My Blog No Longer Fits Me: Blogging After Life Change
By BlogHer12Liveblogger on August 05, 2012
Melissa Ford, moderator
Melissa: I'm assuming you are here because your blog no longer fits you. How many people have the subject of what their blog is about in their title? It's a part of your title, it's clearly saying what your content is. The advice that people give you from the so-called experts, they generally telly ou find a niche, this is how you'll fiend your audience. That's great advice in the beginning when you want to find your audience. But who's life remains static? At some point your life changes. You won't be a newlywed forever? Cancer bloggers..this is a good problem of the community. you start out blogging about your cancer and you need that support and then you reach remission, do you cancel that blog? Why do we do this with blogs, staying in that static state forever? We have 3 women who've all weathered that move from a niche audience to a more general audience.
Lori Holden is the author of Right Mind, Open Heart coming out in June 2013. She was named a top 10 must read mom by Parenting magazine. She's kept a daily journal from 1980. She started blogging in 2007 about infertility and adoption.
Kir started out as a mom blogger about infertility and that process. And she's morphed.
Kathy is a mother of 3 children, two on Earth and one in heaven and is charting a new journey about infertility and loss. Her blog name has changed over the years.
I am a niche blogger and general bloggers at the same time. We all started blogging about family building and then we moved to writing about more than family and children. Let's start with Lori. How do you think that you moved into being a general diarist?
Kathy: Much of my life spent internet less and blogless and my nature is I tend to blog about things not in real time. I need to know how things are and process that before I blog about it. It suited me very well to already start blogging after I knew what that thing looked like.
Melissa: How many people write about things in retrospect? How many write about things in real time?
Audience Member: I'm a single mom, accidentally got pregnant at 42. I had an amazing pregnancy and my daughter was born with a rare genetic disease that was hard for 5 years. Now that she's 7, I can really talk about it. It was just too painful.
Audience Member: I write in real time and write for support. I posted about neurosurgery all the time until I got sick about it. I think people like learning about that. For some people I can understand it works well for them. This is my life and my story and if I can support someone else, I'm happy to do it.
Melissa: Kir, you also wrote about infertility in real time. How much of your community did you retain with your new blog?
Kirsten: I think that 50% of my infertility people are still with me, it might be more, they might be reading the fiction. People were asking me if I was concerned or excited to come to BlogHer and I told them no, I have 4 tribes. There are people from my infertility tribe.
Melissa: How important do you all think it is to retain your same readers? How many would say it's the readers that are important and not the numbers?
Member I feel like if I get a new breed of readers, I'd be upset to lose those friendships over the years.
Member I'm someone who's stopped and restarted a blog over and over again. I think I've migrated most of my users. I'm very active with my readers. If you comment on my blog, I'm going to read everything you write. Every time I've done it (switched blogs), I haven't lost any important readers
Kathy: If you think of a spinning reel, there's a core. If you blog from who you are that will not change.
Audience Member: What was the name of your title before the life change?
Kathy: I started in April of 07 and I was 3 of a kind working on a full house. The first year I was blogging about my 3 year old son and my infertility and the birth of my daughter with birth defects. She died and I got involved in the grief community. Then I had another child and I changed our name to 4 of a kind. I think I posted 15 times in 2010 when you back off of positing, it gets harder to get back into it. I ended up moving to self hosting Wordpress. I feel like i had a fresh start and I started blogging about bereavement and blessed so I wanted to connect to people who were going through that. You have so many opportunities when you are self hosted
Kirsten: My infertility blogging was sporadic. For whatever reason I wanted to be one of the moms in the community but I wasn't good at sharing. I was very superstitious. People were sharing everything. When I went on bed rest I went away. I told my friends to tell everyone I'm okay and go on my blog and tell them I'm away. I didn't want to talk about my kids until they were here. My title never changed because it was where love, life and infertility meet. My url stayed the same. My fiction is a separate tab on the top but it's on the blog.
Lori: My blog name did change.
Melissa: My blog name did change. I am the person who trails really far behind. Advice I can give you, whenever you are looking to make a change, when your brain keeps regurgitating to make a change, just do it. I've gone back and forth over and over again with changing the title.
Audience Member: The way that I went about it was to keep several blogs. I started writing about adoption because I didn't want to tell everybody what was going on 50,000 times. And then we adopted our son and I stopped the blog. Every once in a while I go back to it. There's also my parenting blog that we keep together, that's about the kids. Then there's the blog for me that I use to just talk about me and being a mom. I find that that flexibility lets me not worry about changing topics.
Kathy: When I got back into blogging in 2011, it coincided with Mel's book "Life From Scratch", I loved the idea of the positive and not being sad. I thought to myself wouldn't it be cool to look at we looked back at posts a couple of years ago and we did blog hops and that helped me to connect to new people and be more than just a diary, more like a blog hop.
Melissa: Do you find that blog hops and Wordless Wednesdays bring you new readers?
Audience Member: I've found it useful and have found new friends from those blog hops.
Audience Member: I used to participate in a diabetes community and have been blogging for a long time. I ended a blog when I ended a relationship with a college boyfriend and got married to my husband. Then I started a new blog when I was diagnosed with diabetes and then had a baby.
Melissa: I want you to think about your blog for a second. Do you blog unapologetically? I try to keep people's feelings in check but I do blog unapologetically. I want to know who has control of your blog? there's 3 people: The first person is you, you write what comes to your mind. the second person who can have control is your reader, your writing is dictated what you think people want to read. The third thing is the history of your blog, the niche that you've given your blog over to. And you think you'll always have to blog about that. In all these scenarios what we're talking about does your blog own you or do you own your blog? And only one of those is a healthy one.
How do we draw the line when there's someone else's story in that blog? Sometimes you have a situation where you want to post about something that you should probably handle in real life and not in the blog space.
Kathy: I'll spew out something in private communities.
Kirsten: Or do a guest post anonymously and write it. There are some things you shouldn't talk about online but there are some things that are therapeutic for us to write about. I've given a lot of thought over the years, about writing anonymously somewhere.
Audience Member: I was a single mom and had a blog about that and that community grew. I chronicled all the times of dating and being single and now that I'm married, I have a new blog. And everybody moved over.
Lori: You can do both niche blogging and diarist blogging you always have content. If you're blogging as a diarist you are moving away from the drama associated with niche blogging. If you have a Good writing comes from deep thinking and clear thinking.
Kathy: One of Mel's many things she does, if you never participated in one of Mel's BlogHer program where she gives you a prompt every week and it helps to get you going.
Melissa: If you don't like the percentages of who controls your blog, then think about it and you can change that.
There's a takeaway document at bit.ly/myblognolongerfitsme
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