Tuesday, February 28, 2012

NEXT UP: Controlling Your Blog Addiction

It seems appropriate for the first post on my fourth blog to be about my blogging addiction.

Yes, you read that right. Fourth blog. Blogging addiction. I suppose I'm being redundant.

I can't help it. I love to write. I love to read blogs. I currently have 83 blogs in my Google Reader, and that's after narrowing down the list.

Now before you sign me up for Bloggers Anonymous, ship me off to blogging rehab, or scold me for being one of those people who start a blog, snatch up a blog URL so no one else can use it, and then never use said blog again (you know who you are!)...give me a chance to run through my past blog affairs.

Where it all began: 365 Days of Art

My very first blog was born out of a personal goal. As an art-lover, I thought it would be fun to create a blog in true Julie & Julia style. I challenged myself to blog a new piece of personal art every day for one year. That meant daily posts.


What was I thinking? It's hard enough to write a blog post every day, but to commit to writing a blog post AND creating a piece of artwork every single day? Committing to marriage would be easier! (Remind me I said that in 10 years...)

Okay. So I failed at the whole daily-posting-because-I'm-a-young-idealistic-blogging-newbie thing. However, I did not fail with this blog. In fact, I am still in the process of updating it, having just reached my 103rd post. As long as I am interested in creating art (always) and still feel a determination to finish my challenge (duh), 365 Days of Art will remain an active, growing blog. I don't write this one for a particular audience or to acquire many followers; I write it for myself.

The Class Assignment: Enjoy Your Cheerios

I started this blog under duress! It was against my will! Blame my professor! He's the blog-addiction enabler!!

Ha. In all seriousness, this blog was started as a project for my New Media & PR class, but I ended up loving writing this one. It actually solidified my interest in contributing to the blogosphere. Not only did I have to create a blog, but also I had to research different blogging platforms, learn search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, utilize Google Analytics to improve popularity, and more.

The tagline sums it up: A look at healthy living for busy college students. I posted daily (*gasp!*) on weekdays (*hesitant sigh of relief*) on certain topics: Munchies Mondays, Tune-In Tuesday, Whatever Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursdays, and Frugal Fridays. I even gained a pretty loyal readership--I ended up with over 130 comments and 5,000 page views.

However, my love for Enjoy Your Cheerios was not strong enough. When the class ended, so did this blog. I didn't have time to mourn over its death, though, since the next few months of my life were spent abroad. Great segue into Blog #3....

The Travel Blog: Where in the World is Jenny?
Alternate title idea: Does Anyone Else in the World Read this Blog Besides Jenny's Family?
How does a 21-year-old student studying abroad stay in touch with her family back home? She starts a blog, of course!

Besides, typing up my travel tales and inserting pictures into a webpage was much more appealing to me than pulling out a journal. Privacy died with Web 2.0! (Is there a special font to indicate sarcasm?)

This blog chronicled my time studying in London and taking weekend excursions across Europe. Honestly, I still look at this blog frequently to reminiscence about my amazing experiences that semester. I considered continuing this blog after I returned to the United States, but it seems more fitting to limit it to just that one semester.

So there you have it. My reasons for having three other blogs. I feel like Ross explaining why he's been through three divorces. Not as bad as you thought, right? Besides the first one, the blogs were doomed to last for a limited amount of time. Hence why I am so excited about Next Up... On the plus side, my past blogs taught me some important things about How to Succeed in Blogging for a Long Period of Time (I just got a GREAT idea for a musical...).

  • Don't commit to posting every single day. Unless you are a hardcore blogger, posting at least a few times a week should be enough to keep a consistent audience.
  • Give your blog a specific voice, but don't confine yourself to one narrow topic. You can have a niche without feeling too restricted. Make sure you have some creative freedom.
  • Build off reader feedback. If you're not getting much feedback despite staying active in the blogosphere and using SEO tactics, start a dialogue with your readers. Be willing to adapt. Listen to their needs. You don't have to be a slave to their desires, but make sure your content is not only applicable to you.
  • Engage with other blogs. Don't become so focused on your own blog that you ignore others. Half the fun is becoming part of a community. If you find yourself losing interest in writing your blog, make sure you're not putting blinders on to other blogs out there.

Do you have a blog? (Share your link!) Did you have a blog that died out? Are you a fellow recovering blog-aholic?
Or if you were to start a blog, what would it be about?

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