Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine. ~Robert
Since I started this blog in December, I've been running a marathon to learn all I can about current blogging tools, marketing, themes, security methods, resources, and whatever else seemed necessary. It's a challenge, and I'm not an amateur. My websites go back twenty years, and I have another blog as part of my business website. The writing and technical skills have been part of my career for more years than I care to reveal. However, today's blogging world changes the entire meaning of having a website or a blog. I take my hat off to those who make it look easy and fun. You are truly inspiring.
Asking Question by Clarkston SCAMP via Flickr
From security issues to disclosure and privacy policies to monetization, there are technical and legal issues to cover before even venturing into public view. I won't split hairs about the difference between a blog and a website or whether it matters. Frankly, I enjoy the creative part the most. Picking colors and themes is fun. I don't enjoy discovering I've had 8,000 hits in one day that were trying to break into my site. Neither do I like rebuilding something when I get an update that trashes part of the design, but it's the price of technology. Is it still fun after all that? Usually.
In my travels around the web and through the links on various blog directories, I've seen wonderful professional blogs, obvious commercial jumbles, nicely done personal blogs, and a bunch that are hard to figure out at times. Blog hops jumped out (sorry about the pun) as a way of gaining traffic and readers. However, I wonder about their value. How many readers stick, after the hops and follows? Are we developing a following? It's a lot of work, and I understand the purpose. Do you understand my questions?
Someone on another site ask the same question about the giveaways. Are people we require to follow or comment as part of an entry going to be repeat visitors? Or, is this just the price we pay to remain visible and survive with the new search engine algorithms and corporate advertising, a way to develop numbers for the machines?
The reason I question this is because I wonder who benefits most. Is it the vendors who developed the tools we use for the links and hops? Is it the bloggers? Is it the sponsors? Sure, we get to read a lot of great material and discover new people, but they 're other bloggers who are as busy as we are. How much time do you really spend on their site? How often do you clean out your follows in all the places where you suddenly realize you can't read that many posts and don't remember who they are?
If that doesn't work, what else do you do that works? Where do you find the giveaways you offer to entice readers to come by the first time? Do you also run paid ads? I know many bloggers blog to offer products they make or to humanize a business. Several people I know have great blogs that support their work as crafters or writers. In most cases, they were also well established before starting their blog. What about those of you who are just joining the ranks of personal blogs without an existing following, or those who started that way and grew? What's your strategy?
Bloggers, give me some help and weigh in with your experience and ideas. I'm a business person too, and I'd like to learn more. Thanks.