Tuesday, September 24, 2019

My Blog Through Another's Eyes

Last month, a cousin who lives in another state texted me, asking if she could call me and talk about blogging.  She had retired earlier this year and I believe she is attempting to re start up a business she had done part time while teaching for a living.  She knew I blogged, but was not a reader.

After a couple of false starts we made contact, and I answered some of her questions.  The most interesting part, though, was when  she asked to see my blog.  We both surfed over to it, and it was interesting to see my blog through someone else's eyes. 

I explained each of the elements, and we talked about different blogging platforms - not a long conversation, as I only am familiar with the one I used.

Meanwhile, last week, I received an invite to join the October edition of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. One thing I suggested to my cousin is that she join a blogging challenge.

What else would I recommend to her, as someone who has been blogging for over 10 years now?

Not that I'm any kind of expert, mind you.  Just because you do something thousands of times doesn't make you an expert.
One of my zinnias, September 21
Just as me taking snapshots doesn't make me a photographic expert.

I would tell her, and you, APPRECIATE YOUR READERS.  There are millions of blogs out there (I've seen a figure of between 500 and 600 million. Blogs.  That's right.).  You've come to my blog.  You've gotten to this paragraph.  Thank you!

But for her, that means there is an awful lot of competition out there.  Which leads me to point #2:

I would tell her don't bother blogging if the idea doesn't excite you.  I still love blogging. I don't try to earn money.  I do what I like to do and hope my valued readers (and I do value them, and their comments, more than you'll ever know) like what I am doing.  Having said that, what I am going to say next may surprise you.

I tried, gently, to discourage her.  Well, not discourage her, but I told her about some of the downsides.  Fighting spam.   Ignoring trolls.  The world of social media can be rewarding, but it can be a place of pain and, sometimes, danger.

And third, a lesson hard learned for me back in April: don't depend on Facebook to publicize your blog.   Someone (a troll, who knows?) reported me as a spammer, which led me to some interesting experiences.  Overall, it turned out to be a positive experience, not that I am going to thank said troll.

Why?  Because it taught me a valuable lesson.  Be prepared to walk away from Facebook.  I lived without social media for most of my life (I'm a senior citizen) and could do it, I know now.  Social media has its place in my life, but that's all it is - a tool.

Despite having to drop out of the July UBC because I couldn't post on their Facebook page, I plan to join the October Ultimate Blog Challenge, now that I am in (I hope) Facebook's good graces again.  In the meantime, my cousin hasn't created her blog.  Yet.

But one day she might.
It would be fun to watch her grow and bloom, wouldn't it?


  1. I would venture that your cousin needs to discern if there is a business purpose to her blog (and how the blog complements same) or it's just an ego trip (there's nothing wrong with that either). But, to create a blog without a plan is a plan to muddle along.

  2. Another piece of advice. How much identifying information are you going to share? You share your real name with your readers. I blog under a pseudonym, "songbird", and for years that's all the information I felt comfortable sharing. I created a second Facebook profile to join the Ultimate Blog challenge, using my real name but nothing else that would identify me. But after 10 years of blogging I am starting to feel more comfortable having my blog associated with the real me.

  3. I've never joined a blog challenge in the more than ten years that I've been blogging, but it might be interesting. You certainly seem to have been successful at them.

  4. You must alert us if she does it. We'll support her!
    I, too love blogging. But, also like you, I don't do it to make money or to become famous. But because it satisfies something in me.
    And because I have such GREAT friends!

  5. I think the best advice is what my boys tell me all the time when I talk about quitting. They tell me to do it for no one but me, continue as long as I'm enjoying it and walk away when I'm not.

  6. I'm with you Alana. I blog for fun. If I did it for profit or for always building traffic, I think it would lose its appeal quickly. Nice post.

  7. I think the percentage of bloggers who make decent money at it is very small and getting smaller. I have almost no interest in fashion or other peoples' cooking, which seems to draw viewers.

  8. It would be fun to watch her bloom and grow. But I'm with you, I'd ask the person why they want a blog. They should think long and hard before jumping in.


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