After blogging here at WINOW for several years, I am finally cautiously trying to increase my traffic. Or not even my traffic, but my readership. For a long time, I've blogged either just for my own amusement or as a means of keeping in touch with a handful of friends. Lately, though, I've realized that there are huge blog communities out there I'd really like to be a part of. So I've done a few things--started an account with Google Analytics to see how many readers I actually have (usually around 200 a day) and how they are getting here (mostly from other sites); set up Feedburner (you can subscribe to my feed here); started participating in some carnivals, etc. The biggest thing I've done, though, and this isn't just to increase my own readership, but also to participate in conversations on other blogs like the ones I'd like to have here, is to concentrate on commenting. I read a lot of blogs (current blog roll count is 141 and it increases nearly every day), but in the past I've mostly not commented on blogs of folks I didn't know. I'm trying to change that. And so, I've started paying a bit more attention to who the people behind the blogs I'm reading are.
What I have found has been a bit surprising. A lot of the bloggers I follow, especially those in the areas of frugality and simplicity, debt reduction, thrifting and vintage, and crafting, all of which I have been particularly interested in lately, are very different than I. A lot of them are Christians. And conservatives. At least one has a McCain/Palin badge on her blog. It hadn't really occurred to me, when I was only personal blogs of people I already knew, that the blogging world was so wide, and that I could get so much enjoyment and information from the work of people with whom I share some interests, who are in other ways my complete opposites.
My attempts at branching out of my political and personal comfort zone, and at actually letting these bloggers know I am reading their work, have so far been very fruitful. The fastest growing sections of my blog roll (previously thrifting and crafting and more recently frugality and simplicity and debt reduction) are full of places I can go for inspiration. Once again, the Internet has shown me communities of which I can be a part that I never would have found in my "real life." And I am grateful.