Eight Blogging Myths

Pegasus

Everybody has a different definition of success. To some, a large readership is what counts as success. Some use their blog as a money-making method and actually end up making some money, and that is the ultimate success; while others, like those with an intentionally low profile, feel that simply creating posts that are perfect expressions of what they want to say is reward enough.

However, there are certain myths that have grown up around blogs, bloggers, and blogging in general. Here are just some of them and some clarifications:

Anyone Can Start A Blog: There are some requirements, some more obvious than others. Obviously, you need a computer that you know how to use, an Internet connection and some experience using the Internet. You also need a host for your blog; there are blog hosts that are free and some that cost a small amount per month. One last requirement is not just an ability to communicate your thoughts but also a willingness to do so.

Anyone Can Set Up A Blog: Some blogs are much easier to set up and use than others, this depends on your blog host (e.g., blogger, WordPress, etc.). Some blog hosts take you through a few simple set-up steps and you are off writing your first post, but there are others that are too technical.

Blogging Will Not Take Up That Much Time: That depends. Some posts, when you have a clear idea of what you want to say, may take just a few minutes, while you may struggle for days with others that involve complex issues or thoughts. In general, blogging is a daily activity for the serious blogger (some bloggers write up to ten posts a day) and a once-a-week activity for the casual blogger.

Most Blogs Are Political: Many blogs focus on political topics but most blogs are just bloggers discussing their lives, loves and travels. A list of the 100 most visited blogs at Technorati (http://technorati.com/blogs/top100/) shows very few political blogs.

Blogs Are In Competition with the Main-Stream Media: This is true in a few cases (not as many cases as bloggers would have you think). Just recently, there have been some very popular and influential social and politically oriented blogs that have caused mainstream media outlets to backtrack and change their coverage of important events.

Bloggers Just Criticize: Some bloggers intentionally criticize others for their own personal satisfaction, but the majority of bloggers just want to help each other grow.

Bloggers Have No New Information to Add: This may be true in some cases but blogging today it is much more than the personal activity it used to be. Corporations, media outlets, public personalities, politicians and experts in almost every field have now joined the ranks of blog producers. Considering all this expertise, one would have to say that bloggers have a lot of new information to add to any debate.

You Cannot Believe Anything You Read In A Blog: That is a bit of an overstatement. You will run across bad information and even intentional untruths in blogs but, for the most part, bloggers who state facts are stating what they honestly believe to be fact. It is always up to the readers to verify that any information they receive is accurate.

Tip-of-the-Tongue Syndrome

Have you ever had one of those days when you just can’t seem to think of the words you need to tell a story? I’m not talking about writer’s block, I’m talking about when you are telling a great story and right in the middle of it you forget a word that describes an important action or person within the story. You suddenly cannot think of the person’s name or the word for the major action that has occurred in the story. I call this the tip-of-the-tongue syndrome. The word you want, the word you need to get your point across, the purpose of the story, the meaning and entire crux of the story, relies solely on that one word or name, and you just cannot think of it. It is completely frustrating.

I usually end up using a technique I learned somewhere along the way and it works for me, most of the time. What I do is rapidly run through the alphabet (in my head) from A to Z trying to jog my memory, trying to prompt my mind to clue in my tongue as to what it is that I am trying to say. As I said, this works most of the time, but not always. Sometimes the word comes to me, sometimes the word comes to me in the middle of the night, sometimes the word does not come to me for days, and sometimes the word just never comes to me at all.

I have found that as I get older, the problem occurs more and more.  I often worry that I am getting Alzheimer’s disease. But mostly, I am just completely and totally frustrated because I am a wordsmith. I love words. I love the sound of words. I love to read words that others have written, especially if they are written eloquently. I am jealous of those people who are able to write so well that they can paint a picture of an image in your head and create a world that is so real that you can imagine yourself in it. Writing about the real world is easy. Writing fiction is an art that I have not yet mastered.

So, for those days when you cannot think of the precise word that you need, don’t worry, you are not alone. Try the A to Z trick and maybe that will work for you too. Happy writing!

Spicing Up A Boring Blog

There is nothing worse than coming across a boring blog. The difficult thing is that what is boring to one person might be interesting to another. Therefore, you really need to focus on your readers when creating new text and posts for your blog. If you want the blog to be successful, you cannot simply expect your day-to-day activities to be enough information to keep the readers interested. If you post that you went to the grocery, came home, and then ate dinner, you can expect the readers to be bored out of their minds. That kind of information is for Facebook. If you find humor in your activities or if you tell them in an interesting way, you might keep their attention even when using the same day-to-day activities. If you want to spice up a boring blog, you can also use these tips to get things moving in the right direction:

comment.svg.thumbAllow Comments: One big mistake boring bloggers make is to not allow comments. You should always allow people to comment on your blog. You may not always like what they have to say, but their comments alone will help your blog seem more interesting to anyone who reads it. If you want to be sneaky, you can even comment on your blog yourself, using a different name. This can quickly create a controversy that will appeal to some readers. Once one person makes a comment, others will be more likely to comment as well. This will help get things going and make your blog a place to bounce ideas off of others.

question_rotondo_jespe_01.svg.thumbAsk Questions: Another great way to engage your readers is to ask open-ended questions. You can do this throughout your blog or at the end. This will be seen by readers as an open invitation to respond. Your questions will get them thinking about what you have to say, whether they respond or not. They will be more likely to come back to your blog to read more about your comments later on. Everyone has an opinion on everything, so go ahead and ask your readers straight out what theirs is. There is a great blog that I follow called Harsh Reality (here’s a link: http://aopinionatedman.com/) and what I love about this guy is that he has an opinion about everything and is not afraid to offend people. Check it out 🙂

Picture.svg.thumbUse Pictures: If you want to connect more with your readers and keep them interested, try adding pictures or graphics to your blog. Adding pictures is simple through your blogging software. Get a digital camera if you don’t already own one so you can update your pictures often. By adding pictures that go along best with the content of your posts, you will be connecting with your readers on a more intense level. They will be more entertained and you will have a more interesting blog. Just be sure that you don’t overdo it on the pictures. Place them in the right places and don’t use massive pictures or else you might take the risk of having a blog that take ten minutes to load. Do be sure that you use close-ups however. You wouldn’t want to use pictures that were impossible to see on the screen. I love adding graphics to my blog, because it adds color, breaks up the space, and adds interest to the content.

chat-people-with-green-highlights-thBe Personal: When writing your posts, you should always act as if you are talking to a great friend. Some people create boring blogs by writing as if they were writing a textbook. This is a huge mistake. People most often read blogs because they want to be entertained or gather interesting information or opinions. They do not want to read a blog that sounds like a textbook. Try to be a little personal in your blog. Let your own personality shine through. Allow your sense of  humor to show through in each post. Your readers will appreciate your honesty and love you for your casual style.

Use these great tips to spice up your blog if it is hitting the boring stretch. A boring blog is one that pains people to read. Keep in mind that successful blogs will make people laugh, think, contemplate, and gain useful information. You can do all of this using these tips. So, get to work and completely transform your boring blog today! You will see an improvement in your traffic and likely enjoy blogging a lot more than before.

Developing A Readership

We’ve already discussed tagging your posts and researching your audience, now here are some tips on promoting your blog:

free-blue-cloud-google_plus-th                                   free-violet-button-share-th                                 RSS_Logo.svg.thumb

  1. Write Quality Content. Interesting content will keep your readership returning. Update your blog regularly. Googlebot, which is Google’s web-crawling robot loves content. The more you update your blog, the more frequent the search engine “spiders” will return to it.
  2. Take part in forums that are related to blogging. Ask other bloggers for their opinion on your blog and take their suggestions to heart. Ask other bloggers for their opinion on your blog and take their suggestions to heart.
  3. Publish an RSS/Atom/XML feed. If you’re using Blogger, you can turn on RSS feed by clicking on settings in your dashboard and then clicking on site feed and make sure that your settings are set to yes. If you are using WordPress you can add an RSS Link to your blog by going to Appearance>Widgets>RSS Link.
  4. Add a Follow Button. In WordPress, you also have the option to add a Follow Blog Box Widget, or a Follow Button Widget.
  5. Use Website Verification Services. In WordPress, this is under Tools>Available Tools, and uses Google, Bing, and Pinterest. Once you verify your blog with these services, you will get Webmaster Tools that give you statistics on how your website is crawled.
  6. Carefully choose your subject titles, taking into consideration what other internet users may be searching for. Use keywords in your title. I suggest subscribing to Word Tracker. Their report of the most popular searches is published each Tuesday and distributed to over 30,000 subscribers. Technorati.com , is a blog search engine that also lists the top search words. The more targeted your keywords are, the greater your return will be in search engines.
  7. Involve yourself in commenting on other blogs. You can gain a loyal readership just by offering feedback to your fellow bloggers. The comment feature allows you to add a link back to your blog as well.
  8. Be sure to include your blog address in forum signatures and in your email signature.
  9. Submit your blog to directories. Submit your blog’s URL to Technorati, Daypop, Blogdex and Popdex. If you are using WordPress.com, this is done for you automatically. If you’re using other blogging software such as Blogger, there is an option to notify the central blog update services (such as http://weblogs.com) when you’ve made a new entry to your blog. Make sure that this option is turned on! In Blogger, click on publish in your dashboard and make sure that your settings are set to yes under notify weblogs. Alternatively, you can go to http://ping-o-matic.com and send out a ping each time you update your blog. This lets everyone know that you’ve just updated your blog.
  10. Write articles. Include a resource box in your article and submit it to article directories such as http://iSnare.com.
  11. Link to other blogs. Use services like blogrolling, which is similar to linking. Blogrolling allows you to keep an updated list of your favorite blogs. But, don’t build a long blog roll of sites that you have no intention of returning to. There is nothing more annoying then visiting a blog that has a humongous blogroll.

Be patient, traffic doesn’t happen overnight. The best way that I’ve found to increase traffic is by getting to know people. Spend what free time that you have, reading blogs, leaving feedback and building friendships. Try to leave comments on the blogs that you visit as often as you can. While you are waiting for the traffic to come, just enjoy blogging. You’ll be improving your writing in the process.

Eventually you’ll build a network of not just readers, but friends and loyal supporters. Blogging is not just about marketing; it’s about creating lasting relationships.

Tagging Your Posts

Finding your niche in the blogging world can be difficult, but it usually has something to do with your own interests and hobbies. Drawing potential visitors to your blog through the marketing tools I presented over my last two posts will work well, but you need to know your audience.

Drawing those visitors to your blog can be done by making sure that you are correctly tagging and categorizing each blog post that you write. This means using the correct terminology for your niche market. Hopefully, if you are writing about something that you are a hobbyist in, then you will already know the correct and popular terms to use, and you can use those for tagging your posts.

“Tags provide a useful way to group related posts together and to quickly tell readers what a post is about. Tags also make it easier for people to find your content.” (WordPress.com)

The great thing about WordPress is that it gives you many ways of adding tags to your posts. For more information on this, go to: http://en.support.wordpress.com/posts/tags/.

By using the Publicize feature on the Add New Posts page of the Dashboard, WordPress.com has the ability to automatically publicize your Posts on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Path Twitter, and Tumblr if you already have accounts on these social media sites. All you have to do is set up the links and give WordPress permission.

If you are brand new to WordPress, all of this may sound confusing and overwhelming, but believe me, it’s easy. If you need any help, just go to the Support area of WordPress.com and type in the topic of your question.