Blogging means many things to many people. I registered a domain on 12th July 2001 and started building myself a little personal website, slowly moving towards keeping a strange sort of personal diary of my odd little thoughts, along with a handful of useful and/or funny links. It slowly turned into a blog and I hand-crafted each post in basic HTML, consulting the ever patient Topper over anything terribly techie, then eventually adding a commenting functionality and a blogroll through the use of a couple of handy free tools I found on ye olde interwebs. As I really got into blogging, and started to build up a readership, I decided needed to make more time for the actual writing and so asked Topper if he would be kind enough to install Movable Type for me. The archives from that version of the site dated back to 19th March 2003, so I can definitely say that I’ve been a blogger for at least 7 years now. But why do I do it?
Well, to be perfectly honest, it’s mostly a way of getting a lot of junk out of my head that would otherwise take up space for more important things. If there’s a topic I want to comment on, links I want to share or news stories I want to bleat about, I simply pop online to jot it all down before pressing the ‘publish’ button. Much as I love that people read and like my blog, its reason for being really is something completely personal. Sitting down to blog about a subject helps me clarify my own thoughts, and also helps to improve my writing, editing and concentration skills. It’s a place to document experiences and express opinions, where I can write about anything from feminism and sexuality, to music and clothing. When I received an invitation to the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, I was excited to go along and find out what it was all about but I never once thought I would be shortlisted, mostly because this is a personal blog. The best thing about that day was meeting and chatting to other bloggers, which reminded me that connecting with other people through blogging has always been a large part of its appeal for me. Reading other people’s sites, commenting and sometimes arranging to meet up in person has always been extremely enjoyable. I like all the little blogging communities that exist, and I love discovering new blogs and meeting new people as a result. A girl can never have too much fun, right?
Recently though, many people have started to treat blogging as a business and this is a whole new area to me. I’ve pondered what I could do to make this blog more professional and even attempted to ‘monetise’ it with some Google text ads a while back, only to discover that Google didn’t recognise my postal address. I was denied a small taster of revenue that wouldn’t spoil the nice clean look I have been cultivating and so wasn’t sure what, if anything, to do next. I know my blog’s a bit old skool – with an uncluttered design, no adverts, small images, and no fancy links to other ‘posts you might like’ – but I actually quite like it this way. However, I do sometimes wonder if I’m missing a trick and so was intrigued to discover that Cate Sevilla has a new venture called Oh My Blog workshops, which aims to “make your blog better, from the inside out”. There will be sessions on everything from content, PR and tech skills, through to how to cope with trolls and grow a thicker skin! I think I might pop along and check it out. At the very least, I might meet a nice bunch of new bloggers but, you never know, I might even pick up some useful tips for a revamp. First things first though… I need to make more time for writing content!