Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blogging FAQ's.

I did an FAQ a couple weeks ago on my adoption and some random thoughts I had on it in regards to questions I get asked a lot.

And in case you think all I'm good for is information on adoption (ha!) I've also gotten quite a few questions in recent weeks and months on blogging since it seems like my other job.  I understand why so many people want to do it.  It's therapeutic (if you like writing and spilling your guts), it usually makes you grateful for what you have (because it forces you to focus on the good--no one really wants to read a post about how bad of a day you're having because your iPod isn't working, you have too many random things to do, your house is a mess, you feel fat, your kid didn't take a nap.......again, your cat puked three times, or your an old man backed into you.......at least I don't think they do), it commits family memories to "paper," and bottom line.....it's kind of fun.  I have "met" some great people through this new little hobby on the computer--even if I've never heard their voice or sat across from them for lunch at a restaurant--I've shared thoughts with them right here.  And, in cases like Mom Colored Glasses--hopefully one day it will be way more than just this great idea that's starting to gain some momentum.

So, here we go.............

1.  Where are the most common places to blog?  Wordpress or Blogger.  There are free versions of both and both are relatively easy to maneuver your way through.  I am partial to Blogger.  I've had more experience with it, I think it's much more user friendly, a lot of blog designers that the average person has access to will only design for blogger blogs, and there is just something about it that looks different to me--and I like that different.  I can usually tell instantly if a blog is a blogger blog or a word press blog (besides the obvious logo in the corner).  However, like I said above--they are both fairly easy to use and it's really just a matter of personal choice.

2.  Should you buy your own domain name? I went to a conference this past fall that really solidified my answer of "yes" to this question.  I didn't really think much about it until then.  But here's the deal--if you don't own your blog name, someone else can buy it........and then......if you ever want to do anything more serious with your blog.......like get sponsors and make some money.......you'll have to find a new name--after you've already spent so much time investing in building a blog persona under your original idea.  So here's the deal.....for around $10 you can buy your domain name and get the "blog-spot" out of the URL--plus it feels a little more official.  Head over to GoDaddy.com and see if your domain name is available.......sometimes you have to be willing to settle for a version of it instead of the exact name.  For example, my URL is apairofpinkshoes.com even though I call the blog Pink Shoes.  I'm okay with it.

And if you're using blogger to host your blog--you can buy your domain name right through them, they'll switch it over for you, and automatically withdraw the ten bucks every year to keep you in full possession of that name.  I also purchased a few other names--like mine and my daughters--just in case I ever want to do something with those one day, I know they're mine.

3.  What does it mean to follow a blog? Officially.......it means you've "registered" yourself as a follower of the blog within the actual blog.  See all those little thumb-nail pictures in the right hand column of my blog under the Follow Me sign--those are people who officially follow Pink Shoes.  It's really just a show of support, like......"I enjoy reading what you put out there....keep doing it!"  It's also the way really big bloggers gets sponsorships and advertising.  Companies and stores want to see that there is an established following on a blog before they're willing to back up what's written there with their product.

People who blog love you for doing it.  Promise.

4. Do you think it's important to try and stay as anonymous as possible on a blog? Well.....if you've read any of Pink Shoes before this post you know my answers to this question.  But......there are a lot of thoughts on this question when it comes to blogging.  I know bloggers who never share their children's names, never put up pictures, never refer to the location they live in, never use a spouses name, never reference who their friends and family might be, or use fake names for everyone they regularly talk about.  I'm one of those put-it-all-out-there kind of people.  As a blog reader, I need to feel some sort of connection to the writing--like I'm reading about a real person--and for me that means knowing who the writer REALLY is and what makes them tick.  I also love pictures--it feels authentic and relatable when I can see someones dirty dishes in the background, toys scattered on the floor, messy hair and dirty faces on kids, un-made beds, and broken crayons.  I see that and I think, "This is a mom just like every other mom--even if her posts are happy because she's choosing to be a glass half full lady--she's just..........regular."

So really.......it's your choice how transparent you are.  It's about your level of comfort.  There is one blogger I follow who has made up names (Pringles & Viva) for her kids and never puts one picture on her blog.  But because she's laugh-out-loud funny I love reading her.  That's a rare breed however.

5. Do you think it's important to hone in on a specific kind of blog to be? Not everyone in the blogging world will necessarily agree with me on this--but I don't think it's that crucial.  We're changing all the time as people--one day we're crafty, the next cranky.  One day we feel like super-mom and the next day we feel like ranting about some social injustice.  One day we are lamenting mom guilt and the very next one we're giving our thoughts on a resort in Jamaica.  Write about what you like and what feels like you right now.  People will know what's real if it's really real.  Don't pigeon-hole yourself.

6. What's the difference between Pink Shoes & Mom Colored Glasses? So this one is more just about me and my writing--but I've gotten it a lot.  Pink Shoes is my own personal blog where I'll write about things only pertaining to my life.  Mom Colored Glasses is an online magazine that I co-founded, write, and edit for.  It's a platform for a lot of other 'mom-bloggers' to come together and share information on what they're passionate about.  You're not necessarily going to get funny anecdotes on my potty training woes (they're funny right?) on Mom Colored Glasses--you have to come here to Pink Shoes to get those little gems--but you'll fine recipes, DIY projects, current fads in motherhood, various mom profiles, products we love, and a wealth of other information--some you might be interested in, other stuff you won't be--just like any other magazine.

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