HINDSIGHT IS 20/20 | A REFLECTION POST

I’ve had this WordPress blog for almost two years now, and through it I’ve been opened to a whole new world of connecting and communicating with people. Not only has it been eye-opening, but it’s also been challenging, but rewarding all at the same time. I’ve learnt a huge amount of new things each semester, and one thing that I’ve taken into account this semester is how to make my blog more appealing to a large range of people, not just for myself. There are multiple things that I’ve taken into consideration when developing my public writing, including the awareness for my public audience, how I communicate with people, promotion of my work, and the appealing aspect of my blog, and most importantly: research.

In Marie Asselin’s ‘Tips for Creating an Effective Blog’ she states that ‘Everybody loves discovering great content, but who like stumbling around a clumsy design?’. Taking this into account, I changed the layout on my blog at the very beginning of the semester. I love the theme that I’ve got now, as I really enjoy the fact that it’s a nice, simple design, as it gives a brief outlook of what each blog post about, but doesn’t have the entire blog post on the home page. I’m also able to put in feature images that are available.

Not long ago, I also incorporated some widgets on the side and on the footer of my blog page. These include my social media links, some of my most recent tweets, my favourite blogs, my Instagram feed, my top posts and recent comments on my blog. I also have an ‘About Me’ page that describes who I am, what I’m studying, and some of my favourite things. I also have one of my favourite quotes on my About page, which represents me well. I also have some links to my other works, such as my YouTube page and other blogs, so that people are able to navigate around my works easily. Although I’ve got many widgets, I feel that they’re designed in a nice way, not making things to cluttered. My header image is a quirky image of a cat with glasses on, and I like it, because it’s like it’s looking into your soul, but also looking hella’ fly (if you know what I mean!). I’ve tried to incorporate images into my blogs as much as possible, as I find too much text can be a little overbearing – and as Jeff Bullas states in his article ‘Articles with images get 94% more total views’.

I was naïve to think that I would only be creating content that only my classmates and teachers would be viewing, but not too long into the course, I found that we actually had to pull people into our blog. (How were we supposed to do that? I thought).  What we were supposed to do was adjust to having our writing appealing to the public. Upon realizing this, I began to share my work on my social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, to make sure it reached a wide audience. It was pretty cool to see that I’ve had a few views from the United States, and that definitely made me realise that there are other audiences rather than just my classmates.

Belle Beth Cooper’s 16 Top Tips from Blogging Experts for Beginners’ states that writing for yourself first is one of the most important aspects of blogging, this was also resonated with Chris Pirillo’s quote ‘Stay true to yourself and your voice’. The decisions I make on my blog are vital to the future and sustainability of the blog, and my future. Depending on where I want to get to in life, this blog could be something that could either make or break a probable career in the future. The internet is a place that you cannot hide, and I don’t want to ruin it with one bad spelling mistake. I can admit that I’m not professional on my twitter, and there has been times where I’ve posted things such as “Sorry it’s so late”, or “I’d rather sleep than do this blog post”, but hey, I’m writing for myself, and I love that kind of stuff. But in retrospect, future employers don’t want to see those kinds of tweets, so I know now that I need to make my online persona much more professional.

In Betsy Mikel’s ’25 Ways to Tighten Your Writing’ she points out that the simpler the better. Removing extra punctuation, and replacing negative voice with a positive voice are the best ways to tighten writing. Most of the content I’ve created in the past have been 100% opinion pieces, yet I’ve aimed at writing them in a mostly academic style (with my own twist, as this is MY blog, ladies and gentlemen). But for the most part I’ve tried to stick to Betsy’s advice by making my verbs stronger, getting rid of the passive voice and reduce prepositions.

One of the most important aspects of having a blog, (and something that I’ve been what some would say a ‘Grammar Nazi’ in the past), is Grammar. With today’s technology it isn’t hard to do a quick spell and grammar check (we all hate those pesky red and green lines anyway) to make sure I’m on the right track.

My blog has definitely had a lot of attention over the last two years. I only recently found out that one of my blog posts from my first year of Uni comes up when ‘Whoever Controls the Media Controls the Mind’ is searched in google! How crazy is that? I’ve currently got 45 posts on the blog, and have had a total of 2,220 views with 1,369 visitors from all around the world!

The amount of people that have visited my blog THIS year!

The amount of people that have visited my blog THIS year!

In the Forbes Article ‘How to Drive More Traffic to your Blog’, it is stated that ‘visual content and videos’ mean people engage better and want to stay on the blog. They also stated that we need to give viewers a reason to click the link, and to actually stay on the blog. Through this, I’ve tried to make my blog appealing, with witty headlines, but also having headlines that make sure the reader has an idea on what the blog post will be about. I have also shared my blog across my networks, which the article also recommends. I have my blog connected to my FaceBook, Twitter, Tumblr and even Instagram accounts, to drive more traffic to the blog. Twitter is my favourite medium to share my work, as I have over 5000 followers, who I engage with daily. I’ve noticed that if I’ve got an interesting tagline, and a cool picture, often posting on my Twitter account drives traffic to my blog immediately. The use of hashtags and lists is also effective, and definitely made it easier to reach a wider audience. WordPress also has hashtags, which I use in every blog post. I often put the key qualities that are in my blog so that I can help drive people to the blog if they are interested in the content.

If there’s one thing that I learnt from the first task, it’s that research is NEEDED. Not only is it needed, but it needs to be what my blogs are based on. I quickly learnt that there’s no point even trying to begin a blog post without reading a few academic articles and forming an informed opinion beforehand. I’ve also made research the focus of my blogs, making it a key point in most of my posts. Sourcing research is a vital factor, but it’s also great research by looking at classmate’s work, as they can inform your opinion also.

I feel like my research has definitely gotten better since the beginning of this task, and I’m proud of where it’s at now, and how much I’ve matured with my writing and researching. Blogging has taught me many things, such as design is important, but the most important thing I’ve learnt to write with is research, and it will probably be the most important thing I take away from this.

Blogging is such a great activity, although it can be challenging. Through actively engaging readers, and researching further content, I’ve been able to expand this blog out to a mass audience I didn’t think possible. I’ve learnt great tips and tricks from classmates, and I’ve also seen how other people research and blog. I’ve also been able to help classmates, especially with design tips. I’m proud of where my blog is and how my writing has matured over the last few weeks. I think my blog is visually appealing and keeps readers intrigued.

Hopefully I’ve become a more effective writer.


REFERENCES:

  • Asselin, M 2014, ‘The five most important elements of a blog layout’, Food Bloggers of Canada, viewed 5 October 2015,
    http://www.foodbloggersofcanada.com/2014/06/the-five-most-important-elements-of-a-blog-layout/
  • How to write a blog post: a full breakdown of what we do buff.ly/1MvHV7k. 22 September. Available from: https://twitter.com/buffer/status/646218891727929344 [Accessed: 5 October 2015].
  • Bullas, Jeff. ‘6 Powerful Reasons Why You Should Include Images In Your Marketing – Infographic’. Jeffbullas’s Blog. N.p., 2012. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
  • Forbes. com,. ‘Forbes Welcome’. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
  • Henry, A 2012, ‘How to clean up your online presence and make a great first impression’, Life Hacker website, viewed 5 October 2015,
    http://lifehacker.com/5963864/how-to-clean-up-your-online-presence-and-make-a-great-first-impression
  • Jose Vilson,. ‘For Us, By Us: 5 Tips For An Authentic Educator Voice | The Jose Vilson’. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
  • Lee, Singyin et al. ’10 Writing Tips For Bloggers’. com. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
  • Meghan, n.d., ’10 writing tips for bloggers’, Hongkiat website, viewed 5 October 2015,
    http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/blog-writing-tips/
  • Michael Hyatt YouTube Channel 2013, Top blogging mistakes – platform tip #3 – Michael Hyatt, online video, viewed 5 October 2015,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSqK8gyXZDI 
  • PR DAILY.com,. ’25 Ways To Tighten Your Writing’. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
  • Social,. ’16 Top Tips From Blogging Experts For Beginners – The Buffer Blog’. N.p., 2013. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
  • Social,. ‘How To Write A Blog Post: A Full Breakdown Of What We Do’. N.p., 2015. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.
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Media and communications student - aspiring blogger - Kmart lover - professional procrastinator

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