This week is my 1 year anniversary of blogging! This is one of the longest posts I’ve written because I’ve got a great deal of passion for what I’ve learned, love and desire to do more. If there are bloggers following me or future bloggers, my hope is that this post rings true for you: blogging for me, is a way to preserve myself today and for the future. What is blogging for you? [Tweet this]
Blogging can be addictive or a bother: For me, it is addictive – I’m never short on opinions and never short on ideas that I love to share and I find the written word easier to convey than the spoken word (I find, people talk too much with so little content: the challenge is conveying so much in so little words).
If your heart isn’t in blogging and you are looking for a lazy way to earn money, blogging is not for you. Believe it or not, bloggers put a lot of time and heart into their posts. Although, there are times I’ve heard from other bloggers that they “called it in with that one” when the blogger posts a “Round up*”. In reality, the only reason why that is “calling it in” is because the blogger didn’t actually have to do the project. But, this is really not “calling it in”, there is a lot of searching, consolidating, writing to ensure proper credit goes into doing a “round up”.
Bottom-line, blogging is almost a daily commitment that you make to express yourself and your ideas through written word. This takes time and if you want a following, commitment to doing it well on a frequent basis. The question for you: Is blogging a have to or is a want to?
WordPress vs. Blogger. I started on Blogger because I recognized that I’m the type of person that has a very small attention span, so when I started blogging I wasn’t a 100% that I would continue on this path and didn’t want to make the investment. I gave myself a goal: if I kept it up for 6 months at least two posts a week AND found posting a ‘want to’ rather than a ‘have to’, I’d consider a greater commitment and move to WordPress.
After 6 months, I came to the conclusion that I really like sharing, I have ideas people are interested in and I like doing it. So I switched from Blogger to WordPress under the guidance from more than one full-time blogger that “if you are serious about blogging, you’ll need to go to WordPress”. A half year later I still question this statement.
Blogger is like the fast lane where you have 15 items or less – it is quick and easy. You select a theme, customize it a bit with the features that it allows, fill out a wizard for Google Ads and Google Analytics and you can start posting right away. Blogger is also low maintenance, supported by Google and there are a ton of sites out there with the code for neat little widgets that you can simply add to the Blogger site.
WordPress, on the other hand, is the long line. It takes more knowledge of HTML, Stylesheets, FTPing, managing plugins, managing widgets, a service to host and a lot of praying when you upgrade to the latest WordPress version that nothing breaks, and, frankly (unlike Blogger) it takes a bit of financial commitment to have the website hosted. Also, migrating from Blogger to WordPress was a big ordeal! I’m not a full-time blogger so I ended up hiring Sarah at tech4mommies.com who took care of everything in a weekend – love Sarah!!!!
While WordPress does give you a ton more flexibility to expand what you want to do with a blog. Instead of listening to someone tell you WordPress is the only way to go if you are a “serious blogger”, really ask yourself:
- How much time do you want to spend on website maintenance?
- Are you into the whole figuring out if you used the right font for making a quotation mark?
- Do you have a need to “automatically” post posts to a different site than the main site?
If yes to any of the above, then WordPress is for you. If not, and all you really want to do is share your thoughts, ideas, monetize, in a nice predefined layout, then Blogger is the way to go.
Building an audience is work/fun: I’ve visited many blogs where all of a sudden the blogger decides they don’t want to do it anymore or can’t find time and they leave 1000 plus Facebook followers/twitter followers etc in the lurch. Every time I see that I think: ‘what a waste, why didn’t they just line up some guest bloggers’, there are so many of us out there that hunger for a larger audience to share with, to get comments from and even try to earn a dollar.
There was a lot of work and time that went into gaining that audience: like interacting with other bloggers, writing good articles, experimenting, sharing successes and failures, supporting other bloggers, and posting regularly to your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, take and edit good pictures, etc. That’s time and commitment that those bloggers just threw away. To avoid throwing away all that time and work, ask yourself :is it all about you or are you interested in sharing and helping others as well?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to others: The worst they can say is no or ignore you. I visit a lot of blogs and many of them have the same giveaways that I’d love to do (Silhouette, Keurig, Kitchen Aid- hello – call me, love your products ), some I’ve reached out to and been told no, but some I’ve reached out to and got a break – Thank you KRAFT and 14 Hands Wine!!! The bottom line, when you are rejected it is a business decision: they are making a business decision on whether your audience is a good fit for their product or if your blog is reaching an audience that they may not get through another form of media.
Looking for a guest blogging position, looking for support for tweets/retweets; ask someone that you’ve been following. Everyone started out at some point and someone lent a hand. The blogging community is just that, a community that helps build and support each other. Have faith that your fellow bloggers would love to help – just ask.
If you choose to blog, you’ll never stop learning! For me, taking a webinar/tutorial/attending a blogging conference is something I can’t wait for: I have taken vacation time from work to go to a blogging conference, I have used weekend mornings to take LightRoom courses, taken classes in the evenings to learn painting techniques, had my Mom teach me how to sew and can on weekends. I’ve used evenings to learn and participate in twitter parties. There is always something new (even if you know how to do something you’ll learn how to do or present it differently for your audience). While I LOVE learning, this is time away from family, and my full-time commitments, but it is also a way to help preserve my identity when I’m not just a mother, wife, Project Manager, etc – it’s just me being me. If you want to blog, ask yourself are you willing to make a commitment to continue to learn and better yourself?
Finally, my hope this helps, here is a list of resources and information that helped me:
- Google Adsense,
- Commission Junction,
- Blogher Advertising(although my application hasn’t been accepted yet, I’m hopeful),
- One2One Network,
- WordPress Templates,
- Tech4mommies.com (she can switch you to any template you want)
- Spiceupyourblog.com, Blogger (for Google Blogger, not WordPress) Tips and Tricks:
- Check out my pinterest board for Photography/Photoshop Tips which includes tips for photoshop, DSLR cameras, camera lenses etc.
- LightRoom Tutorials also available for iPad and iPhone
- check out my blog resources on Pinterest which includes sites that I visit for blogging statistics, social media image sizes etc.
- CollageIt Pro (found in the App Store),
- CyberDuck for FTP
- SnapNDrag (found in the App Store) which is great for capturing full window, screen or selection or if you need to delay the screen capture.
- HootSuite which allows you to post messages to Twitter, Facebook and other social media in one entry. This app is also available for your phone, iPad or tablet and web-based for PC/Mac.
- Rafflecopter website to administer giveaways.
- Statcounter.com to see some analytic data on where traffic is coming from, how they are navigating and where they are going.
- Alexa.com’s toolbar (so you can see your site ranking and other site rankings as well.)
- Instagram (found in the App Store)
- Check out my list of blogs that I participate in their Link Parties found on Party On.
- And I recently came across this site as well: LinkyHere.com
Favorite WordPress Plugins/Widgets:
- Disqus Comment System: to manage threaded comments
- Easy AdSense: to manage multiple ad networks
- Easy Recipe: to format recipes for printing
- Instagram Gallery Widget: to display your recent instagrams
- nrelate Most Popular: to display the most popular posts as well display related posts
- Official StatCounter Plugin: keeps track of the traffic
- Pretty Pinterest Pins: to display my recent Pinterest pins
- Scrolling Social Sharebar (Twitter Like Google +1 Linkedin and Stumbleupon): display a scrolling social media slider to help build an audience by making it easy to tweet/facebook the post.
- SEO Blogger to WordPress using 301 Redirection: I had to use to redirect traffic from my original blogger site, allartful.com,
- All in One SEO: to WordPress grinninglikeanidiot.com, but it also gives a much needed SEO descriptors, meta data etc.
- Widget Twitter VJCK: to display your latest tweets
- FeedBurner FeedSmith Extend: used for the handy follow-me buttons
* Round Up – this is where you find a bunch of things you like that others have done and put it out there for the world to review, criticize and try.
*SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Here are some of my previous posts that represent a milestone for me.