Friday, April 21, 2017

R is for “Read All The Things!”

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day in April (except Sundays), I’ll be sharing a short bookish memory with you.




I’ve been single handedly running this book blog since 2013. All 664 posts currently on the blog were written by me. The graphics and layout were painstakingly cobbled together by me. Every typo, broken link, ugly mess, and minor disaster is completely my fault. Trust me when I say that blogging is hard. It’s much harder than most people realize. You have to know a lot about the subject you’re blogging about, and you also have to know a lot about blogging itself. Today, I thought we’d take a look at some of the non-bookish things blogging has taught me.




What I've learned from blogging





1. Website design. I don’t know much about the workings of the Internet, and it’s not a subject that interests me, but when you run a blog, you have no choice. You have to learn something about designing a website. I didn’t like any of Blogger’s premade templates and wanted to design my own, but I had no idea how to do that. How do I get the buttons in my sidebar to work? How do I get my header in the right place? These were all problems that I needed to solve.




2. Making graphics. This is one of the things I hate most about blogging. I’m not good at making graphics and never will be. (Check the graphic at the top of this post for evidence of my ineptitude.) But, blog posts that include graphics get more traffic. If I wanted more people to see my posts, I needed to teach myself how to make graphics.




3. Social media. Are you on Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest? Bloglovin’? Goodreads? When I first started blogging, I wasn’t on any of them. I still use far fewer social media sites than most bloggers, but I taught myself Twitter so I could connect with the book blogging community.





4. Making friends. Using social media and commenting on other people’s blogs was terrifying at first. What if I said the wrong thing? What if people hated me? What if nobody understood my weird sense of humor? Talking to strangers on the Internet is scary at first, but eventually those strangers become friends.





5. Persistence. Most blogs don’t get 10000 followers overnight. When you first start out, you’re going to spend a lot of time shouting into the void. I did. I sometimes still feel like I’m shouting into the void. If you want people to notice, you’ll just have to keep shouting until they do.




6. Good things happen slowly. Bad things happen all at once. It takes years to make friends and build an audience for your blog. Bloggers aren’t born knowing how to write great posts. In contrast, bad things can happen quickly. Websites crash. A comment you made is taken out of context and blows up on Twitter. When you’re a blogger, you just have to be patient and do the best you can.





7. The value of shutting up. I have a lot of opinions. I like to pretend that I’m the smartest person on Earth, but I’m definitely not. There are always people who know more than I do. Sometimes, I should shut up and listen to them instead of shouting my opinion across the Internet.




If you’re a blogger, what has blogging taught you? 






27 comments:

  1. I agree with so many of these! I had no idea what I was getting into when I started my blog, and there's definitely a learning curve. Blogging has taught me to be a little less shy; I've definitely put myself out there more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Getting over the fear of Internet strangers has been great. I’ve made so many book blogger friends.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  2. #1 - I taught myself too plus there are so many helpful sites out there

    #2 - this I actually like doing, and you're right, without some visual aid, people don't stop to read what you wrote, I mean some people will but most people, like me with short attention span, wouldn't really want to be reading a block of text without some image like eye candy to interest me

    #3 - I'm the opposite, I was on social media when I started blogging but now I'm not on any of them

    #4 - everyone worries about that, how people will react, it's still one of my fears that I would offend someone

    #5, 6, 7 - it's true what you're saying, we have to persist, work hard and maybe keep some of our opinion to ourselves. we are all free to say what we want, if people get offended, they should leave

    patience is what blogging has taught me and also, bloggers and readers are more forgiving than you think.

    have a lovely day.

    ~ my R post - Rainswept - how I make my header~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Luckily, I haven’t offended many people (yet). If I do ever say something really stupid, I hope people are forgiving.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  3. Great post!! I still have no idea about web design but somehow I got something up!! I also hate making graphics but they are necessary. I am awful at social media but I try. I know you have to be social and comment to get people to visit. It is slow - follower wise for me. Thats ok. I just really enjoy blogging and the interaction :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’m not sure what my current follower count is, but I agree that the interactions are more important. I love obsessing over books with people.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  4. I think you've done an amazing job at putting this blog together by yourself. A lifelong, tech-neanderthal, I have learned a lot about the internet through struggling with blog issues. Blogging gave me the confidence to dip my toes in the twitter world, I participate in a weekly storydam chat, and I have made friends I never expected to make.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blog problems have taught me so much about the Internet. Luckily, I don’t have too many major problems anymore. I felt lost when I first started blogging. Everything was a problem.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  5. I think I have learned a number of things by blogging. My hubby works in IT so he helps with some of the technical aspects of my blog for me. I like creating the graphics. I have learned a few things about social media and would like to learn more. The biggest reason I continue to blog and read blogs is what I learn from others in the community. If they learn something from me great.
    blogging at My Fragmented Journey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The community is my favorite part of blogging. My list of books to read is huge because of them.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  6. I've been blogging for fours years as well and the one thing I've learnt is that blogging is such an individual experience and a little corner for yourself. I think first and foremost it's important to blog for yourself. I remember back when I first started, I struggled to carve out an audience and even use social media but just by speaking with other bloggers and bonding over books, it's become such a wonderfully social experience and I've come to love the interaction with other readers by far the most enjoyable aspect. You're an inspiration to bloggers everywhere that with hard work and persistence, it really does pay off.

    Kelly @Diva Booknerd

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree with blogging for yourself. If you’re not interested in what you’re doing, you’re not going to keep it up for very long.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  7. If you want people to come and leave comments, then you have to go and leave comments. Blogging is not posting. Posting is about 15% of blogging. Ditto for following. Don't wait to gain followers. Go out and follow others. Participating in blog hops is key.

    R is for Reptilian Elite

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn’t understand that when I started my first blog ever. I thought that if I put stuff on the Internet, people would read it. It took me a very long time to understand that I had to be part of the community if I wanted people to interact with me.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  8. That's a great list--and so true. I've learned 'perspective' also from blogging: That what I say can be filtered through everyone's personal lens. That's a challenge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES! Someone can interpret you post in ways that you never considered. That’s happened to me before.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  9. I love this list!! And I think it's awesome how much you've learned since starting blogging.πŸŽ‰ I started with my sister so at least we could both make heinous mistakes together.πŸ˜‚ One of the biggest things I've learned about blogging is that it's okay to slow down and not post everyday if you don't want haha. And also it was SO scary talking to people online at first. But book bloggers are really awesome?!? It's so fun being friends with them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’ve had to take blogging breaks before. It’s necessary so that I don’t burn myself out. I miss the blogosphere when I take breaks, though.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  10. Yes. To all those things. I just joined my blog in January, but they have been around for 3 (maybe 4) years. I KNOW we need more social media presence, but Twitter is so ugly, and I try to bookstagram, but my photos are terrible. I don't tumble or snapchat, but I have always loved reading other blogs and commenting. I also love GoodReads. And, yeah, I am shouting into the void. =)
    Sam @ WLABB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree that Twitter is ugly. I don’t get involved in many conversations there, even if I have opinions. Fighting with strangers on the Internet just isn’t productive. It won’t get anybody to change their minds.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  11. I have no idea about computers so I just stuck with a basic blogger template! It's not exactly how I'd like things but it'll do! I'm on Twitter, Pinterest (though I don't get time to do fun stuff there), bloglovin and Goodreads. I have learned to stay out of other people's fights no matter how mad the comments make me. It's not worth inviting trolls to harrass you! I don't like Twitter because it is full of nasty people but it is useful to follow breaking news stories and live sport. I also made a switch on Goodreads to have only friends able to leave comments on my posts to again stop the trolls.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I mostly use Twitter for breaking news and keeping up with my favorite authors. I agree that the trolls are bad. I’d be a lot more active on there if people didn’t harass each other constantly. It’s immature, and I don’t have time for it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  12. I didn't know anything about HTML before I started blogging. I still don't know much about it, but I know more than I used to. I've also learned that anything you say on the internet can come back to bite you. I'm not trying to increase paranoia with that. I just sometimes forget because writing is cathartic, but that doesn't mean the world will understand when you put your personal feelings out there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. Writing these A to Z posts was terrifying because some of them are very personal. I didn’t know how people would react.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  13. You speak the truth! My blog is just me as well and it is a lot of work. I have learned things that I never knew I wanted to learn. I know that I could actually read more if I wasn't so busy doing all of the extra stuff...lol.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Much of what you've written resonates, even though most people would describe me as an extrovert. I'd say I'm an more of an extrovert with introverted tendencies (in that I need me time to recharge). I have multiple blogs and am figuring out how to combine them to cut down on the workload, as one or other always ends up suffering.

    Bunny and the Bloke

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love this post so much. And I feel ya about the blogging issue. Everyone labels it as so easy and writes it off, but its a struggle daily inside and out. You have to love it to be in it for the long haul. I have definitely learned that good things come slowly, that its okay to take breaks when you need it, to make friends and enjoy, and to move with the times as well :D

    ReplyDelete

I do a happy dance every time I get a comment. (You should be grateful that you’re not around to witness this dance. It’s truly horrifying.) Leave a link to your blog so I can visit you.