31WBGB Week 6 – Reading for the Inside Scoop AKA My Blog has an Identity Crisis

 

This week‘s 31WBGB challenge was hard for me. Really hard. Not only was there a massive reading list of great material to get through, but I had major inferiority issues once I finally did get into it. Tonia gave excellent advice about just taking a few things to heart and bookmarking the rest to return to, and I know many are doing that (myself, included). Also, most of these people are professional bloggers with lots of experience from which they gained their insight, not amateurs like myself. We’re in different categories and that’s ok.

Still, feelings of intimidation? Yeah, I’ve got that. In fact, I think this post over at 1Ancestry2LittleTime summarizes rather well how I feel. But, as my mother always says, ‘The only way out is through’, so… *shoves aside those inadequacy issues* Right-o! On to what I have learned this week, per Tonia’s orders!

From Chris Brogan, I learned a lot. Some of what I have learned is to:

  • Write my posts in a separate word processing program so I’m more concerned about content than format, and edit before publishing, for goshsakes.
  • Use more pictures.
  • Seek link traffic – more on this below.
  • Claim my blog at Technorati – in fact…I almost forgot, here’s that code I needed to post for it to claim this blog: U8K3PQ5ZWYRB
  • Try to follow the tips in his blog post here, which are too numerous and awesome to list. Just go read it for yourself.
I am glad to note that I already do several things he suggests, which is link love (I link a lot… >.>), tagging (I tag the heck out of stuff…), and getting off my blog and commenting elsewhere (this is the most fun part, really – I want to know what awesome things others are thinking and reading about).

The main thing I picked up from Mr. Brogan and other sources I skimmed was the need to branch out in my social media as a way to seek link traffic. Belonging to Geneabloggers is great. Commenting on other blogs is great. But I have seen as much traffic this week and made as many contacts from my new social media I’m exploring as any of those. This week, I finally joined Twitter.

I never got Twitter before, to be honest. It’s never been of use to me personally. My friends and I are all too verbose! But connecting its use to genealogy, it’s like a light switched on in a very small, dark closet and now I can see all the great tools hidden on the shelves. Twitter is great for promoting posts on my blog, but also for finding new blogs and posts of interests and getting connected. It’s a link-lover’s heaven, and I think I died and went to it. I went from not using Twitter a week ago to having it installed on my computer and my iPhone, and even adding myself to WeFollow. I’ve already found new geneablogs I really enjoy reading, and I feel more connected to the genealogy world than I ever did before. Social Media making me feel connected…who knew? :P

The main thing I see repeated over and over in these columns on blogging, though, is the need for sharp, snappy layouts and great content. This is what really gives me a complex. I’m not a coder; in fact, I only learned how to use WordPress as a blogging medium five or six weeks ago when I started this site. I’m still fixing broken things lying around the blog and trying to spruce it up. It’s not that shiny, but they say if you have great content, it doesn’t matter what your blog looks like. But I’m uncertain here, too, because…

…my biggest realization from this week’s challenge has been that I really don’t know what the focus of my blog is. I had a hard time with my elevator pitch a few weeks ago, and now I know why – I don’t know how to pitch this blog. I don’t know what’s of use and what’s interesting. I’m a child of the livejournal generation a decade ago when people kept online journals/blogs for friends and family – I am not sure how to blog for an audience. I would like it to be a useful resource, but also cousin bait. I would like to document my growth in professionalism in the genealogy field, or my attempt at it, but also cover new tech stuff. Where do I fit in? Where does this blog belong? I think my blog is having an identity crisis.

This week’s challenge has given me more questions to chew on than answers. If you can offer any, I would love to hear from you.

© 2011, copyright Genealady & JustFolks


Comments

31WBGB Week 6 – Reading for the Inside Scoop AKA My Blog has an Identity Crisis — 8 Comments

  1. Dana,
    I can sooo relate to your post! I feel the very same way with my blog.
    Just exactly where do I want to take it? I’m like you, I would like my blog to be a useful resource, but also a place to meet distant relatives. I wonder, once readers see we don’t have common ancestors how will I keep them coming back?
    Do I know enough to post information for other genealogists? Could my posts possibly impart info to those far more experienced? I doubt it, but I’m going to keep on with the hope that as I learn, my blog will get better. If I increase my knowledge in genealogy, as well as blogging maybe my blog’s future will become clearer for me and more useful to readers.
    Good luck to you and keep on keepin’ on! I’m sure six months from now we’ll giggle at how green we were today! :-)
    Cindy

    • I hear you, Cindy, and I appreciate the encouragement. It’s nice to know there’s others out there with the same feeling as me, and I look forward to seeing how our blogs grow!

      Dana

  2. Hi Dana!

    I’ve been participating in Tonia’s challenge, too. Isn’t it wonderful? I have learned so much in just 6 weeks…

    What I wanted to say is don’t be too hard on yourself about your blog. It is what you want it to be. I think it’s great, quite an interesting read. And there are no rules set in concrete here. That’s what makes blogging so interesting and fun. Every blog in unique! I think the suggestions about how to make your blog more popular are good, but in the “final analysis”, it is your blog and you should write about what interests you. As one of the bloggers commented, not every post needs to be on Twitter. You don’t have to earn a Pulitzer every week! Just write and have fun.

    Have a great day!

    Ruth Stephens
    Ruth’s Genealogy

    • Hi Ruth!

      I agree, Tonia’s challenge has done me a world of good, especially since it was what finally nudged me into *making* a blog, and not just talking about doing so. I can only imagine what the next 25 weeks will bring!

      Thank you, also, for the thoughtful comments and the advice. You’re right; if I don’t write from my own interests, this is a chore, not a joy. And I do so enjoy it! So I will work on just making sure I would love to read every entry and go from there.

      Thanks!

  3. Hi Dana! I second Ruth’s advice. It’s your blog. Write about what interests you – what you want to write about. The blog will shape itself into something into something that is representative of you.

    • Hi Tonia! I appreciate the encouragement, and all the work you put into the 31WBGB challenges. And you’re right, I need to just let this blog be mine. I’m excited to see what my blog becomes when I come out the other side of this process. :)

  4. Hi Dana, thanks for the mention! It’s nice to know others are reading :). I completely agree with Cindy in that I can relate, and I feel like we’re all on the same page with what we’d like to accomplish. Our blogs are definitely works in progress, and that’s okay. We are learning a lot from this challenge and from each other. I’m looking forward to seeing how we develop over time. Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks, Lisa! I agree, I’m learning a lot from reading the blogs of others in this challenge, seeing how they interpret the same advice in new ways and so on. Appreciate the good wishes, and back atcha!

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