Neptune Your Dial turned four years old in September! This blog has hit some ups and downs, gone through a lot of changes- including a renaming- and grown into something I am very proud of. The process of running a blog and posting regular content can be challenging, especially if you have a full-time life on the side, like I do, but if you use it as a platform to write about what you love, then it can be very rewarding.
Renaming and re-branding can recharge your blog
Before Neptune Your Dial there was Loner Shark, the title this blog started under four years ago. I was very green to blogging practices and unsure of what I even wanted to say in my newly dedicated space. I had just finished my M.F.A. in film production and used Loner Shark as a place to post TV and movie reviews and talk about properties I liked within nerd culture. Slowly, I began making the blog more personal as my interests began to shift. I finally realized Loner Shark was no longer an appropriate title for this blog and after some soul-searching, landed on Neptune Your Dial as a way to represent my ideals for living a deliberate life of one’s own.
Why do you blog
When I started Loner Shark, I didn’t have a full grasp of why I was blogging. Because of that, my content had no focus and I wrote about whatever popped into my head. Eventually, I realized this is a very disorganized approach and not very fulfilling. So I asked myself, Why am I doing this? The answer was, because I want to promote deliberate living, continuous learning and literature. Once I figured that out, my content fell in line with my values.
Consistency is key
Starting out I had no schedule for my posts. It happened when I felt like it and that wasn’t very often. I still don’t have a specific schedule, although it would be better if I did, but I’m taking on the mantra of the “slow blogging movement” and not putting that pressure on myself due to having a full-time job and other projects. I do make a point to post at least once a week… at least in a perfect world.
Social media is your best friend
Another aspect of blogging that I had no grasp of when I started (and am still figuring out) was social media. I’ve never been big on posting my life on social media and if you’re like me, then you have to push yourself to do it. I had to do a lot of research to understand best practices in using social media for blogging. I still haven’t quite grasped Twitter. I do know that since I started using social media to promote NYD, my traffic has increased by about twenty-five percent.
The money may never come
Like many, when I started blogging I had stars in my eyes and dreams of building a profitable business through my blog. That has never happened. I still don’t make money on this blog after four years and while it would be nice, it doesn’t bother me. Why? Because I can write about whatever I want and connect with a community. This blog has given me purpose as well as a space to truly create on my own terms. I’ve always worked in creative fields for other people and if I didn’t have projects like NYD, where I can be my own boss, I might go a little crazy.
Some people might come to this post wanting to know how to get-rich-quick through blogging, but I want to give a frank account of my experience and there are undoubtedly many resources around on making money through blogging. My suggestion- blog about topics you are passionate about so that it doesn’t matter.
Pay attention to your views
I use WordPress and like any blogging platform there is a back-end analytics tool where I can see how many views I get. Pay attention to this, if you want to grow your blog and figure out the areas where you are connecting with readers. I realized that the content I posted on travel had more views than other areas as well as niche book, film and TV topics (as you can see to the right under “Top Posts & Pages”). This is a good way to streamline your content starting out and find focus.
Not all blogging advice is right for you
The internet is covered with blogging advice and if you follow all of it, you’ll be pulled in a million directions and possibly lose sight of why you wanted started blogging in the first place. One piece of advice I’ve seen almost everywhere is that you need a niche. You do NOT need a niche if that is not your thing. I felt like my blog was doomed to fail every time I read about niches because there was never just one topic I wanted to write about. I eventually refuted the idea of niches and, instead, focused on a mission statement that helped focus my content, as I discussed above under “Why do you blog”.
A lot of blogging advice is there for people who blog about blogging, which I’ve always found confusing because if you only blog about blogging, then where are these ideas coming from? I digress- tailor blogging advice to fit your blog and content. There are no actual rules in the blogosphere, so do what makes you happy.
What do you enjoy about blogging? Have any unique blogging advice you’d like to share? Leave a comment!