Today I’m so glad to have Julie DeNeen over here answering some questions I posed to her. I connected with Julie a couple of years back on a blogging group and respect her for her brilliance and honesty.
Julie blogs at Julie DeNeen – Purveyor of Fine (and Intelligent) Opinions where she dishes it out straight from the hip! She’s not afraid to take on difficult issues and it’s not for nothing that she’s been Anderson Cooper’s Blogger of The Day, 3 times and regularly featured on BlogHer. Julie also wrote a memoir on the controversial topic of GSA.
Her website, Fabulous Blogging is packed with resources and is a regular go-to site for me.
Julie, I admire your honest and forthright manner. You are not afraid to take on any subject and to be open about your life on your blog. Do you think such honesty comes with a price?
Absolutely. I have ( on more than one occasion ) lost friendships and an entire community because of what I’ve written. Once upon a time (or two), I even shut down my blog thinking that it would make my life easier. But at the end of the day, I’ve come to accept that I am always going to be one of those people that push the envelope. It’s been happening since I was little. I don’t publish super honest and raw stuff just for traffic and stats, it’s just the way I am– in real life and online. It works for me, and I know who my real friends are!
That said, if you don’t have REALLY thick skin, I would say don’t follow in my footsteps.
Of late, I’ve begun to repeat this mantra to myself : Life Before Blogging. What do you think about that. And how do you manage to balance your roles as wife, mother, blogger, writer, mentor…….
I am the wrong person to talk to about this! My entire life is blogging. I design websites for a living, I teach businesses and people how to blog, and I consult on social media. Honestly though, even without my online career, I am not very good at balance. In fact, I just wrote a post the other day called 31 Confessions of a Social Media Addict. I am one for sure. Again, with a little self-awareness I’ve come to discover that I have to have challenge and stimulation in order to feel happy. Social media is an outlet for me (and has been) while home with my children. I thrive on the interaction and the thrill of understanding what makes people tick. I have a degree in Psychology so I’m not surprised I’ve fallen victim to the social media vortex.
What would you say are the top three elements of a fabulous blog?
Oh boy. This is a hard one. I’d say there are three things that keep me coming back to a blog.
1. Authenticity. I can tell immediately if someone is blowing smoke up my a**. I want to see your face on the sidebar, I want to hear your voice, even if you are talking about toilet plungers. I want to feel the “human” in you. After all, that’s why I’m going to a blog and not an encyclopedia.
2. Simplicity. I want to be able to find things quickly. I want your language and words to flow so easily that I don’t realize I’m reading a 1000 word article. I don’t want fancy schmancy flash or cluttered sidebars. Give me your content, your images, and yourself. And if your blog isn’t optimized for mobile viewing, you are not on my “READ” list.
3. The Element of Surprise. At the end of an article or post, I want to be compelled to pin it for reference, tweet it to get retweets, or share it on Facebook to evoke discussion. It can be a topic I’ve read about already, but if you surprise me, I’ll be back.