What does your blog do for you?
by Janice Nigro
I know, it’s the wrong question. Most people want to know “what does my blog do for someone else?”
Blogging is something that I only became aware of three years ago. It is an odd thing to do in a way-openly write about your life or anything-and essentially for free. I don’t know why other people start blogs. It seems that every business needs to do some of it, or that’s what their marketing people will tell them (for a fee), but exactly how much and who should do the blogging for them is another good question.
I never really thought about it, until um…I thought about starting my own business. My purpose for getting online was just to have a website for showing potential clients who I am. Essentially an online CV. But that is not so interesting, so I started out tentatively testing what else I could do with the website. It was finally something I could do with my underwater photos.
But stories go with underwater photos. As scientists, we do write (even though it doesn’t seem to go with the left brain activity), in fact, interestingly to secure our own income (funding), but outside of that I had only ever written one article (and maybe a lot of postcards) that had nothing to do with science. Sure, I pretty consistently keep a travel journal and a dive log (pen and paper), which incidentally are great fun to read years later if you do it, but I can assure you mine are not literature (especially when you hear someone else read them outloud).
But actually making my writing public for potentially the entire world to read? What kind of madness is that?
And isn’t it a lot of ego? Here, read about my life…
To my surprise, people found my WordPress blog because of my photos and because of my life…er dive life. I started out sort of tentatively-like if I put something out there would I suddenly become the target of negative comments, embarrass my family, or ruin my chance for getting any real type of work.
None of this has happened. Probably because not much has happened…at the website anyway. I think when I started I didn’t expect anything to happen. I just started to put underwater photographs on the blog perhaps to attract people for my real work-which is editing scientific manuscripts. Two things perhaps that could not seem to be more unrelated. What I didn’t know is that the consequence of “messing around with the website” would be writing.
My one article in a magazine long before my blog was a story about a dive day with five Scandinavian women (sounds like an intriguing story, but it was a club dive only for women that day). I jokingly said that I should write about it from the perspective of a woman from the USA. Whatever insecurities I have about my writing, it wasn’t apparent in that story. Probably because there is a lot of funny (or is it fun) stuff that happens in Norway to write about. And a lot happened that day.
I simply felt passionate about what happened that day. It was a good place to start because when I had another chance to write passionately about a dive day, I did it. Then I just started writing regularly. About anything. Even editing.
I am not sure why other people choose to blog. Some bloggers I follow work very hard on their posts and their sites. Really, coming up with a new recipe every few days and taking exceptional photos of the finished product. Some end up with a novel. Some are pretty good at making a little money from the blog from advertising because of the number of followers they have. There is a lot of useful information out there in blogs (probably just about anything I want to look up on some dive site might be in a blog somewhere). Some of my favorite ones are not even by native English speakers which makes them in some ways even more personal to read. Like hearing their accent in person.
Many of the blogs I read, however seem more like a supplement to a business which they do make money from. Because a blog is a good way get insight into the person running the business. Or a good place to put words that will bring people to your website-one phrase I cringe when I hear is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
There are different ideas about “what your blog should do for you” which is something I am struggling with and which brings me back to my original question. Anyone who does one seriously realizes that they are a lot of work. Many of the blogs I have followed never even appear in my feed any longer, but then there are those bloggers who just keep writing and I look forward to reading.
I guess I thought in the beginning that maybe I too could make money from my blog. People put a lot of ideas into your head. I am not exactly sure this is the right way to think about it. Yes, you can get advertising on your website, but as a beginner, your efforts might be better focused on another way to make money from your blog. How much you can hope for in terms of advertising on your website even if you aren’t a beginner? My approach has been to use my blog as a way to get some practice writing. In a way, it is just for me.
I never really considered myself a writer. I grew up and have been educated by many who are brilliant with words. Even some knowing only a few words in English seem to use them better than I do. But one day I found something to write about. People sort of liked it. So I kept on doing it. I started writing about things that were bothering me, my experiences overseas, my work, places I travel, people I meet, and then one day I found a way that I could make money from blogging, by blogging for someone else!
It doesn’t look like my actual blog has been of much use however. People actually sell their blogs-at least I have read about it. I do know that some of my closest friends read my blog. One of them went online and immediately ordered a chitarra for making pasta after reading one of my posts (this does make me proud).
Other than that I am not sure I have had much influence on anyone else…except me.
I did what I would classify as a touch and go in Singapore recently. I had only about 72 hours to do a few things in addition to visiting friends. My detailed story on my blog about my previous experience led me yes, right to that dim sum restaurant in the heart of Chinatown-Yum Cha-and the mango shrimp fritters I was craving.
So why do you blog?
©2016 Janice Marie Nigro/janikiInk.com