DIY // Resources to build your blog

A group of students from ABAC came to the gallery where I work to ask lil ole me some questions about blogging. The class has been blogging every day for a month (bless ‘em) to better understand digital marketing methods, what it takes to run a blog and how it can be useful for their careers.

I published my first blog post on September 16th 2010. You can read it here. That makes a little over seven years of blogging. I cranked up my blog when MySpace became super lame and I realized Facebook was essentially 0% customizable. Having a blog gave me a creative outlet to share things I loved, cared about and thought about.

My blog has been a pretty inconsistent thing though. I just did what I wanted with very little concern for the digits. It’s pretty much the same way today. But now I know how to actually monitor the numbers and I like experimenting with generating interest in my little blog.

Why? Mostly to learn. And I’m a little competitive. I like beating my high score.

I will say this though: you are not your blog, your facebook or your Instagram. I don’t care if every single thing on your page is about you, photos of you, and has your name slapped all over it – it still isn’t you. I use all of my social media to help people get to know me and feel connected to me, but I am not an Instagram story.

Social media is a shadow on a cave wall. Real life is the light. Do not confuse the two. By separating yourself from the things you produce you will 1.) have more fun and 2.) prevent an existential crisis. To me, it’s a game. Like Galaga. I may get caught up in the immediate return, pew-pewing aliens or seeing the numbers roll in, but I know that it doesn’t determine my value as a human being.

This also probably explains why I’m not internet famous by now. It’s not what I want and not why I write online. However, if you are interested in boosting your blogging game or just getting started, here are a few of my fave resources and best tips.

Resources // 

Easily design graphics that fit every social media website. It has built-in templates, tons of free graphics and photos, and a nice selection of modern fonts.
This website generates a list of 30 hashtags based on one word that you input. I use this for Instagram often.
Use referral website like these to reach people in your target audience.
Use this to shorten your url for posting on twitter/facebook. It looks good on a post and it keeps track of how many times it was clicked.
Easy to use templates and design software for a multitude of social media website. Supports video. Great selection of fonts and recommends color schemes. It’s a little slow, but still fun to play with.
Manage your followers on twitter. It monitors who follows and unfollows you on Twitter, it generates people you might want to follow based on hashtags or other twitter users.
Get in-depth reports on what works for your blog
See your top tweet and schedule tweets with tweet deck

Look for groups/communities  //
Facebook and Google+ both have niche groups that are easy to utilize. Keep in mind that most groups/communities have rules. Don’t be rude or inconsiderate. Read the rules.

Final tips // 
Frequency and consistency are the best ways to get people to read your work. Post often and share often. Don’t act like spam. You can share the same link using different photos, captions and mediums. I try to use a variety of methods to share one post, each with their own personality. Don’t be boring and repetitive. To build community, reach out to people. Interview someone who you admire and feature them on your blog. Find other writers online and interact with their work, give them feedback. The internet feels like a big void, so remind folks that life is out there. And don’t worry about rules for “maintaining a successful blog.” Do your own thing, have fun, try new things. Worry about the light, not the shadows. 

Bonus tip //
Consider making a social media baseline. I made one for a class and compared it to my most recent stats. I was actually pretty surprised and impressed by the growth. This lil space sometimes barely stays pumping, but by using the resources and tips above, I've been able to see pretty good return. If I maintain the consistency I've been rolling with recently (minimum 2 posts a week) then I think I will see even more growth.

Share the love with some of the students who came by //


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