Blogging: Starting Over

Starting Over by Guest Author, Sandra Lee

Is your blog a failure or a success? This question stopped me dead in my tracks.

When I started blogging, I definitely had a purpose in mind, but it was a limited one with a narrow audience. As time went on, I found myself slipping over the boundaries of my topic. Taking time to roll the above question around in my head made me see how I was driving on a dead end street. I might see a few people on the way, but it would hardly be a major hop around the planet. These insights gave me the impetus to revisit blogging basics and rejig the entire vision of my blog.

Asking the right questions

In the beginning, I had skipped so many of the crucial steps for creating a new blog! This is not unusual when we first plunge into blogging, but it’s never too late to pause, re-evaluate, and give proper attention to the fundamental questions that shape the vision and viability of your blog.

  • What is the purpose of your blog?
  • Who is your audience?
  • What do you have to offer that is unique?
  • How would you describe your blog in a few sentences?
  • What are your blog’s goals?

These are just some of the important questions to ask, the very one’s I skipped entirely when I first pushed the “create a new blog” button. I didn’t rush through them the second time around, but instead gave them due consideration.

Blog changes

As a result I took these four major steps:

  1. Chose a new blog title
  2. Changed my URL and purchased my own domain name
  3. Developed a new tag line
  4. Honed my About page

Understandably, I felt some resistance to making a change and fear about losing the momentum I had built up during my first three month’s of blogging. However, once I made the decision I went full bore ahead without a second thought. This was due to the new blog vision, shaped around the title Always Well Within, which fit like a glove. This very sense of congruence and clear purpose was like a wellspring of energy and enthusiasm.

The new blog title was broader in nature and far more likely to resonate with the wider audience I wished to reach. It took me longer to fine-tune the tag line, about a month, but this again was another helpful process in re-clarifying the mission of my blog. Changing my url and purchasing my own domain name was the most significant decision, since it meant losing any Google Page Rank that had been built up to date. However, there are so many benefits to obtaining one’s own domain name, it would have been foolish to pass up that opportunity in the midst of my other changes. Lastly, I honed my About Page to more clearly reflect my vision and articulate the broader focus of my blog:  personal development, health, and transforming the mind.

All these steps are about clarifying your blog’s identity. Without a clear identity, it’s near impossible to attract the right audience and leave your mark upon your chosen segment of the world.

Time for blog promotion

With a clear vision and sense of identity established, it was now far more useful to put into practice some of the blogging and promotion tips that I had been reading about, primarily on One Cool Site Blogging Tips, for example:

  • Focusing first and foremost on creating quality content. The first month after changing to the new url, I posted almost everyday. This gave me a leg up in helping search engines find my content.
  • Commenting on other authority blogs in my niche. Instead of commenting chaotically all over the place, I sought blogs that really speak to me, where I could contribute in a meaningful and sincere way.
  • Making connections with other bloggers in my niche. There are some bloggers that I am naturally drawn to and, just as in life, connections are gradually developing.
  • Making optimal use of keywords and tags. This is not difficult, but it will make a significant difference in terms of bringing targeted readers to your site.

There’s far that can be done to promote your blog; these are just initial steps that I have taken.

A wise decision

In my case, starting over was a wise decision. I didn’t lose momentum at all. In fact, the number of clicks has tripled in half the amount of time. Understandably, starting over is a far bigger decision the further along you are in blogging.

The best approach is to take the time to establish a clear vision and plan early on, and then to regularly evaluate every few months and make adaptations accordingly. When you do make changes, think comprehensively so you are making them holistically and intelligently. Don’t hesitate to make changes simply out of fear. The resulting congruence can have a major impact on drawing the right audience to your blog and nourishing your passion and therefore your endurance.

Do you have a vision, goals, and a plan for your blog? Do you have a story of starting over again?

Image Source:  publicdomainpictures.net

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28 thoughts on “Blogging: Starting Over

  1. Hi Sandra and TT.

    The more time I spend on your blog the more I learn. The points about persistence are very well made.

    My old dad had a couple of favourite expressions which he trotted out whenever I was displaying youthful impatience.

    “Faint heart never won fair maiden” and “slowly slowly cathchee monkey”. I know, ghastly cliches !!

    Remember please that he used these expressions in the 1960s and they might now be considered a little politically incorrect. Personally political correctness exhausts me, but this is not the right place for a curmudgeonally rant ;-)

    Cliches or not, I reflect on them when I look at my 3 week old blog’s stats each morning.

    And no, my the solutions do not involve pop-ups, garish glitz and pole dancers.

    And so I pour another cup of strong coffee, settle down to read and learn. Thank you for such a wealth of very thoughtful and well constructed information.

    I can hear a voice in the background, “remember my boy, Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Thanks Dad.

    1. Peter,

      How beautifully you express yourself and inspire us all. Thank you so much for taking the time to share these precious gems of wisdom from your father. Patience and persistence are indeed fantastic qualities. You are leaps and bounds ahead having them in the forefront of your consciousness.

      Thanks for uplifting my day!

    2. @Peter,
      I’m so happy to hear that you find value in my blog posts. Persistence does pay off. While it’s true that others may inspire us, and reciving comments is particulalry rewarding, when we first begin the motivation for persisting has to come from within the blogger. I enjoyed your comment and thank you for taking the time to compose and submit it. Best wishes to you in all you do.

  2. terrific stuff to think about. i found myself cringing at the thought of re-evaluating my blog, but that’s probably, as you noted, natural. we put in all this work. still, maintaining a focus is, i think, just that: maintenance, a routine thing rather than thing done once. and you say something i have knows is true but haven’t acted on, and that is finding blogs more in-line with my own instead of jumping around chaotically. it’s true. it’s like in life, i like to hang out with different characters but end up bonding solidly with those who share many of my values. good to finally visit. here from joer223.

    1. Hello Ed,
      Thanks for the visit. This post was written by a guest author. I’m glad you found the information in my blog to be thought provoking and hopefully actionable too.
      Best wishes with your blog. :)

    2. Hello Ed, I’m glad my article resonated for you and stirred your thinking process. You’re right, I think it’s normal to feel hesitant to re-evaluate our blog, but so much good can come from it even if it’s just minor tweaking. Congratulations on releasing your new novels. I wish you continued success with your blog.

  3. Wonderful and helpful post Sandra. Congratulations of your first guest appearance. I have starting another blog and I’m in the construction phase, so this is some good food for thought. Blogging for me has turned out to be an interesting form of self discovery as well as little by slow discovering how to blog.

    1. Starla, So glad you liked the article and find it helpful. I’ve also been reflecting lately on how blogging is helping me to increase self awareness and put new changes into place too. Good luck with your new blog. I would love to see it when you unveil it.

  4. Hi,
    What an awesome blog you have here. I think I need to read your blog for as long as it takes for me to learn a few things. I know how to write and click publish! I’m so frustrated. I don’t know how to do anything with my blog. When I try to get Yahoo to do whatever it does, and Google and Bing, nothing happens. I haven’t had a related post is who knows how long! It’s terribly frustrating being umm… an unlearned blogger!!!
    Hopefully, with time, and your blog, I will learn.
    I’m glad you have this blog. Thank you Timethief.

  5. I am very close to restarting my tech blog. Its been 7 months and I am still at the 50-100 hit hurdle.

    I know much more then I did back then. Like what platform is best, how to blog, whats good in a blog, how to get your blog out there etc etc.

    Currently I do not have the funds (or the internet :P) to restart my blog, but its a goal I have at the back of my mind :).

    1. Dreamsburnred, Your point is well taken: we learn so much through the experience of blogging that a restart can get off the ground more quickly. I think you made an excellent move to the new Enterprise Theme. It gives your blog a very clean, professional look. There are positive changes we can make to our blog, like retooling the look without necessarily going whole hog. It will be interesting to see your next moves. Good luck!

  6. I don’t have a story of starting over again, but I’m glad you shared yours. Too often bloggers think ‘all will be lost’ if they make a change, and what ends up happening is they lose their enthusiasm for their topic, stop posting, and all really does end up being lost!

  7. Sandra, I really appreciate your sharing the process. I’m in the midst of revamping my own site for the same reasons you stated — enthusiasm drove me to begin a little too quickly. I’ll be sure to check out your blog.

    And a thank you to Timethief for bringing us great contributors!

    1. Susan, thanks for your kind words. I think your content has potential to appeal to a vibrant audience. I look forward to seeing how you re-shape your blog. Best wishes to your for successful blogging.

  8. I started my blog with a certain topic in mind, and drafter the categories. Later as time passed, i tags got added, and i did some category restructure. But i am still with the topic which i started with. I write on programming, FOSS applications, and reviews, mainly.

    My content creation process is very tedious. After drafting, i make an reviewed alpha version, which then goes on to beta with many changes and corrections. Before releasing the final i try check very thoroughly what i wrote, and remove any incorrect, or unnecessary information, test the codes many times, and at last when i am satisfied then i post. But this process is very long and takes real time to make one post, and that is why i don’t have many posts. But i haven’t received much readers, which i don’t know why, but i think it might be the posts are not understandable, or probably major population does not read on the topic i mainly write, or probably of my recent domain mapping. So i thought to start some instant writing on some less technical topics, GIMP pic tutorials, and i got much better feedback. So at this point i think that i should also post light content. I am thinking to write casual contents, and some personal experience contents more frequently than the tech stuffs which take time, and sweat to complete.

    1. Hello phoxis, Your comment illustrates well how useful it is to take a moment to re-evaluate your blog and its progress and tweak accordingly. It shows how it doesn’t necessarily require major changes like changing a blog title or url to attract more readers. A little experimentation like you have done can give helpful clues to new directions. I’m amazed by how dedicated you are to producing quality, error free content! That is impressive! I hope you are satisfied with your new strategy of adding some light content and that it continues to bring the results you wish. Thanks for your comment.

  9. Sometimes it’s hard to know in a short space of time if your blog is a disaster or if people are just silent on important issues. In less than a month I’ve had about 450 viewers but only 24 comments from 5 different people.

    I thought my topic would incite people to comment. I mean who wants to pay more taxes for something that doesn’t even exist. Also there are some political commentaries about what the politicians are trying to do to us.

    I think they had it right in the Movie Appolo 13. People just don’t care any more. I look at the blogs that make it onto wordpress.com’s freshly pressed page. They are all airy, artsy, mindnumbingly entertaining, for the most part nothing of substance, just like Hollywood. WordPress is supposed to be the intelligent place to blog but with rare exception it seems that if you don’t have a troll doll hugging a power ranger, or a barbi doing a pole dance and throw in a poem or two it’s hard to get anyone to comment on your blog.

    I’ve followed all the steps from this location and others to increase my traffic and get myself popping up on google and other blog lists. I’ve linked my name to my comments. I’ve gone to a lot of other blog spots and left comments at their requests (positive ones).

    I’ve challenged people to think. Science and politics blogs are popular.
    Should I sell out and put music videos with scantily clad women doing pole dances? I mean what does it take to incite people in American and the blogging world any more?

    1. I person of difference, I’m no expert, but I’ve read time and again that it takes considerable time to build up a blog audience. One example I’ve read is someone who had around 50 subscribers after six months, but after a year she had almost 1,000 and she is someone who really worked hard at it. It takes time so please don’t lose heart so early on. Time Thief once commented that the first year focus on writing great content, promotion, and building connections with other people in your niche. It seems like it takes 2-3 months for the search engines to start really paying attention to a new blog and then, for some, something seems to start to shift around 6 months. All blogs are different, of course, but I’ve seen this pattern for some.

      I read your personal story and am inspired by your call to action. I for one respect that you are “1 person of difference” and am curious as to how your content will unfold. I often see substantial blogs written by people who also wish to better the world in one way or the other, so they are definitely out there. Looking forward to seeing your blog blossom beautifully!

  10. I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to Time Thief for publishing my first guest post and for all the help she has given me to become a better blogger. Many thanks!

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