Escaping From Places I've Never Really Been-Tips for Bloggers

GreenStripedLotus, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I get asked a lot about blogging. How do I make a blog? How do you decide what to say? How do you get traffic to your site? If you search the Internets, there are already a lot of posts about this, I’m sure, but that doesn’t stop people from asking me how to do it too. So, in the spirit of helping others, and because it really is all that easy to do, I’ve decided to offer some tips for bloggers.

Tip 1: Don’t fuss over templates-too many people spend too long worrying about how their site looks to create content. My biggest suggestion is to slap something simple up, start writing posts and, after you get 15 or 20 good, solid posts up, then re-do your template. Once you are happy with your template, don’t think about it too often, in fact, only do it (or re-do it) once a year if you can. Focus on content and keep the templates, the look and feel of your site, simple.

Tip 2: Twenty posts a month (or more.) People want to actually read a blog, and they want to come every day to see what you have to say, so plan on writing 20 posts a month. Now, there are all these websites, like NaBloPoMo, which are wonderful-they’re designed to get you to post each and every day. That’s great, if you can do it. The problem is, there’s really no value in what I like to call “empty posts.” You know what I’m talking about here-nobody wants to click on your site and read something like “Sorry I didn’t have time to post today. Here’s a picture of a flower….” If you can’t generate 20 “solid” posts a month, consider moving your website to a “weekly” site (“picture of the week,” that sort of a thing) or make it a static website, not a weblog at all. Move to facebook, twitter, or one of the other social media outlets to update your peeps, you’ll get better results and you won’t waste your time trying to do a blog that nobody is going to read anyway.

Tip 3: People read photoblogs for one of two reasons. They either want to be informed or they want to live vicariously through you.

If you are providing information, tip 4 is to provide as much information as you can, while keeping it brief, relevant, and to the point. Somebody who posts the latest in equipment reviews, and is honest, for example, will always get a lot of hits. Write about what you know, become an expert in your selected field, and the traffic will follow.

For those doing the “slice of life” bit, tip 5 is for you. People want to live vicariously through you and your travels. We no longer farm for food, we are a nation (and globe actually) of office workers. People sit in cubicles and fantasize-they want to be you. It’s an escape of sorts for them, almost like watching TV or going to a movie. So, my tip 5 is simple-give them what they want. In a way, modern photographers have become almost like monkeys in a cage with cameras. It’s like we don’t even exist except to entertain others, to feed others voyeurism.

From where I sit, my perspective, being a photographer is about being in the trenches, being in up to our eyeballs, being in the weeds (whatever you want to call it.) People reading your blog want to read it and think, “he’s making it! He’s doing it!” So many people read blogs and think, “he’s making it! I want to do that too. I want to make it!” that they’ll start to follow you, to sort of live through your adventures. It’s why blogs and blogging in general has become so popular. Photography almost doesn’t exist today, as it did years ago. Everybody wants all the “behind the scenes” stuff, even more than they want to view the finished product. Susan Sontag once said that “everything exists to be photographed” and photo blogs make sure that is not too far from the truth. So, if you want to be successful, you need to fuel that. You need to feed it and milk it. Go ahead, do a “slice of life” blog, show us your daily shower, your morning coffee, but make it interesting. Make somebody sitting on the outside look at it and think, “I want to be that” or “I want to do that” and you’ll be a success.

Now, some of my smart (and regular) readers out there may now be thinking, “she’s crazy. She doesn’t do any of that.” And, I have to admit, they’d be right, I don’t. My blog is different. I’m not trying to help you live vicariously or even pass along relevant information. My blog is a third type of blog: the personal journal. The personal journal is a different type of blog altogether. I don’t write it for you, I write it for me. And, hate to say it but, I don’t care who reads it. I’m not trying to generate traffic, make “monthly numbers” or any of that. No, what I’m trying to do is something completely different. I’m trying to express myself with words and images. The goal of my blog is simple really. I want to enjoy myself. It’s an expression of who I am, much like an extension of my photography. And, I’d have to admit it, if you’re this type of blogger, there’s only one real rule you need to live by: have fun with it.

Until next time…


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