Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"If I Started Blogging Today, I Would..."

The theme for today with the Blogathon is " If I started blogging today, I Would....".  What would I do different?

Like most bloggers, I started "just because". My virtual friend Lesley had a blog and I discovered many people out there sharing my favorite topic of running.  My boyfriend told me I should start up a blog and call it Lazy Bones Running. My friend was using Blogger and since it was free, that's what I did. 3.5 years and 514 posts later, I'll share what I would have done different.
Blogger vs Wordpress
I'm all about "FREE" and knowing Blogger was free I didn't look further.  I didn't know was also free.  Wordpress has better tools and has the option of converting over to a .com site. I often consider switching over to Wordpress and moving off Blogger but am not willing to commit the time.   If I started blogging today, I would start with Wordpress from the beginning.

Labels or Tags
A couple weeks ago I posted about cleaning up my labels or tags in Blogger. When I started I used a lot of labels and as a result I had hundreds of little labels.  Think of a closet where you have shelves and compartments and group like things together but you've then tossed anything and everything onto one shelf. All you see when you walk into the closet is the messy shelf. Lots of little things that make no sense and only creates confusion so you turn around and walk out.  Recently I saw a blog where there were 20 different categories, all lined up neatly. I was thrilled to stay on his blog following the links. I realized that less is more and revamped my labels on my blog.  If I started blogging today, I would list the categories I wanted and have my blog posts use only those labels.

My posts have been lacking pictures because I've run out of space on Blogger. At the beginning I didn't reduce my file size and about a year ago used up my free space on Blogger. I have tried deleting pictures from Web Picasa but have to be careful not to delete pictures related to my blog. I know need to either buy more space or replace pictures on my blog with smaller file sized pictures or delete the pictures all together.  If I started blogging today, I would always reduce my file sizes.

Blog Purpose
I quickly learned the pleasure I received when having posts or gaining another follower.  I'd look at follower counts and place "value" on someone who had more or less than me.  Ultimately this reduced my pleasure in having a blog and I reduced the number of posts and consistency. My followers, fickle as they are, didn't stop by and "visit" and my "value" dropped.  Reduced "value" decreased my blogging mojo. You can see the circular pattern which isn't healthy and has NOTHING to do with my "value". I've thought about what is my purpose of my blog.  I do want to help people with their running. Help them learn from my success or failure but there are many blogs out there doing the same thing and many people are more qualified than I am.  So I realized, I need to have my blog "just because" I enjoy running and enjoy writing. If I started blogging today, I would not worry about followers and just write what I love, which is running and use the blog as a censored personal journal.

It takes work
Even without a blog where there is a daily post, a theme (today is 3 things Thursday) or sponsors, blogging takes a commitment.   There needs to be time to sit down and write a post.  My favorite posts are those where I've done some research but they take more time.  If I started blogging today, I would realize that it'll take time and there will be occasions that I don't want to write but knowing I'm also using the blog as a journal of my running and hikes and my life, that I need to sit down, take some time and just write.


Jackie Dishner said...

I'd definitely change the way I tag or label posts as well. My list is astronomical and would make no sense if I listed it out on my blog, which I don't. I'd love to do that, though, as it would make it easy for readers to sort and search through old posts. So that's a great idea, but I don't know where I'd find the time for that big job. I'm going to have to just put that out of my mind.

Annette Gendler said...

Funny you should talk about labels - after taking a blogging class last summer, I spent time redoing my labels as well. I also placed my label box up high on the page since I feel it tells the reader more about my blog than anything else. I keep editing my labels now and then with that in mind.

bookworm said...

If I was starting over I would 1) reduce the number of labels (is there some kind of theme here?) and 2)considered WordPress. Now I think I would need professional help to switch blog hosts - I don't have the time or inclination to learn. And, I still need a totally, 100% free, platform at this point in time.
Don't know if I will try to redo my labels - sometimes I think I devote too much time to distractions (especially FarmVille) to really work on my blog - other than the writing part, of course. (I'll be posting on If I started Blogging Today I Would..." tomorrow.

Lesley Looper said...

I think I'd start with WordPress too. I started my grad school blog on WP last year, and it was easier to learn than I expected it to be! (I'm still using the free version of WP.)

Brian said...

After seeing all of the comments here and on other blogs, I wrote easy instructions to transfer from Blogger to Wordpress, since that seems to be the most common "regret".