I just started my own blog this month! It looks boring, I have no followers, and I feel left out of the “Blogging Circle.” Can you give me some tips on how to make my blog better? — Tanya

Thanks for the question, Tanya. I’ll start by saying, you’re not alone. I think I get questions along these lines more than any others. How do I grow my blog? How do I get sponsors? How do I change my header? How do I decide on a blog topic?

But I confess, I don’t answer as often as I’d like. For a few reasons. One, the answers are long. Long enough that people teach multiple classes and hold multi-day conferences to try to cover the answers adequately. Two, because I try (I can’t say I always succeed) to limit this blog to topics at the intersection of design and motherhood. Three, because bummer for me, in a given week, I’m only able to respond to about 20% of my email. If that.

But since it is Ask-Design-Mom-Week, I thought I’d at least take a minute to say: it’s not too late. You can still get into the blogging and social media scene. You can still start a site. You can still participate. You can still build something new. You can still grow what you’ve created.

If you feel like you’ve missed the boat, you haven’t. If you feel like you’re not in the club, it’s a false perception. Period. This whole scene is still new enough that people are reinventing it everyday. Starting from scratch. Coming up with new and brilliant interpretations of how this whole thing could work. Just yesterday, I received an email from two friends who have started a new blog. It’s called the Sweeterie and it’s different than anything I’ve seen before. A super smart, simple concept. And it’s beautiful. And I have no doubt it will grow. What will it grow into? Who knows. We’ll find out in a couple of years.

Can I promise that your audience will grow super fast? Nope. Most audiences don’t. There are a few instant successes, but most people that are doing this for a living, built their audiences slowly over several years. Just like any small business. Are there techniques to help you jumpstart growing your community? For sure. And that’s why people attend conferences (like Alt and Mom2Summit — two conferences that Kirtsy plans the programming and panels for). To find out the best ideas and most effective ways to work in this space.

But the advice you’ll hear most often, every time the topic of growing your audience comes up, is: comment and participate. Get out there. Comment on the blogs you like, big and small. If there’s a blog party or Mr. Linky, try it out. If you see people mentioning NaBloPoMo, click the link and find out what it is. If you see buttons for a conference, ask about it. The more you explore, the more likely you’ll find the perfect social media fit for you.

Dear Readers, what advice would you add to this topic?