Yes, People May End Up Reading Your Blog, So Write Well!

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 2.16.54 PMMy very first blog posts were horrendous. I began writing at Blogger, and never did get the hang of it. The platform was difficult for me to understand, and then I heard about WordPress. I found it easier to write there, and it’s where my main blogs live. It didn’t mean I could write any better though! That is something I have been learning as I go.

Blabbing on about something on a blank page on a computer screen led me to believe that no one at all would ever even see what I wrote. I knew nothing about SEO or social media or tagging. I just wrote whatever came into my head, and it wasn’t very good, but it was honest and probably a bit unique (maybe not in a good way).

People I knew didn’t read my posts, but absolute strangers did, and they sometimes left comments. Those comments gave me the incentive to continue, and to give my readers something worthwhile to read. I wanted to become a better writer, and I had to learn how to do that.  For many years I was too busy raising my kids to read a book much less practice any type of writing!

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Once you write, get the post out to the world by having posts automatically linked to your other online places.

Then, out of the blue, I was asked to be a guest writer at a site connected to (the now defunct) Squidoo writing site. I had to write a review of a Squidoo page of my choice (not my own), and have it ready to post on a specific day of the week. We each had our own day to publish. It was stressful, because I was not a good writer. Over the course of the week eventually I got the short article (300 words minimum) ready to submit. Then I would sort of cringe on the day I knew it would go live.

Eventually I had to stop guest writing because my own online business needed more of my time.  But, that stint as a guest writer was very good for me. It honed my writing skills a bit, as I had to try to live up to the expectations of the other writers. I wanted to write well. And I knew for a fact, at the very least, the other contributors would be reading it!

Writing with others also taught me what is expected for search engine optimization (SEO).  Each post / article had to be a minimum of 300 words, well written, easy to read, and  contain original text. This is what I think about when writing these days.  That is not to say  that I don’t slip out of that routine every now and then.

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Everything I write contains at least one photo or picture to go with the story. Occasionally the photography is the story, but blogs won’t get far without some text as well. At first I used only my own photography when writing, but eventually I learned how to use public domain images to enhance my posts, like the awesome photos in this article (credit: Pixabay.com).

I have been overlooking the “featured image” option which shows on WP’s improved editor posting page.    Now I am going back through my blog posts to add a featured image to the top of each one.

 

Best of Blogging, Be Yourself

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Photo credit: Oldiefan @ Pixabay

Since I do a lot of blogging, I thought I’d begin a series of posts about blogging.  If you look around the internet, you will find lots of bad blogs.  And of course there are many great blogs.  Those great blogs are fun to read because they are written by people who write about what interests them.  Being phony online doesn’t work for long.  Be yourself and share (with limits) information about your likes, travels, menu specialties, etc..  You’d be surprised how many people will be interested, even if your life seems mundane and ordinary to you.

Blogging can also be quite a learning experience.  Although I love gardening and sharing how my garden grows with readers, I am still learning as I go.  I recently began a blog about health and wellness related to kidney disease.  A few years ago I found out I had PKD and I want to share my journey as I attempt to get well.

You don’t need to be an experienced writer to start a blog.  I’ve learned a lot since I first began my Seashells by Millhill blog back in 2008.  The first posts I made were pretty horrendous, and I cringe when I re-read them.  Since then I’ve written at a couple of writing sites, Squidoo (now defunct) and Wizzley, where I learned to become a better writer.  I did a little stint with other bloggers on a shared blog site and wrote one day a week.  The bar was raised when I had to write alongside some very good writers.

Continue reading “Best of Blogging, Be Yourself”

Is It Worth It To Blog?

Way back when I began writing this blog I lived in New Hampshire. I was new to blogging and I understand why I wondered if it was worth the effort.

I loved living in New Hampshire, but I haven’t had good fortune in this life. Instead of being able to stay where I love and putting down roots, I’ve done a lot of losing (things) and moving (so much moving). It’s understandable that my writing was sometimes depressing, especially when it seemed no one was reading anything I wrote.

My comment to this: Blogging is worth it if you enjoy doing it. Don’t pay attention to the stats too much because everything you do online takes time to pay off. In the meantime, become a better writer. Make more links – within the blog and outbound. Don’t write because you feel you have to, write when an idea pops into your head and you need to write it down.

Now, I am re-reading this post and am answering myself! Just for fun. Life is not much better (but it’s a little better in some ways) and one thing I have learned is that acceptance is very helpful. Whether or not the future (if I dare look) holds hope … or nothing good at all, I keep on breathing and therefore I must keep on going. There is no point in feeling lousy and depressed. Let those days slide on by. Onward! There is no other choice.

Responding to Myself

The “Old Me” is the original post.

Old me: Quite often when I check the blog stats I get a bit depressed. Gardening blogs are numerous. So many of us love to garden and share our backyard adventures, but at the same time gardeners know everything other gardeners know – don’t they?

New Me: Well, not always. And as a gardener, I like to see what other people are growing and doing in their yards. It’s a good way to find help (if needed) or maybe try growing something new.

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This used to be my yard! Short-lived fun.

Old Me: This blog began as a hydrangea themed blog. The only trouble is, I have hydrangeas growing in my yard for about 6 months and flowering for about three. So what to write about the rest of the time?

New Me: I think I eventually figured this out because I turned the blog into a general gardening blog. It’s a good thing too because I had to move away and go back to Florida. All my New Hampshire gardening information was suddenly irrelevant! So the blog changed, there was no choice. Grow, change, accept.

Old Me: I write this blog because I love to dig in the dirt. My grandfather did it, my father did it, and so do I. I have the chance to share what I love to do with others from around the world, even if visitor numbers are small. So it’s worth it to blog and share my photos as I plant and harvest. The stats seem to say “you are failing at this”, but I’ve decided I won’t pay attention to that. The outdoors is calling and I’m taking my camera (right after it stops raining).

New Me: Now I have an i-phone and that makes photo taking and sharing sooooo much easier!