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Food for thought: Where do we go from here with our blogs? May 2, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, food for thought, friends, personal life, question period, random thoughts, social networking, Vancouver.

With the energy from WordCamp still going strong, many of us have been having a discussion on our blogs on – what’s the next step? Monetize or not monetize? Self-hosted or WordPress.com? I would like to share with you just a couple of my own thoughts on the matter.

There are many rewards that bloggers get from their readers. There are three that have continuously been making my day and encouraging me to continue blogging.

First, getting comments. I know for a fact that many readers prefer to “lurk” (e.g., just read the blog and go on with their day). They feel as though they don’t have anything to say or anything to contribute to the discussion. NOT THE CASE. Everyone, every person who drops a comment is important. Comments are part and parcel of blogging, and I would NOT want a blog where my readers wouldn’t feel comfortable, safe and welcome to speak up. Even if you disagree with my ideas, tell me. I *always* appreciate comments. And as some of my fellow blogger friends very wisely said, “more often than not, the comments are just as informative or more than the blog post itself”

Second, increase in readership. I don’t blog to sustain my ego. I write because I love it, because communication is what I feel good at, and because I enjoy exchanging ideas (see paragraph above on comments). That’s another thing that many bloggers have told me – “blog because you want to, not because you feel compelled to”. And the more readers I have, the more opportunities I have to meet new people, to learn more about others and to provide food for my soul. More readers means more avenues for discussion, more sounding boards where to bounce ideas from. That just makes my day.

And third, last but definitely not the least, increased opportunities to meet new people and make new friends. Before WordCamp, I only had read blogs like that of Mostly Lisa, Fade to Play, Crunchy Carpets, to name a few. But WordCamp gave me the opportunity to meet these folks in person. I had a chance to speak with the person behind the blog, and to extend my hand (well, more my arms because I’m a very huggy person) and share whatever I have learned from the past two years of blogging. And from this, I am sure I will make new friends.

And I’d like to close with a suggestion and a question. The suggestion: be grateful, be kind and be aware. Be grateful to the people who have given you new ideas to blog, new tips on how to be a better blogger, new chances to increase your readership through link love. I make a point to always mention the people who have contributed to my blog growth (you know who you are, I’ve said it many times!). I try to give kindness to the world because I think it is what makes us better. And I try to be aware of people’s limits and respect them.

And the question comes here – What are the kinds of things that you are mulling over in regards to where you’re going with your blog?



1. Marina - May 2, 2008

It’s funny because I have different purposes for my blogs. For the movie site, the main importance is obviously the comments, especially since we’re looking to create a sense of community and conversation and that all takes place in the comments section. Goal here is more comments to keep the conversation flowing.

For the personal blog, it’s more of a “me” space. I love that people read it but it’s not my number one priority (though I do love to see comments pop up there). Lately, I’m finding that most of the time I post things in there that I need to either 1) flush out, 2) don’t want to forget or 3) want to share with the world. More comments would be nice, for sure, but they’re not really what I’m looking for there.

2. Ben - May 2, 2008

Hm. I like the open discussion aspect of blogs but I can’t STAND the ones that beg for comments in every post. Same thing with readership. I think you’re spot on, write because you love it, produce great content , connect with the blogs that you read, and the rest will come. On the personal blog front, I think another point is the balance of personal/professional, anonymous/attributed.

3. Jodi - May 2, 2008

I’ve been mulling over switching from MovableType to WordPress. The latest release of MT is more complicated than ever, and I’m having a hard time creating styles with the new template module system. I’ve installed WP and taken a look around. But I’m not ready to give up on MT. It’s served me so well. And it’s kind of a challenge to me to figure out this latest release.

4. Raul - May 2, 2008

@ Marina – Your personal blog rules 🙂

@ Ben – I agree – don’t ask for comments on every post. And I just saw your “blogging under the influence” post 😉 Classic.

@ Jodi – I moved to WP from Blogger on March 30th. By April 30th, my readership increased by about 400% … and I can do LOTS of things I couldn’t do with Blogger. But then again, it’s just me 🙂

5. Gus - May 2, 2008

Well put blog!

I myself and mulling whether to switch to WordPress.org, but currently I don’t see a full need, except for the ability to custome tailor it more to me than what I’m stuck with.

6. Rebecca - May 2, 2008

SEO Gus, SEO 😉

7. Raul - May 2, 2008

@ Gus – I *just* bought Hummingbird604.com, so I’m halfway there 😉

@ Rebecca – Hehehehe. ‘Nuf said 😉

8. Phaedra - May 3, 2008

Great post! When I first started my blog, I didn’t care if anyone read it, as it is an online journal(as I couldn’t never write the amount I do neatly, and that in itself is enough not to hand journal. Now I do have some regualr readers, thanks to all the link love I have received and shared back. I enjoy reading comments from others, and feel blessed that my blog has touched others with who may have similar stories and personal challenges. Someitmes I fell pressure(put on by myself)to update daily(which I love to do) but sometimes it isn’t possible (like now, in my last 2 weeks of school before graduation) I know my readership goes down, but that isn’t important to me on the whole. being genuine and authentic is. And I am so thankful for meeting the numerous solid and amazing people that I have through blogging….and you guys know who you are 🙂

9. crunchy - May 10, 2008

I wish I had had a chance to meet more folks at the WordPress Camp..but was happy to see how popular it was…
and through the mighty power of Twitter and Facebook, I am sure I will ‘meet’ new folks in the near future.

I think if people are serious bloggers and that has NOTHING to do with for money or not..you need to own your own domain.
It doesn’t cost much.

And thank goodness for all the techie people out there to help when you screw it up!

10. Raul - May 11, 2008

I have absolutely no problems with monetization. I also think that we all have a right to express our opinions, and I’m happy to hear both sides (pro and against monetization). The blogosphere has space for everyone, thankfully 🙂

And I concur! All the techie people who help are awesome.

11. Raul - May 11, 2008

@ Phaedra – Oh yes we know 🙂

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