Having a popular blog

21 October 2010
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is: "What's the secret is to having a popular blog?" The truth is, I have no idea. I am more amazed that any one of you that this blog attracts so many readers. My guess is that most of my readers are like minded folk wanting to connect with people who understand them and their way of life. I hope that what I write is clear and easily understood, that the way we live our version of the simple life may light the way for others, and that the intense passion I feel for life is relayed somehow through the words I tap out on my keyboard. And I guess I have to put some of it down to plain old hard work, to the mindset of never giving up, and believing that the mundane and humble tasks of everyday life, housekeeping, family, growing food in the backyard, knitting and sewing are profound and important subjects that others find as interesting as I do.

I feel incredibly lucky to have all sorts of opportunities before me right now that have come from my blog. I am grateful that at a time when many of my contemporaries are starting to wind down, I'm winding up again in a brand new direction with interesting challenges I never thought I'd face. And so now, when I should be settling into my elder years, waiting for grand babies to come along and knitting in my chair, I'm getting ready to complete the book I started so long ago. I never set out to cultivate popularity and I cringe when people say, "Oh you're Rhonda with the blog!" but my focus these past few years has been to show others, and as many of them as I can reach, that living a life of mindless consumerism, debt and detachment, will never come close to the enrichment and satisfaction that simple living brings. The blog gives me the ideal way to convey that message and to show, by example, what comes from developing simple values and living true to them.

I am happier here in my own home than I am in any other place. And when I make my bed in the morning, or sweep the floor, or pull carrots, or collect eggs, I know that here is where I am meant to be. I don't know what I did right to get the family and the life I have; whatever it is I wish I could bottle it and give it away. But I have a feeling that living as we do here, within the simple confines of our home, working side by side, supporting each other, our family and our community, goes a long way towards developing and nurturing the happiness we feel everyday. And maybe that is what people find here - happiness in ordinary life and being content with what we have. Is it that simple?


  1. Rhonda, I'm happy to be one of your readers, and I'll tell you why your blog does delight me. It's because you are so generous with the details of all your skills, outlining how to do things, so that we can learn from you. And it's because you get so much pleasure from those things, which helps me believe that I can enjoy those things, too, if I'll take the time to practice them! And it's because you are not preachy or judgmental, but simply let each reader decide for herself/himself what choices will suit.
    Thank you, thank you, for faithfully writing an uplifting, informative and FUN blog!

  2. Rhonda - it's that simple for me.

    Thank you!

  3. I agree with Jules - yes, it's that simple.

  4. I think you're right - it attracts like-minded people who want a simpler life. I also love that you put lots of pictures in. It adds so much to any story or theme. Many blessings you you and yours!

  5. Rhonda, your blog was one of the first I found when I started finding my way towards self sufficiency and frugalness. Your blog and your forum have definately not only helped me on my path, but also inspired me to start my own blog documenting my journey to simple living and self sufficiency, so thank you :)

  6. Rhonda, I agree with what RootAndTwig has said above. I will add that your blog is set up very well, and is very attractive without being over the top. The pictures are wonderful to look at, and the picture of you on the top shows us you are just an everyday person, someone who looks like us or our Mother, Aunt, or neighbor who is there to graciously help us.
    Thanks so much for giving us the time that you do, I can't tell you how many times I refer back to something in your blog.

  7. You share your knowledge and I think that's what a blog is all about. Sharing what you know with not only like-minded people but (especially) those that are not. But your blog is not only very practical, you include posts that are reflections, your thoughts. That's the time we get to know you a little more, find out your motivations, your goals. Though not every one of your readers may agree (and there are times when I haven't), it still provokes responses and further reflection. Many of my posts have been initiated by a post you have written. A sign of a great blog!

  8. I'm guessing the secret of your blogs success is simple - you are honest, and it shows in all you do x.

  9. "But I have a feeling that living as we do here, within the simple confines of our home, working side by side, supporting each other, our family and our community, goes a long way towards developing and nurturing the happiness we feel everyday. And maybe that is what people find here - happiness in ordinary life and being content with what we have. Is it that simple?"

    Yes methinks that it is and this is priceless...something money cannot buy!



  10. Hello Rhonda,
    I guess the reason I have been an avid reader of your blog for so many years, is that- as all my older relatives and in-laws have passed away- you are a wise voice of an experienced older person. Many times I've wanted or- indeed needed- the advice of an older person, but have had to muddle along on my own or search books and blogs for sensible information. You fill that gap in my life very nicely, thank you!
    And if you think about it, many people are in the same boat of not living near their families, or due to small family sizes in recent history, don't have the extended family members to lend a listening ear and sage advice.
    The way you set your prose, it makes one think you are talking directly to them, very comforting. You don't pass judgement and are very willing to pass on your knowledge.
    Your warmth and knowledge come through clearly in your blog. Again, thank you for being there.

  11. When I found your blog, I had no idea there were other people like me. All of my friends and family think I'm crazy for trying to live simply. I think they were sort of hoping it was a phase but no such luck. I'm in it for the long haul and I'm glad you are too!

    Stephanie :)

  12. I love your blog because you write about things I think about. Nothing fancy just interesting ideas.


  13. While reading this post I kept thinking those who want to know should ask those of us who are reading your blog! By the looks of the comments so far many readers are aware of what makes your blog popular to them. I will repeat what others have already indicated: common aspirations, photographs, educational information (FREE, I might add!!) and I notice that you keep it fresh by regular and frequent postings. There is always the temptation to go and see what you've been offering your readership lately. Even when you have taken time off you keep our interest piqued by sneak peeks into other people's kitchens or workplaces! That keeps people from straying away too long...

    I read and recommend your blog often. Word of mouth advertising brings more readers and makes for an opportunity to grow the readership larger if the above items continue to hold people's interest.


  14. i was attracted to your blog by your chooks! and now that we have our own, i still read your blog for all the great advice and information. that and the fact that i like the way you think :)
    and the way you live :)

  15. You're also a consistent blog writer! That goes a long way to maintaining a popular blog. :)

  16. I agree with what each of the others have said, but I will add one more thing that brings me back to your blog and that is the loving and respectful way in which you speak of your husband.

    My husband and I have been married for over 27 years and it is so nice to visit a blog where I can read about another couple like us who have made it through the years still loving; still respecting and trusting each other.

  17. I do think people want to learn the things you have to teach in your blog, and even more I think they want to be inspired by your example, but most of all, I think it's you. You have the gift of writing so that you become a living presence and a friend that all of us would like to sit down and have a cup of tea with. You share yourself on your blog, and I think that is the attration. (Of course all the simple/frugal ideas are a big part of who you are.)

  18. HI Rhonda....you put this so nicely and simply. Very lovely!!! One of the things that I've learned in my "short" life so far...is that when you do something out of passion...You have a passion/enthusiasm for blogging and living simply for example...people see that...for me at least, I notice a genuine love for the subject...and that comes through even on your blog. It's contagious :) :) :) That's the best way I can describe it..plus I do find the subjects you write about so very interesting!!!..It's always nice to learn from someone else :) :) Have a lovely weekend. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

    p.s. The homemade soap my friend and I made from your recipe...so coming in handy right now...It's great because it's homemade and better for my skin..But my father and I have just recently entered into an economically challenging time job-wise...So this soap is LITERALLY saving us money too...It's one less expense that I do not have to worry about :) :) :) Who would have thought soap would a blessing in my life...but it is :) :)

  19. I think this blog is so successful because of your gentle writing style. The topics are relevant and interesting. The photos are lovely and the layout is user friendly. But, it's the gentle writing that brings me back day after day. You share information without using a rude or abrasive tone. I believe that if I met you in person you would be kind to me and I would like you very much. Your writing is very high quality and I appreciate the time you spend to compose such well written posts. It is your gift to all of your readers and I very much appreciate it!

  20. Hi Rhonda :) I've been a web designer for 10 years now, and a reader of Down to Earth for about 2, and I completely agree with you. There's always people trying the latest 'tricks' or search engine optimisation techniques or adwords, etc, to try and get a blog even slightly as popular as Down to Earth and while it helps a little it often has no lasting effect because these people are not offering anything of actual value to their visitors, the way you are.

    They're interested in getting rich quick, or selling huge amounts of product as quickly as possible. You are interested simply in helping people, and that's a huge part of why your blog is so successful.

    Some other things you do which help include actually interacting with your site visitors by replying to comments and being active in your online community. But primarily it's the fact that you provide information that is of genuine value to lots of people, and you do so with no strings attached. You rock :)

    - Harmony

  21. Dear Miss Rhonda,

    I find that your blog nurtures my soul.

    In a world that places very little value on caring for family and home, your words validate homemaking.
    Your perspective offers rich, encouragement, for the every day, & the seemingly, mundane.

    You remind me to look at my tasks with honor and respect, no matter how small or irrelevant they may seem.
    You help me to stay grounded and focused and remind me that what I do IS important, and can be nurturing, satisfying, worthy and life giving.

    You mirror small moments in your days, and help us to see the beauty, love, & creativity in them.
    And in doing so, you allow us to do the same in our own lives.
    (Not to mention that you manage to teach us great things along the way!)

    It seems to me, that people in general, are literally, starved for the down-earth-ways of the past.
    You offer them manna.

    I appreciate you greatly,
    Donna G.

  22. Rhonda,like you I am retired and a few years older than you however I am new to blogging and I would like you to know that you are my insperation for setting up my own blog.
    Lorna, marketsandmore.blogspot.com

  23. you may have just summed up in one post why we all love D2e so much!

  24. I'm new to your blog, its super!
    I'm about to add my name to your readers list, have a great weekend!x

  25. This is why I love you the most Rhonda.. Because you are writing from the heart!

  26. Hello Rhonda,

    The secret is the effort you put into your blog, plain and simply. It's enjoyable, informative, friendly and honest. Above all your integrity shows through. Have a wonderful weekend.

    Blessings Gail.

  27. What a wonderful blog.
    Can't believe I haven't stumbled across it in the three years I've been wandering the blogosphere.
    Looking forward to getting to know you.

  28. You paint a picture with your words. I can really see you sitting down to write, or drink tea with your husband or go visit your chickens. It seems so content and happy. It makes me want to be a content homemaker to and to find the joy in the simple things like you describe. I love reading your articles each week. I love reading about your budgeting, or homemade bread and recipes. I love reading about your family and your home. Its a voice of experience that some of us younger stay at home mom's need.

  29. Rhonda, I love your blog because the topics range from informative to inspiring. The pictures are simple but add meaning to the text. The form of your blog is easy to navigate and well organized. And lastly you write extremely well. I feel as if you are sitting across the table from me and I can hear your voice in my mind when I read each post. I can't wait for your book. I'm sure it will be just as well written and inspiring. Thanks bunches!!

  30. I love your blog because, like you say, I am very much a like-minded person to everything you post. I just wish I had the energy and time to do it all!
    Thanks for all the good tips, ideas, and recipes.



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