Tuesday, March 19, 2013

So You Want to Write a Blog

DSC_0935
Bergen Norway
As my new house is quickly becoming habitable, I have suddenly become aware I will no longer be the South Florida Guy. I won't be living here. I spent a lot of years just plugging away but recently I've used my blog to open doors and make some amazing friends, locally and around the world. A few people I know have expressed interest in starting a blog so I thought it would be fun to take a minute and reminisce about how I got started and figure out where I go from here..

The best bloggers write about things they know well. I don't know anything well. I go through life like it's a sample platter, taking a little taste and moving on. I like doing cheap, obscure things then telling my family and friends about my mini adventures. One day I happened upon Google's Blogger and thought instead of just telling a few people, it would be more fun to write about what I was doing and tell the world.

Arenal, Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano - Costa Rica
Like almost everything in my life, this blog pretty much started out as a joke. One of my friends once said to me "Who do you think your are -  South Florida Guy". That's as good a name as any.  I once dated a fine art photographer who told me I took great tourist shots. Not exactly a compliment but it made for a silly tag line so I threw it in. Boom - I was a blogger in five minutes.

I've never taken this blog very seriously but recently I've had reason to reconsider. I just passed 100,000 hits, 95% of which came in the last year. A show promoter friend of mine told me I should write a travel blog. I am no threat to my pro photographer friends but I've gotten some pretty impressive compliments on my captures recently.

I do not promote this blog in any way so what changed? The South Florida Daily Blogger and Groupon picked up my blog. I went from tens of hits a month to hundreds. Then I started writing about one of the few events I've had a long term passion for - The Florida Ren Fest. Suddenly I'm getting thousands of hits a month. I really had to step up my game with all the new attention. Then I bought a house and had no time to dedicate to my new found fame.
DSC_9148
Hot Air Ballooning

My life is nothing like what I write about here.

I once met a woman on an online dating site and three weeks later we shared a glass of wine in a little French cafe... in Paris. I flew in a hot air balloon exactly one year after I was told I had an hour to live. I took my father on a trip, the highlight of which was to stand on the dock in Bergen Norway. The same one his mother stood on as a 14 year old girl with a one way ticket to Ellis Island. I took the most dangerous trip in my life to Costa Rica which included sleeping next to an active volcano and zip lining through the jungle. I made it back without a scratch then slipped in the tub and crashed through the shower door. I have plenty of stories loaded with passion, adventure, emotion, and stupidity. I may be at the point in my blog writing I could do them some justice. To get the most out of my next blog I will consider the following.

1) Take some time and figure out what I want my blog to be. I limited myself with this one. A clever name and tag line would have not taken very long to come up with. Something easy to remember is a great way to get repeat visitors.

2) Make sure the Google email I set my blogger account up with has the same or similar name to my blog. Mine does not and has always been a problem. I opened a new email later and forwarded the mail. Too confusing.

3) Once I have the perfect email account and blog name, lock down all the social media I care to use. So many people ask if the South Florida Guy is on Flickr, FaceBook, Twitter, etc. If it is, its not me.

4) Post on a regular basis.  Most of my blogger friends have 100 - 300 followers and those followers like regular postings. I was posting more regularly and now that people are looking, not hardly at all. The best way to gain an audience is to make comments on fellow bloggers with similar interests. Since a lot of my postings are travel related, I let the places I visit know when I post about them. Many times they add my blog to their website.

5) Keep learning - I recently learned how to attach my Flickr photos directly to my blog from a fellow blogger. Now if you click on them you go right to my photostream. I also learn about an abundance of places in this world I never knew about and hope to visit one day.

I'll be the South Florida Guy for a while yet but I look forward to starting something new.  

5 comments:

  1. Keep me posted where you move to when you make the move k? I like what you've said here about how you started up your blog. When I started it took me a bit more than 5 minutes, I didn't have a clue what I was doing, still don't really! lol I started out with a project 365 on Jan 1/09, I wanted to see if I could post a photo a day for one full year AND include a wee bit of journaling. A bunch of family took on the challenge and two of us finished it off... me I'm the only one still going. I found while I was going nuts in university I would remember to make 'me' time every day, even if only for 20-30 minutes, to post and read others blogs. I've also moved up from a point and shoot to a DSLR and am learning more and more about photography all the time and loving it!

    Why we do what we do? My best response thus far is "Cause I can!" lol

    Have a wonderful week!

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Darlin - My first blog was run on a server I built in my back bedroom using Apache and Wordpress. I spent untold hours on the technical part and next to nothing on the content. Once that server finally broke down to the point I didn't want to fix it, I found Blogger. I have no idea why I kept writing with no audience for so many years but now I feel like I'm letting my fans down. Hopefully I'll get some free time soon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You've been holding out on us!! But I look forward to the next phase ... which I'm sure will soon overtake my little Aussie travel blog!!

    And yes, I SO want that Flickr trick!!! Hand it over NOW!

    ReplyDelete
  4. this is such a nice and useful information for us...i appreciate urs word........Yachts In Miami

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is great, thank you for the advice!

    ReplyDelete