What I’ve Learned from 100 Blog Posts

What I've Learned from 100 Blog Posts

What I’ve Learned from 100 Blog Posts

If you’ve been reading my blog, first of all, let me say how much I appreciate you. I am very blessed that I’ve gotten so many comments, and learned so much from all of you, out there reading these words. Because I’d heard all kinds of horror stories about people blogging for YEARS and never getting one. Single. Comment. I’ve been lucky enough to have extremely engaged readers and comments on nearly every post.

Now that I’ve written 100 posts, here’s some stuff I’ve learned. By the way, thanks for the inspiration to Randy Clark and his What We’ve Learned From 300 Posts.

Use Beautiful Images

Images are one of the most important aspects of a blog. Some people, I’m convinced, don’t read at all, but skim the headings and look at the pretty pictures. So I make an effort to use Flickr’s Creative Commons or my own photos whenever possible. Maybe in the future, blogs won’t even have words, just images. When I began, I stuck to the formula of two photos per post, but now sometimes use more.

Mistakes Were Made

I once made the mistake of using someone’s photo and got a “takedown notice.” Since then, I make sure to check in Creative Commons by using the Advanced Search and only using those available for commercial use so that doesn’t happen again! Wow. That was embarrassing.

Secret Killer Aliens from Outer Space!

Headlines matter. A lot. And stacking the important (read: SEO-centric) words towards the beginning of the headline is important. For instance, rather than saying “Most Important Hashtags on Twitter,” say “Twitter: Important Hashtags.” And shorter is better on headlines, too, for ranking. Not that every headline has to follow a formula, but it’s something I’m more aware of now. I learned about the SEO-centric headlines from friend Pam Aungst Marketing.

WordCamp!

Going to WordCamp provides inspiration and inspiration is the juice that keeps your blogging engine fueled. So I highly recommend finding a WordCamp and attending. I’ve gone to both WordCamp Orange County and WordCamp San Francisco (the mother ship!). And each time have made numerous new friends, as well as meeting online friends like Peter Woolvett and Ruby Rusine!

My Secret Weapon

My Secret Friend

My Secret Friend

Yes, I have an editor friend. See? There she is behind that tree. She promised me I could take her picture–and she didn’t really lie. She is a real person, and she has helped me when I’ve painted myself into a grammatical corner many times. She doesn’t help me with every single post, but you can definitely tell when she does help. Because those posts make a whole lot more sense (and also contain more references to clowns)! Also: subject-verb agreement For The Win!

Syndication

My blog is syndicated on Business to Community, sometimes appears in Yahoo Small Business! and Women of Technology. That has helped with traffic and probably brought me more followers and fans.

Don’t Worry That You Won’t Have Topics

I’m convinced that writing has helped me with my listening skills. Now I’m always listening for the question that someone might have. Many posts are inspired by my followers or fans. And I’ve been surprised at how many friends I’ve made among other bloggers, too. It’s a little community.

Unexpected Results

Blogging has helped me to go to cool places in my own imagination. I very often start writing and don’t know where a post is going. Some of my favorite posts have come out of times when I really didn’t feel like writing, but forced myself. What do you get out of blogging? Do you have a secret friend who encourages you to write about clowns?

 

 

Comments

  1. This is so true:

    “I’m convinced that writing has helped me with my listening skills. Now I’m always listening for the question that someone might have. Many posts are inspired by my followers or fans.”

    The problem is that social media comes natural to me (and that is the topic of my blog) so when I talk to people and they have questions, it almost always prompts a post.

    Having a series (I have two such projects on my religious blog and did two series on the construction one) really helps with continuity, motivation, and consistency.

    You’ve done a great job in all aspects of your 100 posts (grammar, content, humor, aesthetics) and they’re all worth reading. That cannot be said for many.

    • Thank you, Bridget, for your insight. We both are naturals to many social media platforms, and probably both surprised at some of the questions that people have. At least, I know I’m always surprised.

      The series are a fantastic way to go deeper into your subject matter–I’ve been enjoying them very much.

      Thank you for being a blogging buddy. (Maybe that should be another post! Hah!) I appreciate you very much!

      Sincerely,
      Carol

  2. So, as for the beautiful images I think a lot of the influence of that comes from Tumblr.

    On the positive side of a takedown notice: you have enough traffic to be noticed enough for someone to flag content.

    Overall, some good takeaways here. Thanks for posting!

    • Hello Lucas,
      Tumblr is a good source of inspiration, isn’t it? And yes, having enough traffic to be noticed–hadn’t thought about that as a positive, just as an embarrassing moment.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.
      Carol

  3. “Headlines matter. A lot. And stacking the important (read: SEO-centric) words towards the beginning of the headline is important. ” AMEN. I defy anyone to ignore headlines in the grocery line…”Barbara Streisand pregnant with a Lemming”…yes! They matter a lot.

    • Hello Allen,
      First, I apologize for not having seen this comment.
      I love your example of the Barbara Streisand headline. Yes! Headlines are what get us to read the story.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment!
      Sincerely,
      Carol Stephen

  4. Hi Carol – I have learned so much about how to make my social media and blogging better just by reading your posts. I agree that a “Secret Weapon” is necessary. I have worked with a professional editor for 5+ years now and don’t regret a single dollar I’ve spent with her. She’s made me a better writer (and continues to do so). I also agree that finding a WordCamp is high on my priority list – and am looking forward to attending my first this summer. 🙂

    • Dear Tess,
      Thank you so much. I’m so glad I’m adding value to your social media and blogging. Isn’t it great to have a professional editor? I’m not sure what I’d do without my “secret weapon.” Sometimes I can hear her voice in my head while I’m writing, telling me to strengthen my verbs or use a different word.
      I look forward to meeting you in person some day (maybe at a WordCamp!).
      Sincerely,
      Carol Stephen

  5. Thank you for the shout out Carol. Your post fills some obvious blank spots from my post, such as, wordcamp and syndication. Great ideas. I’d love to pick your brain on syndication. Is it something you pursued or did they find you?

    • Hi Randy,
      Of course! You’re welcome for the shoutout! What an inspiring post. A friend of mine talked about syndication and suggested it, so I contacted them. At first, I was afraid that being syndicated would expose me to being scraped, but instead my writing gets seen by a bigger audience. Business 2 Community (they spell it like that) has been a good place to be syndicated. You can search for the headlines of your own blog posts and find more people tweeting about your post, too, so you pick up good quality people on Twitter as well. Yahoo Business has picked up quite a few of my posts, too. So there’s that. And of course the point is always for your work to be seen by as many people as possible.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
      Carol

  6. Thanks for the inspiration Carol. Having just passed the 200 blog post mark, I’m impressed and a little envious of your reader participation. Do you think some topics and audiences lend themselves to more participation?
    Keep going Carol! I’m rooting from Phoenix.

    • Hi Michael,
      Yes, I’m sure some topics are easier to comment on, and some audiences are much more active. I’ve been very lucky and blessed to have had so much interaction.
      And wow! 200 posts is a lot of writing!
      Thanks for the comment!
      Sincerely,
      Carol

  7. Wow, Carol I’m still making so many mistakes. Thanks for sharing the concept that we are all human and in a continuous learning process.

    • Hi Patricia,
      I still make a lot of mistakes, too. And I’m happy that I get to share them with you. I really enjoying when other people say they have made mistakes, so maybe others enjoy hearing about them from me, too. 😀
      Thanks for commenting, Patricia!
      Carol

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