Blogging Topics: Gardening, local food and the environment

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Finding the best fitting blogging topics for yourself, your organization or business is one of the first step in building your audience and sharing relevant content on a continuous basis.

From time to time we would like to share stories of those who have picked their blogging topic end Heber started sharing content and stories. This Q&A is with Cindy Hadish who started her Homegrown Iowan website in 2013.

Question: How did you decide to start the site and how did you pick the topic?

Cindy Hadish
Cindy Hadish

Cindy Hadish: I started writing about gardening, local foods and the environment for my previous employer a decade ago when I saw a void in coverage of those topics. Because I’m passionate about all three of these areas, it was natural to continue in that vein with my own website to promote the environmental programs, farmers markets, gardening events and other entities and activities located and happening in Eastern Iowa.

Question: After almost a year, what tips can you offer for people considering starting a niche site?

Cindy Hadish: The main advice is to stay current. Keep providing the most recent information in whatever niche you have so your content is relevant. I try to post new articles, events and photos often to keep my website fresh. Because I am self-employed that often includes weekends when other media might not make the resources available to do so.

Question: How do you decide what you’ll publish and what not do publish?

Cindy Hadish: Numerous people and organizations submit information for HomegrownIowan and as long as it is related to those coverage areas, I’m open to publishing it. I shoot most of my own photos for the website and also pursue stories as a journalist that I find interesting and know my readers will enjoy.

Question:What has the public’s feedback been on the site?

Cindy Hadish: Readership of the website is increasing and I hear from people who appreciate that these topics and events are still being covered, so I’d say the feedback has been positive.

Question:How do you market your site?

Cindy Hadish: Marketing is mainly through social media. I post links to the stories on the Homegrown Facebook page and Twitter – @HomegrownIA. Also, some of the publications I do freelance for link back to the site and to specific articles. There are more things I’d like to do, and hopefully I can make time for those in the coming year.

Question: How was the experience setting up a WordPress site?

Cindy Hadish:I’ve been using WordPress for years, so the set-up came easily. Even for people who have no experience with it, I think WordPress would be simple. We might make some changes as the anniversary of HomegrownIowan approaches, but overall, I’ve been happy with the website. Initially, the web hosting service that we tried would crash when traffic on the site was high, so we switched hosts and that became another learning experience.

Question: Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Any final thoughts?

Cindy Hadish: I’m always reading tips on Search Engine Optimization and what it comes down to is that there is no substitute for interesting, fresh, original content; that “authentic storytelling” as you might call it. That’s where I keep my focus. For anyone interested in starting a niche site, I would say that passion about the topic is paramount. Fakes and imitators are obvious and doomed to fail. When you’re passionate about the subject, that carries over to whatever work you’re doing and makes success more likely.

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