If you've been following my blog, you may have noticed I recently changed the name and banner image. The domain for my blog has also changed thanks to my new friend Dan Morris, who I met at the NAMS (Niche Affiliate Marketing System) conference in Atlanta last month.
Some blog posts take longer to write than others. Some blog posts are written in a matter of minutes. Some take hours or perhaps days. This blog post has taken me months to write.
You see, in February of this year my Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer and he passed away less than 4 months later, on May 31. In January I would have not understood if you would have told me this sequence of events would have a profound effect on me.
You may have seen the RSS icon on several websites or you may have seen it and heard it mentioned on TV ads. Usually it is orange but sometimes you will see it in different colors.
But what is RSS?
My plans for today included watching the Packers beat the Lions, writing a blog post or two, and catching up on websites. Turns out those were good plans considering we are socked in with blizzard conditions. We had rain for a couple hours yesterday, then it turned to snow and it didn't take long to pile up. Just about everything is cancelled around here, including churches this morning. The snowplow finally came through our road about 1 pm so I couldn't have gone anywhere if I wanted to, and believe me, I didn't want to. I really hate driving in snow and avoid it whenever possible so working from home is a very good thing for me.
I don’t particularly like the term Sneeze Page but it’s the topic for Day 18 of the Blog Challenge so I’ll explain a little and I’ll create one. I decided early on during this challenge that I would pull out the posts about better blogging into their own section of my blog, making them easier to find for new and apprehensive bloggers.
I'm not a huge fan of WordPress. There – I said it! I know many of you out there in the blogoshere are gasping, covering your children's eyes, and shaking your heads in disbelief, so please have patience with me while I explain.
I was going along so well for several weeks during the blog challenge. I was writing every day and, much to my surprise, I was actually enjoying it and looking forward to the next post. But then something happened. I got busy and worse yet, I got out of the habit. Once that happens, look out – snowball effect! A few days went by, and then a week, and then another week, and still no posts. At some point, I finally gave up on the blog challenge but vowed to get back into it and finish up. I will still do that, but today's post is just about getting back on track and the lessons I've learned from getting off track.
Today is Day 16 of the Blog Challenge – yes we are halfway there! I know I can go the distance. If I’ve learned anything in the last 3 weeks (for the record, I’ve learned a lot!), it’s that I have much more to write about than I ever imagined. In fact, I struggle much more with time to write than with content. All the work for the challenge gives me the confidence to encourage others to start a blog and share their knowledge and that is very exciting!
Building on yesterday's task of creating a list of at least 10 blog post ideas, I'd like to suggest you setup a blogging calendar. I know, I know, when I first heard someone mention they use a calendar to keep track of topics for their blog, I thought that sounded like a crazy waste of time. But today's blog challenge task was just that; I was instructed to setup a calendar. I chose to do it with a Google calendar and I think it was a good choice. I actually did this several days ago (I cheated and worked ahead) and it's working out pretty slick. I even get an email to remind me of what I should be writing about. How cool is that?
Believe it or not, we are on Day 11 of the 31 Days Blog Challenge. 1/3 of the way through and it will be October before I know it. In my opinion, September and October are the best months of the entire year so I don't want the days to go by too fast. I have to make a conscious effort to treasure them and get outside as much as possible before the snow flies.
While we are learning about linking to posts of other bloggers, let’s not forget about our own amazing articles. Day 8 of the Blog Challenge has taught us how important it is to link to our own posts. Before I knew about this challenge I wrote a couple posts about blogging, so it would make sense that I would link to those posts today. As I mentioned earlier, when all is said and done (or maybe before) I will make a separate link for all the posts about better blogging. My earlier posts will fit in nicely with all the challenge posts. So I went to work tonight and linked the 2 older posts to the blogging challenge posts. It’s now a nice little chain of ‘See See See’. Start with Three Blog Writing Tips and you will know what I mean.
Our blogging challenge assignment for Day 6 was to read several established blogs and prominent bloggers and learn, learn, learn. I was on the road for most of the day yesterday so I'll have to catch-up on that reading later on.
I know there are lots of people out there who are content and happy as long as they can fly under the radar. Bloggers are most likely not in that group of folks. We WANT to be noticed. We NEED to be noticed.
Today's assignment for the Blog challenge was to analyze another blog. I chose to not so much analyze a blog even though I have been following several for many months now. I'd rather just mention Social Media Examiner. I have read so many of their articles and have used some of their posts in mine. They have great tips and recommendations about social media networking and blogging.
Here we are on Day 3 of our fabulous better blog challenge and it's already promotion day! Unfortunately that doesn't mean I get a promotion, but then I'm already head blog-writer and bottle-washer around here. No, no – promotion, as in promoting our blogs.
Blog Challenge – Day 2′s assignment is writing a list post. I was going to reuse a post I wrote a few months ago about Social Media Myths, but then I thought – hey, I want to make each of these posts helpful for all you aspiring blog writers out there. So this list is coming directly from the book we are using for the Blog Challenge – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog by Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.
Today is Day 1 of the 31 day blog challenge. We are taking weekends off so this will actually run through October! When all is said and done, I’ll make a separate link to keep all these posts together. I’m sure it will be helpful down the road.
I haven't done much blogging lately because I was on vacation this past week and the week before that was spent getting lots of things done so we could go. I had to get a couple of blogs made for clients and a good start on a new e-commerce web site. All was accomplished on time so we could leave to visit our son in Denver, Colorado.
Have you heard you should be using social media to promote your business? Has the thought of starting a blog crossed your mind a time or two? You have considered doing both but you have so many questions. How do I get started? What would I write about? Who on earth would want to read the stuff I’d write about? I’ve been there. I think almost everyone has, except for perhaps, the really conceited among us.
The most important rule I keep in the forefront of my brain when writing for the web is LEAVE OUT EXTRA WORDS. Even when I’m writing an email, I have a tendency to write the way I speak and anyone who knows me knows I speak with too many words! So I read after I write and take out the extra words like ‘that’. Try it sometime. I bet you will find an extra ‘that’ or two, as well.
I started a blog a couple years ago but I really didn't have anyone who cared about anything I wrote about (or so I thought). It seems rather pointless to spend time writing when you know no one is reading.