I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and promoting your book on the Internet
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sierramcconnell
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I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by sierramcconnell » February 18th, 2011, 2:29 pm

There are a lot of people here who have blogs. I see that. I don't follow a lot because I'm just not that much of a "people" reader. I've never been much of a socializer, because as one person in the front of the building says, "You're like me, we don't have filters, we're honest, and people don't like that."

And I will admit, I often get into...head butting...because my opinion is very firm and unwavering if facts are not presented to the contrary.

Regardless. I signed up for a blog. I have never had a MySpace or Facebook. I only recently got Twitter. It's fairly hilarious fun.

Okay. So...now what? I have a blog. What do I do with it?
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

Margo
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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by Margo » February 18th, 2011, 2:42 pm

What fortuitous timing. It so happens that our own Sommer Leigh (who's been blogging awhile) started a series of posts aptly named the College of Blogging. The first post is about understanding the different kinds of blogs and deciding what kind you want to do. You can check it out here:

http://sommerleigh.com/?p=2269

I'd also suggest checking out some blogs to get an idea of what you like and don't like as a blog reader. There are plenty of links to writer blogs here at the forum. Some of the blogs are all about writing, or about writing plus some other interests, or about all things that the blogger wants to talk about. You can also search google for blog topics that might interest you, but I think (if I understand correctly) the blog has to get a certain number of pageviews a day to come up in the searches.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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sierramcconnell
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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by sierramcconnell » February 18th, 2011, 2:52 pm

Well, that's my problem. I don't want it to be personal (I have a locked LiveJournal and Twitter with one personal friend for that), I would like to be professional.

But...I don't know what.

As you can see, I'm not the most interesting person in the world. What do I talk about? I would like to talk about something. But for it to be unique enough to not be just the same black coffee.

I thought about talking about dolls. Not many people talk about BJDs. But a lot of people don't appreciate dolls and immediately think 'baby\child\psychopath\virgin-homebody'.

So...yeah.
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

Margo
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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by Margo » February 18th, 2011, 3:43 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:I thought about talking about dolls. Not many people talk about BJDs. But a lot of people don't appreciate dolls and immediately think 'baby\child\psychopath\virgin-homebody'.

So...yeah.
Really? I was under the impression that dolls (collecting, making, sewing for, etc) had a pretty strong following. Maybe not everybody's bag, but I've certainly seen it in the media, so someone out there is interested. It might take awhile to get a following, but it's not like there's a deadline.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by Sommer Leigh » February 18th, 2011, 7:07 pm

Thanks for the plug Margo :-)

I'm going to do several blog posts next month on the Art of Content, but figuring out "what" to write about is not easy, but one myth I can dispel very quickly is - you don't need to know right away. And don't let not knowing what your focus is stop you from starting anyway. For a new blogger, you're going to need some time and some posts to just get a feel for how you want the blog to look. So consider your first 4 weeks a trial period. Aside from people you may be friends with, you don't want to seek readers yet and once you do start seeking them, prepare for a good 6-12 months of consistency and stability before you'll really start seeing people coming to your blog regularly and actually commenting. This is pretty normal since readers don't have a lot of time to spend on blogs and they like to see a blogger with a library of posts behind them. Time will establish your expertise.

During your trial period you can decide if the blog service you're using is what you want, you can play around with layouts, graphics, and "looks." Next week I have a pretty comprehensive post on the pros and cons of the 3 major blogging services. During this time I also suggest looking at other blogs in subjects you are considering for ideas. Most "professional" blogs, and that's a pretty loose term, tend to focus on one topic. Parenting. Book reviews. Gardening. Alternative Medicine. New technology news. Writing. Poetry. Photography. The list really is infinite, and the key is to pick something you can write a lot about. From what you've told us about yourself, you're a very creative person. You've talked about making lots of different types of creative arts and that would be a good focus if you think you could keep writing about it. How-to posts, spotlight on other artists, product reviews, etc. There would be interest in a blog in this niche.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by sierramcconnell » February 18th, 2011, 9:58 pm

So I'm about clueless, but I do have a website address I pay for. I mostly use it for hosting images and things because I got used to it when I had a website, which I no longer use.

How do I attach that to a blog, so I can just direct people to a name? (You would think an IT person would know that, but it's usually easier just to ask someone who has already done it...)
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by Sommer Leigh » February 18th, 2011, 10:13 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:So I'm about clueless, but I do have a website address I pay for. I mostly use it for hosting images and things because I got used to it when I had a website, which I no longer use.

How do I attach that to a blog, so I can just direct people to a name? (You would think an IT person would know that, but it's usually easier just to ask someone who has already done it...)
It depends - what blog service are you using?
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by sierramcconnell » February 18th, 2011, 10:22 pm

Sommer Leigh wrote:
sierramcconnell wrote:So I'm about clueless, but I do have a website address I pay for. I mostly use it for hosting images and things because I got used to it when I had a website, which I no longer use.

How do I attach that to a blog, so I can just direct people to a name? (You would think an IT person would know that, but it's usually easier just to ask someone who has already done it...)
It depends - what blog service are you using?
The orange one? XD Blogger, that is. I'm terrible at layouts and HTML as well.
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by Sommer Leigh » February 18th, 2011, 10:38 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:
Sommer Leigh wrote:
sierramcconnell wrote:So I'm about clueless, but I do have a website address I pay for. I mostly use it for hosting images and things because I got used to it when I had a website, which I no longer use.

How do I attach that to a blog, so I can just direct people to a name? (You would think an IT person would know that, but it's usually easier just to ask someone who has already done it...)
It depends - what blog service are you using?
The orange one? XD Blogger, that is. I'm terrible at layouts and HTML as well.
For Blogger:
Go to the Settings tab
Click on "Publishing"
The first thing beneath the word "Publishing" should say:
Switch to: • Custom Domain (Point your own registered domain name to your blog)
Click on "Custom Domain"
Since you already own your own domain, you'll want to click on "Already own a domain? Switch to advanced settings" Which you can find toward the right beneath the big orange line that says "Buy a domain for your blog"
On this page just fill out the information requested. You may need to click on "Setup Instructions" if it doesn't work right away. You may need to set up your domain differently.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by sierramcconnell » February 18th, 2011, 10:48 pm

The only problem with that is that they want me to change all my DNS settings. If I do that, it's no longer bound to my FTP server, and there for, I can no longer host files. I would rather have over 3 gigs of space to use than a dinky blog link.
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

Sommer Leigh
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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by Sommer Leigh » February 18th, 2011, 11:05 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:The only problem with that is that they want me to change all my DNS settings. If I do that, it's no longer bound to my FTP server, and there for, I can no longer host files. I would rather have over 3 gigs of space to use than a dinky blog link.
Then I would suggest getting a brand new domain for your blog.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by sierramcconnell » February 19th, 2011, 12:22 pm

There's gotta be a way to link all three together...I know blogging people post stuff all the time. Especially photography. And flickr\photobucket would be the tool of the devil with their limits and sizing restrictions...
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

Sommer Leigh
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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by Sommer Leigh » February 19th, 2011, 12:33 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:There's gotta be a way to link all three together...I know blogging people post stuff all the time. Especially photography. And flickr\photobucket would be the tool of the devil with their limits and sizing restrictions...
The major blogging services like Wordpress, Blogger, and LiveJournal have storage space for you and I post pictures on every post and have never come close to filling any of their limits. I also use TinyPic.com sometimes, but mostly I just upload straight to the blogging service. Blogger also has integrated use with Picasa for extra storage. When you go to the new post editor, up in your formatting toolbar you should see a little picture between the word Link and the film blackboard thing. If you click on that it will walk you through uploading and inserting a picture. That is also where you'll find the ability to insert from Picasa if you wanted.

I'm not very good with the back end of my web hosting in that I can do exactly what I need to do and I know nothing else. I do not think, however, you can point the domain toward more than one place. But like I said, this is an area I know very, very little about. I look up tutorials whenever I'm faced with doing something I've never done before. Fortunately Wordpress integrates very nicely with my web host (AN Hosting) so everything is done automatically through Wordpress and I very rarely have to do anything manually through AN Hosting.

Blogger makes it very easy for you to just get a domain name for your blog. You don't need any hosting services at all. And it's pretty cheap. Also if you buy a domain and want to move it later to something else, you can. Tell Great Stories, my blog, was originally on Blogger before I switched and while switching was kind of a pain, it worked just fine.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by trixie » March 28th, 2011, 4:00 pm

I made my blog. And by "made" I mean decided on the color scheme, the template, and named two tabs.

That counts, right?

Then I read this: http://sommerleigh.com/?p=2294

Oh, Sommer. You raise such good points. I felt the need to grab my pen and paper to take notes like I was in a lecture, not reading a blog.

Here's my issue (one of many): Why should I blog? Do I think I have some great spin or insight that other people will find fascinating? Do I have knowledge to impart on others? Or do I just want to make a "resources" blog, a place where all my writing links can live and I can easily find again? That seems kind of silly, especially since I have a Writing Links bookmark on my web browser.

I made a list of potential blog topics today. I found they fell into three areas. Writing was the predominant topic--say, 80%--followed by running (training for a half marathon) and travel at 10% each. But just because I have topics, that doesn't mean I need to blog about it. Because if I'm honest with myself, my blog post will really be some text followed by links to other sites (nathanbransford.com) where I've found great information.

Sommer and other bloggers, do you ever feel the angst of, "What's the point?" Or do you know why you blog?

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Re: I have a blog. Now what do I do with it?

Post by Sommer Leigh » March 28th, 2011, 4:56 pm

Trixie-

I'm glad you found my post useful :-) I have many more coming.

I think one point I failed to make and one I will be posting about soon is this: In the beginning, don't panic. None of us or any really great blogger started out knowing exactly what they were going to do. A lot of what I blog about has grown sort of organically as I grew as a writer and blogger. These days I don't have a shortage of things to talk about, which is why I post 5 days a week. I keep a calendar of ideas out for several months. I have a lot of fun stuff that doesn't take a whole in depth post to write about and a lot of intense stuff too. But if you go back in the archives of any blog to the very beginning you'll find that no one had it right in the beginning and there are a lot of really boring blog posts in everyone's past. There's a reason we all say that it takes at least 6 months to really start bringing in a following and that's because it takes at least that long to get your blog legs under you.

So if you've started, great! Take these beginning months to figure out what you want to write about and what the blog is to you. You don't have to know in the beginning. Find other bloggers you love, make contact, talk to people. When you finally hit your stride and start bringing in more followers and more commenters, you'll long for the days when you had the free time to experiment and surf.

Also, there are lots and lots of different types of blogs and you don't need one to be exactly like everyone elses. Do a google search for Wordpress Themes and look for "Best of" lists. There are several very good ones that have wordpress themes that do not look like or function as your typical blog. It might give you some ideas for blogging outside the box, so to speak. I'm not at home to double check the name and link, but the site I like the best for really dynamic blog themes is Theme Forest for Wordpress.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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