Skip navigation

One Year Anniversary Review: Blogging and Blogging Tips

This is a blog about blogging, as well as WordPress, and over the past year I’ve written plenty about blogging.

When I began this blog, , was meant to be about WordPress. All about WordPress. I quickly found out that you cannot use WordPress without blogging, so the two fit together.

I’ve written about a lot of different aspects of blogging. I just posted a review of a year’s worth of writing about writing, with articles, tips, and techniques about blog writing. I’ve also offered a lot of other tips and techniques to help bloggers blog.

Blogging has a long history. Didn’t you know that? I was blogging before I was blogging. We just called it “journaling” back when the most popular car on the market was an Edsel. Okay, I’m only slightly kidding. In “Blogging Predicted in 1800s?”, I wrote:

According to MosNews’ Blogging Predicted by 19th Century Russian Prince, blogging was predicted in a novel written in Russia in 1837.

Prince Vladimir Odoevsky, 1803-1869, was a gifted man. Apart from writing philosophical books, stories for children and composing pieces of music, he also wrote science fiction, trying to imagine what his country would look like in 2,500 years, in 4338…Odoevsky suggested in future there would be a kind of connection between houses that would allow people to communicate quickly and easily, the way they do now via the Internet.

“Houses are connected by means of magnetic telegraphs that allow people who live far from each other to communicate,” Odoevsky wrote…

Makes you think. What are you blogging about that might predict what the future will be like in 2,500 years that will turn out to be true sooner than you think? What do you think the future of computers and blogging will be like in 2,500 years?

I love research into writing, especially writing associated with blogging. I found research on “Bursty Blogging”, the study of email letter writing, and blogging. Researchers are trying to put a mathematical formula onto the process of letter writing and blogging:

In previous work, Barabási looked at how long it took people to answer their email, and found a “bursty” pattern – most emails are answered fairly quickly, but a few sit around for a long time, and some sit around for a very long time.

To describe the pattern, Barabási created a mathematical model in which people prioritize their emails, then respond to the high priority emails quickly and the low-priority emails more slowly.

…Yet despite the differences between electronic communication and paper, the same pattern held up – both men answered most of their mail quickly, within about 10 days. But some of the answers took months or even years to send (Nature, vol 437, p 1251). “From the scientific point of view, the interesting thing is that there is a fundamental way that we do things,” Barabási says.

Okay, so I can be forgiven for procrastination, right?

On another “scientific” front, research also revealed that many bloggers use websites as therapy:

Nearly half of bloggers consider it a form of therapy, according to a recent survey sponsored by America Online Inc. And although some psychologists question the use of the Internet for therapy, one hospital in High Point, N.C., started devoting space to patients’ blogs on its Web site, a practice Inova Fairfax Hospital is also considering.

…The project has been so successful — both as a marketing tool for the hospital and a form of group therapy for patients who get feedback from their readers — that High Point is considering adding video blogs, said Eric Fletcher, a spokesman for the hospital.

There are a lot of ways to sharing tips about blogging and I had fun trying to come up with different ways to convey related information. In “The 12 Biggest Problems With Your Blogs”, I followed up on Sedition.com’s “The 12 biggest problems with your blog” with a few of my own:

1. Too Many Gizmos and Gadgets: Once you figure out how easy it is to add crap to your blog, you reach that phase of wanting everything and thinking everything is essential to have. This includes polls, asides, showcasing most recent comments, mood graphics, what music I am listening to right now, weather reports, geographic locations and maps, tag clouds (heat maps) everywhere or before content, and anything that blinks, dances, clicks, or whirls. Get past that phase now.

3. Give Me a Reason to Return: I really think that bloggers don’t concentrate on this aspect enough. You want an audience badly yet you do little to provide us with a reason to return. Tease us with upcoming stories, give us quality content, and give us a reason to return to learn more.

4. Original versus Redundant: As pointed out above, if it makes the top of Digg or Slashdot, the odds are that everyone is writing about the same thing, so just give your audience a pointer to it if you have to, but I’d rather see your perspective and opinion on the subject in addition to the heads-up. Tell me why you think this is important and how this information impacted your life and decisions, then I’ll really be interested in it and have more information.

9. Teach Me: I love a good opinion, but I like learning things more often. Unless you are an amazingly gifted commentator, satirist, and editorialist with the gift of gab and opinion, then teach us. Tell us how to do things better, or worse. Tell us something we should know or shouldn’t know. Let us sit at the feet of your blog and absorb your knowledge, oh, wise one.

11. Make Me Think: The biggest problem I see with most blogs is the lack of interaction with the audience, and you get that interaction by getting your audience to stop and think about what you are saying, why you are saying it, and get them to respond on whether or not what you are saying is a good thing or totally nuts. If your blogging has a purpose, then make sure I know what your purpose is and then make me think about it. If you can stop me in my daily, rush around tracks and make me think, you’ve got a fan, and I’ve got a reason to come back.

Exploring how to succeed in blogging, I took a “negative” approach with “10 Things You Need to Know Before You Blog”:

* Everyone has an opinion – make yours count with facts, references, and validity.
* Content, content, content, content, links, content, links, content, content, content, content.
* Be prepared for time spent 70% blogging and 30% maintenance and updating, though at first it might be 40% blogging and 60% maintenance until you get the knack.
* Reach out to more than just friends and relatives. Speak to the world, or at least a larger audience.
* Want to be found and noticed – think SEO and keywords.
* Spell check. Spell check. Spell check. Grammar check. Spell check.
* Write in complete sentences.
* Don’t assume.
* Don’t read minds or assume others are reading yours.
* Be gracious and thank those who contribute and help you blog.

On another ass-backwards method of giving tips, The Top 10 Clues That You Are an Amateur Blogger took another look at the same issues, including highlighting blogs that do nothing but provide link lists to other blogs:

Link Lists: Yes, link lists are fun. Yes, link lists are easy. Yes, we are all thrilled to know that you managed to find 10 sites to link to that you liked today or this week. We got it. Lists are nice and easy. Lists suck. I hate lists… Link lists are fine if you have content to match. But links for links sake = boring and time wasting.

Blogging is work. It can be great fun, but if you stick with it, it can become work. In “Blogging is Hard Work”, I share a quote from Good God Blog:

So I’ve swore to join the daily grind and, as I’ve said, it’s hard work. Lucky for me there’s lots of nice folk out there lending a blogging hand. I’ve read through all their archives and it seems the advice boils down to one point, you’re gonna have to write. If you don’t like to write then blogging will be painful.

I love learning from others, and I often share tips and techniques from my prowls around the web looking for things to learn. The recent Blogathon, a 24 hour marathon of non-stop blogging, I pitched in by reading and commenting on many of the blogs participating this year. I learned a lot, and I learned a lot about the many things you should do, and not do when you blog, especially when you blog in a Blogathon:

Over and over I read people writing about how they will never come up with enough stuff to write about to cover the 24 hours. How they will never think of 48 things to write about. Wrong way to think, folks.

You had an opportunity to write 48 precious posts. Only forty-eight. Not 365, if you blog daily. Not over 600 if you blog more than once a day. Just 48. A tiny number. Each one counted. Each one means something. Each one is an opportunity. Don’t waste a single one.

Think about how many steps it takes you to walk from your computer to your refrigerator. Two, three, ten, twenty? Maybe 24? Round trip would be 48 steps. Is that so far to go for an ice cold soda? Put into 48 steps, that number doesn’t seem to be so far, does it? If you think 48 steps is equal to a short distance instead of a long way to go, your perception changes.

Blog as if each of those 48 posts might be the last 48 things you blog about. That will change your Blogathon perspective.

…The deadline for registering as a Blogathon participant was over a week before the Blogathon. The time between learning about the Blogathon and registering was probably more than a couple hours. In that time, you must have come up with 48 things to blog about, right? I did. And I wasn’t participating.

You all had time to make lists and come up with ideas. For those who paid attention to my Blogathon tips, I listed an article with 100s of resources for finding things to write about. There is so much information on the web to write about, I’m overwhelmed. There is so much information everywhere to write about, the view out your window, making up stories about the people walking past your window, life stories, how you solved a problem or three, school, family, dogs, cats, jobs, news, friends…so much to write about – so don’t waste one of your precious 48 posts on a statement that you can’t think about what to blog about. Time waster and audience killer.

How Not to Blog in a Blogathon Blog

How Much is Lorelle on WordPress WorthOn the fun side of blogging, Business Opportunities developer Dane Carlson created an applet on Tristan Louis’s research into the value of each link to Weblogs Inc., and created How Much is Your Blog Worth. On October 25, 2005, just a few days after the applet was created, Lorelle on WordPress was worth $80,729.22 USD. I checked again on November 17, 2005, and it was worth $145,651. I just checked now and (drum roll, please), $500,182.44. The following sound you hear is me fainting on the floor. Sure wish it was real money.

We also had fun learning how to use Blogshares, a stock market of blog values. It’s also a fun way to learn about how the stock market works in general. Today, Lorelle on WordPress is worth B$36,130.92 (in Blogshares money) and outgoing links are worth B$4,528.86. If you want to buy shares in my blog, the current market price is B$704.25. Google is currently at USD $378.60 on the US Stock Exchange. HA! ;-)

I wrote a fun and inspiring article called 30 Things You Can Do to Change the World in 30 Seconds, which was a challenge to others to write a list of 20 things they can do to change the world, but each task must take 30 seconds or less. It was interesting to see a lot of people write about world hunger and peace, but that’s not something that will take 30 seconds or less. Even if you know the right people. Still, a lot of people took the challenge and it was great to see what their creative blogging minds could come up with.

This later inspired my Blog Challenges, an ongoing series of challenges for bloggers of all levels and types. Recent challenges include:

We all take time to reflect and review what we’ve done, and in May of this year, I asked you all to answer the question: “What Have You Learned from the Blogging Experience?”. It’s interesting to learn from what others learn, and I keep learning things from you, my readers, every day. Thank you for that gift.

The Downside of Blogging

We’ve had a lot of fun with blogging, but there are some downsides to blogging. In “Mean Spirited Comments and Blogging”, I talked about the mean blogging out there that insults bloggers by blogging from anger and meanness.

Blogging is often threatened by generalized statements and assumptions, such as those found in “Forbes Trashes Blogs” or The Blog Fog – Life or Death for Blogs as a Fad:

The Twin Cities News article, “Cutting Through the Blog Fog”, an attempt to translate all the media hype and speculation on whether or not blogs are just a passing fad, growing industry, or just plain dead.

Yet you’d never know it these days, checking out the latest buzz in the mainstream media and the tirelessly boastful blogs. But now, after several years of revolutionary rhetoric in each venue about the wonders of the blogosphere, doubters have surfaced. Suddenly, they are questioning the accumulated wisdom of the boosters. It’s boom or doom. Like so much of what pings around in today’s vast media echo chambers, odds are that neither of these visions will stand the test of time.

While the US offered federal protection for Political Bloggers, there were many reports last year of reading blogs at work wasn’t safe and many employees got in trouble, leading to a crackdown on access to blogs from the workplace, as well as other Internet access as employees were also caught viewing porn.

Spam blogs and comment spammers went into overtime in the past year to give a bad name to blogs from a variety of angles. It didn’t help when we learned about how traffic trolls create controversy to increase blog traffic to their blogs. The evil that some bloggers do hurts all bloggers.

Many bloggers ran out of steam and quit blogging, and I even questioned the passion it takes to keep blogging on, even when blogging is threatened with a physical injury:

I’m one-and-a-half-handing it here, crippled from my normal high speed typing technique, trying to convey my frustration at typing and communicating through my computer to you. Yet the urge to spell this out for you in my blog wins out over the OW! Ouch! EEK! pain of avoiding interaction between my thumb and the space bar with every word, and losing the battle.

The urge to blog is there, but don’t expect any great missives to come spewing out over the next couple weeks. I have to pack up my life-on-the-road-for-the-past-3-months and fly back home to hubby and Hurricane Alley (just in time for hurricane season! Wee!) and work right up to the last minute of the flight with only nine active fingers.

I have heard a lot of reasons for people to blog, and a lot of reasons for people not to blog. They get bored, frustrated, feel no one cares, no one is reading, or just bored with the topic they are writing about. They run out of stories, ideas, and enthusiasm. These feelings happen to everyone. If you are serious about blogging, you just pass through it and keep blogging. Fake it until you make it.

But when there is a life event that threatens your passion, desire, and ability to blog, then what?

…I’m not crippled for life, by any means. I’m just down for the count. But I know that once you stop, even if to slow down for a bit, the old adage takes over: energy begets energy, lazy begets lazy.

The Joy of Blogging

And yet, blogging has survived it all and there are more people blogging than ever before. It’s exciting and it’s been exciting blogging with the free blogging community watching the number of blogs soar. As of today, the number of WordPress.com blogs is 338,000 and rising fast.

As I write each of these collections of articles over the past year, I keep thinking about a post by Kamigoroshi’s “Footsteps in the Mirror” in which I wrote about the concept of anniversaries and looking back:

It’s also a scorecard, a way to measure what you’ve done. For Kamigoroshi, he not only realized he’d passed a birthday, but also another milestone of 1000 posts. Wow, 1000 posts in 3 years! I’d call that an accomplishment not just a milestone.

Did you just check your blog post count? Did you just stop to think about how long you have been blogging and how many posts you have done in that time period?

This is another aspect of birthdays and scorecards. When they happen to other people, they make us stop and think about ourselves.

…How did your blog post count compare to Kamigoroshi? Have you done 1000 posts in 3 years, or more or less? How does it make you feel? Does it inspire you or depress you? Do you feel a sense of competition? Or loss?

What are the scorecards and events you use to mark the passage of time and success on your blog? Is it chronological? Do you think about honoring one month, two, three, six, one year, two years, etc.? Do you count the number of posts and/or comments? Do you measure your blog traffic statistics and mark high or low points on your blog scorecard? How do you score your blog?

Two last things to think about when you consider measuring your blogging.

Which of these scores and measurable accomplishments mean the most to you? Does it mean more to read 3 years or 1000 posts? Is one more important than the other?

And when someone says they have been blogging 10 years, 5 years, or 3 years, how does that change your opinion and perspective of them? How does hearing about other people’s measurable accomplishments impact you and your blogging?

Articles About Blogging


Site Search Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

5 Comments

  1. Posted September 7, 2006 at 4:06 am | Permalink

    Am a newish reader who stumbled in via the Weblog Tools Collection blog. I’ve discovered a lot of great posts but this one is especially great because it puts all the good stuff in one easy location.

    Thanks for the enlightment! :)

  2. Posted September 8, 2006 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Hi,

    Great article! You pulled a lot of great content from a variety of sources. I also greatly appreciated your long list of articles about blogging. I’ve just recently started a new website (http://www.LearningCentre.com) which talks about several related things (SEO, Adsense, web monetization, web promotion, etc.), and one of the main items is about how to blog. I can’t wait to share this valuable resource on the blog section of the website (http://www.LearningCentre.com/blog). I’m sure my readers will find your article very valuable.

    Thanks again, this is a great collection of information for people starting in the field of blogging.

  3. Posted September 9, 2006 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Wonderful article and congrats on one year.

  4. Posted September 9, 2006 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Love your site. I saw that you have language buttons along the edge. I have an international readership and wondered how you put this together. I see that it uses google, so I went to their site, and looked around, but couldn’t see a solution there. Can you pass on any tips on how to get those buttons on my WordPress site too?
    Many thanks. Were you at the WordPress Camp?

  5. Posted September 9, 2006 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Information on creating the translation technique is at Instantly Translate Your Blog. To find the technique on Google, you have to check their Language Tools section. To add buttons to your WordPress blogroll, or elsewhere, see Buttons, Bows, and Badges for Your Blog and add them via Links Manager in your WordPress Administration Panel.

    Nope. I wasn’t at WordCamp. It was too short notice and I travel full-time. If I know far enough in advance for next year, then I might be able to fit it into my schedule if I’m not overseas again. Were you? Was it fun?


7 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] One Year Anniversary Review: Blogging and Blogging Tips All I can say is that this article has a lot of amazing and valuable content. If you’re planning on blogging, definitely check it out! [...]

  2. [...] Today my mum tells me she wants to be a blogger too … so we make a phone date to sign her up to the blog where we share *family stuff*.    [...]

  3. [...] Blogging and Blogging Tips [...]

  4. [...] One Year Anniversary Review: Blogging and Blogging Tips [...]

  5. [...] was catching up on extremely overdue blog reading tonight when I read through Lorelle’s One Year Anniversary Review: Blogging and Blogging Tips and was pointed to this creative use of [...]

  6. [...] tips, accessibility and usability, blog housekeeping, blog writing, blogger’s rights, blogging tips, choosing a WordPress Theme, blog comments, comment spam, keywords, search engines, social [...]

  7. […] One Year Anniversary Review: Blogging and Blogging Tips […]

Post a Comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 19,716 other followers

%d bloggers like this: