Happy birthday, Blots & Plots! Last week, I celebrated a year of blogging. I would have invited you. Really, I would have. But I didn't have your address and my apartment is kind of small, and also you were busy. So let's just celebrate today, shall we? Good idea. You're the smartest.
In a year of blogging, I feel like we've accomplished a lot. I started this blog with one novel, and wound up writing a completely different one. We started a newsletter. We reached 2,000 followers on Twitter, and then everybody got presents for it. I went to a writing conference and a blogging conference, and made some really amazing friends. Let's do something fun, okay? Here are four of my blogging mistakes, and how I fixed them:
When I first started this blog, I was working a crazy job with crazy hours. But that's not an excuse, is it? I'd go weeks at a time without a post. Until my sister, Bravo for Paleo blogger, told me that no one would take me seriously this way. So I got on a fairly strict routine of Monday blog posts, with one post a week. I thought about myself as a blog-reader. What would I want? If I love a blog, then I will revisit it weekly, checking in for the next post. If I have to wait, then soon enough, I'll find another blog to love. Solution: Don't leave your readers hanging. They'll leave you quicker than I can finish this sentence.
To be fair, when I first started blogging, I had no idea what SEO was. I still am not 100% sure. Keywords and meta descriptions and all of that craziness. Again, my sister helped me out with this one. She's an SEO queen. I installed the SEO by Yoast plugin, and started seeing the little green circle light up whenever I was using SEO correctly. In case you're not sure what SEO is or how you can use it effectively, read this post here. Amy Lynn Andrews does an incredible job of explaining it. Solution: Install the SEO by Yoast plugin. Think like a Google-er. Write keywords that you would use yourself.
Forgetting to Brand Myself
If anyone has followed me on Twitter, you'll know that I've struggled with blog designers. I've gone through two so far that haven't followed through, and now, I finally took matters into my hands. Oooh la la, Blots & Plots is so fancy now. Your blog has to be accessible. Your blog needs to be easy to read. Don't forget that you're dealing with a world of people who are clicking, clicking, clicking their lives away. If you don't spell out how to use your site or make it easy for your readers, they'll run away screaming. I'm still working on this bullet. New theme? Check. Now, an about me and resources tab are on their way. Small steps = big changes. Solution: Make your blog easy to read, design-friendly and personal. Hire a designer or obtain a customizable theme that's user-friendly.
Being too Me-Focused
Thinking about my audience is difficult, sometimes. I'm not a food blog where people can go for recipes. I'm not a fashion blog where people can go to find new wardrobe ideas. I'm a writer… with a blog. I'm here to trip my way through writing a novel. I'm here to admit when I fail, and hopefully, share some ideas about how to avoid my mistakes. But this blog is not just about me and my book. This blog is about you. This blog is a place where we can come together in literary matrimony, and talk about all of our issues. It's a community. Maybe you're a writer. Maybe you're a book person. Maybe you just like cupcakes. In any case, I'd like to make sure that Blots & Plots is you-focused. Otherwise, why would you be here? Solution: Let's make a poll. What do you want to see on Blots & Plots in the upcoming year? How can I make this blog work for you?
Thank you. This has been an incredible year of laughs and stumbles. I wish you some of the blots, and all of the plots!