I thought I'd do a long/ random/ personal post on a few of the reasons why I blog. There are loads of links in this post - and I'm well aware of the click-frenzy-disease which usually attacks late at night, so refrain from clicking all the links if you wish to get anything done today. ha. There are some links to some cartoon posts near the bottom though if you have missed any of those.
I started blogging a while back - my first blog post is completely random and rather embarrassing now that i look back on it, but I've decided not to edit or alter it in any way since it's a good point to see how much indieBerries [and i] have grown over the years. My first blogpost was written in a time of my life when I was ready for something new, fresh and exciting and I was moving forward and onward from some things (read: a boy) which were (who was) not so good for me. I needed a place to just have a clean fresh start. I have always been into keeping journals/ idea books/ notebooks filled with doodles/notes/rubbish and it seemed like an online version of this was a logical progression (even although for me - nothing will ever replace the tactility of paper, pens and scraps).
Marketing and Branding
I was still living in South Korea at that stage and had started an online store run through Etsy called just che (which has been closed for a while). I had read on a number of Etsy Forums that having a blog is an effective method of driving traffic to your online store, which was another reason which prompted the start of indieBerries. Over the following few months I became more and more interested and excited about blogging (which is really difficult when you are first starting out and are not sure who is even finding your blog in the mass of cyberspace). Whilst living in Korea, I was doing a lot of traveling and maintaining a well-run, professional online store whilst working full time and in amidst jet-setting off to China, Thailand, Greece, Sri Lanka, Bali, The Philippines and everywhere else in Asia was not feasible and I closed the Etsy Store shortly after. (It was of course Murphy's law that whenever I left the country and had forgotten to put my shop on "Holiday Mode" was when all the store orders came rolling in (gaaah). I have since saved the Etsy Store name indieBerries and may open it again some time in the future when I'm feeling inspired.
Even although I closed my Etsy Stores - I kept up the blogging as a means of documenting my travels and daily life for friends. I have blogged about my trips to Thailand, some snaps from China, my trip to The Philippines - (the one where we camped in the airport -lol) and Backpacking Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos with my brother. I've shared some of the very strange and interesting Korean grocery store items, all the communication fails I've had whilst living there - (like the time with the hi-lights) and general snippets of my daily life. Having a blog has allowed me a space to keep all these things in a online space for safe keeping.
Many blogs tend to focus on general 'themes' specific categories and there are some amazing blogs that you can click through to and know exactly the type of thing you can expect to see. A few examples - Simply Delicious is an awesome South African food blog, Guy with Camera features amazing photography, Kiss Blush and Tell showcases beauty tips and reviews, Brandslut focuses on all things consumer, Baglett writes humour, Southbound Bride and The Pretty blog feature all things wedding, The Pharside dishes out a touch of South Africa for those living the London dream - and these are just (a very few of) the South African bloggers on the internets. Having a general 'theme' or 'topic' for your blog helps to create a very specific target audience which in turn generate things like sponsorship, partnerships and products and goodie bags - relating to your blog 'theme' being sent to you for review. I have toyed a lot with the idea of streamlining indieBerries into something that fits more specific themes in order to create a more coherent target audience - but my reasons for blogging are not (necessarily) for the freebies, products and giveaways. By keeping this blog semi-personal and almost 'theme-less' has enabled me to post what I want and things that appeal to me. I love posting the DIYs and crafty things I do, lovely gift-wrap ideas, photos I take, the cartoons I draw and cool blogs I find, among a range of other things. If there are people who read indieBerries and who like the same (sometimes random) things that I post then that is an added awesome bonus. High Five.
In 2010 I won the South African blog awards for best personal blog and best blog design. I flew out from South Korea to attend the award ceremony and met so many amazing and talented bloggers from around the country. Being part of the blogging world has allowed me to interact with networks of bloggers and I feel like I have "met" (read: stalk) so many interesting and diverse people through this space on the world wide web. If someone comments on a blog post I have done I try and see if they have a blog which they write and in this way I have stumbled upon a range of great blogs - radio DJ Bailey Schneider, Creative entrepreneurs like Cupcake Couture, and Freshly Found, people who love to snap pics like Lauren of Glossary and South Africans who are living overseas and having babies - plus loads of others... but... this blogpost is already fast reaching it's link quota.
The cartoons I draw definitely take the popularity contest and send my blog stats up whenever I post them. Over the time I have been blogging I have had a whole stash of cartoons on the blog - including Awkward moments in Korea, being lost in translation, the ski-slope incident, that time i did the Maple syrup cleanse (what was i thinking?!), my days as a "student of the performing arts", that time the shower fell on me, a toilet tour of Asia and how to kill your ex-boyfriend. I have fun drawing the cartoons and I enjoy forming the story-lines in my mind before I set up to attack them with the tablet. They are however very time consuming and a lot of effort goes into creating each frame. Blogging in itself is a very time consuming process and drawing each frame from scratch to create your own original content - even more so. I am not paid to blog (but if anyone wants to throw some money at me - that's cool) so the main thing that keeps me blogging is the kind words, emails and comments that readers leave. I can't explain how much it makes my day to see an email/ comment in my inbox from a stranger telling me how much they love indieBerries. Thank you for all of those!
If you managed to get through all of that - I am very impressed - you can treat yourself with a lovely cuppa and a pat on the back. Thank you for stopping by indieBerries and making it what it is.