Want to read my thoughts on personal blogging? Here you go… all 1,791 words.
So, I’ve had this blog for more than FOUR years. Prior to that, I had another blog that I started in 2006. I have documented so many memories, photos, and things I otherwise would have forgotten on the two blogs. One is saved on my computer because I could never figure out how to make it online again after Apple stopped supporting iWeb. The other one is this one.
I started this to be sort of a mom guide to review my favorite baby things, and getting into the blogging world, I didn’t have a clear direction or vision of topics and categories of what I wanted this one to be. I researched and researched and researched. I read how to blog guides, books, joined forums, networked, read a LOT of blogs, and still – I could never be content with the content on this. I think, as bloggers, we tend to discover a blog that we love and immediately think, “I want my blog to be like that!” and then visit another and think “no THAT!” and what I ended up with was a complete all-over-the-place blog with disjointed content. Oops.
Throughout this process, I’ve learned so, so much about content creation, design, social media, and WordPress. The education by trial and error has been invaluable. Seriously. Anyone that is interested in marketing should start a blog and experiment trying to drive traffic to it. It’s one of the things I recommend when someone wants to meet with me to learn about getting into marketing and PR. But here’s the thing: I’ve always had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind: why do I want to drive traffic to this blog, where I write a lot of my memories? Sure, I throw in some popular posts like “how to write thank you notes for baby gifts” that send a lot of traffic here, but once those people are here, are there other topics that interest them? If they don’t know me, do they really want to read about the time I was stung by a bee? For a blog to be successful, it really needs to play on the interests of those that discover it. For a long time, I used it as a journal. Now, I don’t want that online.
So for the past few months, I’ve struggled. I’ve struggled to find topics that I want to write and then I’ve struggled really wanting to promote and share them to a blog with content that I’m hesitant to share. My very biggest issue is this: people are MEAN. People are very, very mean on the internet. I don’t understand WHY anyone would take the time to write a hateful comment, intentionally aimed to make someone feel deflated, but they do. And as blogs grow, the potential for criticism grows. I do not want to open myself or my family up for that. Also, in my professional life, I’m not sure how I feel about others discovering this blog and reading about my family. And, is it my story to tell? When I started, I thought that’s what blogs were: personal. Then I discovered the range of websites and niches, and realized that blogs don’t have to be personal to be successful. And that is what I would like: a successful blog that allows me to be creative and develop my writing and photography.
So this blogging journey has led me to this: I have started the process of taking all personal content down from this site. I would LOOOOVE suggestions on how to transfer it someplace where I can print it or view it in some way because I have a lot of memories recorded that I don’t want to lose.
I’ve joined in on a five week blogging challenge that really gave me clarity. First, I am not a brand. I don’t want to be a brand online. My brand is my professional life, which I take very seriously. So when someone googles me, what do I want them to discover? I am in PR, and I am a firm believer in being cautious about how you post on social media, etc. – what you post online directly contributes to our reputations now. We know people through Facebook. I share what I want people to know. I cannot STAND IT when someone posts something negative about their child because you know what that does? People form an opinion on that child, based on what you say and what you post online. End of story. Frustrated with your child because he’s back-talking? I’m going to think he’s a brat. Do I get frustrated with my child? Occasionally, and I keep it to myself. Share what you want others to know about your child. Filter, moms, FILTER. It’s all about PR and image control. This is another reason I’ve become increasingly anxious about this personal blog of mine. What is my goal here? I hate to say this but it is true: it was an experiment in mommyblogging and the goal was to make money. Building traffic to get sponsorships, advertising, etc. And I don’t think my personal life is worth the risk of putting myself out there when it doesn’t translate to money. I don’t think my strength is creative personal story telling. I love the blogs that do – Dooce and In the Next 30 Days are two of my favorites because the writing is fantastic. And that’s what anyone will tell you about a successful blog: it comes down to great content. Building an audience with shared interests and writing topics they want to read. I know this. I just haven’t done a good job with it on this blog.
So, I am going to start the process of cleaning up. Purging. Reorganizing. I have great traffic on this website so I don’t know what I am going to do with it, but I know it needs to be revamped. I also have had many opportunities afforded to me with this blog so I don’t want to shut it down, however, time is crucial here. First of all, I’m pregnant and about to have my second baby (6 weeks away. SIX.) I vaguely remember the infant days, and I am pretty sure time will be an issue. I’m going to take my time to regroup and not put pressure to stick to any sort of posting schedule.
So, I’m going to refocus on my favorite things: wine, food, design, travel, photography and style. The content is more like a magazine, a style which is fun for me to write, and the topics are much more streamlined. I feel like the wine blogs I read are way too technical – and I wanted to write about wine in a much more casual, conversational way. Like wines you should drink in your yoga pants. Wine pairings with TV series. How to hold a wine glass. Wines to open with pizza. With two trips to California and restaurant reviews, I’ve taken so many photos with the purpose of blogging, I have a serious collection of gorgeous photos that surprised me. (Side note: I’ve started to develop a different sense of subjects to take for photography, thinking about a main image and how to capture a topic on camera. Using images on websites and blogs is essential, and I feel like I have learned so much and my photography has improved as a result.)
I’m going to take some time to reorganize and recategorize and come up with a plan for this one.
Talk to me.
So tell me, if you don’t mind taking a few minutes to comment, what do you think about Freshmom? What have been your favorite topics, and do you have any advice on the direction I should take?