Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Today is my blogiversary. Time to reflect. What have I learned in 12 months?
1) Don't bite off more than you can chew
I couldn't decide what to blog about so started 3 blogs at once. Blogging then became a stressful chore as I tried to maintain them all. What to post about today,the scrubby bush, my cats or health? How was I to talk about stress, and avoiding it in the health blog when feeling pretty pushed myself?
2) It's OK to make changes
Of course it's better to start the way you mean to go on, but if you're new to blogging that's easier said than done. I dropped two blogs, but directed everyone to the 3rd and most made the move. Mission accomplished, but pride often comes before a fall!
3) Think about the consequences of making more changes.
Though I handled the closing of two blogs and moving readers across to the 3rd fairly well, when I changed the blog name in a hurry I blew it. One day I decided what had been called "Scrubby Bush" for 7 months should change to "Kangaroos of the Scrubby Bush". Excited about the new concept I simply made the change. Big mistake. Although I could easily tell those who openly followed the blog about the change I couldn't reach those who simply took the blog by feed - they were gone. I relaunched the original blog name but that didn't bring the feed links back so there are probably still people out there wondering where I went. I did a much better job when I recently changed to a dot com, I made sure everyone would come with me BEFORE I pressed the button.
4) You can learn the ropes
I was very nervous about getting into blogging but quickly learned that there is an amazing amount of help out there. Blogs devoted to the art of blogging abound. One of my favourite's is Problogger. Looking there today two topics jumped out immediately Overcoming Blogger Fright and The 4 Os: A 4 step guide to successful blogging. Just Google what you want and low and behold it will appear.
5) It takes work to build a following
I soon discovered that "Build it and they will come" doesn't apply to blogging. So I started figuring out how to find people and I'm still learning. I visit other blogs, I join blog directories, I tweet, I Facebook and I'm considering Google AdWords. It takes time and is built layer upon layer - just like the amazing spider webs in my opening photo. I've made some great friends and found some wonderful blogs I love to read along the way.
6) Make use of the gadgets
One of my favourites is LinkWithin. This gives the reader three options of other posts they may like within your blog at the end of each post. I also like the "Popular posts" option on Google. I love blogs that have these items as it makes navigation so much easier.
7) Work on your content
The posts I've had most success with and that have given me the most joy are the posts I've taken time and effort over. Just dashing off some lines for the sake of presence hasn't done a thing for me. This means that, at times, I've been absent from blogging, as I've had some heavy work commitments. I think that's better than a mediocre post.
8) Add a "subscribe via email" link
This has added many more readers for me. I think there are three reasons: not everyone wants to opening be a follower, having the posts arrive in a reader can add an extra "to do" in your day, posts arriving by email are simply convenient.
9) Don't take 10 points if you can say it in 9
I used to think you had to say a lot, but find the blogs I most enjoy are those that keep it short and sweet.
So where to for the next 12 months? This blog was born from my passion about the environment and the creatures who cannot speak for themselves. The only thing that has changed is my discovery that many people enjoy my stories of this piece of scrubby bush. I've decided to tell you more about Merrilyn. As eastern grey kangaroos go she has quite a story to tell. This is the first photo I took of her way back in June 2003. She had been in my care for 3 weeks and I'd finally decided that she was going to survive. I'll tell you more of the start of our relationship next time, so subscribe by email to make sure you don't miss a thing!