Now The Quince Tree is three years old I think I can say with confidence that I have gained my Bachelor of Blogging (B.Blg). I'm not sure whether I have achieved a Geoff but I'd like to think I've done better at this blogging lark than I did at my actual degree -just a Desmond for that*.
Here follows my dissertation on blogging which true to the spirit of the occasion I finished at 4am this morning having left it until the last minute, Thank goodness for Powerade and Mars bars.
What I Have Learnt About Blogging ~ a self-indulgent reflection on the business of blogging
Naming of blogs
When deciding on a name for your blog go for something which does not tie you to a particular subject unless you are certain that you will want to write about that subject forever.
I very nearly called this blog 'Playing Hooky' because it was going to be all about my crochet projects. Fortunately I realised I was being over-optimistic about the amount of crochet projects I would complete. I then thought of something food related as I was pretty sure I would always want to include recipes but it occurred to me that I might want to write about all sorts of other things too, so I decided to think of a name which didn't tie me to a subject but evoked a pleasing image. I looked out of my window and saw my beautiful quince tree.
The Quince Tree is, I think the perfect name for my blog. It allows me to write about a multitude of different things while at the same time giving me something specialised to write about. Not many people know about quinces. Also I just love the word Quince, especially when written in the font I have chosen for my blog title -such a lovely Q (it is Sorts Mill Goudy by the way).
Finding Your Blogging Voice
This seems to happen quite naturally. When I wrote my first post I remember thinking that I was copying other blogs I liked at the time. My early posts felt very contrived and derivative. Looking back at them today I'm not so sure. I think my blogging voice was there from the beginning. Shame the photography skills weren't up to scratch then.
My advice to new bloggers who are scared of hitting the publish button for the first time is to just do it. Be yourself and your unique voice will follow. Besides the first post will only be seen by your mum.
How to build a readership
So, you have published your first post but nobody knows it is there except your husband and he couldn't be less interested. Visit blogs you admire and leave a friendly comment about what they have written. When you leave a comment be sure to fill in the relevant spaces with your blog's URL. That way the blogger you have visited will be able to visit you and maybe leave a comment. Other commenters will click on your name too and visit.
Including a list of your favourite blogs somewhere on your blog -a blogroll or a list of links on a separate page is a good idea. It doesn't have to be a long list. Those bloggers will notice from their stats when traffic comes their way via your blog and might reciprocate.
SEO, Monetising etc
Search Engine Optimisation. This is where if you write a post on blogging tips you should not give it an obscure title like 'The Quince Tree Graduates' nor should you fail to include the words blogging and tips in your opening paragraph because folks searching for blogging tips will never find it. I couldn't care less about SEO.
Monetising. This is where you have lots of annoying advertising all over your lovely clean blog. Not that I'm averse to linking to a product or shop I like, heaven knows I link to Amazon often enough. I'm not interested in making a living out of blogging at all. That includes writing a book. Why turn something fun, creative and which I have complete control over into hard work, deadlines and demands?
Blog For Yourself
Blog when you like, about what you like and as often as you like. I think of my blog as an extension of myself. I think it reflects my personality; organised, tidy, opinionated, honest and practical. I definitely don't put on a persona when I write my blog although I swear a lot less on the blog than I do in real life.
This is the thing I love most about blogging. First you make friends virtually which is wonderful, but if you are really lucky you get to meet those friends in real life. I met several blogging friends last year and it was fantabulous.
The Unwritten Law of Blogging
When you see a robin in the snow you have to take a photo of it and post it on your blog
Rhyming slang for British degree classification in common use when I was a student 25 years ago.
A Geoff Hurst (famous footballer** from centuries ago) or a Damien Hirst (artist) is a first class degree.
An Attila the Hun is a 2:1
A Desmond Tutu is a 2:2
A Douglas Hurd (famous politician from centuries ago) or a Thora Hird (beloved character actress) is a third.
In rhyming slang the first word only is used, hence a Geoff, a Desmond etc.