Blogging - Jumping in Feet First Without a Parachute
Are you the kind of person who jumps into the stuff of life feet first? Or maybe you're the cautious one who makes small, well-thought-out moves. I'm usually the latter; that's why I started a blog. I enjoy researching and exploring my interests online. OK, I'm a nerd. But in some areas of my life, I tend to jump in feet first and fly by the seat of my pants. You might as well say, I've been blogging by the seat of my pants. Now it's time to stop and learn from the masters.
Blogging - it all began in the kitchen
In truth, I researched blogging months before getting started. But finally deciding to take the plunge and sign up through Bluehost was an impulsive almost mystical act. My initial plan was to name my blog after the street I grew up on - Alta Woods. After doing a quick check in the host's search bar, I learned that this coveted name wasn't available.
How dare someone take the name of my childhood street for their blog! (I'm kidding.) Determined to sign up that day, I waited for a burst of inspiration, which arrived like a lightening bolt twenty minutes later in the kitchen. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen; or at least I used to spend a lot of time there. But I digress.
Owl in the wood, I blurted to my mom, who was standing at the sink washing cucumbers. A quick name check and some fast credit card moves to pay for hosting, and I became the owner of my very own blog.
The name sort of chose me - somewhere in the recesses of my subconscious. As a child, the owl was my unspoken totem. Owls mesmerized me. Somehow I guess that played into the whole lightening bolt effect; it was a combination of Alta Woods and owls. That is what I meant by my initial experience with blogging being mystical.
Now that I've been blogging for seven months, what the heck is this all about?
Blogging may have begun as a mystical experience - the writing part of it can feel like that, too. But there's so much more to it than that. I subscribe to a feed called Blog Tyrant. It sounds pretty scary, huh? It's not; Ramsay, the creator of the blog, is so helpful.
Recently, after reading one of his posts on how to get Google to send you thousands of visitors, I realized that I was never going to get enough traffic without making some changes. Between reading, writing, and promoting, I've been spending well over 30 hours per week blogging. Not having plenty of visitors isn't an option. It's like throwing a party without the guests.
In the post mentioned above, Ramsay lists the steps to take in order to attract enough views to make this whole blogging thing worthwhile. There's nothing mystical about it; however, each individual step can take some time to work through. I'm old enough to be Blog Tyrant's mother. But Ramsay is teaching me so much, along with a few other blogging experts.
Here's a list of other websites and blogs that have guided me on my blogging adventure. So, go ahead. Take the plunge. These websites will help you up on your feet!
Amy Lynn Andrews - She shares content on how to be a successful blogger in short, well organized posts. She also has a weekly newsletter, the Useletter, that keeps you up to date on the latest news in the blogging industry.
Blog Tyrant - In addition to the article mentioned above, Ramsay has a wonderfully familiar, yet authoritative, way of communicating his know how. Just look at his landing page, which I linked to, for a list of must read articles. Why didn't I read these before I started my blog? He's personable and responds to comments on his blog posts, also. I enjoy his loyal community of followers.
Copyblogger - Brian Clark, the creator of Copyblogger, began teaching people how to create quality content in 2006. Copyblogger is now known as Rainmaker Digital, which offers a suite of products - including the powerful Genesis framework that owl in the wood uses. And just so you know, after purchasing Genesis + my StudioPress 3rd party theme, my site became lightening fast compared to before. I've since switched to Squarespace, though, and I'll tell you more about that soon!
Copymatter - I received an email out of the blue from Mustafa Khundmiri, the creator of Copymatter.com. How did he know I needed to improve my writing skills and increase my presence with search engines? Oh, I'm sure I wasn't the only one. There's no need for me to feel flattered. But I did go ahead and take a look at his website, and let's just say that there's enough there to keep me busy for a long time.
Problogger - Darren Rowse started Problogger in 2004 as a place to write about blogging and connect with other bloggers. Well, he more than accomplished that goal. His website became wildly successful and is one that I frequented before I started my own blog. He also has a photography website - Digital Photography School. I think the Owl needs to pay his photography site a visit.
Traffic Generation Cafe- I'm enjoying getting to know Ana Hoffman at Traffic Generation Cafe. I was searching for how to optimize my Surferbird News-Links, or if to bother with it all - and low and behold if her website didn't pop up. In addition, Ana exceeded my expectations when she responded to the question I left on one of her blog posts. Thank you, Ana. She offers a wealth of information on generating traffic to websites. This is the kind of traffic even an owl can tolerate.
Last updated October 3, 2016
*I'm not affiliated with any of these blogs or websites. And they didn't pay me to say this stuff - just passing on some helpful tips for bloggers or for those thinking about starting a blog.