Reflections On A Six Month Old Blog. It’s Been A Challenge, But I’ve Had Help.

It’s January 2, 2012 – I’ve been blogging for six months now.  I’m not exactly sure when the moment was that I decided that I would start a blog – or why – but once the wheels were set in motion it began to consume my attention in a way that I never imagined.

So much of my time is now spent reading other blogs, reading tips about how-to-blog, digesting information about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), researching topics to blog about, checking out customized WordPress themes, updating the sidebar, searching for plug-ins, tweeting and re-tweeting, commenting on other blogs, figuring out what I’m doing.  Sometimes it’s overwhelming but always it is fun.

I’ve read about so many bloggers that started a site and it either morphed into something else or they shut it down and started over. Some bloggers have several sites going at one time and they invite ‘guests’ to post on their blog.  This helps the blogger because they get fresh content on their site without having to write something and the guest gets a new audience that can easily follow a link back to their own site, hence increased traffic.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.  I Know What I Need To Do . . . . . But It Takes So Much Time!

I’ve read about all of the things that you have to do to get traffic to your site: generate fresh content, do your homework on common key word searches, read and comment on other blogs, create a network of Twitter followers, sign up for community blog sites like Technorati and Blogcatalog, submit posts to blogcarnivals, fill every post and page with external, internal and back links, blog at least three times a week, blog everyday, and ultimately try and stay in the good graces of Google so you can work your way up the food chain.

The list is never ending and it would be nearly impossible for someone totally clueless  like me to get out of the starting gate without  help from the folks out there that know more about how the internet and web site development works than I ever will.

What follows is a list of the extremely innovative and technically savvy folks that, were it not for their sites, I would have never made it through the first six months.  I continue to learn from each and every one of them.  If you’re a new blogger, these sites can help you too.

To All Of The People That Have Helped Me That Don’t Know It!

Christian PF (Personal Finance) – This is where it all began.  This was the very first how-to blog article I read when the moment came that I decided I was going to reserve a spot for myself on the world wide web.  Although Christian PF is a web site in the personal finance niche, the article that I came up when I threw a string of words, such as ‘how do I start a blog’ at Google, was “How To Make Money With A Blog”.  I didn’t even know how to set up a blog and had surely not considered that it could be a revenue source!

This article reads like a how-to-blog tutorial and helped me make some very important start-up decisions that I absolutely believe saved me some pain and suffering down the road.  Because of Bob Lotich suggestions, I decided to spend a little money up-front to purchase my own .com through HostGator and use WordPress.org as my blogging platform; both excellent choices.

As a new blogger, there’s no way to incorporate all of Bob’s suggestions so I have the article bookmarked to refer back to whenever I feel like I’m ready to take the next step. For anyone that plans to launch a web site and isn’t quite sure where to begin, “How To Make Money With A Blog” is totally packed with information and is a must read.

Copyblogger – I found and began subscribing to Copyblogger after, again, doing some random key word search about how to build a better blog.  You would think after awhile all of these how-to posts would sound the same.  Not true.  And I should know because I’ve read hundreds of them.

Copyblogger is unique in a way that is hard to describe, but if you visit the site, you’ll see along the sidebar titles like, “21Ways To Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue”, “Five Simple Ways To Open Your Blog With A Bang”, and my personal favorite, “The Eminem Guide to Becoming a Writing and Marketing Machine”.

The posts are as intriguing as the titles.  I must admit, some of the content on Copyblogger is over my head, which challenges me to learn more.  But that’s okay.  I now know that mastering this concept of post-it-and-they-will-come is going to take a very long time and as a Copyblogger subscriber I won’t miss out on any of the fascinating updates.

Blog Tips – The best thing about this web site is that – as the name suggests –  readers subscribe to daily blog tips.  As a beginner there’s no such thing as too many tips.

Many of the tips are short and you can read them in a few minutes. I find they are easy to read from my phone which I like.  They are always insightful and provide me with information about something new I can try, something I’ve heard before but never had a chance to check out or just common sense stuff that new bloggers need to hear over and over like, ‘be patient’, ‘developing an audience takes time’ and ‘don’t give up’.

When I hear my phone chime to alert me to new mail that has landed in my Yahoo mail box, I’m eager to see if a daily blog tip has arrived for me to devour.

Hollaback Health – The Bloggers’ Blog.  I love this site.  It is all about helping people that are blogging in the health and wellness niche.  There are eight Hollaback Girls in all and they supply the Hollaback  Health site with content that is – for lack of a fancier way to say it – really, really helpful and they keep it very real.

I think I got hooked when I read “Four Reasons Your Penchant For Irrelevant Self-Portraits is Ruining Your Blog” because I thought, “Yes!” I absolutely agree that a blog that looks like you’ve inadvertently been linked out to MySpace doesn’t really belong in the health and wellness world.  Or “Mommy, Wow! I’m a Big Blogger Now” which in a nutshell says to the reader, “So act like one”.

A Blog To Remember –  A relatively new blog about a woman’s blogging journey.  I wish I had thought of that!  Something I love about this blog is that Karen Stevens began her ‘journey’ about the same time I did and the content is so relavant to my experiences.

For someone that is new at this, Karen’s design stands out with a custom header, exceptional color scheme and easy to read layout.  A Blog To Remember has a slideshow on the Home page and all of the posts display a teaser that you can click on if you want to read the full post.  I’m taking notes from this blog and think that mine will start to look similar to it in 2012.

I am a little worried about Karen though.  She hasn’t blogged since November 30th.  I hope she taking a haitus and hasn’t gotten discouraged. Maybe if we all put a comment on one of her posts or give her a few Facebook likes she’ll get back to posting.

Cranky Fitness – Crabby McSlacker, author of Cranky Fitness is a rock star blogger.  Even though she’s way out of my league I’ve subscribed to her site.  I figure, why not learn from the best!  Her writing is funny and fresh and she has this way of changing her mind a lot using the strikethrough key in place of the backspace.  Cranky is both my blogging and sense of humor mentor. Cranky Fitness is just pure fun and you don’t have to be a fitness junkie to enjoy it.

Blogging Without A Blog – Barbara Swafford started her blog in 2007 by writing everything she was trying to learn about blogging in a notebook when she realized that she was blogging without a blog.  Since that time her site has taken on a life of it’s own.

This is one of those sites that I could spend all day reading because it has awesome content and comments and the design is one of the best I think I’ve seen.  Barbara’s blog looks like an open notebook.  Barbara calls Blogging Without A Blog an on-line ‘blogging classroom’, so if there are newbies reading this, check it out.  There is much to learn from Barbara. You won’t be disappointed.

Traffic Generation Café – Question: What does every new blogger think about ALL the time?  Answer: How to get more traffic to their site.  The Traffic Generation Café devotes the entire site to this topic alone.

It’s hard to image there would be this much to write about traffic generation, but Ana has post after post and page after page that will help you market your web site in ways that you’ve never thought of. I will confess that I can only read one or two posts at a time at this site.  Ana is so much smarter than I am and doing everything on such a different level that I tend to get overwhelmed at the café.

This is site that you will want to bookmark or hit the subscribe button so you can stay on top of Ana’s posts.  It’s amazing.

Flickr photo by jmoneyyyyyy

What Will 2012 Bring?  Bring It On!  Now that we’ve rolled into 2012 I’m wondering what my blog will morph into this year.  I have no doubt that it will go through dramatic changes. I’m thinking about a new WordPress theme – I’m just not sure which one, a customized header, and a focus on developing a tighter niche to reach a more targeted audience.

I have what it takes to become a blogger: I’m dedicated to it.  I enjoy it. I’m not overly discouraged or de-motivated by site stats that show less visits per day than I’d like to have. Since I began in August every month is better than the last.

Crazy Creativity Inspires Me

And, as you can see, I have found so many crazily creative bloggers that arouse my thinking, and techy techs that help me figure out stuff like what the heck a Meta Tag is, and brilliant mentors super funny, inspiring women that push me to become more like them. (There are so many more than I can possibly mention here because a blog post really shouldn’t be over 900 words which means this one is already way too long.)  I’m absolutely certain with all of the amazing people that are posting new posts, launching new sites, and pushing their co-bloggers along, that by the end of 2012 I’ll start to get the hang of this.

 

Comments

  1. Marylyn says:

    It has been a great six months. I enjoy your blog and I visit your blog at least 3 to 4 times a week because I know Karen will tell me the truth, not what I want to hear, but the truth about health. There are so my fad diets, experts, etc. Like they say truth is in the advertising. This blog is refreshing and continue telling us the “truth”!

  2. Richard says:

    Congratulations on blogging for sticking with blogging for 6 months. I am on a similar journey…just been at it a bit longer. Everyday, I wake up and check my google stats and RSS subscribers, hoping that miraclously I have thousands of new readers. Unfortunately, it is just the faithful few, but that is ok. I will impact one life at a time.

    Thanks for sharing all the great links above. Most of them were new to me.

    Cheers and Good Luck,
    Richard

    • admin says:

      Hi Richard – Good luck to you too! I do a lot of checking the stats too, but I’m starting to learn that it is a process. A S-L-O-W one at that. Keep up the good work!