We are very pleased to bring to our readers an interview with Ms Polka Dot (aka Dorothy Polka), founder of the hugely popular lifestyle blog, Polka Dot Bride. Dorothy Polka has operated the blog since 2007 and is within the top 20 Australian female bloggers.
Here is Part One of our interview – enjoy:
What is Polka Dot Bride and what is your role in the business?
Polka Dot Bride is an Australian wedding blog focused on inspiring weddings. We also have five specialty titles including Polka Dot Groom, Polka Dot Wisdom, Polka Dot Weddings, Polka Dot Made & Polka Dot Honeymoons. I’m the editor and manager of the business!
We have four team members who work with me doing everything from managing our sales, helping our advertisers, covering events and managing our specialty blog content. On top of that I engage with a number of businesses who work so intensely with us they’re effectively team members – our graphic designer and marketing pro and our website manager.
How and why did you start Polka Dot Bride?
It was a summer’s day in January 2007 and I sat down to start sharing the fantastic Australian wedding products I’d found in one place. Blogging wasn’t new to me – I’d personally been blogging since mid 1999 and there were a few random incarnations of wedding blogs beforehand where I’d post things I loved and wanted to keep track of.
Why the wedding industry?
The wedding industry is an amazing place. Everyone works towards this one day where one couple pledge to be together forever. Along with that comes this amazing party full of flowers, food, drinks, fashion, styling – even paper. It’s all my favourite things rolled into one event plus the added bonus of the central focus – love.
How have you made your blog profitable?
At the moment it is solely through advertising – banners are present on each site and we have a directory that covers both Australia and international regions. Once we’ve finished Polka Dot Bride 4.0 I hope to move onto some of the ideas I’ve been holding back while we’re ironing the site issues out which will draw different income streams in.
Additionally I’ve done a lot of private consulting on social media, which has been really interesting. It’s nice to get my head out of my own business!
At what point did you start to engage a loyal following and a growing number of visitors to your blog?
I remember one Sunday morning when a well-known cake designer commented on my blog. I couldn’t yelp loud enough I was so excited. That was a big turning point for me, that someone I respected and loved the work of so much really read what I was doing and “got it”. The first redesign was when we brought on advertisers so then I felt I really had a big obligation and responsibility to draw traffic.
At this time wedding blogs were few and far between so it was really easy to build connections, especially with the bloggers internationally.
When I read your blog I notice that you have a connection with many of your subscribers where you give them ideas and remember them from online/offline discussions that you have had with them. This is not common among blogs. Why the extra effort? Has it paid off?
I’ve learnt that comments on Polka Dot Bride never really reflect the amount of people reading the entry. A lot of brides like to take it “offline” and email me privately with their ideas and requests for styling advice. I have this wonderful connection with my readers where we can send 20 emails to each other over the course of their planning with them sharing their plans, their dreams, hopes and wishes with me. Some will request certain features which I love as I can use this easily as blog material (helping both them and other brides), I’ve never seen it as “effort” as I’m genuinely excited and interested in my readers and genuinely want to provide the best resource I possibly can for them.
It pays off in their beautiful words to me and when I see their wedding photos with all the details they’ve talked about – it’s so fulfilling.
The relaunch of our site last year opened up the five specialty titles – all of which are open to user generated content. So we have bride’s sharing their wedding plans, grooms sharing theirs, crafty people sharing DIY projects even vendors sharing their amazing wisdom – it’s added a completely new dimension to our community!
Dorothy Polka operates the hugely popular lifestyle blog, www.polkadotbride.com since 2007 and is within the top 20 Australian female bloggers.
Dorothy has developed the blog and it’s speciality titles into an online magazine channel that attracts the leading lifestyle brands and as a professional blogger and social media commentator has extensive skill and expertise in social media channels.
Polka Dot Bride inspires brides to have a beautiful wedding uniquely there. Inspiring weddings, Polka Dot Bride’s main attraction is the twice daily blog, an extensive directory of wedding services, along with sites for the groom, wedding industry professionals and even honeymoons. It’s one-stop-shopping for the biggest day of your life. The site also has a cadre of secondary and guest bloggers, all who add to the Polka Dot Bride community.
Join us next week for Part Two of this interview, including Ms Polka Dot’s advice on blogging best-practice.
If you have any questions or comments for Ms Polka Dot (Dorothy Polka), leave them below and she will respond to each of you.