Three Year Blogging Anniversary Reflection

Blogging Readiness

Image by cambodia4kidsorg via Flickr

Last week I had the three year anniversary of my first blog post, back on October 21, 2007.  I have learned a lot about blogging over that time, and no I do not consider myself an expert at blogging, just someone who has done most of the “don’t do’s” and some of the do’s over the past three years.  Here are my reflections of some of the things I have learned about blogging during those three years.

First Don’t – Don’t make too many changes.  I have had at least ten different bloghosts and thirteen primary blog names, since I started blogging in 2007.  What has been the result of all this changing around? I have learned a lot about how to setup a blog and use different themes, but it has meant was that as soon as I started to get some followers and people were reading and commenting on my blog regularly,

I moved and hoped that they would follow me.  Some did, but most got tired of the constant moving around and perpetual changes to the themes, widgets or other eye candy on my blogs and stopped reading my blog regularly.  Why did I make so many change?  Many times, I was frustrated about not being able to do something (like adding a specific widget for the sidebar) or was bored and wanted to see what else was out there, which were not good reasons to make all those wholesale changes that negatively affected readers.

Before making any changes to your blog take the time to think critically about the impact your changes will have on the people who actually read your blog and the impression you will  be giving them when you are constantly changing where you are or what your appearance is.  After all isn’t that why most of us blog – to have someone read what we write.

I recently changed my blog’s theme for the first time, since I created it in August, but it was not a decision that I just did or took lightly like I have done in the past.  I took my time and thought it out over the course of a couple of weeks.  I went through and looked at the reasons that I wanted to change the theme objectively and to see if what I wanted to do would be beneficial to the readers.  The most recent changes to my blog were actually thought out and hopefully they made reading my blog easier.

Second “don’t” – publishing posts that are not ready for others to read.  I have posted far too many blogs that have had incomplete thoughts, the content was not clear or ordered logically, proofreading is not at a high level or the post was so long that no one would read it anyway.

In reality I have tried too hard sometimes to get the thoughts out of my head and out to the blogosphere.  Which resulted in blog posts that were poorly written and the poor writing undermined the credibility of my content or ideas.  Going back to do major editing or completely revise a post after you have published it is not acceptable and that is what I have had to do far too many times.

That is why this post is four days after the anniversary date – I have let it sit a couple of days.
This is and will continue to be the most difficult challenge for my blogging, slowing down and really looking at what I write. I have to remember quality over quantity.  Blogging is not a peer reviewed article, but your posts are a reflection of you, unfortunately while I might have some good ideas, the main impression that I leave with many readers is that I am not a very polished writer.

“Third don’t” – don’t forget to participate in the online communities.  If you want others to read your blog, read other blogs, leave comments on posts you find interesting or informative, be on Twitter, use Facebook, they are the major community applications right now.  As you use those tools and participate in those online communities, you will be exposed to other people and online communities with similar interests or different perspectives of the same issues.

Don’t be a troll or a lurker who only writes about what they see happening online.  Jump in and put your thoughts out there in those communities, you might be surprised at how much others will listen to your ideas and how much some of your deeply held beliefs will be challenged.  Both are good things.

“Fourth don’t – don’t go long periods without posting to your blog. It does not mean you have to write something everyday, but do post on a regular schedule for your readers, so they will know that you are still around and that your blog hasn’t died the death of many a forgotten blog.  We all are extremely busy in our lives, but finding the time to write a post once a week is pretty reasonable.

“Fifth don’t – don’t take yourself too seriously.  Laugh at yourself, when reflecting on something you did, it is okay to point out things you could have done better, discuss changes of perspective or opinion you have had.  Everyone has different opinions, perspectives and ideas to change the universe and make it better, don’t think that your way is the only way or the only solution to the problem.

Look for blogs, websites and other information sources for opinions different than your own.  I know that this is very hard for us to do, we prefer to read or hear from people who have similar views as our own, but if you stay in the “echo chamber” you do not get to hear what the other side is actually saying or proposing be done.  Which has a couple of affects, you know their strategy and can have appropriate counter-arguments or perhaps change your view on a subject.  Please remember blogging isn’t all about you, give credit where credit is do.

Remember that anyone can read what you post in your blog when you publish publicly to the Internet.  Therefore, be very careful when writing about where you work, disagreeing with policies, making negative statements about other people or stating controversial opinions. Know that when you do these things, you do so with the intention of those people you were talking about or those who implement the policies will probably be reading your post eventually – is that what you want to happen.  If it isn’t then don’t publish it.  If you do – you own the consequences for what you wrote.

This post was written mostly for the edublogging audience and for me to see where I have been and what direction I need to be going. But I believe some of the lessons I have learned could be applied to anyone who blogs in whatever field.  As an educator I love that over the past three years that I have been challenged, listened to, pushed to know more about what I write about, which in turn has made me a better teacher than I was when I first started Blogging.

Isn’t that what Blogging is all about – starting conversations and learning from each other.
I want to thank everyone who has or is reading my blog, has been patient with me while I have explored, how to setup a blog. If you happen to be one of those who read my blog back in 2007, please let me know and tell me how you felt about all my changes from your perspective.
My goals over the next year is to learn how to write better blog posts and only make changes that are necessary to make it better for the people who take the time to read my blog.

“Do the right thing for the right reason”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.