The Blogger Interviews: Annie Mole
If you’ve read this blog before, or attended a London Bloggers Meetup, or if you are a member of the meetup group, you’ll know that I strongly believe we have some of the most interesting bloggers in the world as members of our community. That’s right, I do mean the world.
Each and every month I run a London Bloggers Meetup, someone turns up doing something out of the ordinary simply because they want to blog about their passion. Whether it’s writing about where to get a great full english, or how to take incredible photographs (or showing off their own photos), or how to create a paperless office.
The only problem with this is trying to talk to everyone. It’s simply not possible. So from now on and on every Monday for at least the rest of this year, I’m going to post up here an interview with one of our bloggers. A good way I hope for everyong to get to know their fellow bloggers, what they write about, what we can learn from them and why we should be grabbing their attention for a chat at a future London Bloggers Meetup.
To get us kicked off, I’m going to start with that blogger extraordinaire Annie Mole. If you haven’t read Annie’s blog, it’s high time you did, no better place on the internet for news about the worlds oldest (and arguably best) underground railway system. So here goes…
1. What’s your blog called and what’s the URL?
London Underground Tube Diary – http://london-underground.blogspot.com
2. What’s your blog all about ( in 20 words or less)?
A lighthearted but hopefully informative look at travelling on the Tube – warts and all.
3. When and why did you start blogging?
January 2003. Prior that I’d been running a static site about the Tube since 1999 and I thought that blogging would be a much easier way to update the news section. I also wanted something to act as a commuter’s diary and blogging seemed to be the best way forward for this.
4. Which blog platform do you use?
5. Can you give an example of how blogging has enriched your life?
It’s meant that I’ve got to meet lots of people who are now very good friends of mine. However, I’m also lucky enough to have gained a good relationship with London Underground themselves and with the London Transport Museum. They both treat me as a news outlet – which is quite flattering and send me press releases and invites to events.
I’ve also been invited to some fantastic events by companies related to transport – the best I have to say was a trip on the Orient Express, thanks to Dell. It’s clearly the best way to travel by train and although we only went to Eastleigh, I’ve always wanted to travel on it.
6. Are there any blogs you recommend reading and why?
Brian Pigeon’s Blog – as it’s very funny and how I would imagine a pigeon to speak if it had vocal chords. There’s a strong laddish cockiness about him being the under-dog of the bird world.
IanVisits – Ian spends tons of time visiting unusual parts of London and also has an events calendar of happenings that are off the beaten track
OmNomLondon – I read a lot of food blogs but am impressed by how Melanie has been able to build this up in two years, purely based on the food she eats out. I’m amazed she’s not the size of a horse!
7. What three tips would you give to someone just starting out in blogging?
a) Write about something that you feel passionate about, but don’t feel compelled to write something every day. People will forgive you more for a great post once a week, than so-so posts every day.
b) Don’t be too apologetic or sell yourself down. I see a number of blogs with a subtitle or about this section like “My little piece on the web, which no one probably wants to read, where I meander about nonsense that’s possibly only interesting to me”. That might be true, but it’s not exactly encouraging to hear that up front and doesn’t put the reader in a positive state of mind.
c) Spend at least as much time commenting on other people’s blogs as you do writing your own blog. I don’t mean spam them with links to your blog, but leave a comment on blogs that you admire. Everyone likes to receive feedback on their posts and even if it’s one line – the chances are the blogger will return to look at your blog – specially if you comment regularly.
8. If you could change one thing about your blog what would it be?
I wish Blogspot had a commenting tool when I started. I introduced an external commenting platform onto the blog many moons ago – Haloscan – which was all very well until it was taken over by Echo earlier this year. I had the choice of losing six years worth of comments or migrating to their new system. I chose the latter, because I’m un-techy, but I really don’t like it and will look for a new option early next year.
9. What is the key to getting readers to your blog?
Write regularly – I know I said above don’t feel you need to blog every day, but if people know that you update your blog a few times a week, they’re more likely to bookmark it or put it in their RSS feed. Most people arrive at my blog through a general “london underground” search and as they see the top post was only at most two or three days old, they know it might be worth returning for new content. If your last post was written a month ago, people may think you’ve given up and will be less likely to return.
Add your blog to blog directories like Technorati, Google Blog Search, BritishBlogs and others like it.
Reach out to other bloggers. I mention above that it’s good to comment on other blogs. After a while ask if they might add you to their blog roll or offer to write a guest post, if you feel you can add an interesting perspective to their blog. The more links you have to your blog, this will really help your position in search engines
10. And finally, why do you come to the London Bloggers Meetups?
It’s a great way to meet a whole range of bloggers. From people who’ve been blogging for years, to ones who are just starting out. Eveyone has similar issues and problems and can learn from each other. The bloggers who attend are very open & friendly and happy to share ideas.
Plus you normally find a great sponsor and it’s hard to say no to a free drink in good company!
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