|Let me tell ya somethin' 'bout bloggin'|
Ummmmm...a few thoughts from my experience...
PICK AN OVERALL THEME
I've learned so much since I started BIKE WITH JACKIE with a welcome post on May 11, 2007, in which I ended my very first post with this line: "Together, we'll learn how to ride the mental BIKE." I have not switched my focus. I started to stray a bit when I felt a little uncertainty in my life, but I came back full circle. I'm actually proud of that. I knew then what I wanted to tell you about, and I still believe in it. That feels good. If I started blogging today, I'd still be writing about my special brand of BIKE. What would you still be writing about?
MAKE IT A GROUP EFFORT
And how funny is it that I began this blog in the month of May?! I didn't know then that May would be synonymous with fresh starts and that a blogathon would be the catalyst for that. But since 2008, a full year into my own blogging experience (with no more than a few dozen posts) I have participated in this highly motivating challenge. 2008 marks the first year Michelle Rafter organized the Blogathon. As best I recall, she did it because so many of us writers at FreelanceSuccess.com were just beginning to blog. I remember I started after a Q/A session on FreelanceSuccess.com with Penelope Trunk, when she said we should all be blogging. So I started blogging. But I didn't know what I was doing. A year later, we had the blogathon because Michelle recognized a need and found a way to meet it. Even though I didn't announce the start of it (I did announce the end) back then, May still always represents a new beginning or a fresh start to me, and I celebrate it wholeheartedly. I wouldn't change that, either, not if I didn't have to. If I were just starting a blog today, I'd understand the benefits of the group effort, and I would follow more blogs sooner, that's for sure. I still have work to do in this area.
EMBED THOSE LINKS
What I've noticed is that I didn't post many links back then, not to anyone else's site and not back to my own. I've since learned the importance of the back link. If I were starting to blog today, I'm glad I would know to embed the links that help create traffic.
WRITE HEADLINES USING KEY SEARCH WORDS
I'd also do a much better job of writing headlines using key words so people could find me more easily during their Google searches. Back then, I was all over the clever titles. But we've learned they don't work online. The catchy or catch phrase headlines work in print, but not online. Key words is key here. So I'm more mindful of that. If I were to start blogging today, I'd know that, and I now wouldn't have to go back and re-do my older headlines for this reason.
ADD PHOTOS AND OTHER GRAPHICS
When I first started blogging, my blog was all content and no cool photographs. For one thing, I didn't have a cell phone to carry around with me to be able to snap all kinds of photographs on the spot. I didn't really know how to download photos from my camera. And I didn't do video. If I just started blogging today, I'd probably take a class and learn how to do those kinds of things. I'd certainly need to learn video, because I still don't really use video here. Every now and then, I'll add a link, but I'd rather do the audio and visual myself. So that's something I still need to incorporate. I'd recommend taking classes where applicable, and reading ProBlogger. He's been a help to many of the bloggers I know.
INCLUDE MORE INTERVIEWS AND GUEST POSTS
I love the idea of bringing more voices to my blog, so if were just getting started blogging today, I'd include that in my blogging plan. I don't do it enough here, and I plan to incorporate more of this in the years ahead. That means making a conscious effort and not just thinking about it. If I were advising anyone about blogging today, I'd suggest taking the experience seriously and developing a plan of action that allows you to incorporate interactive approaches such as interviews and guest blogging into the blogging experience.
EXPERIMENT AS YOU GO
Finally, I'd be okay with where I'm at. When I started blogging, I was okay with the "learn as you go" process. I'm still okay with that. Because I know technology changes so much, and I can't possibly keep up with it alone, I'd be crazy to think I have to know it all at once. I'd never get started if that were the case. So if I started blogging today, or if I were advising anyone about starting a blog today, I'd tell them that it's okay to experiment as you go. Whether on Blogger as I am or WordPress as so many others I know are, I don't find that to be a hugely important factor for me. I'm happy to be blogging regularly. I've used WordPress before, too, though, and I like either platform. Some day, I may switch for some specific reason, but that wouldn't keep me from blogging one way or the other. I think the bottom line is you have the opportunity to experiment with what works for you and go from there.