The Back to Blogging Event (Belated)

What can you learn from the recent Back to Blogging event at The Secret is in the Sauce (SITS Girls)?

Monday, September 13: Re-upload the first post you ever wrote on your blog. If interested, re-write that post, showing us a before and after look at the piece.

Tuesday, September 14: Re-upload a post you wish more people had read and explain why it was important to you.

Wednesday, September 15: Re-upload a post with a title that you are particularly proud of and explain why.

Thursday, September 16: Write a new post about a woman who inspires you. (As an example, you can see Mama Kat’s recent Women Who Inspire post here.)

Friday, September 17: As your last assignment to jump start your return to blogging, write about what blogging means to you. Why do you blog? What purpose does it serve you and how have you benefited from sharing a piece of yourself online this way?

I’m not interested in re-uploading posts as they are already in my archive. But I could take the ideas and give them a dusting off, a new spin or an update with what I’ve learned or changed my mind about since I originally wrote them. It is nice to take a look at what you have done before. Just like writing a diary and looking back at what you were doing a year ago or three.

I missed the event itself but the lessons are still there, waiting to be explored. You can still read and connect in the forums as well. A bit late is better than never.

Personal Blogging

My personal blog was never secret. I’ve never had to worry about who reads it as so few of the people who know me were interested in anything I was doing. The only time it became an issue was when I lived in the same apartment with my husband as we were getting divorced. He said he wouldn’t read it which was good as it became my only outlet at the time. I’ve always written everything that comes into my head in my personal blog. Personal interests, slutty stuff, rants about people, things and places. It all goes in there along with what I really think about myself and my life. In some part of my mind I just don’t care as long as I have that outlet. In person I am very quiet and I seldom tell anyone what I am thinking or feeling. It used to annoy my husband when we were married. But, to be honest, I wasn’t thinking about anything important most of the time.

Comment I left on Ben’s Weekly Blogging, a post about personal blogging being like a secret diary.

Tips for Giving Criticism

From All WomensTalk: 8 Tips for Giving and Receiving Criticism:

3. Don’t Say Always
Always is an incredibly long time! Don’t use always or never in your criticism. “You never…” is going to make the person feel under attack, and immediately go defensive. If you need to use times, use frequently, or sometimes. This is probably much more accurate anyway, and will stop you using ‘negative’ words!

6. Remember the Motto
Catherine the Great once said something we should all keep in mind….praise loudly, blame softly. Make sure that if you offer criticism, you also offer praise. Not at the same time, as this can make it appear fake, but at some point. For example, my boyfriend is excellent at cooking, but frustratingly rubbish at making complete shopping lists. I prefer to remind him how much of an excellent cook he is rather then rant at him, though, and when I do need to criticize, it doesn’t affect our relationship or his mood. He knows I think he is amazing, anyway!

7. Focus on “I”
Think about how you write in your diary. You are more likely to use “I”…I think, I know, I presume…then to use you. Use this in your criticism. Make it personal to you, not an attack on the other person. I believe that…is much kinder then saying you are doing this wrong, and is the correct way to phrase it. Think me, not them.

All eight tips were good. These three were great. Taking and giving feedback is never simple. If you can manage not to make it feel like a personal attack you will actually be able to get an information exchange and (possibly) really help someone.

Sketching/ Drawing or Doodling for your Blog

Have you ever drawn something in your print journal? A picture of somewhere you had been? A sketch of something you wanted to remember? You can do the same online, you just need a few more tools. I draw for my blog, scan it, use image software to adjust the scan to an image file and then I can post it to my blog. You don’t have to learn how to use a graphic program to draw. But, those are nice too.

Writing about Blah

Write an entry in your diary about a day when you did nothing special, nothing interesting happened. Write about a blah day but find ways to make it interesting by looking at it, not from your own perspective, but that of the reader. Someone who doesn’t know you will find things you do, and your reasons for them, more interesting than you do yourself.

Does SEO Influence Your Writing?

One Question Interview #2:

When writing your posts how much does SEO, traffic and marketing come into your thoughts versus just writing a great post? Give an idea of your ratio for writing well versus writing for traffic. I know everyone has it on their minds at least a little. Even writing a personal journal I would be thinking about who might read it (though I’d usually be long dead and blameless by then).

Ken Writing: I’m afraid I don’t think of SEO at all (I know I should).

Sixmats: I’ve been more aware of SEO lately and if I can change something like the title to help I will. But I don’t go overboard and write my posts around it because if I do, the posts look fake and really amateurish.

A Frog to Kiss: If I write something technical, or informational, then yes I do keep SEO in mind and utilize the All In One SEO pack WP plugin-adding keywords. If it’s humor/personal related, I don’t- in fact, I’ve learned sometimes keywords aren’t necessary. My earlier posts were never SEO optimized, yet, some how, Google picks them up when someone is searching for “Oprah’s Camel Toe” or “women with hairy nipples.” Rednecks are a popular topic, too.

Canucklehead: For me its a non-issue. It has taken me a LONG time to get to this point but I can now honestly say that I write only for myself. To be fair, I am aware of and writing for an audience – but I don’t consider SEO, marketing or any of those factors. I write what I want and what interests me and then hope others enjoy it as well. As will be clear to anyone who reads my blog, I quite often don’t even have a subject in mind when I start typing. Its a difficult mindset to adopt but I have enjoyed writing more since the change.

The Thin Red Line: I think about SEO in how I title and keyword my posts but not too much in the actual writing of them.

The Eye Spies: I think about SEO and do try to incorporate some of the “best practices” into my posts. I do well on some and not so well on others. I use an SEO plugin that’s supposed to help, but confess to not always filling it out.

I seem to do better with choosing long tail keywords than with anything else.

Freaky Frugalite: I don’t think about SEO.

SEO thinks about me.

(Got that from Chuck Norris)

Actually, SEO doesn’t matter to me much as I write. I tend to write in a stream-of-consciousness-oh-my-gawd-what-is-she-wailing-about-now kind of prose. But I find that keywords just come out. Does that sound wacky? I just seem to naturally place the suitable words that bring in the traffic. That, and my profligate verbage where I have, say, 3-4 words for every 1 necessary, helps in the cause.

I have a travel blog that gets a lot of traffic from search engines– it’s a favorite for travelers, historians, and genealogists, and is loaded with essential nutrients and vitamins good for SEO health, I guess.

PictureFlick: I gave up obsessing over SEO, marketing and traffic a few jumps back. While I just make pictures now, instead of “painting a picture” with keyword rich text, my only thought to anything resembling SEO at posting time would be tagging my images.

Why? ’cause it’s a great way for someone (clicking on the tags) to find mini-albums full of related pics. If that helps with SEO: cool. If not? Wasn’t worried anyway! All in all, I make pics (posts) for the sake of making pics (posts). Nothing more, nothing less; everything extra is just icing.

30 Something and Searching: I don’t always think about it. It depends on the post. If it is more personal to me, I just write more for feel and readability. I know I have regular readers so I think more about them. Other posts though, that are more social, I try to consider marketing and reaching a broader audience. Example, yesterday and today I posted about a mammogram and my personal experience…I didn’t try to market that so much. Not that I don’t want people to read it, but it just wasn’t my goal to draw in mass readers. Others, like a post about today.com, or in the past about the Octomom, I did as much as I could to use SEO and market it. But as a personal diary, I don’t have mass market on the brain all the time. Plus, I don’t always have the time to do the marketing that I should…

Old Red Pen: I illustrate. It doesn’t SEO well. I don’t care.

No One Knows Where you Are

Assuming you are writing a personal blog/ journal/ diary why don’t you show your location to readers?

I know there are security, privacy and paranoid reasons to not give your home address but surely you can say which country you live in, maybe even your province/ state?

One of the things I like best about reading a new blog is knowing where the person I am reading about is from. It’s interesting to read about daily life in another country. It is also a warm feeling of coming home to be reading the blog of someone in your own country. Mine is Canada, Ontario to hit a bit closer to home.

Why not post your location. Stick up a little flag in your sidebar. Be proud of where you are.

Me and Yet Not Actually Me

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn.” – Gore Vidal

I like the quote but it contradicts that whole thing about knowing your audience.

Do you know your audience? Are you thinking of someone or some type of people each time you write? I used to think I was writing to future generations each time I wrote in my diary when I was a kid. Now I tend to think I am writing to myself and yet someone who is not actually me.