried I will lose some time to keep this blog as strong as I'd like it to be, but maybe it will make me go deeper. Thanks so much for reading!

Love Nerissa

Nerissa Nields said...

Dear Moorea,

Go FlyLady! And Zooglobble!

Love, Nerissa

Nerissa Nields said...

Dear Luca,

I am so with you. And thank God for the new readers. That makes blog reading so much more convenient. I am trying to read my blogs on my new Kindle.

Thanks for reading!
Love, Nerissa

Nerissa Nields said...

Dear Adrian,
Thanks for your comment! For May Day Cafe, I do try to post once a week. I trust my readers have figured this out.

Your book Conferences that Work looks great! Where do you work?

Love, Nerissa

Nerissa Nields said...

Dear Missy,

I love your blog! I just checked it out. I can't believe Abby isn't even four and she is playing piano!

Thanks for your suggestions. I think we are definitely going to use WordPress. Not sure if .com or .org.

Love, Nerissa

Nerissa Nields said...

Dear Jeff,

Thanks so much for being such a great reader. I hope to keep this blog just the way it is. Believe me, I need it! And we hope the CD will be ready in the fall. Hope hope....

Love, Nerissa

Adrian Segar said...

Nerissa, I spread the message of Conferences That Work from Marlboro, Vermont.

KH said...

You're not going to like this (maybe). Or maybe you will!

I love your music and have for a long time and I like your blog and website, too.

Lots and lots of people I know and love are having babies and raising kids. I think this is great! I love hanging out with families and kids and I'm a crackerjack babysitter. But I don't have kids of my own, and probably don't plan to.

So often our culture at large--and dear people close by--assume that only people with kids care about kids and families. Because of that, we without kids get excluded. We don't participate in the life of the "young families" (as you call them) around us, and subsequently, the culture of "young families" continues to develop with no significant place for grown-up friends and kin without kids of their own. So many times--I can't tell you how many--I have heard young moms ask a question (on a blog or social media) with the caveat, "To other moms out there" when there really is no reason only other moms could answer it.

So I was somewhat dismayed to hear about a new Nields blog (only?) devoted to young families. Maybe you can find some way of broadening that out to allies of young families who would be a great asset and long to be included, but are so often left out.

Nerissa Nields said...

Hi KH,

I actually do love your comment. And you are completely right. I know many excellent people--and used to be one--who loved kids, worked with kids, knew about kids and could certainly raise a bunch, but who wasn't actually a mom or a dad. My apologies. I will indeed try to broaden my scope. Thanks for the reminder!

Love, Nerissa

KH said...

Nerissa, I am thrilled at your answer! I would love to see some strategies for people with kids and those without to get their lives to overlap a little more--through music would be especially terrific!

If there is anything I do to brainstorm or help out (I am a poet/scholar/teacher/artistic collaborater/seeker of fun), I would be glad to!

Thanks again.
Kate

webhost1234 said...

You have explained your self nicely in this blog. And i have learned how to launch a new blog.

Domain registration India

Eric said...

I discovered your web site via Google while looking for a related subject, lucky for me your web site came up, its a great website. I have bookmarked it in my Google bookmarks. You really are a phenomenal person with a brilliant mind!
Please Visit ===> Physician Assistant Training Class