Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Blogosphere, it’s bigger than I imagined

  Although I have been blogging for several years, I was blogging within the confines of a particular website call Joeuser where my first blog lived and my readers were mostly the members of this site. I wasn’t exactly a big hit but most of my articles did get at least a few comments. Oddly enough the company that owned the blog site was a software company and they had about 3 different forums based on the software they developed which were connected but at the same time separate. 1 for games, 1 for the Windows skinning software and the blog site. It really all depended on what topic you picked as to which members you reached. Eventually the site got slow and there were very few people either blogging interesting stuff or commenting on them, so I moved on and made my own blog on a blogger account I already had but only used once about 3 years ago more or less.

As I migrated to my new blog, the first this I was aware of was that I no longer had the benefits of that other site. Posting articles on my own blog meant I no longer had all those members seeing my post and commenting. I was pretty much on my own at this point. So, I did what any smart person would do and started looking for ways to promote my blog, to get my word to the Internet masses. I had no idea what I was getting myself into as I took a leap of faith and started the research on how to get my blog started, promoted and liked.

Never did I think that it would be so hard and overwhelming to have a blog if my own. This gives a whole new meaning to hard work. But there are several factors as to why I find myself overwhelmed with this new undertaking of mine.

Under Construction – the making of a blog site

After checking out how Blogger worked, I checked out the basic template provided by Blogger to get me started. Considering my previous blog was limited to the “one size fits all” look the site owners gave it, my uniqueness could only be found within the articles themselves. Ironically the search for a proper theme for my new blog was long, frustrating and almost disappointing as every template I found had many of the features I wanted but didn’t always work the right way and most of the time the features that were lacking made me continue to search hoping to find all of them in a single template. This is what happens when you’re picky like me.

I eventually came across this current theme you see now. I actually like this one a lot as it had just about everything I wanted for my blog and more. All the cool scrolling features and the newspaper style look made this theme almost perfect. But of course nothing is ever easy for me. Because of all the extra cool features I spent several days filling in the “YOUR-URL-HERE” and “YOUR-IMAGE-URL-HERE” codes in the template to make it look like a real blog and not a test page of some sort. Bare in mind my HTML knowledge is less that amateur but with all the resources on line and my ability to learn fast I have managed to figure out how to tweak the template out.  And since my blog is new and I am only starting to get to know other bloggers I don’t have a lot of people to feature which would be kinda cool to do. But I move on and so far things are looking good but I still have work to do.

The “what to write about, when to post and how often” planning of articles

Although creating and setting up the site has not been easy, it’s been a piece of cake compared creating the articles to post. Although I have been blogging for a while, my previous blog was based mostly around politics and technology so I never really did serious blogging. It was more like writing a few words about my political opinions and what i thought about certain gadgets and tech but that I didn’t really have any “hands on” for my articles. Just opinions about what I thought after watching the stories online.

I wanted to start anew and make my articles more professional, more interesting and more attractive. Picking better topics, better styles and links wasn’t too hard but writing the whole article, much better and longer than I was use to is a challenge. Then on top of this I also got to be consistent, I need to write articles as often as possible so that my readers can get use to having something to read when they check on my blog. Failing to provide interesting and entertaining content will kill my blog. I should know as I have several blogs I follow and notice how some of hem are not very consistent. It’s gonna take some time and some planning but I have some ideas on how to provide good content on a constant basis.

Where and how to “Spread The Word”

This was one of the first things I started doing when I decided to venture in the world of personal blogs. I knew going alone meant losing the viewership the previous blog gave me so I had to find new ways to get the Internet worlds attention and get my blog noticed. On my old blog I has started adding my own social network links by finding the HTML codes for as many as I could and add them in to my articles as I posed them. At first It was not easy to get them to work and I had to settle for the ones I could find that worked as tat site had some restrictions on scripts. Still I managed to find some nice images and some interesting HTML codes to use and was able to make a pretty decent social networking set of button of my own. As a matter of fact i think  was the only one on the site that had them. makes me wonder if they would eventually incorporate them on the site.

But this was just the beginning, not only did I have to search all across the Internet to find these social network buttons, but I also had sign up on sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit and Delicious in order to get my articles published in as many places as possible. Then I came across Famous Bloggers where not only was I able to make comments and expose my blog and myself in the process (that didn’t sound right did it? LOL) but also found new people to meet, new blogs to read and more tips on getting my blog off the ground. From here I have also found other sites such as Blog Engage which also helps expose my articles, meet new people and find even more blogs. I also came across a site called SeedBuzz. To be honest I don’t yet understand how SeedBuzz works as I just found the site but it’s suppose to help share my articles as well. I’ll give more details in another article as I test this site.

My search continues as I have a strong desire to make my blog a place where people want to come as often as possible and read what I have to say about anything and everything in life.

So many blogs to read, so little time

Even though creating my new blog, writing and choosing how to post my articles and using every tool and site I can find to expose my articles have been and continue to be very time consuming, stressful and challenging, the hardest part is following the huge and still growing list of blogs I have. I usually spent my time reading stuff on the site where my old blog was (and still is) and was completely unaware of the Blogsphere that existed outside that site. All of a sudden I have a long list of site of which many post articles daily, every few days or weekly and sometimes it takes me days to get to some of them.

I want to read as many of them as I can and respond as often as possible because I like talking, debating, learning and teaching new things in the process. The crazy thing is the more time I spend on Famous Bloggers, Blog Engage and now SeedBuzz and others I am sure to find later on, the bigger my list will be on my FeedReader program I use to download all the feeds for my blog list that I follow. Although Google reader pretty much does the same, Feedreader makes it easier to read most of it if I happen to not have an Internet connection. I discovered I could also use it as a portable software so this makes it even easier to use at work during my breaks and lunch time. I am amazed and impress with the amount of blogs I have found so far but I am sure I am only looking at a fraction of the blogs out there and I loom forward to finding more of them and reading more interesting stuff and hoping they will eventually read mine.

The road to getting my blog started has been probably the hardest road I have ever had to ride on. But I’m a firm believer that hard work, consistency and great content can lead to a prosperous blogging experience. I won’t deny that the end result I am looking for is to make money off my blog but that will not be the main reason or the driving force behind the desire to endure this hard work and make this blog work. But it doesn’t hurt to make a profit in the process. Now I sound like a Ferengi. No I am not a Trekkie but I do like the Star Trek seriesand their movies from The Next Generation forward.

Now to continue this long, hard but worthwhile process of making my blog famous.