The Sitcom has been in existence for almost a year now and in that time period, I have certainly learned a lot about blogging and bloggers and friends of bloggers. In fact, I say the word blog so many times in a day that it doesn’t seem like such a silly word anymore. At least not as silly as “pantaloons”, or “succotash” or “kumquats”. It still makes me smile, though. So, what have I learned?
1. Don’t quit your day job. Blogging to make a bunch of money so that you can pick up and move to the wilds of Montana and start a llama farm so that you can make your own yarn, and sleep in every morning, and email your old boss periodically to tell him about the beautiful weather you’re having, while you reap in major moolah due to all your hard work and gallant effort is probably not gonna happen. Ever heard the term “starving artist”? For the longest time, all I could afford to purchase with my blog profits was a Happy Meal from McDonalds. One happy meal. With a coupon.
2. Concentrate on content and the rest will follow. It takes a while to learn your “voice”. And that develops as you create post after post. Eventually, you will end up on a path and realize that is the direction that you want to take your blog. In creating content, you want to strive for something that stands out as different. And you want to be proud of what you are creating.
3. Content takes time. Lots of time. Hours, weeks, months. You will find yourself making notes to yourself when you should be concentrating on something else like that important board meeting. You know, the “Day Job”. If you aren’t writing a post, you are thinking about it, composing it in your head, working out photo ops in your mind. When that idiot bagger at the grocery store says something derogatory about the fact that he didn’t think anyone read that trash and then stops and takes a full five minutes to read the cover of the National Enquirer that you just bought, and rather than be offended, you write it down as future blog content, not only are you then the master of long, run-on sentences, but you are a true blogger at heart.
4. If the content is good and timely and consistent, the readers will follow. And linky parties are a great way to get readers to your site. Many blogs, including The Sitcom, offer weekly linky parties. I spend a good bit of time each morning linking my latest project up to as many as I can. And commenting on as many links as I can. And linking the links when I can. And linking my posts to my other posts when appropriate. It’s all about the links, man.
5. And when someone chooses to feature one of my projects, I am so amazed and flattered. And not only do I get to bask in the limelight and feel important for just a few moments of my life, but that little feature will contain a link that will bring new readers to my little blog. So that someday in the future, if I keep up the hard work, if I spend every spare moment churning out new content, and linking to everybody and their brother, and creating craftiness, and interviewing wonderful artists, and keeping up with the social communities, just maybe one day I’ll be able to afford a dinner for two at Cracker Barrel. (I can always dream, can’t I)?
6. Like I said, don’t quit the day job. Blog because you love it.
7. And today, I learned one more thing about the blogging world. There are folks out there that would rather not have to do all that work in order to have a successful blog. Rather than take the time and energy to come up with their own material, they will copy and paste yours and call it their own.
8. This taught me a new funny word, “Splog”. But its really not that funny. A Splog site consists of articles and posts stolen from across the web with no links or attributes back to the original writers. Usually, they will have hundreds to thousands of posts a month. And jump up and down like a 10 year old and call you crazy in all CAPS when you ask that the posts be removed. (But that was just my experience). Since she removed my posts, I will not call her out here. But the lesson for all bloggers out there that put time and energy in your sites- keep an eye out for each other. I am indebted to one of my readers who thoughtfully pointed it out to me.
On that note, I’d like to add that I prefer to keep this blog up-beat and so I will go back to that Sitcom in my head. My buddy Tom Selleck, his mustache and I are going out for some frozen margaritas. (I have a coupon!) And then we might make a stop at the local Waffle House and get Rastus and Jilly Bean to whip us up a big batch of hashbrowns, smothered, covered, chunked and topped. You know, there is nothing better than good friends and a batch of greasy southern comfort food to cheer up your day.