Sunday, April 20, 2014

This blog stuff is WORK!

When I started this blog a little over a month ago, I was definitely on a new path. As I said before, I have read hundreds, maybe even thousands, of blog entries from all over the world, and I didn't know how I could make mine different so as to attract readers. One of my goals was to perhaps grow this into a blog that would attract sponsors/income for my retirement. I had this idea that bloggers put their words/pictures out on the internet, and, I wasn't sure how it happened, ads got on their pages and money started rolling in. 

I was wrong, again. Blogging is a lot of work, and it's not just about the writing. Here's what I found out:

1.  I need to keep my audience involved. My husband is my best critic, so he reads my posts first from the Everyman point of view of helping me improve all of my accounts. He's very critical about the "boring" factor. He said my post about The Goldfinch, a book I loved,  was written for people who had already read the book or who would maybe pick it up. It didn't do anything for him because he's not going to read it. The post wasn't a big favorite with readers, so I have to think he's right. However, I love the book and wanted to share how I felt; therefore, I wrote about it. I can't please everyone.

2.  I've learned to look at the numbers -- statistics. Blogger.com has a feature that lets me track views of my blog by day, week, month, forever. It's exciting to see a blog when a post has a high readership; it's deflating to see a post bomb. The ego takes a hit. I can also see where in the world my blog is being read. So far, I've had someone in Germany reading it quite consistently. I've also had one reader in the UK, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates. I'd really like to know who these people are, but better than that, I'd like for them to share my blog so I can become the international superstar that's forever been hiding inside me. 

3.  I have to study -- hard! I have read everything I can find on blogging. Some of the topics of articles and books are "How to Help Readers 'Get' Your Blog Posts," "600 Brilliant Blog Post Ideas," and "Nine Ways Bloggers Are Like Drunk People." I have posted over 250 "pins" on Pinterest about blogging that I plan to investigate thoroughly this summer. Through all of this study, I decided that I need to take this endeavor slower than I thought at first.

4.  I have to research -- a lot! I try to end each of my posts with something entertaining, like a video clip, picture, or quote. These items require me to question if what I think is funny will also entertain my readers. Most of the time, I get carried away and spend too much time enjoying the research of the humorous items I'm searching for so that the endeavor becomes a huge time suck. It's a fun time suck, though.

5.  I'm not a bad writer. I have never written much because I've had to grade so many essays over the years, I was turned off by writing my own words. However, now I find that I really enjoy putting into practice what I've always taught others to do. I relish using colons, semicolons, and commas correctly. I edit my posts several times to make sure my verb tenses are correct and that my pronouns agree with their antecedents. Writing has made me love those English grammar/mechanics/usage rules even more! 

My education about blogging has been fast and furious. The sponsors may or may not come so that I can fund retirement. However, I'll continue to learn and write, and I hope that you will continue to read, laugh and share.