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Monday Musings: Bad Blogger

Monday Musing: I've been a Bad Blogger

I’ve been a bad blogger!

There is an image of the perfect blogger! If you look on Instagram, bloggers build the image of themselves sitting at their IKEA desk, typing away on their laptops producing wonderful content. That is not me! I have never considered myself a “good blogger”. I never update regularly, my posts are often and varied. Whilst I might have the messy hair and live in yoga pants, like a stereotypical blogger. I have always struggled to find a happy blogging schedule. Ultimately, I think of myself as a bad blogger.


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This month, I am aiming to focus some time on my blog. I don’t want to do a rebrand but I might have a bit of a re-design if I have time. Instead, I want to focus on sorting out everything behind the scenes. Update my about me page, edit my privacy policy and trying to find a blogging schedule that suits me.

First thing I did this morning was to tackle my drafts! I had over a dozen posts sitting in the draft folder, none of them are ready for me to hit the publish button. It’s not that they are bad posts it’s that they just aren’t quite ready yet and need some extra work, be it photos, graphics or just editing. Of course, that has lead to yet more issues!

To give an example, there are some photos of the Game of Thrones tapestry we saw in Belfast, just waiting for words. Alternatively, the write-up of the Wonder Woman Wrap I knitted which needs photos. The thing is these were posts I planned earlier in the year. And I am wondering if anyone will want in reading these posts now. It has been months after we went to Northern Ireland or after I knitted the shawl (which was a very popular knitting project earlier year).

The oldest post in my drafts folder was one about the evolution of Batgirl, which I wrote in Manila, way back in October 2016! This might not be relevant at the moment, but could be when the Batgirl movie is released! For me, it was a labour of love piece which I hoped to turn into a series. Do I delete it? Or wait until it comes relevant? Or post it now?

The Plan

Next, I figured I would devise a plan of action! Whilst, I will never be the type of blogger who updates regularly, I would like to blog more. I am not suited to updating on a set day or writing a weekly regular series. So I need to find a happy medium. My aim is to focus on set areas and develop content around those sections. Trying to publish twice a week over the summer months. My plan so far involves…

  • Work on more Geek Girls to London Guides.
    I have a few ideas for more posts and am hoping to find more inspiration over the summer.
  • Start a “Knitting Natter” series to write more about my knitting projects.
    This blog originally started as a knitting blog, I have been knitting more lately and would love to write about my creations.
  • Complete more of the Five Fandom Friday posts.
    I joined 5FF very late and so missed so many posts, but I have a list of some of the prompts I’d like to talk about.
  • Re-start the monthly round-up posts.
    I used to love doing”currently” updates, but I also like the idea of doing a “monthly must haves” or “things I love this month” type post. So I have to find a way to incorporate these into the blog.

Do you have a blogging schedule or just write when you feel like it?
Do you have any blogging tips to encourage me to write more often?
Is there anything you would like me to write about?

Let me know in the comments below!


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Reboot Part 3

Socks
The first pair of socks I knitted in 2005

Did you miss the early posts on this subject, you can read them here.

Last post I mentioned a few general ideas to get you started on rebooting your blog, this time I thought I would add some geared more towards getting you to write about knitting, (and hopefully get me to write more too).

1. Remove old posts
There’s a lot of debate about deleting older content from blogs. Some say it’s important to keep old content for continuity other say get rid of weaker content. Before deleting all your old posts – decided do you really want to remove them, can they be re-written or updated or are they no longer relevant. Personally, I have deleted some old posts, back in 2005 my blog was full of questionnaires for Secret Pal Swaps, posts filled with photos of the gifts I received in these swaps or badly taken photos of finished projects. I believe no-one is interested in these posts – so I deleted them, especially as most of these finished objects no longer exist in my wardrobe.

2. Old Project
Which brings me to the next idea – got an old project you still own/use/wear regularly – then write about it. Re-take the photos, talk about the project  – why do you love it? Has it held up well over the years? If you had to re-make the project what would you do differently? Likewise you can write about knitting disasters.

3. Write a review on your favourite yarn or knitting book
Do you seem to always use the same yarn? Have you knitted every pattern from one particular knitting book? Or have a favourite designer. Write about it! Whilst reviews of new books are nice – isn’t it better to have a review from someone who had used the book for the last few years – who has made notes in the margins (or on post it notes I like I have).

4. Start a writing a series of posts
As content is king… One of the most obvious things to do is write a regular series to insure at least one post a week. My favourite example of a series is Knitting Bliss’s Modification Monday, where she showcases a modified version of a pattern – often with amazing results (Most my favourited project in Ravelry come from these posts). Another great example is Ysolda’s Technique Thursday. Whereas these post require a lot of preparation it’s easy for you to start a series something like WIP Wednesday or FO Friday.

First Socks - 9 years on.
First Socks – 9 years on.

5. Don’t make it all about knitting.
Just because you started your blog to talk about your knitting, it isn’t set in stone that it has to be a knitting blog. Talk about your daily life, take photos of your pets/kids/home, review a film or tv programme, Often my posts with the most comments are those where I haven’t talked about knitting.

Got an idea – add it in the comments below.

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Reboot Part 2

Blogging
Everything I need for blogging – a laptop and coffee

Missed Part One, you can read it here.

I have several ideas to improve this blog as part of my reboot, as a few people mentioned on social media they would also like to start blogging again I figured I would share my plan over the next few posts.

1. Re-design
Give your blog a little facelift, mix it up a little, there are many articles on the web about what makes a good layout, I’m not going to re-hash them here. Alternatively, you can download one of the 100’s of themes available (many for free) for your blogging platform. For me, this theme is old (I designed it back in 2011), since I love my colour scheme, but the header, sidebar and menu look dated to me. If you don’t fancy a whole new layout – change one aspect like the header.

2. Re-organise you Sidebar
When I started blogging, the sidebar seemed to be the place to put all your information, a list of blogs you followed, “link to me” buttons, amazon wish lists, lists of what you were watching or listening too. At one stage I had to have two sidebars just to hold all that information. Now, there is a lot of debate whether we still need sidebars. All I will say is, think about how you read blogs, chances are it’s via a third-party platform like Feedly or Bloglovin’ when the posts are displayed you don’t see the sidebar. I’m not suggesting you drop you sidebar – they are useful to hold information or advertising (if you have paid adverts), just clean it up a little.

3. Add Sharing Buttons – especially a Pinterest “Pin it” button
As I mentioned, we have changed the way we read blogs and find blogs, social media is a major part of that – so get your blog out there. Add “sharing” buttons at the bottom of your posts (your blogging platform will have loads of plugins for this)- there are loads of sharing sites, it’s up to you which ones you add but I recommend, Facebook, Twitter and of course Pinterest. Just a quick note, I would also suggest you make your images pin-able, as I said earlier think about how you read blog posts – I’m sure you have found a tutorial or recipe via Pinterest, you might have even added those blogs to your daily reads, make sure your blog is found my other crafters.

4. Link to Related Posts
Any article you read about websites or blogging will tell you the most import act is to keep your viewers engaged. Once they are reading a post you want them to stay on your blog and read past posts. Thankfully, there’s are several “Related Links” plugins to help you with this (personally, I like Related Posts on WordPress as it’s customizable), the plugin automatically finds older, similar post you have written and add links to them at the bottom of your blog post.

5. Add Pages
Most blogging software has moved on to Content Management Systems, so you can add more information in the form of pages, this can be anything from an archive section, FAQ, or a gallery. The section I would suggest adding is an “about me” page, I’m not suggesting you write your entire auto-biography, just a few lines and a photo. Imagine you are meeting a new reader how would you introduce yourself, let them know when you started knitting, who taught you? Why you knit? Blog about your family or pets – don’t forget to introduce them too.

You can read Part Three of this series here.

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Reboot

The main problem with having a knitting blog, is if you stop knitting your blog becomes dormant! In recent years my knitting has become very stagnant, toys for new born babies, a beret in the winter (which seems to be Gretel in another colour) and occasionally a shawl.

Sallah Cowl
Sallah Cowl, I’ve been knitting for nearly a year.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy knitting, it’s more my life has got more complicated recently and I doesn’t seem to have a place. I use to knit in the evening whilst watching T.V. Now, I sit with my iPad, catching up on family and friends news via Facebook or Twitter, reading the news of the day or (dare I say it) playing Candy Crush Saga. When we do watch T.V. it tends to be binge watching entire series on Netflix, often staying awake until the early hours – not a time when someone wants to be knitting.

When I started this blog back in 2005 my knitting lifestyle was very different, I would participate in knitalongs, take part in Secret Pal Swaps and it was a useful place for me to keep notes about my knitting projects (this was before Ravelry).Then I joined Sock Clubs and started going to knit nights – all of this gave me something to write about.

Now, it is easier for my to jot down a few notes on my Ravelry project page than write a whole long blog post – it’s also more useful to the knitting community to have the notes there rather on my blog with its few readers. As a photo is worth 1000 words it’s easier to upload a photo to Instagram with a few hashtags, than pull out the camera, edit my photos upload them to the blog and write several hundred words about them.

I know this sounds like a “Social Media has killed my Blog” post, but that’s not necessarily the case. Truthfully, it is more a case of social media has made it easier for me to share my knitting and crafts in other ways. I guess what I am honestly saying is I’m too lazy to blog!

I love this blog, it’s my little place on the web. My husband brought me this domain over 10 years ago to practice my newly developed HTML/php skills. Soon after, I added wordpress to the hosting and my blog was born. Over the years I have played around with layouts, themes, and plugins. I don’t want to give up this blog, I’m looking for ways to incorporated it more into my life and to encourage me to blog more.

You can read Part Two here.

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