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Old 06-10-2011, 07:56 PM
 
2,278 posts, read 2,227,641 times
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I am very seriously considering starting a blog. I've wanted one since blogging began but several things kept me from it. After recent encouragement (and badgering) from friends and others, I've decided to seriously look into it and would like some feedback from blog readers.

Do you still read blogs? What are they about? Business? Personal? Financial? Hobbies? Social commentaries? Gossip? Entertainment? Cooking? Fashion? Sports? Humor? Journal-type blogs? Someone who reviews products or services? Following someone on a "journey" they've undertaken like weight-loss or changing their life? Or have you forsaken blogs in favor of Facebook and Twitter? Have 140 character limits shortened attention spans so much that blogs are going the way of VHS?

What is it about a blog that catches your attention? Do you prefer professional looking layouts or homey, personal ones (where the blogger took time to make it nice and didn't just use a generic layout)?

Do you like longer or shorter posts? Do you like video blogs? How often do you like blog updates? Do you visit the blog site or just do RSS Feeds?

What's something that immediately turns you off about a blog and makes you click out of in less than 15 seconds? In ten seconds, name the top three things that make you hate a blog... go!

What would you like to see MORE of in a blog? Contests? Personal connection with the blogger? Community feel with the readers? Sincerity? Levity? Boldness in their expression? More subtlety?

How do you usually find blogs? Recommendations? Googling? Popularity?

By now you get the gist of what I'm asking for. Any responses would be sincerely appreciated. The more specific the responses and/or advice the better.

I'm NOT out to be famous and I DON'T want my own TV show. I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't like to have a large readership, though. What blogger doesn't? "I'm just a blogger, standing in front of readers, asking them to love him." Ok, so I'm not Julia Roberts in Notting Hill but I'm also not a Kardashian or Spencer Pratt, so, it all evens out.

So, what's your advice, warnings, cautionary tales, rants or raves?

ETA: One more question! Do you like blogs that talk about a large/small variety of things or a more focused, themed idea?

Last edited by plain and simple; 06-10-2011 at 08:08 PM..
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:10 PM
 
1,516 posts, read 6,199,906 times
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I read blogs that are either chock full of information, chock full of pictures or chock full of funny.
Recently I've started reading cooking blogs because I love to cook. My favorites are:

The Pioneer Woman | Ree Drummond
mykitchenchaos
Thesmittenkitchen.com
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:17 PM
 
2,278 posts, read 2,227,641 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweettea1 View Post
I read blogs that are either chock full of information, chock full of pictures or chock full of funny.
Recently I've started reading cooking blogs because I love to cook. My favorites are:

The Pioneer Woman | Ree Drummond
mykitchenchaos
Thesmittenkitchen.com
Thanks sweettea1. And thanks for the links. I'll be checking them out. What was it about THOSE cooking blogs that made you subscribe to them and not other ones you might have visited?

ETA: I visited the websites. The Pioneer Woman site is gorgeous, colorful, professional looking, full of pictures and information. I can see why you'd subscribe to this one. My Kitchen Chaos is humorous, sincere and homey. The site feel is a plain, standard blog feel. But why The Smitten Kitchen? It doesn't look like that site exists anymore. Either than or it's a confusing retail site???

Last edited by plain and simple; 06-10-2011 at 08:27 PM..
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:22 PM
 
1,516 posts, read 6,199,906 times
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I think it's a combination of the writing style and the recipes. Sometimes blogs are so complicated you don't really know what they're all about...I'm not a huge blog person but I do love good food!
I also like Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten).
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Old 06-13-2011, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,193 posts, read 22,652,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
I am very seriously considering starting a blog. I've wanted one since blogging began but several things kept me from it.
Well, that is a long time to be considering something! What was the hold-up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
Do you still read blogs?
Yup! All the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
What are they about?
Various topics. But if you want to know the "top" topics, they are: home brewing, and what can only be described as "personal" in they do not stick to anyone particular topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
Or have you forsaken blogs in favor of Facebook and Twitter?
Nope. Have both, but FB is not really good for "blogging". Ironically, MySpace was much better in that regard. Twitter is cool for finding or posting quick information, but the whole "micro-blogging" thing is stupid. At least Tumblr, which is supposed to be micro-blogging, allows you to do a full-length post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
Have 140 character limits shortened attention spans so much that blogs are going the way of VHS?
Nope.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
What is it about a blog that catches your attention? Do you prefer professional looking layouts or homey, personal ones (where the blogger took time to make it nice and didn't just use a generic layout)?
As far as layout is concerned, I like the amateur style. Simple, creative, personal, but obviously not designed to catch your eye. A "professional" looking blog gives me the impression the author is trying to sell something. If not a product or service, then themselves.

But, it is almost always the writing that catches my eye, not the layout.

Generic layouts are cool, and work well. It is all about the writing/info you are providing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
Do you like longer or shorter posts? Do you like video blogs? How often do you like blog updates? Do you visit the blog site or just do RSS Feeds?
I like long posts. They show the author actually takes the time to write what they write. I don't exactly hate short posts, some are quiet enjoyable to read, but what I amateure is when I find something of interest, and am reading something that is just a wham-bam-thank you ma'am.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
What's something that immediately turns you off about a blog and makes you click out of in less than 15 seconds? In ten seconds, name the top three things that make you hate a blog... go!
Writing that is too short. I can understand,and appreciate people who can say what they need to say with as few words as possible, but some blogs say: hey, I am going to present you with information, here is one or two tidbits, then.......done. There is a set-up, sometimes conclusion, but almost never any delivery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
What would you like to see MORE of in a blog? Contests? Personal connection with the blogger? Community feel with the readers? Sincerity? Levity? Boldness in their expression? More subtlety?
I dunno, sincerity, I suppose. I prefer, that what-ever the subject, the author writes from his or her own perspective instead of just regurgitating "party politics".

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
How do you usually find blogs? Recommendations? Googling? Popularity?
Uh, I usually google a topic, that sometimes lead to a blog. Other times, I check out what-ever is listed in the host blog's blog-roll. And then, I sometimes just check out random "featured" blogs from Wordpress or Blogger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
I'm NOT out to be famous and I DON'T want my own TV show. I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't like to have a large readership, though. What blogger doesn't? "I'm just a blogger, standing in front of readers, asking them to love him." Ok, so I'm not Julia Roberts in Notting Hill but I'm also not a Kardashian or Spencer Pratt, so, it all evens out.
it's good that you do not want to use your blog to become famous. Because you won't. There are millions and millions of blogs out there. Honestly, you'll just be another face that gets buried in the crowd. Those who found fame from their blog did so because they not only took on a unique angle/subject (most likely unintentionally), they were also decent writers to begin with (and honestly, most people are horrible writers, even if they have good ideas). But, the reality is they just got lucky. They got lucky in that the right person happened to come across their blog and find it interesting enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
So, what's your advice, warnings, cautionary tales, rants or raves?
I've had about ten blogs over the years, and maintain three or four these days. My advice, stick to the free sites like Wordpress or Blogger. Don't try to make your blog over the top cool, or what-ever, just keep it simple. Focus on the writing, and even though you might not have any readers that you know of, write for a specific audience. Do not blog everyday, but blog on a regular basis. Twice a week is good; it keeps your posts fresh, but not overwhelming. If you blog too often, readers won't be able to keep up. If you blog too infrequently, they will lose interest.

Oh, and if you want people to find your blog, just tag your posts with enough relevant tags to lead them to you if they search a particular topic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
ETA: One more question! Do you like blogs that talk about a large/small variety of things or a more focused, themed idea?
One of the reasons why I have so many blogs is that each focused on a particular interest of mine. I've made attempts to consolidate blogs (thus creating more blogs) and, now, just stick to one blog that is everything. My advice is that unless you have a specific topic in mind, it is okay--and more interesting--if the topics vary. But, if your blog is theme specific, then stick to that topic.
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
27,091 posts, read 6,604,134 times
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Blogs also on allrecipes.com


Quote:
Originally Posted by sweettea1 View Post
I read blogs that are either chock full of information, chock full of pictures or chock full of funny.
Recently I've started reading cooking blogs because I love to cook. My favorites are:

The Pioneer Woman | Ree Drummond
mykitchenchaos
Thesmittenkitchen.com
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Old 06-13-2011, 05:12 PM
 
2,278 posts, read 2,227,641 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greatblueheron View Post
Blogs also on allrecipes.com
I love allrecipes.com but I had no idea there were blogs on there. I'll be jiggered. I learned something new today! Ok. Head's full now.
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Old 06-13-2011, 06:18 PM
 
2,278 posts, read 2,227,641 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K-Luv View Post
Well, that is a long time to be considering something! What was the hold-up?
You're a living doll to take the time to answer each question so patiently! I'm so grateful that you would take the time to do that. Thank you!

What kept me from blogging? In all sincerity, naiveté. I know that sounds odd and I don't mean to sound pathetic, but that's what it was. Given how I was raised, I didn't know I was allowed to do things I wanted to. For example, when I went to college and met my roommate, he had one of those small refrigerators and said I could keep some milk or soft drinks in it if I wanted to. I called my mom to ask her if it was okay!

When I grew older and started doing fun things, like traveling and experiencing the world, I still didn't allow myself to do certain things. Traveling was a temporary enjoyment. It had an end to it and that's what I thought I was allowed. As for doing something I enjoyed for a living, or anything that could be long-term, I still had my strict upbringing ingrained in my head. "You can't do that. Find something else!"

In a way, I'm glad. It worked out because my focus, then, was always on who I was as a person and not what I did. If something bad happened, I would ask myself, How can I learn from this? How can I become better and more prepared to handle situations like this? It led to a life of integrity and character and that made me one of the top employees at each job I had.

Now, I'm ready to use the culmination of all of that to write and do something for me while trying to encourage others with laughter and, hopefully, showing them a new way of seeing situations and offering hope.

Corny, I know, but that's me.

Quote:
(Do you still read blogs?) Yup! All the time.
This has been the general consensus of those who've responded. I'm surprised, to be honest. Shocked even. In a world where everybody complains about not having enough time, and with the popularity of getting info in 140 characters or less, I honestly thought nobody would have time for blogs anymore. I'm pleasantly surprised... and encouraged.

Quote:
Various topics. But if you want to know the "top" topics, they are: home brewing, and what can only be described as "personal" in they do not stick to anyone particular topic.
I can write a blog about performing open heart surgery and sound like an expert (because I research things to death) but it would have to be something I love to do. With the help of friends, and people like yourself, I've been learning more about myself and have been able to narrow my theme down and choose the subtopics.

Quote:
(Have you forsaken blogs in favor of FB and Twitter?] Nope. Have both, but FB is not really good for "blogging". Ironically, MySpace was much better in that regard. Twitter is cool for finding or posting quick information, but the whole "micro-blogging" thing is stupid. At least Tumblr, which is supposed to be micro-blogging, allows you to do a full-length post.
Microblogging isn't an option for me. I don't like it. (I learned yesterday what it was!) I asked that question because I read a recent article in the New York Times that interviewed young folks in their twenties who HAVE forsaken blogs for FB and Twitter. They like the quickness and conciseness of social networking so they can move on. That's why I wondered if everyone's attention spans were waning. I've read many comments on message boards where people said, "I didn't read your post because it was too long. Just thought you should know." Wow. I'll join Twitter if I have to but I refuse to join Facebook. Not even for blog success. I hate Facebook on principle.

Quote:
As far as layout is concerned, I like the amateur style. Simple, creative, personal, but obviously not designed to catch your eye. A "professional" looking blog gives me the impression the author is trying to sell something. If not a product or service, then themselves.
Thank you. That's my thought as well. I want it to look like I spent time on it to make it a pleasant place to spend time but still have it look "homemade" and personable. The Frontier Woman's website is stunning beyond belief! She also paid a lot of money for a designer to help it look that way. Of course, it doesn't hurt that she's a remarkable photographer. If I can eventually get my readership high enough, I'd like to make my blog look like that, just slightly less commercial looking. Yes, I want to eventually monetize my blog but not have it look like an infomercial or like it screams, "I monetized! Click EVERYTHING!"

Personally, I love contests! I love giving things away! But I REFUSE to be one of those people who says, "To be eligible, you must Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter and be a subscriber to my blog to win." My first thought is, "Desperate for readers, are you? I won't be one no matter what you're giving away." I can understand wanting to reward your readers and not just a random person who happened by, so, to be fair to them, I'd require them to subscribe to the blog. More than that is, forgive my boldness, rude, selfish blackmail. The winner probably un-friends, un-follows and unsubscribes after they won anyway (if asked to do all that). I sure would.

Quote:
But, it is almost always the writing that catches my eye, not the layout. Generic layouts are cool, and work well. It is all about the writing/info you are providing.
THAT'S what I want my blog to be about. I want my writing to be what stands out.

Quote:
I like long posts. They show the author actually takes the time to write what they write. I don't exactly hate short posts, some are quiet enjoyable to read, but what I amateure is when I find something of interest, and am reading something that is just a wham-bam-thank you ma'am.

Writing that is too short. I can understand,and appreciate people who can say what they need to say with as few words as possible, but some blogs say: hey, I am going to present you with information, here is one or two tidbits, then.......done. There is a set-up, sometimes conclusion, but almost never any delivery.
Most comments I received say the opposite. They don't want just a few sentences but many have said if posts are too long, they usually skip it unless they just adore the blogger. Time and experimentation will help me work out the length. (For the record, I like longer posts, too.)

Quote:
(What would you like to see MORE of in blogs?) I dunno, sincerity, I suppose. I prefer, that what-ever the subject, the author writes from his or her own perspective instead of just regurgitating "party politics".
I agree. It's what I like, too. The sincerity and originality will have to be there if I want to succeed at showing people how to look at things from a different angle than they usually might.

Quote:
Uh, I usually google a topic, that sometimes lead to a blog. Other times, I check out what-ever is listed in the host blog's blog-roll. And then, I sometimes just check out random "featured" blogs from Wordpress or Blogger.
I'm learning that the ways to market and promote your blog are virtually endless. It will be an education for me.

Quote:
it's good that you do not want to use your blog to become famous. Because you won't. There are millions and millions of blogs out there. Honestly, you'll just be another face that gets buried in the crowd. Those who found fame from their blog did so because they not only took on a unique angle/subject (most likely unintentionally), they were also decent writers to begin with (and honestly, most people are horrible writers, even if they have good ideas). But, the reality is they just got lucky. They got lucky in that the right person happened to come across their blog and find it interesting enough.
Another thing I'd LIKE to do is use a pen name and NOT put my picture on the blog. My understanding is, from what I've been learning, is that people want to see your picture. I have to admit, the hermit in me still struggles with this.

Quote:
I've had about ten blogs over the years, and maintain three or four these days. My advice, stick to the free sites like Wordpress or Blogger. Don't try to make your blog over the top cool, or what-ever, just keep it simple. Focus on the writing, and even though you might not have any readers that you know of, write for a specific audience. Do not blog everyday, but blog on a regular basis. Twice a week is good; it keeps your posts fresh, but not overwhelming. If you blog too often, readers won't be able to keep up. If you blog too infrequently, they will lose interest.
Jenkies! That's a lot of blogs! That's why I want to pick my theme carefully and include subtopics that match that theme. It'll add enough variety for me to write about without being all over the place but to also write about more than just a single topic.

I initially thought that bloggers blog daily. Imagine my surprise when I learned from many of you that two or three times a week is enough! Here's a thought: Can I make it possible for people to subscribe to subtopics individually (as a preference) if they don't want to subscribe to the blog as a whole? That way they would only get the RSS Feed or e-mail on the topics they're interested in. Or is that just shooting myself in the foot?

Quote:
Oh, and if you want people to find your blog, just tag your posts with enough relevant tags to lead them to you if they search a particular topic.
I've heard this a lot. Sadly, I don't have a clue what that means right now. But I will. And I'll be an expert tagger by the time I'm ready to go!

Quote:
One of the reasons why I have so many blogs is that each focused on a particular interest of mine. I've made attempts to consolidate blogs (thus creating more blogs) and, now, just stick to one blog that is everything. My advice is that unless you have a specific topic in mind, it is okay--and more interesting--if the topics vary. But, if your blog is theme specific, then stick to that topic.
It sounds like you're describing the difference between a personal blog (that can include any number of topics for discussion) and a niche blog (themed and narrowed down). Am I right? From my research, niche blogs are more popular and more easily monetized. Personal blogging (more diary-like) about random happenings in your life is harder to get people interested in.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond to each of my questions. It's been invaluable and all the advice has been noted for future reference!
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Old 06-13-2011, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
2,450 posts, read 4,308,101 times
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I read blogs written by people I've heard of, who focus on things that interest me at least most of the time. I have yet to become a regular reader of a blog whose author I'd never heard of before I found the blog.

The first one I read every morning is one that's been around since before the word "blog" was coined. It was just a website that he updated frequently: news from me.

Another good "independent" (i.e. not blogspot etc.) is FredSez.

A couple of blogspot blogs I've read are Designing Springfield and Travels with Shelby.

Then there are the blogs that are sponsored by or affiliated with some company or organization, so their design is dictated by the organization:

Trail Blazers Blogger Network - Official Blog

Stop Walking on Eggshells | Psychology Today

Steve Duin | Portland Oregon Metro Blog | The Oregonian - OregonLive.com

Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources
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Old 06-16-2011, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,193 posts, read 22,652,077 times
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Some of what I wrote below may seem condescending, but keep in mind that I am offering advice in attempt to help you create a successful blog.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
What kept me from blogging? In all sincerity, naiveté. I know that sounds odd and I don't mean to sound pathetic, but that's what it was. Given how I was raised, I didn't know I was allowed to do things I wanted to. For example, when I went to college and met my roommate, he had one of those small refrigerators and said I could keep some milk or soft drinks in it if I wanted to. I called my mom to ask her if it was okay!

When I grew older and started doing fun things, like traveling and experiencing the world, I still didn't allow myself to do certain things. Traveling was a temporary enjoyment. It had an end to it and that's what I thought I was allowed. As for doing something I enjoyed for a living, or anything that could be long-term, I still had my strict upbringing ingrained in my head. "You can't do that. Find something else!"

In a way, I'm glad. It worked out because my focus, then, was always on who I was as a person and not what I did. If something bad happened, I would ask myself, How can I learn from this? How can I become better and more prepared to handle situations like this? It led to a life of integrity and character and that made me one of the top employees at each job I had.

Now, I'm ready to use the culmination of all of that to write and do something for me while trying to encourage others with laughter and, hopefully, showing them a new way of seeing situations and offering hope.

Corny, I know, but that's me.
You allude to it, but this is a great topic/theme for a blog. It won't happen overnight, but as long as your writing is interesting, you will not have any problem building readership.



Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
This has been the general consensus of those who've responded. I'm surprised, to be honest. Shocked even. In a world where everybody complains about not having enough time, and with the popularity of getting info in 140 characters or less, I honestly thought nobody would have time for blogs anymore. I'm pleasantly surprised... and encouraged.
If you really think about it, those who claim to have no free time, in fact, have tons of it (seriously, keep track of your daily activities for a week, including things like sitting on your behind watching TV, playing on the computer, etc. along with how much time you spent doing each activity and then come tell me you have no free time! And, by you, I mean the colloquial you. Not you personally).

Twitter began as a text app for cell phones. At the the time, few phones had the built-in capability of sending an SMS messages (text messages) to numerous people at once. And, since the typical cell phone at the time was also only limited to 140 character messages, the limitation stuck as popularity grew.

Twitter does have its use as a decent source of quick information, but to be honest, most users are just trying to out-wit each other.

But, yes, you are wrong to think that microblogging is the wave of the future.



Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
I can write a blog about performing open heart surgery and sound like an expert (because I research things to death) but it would have to be something I love to do. With the help of friends, and people like yourself, I've been learning more about myself and have been able to narrow my theme down and choose the subtopics.
I would strongly advise against writing about anything relating to medicine unless you have actual first-hand experience. Yes, you can research a topic and sound like an expert, but let's not fool ourselves here: people are stupid. Sound like an expert, and run the risk of someone taking your "expert" advice. ALWAYS state that you are only referencing and/or writing opinion; unless you want the possibility of legal action when some dude performs open heart surgery on his ailing mother because he read how to do so on your blog.

Just stick to what you know.



Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
Microblogging isn't an option for me. I don't like it. (I learned yesterday what it was!) I asked that question because I read a recent article in the New York Times that interviewed young folks in their twenties who HAVE forsaken blogs for FB and Twitter. They like the quickness and conciseness of social networking so they can move on. That's why I wondered if everyone's attention spans were waning. I've read many comments on message boards where people said, "I didn't read your post because it was too long. Just thought you should know." Wow. I'll join Twitter if I have to but I refuse to join Facebook. Not even for blog success. I hate Facebook on principle.
Uh, many twenty somethings have, but I am surprised at how many twenty somethings actually, gasp, like to read. Who cares what NYT says! Truth of the matter is the twenty-something crowd are only one portion of society. There are plenty of people who read full-length blogs. Including those in their twenties and younger.

People are simply lazy. They forsake reading the entire post because they didn't want to invest the mental dexterity to actually process the information....and....actually think. It is easier to just skim through and make quick, absent minded, replies without putting much effort into it. These are the type of people you do not want reading your blog! Especially if you desire to one day cash in.

Even if your blog focuses on a niche topic, you need to write for a wide spectrum. If you are a twenty-something, and you want to write for other twenty-somethings, you need to write in a manner that will appeal to anyone and everyone regardless of age. Otherwise your blog will be doomed to low-readership from the start.



Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
Thank you. That's my thought as well. I want it to look like I spent time on it to make it a pleasant place to spend time but still have it look "homemade" and personable. The Frontier Woman's website is stunning beyond belief! She also paid a lot of money for a designer to help it look that way. Of course, it doesn't hurt that she's a remarkable photographer. If I can eventually get my readership high enough, I'd like to make my blog look like that, just slightly less commercial looking. Yes, I want to eventually monetize my blog but not have it look like an infomercial or like it screams, "I monetized! Click EVERYTHING!"
Don't confuse a blog with a personal website. While both can function as both, most blogs are simply laid-out, and for the most part, no frills. You can go through Blogspot/Blogger or Wordpress for examples of the typical blog. But, be aware, that Wordpress has the free blogs, and the paid-for blogs (more on that in another post), where the paid-for blogs are more-or-less just personal websites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
Personally, I love contests! I love giving things away! But I REFUSE to be one of those people who says, "To be eligible, you must Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter and be a subscriber to my blog to win." My first thought is, "Desperate for readers, are you? I won't be one no matter what you're giving away." I can understand wanting to reward your readers and not just a random person who happened by, so, to be fair to them, I'd require them to subscribe to the blog. More than that is, forgive my boldness, rude, selfish blackmail. The winner probably un-friends, un-follows and unsubscribes after they won anyway (if asked to do all that). I sure would.
Giving things away, contests, is a good way to draw attention to your blog...but, just make good on what you offer. And, do not fall into the pit of having this being a gimmick. It's okay to to have the occasional contest, perhaps once or twice a year. Anything more frequent than that will give the reader the impression you are desperate and/or that your blog is only about the contests.



Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
THAT'S what I want my blog to be about. I want my writing to be what stands out.
Writing is a skill. It comes easier to some than others, but even those who are good at it, still put in many hours a day/week honing it down. What makes good writing stand out, and this is even more the case with blogs, is that you write from an authentic, genuine, voice. To be more precise; write what you want to write, not what you think your readers want to read.



Quote:
Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
Most comments I received say the opposite. They don't want just a few sentences but many have said if posts are too long, they usually skip it unless they just adore the blogger. Time and experimentation will help me work out the length. (For the record, I like longer posts, too.)
Let me explain: I write a weekly opinion piece for a local paper. My submissions are capped at 800 words. To me, 800 words is the perfect length as it is long enough to not be a simple quip, yet short enough to not cause the reader to lose interest. But, for many people, writing 800 words is torture.

It takes skill to write short pieces. It takes skill to accurately convey meaning in as few words as possible. To be blunt, most people suck at it. I have an advantage in that I was formally trained in screenwriting, so I can say, with one or two paragraphs, what others would require five or more pages. But that's just me.

My beef with short posts is they are generally poorly written, as if in haste. They basically have a set-up followed by one or two very brief supporting paragraphs, then either abruptly end, or offer a decent conclusion but lack any valuable support within the body.

Most people might not want to sit through a 3000-word essay, but c'mon, you can read 800 words in a few minutes.



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Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
I agree. It's what I like, too. The sincerity and originality will have to be there if I want to succeed at showing people how to look at things from a different angle than they usually might.
Sincerity is the #1 key to a successful blog.



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Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
I'm learning that the ways to market and promote your blog are virtually endless. It will be an education for me.
The two best ways to market your blog are to list it in something like Blogapedia, Bloglist, etc. (there are hundreds of sites listing blogs, and a few blog-specific search engines).

The other is to network. Join blog-specific groups and/or forums, and talk with other bloggers. By doing this, you increase the likelihood of your blog being featured on theirs (usually through a link in their Blogroll). And, of course, be sure to provide a link to their blog, too.



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Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
Another thing I'd LIKE to do is use a pen name and NOT put my picture on the blog. My understanding is, from what I've been learning, is that people want to see your picture. I have to admit, the hermit in me still struggles with this.
Having your picture, or a picture of someone in general, is way to help the reader connect to you and your writing on a more personal level. You can skip it if you want, but I would strongly suggest having a picture of something. A pet, perhaps?

Pen names are cool, I use them.



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Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
Jenkies! That's a lot of blogs! That's why I want to pick my theme carefully and include subtopics that match that theme. It'll add enough variety for me to write about without being all over the place but to also write about more than just a single topic.
Well, each blog had their own niche: music, art, journal, school, etc. I have a lot of interests and hobbies, so trying to combine them all into one blog seemed crazy. Now, I try to focus on one that encompasses a little bit of everything while having a main focus of its own. Which, I suppose ultimately, is me.

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Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
I initially thought that bloggers blog daily. Imagine my surprise when I learned from many of you that two or three times a week is enough! Here's a thought: Can I make it possible for people to subscribe to subtopics individually (as a preference) if they don't want to subscribe to the blog as a whole? That way they would only get the RSS Feed or e-mail on the topics they're interested in. Or is that just shooting myself in the foot?
Some do blog daily, but ironically that is an easy way to lose readers. If you blog too often, readers won't be able to keep up (especially if they follow other blogs). If you blog too infrequently, they will forget your blog exists....or why they bothered to read it in the first place.

RSS feeds are okay, but really, not very effective as their use is not as prominent with blog subscribers as they are with other sources of information. Email subscriptions are good, but follow with RSS feeds. Most of your readers simply will not bother.



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Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
I've heard this a lot. Sadly, I don't have a clue what that means right now. But I will. And I'll be an expert tagger by the time I'm ready to go!
Tagging a post/entry is just adding key words that are searchable that are put into the end of the post, kind of as a footer. They are used to direct traffic to your site. Let's say you write an entry/post/story/article/etc. about buying bananas. Your tags could include: banana, bananas, shopping, buying, ripe, green, fruit, the particular store, selecting bananas, etc. So, when someone googles bananas, or another one of your tagged words/phrases, your entry/post/story/article/etc. will show up in the search results.

This is usually how I come across new blogs, by the way.



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Originally Posted by plain and simple View Post
It sounds like you're describing the difference between a personal blog (that can include any number of topics for discussion) and a niche blog (themed and narrowed down). Am I right? From my research, niche blogs are more popular and more easily monetized. Personal blogging (more diary-like) about random happenings in your life is harder to get people interested in.
Well, yes and no. Some bloggers are actually hired-hands brought on to write about a specific topic for a specific entity. But, more-often-than-not even those who write in niche are still conducting a personal blog in the sense they are writing from their own opinions, expertise, experience, etc.

As long as what you are writing is interesting, it does not matter if it is niche or random happenings. People simply like to see what other people are up to, which is why personal blogs are fairly popular. It's the Human Aspect. The problem with niche blogs is that you will eventually run out interesting items to write about and bleed the topic[s] dry. With "random happenings", the topics are endless.

As for wanting to monetize your blog: To be frank, while it is totally possible, you are only setting yourself up for failure if making money from your blog is an impetus for its creation. Outside of a few friends and your pet cat, expect no readers for at least the first six months. Sure, people will read it, but just don't expect many in the beginning.

There are a few ways to make money from your blog (and if you do, do not be surprised if you are only bringing in a few dollars a month), but they all generally have one thing in common: large, daily, readership. And that can only come from offering a quality blog in the first place.

Think of it like this: whether you intend to make money from blogging or not, the whole ordeal is essentially a business transaction. You are offering your customers (readers) a product (your writing) and a service (making your writing available to them 24/7). Your customers, in return, are "paying" you by increasing your blog's popularity with each new customer and return customer (readers).

This response was written in a hurry, but I'll be happy to provide more information/advice if you like.
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