Over the length of time in which I have been blogging, I have noticed a certain up keep that is needed. Blogging not only involves writing and posting, it requires a range of methods in order for it to be successful. There needs to be accurate information, interesting and engaging content to promoting your site to the online world. With the current distributed landscape of the media, literally anyone can make a website and share any kind of information. But to be a reliable source of information, even opinion based content is important. Information has to come from somewhere, and sourcing that information needs to happen. As this is more of an academic blog where I am writing about subjects I am studying and the weekly content, I try to source as much as I can. As it is a blog, sometimes I overlook the importance to keep up with a more academic style of writing. A blog is very different to essays or reports so that is something in which I have taken feedback and tried to improve on. I usually source by leaving references at the bottom of the blog post, in the order of where it was written in the post. I do not have consistent references as I have tried different ways, some are properly Harvard references and others I have left a website where I found the information. I also use hyperlinks so readers are able to click on and go straight to the page where I found the information and can read more if they are interested.
The aesthetic of a site and ability to navigate around a blog is also important. I have gone to some people’s blog and could not find anything. The pages were confusing, the categories were scattered and there wasn’t much order among the whole site. It gets a little frustrating to be on. You don’t want to leave readers with a negative attitude about your online space. I chose a nice WordPress format, and after a long time trying to edit the site I found one that would be great for readers. The menu involves a Home, a UOW tab, a ‘stories’ page and ‘travel’. As I have been focused a lot on university work I have not yet been able to add to those last two however I plan on adding photos and little stories of places I have been. The UOW tab involves drop downs of all my subjects I use the site for. I find that this is quite easy to navigate, and as soon as you know what subject to look for all the content is under that category in the same place.
Adding to the aesthetic and readership response, photos are an excellent way to add to your blog. At first, most my posts did not have photos. Comparing the screenshot above to this screenshot below, the top one looks more inviting and compelling to read.
When I read professional blogs, they have great information that is easy to understand and with relevant photos that add to the blog. A successful blog that I know is World of Wanderlust. This site has a neat and tidy set up and a common theme with all the posts. My headings have evolved; however sometimes trying to come up with a very catchy heading is difficult. I want people to read my posts however with no enticing photo or heading, this could be an initial deterrent for that to happen. I tried to change that as my blogging went on. A little strange thing that people may notice is the name of the website. ‘Bridget Sky’. This is not my name. I decided to go for a pseudonym, as I didn’t really think my actual name (which is Tamara) was all that catchy. I also see the Internet and this space as a way of being creative. It is different from real life. It does make it a little less personal however I find it easier that way so my ‘real life’ doesn’t constantly have to keep up with an ‘online life’ and that these two things can be separate.
To get my blog out into the open, I have found that Twitter was helpful. Especially as the subject had a handy Hashtag where people could connect. That’s where I found a lot of impressive blogs and posts. There were so many creative blogs that definitely gave me some inspiration on how to make my blog better. I must admit however I did not use this outlet frequently. When I did promote my blog posts on Twitter I saw an increase in visits to my site. I used appropriate hashtag #BCM241 and others to connect with people doing the same subject as me. Twitter is not a usually social media site I use often so I can definitely improve on remembering to use it regularly. Hashtags in general I want to use more of as in the blogging space they are super helpful. Adding them can bring people from different sites and people with similar interests to your blog.
At the moment my blog isn’t as cohesive as I’d like it to be. I have blogged before however never properly curated my site. This has been the first time where I have not only blogged but I had to keep my site aesthetically pleasing, easy to use and promote it. As I have been experimenting with what works best for my site, and me a lot of my posts are different. My style of writing is the same as I’m writing after all, although I have improved it to have a more academic sense. I think it is improving. One of the main aspects I need to work on is putting my blog out there, which is what so many successful bloggers do, they ‘Connect with their audiences’. My stats are quite low and I really think it is because of my lack of promoting it and people’s lack of knowledge about it. I can only keep improving as I continue on my experience so far.