DISCLAIMER: (Are you noticing all my recent posts have disclaimers? I think I’m onto something)
Anyhow….DISCLAIMER: I am far too young (and therefore not too qualified) to write this particular post. You might find its content laughable. I sincerely hope you do.
However that being said, my grown children apparently think a “How To” post exactly like this one needs to be out there. And they (coincidentally) formulated this thought immediately after I told them that I (49 years and holding) have started my own blog. Hmmmm.
Here’s how the conversation actually went.
Me: Guess what?
Daughter: You rewrote your Will and I’m back in?
Me: Funny. No, I’m starting a blog.
Daughter: (rolls one eye) Oh, that IS funny. Well, you can post your updated Will on the blog then. As well as your Advance Medical Directives and funeral instructions. Make it a static page.
Me: Are you implying nobody will be interested in anything I have to say?
Middle Son: I’d be interested in your cremation. And at what point on Space Mountain I should scatter your ashes?
Me: (dryly) I really hope Disneyland cancels your annual pass.
Eldest Son: So that’s your last dying wish then?
I should add that I actually have six kids, however three of them always mumble or talk so softly that I can never catch anything they say. But whatever they said, it was probably not as respectful as above.
So here we go . . . (Note: I am using a typical “How to Start a Blog” template and customizing it for an audience that is WELL ABOVE my age range. Yeah, right.)
1. GIVE YOUR BLOG A UNIQUE NAME – – I happen to be partial to, “My Foggy, Soggy, Groggy, Sloggy, Smoggy Bloggy!” But that’s just me. This has to be YOUR blog. Your own identity. You could choose something like, “Oh, My Aching Blog,” or “How’s That Again?” or even “The Old Blog and The Sea,” if you want to be literary and you like Hemingway. Poor examples of a name would be “Blanche’s Bland, Bleak Blog,” or “Blackbeard’s Bleeping, Blathering Blog.” Unless of course your name is Blanche or Blackbeard. Then go for it! Remember your blog name is key to getting a Follower. Note: Someone can choose to Follow you without wearing dark sunglasses or hiding behind dumpsters in bad neighborhoods.
2. TECHNICAL ASPECTS! – – These are crucial to adhere to. You should always first Gargle the name you have in mind to make sure nobody else is already using it. Gargle Searches are easy to conduct (and you don’t need warm saltwater) as I found out the other day. It is important to make sure that some guy named Url agrees to assign you a personal Dough-Main Name. Of course if you don’t bake bread (and who really does anymore these days?) then you might not care. Oh, but be sure and invite someone to Host your blog! Because really, when it comes down to it, good manners are still important – – even on the world-wide-web.
3. COME UP WITH AN EYE-CATCHING LOGO OR PICTURE. – – Really! Even if you can’t see it without your glasses on, chances are someone else might be able to squint and focus. A distinctive image is everything for a blogger. For example, I was toying with using a Geritol bottle that had fallen down and couldn’t get up, but I figured that might be too cleverly symbolic and it could go over my target audience’s head down at WordPress-ure.Com. The picture to the left would be a good choice. But don’t use your high school yearbook photo, even if you were on the rowing team. If your grandchild draws something, have them use permanent markers so your computer screen doesn’t smear. Whatever you decide, be consistent and use this same image on ALL your future communications (even sympathy cards for friends) from now on. I was lucky enough to find a place that silkscreened my own blog photo onto a front door welcome mat that’s shaped like a cow. Now, that’s branding! You might want to leave this iconic image off any of your ARP correspondence though – – unless your local branch is Italian. (see photo of pasta)
4. BE ORIGINAL! – – This is very important. Stand Out. Your audience wants fresh material, not the same stale stuff over and over again. Think donuts. Add filling and glaze. Keep careful notes about what you’ve already blogged about so you don’t repeat those especially tasty “good & plenty” stories. If they missed it the first time, that’s just their loss. However, writing about your childhood is still considered fine. Whenever I do it, I just sneakily leave off the “Back in the day….” intro and people are none the wiser. Also, here’s a little tip that nobody else will give you. Try to throw in phrases like, “No worries,” and “It is what it is,” and “Let’s roll!” and “I really rocked that . . . article of clothing.” The thing that is usually being rocked is a mini-skirt or a bikini, so dig up a picture from one of your scrapbooks or photo albums and cut and paste it on your computer screen. (I think I’ve read that glue sticks work best for this.) Reminder: nobody says “Awesome” in this day and age, so substitute “Sweet” and even “Super Sweet.” And “Chilling” is not for wine anymore. Plus “Bad” is actually Good! Don’t worry, it will all make more sense as you continue to blog. Just remember to be careful – – you want to come off as being totally Hip, but you don’t want to fracture yours.
5. WRITE! – – It cannot be said enough. Find what you are passionate about and just start typing. Your energy will come through. People might even re-blog your piece on “how you caught a pharmacist not crosschecking all of your prescriptions.” (I personally keep a handwritten list in my purse of everything I take, but again, that’s just me.) Engage your readers by asking questions at the end. A good one is usually, “Can you repeat this entire post back to me so I can make sure you heard it correctly?” Sometimes concluding with a “Call to Action” can trigger a wave of intense enthusiasm. Like the time I asked every single one of my 14 Followers to please boycott Denny’s coffee shops since they won’t turn off their air-conditioner and it gets so drafty in there. Don’t try to petition anyone to turn down music in nice restaurants though. Talking isn’t cool anymore. And don’t worry. I will get right back to you regarding whether or not it’s still cool to say “cool.” I’ll gargle it.
6. PROMOTE! – – What in the world do you think places like Stumble Upon, Tumble Down, Bumbling and WatchYourStep.com are for? These are excellent sites (sights for sore eyes . . . lol! I just love wordplay) and they are tailor-made for us to advertise on. And I know everyone says that you need to tag your posts for these places to be more effective – – but really, do you want to tag something that isn’t getting viewed much and later on may need to be put on sale or clearance? And if a post is doing really well, you may even want to mark it up. So skip the tags. Too confining. But don’t skip Word of Mouth. Say the following to your circle of friends: “Guess what? I just started blogging!” Loudly repeat that phrase (with clear enunciation) for anyone who warns you not to do it at night or you’ll get mugged. Or if they start talking about it being hard on your knees and joints. Last point in this section, don’t constantly beg and cajole friends to repost what you write. Nobody (especially plumbers) likes a clingy blogger. . . A Clogger.
7. BE RESPONSIVE! – – Answer all comments and other interaction from other bloggers. If one of your comments begins with “Hey Pops!” or “Dear Grandma,” don’t play the part of the wounded blogger. Boo-hoo-hoo. Just remember sticks and stones. By the way, the “Dear Grandma” comment could actually be from a love child you didn’t know your eldest son fathered. Stay open to all possibilities for the most successful inline experience.
8. GET SMART! – – (Wasn’t that a great show? I miss Don Adams!) Always stay on topic. It’s a cardinal sin to go off on tangents. (Barbara Feldon was so pretty in that show, too. I wonder if it’s on anymore?) Another good rule of thumb for bloggers – – when you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Posting a blank blog can be considered mysterious, intriguing, dare I say even exciting, like Katie Perry singing that you’re a Firework! Baby! Also only post when there’s the highest amount of traffic. I know, I know – – we all hate rush hour, but if you don’t have a gas-guzzler computer with an old search engine, you’re in good shape and won’t need a new Hard Drive. The absolute best times to put something new on your blog are… A) When you think your Follower has awakened from his nap. B) December 31st at midnight (the most festive way to ring in the New Year!) and C) Both A & B. But not C.
9. RECIPROCATE! – – Visit lots and lots of blogs. It’s okay to drop-in without calling first. And say “Hey” not “Hello.” Even “Hi” is completely out. Always comment back when someone leaves you their comment. Say this – – “Super Sweet comment. How bad of you! Gonna chill now, but I got your back. Bye.” Trust me, you’ll be golden.
10. TAKE CONTROL! – – You wrote it, You posted it, You own it. Now don’t be afraid to stand up for it! (By now you should know what “it” is!) Increase your exposure by joining services like “Bob’sBogBlogLogLapTopDog,” and then provide an RSS feed. RSS stands for “Really Sorry, Sir” but you can change that to “Ma’am” as needed. Create new threads, yarns and even an entire crocheted sweater on all sorts of other forums. The last part of taking charge of your own blog is to frequently check your Stats. You want to get as many hits and runs as possible in one day. Even if they don’t leave a note. It’s okay, insurance will cover it.
There, we’re done! Now I’m just going to submit this to my kids first for a little light editing before I post it on my blog. Always proofread your work because your Follower won’t find you credible if you have typooos and punctuation issues,?.’ He or she could be a retired English teacher and then where would you be? Oh and as promised, I remembered to gurgle and yes, it’s definitely still cool to say “cool.” Happy Blogging!