Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blogging Thoughts

Since I passed the one year blogging milestone in March, I've been doing a lot of thinking about my blogging routine, style, layout, and goals. Where am I headed? Do I keep going the same way or change things up? Can I still keep up my blog visiting schedule and maintain my sanity? The progress on my quest for answers has been slow, but these blogging friends have provided great food for thought.

Elana Johnson's recent posts have been similar to my thoughts. Blogging For You touches on viewing blogging like sitting around a table and talking with friends. Another post, More to Consider, offers more thoughts about what makes a good blog. Elana encourages us to consider the time factor; our visitors' time is at a premium, so make their stay at your blog effective and efficient.

Jody Hedlund has offered good blogging tips too. A recent favorite was How Can We Tell if Our Blog is Good?  Jody touches on followers, blogging and selling books, and how to measure how good (or bad) our blogs are. Key points worthy of consideration, she says, are numbers, connections, and feedback. The million dollar question that she poses to readers is "What makes a 'must read' blog?"

So what do you think? What elements are key to a successful blog? What do you like to see when you visit a blog? How do you build and maintain your followers? As always, I welcome and appreciate your input.

Coming next week - an interview with author Gayle Roper, hope you can join us!

Blessings and Happy Weekend:)

43 comments :

  1. Hello Karen, I am going to have a look at those sites and then I am going to come back and answer your question.

    I am back...

    Wow, what a lot of food for thoughts especially when I feel lately that I am in a "writing slump" and I am mainly relying on my photos to do the talking.

    The blogs I first started to follow are still making me come back again and again, you are one of them. I like all my followers but I do not always go and visit if I follow back, unless something they have posted attracts my attention in my dashboard.

    I am taking all this on board though, because I would not like to be a non-visited blog.

    Take care my friend. Blessings and big hug (((♥)))

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  2. Hi Karen,

    Thank you for the shout out! Blogging is such an important thing to all of us and we want to make it a productive and enjoyable experience. So it's great to challenge ourselves from time to time to think through how and why we're blogging. Thank you!

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  3. Elana and Jody are both skilled writers.

    I am first attracted to a catchy title and interesting opening. Something shorter than 500 words is preferable. I like when the writer involves readers with a question.

    ~ Wendy

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  4. I groan when the post is too long no matter how interesting because I have only so much time to read each day.
    I like people being real and sharing sometimes about themselves too but always love writing information and their successes and failures.
    I like a question at the end so that I can feel they care what I think too LOL
    No preachy blogs.
    I like to hear the voice of the writer. Like Elana, you can tell who she is by how she writes.
    Also good openings attract me to read it.

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  5. Both of those ladies give great advice! I like shorter posts, usually. Blogs that load fast are nice too. :-) As for followers, I actually don't pay too much attention to them, but the people who comment...those are wonderful. I always try to return comments and really like getting to know my fellow bloggers.
    Good luck with your sanity! I know my blogging schedule has slowed quite a bit.

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  6. Raymonde,
    I would have never guessed that you were feeling like you were in a 'writing slump'. Your blogs are wonderful, and one of the things I like about them are the photos! Blessings to you too, my friend:)

    Jody,
    I agree. I like to step back often to examine what I am doing and where I am going with most everything I do. Appreciate your blog, your thoughts, and your kind spirit.

    Thanks and blessings to you both,
    Karen

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  7. Wendy,
    Have to agree with you about Jody and Elana. Agree, too, with your thoughts. Need to take them into consideration here. Appreciate your blog; there's always something good there!

    Terri,
    I hear you, and I am on the same page. There's many elements that make up a good blog. It's been fun to visit yours and get to know you and your writing style.

    Jessica,
    I am in the shorter post liking category too. Longer ones are okay depending on what they are about and how much time I have...but I can only offer so much time per week. Your blog is always a worthwhile stop:)

    Thanks and blessings to each of you for coming by and sharing your thoughts,
    Karen

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  8. For me, I measure "success" in having helped someone. Even if it's only one follower. I guess I see my mission in blogging as first educational, then social. Thus, I try to use my gifts to be of service to others. I don't hunt followers very aggressively, but do like finding people who I think would "get" what I'm doing and will seek them out.

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  9. These are some great questions! It seems like everyone is considering their blogging efforts right now. I enjoy the content of your posts and hope you don't change that up too much. I am off to check out these other posts you listed.

    Thanks for all you do!

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  10. Laurel,
    Good point! It helps to look at the big picture. We really are out there, speaking to others, and we are blessed to make a difference.

    Alisa,
    Seems that way, doesn't it? Maybe something in the springtime air? lol Thank you for your input, I appreciate it so much.

    Thanks and blessings to you both,
    Karen

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  11. Wow. Lots of hard questions. The answers change day by day for me, as my life changes.

    I keep up with blogs of those I've established relationships with, and ones that inspire me to not give up on writing, life or Jesus.

    I don't know how I keep followers. I pray. I host contests. I try to post on issues I think will interest readers. I put lots of images in my posts. And I attempt to be funny. Oh, and I visit as many blogs each day as I can.

    Yours is very helpful, Karen. You give great links and food for thought.

    LOve you,
    Jen

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  12. Great points to consider. For myself, I find blogging to be a great way to connect with others, but I could easily let it overtake the time I spend on other writing. It's a tough balancing act.

    Thanks, Karen.

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  13. Dear Jen,
    Thanks so much for your thoughts and the insight. Your blog is always a good stop for me, so I think you are doing something right:) Thanks for the kind words, too.

    Susanne,
    I know what you mean. I can get distracted in the blogosphere and not get to my necessary tasks. Always enjoy reading your posts, too:)

    Thanks to both of you for coming by,
    Karen

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  14. Wow, I needed this post today. I have been wondering what to do next with my blog. I will check the links out. Thanks Karen!

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  15. Good food for thought, Karen! When visiting sites I typically look for faith, solid writing advice, and common ground. Information that I can apply to help me grow as a writer.

    I struggle with making the time to visit everyone's sites on a consistent basis. Any suggestions? I enjoy your blog! Keep up the good work in your second year!!

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  16. Elana and Jody are both so good at sharing their insights!

    I find it hard to pinpoint what works best, because we're all so different. I think, though, voice and presentation are most important.

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  17. Hi Karen...I love blogs that are personal, where the writer shares a bit of her heart with the reader. I also love great photos. Also, I feel it's important to post very frequently, daily, if possible. Thanks for YOUR blog, Karen. I love hearing from you. Sincerely, Susan

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  18. Hey Karen!!! I look forward to your interview next week!!

    The blogging world is so large that sometimes it's super hard to keep track of it all! I don't know how I keep up with all of it and writing... I suppose at times I sacrifice one for the other, managing is key. I hope that all my followers understand that I can't always make it to there blogs but that it doesn't mean I don't appreciate them!

    I take time to comment on all those blogs who comment on mine and then some... it's a vicious and exciting cycle!!

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  19. Jan,
    Glad to be of help. Will be praying for you for direction. Thanks for coming by. Always enjoy your blogs:)

    Maria,
    Good points, all, and things I look for as well. I will let you know if I come across any foolproof visiting schedule:) Thanks for the kind words!

    Janna,
    I agree, and you make a great point. I suppose it would be boring if we all didn't bring our own style to the table!

    Susan W.,
    Appreciate your thoughts. Your blog is such a nice stop, and your photos are wonderful.

    Jen,
    It is hard sometimes, I agree. Finding a good balance is the key, and I suspect that balance is different for all of us. Glad you are looking forward to the interview. I think it will be good. Gayle is terrific.

    Thanks and blessings to all of you,
    Karen

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  20. Hi Karen,
    You know I've been messing around with my blog a lot lately. I want it to be a service to others...helpful information and encouragement. I really have no time for blogs that just talk about what me and the kids did today. I also dislike waiting for a long line of pictures to load. I have a google reader on my igoogle page and it gives me the first paragraph or so of each post and if it's not what I have time for, I go to the next one.
    Hopefully, my blog has what others have time for in the first paragraph and they click to read more.
    How do I attract followers? I post on carnivals and then visit all those other blogs and comment on them. It takes a lot of time but I have built followers that way.
    I have noticed your followers growing like weeds (sorry ladies) and was wondering what you were doing in that regard. Well, I'm rambling. Thanks for the topic and have a great weekend,
    Carol

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  21. Carol,
    Thanks so much for the input. I've thought about the google reader, I should check into it. Might be a time saver:) You've done a wonderful job with your blog; love the new format!
    Blessings to you,
    Karen

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  22. I like the personal touch and am not as keen on ones with tons of info or constant book reviews that can be found on all the blogs.

    Hmmm. I LOVE this place; it is on my roll!!!

    Patti

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  23. I like to read fun blogs and blogs that give me info and most of all, they must be pithy. :)

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  24. Hi Patti,
    You are so sweet. Thank you for the vote of confidence. Love your blog too:) Thanks for blessing me by adding me to your roll:)

    Jennifer,
    Fun blogs are good:) I know that I like to take something away with me when I read a blog. Good advice:)

    Blessings to both of you,
    Karen

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  25. Hi Karen -

    I'm thinking about de-cluttering my blog sidebar, possibly adding a new feature, and doing an unusual contest.

    As a blog reader, I appreciate the 3-4 time per week blogger, short-to-medium sized posts, and personal connection.

    Blessings,
    Susan :)

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  26. Susan,
    I've thought about the sidebar thing, debated about what to do to improve it. Obviously I haven't come up with any great ideas yet:) Will look forward to your unusual contest!
    Blessings, and thanks for coming by,
    Karen

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  27. Hi Karen,
    I know how you feel. I just past my one year blogging anniversary as well, and I have been wondering how to make it better, more interesting, and less time consuming to read.


    I am planning to read those blogs you mentioned this morning and see what I can do to spiff things up a bit.

    Thanks!!!

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  28. Hi Tyrean,
    Good to see you:) So you and I are in the same boat. I am sure that we can compare notes once we get our heads together.
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  29. Thanks for these links, Karen. They're a great source for thought. I guess I'm faced with the same questions everyone is. Perhaps blogging consciously will make me a nicer person too. I'm reading and thinking about subjects I might well never consider otherwise.

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  30. This is a subject near and dear to my heart since I've found so many cool opportunities through blogging.

    What elements are key to a successful blog?

    -Nice layout that is easy to read
    -Informative posts that aren't self absorbed and have universal appeal
    -Topics that lead to conversations in the comments
    -Easy to follow blog (clear RSS feeder, etc.)

    What do you like to see when you visit a blog?

    A blog design that's simple but pretty; topics that lead to active conversations; a bit of personality from the blog author.

    How do you build and maintain your followers?

    By really turning it into a conversation--I ask questions in my posts, and then I turn around and visit other bloggers to contribute to their conversations.

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  31. I think you have a great blog! I like to get the essence of the person and I can truly hear your voice in your posts. You're on the right track.

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  32. Beth,
    Love your thoughts about this; thanks for sharing! I may need to do a post sharing everyone's thoughts, they've all been so good. I agree, if we don't get some kind of dialogue going, it limits how we get to know each other.

    Anne,
    Thanks for the kind words, what a boost to my day:) I agree, I want to hear the writer's voice and personality. It helps get to know them.

    Blessings to you both,
    Karen

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  33. Love this post. And I am so grateful for all the readers responses. It's so helpful.

    I've been blessed reading your blog. I'll be following now.

    Blessings to you!

    Rachel

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  34. Rachel,
    Thanks so much for becoming a follower! I have to agree, the input from readers has been great. It helps clarify what makes a great blog. Thanks for joining the conversation, and thanks for coming by.
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  35. First off, I love your blog here Karen! You do a fantastic job of keeping up on posts and you give a variety to read about.

    I have found that a weekly theme post (like my Muse Monday and Tip Tuesday) as well as one or two posts about whatever is on my mind or that I've seen is a hot topic on networking sites like Twitter and FB works well for me. I hope it works well for my readers as well. I know I've added more followers and I've been seeing my name mentioned in numerous tweets since adding Tip Tuesday, so I'm taking that as a sign that my readers enjoy my consistency. What is at the heart of my blog is the love for the craft and business of writing as it says in my blog bio!

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  36. Lindsey,
    Thanks so much; you are sweet! I do like your themes, and I think they are a great plus for your blog. The links you share are great. It's always good to stop at your blog.
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  37. Karen:
    I am coming up on two years here. I like the blogs that are consistent. I like the ones that give me information.
    I like your ability to find good writing craft blogs.
    I enjoy getting to know the bloggers. I pray for my followers.

    Several of the sources I have studied have said that the blogger should be transparent to the reader. Should be real. You do this. I am trying to work on this for my blog.

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  38. Cecelia,
    Congrats on nearly two years! I do enjoy your blog, and commend you on your faithfulness as a blogger and as one of my followers. Thanks for the kind words; they mean a lot!
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  39. These are great links! Wonderful blogging advice! Thank you.

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  40. Livia,
    Glad you enjoyed the links. Hope they are helpful! :)
    Blessings,
    Karen

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  41. Karen, you had just passed the one-year mark when you posted this, and I had just passed the one-month mark! Now I'm going on 4 years, and I agree with so many of the commenters here--I like posts that are not overly long. Most of my posts are fairly short, though some of the recipes might not be (I like to give detailed directions so that even novices can have success with my recipes). Wishing you continued success!

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  42. Karen, you had just passed the one-year mark when you posted this, and I had just passed the one-month mark! Now I'm going on 4 years, and I agree with so many of the commenters here--I like posts that are not overly long. Most of my posts are fairly short, though some of the recipes might not be (I like to give detailed directions so that even novices can have success with my recipes). Wishing you continued success!

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  43. Jean,
    Thank you so much! Wishing you much success as well. It has been a pleasure meeting you and visiting your blog. Yes, short posts are helpful with busy schedules, aren't they? :)
    Have a wonderful rest of the week,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!