Five years ago today, I bought the gezellig-girl.com domain.
At the time, I had a food blog of sorts at the (now sadly defunct) Vox.com site. Having just moved to New York a couple of months earlier, it was an easy way to catalogue all the new places we were going and new foods I’d tried. One day, a friend suggested I submit myself for the guest blogger spot over at Accidental Hedonist. In fact, she wrote me a very flattering email about how she liked my writing and that she thought I would be a good fit for the gig.
So, I wrote a review of Rick’s Picks pickled beets (because man, I love pickled beets) and sent it to Kate at Accidental Hedonist. And then I waited. While I waited to hear back, I started to think (read: obsessively fret) about what would happen if I did get the spot. What would I write about? And what would I do to publicize myself? Direct people to my Vox.com site? What if… what if I had my own site?
After rejecting some really awful name suggestions (e.g. “Kristen’s Kitchen Korner!”) from my husband, I bought a domain name based on the screenname I’d already been using for a couple years: gezellig_girl. I couldn’t use an underscore, though, so that became a hyphen and I was done. I owned gezellig-girl.com.
I had absolutely no idea what to do with it.
I owned the domain for at least a week before trying anything with it. I got a preliminary site up and running and began to backfill it with entries from my Vox.com site and my personal journals. One of my very first readers helped me switch over to the WordPress blogging software. I broke my site and fixed it on an almost daily basis until I learned how things work (okay, MOSTLY learned; I still break things now and then). I taught myself how wrangle better photos out of my dinky point-and-shoot camera. And I wrote. A lot. I mistook quantity for quality for a while (I’ve deleted a ton of crappy old posts) and was starting to burn out until I realized I could scale back. But all that initial work paid off in the long run, I think.
I did eventually get the Accidental Hedonist guest slot. I took some of the pieces I wrote for that and brought them with me when I applied to go back to school to finish my undergrad degree. One of the first classes I took was a journalism class with NY Daily News veteran writer Richard Huff, and I used what I learned from him to write a piece for the New York Press… which I took to the Manhattan Times and started to write for them now and then.
And at the risk of sounding like a kiss-ass, it’s very possible none of that would have ever happened if it weren’t for readers like you. Yes, you. All 294,280 of you (at last count) that have read this site. Thank you all for cheering my successes, lamenting my flops, laughing at my jokes, and, in at least one case, making a crazy video featuring a ham I made for Easter.
And so… happy fifth birthday, website. Here’s to at least five more. Maybe.