Over the next few months, I will be publishing an ongoing series, which includes and continues from much of what I started in my book, “Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging”.
I’ve been blogging since 1994, though it barely had a name back then, online journaling is what it soon became. Along the way, I’ve changed domain names twice, moved through four different web hosts on that first site/blog, started many other blogs, closed many blogs, and endured the evolution from website to blog. I’ve watched mailing lists become forums become chats and blogs. I’ve watched search directories become search engines become world domination communication platforms, and also watch them cave into censors as they took their products globally. I’ve endured the scoff and scorn personal blogs developed, and battled comment spammers, sploggers, scammers, and content thieves in increasing numbers every year.
I’ve been bragged about, exclaimed, flamed, humiliated, taken to task, had my words abused and used against me, whether any of these were true or deserving, it matters not. It happens to all of us at one time or another in this new phenomenon known today as web publishing.
I’ve traveled the world and spoke to fellow writers, web network owners and administrators, forum managers and moderators, website hosts, site owners, users, and bloggers. We’ve learned from each other, passing tips back and forth, and grown up through the adolescence of the World Wide Web.
Along the way, I think I learned a few things. I know I have the bruises, callouses, and scars to prove that at least I survived, so I must have learned something along the way.
Blog Struggles – The Series
The series is called “Blog Struggles” and will cover how to find and write content, editing blog content, blog writing tips, finding your blogging voice, when to publish – and when not to, how to encourage comments or spurn them, comment spam, trolls and mean folks, splogs and content abusers, reader perceptions, creating an online and/or blogger persona, writing a personal or technical blog, creating a blog working environment, changing your blog topic and concept, getting found, social networking, explaining what blogging is to friends and family, finding time to blog, panning your blog, linking, blog structure, maintaining your blog, blog evolution, web traffic mythology, closing your blog, finding inspiration and motivation to keep blogging, blog branding, blog development, fitting blogging into your life in spite of your life, and the trends, fads, and blog clutter I’ve seen come and go, and then come back to our blogs.
Much of these things I already have covered on this blog, but I want to put them all together in a body of work. I might even add a category, if this continues forward with a popular response.
When I sat down to jot a few ideas onto paper about what I wanted you, my fellow blogger, to know about blogging, the things that aren’t discussed openly but common to all of us, I ran out of paper. I covered pages and pages with tips, ideas, techniques, and resources you need to know to improve your blogging, and strengthen your blogging spirit and energy. I was stunned at how many things you know or need to know about blogging and how to keep blogging, that I wanted to share with you.
This isn’t a series for beginners. It isn’t a series for advanced users or the in between. It is a series for all bloggers, no matter where you are on your blogging path. As I looked through my notes for this series, I realized how much I had learned that I hadn’t put down in words or even understood. Hopefully now, we can openly discuss all these topics and learn and grow together.
Got a Life Plan – Get a Blog Plan
I’ve been teaching sexual assault prevention education to women for many years. I always ask my students if they have health insurance. Life insurance? Auto insurance? Homeowners or renter’s insurance? What about a living will or general will if something happens to you? If you have all these things in order, it means you have sat down and made a plan for your life, just in case you need these things. So why don’t we consider making a plan for being attacked, mugged, robbed, sexually assaulted, harassed, or raped? These should be treated no differently than the other “plans” for “what if” in our lives.
The same goes for blogging. We start out enthused and energized, sometimes thinking that this is the coolest thing on the planet we’ve ever done, but without thinking it through and having some kind of plan, we can flounder, losing interest and enthusiasm, as well as blogging energy.
There is a lot of joy in sharing your knowledge and experiences with others. Unfortunately, you are also making those things public, which means they are open to acclaim, criticism, celebration, and bashing. With your writing and images easily accessible to the public, your content is going to be stolen, ripped off, abused, and used to generate profits for others, not you. You will get comment spam, nasty ugly comments created by machines and humans that have nothing to do with you, but plague your blog.
You will go through great writing spurts, down time, have personal problems interfere with your blogging, get bored, burned out, and just worn out. You will get accused, abused, and battered for what you say, how you say it, why you said it, and when you said it. It happens. It happens to all of us.
We all experience these things so why not be prepared and know what to do and how to react when the “what if” happens on your blog?
My goals in doing this ongoing series on Blog Struggles is to:
- Share lessons learned to help you prevent my mistakes on your blog.
- Share lessons learned you may not have considered or anticipated.
- Open the conversation up to topics rarely covered on the good, bad, and ugly aspects of blogging.
- Let you know you are not alone. We all go through these at different stages in our blogging life, so let’s go through them together and learn together.
As always, if you have questions or would like me to cover a specific concern or topic that is plaguing your blogging spirit or activities, let me know. We’re all in this blogging boat together.
Blog Struggles Series
- Blog Struggles: The Search for Blog Content: We put so much energy into “finding” blog content that we often forget the best source for good blog content: from within us. I offer tips and techniques for pulling content from your head.
- Blog Struggles: Ideas and Drafts: We come up with such great ideas and then what? We jot them down, make lists, start post drafts, and they sit there staring at us, as we procrastinate over what to do with all these ideas and how to keep them in check. I offer tips on how to best keep track of your ideas and drafts.
- Blog Struggles: The Blog Focus: As part one in a sub-series of posts on Blog Struggles, I look at the issue of the blog focus, your blog’s ability to turn you from a blogger into an expert.
- Blog Struggles: Why Should Your Blog Have a Focus: Your blog doesn’t have to have a focus, but if it does, these are the reasons, and benefits, of why it should.
- Blog Struggles: Finding Your Blog Focus: Continues the Blog Focus theme and offers tips for finding your blog’s focus and direction.
- Blog Struggles: Changing Your Blog’s Focus: Once you find your blog focus, how do you change your blog? Or should you start a new blog? I cover the tips you need to know to redirect your blog.
- Blog Struggles: When Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation Interferes With Your Blogging looks at the issues around the impact of poor writing habits and skills and whether or not they impact the success and reading of your blog.
- In Blog Struggles: When Are Too Many Comments Too Many Comments?, I share a struggle I faced not long ago about an over-enthusiastic commenter who left a ton of comments on my blog within a few hours, making me very suspicious. We are often faced with suspicious comments, so what do we do? How should we handle them?
- Blog Struggles: Taking The Moral High Blogging Ground addresses the issue of deciding which ethical and moral road to take on your blog.
- Blog Struggles: Blogger’s Depression looks at the rarely discussed by normal aspect of blogging: depression. When the enthusiasm for the effort is lost and apathy sets in, and how to overcome it.
- Blog Struggles: It’s The Rituals That Help Us Focus: I share some of the rituals I use to get me “in the blogging mood” and ask you to share yours.
- Blog Struggles: When An Old Post is New Again takes a look at some of the struggles I’ve had when a past post suddenly gets picked up and sensationalized. I discuss the methods I use for keeping my old posts up to date, especially when fame comes knocking.
- Blog Struggles: Recovering From a Traffic Spike really touched a lot of people as they related to the addiction that traffic spikes bring, as well as the hassles.
- Blog Struggles: Surviving the When Blogging Goes Bad Blues look at how to keep on writing when life gets in the way.
- Blog Struggles: How Do You Know When to Stop Writing a Blog Post? looks at blog writing basics of post length and guidelines for when to know it’s time to stop writing and hit publish.
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.