A Place To Come Home To: Successful Blog

I’m a few months off from the inevitable author navel-gazing that accompanies a blog’s birthday — my first post was February 2006, so there’s some time left before Family Travel’s one-year anniversary.

But I want to take this opportunity to note a few blogs that have really helped me along the way, and one very special one in particular.

Here are the authors and blogs that I look to for inspiration and guidance:

**  Darren Rowse over at (or actually Down Under at) Problogger, for his professionalism and straightforward posts, especially advice for beginners.  As long as we’re Down Under, I also like Yaro Starak’s thoughts on increasing your blog traffic.

**  The Free Money Finance guy, who is a prolific poster and wrote this multi-part series on building and growing a blog.

**  For blogosphere news, I check RSS feeds from The Blog Herald, the Bloggers Blog and Easton Ellsworth’s Business BlogWire.  Hey, there’s a lot of news breaking out there; gotta keep up. 

**  Pam at BlogHer’s Travel section always has something well-written and cogent to say about both travel and the art of blogging.

But when I’m ready to really kick back, grab a cuppa joe and hang out with a blogging master (mistress?) there’s only one URL to visit….

ME “Liz” Strauss and her Successful Blog

Early on, I kept seeing her name in blogrolls and lists of admired bloggers.  I wandered to her site, read something I liked (not hard to do there) and left a comment.  She answered it, and quickly, too.

We exchanged emails on some topic I’ve forgotten, and out of the blue she sent a little string of code to help me dress up the photos on my posts a bit.  That told me she’d actually surfed my blog to check it out and offer suggestions. I felt an oddly immediate kinship and began to wonder at this instant comfort….was this one of those weird “I met her on the Internet” kind of moments?  I’ve never even spoken to this woman on the phone or met her in person.

I needn’t have worried. Liz makes everyone feel that she cares about them because, well, she does.  How can you not enjoy her free-for-all Tuesday Open Mic nights, with a new topic every week and running comments that are more like IM than comments (how about the night she got 331 comments about one topic?)

So let me take this opportunity to pay tribute to Liz by participating in the blog birthday challenge that she has going this week.  I’ve written the 25-word description that she’s asked for, and I’m pleased to post it below.

I’m rarely a woman of such few words, but this was a fun opportunity to sculpt a short Thank You to Liz for everything she does for all of us.

“C’mon. Let’s talk!”  That’s how Liz Strauss warmly welcomes Successful Blog conversations.  She listens, links, nurtures and guides.  A blogosphere Insta-Friend….just be nice.

Happy Birthday to the 65th crayon.

Update 25 October 2006: How cool is this? I lucked out amongst the entries in Liz’s random prize selection drawing and got a neat-o prize; an Rx For Positive Attitude Gift Certificate from the positive thinkers over at ipop-in.  Woo-Hoo!

Update 26 October 2006: In case you want to see more about Liz’s Pied Piper effect on the blogging community, here are the “most successful posts” that various Liz enthusiasts brought to her party from their own blogs.  Topics are all over the map, which is, of course, half the fun of reading through them.  Get a BIG cuppa joe for these!

Outstanding bloggers identified these posts as their most successful in the first 250 comments of the party.

  1. Motley F….. Crue by Martin (warning: some words may offend.)
  2. You’ve only Got 30 Seconds or 20 Words… by Char and The Queen of Multitasking or ADD? by Char
  3. Your Life, Your Greatest Work of Art by Rick
  4. Biphasic Sleep : 30 Day Summary by Scott
  5. The Ingenious Thomas Heatherwick by Mark McGuinness
  6. My Three Most Influential Teachers by Kent Blumberg
  7. Negative Thinking Power by Chris Cree
  8. The Power of 48 Minutes by John Richardson
  9. 3 Valuable Lessons from 1st Grade Career Day by Tony D. Clark
  10. You’d Have to be Brain Dead to Listen Up! by Ellen Weber
  11. What Adoption Usually Looks Like by Kate and No More Gratuitous Celebrity Mother Mentions
  12. New to Blogging? So was I at one time… by TechZ and My # 1 Digg I heart geek boys
  13. What Do You See in This Drawing? by Robyn McMaster
  14. Ignore the Sun by Roger von Oech and Do You Recognize This Symbol?
  15. 21 Ways to Be More Creative by Christine Kane
  16. Amusing PowerPoint Slideshows in Hart’s email by HART
  17. Writing like Dead Grass by Michael Stelzner
  18. Net Neutrality Threatens Grandparents/Vets by Joe 
  19. We Can Still Pass The Combating Autism Act by Big Roy
  20. Who Do You Think You Are? by Steve
  21. The Purpose of A Hearty Life by Hsien Lei
  22. Pisa & Florence With Kids
  23. media strategic myopia by Mike Dunn
  24. Keep moving toward your goals by Kirsten Harrell, Psy.D.
  25. Breaking: Bach Joins Keller Williams Realty by Benjamin
  26. Home At Last by Debbie Call
  27. The Shoes by Candice

Update 27 October 2006:  I decided to just keep this rolling, since Liz has now published another list of the “most successful” links that other authors brought to the all-day party (and link love is a good thing!)

  1. Mark Ryden’s cabinet of curiosities and popular antiquities by Stephanie
  2. perfect cheese sandwich by SeanRox
  3. How to Write E-mail that Sucks: An Incomplete Guide 
  4. Commentary: Economy Foam by Debbie Millman
  5. If You’re Gonna Write Crap, Journal by Carolyn Manning and We Are Family by Carolyn Manning
  6. Cubicle Warrior – What it takes by Scot Herrick
  7. In the side of a mountain, there exists, a place named paradise by Jessica Doyle
  8. The Battles Hymn of the Blogger by Mike Sansone
  9. Crash Davis and the Belief Statement – My Turn by Starbucker
  10. Putting Holes in Walls by Ann Michael
  11. Blogging in Person by Sandra Renshaw
  12. Customer Service Difference #3: Ritz Carlton and Who else wishes there were no moronic idiots in customer service?
  13. Content Theft? Please, Tell Me What You Think About This… by Mark Wade
  14. A Brief History of Digg Controversy by Tony
  15. What Happens During Euthanization? by Renée
  16. Writing for WOM ^ Branding the Croc Hunter Way by Kammie K. and Be Unique, Kick the Critique – Self-Love is Where it’s At by Kammie K.
  17. Successful Blog by Cat
  18. Simplified Business Plans for the Real World.by Becky McCray
  19. Comments From Students on Using a Class Blog by Dr. Delany Kirk
  20. Case File 060805 by Timothy Johnson