Greetings to all on the day after May Day.  I have been sitting here trying to stifle back an allergic reaction brought upon by a unique wind condition to the area in which I live. It has been somewhat less than pleasant.  I find it somewhat ironic that these winds have been going on for days and I was doing fine.  But the minute they are about to subside, my allergies kick into high gear.  I knew that I should have bought a nice large supply of wood to knock on.  But I will have to remember that for next time.

Things have changed a lot for me here at the Guide over the past few months.  With fits and starts, I am getting to a place where this looks like a real blogging site.  I am not sure I am proud of everything in it yet.  Maybe, as a blogger or “business owner,” one never gets to be proud of his work.  Because then it gets stale and rusty.  And who wants rusty words?  I’m sure they don’t taste good.

So it’s time to evaluate.  One month into my self-hosting, I am taking stock of where I am at.  I kind of want to recap my journey to this point.  But I also don’t want to be that guy who says look at me, I have 10,000 visitors a day and got paid $100,000 last month.  And you can do it too.  Just sign up for my course at the low price of $19.95.  Encourage your friends to sign up and you will get a discount for my book: How to Win Visitors and Destroy Your Competition.  That person is just not me.

I appreciate that we all need a leg up when it comes to blogging.  For the first few months, it becomes a grind.  We set up a blog; design it the way we want it to look; establish connections; put ourselves out there on a million social media sites; find other bloggers in our niche, and bust our buts marketing ourselves to anyone who will have us.  And that all comes before we even see a dime for our work.  So I appreciate the people out there offering their services and expertise to those who are trying to learn.  But sometimes, in the wee hours in the morning, when I write that last comment and edit that last picture, hearing about some blog course that’s a must have sounds as exciting as starving myself to death.  OK! Maybe it’s a close second.

Blogging surprises many people, which is why so many quit before going very far.  Many people begin thinking blogging is just about the writing.  But really it’s about the torture.  Hope you love torture.  No one told me that I had to be a masochist when I started writing a blog.  I love reading.  And I enjoy creative writing.  I wasn’t so naive as to think that is all it would take.  But I figured that was the vast majority of the work.  It’s not.  Yes, we all hope to generate our own following.  But how do we do that?  Relationships and networking!  And a ton of coffee.  Mostly the coffee.

It’s those often late nights we stay up trying to make that one extra connection or answering that one extra comment that makes the difference between success and failure.  Because it’s all about the relationships you develop with other people as well as the relationships that you develop between you and your audience.  Those relationships are what propels you.  And honestly, it’s those relationships that make the difference between quitting and moving on.

But how then do we know we are a success, aside from having businesses contact us, or the excitement we get when we realize that someone from Disney has been checking out our web page?  Haters!  Wait! What?  I’m telling you that success comes in knowing that you have haters.  Maybe you don’t want that Kool-Aid that I have been drinking now.  But haters mean that someone actually cares about what you are doing enough in order to comment.  Sure, we love that we have a few fans that love us.  But it’s the haters that let us know that our message has carried beyond that group of people who are our fans.

So do you get the masochistic nature of the businesses now?  We bust our butts at all hours of the day and night to gain a few extra followers.  We are always aware that if we don’t keep adapting that our influence dwindles.  So we live on the edge of a knife’s point.  And we can finally be happy about all of our hard work once we get people who are angry out our work.  It may be crazy.  But it’s the business I’ve joined.  And I love it.  I wonder what that says about me.  I’m thinking some therapist is going to get paid the big bucks!

My Evaluation

So I’m not going to tell you about my 17,000 page views this last month, or the 3600 unique viewers that came to my page.  I’m not going to talk to you about my audience which is made up of 40 percent return visits.  And I’m definitely not going to tell you that you should be on StumbleUpon and like a ton of things on there. Because the more you like, the more visitors they send your page to when you add content.  Wait!  Oops!

OK!  So I am somewhat happy that things are moving in the right direction as regards to numbers.  But this blog isn’t about the numbers.  It’s about the masochism.  Wait!  No!  It’s about the relationships that I have developed with people along the way, and their importance to this blog.  These people don’t always realize it; but they have inspired me in ways that I cannot express.  And that inspiration has found expression in this blog.  What I am here to do is to dedicate this blog to the people who have kept it afloat, whether through inspiration or through humor.  And so without further ado, here is a list of my co-conspirators, or inspirers, whichever makes you feel happier believing.

7 Amazing Bloggers – Or Six Amazing Bloggers And One Crew

 1- Caryn Bailey –

She finds a unique place in my pantheon of bloggers on here.  While for total inspiration of my blog, I might put her down on the list.  But she was the one who got me to think about blogging in the first place.  Ok, not quite true.  But she showed me what a successful blogger could look like.  She has been at it for a long time, and so when I am tempted to quit, she reminds me that blogging is a long game.  Maybe she got in at an easier time.  But she still busts her butt to get everything done and for that I admire her.  She is the inspiration for a blog post on here.  But I will leave for you to guess what.  Her Blog is Rockin Mama™.

2- Brandi Kennedy –

I can remember reading through many of her blog post on here and enjoying what she was writing.  But I was in a big hurry to try to get my stuff out here to as many places as possible.  This meant joining tons of facebook blogging groups, going to Google+ and running around on social networks.  I felt like I hardly had time to stop.  But I remember reading her comment on a post stating that she didn’t want people who would comment just to get done with a comment.  She was looking for engagement.  (Not that kind of an engagement.  So stop ring shopping now!)  She wanted thoughtful responses.  I admit that’s hard sometimes.  And when I was doing all the blogging on my phone it was harder.  But she made me stop and think about how I was connecting with other people.  She reminded me of what that should look like.  Thank you Brandi.  And she’s an amazing writer too.  Her Blog is The Musings of Brandi Kennedy.

3- DaddyPoppins –

I know this is strange.  But this character finds his way on the list here for many reasons.  Not least of which is for his sense of humor.  But he is an odd fit.  First, my primary engagement with him is not through his blog, or through some facebook group.  I connected with him on twitter.  And he made me laugh.  He is hysterical.  Oh, and he’s got a blog too.  This stay at home dad reminds me every day of what I am doing with the blog.  It’s not what he says, but how he says it that connects with me.  Maybe not all life should be a joke.  But if we cannot laugh at ourselves, we will only be left in tears.  He might be a bit crass, but you must check him out on some platform.  Because at least once a day, he will make you smile. His Blog is

4- Ana De Jesus –

I remember reading her blog for the first time on one of my blogging groups and thinking that this was just going to be another fashion blog that I would peruse, and maybe take a few tips for my daughter, but mostly ignore.  I was very wrong.  First of all, this woman has one of the biggest hearts out there on the web for a blogger. She is able to be vulnerable towards her audience in a way that I admire.  I know I try but she exceeds my abilities as being vulnerable in ways I cannot express.  With a deep sincerity, Ana expresses the pains of life and loss, the craziness and humor of love, and the ability to persevere through it all.  She inspires me in ways that will inspire you as well.  And does it all in the most stunning outfits.  For those interested in fashion advice from someone willing to be real with you, go to Ana.  She is where it’s at. Her Blog is Faded Spring.

5- Julian Caldwell –

He was the first person ever that asked me if I would be interested in guest posting anywhere.  I haven’t done too much of it I will admit.  When you are trying to run your own blog, it can be difficult to be able to keep up a dedicated guest post somewhere else.  I would love to be able to write some more inspirational pieces for it if I can, when I have some more time to dedicate to that.  But what Julian did through the outreach and the inspiration has reminded me of what good people there are on here.  I know we all want to do good and communicate that through some method.  But he is so selfless and fixated on helping others that it in inspiring.  If you are a dad blogger and need to feel uplifted, he’s definitely worth checking out.  His website is GetConnectDad.

6- Sondra Barker –

I always wondered what it would be like to do a food blog somewhere.  You are talking to an Alton Brown nut.  I always enjoyed the science of food.  But it really was all about the food.  Aside from the obvious chefs that were out there on the web, and a ton of food blogs that were mostly pictures and recipes, I lamented that there were no unique personalities out there.  I was wrong.  Sondra blew me away with her writing and her sense of humor.  And it’s all about amazing food in amazing places.  Yes, she is local to my area, but she is a transcendent talent.  If you haven’t caught her blogs or her vlogs, you really need to check her out.  She’s as close to a professional blogger that I know as far as content and beauty.  And I love that she connects with all of her fans.  And how she looks so incredibly amazing with all of the amazing food that she samples is anyone’s guess.  Her website is Pretty Fit Foodie

7- The Dad Squad  –

One of these things is not like the others.  Can you guess which?  Was Squad too much of a hint.  Truthfully, I cannot think of them apart from one another, aside from the fact that they all have unique personalities.  No we are not Borg.  But the dad squad does have one goal.  It’s goal is to promote the idea that not all dads, and not all men for that matter, are the loveable buffoons that they often depict us to be in the media.  And to promote nerddom.  OK!  Maybe not the last part.  But the group all started with a discussion about how the idea of a dad squad was cool, and who wasn’t going to be wearing Harley Quinn style booty shorts.  (I allow you to shudder at that thought.) This great group of guys reminded me of what it was like to be on a team.  Everyone has a blog.  But they are giving to this new venture.  The Squad member blogs consist of:

Daddy McDadface : Two Kids a Dog and a Caravan

askyerfather : Ask Yer Father

The Twiglets Dad : Dad Of Crazy Twins

Toastycritic : The Single Dad’s Guide to Life

The Dad Squad : #DadSquad

Continue The Conversation

If you don’t count me as part of the Dad Squad guess how many blogs are on this list?  Can we say : eleven?  I had no idea that it would end up this perfect.  And just because you aren’t on this list does not mean that you haven’t inspired me or I don’t love your work.  These are just the people who have made their mark on me either stylistically or encouraged me to keep going through all of it.  And if you are just a fan and checking this out, please visit some of these great people.  You will not regret it.

If you liked this post, please check out some of my others, and follow me here at the Guide.  Email followers get access to my Dad Rules content.  Thanks for visiting me here and I hope to catch you soon.

Until next time, this is me signing off.

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life