Thursday, June 10, 2010

Things I've Learned in 6 Months of Blogging

Today marks my 6 month anniversary of blogging.  This is my 209th post!  I am still a rookie, but along the journey, I've learned a few useful things through trial and error, and from other bloggers. 

I learned that people don't like word verification.  I wish I could remember which blog I first read this on, because I'd give them credit.  After I read this (approximately 3 months ago), I turned off my word verification.  The thing is, I still preview comments, so if I got a spammer I could just delete it.  In the time since I turned off word verification, I haven't gotten any comments in other languages or in nastiness.  And it saves readers time and frustration by not having to go through it.

I learned that as in real life, in order to make friends you need to put yourself out there.  As in visiting others' blogs, making comments, and if you really enjoy what they have to say, following them.  Participating in memes or blog carnivals are a great way to meet people.  I've tried a variety to see which ones I like best, and the one that I've stuck to is Muffin Tin Monday.  But if you're not into cooking or muffin tins, there are plenty to choose from.  By coming back week to week, you'll meet other regular bloggers and make friends.

I learned that people like posts where you are real.  But all things in moderation.  Do you really want to read about someone who is constantly down or struggling?  Likewise, do you really want to read about someone who is always having a perfect life?  I think a balance between the two creates legitimacy in your blog.

Blogging shouldn't be hard.  There are so many things to blog about!  If you're having trouble thinking of topics, use what you have.  Take a picture of something you love and talk about why it's so great.  Write about a book you're reading.  A movie you've seen.  A food you've cooked.  Nutella (because it deserves its own post).  Anything can be a topic.  I once took a picture of a piece of wood that I was planning to blog about - but I had so many other things to talk about I never did get around to writing on the wood! 

Learn how to go into google and see what kind of posts you're doing that attact readers.  If only to gauge your own writing and see where your strengths are.  I just think it's an interesting study of your blog.  And it may surprise you.  It certainly did me.  My most popular post in the past 6 months?  The Lure of the Park Ranger.

I learned how to write posts ahead of time and schedule them for posting without me.  This is by far one of my favorite features.  I don't know why it took me so long to figure out.  So handy on the days that I am teaching.  Also, I especially use it with Memory Lane Fridays - this way I don't have to be up early to get my post out there for those of you who participate - it just goes automatically once I schedule it.  Love this feature!

I'm still very much a newbie and I still have tons to learn about blogging (and would love to hear your tips if you have any), but I've had a lot of fun with it so far.  I've enjoyed meeting others and having a creative outlet has been essential for me during this year of transition after having the twins.  Especially during those long, snowy winter days where we were trapped in the house.  Whew!  TGI Summer!

13 comments:

Mere said...

I didnt realize I had word verification on for my blog..it's off now. I always thought that thing was annoying.

Nutella definitly deserves its own post!

How do you do that thing with google? Where you see what kind of posts are attracting people?

Interesting stuff!! I know I definitly need to explore the blogging world some more.

varunner said...

Mere, I'm not sure your blog is set open to google search? I once tried to search for it (that's how I found the Grady Taylor house) and it didn't come up.
To look at search results, click on My Account in the upper right corner of the blog. It will take you to your page (you may need to sign in again). On the bottom left you'll see Webmaster Tools. Click on that. Under sites you will see your blog. Click on your blog and this will take you to all sorts of details on search results.

Nicole said...

Interesting! Yep, my verification in now off. =)

I was just going to ask you the same ? about the google thing. Thanks so much!!

Even though you have only been doing this for 6 months you seem like a pro to me!
Great job and keep it up!!!!

Nicole said...

Ok, not meaning to clog up you comments but I didn't find the Webmaster Tools? Hmmm... I'm on the page you said to go to in your account, I've even signed out and signed back in. =( Maybe it's because I haven't had any coffee yet and my eyes are still pasted shut...

Nicole said...

Ok, you don't have to post the other comment before this one. I finally figured it out, added the code, verified it and now it shows up! YEA!!! Thanks for letting me know!

Andrea (ace1028) said...

I've never checked my search or hits info, but I thought I had to download an analytics thingy, and just figured I'd pass. ;) So thank YOU for the tip!

I have seen you grow and flourish these past months, and I puffy <3 your blog, and YOU!

Thanks for the MTM swap tip. I've been so slack on doing them, but may try to participate anyway. Oh, and I need to get my own going. I'll email you re: the code for the button, etc. Enjoy your Thursday!

The Princess said...

Congrats on the 200+ postings - it made me go and check how long I have had my blog (since 07, but didn't start using it until last year). Oh yeah and I acquired your button =)

Jeremi said...

I am such a simple blogger -- I had no idea you could turn off word verification, how do you do that? How do you google your most popular posts? Interesting. My computer time is always so rushed that if something takes too long or gets complicated I move on.

Great tips -- I always enjoy your posts : )

Sonya Heilmann said...

You've got some great tips here. I didn't realize that word verification was such a PITA. I don't mind one way or another, so I didn't think about how other people thought it was irritating.

I absolutely agree about keeping it real, keeping it true to yourself.

And Nutella absolutely deserves its own post!

varunner said...

Jeremi, I didn't think anything of word verification either, until I started reading on others' blogs that people don't like it. Very simple to turn off. Go to your dashboard and click on the 'settings' tab. Then click on the 'comments' tab. Scroll down to 'show word verification' on the left, and just click 'no'. Save and you're all done!

mm said...

I enjoyed your post. Thanks for the great tips! I, too, have turned off word verification. If you think about it, you have a great affect on people. ;) We've all turned off our word verification because you've suggested it. It sure makes sense though because I really wish I could skip word verifications on a lot of sites.

I enjoy your blog. Congrats and keep it up!! :D

Sara said...

Congrats! I found you from your blurb in Family Fun magazine...
I just had my first blogiversary--it is a good creative outlet, I have to agree with you.
Cheers!

warren said...

I think you should also send me scads of presents every week!

Other than that, I think you have a good list...and good posts