Ten Things I have Learned While Blogging

 

  • Pictures Count.  Not only do you need pictures with every post, you need great pictures.  If you cannot photograph well, take a class.  They even have online classes.  I am finishing up one right now.  Even if you think your words are the most important thing, pictures will help you reach a wider audience.  But take your OWN pictures or get permission first to use someone else’s but do NOT Google pictures, save the image and then post it as if it were your own … more about that down the list.
  • Composition Counts.  If your words are conversational, like mine, the colloquialisms are fine, but it is important to use decent grammar. If you don’t, people will call you out on it.  Also, if you are like me, then you have the attention span of a gnat and can be a little disjointed with your thoughts.  Write your post then leave it for a while coming back to it later.  You would be surprised what you will pick up just by getting out of the moment and then returning.
  • It is a lot of work.  I never dreamed it would be this much work!  Some nights I look at the clock and it has been three hours since I sat down “to check my email”.  It is important to keep your readers engaged and also to market your blog with as many ancillary social media outlets as you can handle.  I started out very slowly with just the blog and then Facebook.  I had to take that down (more on that down the list) but added twitter, Krylon, Hometalk,  Pinterest, Google+, Triberr, Reddit, Sulia, Stumbleupon, Paper Blog, Linky Parties and food sites like {yum} goggle.  In the meantime, I brought Facebook back up.  Because I have a full-time job that has 40+ hours involved per week and a family including an aging mother, husband, adult children and a grandson. I can only take care of a few per night but I do it each night plus I read many, many blogs on a variety of issues.
  • Blogger Etiquette.  If you are in a blog interest group that has linky parties please follow the rules of the host – yes, it means you will need to “like” or “follow” any number of hosts and more than likely you will need to link back – do it!  If it brings new viewers to your blog it is a small price to pay; besides, you might find you really like some of them.  If you think it clogs up your email, think Bloglovin’ – it is the most wonderfully fabulous way to follow blogs that I have ever used.  I wish everyone used it!  If you belong to closed groups that do not allow you to post links to your own blog, then don’t.  That one time you get your post up before you are banished from the group, will get you NO followers.  I promise.  Be nice to other bloggers.  Just because they do something differently than you would, doesn’t mean their way is wrong and need to be told by you in a public forum.  If you want to make something from an idea you see on another blog, if there is time, email privately and ask permission first, if not – link to their blog and then do your own work and take your own pictures……just like in school.  If you don’t it is stealing which leads me to number 5.
  • Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing.  There are many Face Book pages and benign looking sites with names like “Grandma’s Goodies” or “Cathy’s Cute Cupcakes and more” or “Blackberries and Lemonade Recipe Sharing site” that are actually plagiarists and flat out thieves.  My first experience with them came just four months after opening my community Face Book page.  Someone reported a cutesy sounding newsfeed that was stealing others’ posts right and left.  I went over to take a look.  Low and behold, I thought I saw a few pictures from a blog I regularly followed at the time.  I went right over and told the blogger I thought so.  Sure enough, apparently there were pictures and entire recipes passed off as their own.  Watermarks had been cut or partially cut out (if it wasn’t against the law, why would you do that?).  The girl was young and threw a big ol’ hissy fit and Facebook came down on her like a ton of bricks.  At the time it had 33,000 followers, last time I checked it had about 200,000.  So young blogger laid it off on me and that’s when my trouble started.  I began receiving harassing emails both to my Facebook account and my home email (I have no idea how they got that) and followers would “like” my page and then post harassing things on there.  I honestly had not done anything except tell someone I THOUGHT there were a couple of her pictures on the offending FB page.

 

I work for the government and our IT guys are really very smart – in their off-time they did a little investigating.  Two of the harassers were women in the military stationed in Hawaii – easy enough to take care of that – but the kicker was the “person” assumed to be female was actually an all-male sweat room situation where they were harvesting “followers” into a money making operation and they would let nothing get in the way!  There are many Facebook pages like this one.  If they are food related, the way you can tell most of these thieves is that a picture and an entire recipe will be posted.  If you look around on a picture, you may find all or part of a watermark or a blogger’s name on it.  Also, if you look at the pictures many of them are taken inside someone’s kitchen.  You will be amazed at how many kitchens it would appear this “person” owns.

 

Of course there are those who think that if it is on the Internet, it is public domain.  That is not true at all.  While the ingredients may be common, the directions and certainly the pictures are copyrightable just as the words of a writer are.  If you were not allowed to do it in school, you would not be allowed to do it just because it’s on the Internet.  The only exception is if the website or the entity administering the website accepts state or federal funds, in that instance, anything on it is fair game because the taxpayers own it, so to speak.  I know this because every idea I have had or paper I have written while representing the people of the State of Oklahoma is the intellectual property of said people and not my own.  This MIGHT be why I am so protective of my personal blog.

I look at it this way:  If they post or “share” your recipe and your pictures but leave a link so a person could go over to your blog if they wanted to – and why would they if everything they needed was on that site?  It is the same as if someone saw your car which has your car tag on it leading directly to you.   Said person wanted to “share” your car with you and took it for a drive without your permission.  Would you say taking the car was stealing but the recipe was not?  What about the tutorial on the nifty way you use chalk paint or the excerpt from your upcoming book?  Just something to keep in mind.

  • The Bulk of the World is not yet tapped.  While it may seem as though everyone has a blog, the truth is most of the world doesn’t even understand how one works and most certainly don’t read one … yet.  In my office, there are only very few who have read a blog even once much less consistently and certainly would not consider writing one.  There are lots of people out there – we just have to go get them!
  • Striking a Chord.  You never know what will strike a chord with your readers!  This is part of what keeps blogging interesting for me.  I, in my panic to make something quick last summer, took some thin-crust pizza dough out of a can and made some cinnamon rolls.  Not one to waste an opportunity, I made a post about it.  A full year later Pillsbury contacted me to feature it on their Facebook website.  I hadn’t even thought about those things in forever but I was happy to say yes.  Pillsbury has 2.4 million “likers” and nearly 50,000 of them have been to my little blog in the last 2 days!  You just never know, do you?  I threw that together one Saturday afternoon but a post I spent a full day preparing hasn’t even made a blip on the radar.  Write about everything!
  • Your Family May Not Like Being Blogged About.  That is true of my husband.  He certainly doesn’t like his picture out there.  I have 5 pre-approved pictures of him and me, mostly from our wedding eight years ago, that he has agreed to allow on the blog and FB page.  And even though he hates my blog nickname for him (he says he is NOT a picky eater) it is better than if I were to use his real name.  I am afraid if I did he would have a stroke – or cause me to have one!  I always ask my family if I can post pictures or talk about them … mostly.
  • You can make wonderful friends.  This was something I never thought about.  I always pretty much thought I would be out there on my own.  But when that FB page reigned down Hell on me, some wonderful people came through – people who didn’t know me – and read my blog and looked at my awful pictures and were just generally very supportive.  I have met wonderful folks on the Interwebs that I am honored to call friends.  They make great suggestions that have helped me improve all my sites and I enjoy visiting by email and text and FB.  I have met several of YOU ladies and we are becoming friends – I just love how all this works.  My daughter-in-law told me not too long ago I was pretty social media savvy “for someone my age” … ha!  That always makes me laugh but I guess to a 24-year-old, someone 50 is pretty old.  Trust me; I owe all of that to my daughter Top Girl.  If it weren’t for her, I would be just as inadequate as most other boomers.
  • To some, blogging is a business; and to some, it is a hobby.  To many bloggers blogging is a means to make money but to others it is a way to connect with the world or blow off steam or any number of other non-money-making reasons and there is room for all of us!  I have heard some bloggers say of others that all they want to do is make money.  Well, I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t want to make some extra money, have you?  I also read a blog once where a young (childless) woman said that she had a job and didn’t get to stay home all day with kids and write blog posts.  Come to find out this 20 year old lived at home with her parents and had a part-time job at a sandwich shop.  Hmmmm … wonder if her mom has time to write a blog?  I’m sure she lost a few readers over that little comment.
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Source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/futureshape/

I hope you have fun writing your blog and reading others, I know I do.  Tell me, what have YOU learned being a blogger?  I’m always interested in that.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKelli Davidson is our August Blogger of the Month. She blogs at Kelli’s Retro Kitchen Arts

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5 comments

  1. cori warner says:

    Hi, Kelly! I’m enjoying your posts this month! I appreciate your list of some of the social media you use; I only have a few at this point: Pinterest, FB, Google+. I’m going to check out some of the others you mentioned. especially Reddit and Stumbleupon; I’ve seen those mentioned other places.

    I have to say I have a love/hate thing going on with linky parties. They are time consuming. I also read that Google may penalize you for “link farming” if you use a lot of linkies, so I had to go back and make all my badges “no follows.”

    And I have to agree that blogging is quite a bit of work; really more than I expected, and it can be a time suck. I’m learning to put limits on myself when it comes to time spent with a computer on my lap!

    Cori Warner
    The Flying C

  2. Hi Cori! Boy first off – did you do sales this morning? We found some great stuff that I’m redoing tomorrow and I’ll have posted on Hometalk Sunday – REALLY cool stuff!

    Okay back to blogging. Link farming is something I have not heard of yet so you may have to explain that. I link up to about 6 parties per week including this one here on Sundays but gosh, I’ve seen people’s blogs who link up to 40 or 50 blogs………can you imagine the time put in on that???

  3. hi Stephanie! Thank you for your compliment – Blogger Etiquette is something not many people want to talk about is it? 🙂 I will be happy to tell you about that FB page – anytime. I just don’t like to print the name of it because if someone googles me or them it would put us together and I just don’t want to be associated with anything like that. P.S. – I saw your cute picture on FB last night with your girlfriends! 🙂

  4. Bird Martin says:

    I never saw some of the issues I have now, a year later, with having a blog. My marriage fell to pieces, but that is probably what made my little site interesting. Nothing says “attention-grabbing” like drunk posts and ambien rants. My family has strict boundaries about what I can write about when it comes to them, and we’ve had more than one family dispute public-ally. My kids also write on my blog from time to time. Yikes. It’s been hard balancing it all out, and I believe I have inadvertently launched a fairly successful cheater/infidelity/divorce/codependency/biker website, and I’m kind of worried that I won’t have anything more interesting than a husband in the throes of the most ridiculous midlife crisis ever, and how what he’s doing is making my brain melt at that moment.
    I have made some friends, though it is hard to keep up with people that visit my site these days. What was supposed to be a fun hobby has now turned into a pretty demanding job. I don’t regret it, but I wish I’d known just how intense and demanding this all could get!!
    I have read a few of your articles, and you are right on the money. Keep up the wonderful advice!

    Bird

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