Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thoughts on Blogging

I originally started this blog way back in January 2004 (can't believe it's been 3 years!), and have found it really useful to post photos and "what am I doing" stuff while I am away at writers' conferences and workshops. Taking good notes in sessions so I can blog about the topic has been a great way of helping me to focus and get more out of what I hear. It also saves me a million emails while I'm away. I haven't been using StatCounter for that whole time, but currently it says I'm coming up for Visitor Number 10,000. It's fascinating to use it to see where my readers are - especially on a day when there are eight people in Norway visiting. It makes me wonder how and why.

My focus here has always been books and writing. I also like to keep track of what I've read and post brief comments, not lengthy reviews, and often my comments will be from the writer's point of view - what did I learn from reading this book? Nowadays, there is a lot of talk about platform - how we should be using our blogs as a way to build our platform - but for me, it's about knowing that people are reading what I write and getting something out of it. Even if it's only a bit of a laugh!

However, since many of the newsletters I receive talk about what else your blog is supposed to be doing, I decided to follow up on a little course.

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

I'm not keen on having ads on my blog - especially when you have no control over them. As a writing teacher, I think it's part of my job to educate writing students about agent and publisher scams, and we are in this situation right now. A keen student is very excited about getting an agent. A bit of Googling on my part revealed it's a scam agency. We're going to have to break the bad news to him (I hate that kind of thing - people who suck up other people's dreams to make money). So if I ended up with one of their ads on my blog, I'd feel obliged to shut up shop and go home.

What I would love is more comments. Some of my favourite blogs, like Paperback Writer, Editorial Anonymous and A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, get lots of comments, but then these people are providing a great service with the information they give out. Why should I duplicate someone else's efforts? I agree that blogs can be a great way of connecting with other writers and readers, and this usually happens via the Comments section. So if you've got something to say, go for it!

1 comment:

Kristi Holl said...

Sherryl, we'll have to compare notes after we get done checking out the blogging course. I'm with you on the ads that you can't control--and the reason you mentioned is a good one. Not long ago, a friend of mine with ads on his blog got a surprise. I saw a photo of a stripper on his site and it was advertising some skanky establishment, and I emailed him and asked about it. He was really shocked--it took a while to get it removed. Embarrassment I don't want to deal with either!