One of my self-imposed tasks for 2014 is to become a better blogger. I want to write and post more regularly, more frequently (in 2013, there were only 40 posts to the blog, so I fell short of my ‘once-a-week’ goal).
One of the reasons that I love the WordPress blog platform is that bloggers receive so much support: there are themes, widgets, and customizations galore that help bloggers to make their spaces their very own. Along with all the tech wizardry, though, WordPress also provides lots of how-to expertise in the basics of writing and publishing. One of their programs is a 30-day shape-up called “Zero to Hero” — for the blog, not the blogger! — that promises to pound, stretch, amp up, and otherwise buff any ordinary blog into, well, something better.
The first assignment in the Zero to Hero program is, for new bloggers, to write and publish a “who am I and why am I here?” post. This blog made its debut on 30 August 2005 (and it was hosted on Blogspot at the time, by the way). Yesterday, I turned back to that very first post to see what I’d said then:
“Welcome to the Scalliwag Toys blog, a place where we can let you, our customers, know what’s new in the world of toys and games at our store, and where you can let us know what you would like to see us carry, or not carry, in our inventory.
We’ll also post links to manufacturers’ websites, or sites that provide great consumer information regarding toys and games, as well as a listing of store events (like games days or workshops). Heck, we’re open to suggestion — you tell us what information you are looking for, and we’ll try to provide it.”
So. How have we done? Well, according to the tag cloud, our most-used tags are “consumer information” and “FYI”, followed by “great gifts”, “humour”, and “oddball”. Our most-read page — by a margin of 6 to 1 — is the front page, which by default contains the most recent post. (The front page also contains links to all past posts as well.) The blog readership has doubled every year, and readers come from all over the world. This all makes me happy.
One thing that doesn’t make me happy, though, is the relative lack of comment on the blog articles. Now, I do realize that we reach out to our customers using a variety of media — Twitter, Facebook, Google+, email newsletters — besides the blog, and customers do interact on most of these other platforms. And I must admit that I don’t tend to comment on articles or blog posts that I read, either, so perhaps this is something that I should work on myself.
So here’s my blogging resolution for, well, the first week in February 2014 (since I kind of missed the boat on New Year’s resolutions, at least in this respect): I am going to follow the Golden Rule. Today I am going to leave three comments on blogs that I follow.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Go forth and comment.