From time to time...not often you understand...but about once a week, someone will ask me for tips on starting a blog.
Oh honey child o'mine...I am so not the one to ask.
Ask me about antiques and I'll tell you all I know. Talk your ear off as a matter of fact. Blogging...I just fly by the seat of my pants...but I'll still talk your ear off.
I haven't a clue as to what makes a successful blog. I do however know a thing or two about what not to do...starting with the name of a blog.
(Hang onto your ears!)
Choose your name very, very...very carefully. By using a search engine, it will be one of the ways people find you. Let's just stop and think for a moment. Can y'all even begin to imagine the things that are typed in to find "Talking Trash"? Yeah...let's just say most can't be reprinted, but just so's you know...a chubby old lady talking way too much about random cr@p is not what they had in mind.
When I started my blog, I had another name in mind, but it was taken by some guy named Anthony in the sanitation biz. I tried several variations until Blogger accepted Talking White Trash. Imagine my surprise when after hitting "publish", Talking Trash came up in my header. God knew better than I what my blog would be and I truly believe He christened it.
(An even funnier side note y'all...on my dashboard page, I'm Trash Talk.)
~Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.~Pro. 19:21
be selective when selecting a name!
Your name choice, believe it or not, sets the tone, the direction, and your voice...all in one fell swoop. You can go back and change it if you find it just isn't perking for you, but when you do, there's always a risk of losing folks. As much as I cringe when I see "how to pick up chicks by trash talking" or get e-mails asking for my trash pickup times, I choose to leave it be. I'm not one to argue with God when He is making the calls. I don't know about y'all, but I try never to sneeze on anything He chooses to give me....even when being asked the size of my trash receptacles.
(Ba dump, dump! I crack myself up sometimes.)
One other little thing...or maybe not so little.
When picking a name, don't pick apart some one else's. It's okay to look for inspiration from others, but...oh let's say for example...reversing their name isn't. As in everything else, originality counts. The name you choose announces you. If it's a knock-off of a blog you admire, folks know. Believe you me, they know and will assume the worst.
There's also the risk of getting lost in the shuffle, or even worse, your identity being lost to theirs. Nothing worse than being told by a fan how they love your blog and read you all the time only to learn they're talking about some one else.
Oy vey! Talk about identity crisis.
(A little FYI...after praying for a name, if the Lord tells you to call it The French Vintage Chic Gypsy Burlap Shabby Zinc-Topped Nest, who am I to try and tell you different. Hey...you gotta do, what you gotta do.)
Are y'all still with me?
Since my mind has a tendency to run off at the mouth, I'll only share one other piece of it on starting up a blog...commenting.
Y'all know I'm struggling with the comment thingy. I truly do want to take some of the pressure off of those who stop by plus it's getting harder and harder for me to leave comments. I struggle with guilt because I do like to leave comments. Maybe it's just an extension of the thrill of the written word, but it gives me pleasure to leave one and hopefully it gives them pleasure to receive it. Not having enough time in a day prevents that and...
Saying that, I won't try and kid y'all...comments are the coffee to a post. They are a blogger's crack. It's the single thing that stimulates more postings. The lack of them can also be the single thing that prevents 'em.
You can write what you consider the most brilliant post in the history of blogging, but if no one tells you, you feel like a complete failure.
You'll find yourself floundering around, wringing your hands and asking "what did I do wrong"?
"How can so-and-so put up a couple of photos of a rose and get a gazillion comments and I can't even get one?"
"WTHey...I just poured sweat into this post and no one gets it?"
The answer my friends is simple...I don't have the answer.
There simply is no magic bullet.
There simply is no magic bullet.
Call it the luck of the draw, call it charisma, call BS on it...it still ain't gonna change a cotton pickin' thing.
As in everything else, there are gonna be sheep who comment on everything a McBlogger puts up, secretly praying some of the glitter and fame will rub off. Hoping against hope their comment will lead others to their blogs...and sometimes it does. But more often than not, it doesn't.
For me, a cut and paste comment just doesn't..well...cut it. I don't want folks to feel like they gotta bust out a Byronesque love sonnet on me, but I do want to feel like they read what I had to say.
My advice if starting a new blog?
Leave comments...a lot...even if you're not getting any. You've got to make your presence known. Push through the pesky verification process. Do like me...don't wait to be invited. Barge right on in, have a sit-down, and say hidy, hidy y'all. Seldom will you find a locked door.
It's not rocket science.
You're already there...take the time to read the words. Make it a practice to find something to comment on within the writing. Don't be bashful. Even if the standard cut-and-paste is the best you can do, find a keyword...and use it in your comment.
A word of warning. Use your words wisely.
I once read a post about losing a beloved pet, only to read a comment someone carelessly left stating what a pretty dog and how happy it looked. I was embarrassed for the commenter, but also saddened. I can only begin to imagine how the grieving pet owner felt after reading it.
Please, please, please...take the time to read all the way to the bottom. If you don't have the time...don't comment. Come back later when you do or if it just wasn't your cup o'tea...move on. The whole purpose of commenting is to encourage the blogger, introduce yourself and hopefully make new friends. Saying how happy a recently passed pet looks is not the way to go about it. Remember...others read the comments as well as the post itself.
The words and photos shared are important and they should be to you as a fellow blogger. In your own words, leave them a little piece of your heart in exchange for theirs. Trust me...it WILL be appreciated and duly noted.
Right about now I bet y'all are wishing no one had asked my advice...aren't y'all?
Okay...I'll shut up...for now, but there may just be an Act II waiting in the wings on this subject. We'll see.
For now, it's time for me go and follow my own advice. You know...practicing what I preach.