I have read a lot of articles and books about blogging in the last three years. I know too much stuff about keywords, SEO, tags, categories, using Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and even Google+, and blogging in general. I have several blogging planners and charts. I recently learned something new that nobody talks about.
Well, if they did I wasn’t listening very well. That is totally possible.
Recently I worked on a website for a client, RogersWonderfulLife. I have designed websites for myself and my husband, did one for my cousin, and now I am branching out. I love doing it. The same way my boys love playing with LEGOs or Minecraft is how I think of building and designing websites. Before I even started building though I needed to get a feel for how others in her niche do things. That meant looking at a lot of blogs.
These bloggers are speaking at conferences and writing books. I want to do that. Yet all they are doing is writing about their life’s trials! What is up with that? One thing I noticed over and over again is that these blogs have high numbers but all they do is talk about personal stuff. It was like looking at Facebook unleashed. How are they getting readers, building a tribe, getting people to pay them to come and speak, while only writing about their lives?!
When I worked for the bank it was drilled into me that unless something could be quantified, measured, calculated, and statistified (is that even a word?) then there was no point in doing it. I’ll give you a perfect example. Writing paper can be a huge expense in an office. At the end of the year they calculated how many reams were used and figured out that each person should go through x numbers of sheets of paper per month. If you went over you would have a stern talking to.
That is how insane it was. I have carried that over to my home life and my business.
When I started blogging I read up on how Google puts things on the front page. No one ever looks at the second. No one. I mean, do you? Well, you are a small minority if you do. The only way to get put on the front page is by doing things called SEO. That stands for Search Engine Optimization. It requires using things like keywords, words that someone would type into Google to find something. If it wasn’t quantifiable then there was no point in doing it.
Except, as hard as I tried to find the keywords in these blogs I could not find them. What I did find was human interest stories. Stories about struggling in life yet finding a way to get things done. Stories that made me cheer for the hero or feel sad for the downtrodden. Then it hit me. Maybe, just maybe that is what people are looking for these days? I had to test this theory.
Testing My Theory
Erin Bohn is in my blogging group, Inspired Bloggers Network. She asked for stories about fostering or adoption. Well, I was a foster kid and the little bit that I have shared with people made them amazed at how much I have been through yet am still a happy person. I thought I will write a little piece about being a teen in foster-care for her and see how it goes.
I did not expect the many comments on her blog, or the comments people have sent me. Erin says it is still a highly viewed page on her site. That is awesome for her. It means people will read about her interesting life being a foster-mom who did adopt her kids and what that is like raising them. Give the woman some love!
Putting The Theory Into Practice
Then the other day one of my FB friends, Anne Evans, said that she had written a children’s book about being the sibling of a new foster-kid. You know, like one of those “Mommy is bringing home a new baby and you’re going to be a sibling” books. I love that idea! I had a foster-sister for a short time. That was weird, really weird. I didn’t know how to deal with that. She had issues, more so than mine. Maybe if someone had explained it to me that would have gone better than it did.
I don’t know how we became FB friends. I know a lot of writers. My persona FB page is public, if you know someone I know I will friend you. I write about my daily life, share interesting stories, and inspiring pictures. I don’t worry about SEO or quantifying it. It is just me being me.
I commented that I think this is a lovely idea. I had been a foster-kid and couldn’t wait to read it. She PM’d me and asked if I had ever written about being a foster-kid. She assumed I was a writer since were FB friends. I told her about the piece on NoBohnsAboutIt. Her response was interesting. That was YOU?! She liked it so much that she shared it on her FB page. She would like me to review her book and give my impressions of it. Sure. OK. I guess.
Then a few people told me that they noticed I must have been sick because I hadn’t posted much for a spell. People who never comment, never share, tell me that they read everything I write. Riiiiggghhhht.
Then (but, wait, theres more!) I commented on Israel Wayne’s FB page about my marriage. He PMd me and said, in short, that was awesome and you need to share that with people.
Israel. Wayne. Yeah, that Isreal Wayne. WEll, now if a published writer and famous theologian tells you to write something then maybe you ought to listen.
Changing The Hypothesis
Back to this LJSkool thing. The intent was to give Mr. Donn and Enchanted Learning a run for their money. Put my website design skills together with my research skills and I could take them down. Some of the unit studies I have put together are on the front page of Google. I have a whole list of other unit studies to do. They have great SEO juice.
Yet it is time consuming to put those together. I am a staff of one. I have these two boys who need a lot of one-on-one tutoring. By the end of the school day I am d-o-n-e done.
It may seem like I am a total flake with my writing. It is because I am busy quantifying and measuring my writing. That takes time. And energy. By the time I am done the joy has been sucked out of it. So I don’t do anything.
As I perused these other websites I slowly realized that people just want to learn about how others get through the day yet keep their sanity. At least that was my takeaway. If writing about my personal life got that kind of response then maybe I need to write about my personal life! Maybe the short snippets I put on FB can be fleshed out in a blog post.
Sure, I will still do the unit studies. They seem to do well. But I cant focus on just doing that. Who wants to eat just vegetables all the time? OK, well, sure, vegetarians maybe. Even they have dessert once in a while.
Something I learned about blogging is Just. Be. Real. Share what you go through and how you overcame it. What did you learn from it? Because, here’s the thing, someone somewhere is probably going through that exact same thing, has no idea what to do, and doesn’t know anyone who understands. She needs your perspective. She needs your insight. Your trials can be someone else’s lessons. You were a trailblazer all along and didn’t even know it. How about that?
Going forward I am just going to share the stuff I go through every day. That is what I do on FB and people seem to like that. My life is not normal and I think at this point I have accepted that it won’t ever be. I live a most unusual life.
But it sure is a fun one.
Let me tell you all about it.
Hear that, Google?! Get up out of my way. I am coming through.
Hear me roar.
OK, I just had to give you a video because that is what we do here at LJSkool. This is Kasey Husen of crossroads Church, our church in California. I love this song and the way she sings it. This is my new theme song.
*All videos on LJSkool are formatted so that all you see is the chosen video and the “choose more” at the end has been disabled.
Have a great day!