Blogging 201 – Week One Recap

This past week was the first week of The Daily Post’s Blogging U. course, Blogging 201 and I think I did a pretty good job getting through the assignments.

I had participated in Blogging 201 before, last October, but didn’t get through the whole course. I felt like my blog was still too new and then life sort of got in the way the way life does. But this time I am ready and taking it very seriously. I’m really trying to build on what I have already done here, and define exactly what it is I want to do.

The first thing I did this week was to set some blogging goals. The first one was to stick to a schedule. I had already set up an editorial calendar last month but I had gotten lazy about it, so I started again. I have February almost completely planned out, but the planning is the easy part. Now I have to do the work, the actually writing of the posts. I hope to start today at least getting these posts outlined, I can write easily if I have that.

My next goal was to interact more, and better, with other bloggers. I’m trying to build a new habit of commenting on at least 2 other blog posts a day, preferably 5. I’m also trying to stay active in The Commons that The Daily Post has set up for other participants of the course. And I need to be better about replaying to my own readers. I know I am bad about that, sorry guys.

Then I wanted to work on the social media aspect of blogging. I have a Twitter and Facebook page for this blog (and a Tumblr too if that’s your thing) I share differently to each one but I am trying to make them a bit more unified. The biggest issue is finding the time and coming up with more things to say and share than I already do here. Whew! It’s tiring!

After that I worked on the look and feel of things around here. If you haven’t noticed I have a brand new, bright and shiny theme going on. I liked Tonal a lot but I got a bit of feedback saying that on larger screens it was like trying to read a billboard up close. Everything was just too big. So I searched around, tried out a few others, and eventually settled on WordPress’s default theme Twenty Fifteen.

I honestly love it so far. It’s very minimal, just like I had wanted. It supports featured images, which I love using. And it has simple, yet classy looking sidebar, which I didn’t think I wanted but now can’t imagine not having. After I activated the theme I changed the description and I plan to work on my About page, yet again, this week. I am working on getting a header together too.

Yesterday’s assignment was to drive some traffic to your older posts. I was really reluctant to do this but I decided to do add a tiny little widget to the sidebar/menu that features a few on my top posts. I’m not very confident as a writer and as much as I think I suck now, I know I really sucked before. I don’t want to draw attention to that fact. I did find a widget to add my top posts though, which I figure are the things people would really want to read anyway.

The widget is a small thing and only an experiment so it may not stay, but I’d like to see if it does anything.

I still have to work on digging into my stats and figuring out more about what works and what doesn’t but honestly, I like just posting whatever I like, whether people like it or not. Looking at those stats is only going to make me feel really self conscious about what I choose to say here. I have enough trouble writing without adding that crap.

People say you are supposed to narrow the focus of your blog but I don’t want to do that yet. Hell, I may never work on a focus for Zen and Pi, the focus is just me and whatever I think.

So there you have it, I’m trying to make my place on the internet more presentable and interesting. I’ve got another week of Blogging 201, starting again on Monday and I am anxious to see what else I can do. For now though, I have to go write, because without that, there’s no point in any new themes, or widgets, or social media, or stats.

The writing is always what comes first.

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