My four month anniversary of joining the blogosphere is fast approaching and I've been giving a fair bit of thought to where I've been and where I'm heading. Let's say that the directions this has taken me in could not in any way have been foreseen when I first started. Of course there has been even more to learn than I imagined and I have a pretty big imagination as it is!
Perhaps my blogging adventures really began with the start of my Usborne book business, which I've had since October of 2006. My visions of moms, dads and grandmas surfing the web, searching for fun books for their kids, finding my simple little css/html GreatFunBooks.com website, and purchasing great books for their kids, thus bringing me a nice little bit of extra income, have long since melted away like a poor old winter snowman. Whether the vagaries of Google, or the entrenched habits of shoppers are to blame is largely immaterial. Getting noticed on the web is one of those will-o-the-wisp type things, reach out to grab it and your hand will pass right through. Then one day I just happened to come across blogging.
I've no idea where I was all these years while others were busy exploring the new media of blogging. Let's just say that I tend to be at the end of trends rather than the beginning. "Maybe this blogging thing could get GreatFunBooks.com ranked higher," I thought to myself. I do like writing after all. "All I need to do is start writing and put a menu link to my website," I foolishly thought, "just that one link would be enough to make a difference!" I mean, I only had about three websites linking to me already so an addition of one would be significant. I thought I might do a few book give aways, at least as soon as I had a few readers coming to visit. Surprise, surprise, turns out it's really not that simple!
Well, fast forward four months and I've learned about things such as Google pagerank, niches, hooks/tag lines, a lot more about google ranking, carnivals, give aways, slow blogging, how to discover Google keyword search frequency, RSS feeds, StumbleUpon, Blogged, Google Analytics, importing Blogger to Wordpress, who some of the popular bloggers are... and most likely quite a few things I'm forgetting right now. I've also discovered some wonderful writers who's world I get to share in every day. I started out with one blog which quickly grew to four. Now I've thrown away my initial plan to keep my blog seperate from my business while expecting people to discover my menu link. Books are part of my life and I just can't help writing about them and sharing. I got in a few fankles (interesting knots) with my blog title and description too.
It was never my intent to have an audience solely of homeschoolers. Somehow I feel that's been surprisingly hard to convey. Early on I asked readers what they wanted - the biggest request was for homeschool stuff. Given that I'd been reading and commenting on the blogs of other homeschoolers perhaps that's not exactly surprising. In fact it turns out that I have many regular readers who are not homeschoolers. I guess people really did figure it out! Anyway, this blogging lark seems to have turned into "I blog therefore I am." It's now more fun than the e-mail lists I wrote on for many, many years. It's certainly more productive that posting on the Usborne consultants' forum. I'm even beginning to wonder if Americans are moving from the therapist's couch to the blogosphere. Hey, it's therapeutic and free, but just be careful what you share; it's more public than shouting from the rooftops.
I look forward every day to what I will learn in this wonderful world of blogging. Do you believe in learning? Let's travel together, at least for a while :-)
P.S. I will continue to provide links which I find to be of interest for homeschooling, but I refuse to be boxed into homeschooling. Isn't homeschooling about getting out of the box in the first place? Now if I just knew how to convey this to Google I'd be in business!