Thirteen years ago, I set-up ShaiCoggins.com on the same web host that I am still with to this day. I've already been blogging for over a year then. And, I knew that it was something that I wanted to keep doing.
Year after year, I've watched the Internet change and grow. I've experienced the Dot Com Bust. And the rise of Web 2.0. The explosion of digital media.
I'm still fascinated and in-love with it all.
Even though blogging as I knew it has changed over the years, I'm glad that I'm able to stay around. To keep going.
When people ask me how to keep blogging through the changing times of the web, I share these things that helped me through the years:
Always remember why we started blogging.
I'm not sure about you, but it wasn't love at first sight between me and computers. In fact, quite the opposite. But, I became quite obsessed with them when I first heard about this thing called the Internet.
My reasons: 1) I love the idea of being able to connect with people from all over the world; 2) I was thrilled to have access to information and experiences; and 3) I am excited to be able to practice and to share my writing.
They were the very reasons I started blogging.
It was never for PR, ads and sponsorship money, popularity lists, or even as a career platform. None of these mattered to me when I started. And, even though I've been lucky enough to experience blogging from a professional perspective (and still do), ultimately, ShaiCoggins.com has always been about connecting, shared experiences, and creative expression.
As long as I remember these things, I know that I will stay in-love with blogging. Regardless of how it changes in the coming years.
And, I hope that it's the same with you.
Engage and be engaging.
Blogging has started to feel a bit more lonely over the years. The more we find ways to engage with others through other means - like Facebook and Twitter - the less people look at commenting on blogs. That's why it has become more and more challenging to write blog content that can inspire comments.
But, apart from making sure that we write excellent content, another way to ensure engagement on our blogs is to continue engaging with others. Comment, share, and like... It's all part of a good, joyful life as a blogger. Supporting fellow bloggers through comments and such help all of us to go the distance with our blogging.
And yes, this engagement should also not just be limited online. Joining face-to-face meet-ups and conferences are good for the blogging spirit too.
I know I don't get to do it all as much as I'd like, but I do try to keep up because it's something that I love doing.
Setting realistic expectations.
Ideally, I would love to blog daily here on ShaiCoggins.com (and all my other blogs for that matter). If not that, at least 2-3x a week.
In reality, I'm lucky if I can post once a week.
Sure, there are weeks when I do end up with 2-3 posts. But, there are also weeks that go by without ever posting a single entry.
And, yes, I feel bad every time that happens. When I don't blog here, I actually do fret a bit. And, the more I fret, the more I find it difficult to get going with blogging again.
So, I've been working on letting go of some of those expectations. I give myself a target of 1-2 posts a week. If I don't meet those goals, I just tell myself it's okay. No one gets hurt when I don't blog. That's why I shouldn't punish myself if I can't.
By being less rigid with expectations, we can remain in-love with this whole blogging thing.
Find the joy in blogging.
Apart from connecting with our initial reasons for blogging, finding meaningful engagement, and letting go of rigid blogging expectations, it is also good to find other joys of blogging.
It can be anything, really. From refreshing a theme whenever an old theme is no longer inspiring - to starting or joining a blog project (like NaBloPoMo).
Actively seeking the joys in blogging can make us fall in love with it over and over, no matter how long we may be doing this.
How about you? Do you blog?How long have you been blogging? And, how do you stay in love with it?