When MauiShopGirl went live in July of 2011, I was happy if even ten people swung by on any given day. Since then, my readership has grown and yesterday’s page views surpassed the 30,000 mark! Woo hoo! By the way, 30K in total over the life of the blog, not 30K in one day (just in case any of you were overly impressed, I’m still a teeny fish, almost microscopic, in a big ocean).
I wanted to give a huge virtual hug and mahalo to all of you for visiting my corner of the blogosphere. Here’s a list of bloggy backstory, facts and stats…
Inspiration for blog name – Shopgirl is a young salesgirl. My interest in the retail industry began as a shopgirl at Liberty House. The term shopgirl exemplifies my love of retail and the joy it brings me to help a customer or loved one find the the perfect gift, addition to their wardrobe or home item. Shopgirl was also a wonderful novella written by Steve Martin which was later made into a film and was Kathleen Kelly’s AOL handle in You’ve Got Mail.
Why I blog – I wish I had a twenty for each time I’ve been asked this question. My answer is I needed a creative outlet. I’ve always dreamed of working for a magazine and the blog is my own little mag. I’d like to write a novel one day too but a blog is like instant gratification. It’s fun and stress relieving to plan a post, take pics, write the prose and finally press that publish button.
What’s in my toolbox – A 13 inch Macbook, an iPhone and an old pink Sony 4G Cyber-Shot DSC-T2. New to my toolbox is a Canon T3 but I’m still a novice and haven’t been able to pull off “blog-worthy” shots yet. I use WordPress and my theme is Thesis. My blog was recently moved to Wp-Engine for hosting this past weekend (did you notice? faster loading!). My favorite plugin is nRelate for suggested posts.
Who’s in my corner – Behind every great (which I hope to be one day) blogger is a whole network of bloggers. I’m so grateful for the friendship and knowledge sharing from the members of the Maui Social Media Users Group (Maui SMUG), the Maui Bloggers Network, BlogHer NaBloPoMo, Maui WordPress and my fellow Blogging Your Way students. I can’t even begin to express the gratitude I feel toward my fellow bloggers who have been so generous with their time, guidance and support. I also feel a great amount of appreciation for my friends and family who read my blog from the very beginning. It is a really weird and scary thing at first to just put yourself out there and the kind encouraging words I heard from you kept me going.
Some things I’ve learned – I’ve learned how to use WordPress, various photo editing software and I finally “get” twitter. I also learned it’s worth part of my hard earned paycheck to get professional help. In the beginning I did everything myself but more recently I’ve engaged a consultant here and there to help me with the back-end (Erik Blair, The Accidental Consultant and Jon Brown, j. Brown Studios). I’ve also picked up tips and great explanations on how to use Google Analytics, improve my SEO and a ton of other relevant topics from classes at Maui Hi-Tech at MEDB and from Maui SMUG/Maui WordPress meetings.
What surprised me the most – When I thought about starting a blog, I was envisioning a solitary activity. Me at my laptop spouting off about life, design and retail. Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve met so many fantastic people both online and in real life. People that are passionate about life, photography, writing, FOOD, design and Hawaii. I can’t name everyone here but you know who you are. Each and every one of you has broadened my perspective and touched my heart. Your enthusiasm for living life to the fullest is contagious and for that I’m grateful. Blogging has gotten me out of my comfort zone, both literally and figuratively.
What’s next – Improving my photography skills and doing a better job of writing content for good SEO. I’m also looking forward to more business and designer profiles thru site visits and/or interviews. Learning how to use photoshop is also on the agenda. In June I’ll be taking a photography class at Maui College and Blogging Your Way 2.0. I also fell behind recently on interviews and guest posts; this year I’m trying to manage my “come from a place of yes” better so that I can do as I say on a timely professional basis. I don’t want anyone to feel I’m not excited about their appearance on my blog or me on theirs when really it’s just a challenge sometimes to balance a busy blog with a full-time job and life in general.
My favorite posts – I loved all of the above but really enjoyed writing and taking photos for How to receive a gift with grace and each and every one of my local business, shopping and designer spotlights with Indigo, Nest, Sophie Grace, Alison Izu and Tiffany Chou (just to name a few). I also had a great time shooting my holiday home portrait with photographer Sue Hudelson.
What would you like to see more of on MauiShopGirl and what were your favorite posts?
Are you a blogger or thinking of starting a blog? Give us a few lines in the comments section and tell us about your blog.