My, how this year has passed; a lot has changed, and a lot has come and gone. I’ve ended a blog and began one. All in all the experience has been worth both the good and bad. What are experiences for anyway if we can’t learn from them? Today I just want to speak briefly on blogging goals. I know I know who am I right? Why does this small blog of barely 300 followers write like she’s got 30,000? Who am I to give advice with all these splinters in my eyes? Well I’m glad you asked; I’m no one actually. Just another writer thriving on nothing but a bowl full of passion; I do not desire you to know my name or pity my story, I just wanna right, is that alright? I think so.
So here we are. Since we’ve come to the end of the year, I just want to spew a couple of words of inspiration for all the new bloggers who will be joining us next year as well as old bloggers who are still struggling to drive their blogs in the direction intended for them. I don’t know what your goals are but the word today is Goal. What we really want to do is have both a Primary Goal and Sub Goals. There are two parts to the Primary Goal. The first part is just to have fun. Remember that this is your blog after all and your happiness will determine the level of passion you put into your posts. Do not over think this blogging thing, just blog and have fun doing it. And that my friends, having fun, is what keeps me writing. I do not desire a spot next to the red carpet. Yes, it will be nice to kiss the sky and tread on the clouds below me but there’s a time for that and it is not now. Right now I’m just taking it a step at a time and enjoying the moment, being ecstatic about the little things like those who join this blog, who like this blog, who interacts with this blog, and who view this blog. That’s why I can give advice and share poetry and write stories because I actually enjoy what I’m doing so I have no fear that I have not reached the level of “professionalism” some may deem necessary.
The next part of your Primary Goal is to actually have one, the objective for your entire blogging presence, the thing that brought you here. For some of you, maybe it’s just an outlet, for others perhaps it is business oriented but no matter the reason there must be one. The funny thing is though, you really just have to know what you want to do next. You don’t have to over-complicate it, just outline what you want to do next. It doesn’t matter the kind of information you seek to push, whether you are a descriptive writer, or a poet, whether you are here to persuade or to inform, no matter the reason remember that you are interacting with people. Do not let the massive World Wide Web fool you into thinking you’ve become a microchip inside a computer, and that you are not made up of flesh and bone. You are a person, and as such you are interacting with people. For this reason it doesn’t matter that you are just here to spread truth or push agendas or religious doctrine or whatever it is. Even so you must still realize that blogging is an online platform from which you are interacting and networking with others. Remember that no one likes to be preached to. You must use this opportunity to instead inform in ways that will attract people. Do not get so far on the high horse that you cannot relate to those of us still on the ground. It’s ok to laugh and to share some of your life experiences, your joys, your woes, or the new puppy you got yesterday and at the same time tie it into whatever message you have to give to the people. Never compromise your identity, never change who you are, and never let others change who you are, but in the midst of simply having fun make sure you keep the primary goal at the forefront and tie it into your blog identity.
I also think it’s important to have Sub Goals. Sub Goals are like Sub Titles; those small messages under the bigger message. They are those short term goals you wish to achieve to ultimately achieve that primary goal. For example: If your Primary Goal is to drive book sells, maybe your Sub Goal is to publish at least two short stories a day. What this will do for your blog is help to begin an organization of it so that you have something to offer to the people. You may want to include those features your Blogging 101 just talked about. I have something called Recipe Sunday for example. It is not a name I actually created a category for, but it is a feature I include on my blog every Sunday under the Audience Participation tab. In this feature, I feature recipes for various foods and snacks that can help those of us who are not chefs to better whip up some delicious meals. I love recipes and using them when I cook so this also gives you a taste of who I am as a person so your not talking to fingers on a keyboard with no hands attached. Does this mean I want to become a chef now? Does it mean I have compromised my identity as a servant? Does it mean I no longer want to write poetry? Of course not. It’s just another avenue to which I can engage and interact with my audience. This helps me to build because I will then get subscriptions from those people who are into food, who do like to cook, and who are actually chefs while simultaneously putting my message into a physical manifestation of being. It’s not just about telling people stuff, it’s about showing them and organizing your posts can help you to be that example and organization starts with Sub Goals. Decide on how many posts you want to publish a day depending on your schedule. Keep it fun so if that’s one post a week so let it be. The plan is not to stress out about it. Stressing out about it means worrying which means no writing for you and that’s not what we want. What we want is for your message or goal or whatever to get out there so no pulling your hair out. Just think carefully about how often you want to post and stick to that schedule as closely as you can. Then decide on what kind of special feature to include. This can be something as elaborate as a picture or as fancy as a list, your blog, your prerogative. Then put everything in its own folder, we call these categories in the blogosphere, so put everything in a category. This is just the basics though because you want to also scan the community a little bit too. The best way to drive traffic to your blog is be what you want others to be. If you want someone to treat you with respect do the same for them. So get on out of the corner and walk around the neighborhood. Participate in blogging challenges, follow some blogs, comment on some blogs, and like some blog posts. Incorporate this into your schedule as well; give the people some variety, something to look forward to. So you may decide: I will publish one post a day, like 5 blog post by someone else, and follow 10. That’s a schedule and sticking to this schedule as closely as possible will help to increase traffic to your blog and increase the chances of you accomplishing your goal. Like I said, if you think your too good to get involved because the content on your blog is so great then keep doing what your doing and bringing your goal to nothingness. If I have a computer I cannot use why do I have it? If I have something that cannot produce fruit, why do I have it? If you created a blog to reach people, why are you still blogging if you don’t want to reach people? The truth is that your content may just be great, in fact, it may be salvation itself, but even when you’re spreading the truth you still have to be able to reach people. You can’t just throw a ball into the air and hope that someone catches it; you have to get out there and be the change you want to see in others.
The last thing I want to speak briefly about is complaining announcements. I’m not talking about a blog post of you complaining, that’s your thing and if you want to complain be my guest, that’s your business. What I am talking about is this: If for whatever reason you could not publish the one post you dedicated yourself to, don’t announce it. No one cares until you announce it. You have a life, we get it, we understand. If I spit a piece you’ve never heard before and I mess up the poem no one will know unless I make it known that I have erred. So relax people. You don’t have to come back and apologize for not writing yesterday. Instead, take that energy and write twice as much today to catch up. If your goal was one post published a day and you missed a day, publish two posts the next day. The content can actually be about what held you up, was it your sons’ baseball game? Did he win? Was there a fat guy whose head was too big for you to see the fields? How was this experience? Tell us about that instead. Hold yourself accountable for staying true to the schedule so that you can achieve those little goals. It is not big steps that get us to the finish line faster, it’s the energy and dedication we put into those tiny steps we take every day. Remember: slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.