learning to trust my own opinions and expertise
UPDATE: Oh My God! You guys are AMAZING! So many fantastic and helpful comments! As you can see, I’ve made a couple of changes already, and you’ve definitely given me some food for thought. I hope some of you lovely other new bloggers also got some benefit out of this too.
I’ve been thinking about this bloggy business, and I have some questions for youse that have been doing it a while (or longer than me, right?).
Buying-in. So far, so free! I have been using a free WordPress site, and I think that this is a great way to have a go and see whether blogging sticks, and figure out at least a little bit of what works and what doesn’t. But all the “super blogging articles” I am reading are suggesting that bloggers should buy-in and invest in their blog – purchase your domain name and host your own site. Can I ask who out there has gone this route? Is hosting your own site difficult if you’ve got minimal tech knowledge, or is it worth it so that you can have the freedom that you need – add in desired plug-ins, tweak your templates, host advertisements etc etc. Hey, on that, who hosts advertising? Do you find it a good thing, or a pain in the bum? Who out there is hoping to one day make some money from their blogging? I don’t think that that is an aim of mine (although my husband is keen! Anything that doesn’t involve effort on his part!) but is it still worth setting yourself up to make $ offsets against the cost of blogging?
Aesthetic. I liked my theme to start with – simple colours with those sweet little balloons. But the more I blog, the less certain I am that it is the theme for me. To start with, this may be a personal blog, but it is still also set in the professional world (to an extent) – does whimsical really fit with that? There are other, more technical concerns: the font is pretty small – has anyone been bothered by this? I visit some (quite well known) blogs and I find them SOOO hard to read. It infuriates me, and I have a sneaking suspicion that mine isn’t too much better. And then more technical stuff that I have become aware of as I proceed, my template only has one column so all my extra widgets and bits and pieces are tucked down the bottom, and who knows what other limitations I haven’t come across as yet. What templates is your blog based on? Have you found it easy to use and flexible for your purposes? Any recommendations of standard templates that you reckon work really well? And have you paid for the customisation options? Or built your own, you whiz, you?
Credits. I have not been crediting pictures – I just google image something along the lines of my blog topic and chuck it up there. Is this really poor form? I’ve noticed a lot of blogs put up an image credit – someone tell me the deal? And PS. where do you find your images?
Other People. Have you hosted or done any guest blogging? I’m not sure that I’m such a great writer that I would shop around my own abilities as a guest poster, but I do think it would be fantastic to get some of the new and interesting people that I have met to do a post for my blog. Do people have the time and energy to write for pissy little blogs like mine? Or are they too spent out from creating with their own blogs? And if I did want to invite people to guest blog, do you tell them the topic or theme, or just say, here’s my blog, go for it?
Numbers. My short time doing this blogging thing has already reaped rewards for me by way of helping me to clarify my thoughts and communicate them, and this process has led to some deeper-than-I-had-anticipated reflecting. And as someone who manages communications staff it has been a massive learning curve in terms of creating and marketing content through any and all available means – two months ago I didn’t even know what SEO stood for! Lots of positives are coming from this before I even start thinking about being read by people. But the fact of the matter is, being read is really nice. And there have been more than a few comments that have set me off on new and interesting paths, and which have made me think more deeply about my position on matters. So yes, I do want my blog to be a mild success in terms of readership. I’ve heard others refer to reaching some of their goals with regard to their overall views, and I’m really curious as to what others in the Non-Professional bloggers category think of as a good number of views for a post, or on a day where you have released a post? And what sort of timeframe did you work with in order to build up the following that you have? If it wasn’t for link-up parties like this, my views would be damn small, so I’m also curious as to what promotion methods have worked for you in driving readers to your blog? Or in writing a personal management-ish blog that doesn’t dispense wisdom and advice, am I actually writing anything that is of interest to anyone? I haven’t yet promoted this blog to all my networks – friends, family, facebook, linked in etc – because I have been very cautious about it, but also because I have been a bit embarrassed. Like everyone will think, Who is she to think that people will be interested in what she has to say! And I’m also a bit nervous because once I release the beast it is a bit hard to change my mind and put it away, especially if people I work with get a hold of it. What do you reckon? Can my blog stand up to that sort of scrutiny, or should I keep it tucked away for a bit longer? How did you go about letting your friends know about your blog?
So there you have it. B-A-C-O-N. I really hope that you are willing to share some of your experiences and advice and feedback with me.