Two Years Of Blogging

Two Years Of Blogging

It’s now been two years of running my blog and WOW, has time flew! Looking back at when I first kicked it off, I’m pleasantly surprised I stuck with it. Of course, this last year has been full of some major life transitions, including having a second child and changing careers, so I have a reason for not focusing on developing this blog as much as I had hoped. Despite all of this, I did find time to write weekly (although some of my longer posts are still in draft form), and I’m approaching 100 posts!

When the blog clicked the one year meter, I laid out some goals and tracked my progress against them. This time around though I’m going to a) answer some FAQs most bloggers get to share some more about the blog and b) lay out some new goals for the next year on a separate post. So, let’s start with some frequently asked questions bloggers get first.

Black and White Photo of Barn on Kentucky Farm
Black and White Photo of Barn on Kentucky Farm

Why did you start blogging?

I envied thought leaders who wrote and I believed that if I did too I could build up my expertise. I was also getting a little apprehensive about being mid career and not defining what I wanted to do with the last half of it, and I figured a blog would help me define that path more. I was also told that writing improved thinking and communication, and that’s been doubly proven true. Previously, being unable to really elucidate my thoughts made me apprehensive in expressing them but writing has taught me how to organize my thinking more effectively. I also write much more succinctly, which has had positive benefits elsewhere.

What’s better, blogging or using social media?

Using social media helps you reach a lot of people, but you give massive control over to the respective services who can change the product at any time. I know publishing to Linked-In is popular now, but I’ve run into some issues with other social media sites in the past that have made me wary. For example, I used to write fly fishing essays and stories and try to get them published with some degree of success. I had started a Facebook Page that people who liked my work could read it and I could promote it as well. Unfortunately, Facebook killed sharing Notes, which was what I was using, and that entire project became a real waste of time. Hence, my WordPress blog, which I host on my own virtual server.

Who is your audience?

I don’t have a real target audience. I’ve tried following the Seth Godin advice of finding your tribe, but for the most part this blog is too varied to appeal to anyone in particular. For example, I write about technology and finance, share pics of zoo animals I take with my DSLR, and review local restaurants. I could hone that message and start marketing it more in the future, but I’m also a little wary of hosting fees, so I’m trying to limit the audience anyway.

What would you have done differently?

I wish I would have made my photos more descriptive as now I have a lot of posts with vague image descriptions. I’ve cleaned them up in my media library but haven’t reposted them yet so the changes take effect. That’s some cleanup I’ll have to do at some point.

What did you do right?

I wasted a lot of time trying to get this blog looking slick by combing through custom CSS files. Eventually I gave up and bought a custom theme, of which I’ve changed to suit my needs. I’ve tried to keep it simple with a white background, at least one image per post so you’re not looking at a block of text, and some identifying factors that make it noticeably mine. For example, the orange color theme is “rust”, which is also my last name and the barn I’ve used on these posts is a pic I took years ago on a trip back from the Red River Gorge. I’m glad I went down this path instead.

Have you ever run out of things to write?

Someone advised me to write profusely and not worry about finding inspiration down the road. Believe it or not, you always come up with something to talk about and I’ve not run out of subjects yet. In fact, I have at least a dozen drafts I’m working on now.

Anything surprised you about blogging?

Absolutely, I had no idea I enjoyed photography. The entire zoo pics page on this blog inspired me to do more and get better at it.

 

Next, I’ll write up my goals for the next year in a separate post.

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