Friday, June 8, 2012
Today's topic is the future of blogging. Our posts are to be about "asking the experts" or providing tips about blogging. Now, I'm not an expert by any means, but I feel pretty comfortable with the experiences I've had over the past few years so I'm just going to write briefly about my own "tips" or, rather, my own philosophies on blogging.
As much as the book blogging community is a wonderful place, it also has the same challenges as any other community out there. Therefore, t's vital that each blogger know what their purpose is so they don't feel pressured to conform to any other standards, thus turning the reading and blogging of books into a frustrating task rather than an enjoyable hobby. That is truly my main piece of advice (that I need to remind myself to follow as well). In fact, I would encourage bloggers to physically write out their purpose/goals in order to encourage their own completion of these goals but also as a reminder to not feel swayed one way or another by how other people are working their blogs.
My main purpose in creating this blog was certainly not to make money from it (still not a goal) and not to get free books (I didn't even realize that would be a side effect of the blogging). It was truly to have a way to share my enjoyment of the books I was reading, to write about them so I wouldn't forget (as I typically do). I figured doing these things would encourage my continued reading and that blogging as a hobby would be a fun outlet. But I've fallen into the pitfalls many others have. What I need to look out for is how many review books I take on. I find that I dislike the obligation and often, I find myself really interested in a book only to lose interest either by the time it arrives in the mail or by the time I need to read it. So either I feel guilty for not reading them or I slog through them (even if they might be good I slog through because that's not what I wanted to read right then) and turn reading into a non enjoyable experience. I still deal with this all the time, but I'm trying to stop. Especially because I have experienced how great it feels to read what I want when I want and also find that this leads to an increase in how much I read... which leads to more blog posts which are easier to write because I have a higher level of enthusiasm. Seems like a simple enough process! But it's something I have to constantly remind myself about. And yet I'm constantly asking for more review books, requesting them on net galley, etc. LOL
The other thing is not comparing to other blogs. There are other people who have a different purpose with their blogs, yet I'll find myself comparing mine to theirs and thinking I need to do that too. And I don't! This is 100% my blog and I make all the rules here. And there are things that I would like to be able to do, but I just don't have the time or desire to put that much energy in to my blog. I rarely check my stats, and I don't do anything to try to increase them either. There are those who put focus into maximizing search engine optimization and are constantly marketing their blogs. If this is your purpose (aforementioned) then cool. But if it's not, then don't stress it! I mean, I would like the result of those things, sure, but when it comes down to it I'm not willing to do what it takes. It's too much time and stress and my purpose in this blog is not those things but to focus on my actual enjoyment of reading and writing about my reading. That's all.
As for the community involvement, I used to "follow" many hundred blogs but in reality I clearly wasn't reading every one of the posts or commenting and engaging in conversation with each of those people. I've learned the hard way that it is best to keep to a more focused community. There are a lot of blogs that focus on books I don't read or have interest in, so I tend to focus on reading blogs/ interacting with other bloggers who have similar interest in books that I do and/or whom I am able to have actual interaction with. Everyone I follow now is either or both of those things.
So those are my tips. Identify what it is YOU want for your blog and stick to it. And feel good about it!