What I’ve learned about blogging in 6 weeks

My little blog is six weeks old now! I started it not knowing if I was even going to like blogging or if anyone was going to read it. I feel like I’ve learned about a whole new (addictive) world very quickly. Here are my pearls of wisdom:

  1. I thought I wouldn’t care whether people read this or not. I was wrong. I didn’t realise that at least half of blogging is actually about reading other people’s blogs and the interactions that you have as both a reader and writer. I spend a lot more time reading other blogs than writing my own. It’s very time consuming!
  2. “Likes” are good, but comments help you to understand your readers and what they like to read about.  Before I started blogging myself, I NEVER wrote comments or liked the blogs I read, even when I thought they were outstanding. Now I make a point of doing that and it makes the reading much more fun when it’s interactive.
  3. My readership has changed a bit along the way but there seem to be a lot of you reading who aren’t actually Iceland obsessives like me. This is good, as you will hopefully keep reading if I run out of Icelandic topics…
  4. I’m trying to stick to posting 3 times a week, which seems about right based on the blogs I particularly like.  If I do run out of Icelandic topics (see point 3) you will just have to put up with me posting any old random stuff sometimes (like this post).
  5. Initially I noticed that every week, there was one day that had a big drop in readership. It doesn’t seem to be related to whether I posted or not, and it wasn’t always the same day. This has seemed to balance itself out in the last few weeks and I don’t get all panicky any more when I have a day like this!
  6. I just re-watched the film Julie and Julia (about someone’s food blog on Julia Child’s cooking) and it reminds me how late I’ve come to the blogging party. Although I like writing I didn’t want to just write about my daily life and it took me a long time to decide to just write about something I liked. In real life, Julia Child wasn’t crazy about the fact that someone was doing this blog about her cooking, which was quite devastating to the blogger who idolised her. It made me think, how weird would that situation be? When I get some Icelandic celebrity followers I will really think I’ve made it big! As an aside, if you like blogging you will probably like this film.
  7. Something that has surprised me is that People You Know in Real Life aren’t very interested in your blog. I have seen a lot of other bloggers say the same, so I’m going to try to not take it personally.
  8. The strangest search that has brought someone to my blog is “hot love story” – I can’t believe someone went on to read my hot dog post from that!
  9. It’s hard to be funny in writing, so I really appreciate the funny blogs that I read. Unfortunately, I’m funnier in real life than in print! There are some really good, inspiring writers out there that give me ideas.
  10. STATS RULE – how many times a day do you check yours?? I know there’s a fair few of you who are also stat addicts! I love when other people post about their stats as they assure me I’m not crazy for checking mine all the time. I wish it wasn’t so easy to check them sometimes. They are forever interesting to you but no one else.

Finally, a big thank you to all of you who have decided to follow me. It’s been nice getting to know you!

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44 thoughts on “What I’ve learned about blogging in 6 weeks

  1. Hi! I love this post and I think it’s great what you have noticed about your blogging experience. What I love about WordPress is the coming together of other bloggers and the sense of community that it can bring.

    I myself can’t help but look at the stats either! And I’m new to Blogging too but what I noticed was that the more frequently you blog, the more views you receive. I realized this when I was so sick for 6 weeks and hardly posted that not many people visited, but when I bounced back I saw the views go up even though I don’t blog daily.

    Just by visiting you today to 1st wish you a Very Happy and positive 2012 and 2nd to just say thank you for liking my little blog enough to follow it, and you have inspired me to one time write a post on what I too have learned about the world of blogging. I think we learn from eachother. I have a great link for you that you might find interesting:
    http://www.dailyblogtips.com, the guys there really have some good ideas.

    Anyway, I will leave it here and look forward to reading more about your love of Iceland. Just to let you know…I’d rather be in Alaska!!

    Happy New Year!

    • Yes, I’ve found that I’ve become more interested in blogs the more frequently someone posts. There are a few blogs that I really like that are updated only a couple of times a month and my interest does flag sometimes. I suppose it’s just easier to build up your network if you are more easily contactable.
      I look forward to reading about your blogging revelations! Happy New Year to you.

  2. I like this post. You write well and make Iceland sound very interesting. I’m new to blogging, too. I started in October and my problem with stat-checking is escalating. I was thinking about writing a post about it, too. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.

    • Thanks very much! I don’t think Susan knew what a can of worms she was opening when she put those stats up. 😉 I like your blog too, it’s very funny and I can tell you like writing, which strangely, I think some bloggers don’t!

  3. I am a Jono come lately blogger, too. I have only been reading them for about 4 or 5 years, but never thought I would write one. I read a wide variety of things, but the Icelandic stuff is what originally got me interested in reading again. There are a lot of decent and interesting people in the world and it is always nice to find more.

    • Me too Jono, I don’t know why, given my love of reading and writing I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me either! It’s even better than writing when I was in school because you get lots of instant feedback and meeting people from all over the world.

  4. Yet another good post from you..

    Funny, the statistics dont bother me. Maybe because im just happy as long as my friends and family follow me, so im kinda oblivious to the statistics..

    And i do like reading your blog. It makes me homesick sometimes, in a good way 😉 so looking forward to following you in the year of 2012 😉

  5. Whew! That’s quite a list! I’d like to comment on each point:

    #1. It took me a long time to realize that the interaction can be as important as the content.
    #2. Commenting is an art form in itself, I always try to elevate the discussion somehow.
    #3. There have been many blogs inspired by Iceland- mine, for one, and several of the ones I’ve followed for years.
    #4. Frequency of posts depends on what “feels right” – I follow some bloggers who only post once a month, others who post every day (or three times a day in a group site like rookiemag.com) and there are even a few who only post two or three times a year. I’ve set up a page on my blog that lists the irregular posters and I usually visit it once a week.
    #5. It took several years before the pattern of visits to my blog became regular. I then set up my posting schedule to reflect this. I will sometimes prepare posts ahead of time and have them post automatically, my content is seldom time-sensitive, however.
    #6. Great movie- I liked that the blogger in the film was (realistically) portrayed as a compulsive neurotic!
    #7. It is often awkward to have people in your daily life read your blog. My family members almost never read it. Iceland is also a problem- I think you have to have been there at least once to “get it”.
    #8. Lots of hilarious searches – that’s one of the best things about reading your stats.
    #9. Don’t be afraid to let yourself go- but if you do, wait awhile and then carefully re-read what you’ve written before actually posting- sometimes you will take it even further!
    #10. Stats are a form of validation, just don’t get too obsessed with them!

    You are off to a flying start, but remember that blogging is still a very young medium and is constantly changing- and everyone has a different approach. Which is why I think it will remain vital.

    • Wow – you’ve made this comment an art form all right! 🙂 Thanks for your wisdom, I know you’ve been doing this for longer than most of us so it’s probably well past the novelty stage for you (does that ever wear off??).

      4. I must admit I get less interested in some blogs that are only updated a couple of times a month, it’s a shame as that is the case with some of my very favourite blogs. I think you just don’t feel the connection with the author as much. If a blog is under WordPress, you just get through any updates on one page, but I do tend to look too frequently at the blogs I like that aren’t updated very much and aren’t on WordPress, and then am disappointed when there’s nothing new!
      5. I set up my posts in advance too. I’m surprised at how many bloggers don’t seem to do this and post several things at once and then post nothing for a while. I haven’t figured out schedule yet or best time of day.
      7. Yes, I thought that surely no one who isn’t as Iceland obsessed with me is going to want to read this, so it’s surprised me that some who aren’t even interested in Iceland are reading. Also, really, I just wanted my friends to say how brilliant I was. 🙂
      9. I always think that if I’ve found something I wrote funny than other people will too. I’m always guaranteed an appreciate audience of one!

      I’m now finding myself thoroughly sick of Facebook and Twitter and much prefer the more in-depth writing you can do on blogs. Hopefully the world won’t move on to something else any time soon!

      • Sæl og blessuð, IRBII!! I just found your blog via FITK and I have to say you pretty much nailed it with this list, and the Professor doubled that with his reply!

        I see you’ve got my blog on your blog roll ( takk fyrir mig : ) so you know I had a crisis of blog conscience a few months ago, and almost gave up completely.

        I think items #1 and #7 were the the most relevant to me: I haven’t spent near enough time perusing others’ blogs and interacting with them as I’d like to. One reason is that I get a kind of reverse claustrophobia (is there a word for that?) when I realize (again!) how many fascinating people there are on our planet, and how every single voice has such unique flavor and identity. I first felt this with the blog world, but it really hit home with MySpace back in the day..it seemed like *everyone* was a mind-blowing Superstar! It was pure Input Overload and mind-boggling! And that feeling kind of bled over into my experience of blogs, affecting how and what I wrote about, and for whom. I guess, simply, I felt I had to be a Superstar too! So I stopped reading most blogs, just so my own writer’s voice wouldn’t be corrupted by some sort of egoic comparison/competition with the other billion bloggers of the world…

        As far as those you know reading your blog, that’s also been a really tough thing to deal with. Mid-town Reykjavik is a very tight community, full of very talented people, and since I’ve lived here downtown for many years I know (with maybe one or two degrees of separation) pretty much Everyone. My musician friends solicit me (and Everyone else) to come to their shows and buy their music, my designer friends want me to buy their clothes, my photographer/artist friends want me to go to their shows…the sheer number of solicitations for support from local Talent here is overwhelming! Unfortunately, it feels like a scant few read or appreciate my blog. *sigh* Even when I link to my blog posts on my personal fb, there is hardly any response. *double-sigh*

        But here’s the key: I know they read it, and I know it has some kind of impact because, Icelanders being Icelanders, they tell me they do and that it does when they’re drunk! They just have a really hard time going “on record” with it, especially, as my mother tells me, because I’m an Outsider with Insider insight into their psyche, being Icelandic myself through and through. Small town, island mentality will always rule here, no matter how cosmo the locals feel they are! The lack of local support and the ego-driven culture here made me give up posting in October last year, but the overwhelming Love from strangers (or virtual friends, as the case may be) made me really want to come back online. I do it now not for them, but for me, and for you all : )

        That said, I hope to post more often this year, to track 2012 well as we move into the Apocalypse ( hehe ; ) I also intend to read more of what others have to share (and yes, spend much less time on fb!) Oh, and regarding Stats: after a decade of bloging I’d say just stay away from them! If they start to drive your content or dictate how you feel about what you’re doing, the heart of your writing will wither. Do what you love and the rest will follow! ~.~

      • Sæl og blessuð to you to Maria!(I knew this learning Icelandic would come in handy!)

        I was very surprised and excited to see your comment. Yours was one of my favourite all-time blogs – although I didn’t comment and tell you that as I didn’t understand the value of commenting…like many others I was sad to see you go although I can understand losing the blogging motivation for any number of reasons. I have little flashes of that sometimes and I’ve only just started.

        Part of why I feel unmotivated sometimes is the really good writing that I read on other people’s blogs. Sometimes I just think “I wish I could have written that” or “It wouldn’t have occurred to me ever to say it like that”. But then I get ideas and inspiration from these people too, and the more you blog the more you find your own voice.

        Something else I have realised is that it doesn’t matter what you write about as long as there is a lot of YOU in it – those are the posts that people respond to. This is hard for me because there’s only so much of ME I can put in Icelandic topics sometimes! But it’s just something I try to keep in mind now when writing.

        I can imagine how strange it must be to live in a “small world” and of course writing under your real name – I would feel very self-conscious and feel the lack of support, as you do. Just a thought, have you considered moving your blog (or starting afresh) under WordPress? It makes it really easy to gain an audience of other bloggers. You might find, as I have, that you end up with more readers who aren’t necessarily Iceland lovers (as I think your current readership is) but fellow bloggers who are very supportive. I didn’t realise before I started how much of my readership would be bloggers rather than the general public coming through search engines.

        Funnily enough I have considered closing my Facebook account, I’m just tired of it and I much prefer blogging. I also don’t like their new Timeline format that they’re rolling out. You have much more freedom on a blog.

        Good luck to you if you do decide to start posting again. Have you considered another topic besides Iceland? Just another thought. I’d be more than happy to read whatever you decide to write about.

        Thank you for visiting my blog (and thank you Prof Batty for the link) and it’s been great to hear from you. Thank you for the advice.

      • Ok, hahahaha! I just read your About Me and realized that you are Icelandic! I didn’t do my research before whipping out my other, very wordy, reply. Sorry if I sounded preachy! Obviously you know about Miðbæjarlíf and how it can be, but how lovely it is as well. I consider myself lucky to live here for sure!

        Btw, welcome to the blog world…I’ll be following you : )

      • Ok ok, double lol…i realized after posting that second comment that I had brain fuzz and had decided, based on your name, that you were Icelandic. Eva Lind is a Very Icelandic name, but of course could be from any Nordic country, I suppose. I skipped the sentence that reads “It was one of those places that sounded like it would be cool, although admittedly I didn’t know a lot about it, but liked the idea of the remoteness, small population and general northern weather/daylight scenarios.” duhhh….but something tells me you are an honorary Icelander, whether you know it or not (and people tell me I’m kind of spooky psychic 🙂

        Next time you get over here I’ll buy you a latte for taking up so much space on you blog 😉

      • What a lovely thought – I will now consider myself an honorary Icelander. 🙂 Eva Lind is a pseudonym – basically, when setting this up I wasn’t sure how it would all work and who would read it and if I would really want to have this against my real name in cyberspace forever, so I went for the “safe” option.

  6. I have been amazed myself at the search terms that have brought people to my blog. Wish I could think of one at the moment, but I can’t! Blogging is fun, also time-consuming. I enjoy it very much! I love your blog too! It is very interesting! 🙂

  7. Hi – I love the community that blogging creates – and you are right that comments are so much better than likes!
    it’s weird when you meet someone new and you find that they have already read your blog and can tell you about it (!)
    and congrats on being nominated for my ABC award too! a great start to the year! 🙂
    http://www.thethoughtpalette.co.uk
    keep blogging and enjoying

  8. I really liked this post and I thought some of your points really rang true for me! This is also my first “professional” blog and your comments are what I have also discovered:

    1) Reading other bloggers’ posts are just as important as writing for your own blog.
    2) Comments are key!
    3) Shorter, more topical blog posts are easier on the eyes.
    4) I have discovered that I am a stats-addict.

    Thanks for your share!

    Lisa
    http://sparkedbystringbean.wordpress.com/
    http://thetravelmotto.wordpress.com

  9. I’m even newer to it than you and I’m really enjoying it too. Can relate to every single point, with emphasis on number 10 – I’m really curious to see how different people end up on my blog, especially as I am limiting how many people I tell for the time being so that I can have a soft landing in this brave new world! You’re writing is really good – and don’t worry, I think your humour comes across. I definitely smiled once or twice while reading this list!

    • I’ve added a flag counter which is also fun. I do know where some people are coming from but not all so I’m hoping to get some surprises! Your blog is good too, your writing is very detailed which I struggle with. Keep it up!

  10. Great post, Eva. This takes my post:
    http://mjmonaghan.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/the-ocs-guide-to-blogging-5-step-plan/
    to a different level!

    Agreed on all counts:
    1) Reading takes a LOT longer, but is so rewarding.
    2) Comments are the key. People leave a “like,” but it doesn’t tell me anything. Comments are greatly appreciated.
    3) Why DON’T our real life people read our blogs??? Still don’t get that one.
    4) Stats – I’m stats-obsessed! Can’t get away from it. You can give me all kinds of reasons not to check, but I still will.

    • Yes, I remember your great post that brought you worldwide fame! 🙂 Just read it again and still funny…

      The real life people thing is a funny one. I think it’s just that I am curious enough that if someone I knew was writing a blog, I would read it no matter what it was about! But, maybe if you don’t read a lot, or don’t like writing, or are a technophobe, you just don’t “get” blogs. Makes no sense though.

  11. Pingback: Awards and more awards… | I'd Rather Be In Iceland

  12. Perfect list, very honest. I have also noticed the weird one day drop – I am always thinking ‘What? What did I say?’. My stats would be triple if everyone who followed viewed. I am getting better at letting that all go – I am trying to remember why I am writing and let the stats go…followers change, feedback changes, my perspective changes. I am liking how organic it is…

    • Thanks! It’s strange isn’t it how some followers never comment and you don’t know if/what they are viewing. I must admit I’ve stopped trying to track the stats now. Still fun to look at but I think about them less! Funny how many blogs have run out of steam even since I started in November, I guess as you say the whole thing is always changing. One good thing is that I think it takes awhile to find your voice, but once you do it’s so much easier.

      • I agree. Sometimes it is very hard if they don’t comment. I don’t look at my stats too much. When I first started the blog I looked fifty times a day, if not a hundred! Just drove myself crazy! LOL I have found some blogs that are gone now too, disappointed when I find them no longer in existence. 😦

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