Blogging: Who, Why, and What’s the Point Now?

by Abby on February 17, 2014

woman on laptop by the seaI have recently been talking to a couple of people I know who want to start blogging. As shocking as that may be to us old-timey bloggers who’ve been doing this since we had to chip our parenting rants and recipes onto a stone tablet, and in stark contrast to the headlines proclaiming blogging is dead, people are actually still starting new blogs. Even I was surprised by this.

After all, when I started out I had a simple little Blogspot blog with a basic template where I posted once a week. No custom domain name, no Google Analytics, no ads, no Facebook fan page, no Twitter, no Pinterest, no nothing. Just me and my words. And eventually, some tiny, poorly lit photos. (No iPhones, no Instagram.) In those days, the term “mommy blogger” hadn’t even been coined yet. Bloggers weren’t expected to be professional photographers and social media mavens and brand ambassadors. Oh, how times have changed.

If I were starting out now, I’d be overwhelmed, too. There’s just SO MUCH information out there, SO MUCH to know, do, think about. With something like 152 MILLION blogs on the internet and growing, starting a blog seems a little like whispering into the Grand Canyon and expecting to be heard. Plus, all the good domain names are taken, according to one friend who went through a few dozen before she found an available one she liked. Also, people used to spend more time commenting on blogs instead of just “liking” them. You can quote me on this: “Facebook killed blog comments.” – Abby from AbbyOfftheRecord.com.

As fascinating as I’m sure this disgruntled old-school blogger’s trip down memory lane is for all of you, that’s actually not the point of this post. This weekend I finally went through my blogroll – that’s the list of links to other blogs over there in my sidebar, for those of you who don’t speak blog – and I was shocked at how many of the blogs I used to read regularly are gone. In the old days I had a small but active group of other bloggers I interacted with regularly. It felt like a real community of people I actually knew – their kids’ ages and interests, what life was like in their corner of the world, what they were cooking and reading and working on.

The great thing about blogging is that it’s flexible. Your blog can change and grow as you do. Lots of people I know have changed domain names, subject matter, focus, etc. over the years. The bad thing about blogging is that it requires consistent time and effort. A lot of people I know have stopped blogging entirely, for any number of reasons: they lost their passion for it, couldn’t keep up with it, couldn’t make a profit from it…

So I updated my blogroll, noting both how short it is and how much of an eclectic mishmash it is. Some personal blogs, some writing-related, some blogging- and social-media-related, some where I like the voice, some where I like the subject matter, some I’ve been reading for ages, some new to me. This is by no means a comprehensive list; I’ll be adding to it regularly. But it feels like a fresh start, and that’s exciting to this jaded old blogger.

So, tell me: what blogs do you read regularly and why? What advice do you have for new bloggers?

LINKS O’ THE DAY: Like I said, I was as surprised as anyone to see an article titled “So You Wanna Be a Blogger?” in the Dec. 2013 issue of Women’s Health. Proof that it’s never too late to start.

If you want my advice, I’ll give it to you: 3 Things to Consider When Starting a Blog and 3 Ways to Maximize Your Blog Content. And lastly, this: there are no hard-and-fast rules. There is no formula. There is only you, your words, and your drive and desire. It’s the intangibles that determine your success.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lou Mello February 17, 2014 at 7:22 am

I definitely won’t be one of the newbies to start a blog, I enjoy reading quite a few of them, but, don;t think I have enough to say to keep myself interested, let alone others. I am also still very busy with all things Rotary and I’ll go days without having the time to read a blog. let alone write one.

I do enjoy a number of folks’ blogs and try to get to my favorites at least every other day. I like to read blogs about every day activities, humor, scenery and photos, a hodge podge iof stuff. What they all have in common is good writing, they can be enjoyed without effort.

Some that I read very regularly are: Angie Mizzell, Andra Watkins, Kate Shrewsday, Pioneer Woman, Robin’s Chicks, Lame Adventures, Dena Botbyl, Mama’s Losing it.

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Abby February 17, 2014 at 9:54 am

“What they all have in common is good writing, they can be enjoyed without effort.”
Love this, Lou. It all comes down to that, doesn’t it?

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Angie Mizzell February 17, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I love your freshened up blog roll and I appreciate being on it. 🙂 I also appreciate Lou’s comment, because it rings true for me as a reader of blogs (and books) and as a writer. That feeling of effortless-ness is what I’m seeking, but sometimes it’s MIA! I love what you say here: “There is only you, your words, and your drive and desire. It’s the intangibles that determine your success.”

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Abby February 18, 2014 at 7:55 pm

It’s always funny to me when people say my writing reads as if I write easily. We writers know better! The easier it reads, the harder it probably was to write.

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jetts31 February 17, 2014 at 11:54 pm

I read your blog, Angie’s blog, and a few others. There are some I read because there I times I need inspiration, others I read because they make me jealous of how good they are and I want my writing to be better, and others just make me laugh or think.

I’m finally working on a new post now and it coincides with your post. I took a long hiatus and I think I’m finally working my way out of it and I have because of keeping up with blogs I enjoy reading.
So thanks 🙂

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Abby February 18, 2014 at 7:57 pm

I find there’s a fine line between motivating-jealousy and the self-loathing kind. Some blogs I don’t read even though I enjoy the content because I can’t help but feel bad about myself for not being as “big” as they are. Sad but true.

As you know, I took a hiatus recently too and it was great! Glad you’re back, though.

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