blogging 101 beginners

Coffee Table Book about Coffee Tables – Blogging about Blogging

Kramer, in all his wisdom had this right. A coffee table book about coffee tables. Blogging about blogging, why does it draw our attention? We all write a blog, why do we want to read about writing a blog?

I think the answer is pretty simple really, it is relatable. Regardless of subject matter, direction, theme blah blah, there is one thing all bloggers have in common. Blogging.

There is something all bloggers want, to be ‘heard’. But how does one break away from ‘The Herd’ so they indeed get, heard. When I started this blog I had little to no idea what I was doing. With that considered, I still don’t have much of an idea, but I know a little more than I once did.

When I started, I thought it may be a good idea to document the journey. This was as much for new bloggers benefit (welcome by the way) as it was for my own. I wrote ‘One month of blogging – 5 things I have learnt so far ‘ and ‘2 Months of blogging – 4 more things I am still learning ‘ for these reasons. I read over them the other day, some of it is relevant, some not so relevant. This blog is now about four months old, out of its infancy but still very much a baby in the grand scheme of things. With that said, I can confidently say, the blog, and the blogger, have moved from assisted mobility, to crawling, to walking.

By no means do I consider myself an expert, or a big time blog dude, but I have learnt and observed a few things.

1. Theme, or no Theme?
In all honesty, I started The Unsimplelife as an experiment, with no real direction or theme. I just started it because I wanted to start blogging. I had no idea if I would continue past my first post, my first week and so on. Yet, here we are. I did not start blogging for any other reason than out of interest to test the waters. In hindsight, I am really enjoying it. I think this is above all else more important than deciding on a theme, or topic, or genre etc. Sure, if you have one, that’s great, and all credit to you. I still don’t, I started the blog thinking that it would build itself into a topic, well, it still hasn’t. And that is perfectly fine, I enjoy it, and I hope a few others do too. That WAS the goal right, so, good times. No need to be so serious, just enjoy the ride.

2. Content
If you are beginning your journey, or if you are well into it, you must have read somewhere that writing / producing good, original content is key. Sure, I think writing good content is important, but there is a multitude of ‘good’ content out in the interwebz. What makes blogging unique, what makes people read a blog? Well for me at least, it is personability, writing style. Let’s face it, you can get most, if not all the information you seek via the more main stream media sources. You can, Google it. 🙂 But, what makes blogging content valuable? It is the personal feel you get from reading a post that is produced in almost-conversational language. The swearing, the off the cuff ranting, the warm fuzzy stuff, the ‘people’ side of the communication. That, for me, is what makes great content, regardless of topic, and at least from where I stand, is what makes me return to someone’s blog. I am no lingual genius by any means, but I do attempt to personalise my writing in the same kind of way.

3. Sharing the Love
There is something different I have come to learn about the blogging space. In my misspent youth I trolled chatrooms and social media like a fiend. So much negativity, (and humour) is out there in the social media universe. But, at least from my experience, the blogging space is a little different. There are some really fantastic people / blogs out there, and the ‘community’ so to speak is very positive and welcoming. Everyone who has a blog, or will be starting one, should embrace this, enjoy it. If you think back to what the goal is, to be heard, there is nothing more personally inspiring then to have someone out there engage with what you are doing. So seriously, read other blogs. COMMENT on blogs. If you do read something really good, go one further and drop the writer a line from their contact page. I have had a few people do just that, and I can honestly tell you it is a great motivator. So please, enjoy it, be positive.

4. Stick with It
Sounds strange, but even in the four months I have spent blogging I have seen some great blogs come and go. Such is the transient nature of it. I completely understand, and it is a shame. But, please stick with it, and good things can / will happen. People WILL read you. I should also refer back to point 3., share the love, again. 🙂

Well, that’s about it for my rant on coffee table themed coffee table books, but I thought I’d share it anyway. Hope you enjoy.

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Have I hit the Blogging Wall?

May be the codeine, might just be the time of the year. Could be my general shitty mood as of late. Could be the fact that i subconsciously feel a little apprehensive. For some unknown reason my Samoyed post went somewhat viral. Too many people……

For the first time since the blogs inception, i have hit a writing wall. I have more than a few topics i want to cover right now, but i can’t bring myself to write about them.

I am new to blogging. But, i have learnt that trolling online for help likely wont get me any answers. So i am asking you guys.

Have you got to a point with your blog where you just can’t write? Writer’s block, or something to the effect?

Do you have a process to get back into tune?

Please share your thoughts and experiences, i would appreciate the help. Perhaps others in a similar slump will also benefit. 🙂

Two months of Blogging – Four more things I am STILL learning

Today is my last day of work for the year. I will be taking two weeks off from the world to spend time with my family, my dog, and to drink beer and watch the cricket. I will also be taking two weeks off blogging. In light of that, i am going to share more of what i have learnt about blogging with you. For those of you who have read my last post, One month of blogging – Five things i have learned so far, you will know I am certainly no expert. So i advise that you take these new  tips with a grain of salt. 🙂

1. Longevity in a Post vs Posts that will get traffic
I know, it is kind of funny that i would be writing about ‘longevity’ given that the blog is now only two months old. However, i have noticed some trends on my blog that i think are worth sharing. Getting your voice out there is our goal right? And i have now come to realise there is a fine line between getting traffic to your blog, and keeping readers. Interestingly enough, i have seen a trend with some of my posts that reflects this. Posts like, LITERALLY, I CANT (BELIEVE IT’S NOT BUTTER) – REDFOO, AND THE DOWNFALL OF MODERN ‘MUSIC’ , seemed to shoot me up in views almost instantly, but given the subject matter, have not stuck around. Where as posts like ,Insulted by a Toddler, and Toddler Potty Inception, have been consistently viewed and commented on. My new theory is there needs to be a balance with posting. I think there is value in posting things you think will get some readers in short-term, but it is perhaps more important to have some other posts, that although they will not boost your views over night, they will continue to serve you well. I think…?

2. Power of Menu’s
I know, i am a bit of a derp, but i only recently discovered how to use menu’s. I was finding that my views/visitors were almost one and the same over my first month. My assumption was that my blog was difficult to navigate. So i tried this menu business. I have seen my views/visitors stats change dramatically as a result. Helping your readers to find other similar posts they like is the key. For my example, i am now using only 4 or 5 categories and using those categories as menu items to split up the blog. Appears to be working, i think it is well worth a look if you have not done so already.

3. SEO v2.0
So, on my last post, i said i had been reading ALOT about SEO. To be honest, i still have no idea, but i have learnt a little more. I will break down a few things into sections below:

i) In addition to my get Menu revelation of 2014, i also discovered the power of links. I read somewhere (forget where now), that search engines like links, between posts on your blog etc, and external resources. The idea is that a viewer wont return to the search engine from your blog, but to another place on the interwebs. So, i have been linking to relevant things where possible.
ii) Register your site with Google Analytics. Still unsure why, but it appears to be helping me. You can also target a country from in there if you like.
iii) The sitemap. I was unaware, but WordPress actually creates a sitemap for you. This is something you can register with Google Analytics, which somehow (don’t ask me 🙂 ) helps with indexing your blog. For those who don’t know where or how to find their site map, it is pretty simple. The address to YOUR sitemap will be http://yourblog.wordpress.com/sitemap.xml.
iv) Robots.txt… This is some odd-looking HTML thing i also know little to nothing about. But every site has one, and Google likes it. There are some pretty good templates robot.txt files out there online if you don’t know HTML, like me. Here is a link to my one if you want to have a look.

So, i have learned a little more, and i keep reading more. So i will let you know. But, as an example, with those things above, i have exponentially increased my blogs traffic from search engines. In the first month i think i had about 5 hits, This month to date it is much higher.

4. Keep Having Fun
I said it last time, and the message still stands. Have fun! I have found my experience so far so rewarding and i hope you all do too. I have received some really lovely, confidence boosting feedback from several bloggers, thank you so much! So, have fun, enjoy blogging, and spread the love around yo! 🙂

See you next year all! 🙂

Merry Xmas etc etc

One month of blogging – Five things i have learned so far

So i started my blogging journey a month ago now. So i thought i would recap on where i started and what i have learned to date. Maybe this will assist some of you out there who are just starting out like me. In the first few days i read alot of things online about tips for starting out, some good, some really not applicable to me. I wasted time thinking about things i don’t really need to, just yet. This might save you some time. 🙂

I am not sure what a ‘successful’ blog is meant to look like at this point, but i am pretty proud of myself. A month ago i had an idea, and month on i have this blog. I have been lucky enough to now have 33 followers and i am averaging about 40 views a day. Thank yo to everyone who has been following and reading so far! (to be honest i expected 0 from what i had read online…. 🙂 )

I don’t know if this is good or bad, but it is better than a month ago! 😛 Let me know how you are going with your new blog, also feel free to link it in the comments. 🙂

1. Quality over quantity
I read somewhere online that posting regularly is important. So when i started i was trying to post something every day. While i agree that it is important to post often, i am finding that posting something of value less often is far better than throwing something up just because you have not posted anything that day. The goal is for your message to get out there right? Personally, i stopped setting a daily or weekly goal for posting in my first week. I now just try to post something when it comes to mind.

2. Tags, SEO etc
I read ALOT about SEO during my first days. I also tried to adopt a little of it to try and get some traffic to my blog. So far i have little success with this one. I found i have spent too much time worrying about it, and now put that to one side. I figure if i am creating something of value, people will find it. Probably not the fastest way to go about getting readers and traffic, but slow and steady seems to be working ok for now.

3. Read other blogs like yours and comment when you like something!
Seems like a no brainer, but i cant stress this enough. I have met some awesome people through this activity already, also found some really cool ideas and thoughts on things. Spend some time on this, well worth it! 🙂

4. What is your message?
To be perfectly honest, i still don’t really have one. Reading online about this in the beginning got a little overwelming. I kept thinking to myself, ‘shit, i need to have a theme, or a message for my readers’…. i stewed on it for a while, and i have still come up empty. For now, i have forgotten about this and i am just posting what i feel like, when i feel like it. I have a pretty wide scope of things on this blog already, and i am kind of enjoying the no direction thing. Not suggesting you do this too, but if you are still scratching your head about a theme, then don’t worry about it. My assumption is that this blog will take its own shape eventually as long as i give it time. Likely i will turn out to be wrong, but who knows. (not me, that is for sure)

5. Have fun
Above all else, have fun with your blog. I know i am. I found it a little daunting at first just throwing my thoughts up here for the world to see, but i am not so worried now. I kind of like it. I was a bit tentative at first, really careful not to offend anyone etc. But, i have found that my more contrversial posts have been the most popular. Makes sense to me, i know i don’t enjoy reading monotone dribble, do you? So my advice is to be daring, if you offend someone so be it. At least that means someone has engaged with what you are saying. That is your goal right?