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Hard to keep going

I don’t if it is good or bad but I find it hard to find inspiration and motivation to blog about blogging at the moment. I am on holiday and enjoying myself thoroughly. One of the things that I am very good at is letting go – something I have found out over the years. When I am on holidays I always think that I will keep on doing things such as exercise, eating healthy and maintaining habits such as writing my blog. I take magazines that have been waiting for my attention for a while or little jobs that I want to do when I have more time. I really intend to do those things…..

Well reality is that as soon as I am out of my usual routine I am capable of letting go and don’t do any of those things I intended to do. There is a little bit of guilt lingering far, far away but deep down I do not really care. It may be my way of relaxation and I am very willing to be subservient to that method.

At least I have been honest about it and have not made any promises that I am not going to keep. I have not made any deadlines and I don’t intend either. To be honest my drive and source of inspiration is on the back burner – I am on holiday at the moment and I feel rather laid back.

Maybe I should have prepared myself a little better and have several posts in draft form written, only waiting for revision. There are bloggers who do that – they have dozens of articles waiting to be published. I wish I was that organised myself but I suffer from a light case of ‘excusitis’ and blame lack of time. It takes me quite a bit of time to write the articles I publish so the luxury of preparing posts in advance seems unrealistic.

I actually did brainstorm some ideas but all I have done is written the titles. The rest of the page is empty and I feel like leaving these topics until I am back and they get the attention they deserve. It is not like when I am at home when I am waking up in the middle of the night with all kind of ideas for my blog. Here I am not waking at all at least not with ideas for blogging!

Is this bad or it this break good? I am not entirely sure about it. I am sure it may be beneficial to take a break of a week or so and give myself the chance to rest and refresh. Looking at my intention to explore ‘the road to professional blogging’ I can only say that it is part of it. This blog is about all aspects of this journey and even ‘professionals’ go on holiday.

Titles and keywords

It has become obvious to me that I need to write an article about the importance of keywords in blog post titles. Two day ago I elaborated about the general use of key words in blog posts. While doing that I came across the fact that keywords in the title of your blog post have an important function.

Well guess what! After that bit of information I have changed the title of that particular article three times while it was already published. It even woke me up in the middle of the night. The final title is ‘Keywords, SEO and competence’ because that is what the article is about.

The importance of blog post titles

There are a couple of rules when it comes to post titles. I have touched some basics  in a previous blog post, but there is lot more to it. I mentioned the relevance of the title to the article, the use of keywords in your title and its length. Pretty straightforward stuff. This time I like to explore the issue a little further and look into the importance of your title when it comes to search engines. In other words what are the best title and keywords to use in order to be found?

If you write about a certain topic it seems logical to let the title reflect the content of your article – either literally or metaphorically. Even more so it is desirable to choose keywords for your post title that not only reflect your content but at the same time are terms that people put in search engines to find information. Anticipating what words your readers and followers use for their search and using those words in your title and blog post is crucial for your post to be ‘visible’ and consequently climb the rankings.

Keywords, anticipation and perception

This is not as easy as it sounds. We all perceive things in different ways and use different ways to describe experiences. That’s why languages can be so rich in their vocabulary. For any word you can find several others that describe in similar ways the issue you read or write about – let alone all the words that come into existence with the emergence of new trends and technologies.

So how to know what to put in search engines if there are so many ways to describe the same thing. Furthermore how to know what words your target audience would use to search the net. And we should not forget to mention what words Google likes to search for. It’s a science in itself!

In sum,  you want to write a blog post. Your aim and purpose is to express yourself and to get an audience. Your main goal is to please the reader and not the search engine. But in order for your reader to find you, you’ll have to use words that are ‘liked’ by the search engines.  The perfect blog post title should therefore have it all! It should ideally be interesting, original, being full of inspiration and creating different perspectives while containing those keywords that actually will be ‘Googled’ by your readers in order to find you.

My immediate question is the following:

‘Is there a magic formula to ‘find out’ what keywords to use?

Do bloggers get writers block?

I wonder if bloggers ever run out of something to say. I have mentioned before that my inspiration comes and goes. It is in general the most fruitful when I have just finished a blog post. Exploring certain topics opens up the road to other content. Many bloggers get inspiration from reading other blogs or their comments. And offcourse when you have heaps of traffic yourself there will be many comments and the ideas will just flow.

When your blog becomes a chore

What should you do when writing becomes a chore? There may be times in your life that blogging is not your first priority and other things take over. Depending on the type of blog you have, it may be appropriate to admit that. If you speak the truth – your truth – you may find that the words come easily even when you have got a lot of other things on your mind.

In fact when you are honest it could well be that your readers can better connect with you. You could tell them that you did not feel coming out of bed and spent the day in your pyjamas. I bet there will be many who wish they had the courage to do the same! Just take a break and let your readers know when you will be back.

Blogging should always come from the heart. When it becomes something you feel you ought to do, it is not optional anymore. I bet that whatever you write about won’t be that captivating, could be repetitive or lacks originality.

When to have a break

Another thing that could stop you from blogging is when you get ill. Can you imagine writing something worthwhile when the only thing you like to do is cuddling up in bed with a hot water bottle and a box of tissues? My suggestion in that case would be – give it a break!

There are a couple of things that you can do when you suffer from writers block, are sick or just want a break. Being sick or a having a holiday may grant a real break!  Writers block on the other hand may be a good opportunity to do some reviewing, do a recap or dig up those old posts you have written but never published.

It may also be a chance to evaluate the success of your blog or look at ways to improve the amount of readers or how you market your blog. Stepping back, evaluate and reflect may well get the juices going again!

Another angle to content….

What message do I have?

As promised I like to continue talking about content.  I am inspired by a comment one of my followers made about not being able to find enough ‘topic’ to write about. This happened to be a result of ‘the feeling of not having enough expertise’. How often does this happen and does that mean that you should not blog!

I personally believe that it depends on the kind of blog you write. What is the purpose of you writing your blog? What do you want to say, achieve and above all share? My blog is about ‘learning to blog’ – after all it is called ‘Blogexercise, the road to professional blogging’.  If I would pretend to be an expert while all I am doing is exploring the subject, I would be fooling you all.

My aim is to ‘become an expert’ by reading books, researching the web and talking to other people. I then like to compile whatever I have learned in a post for others to read and hopefully learn from as well. My main objective is to get a clear overview for myself but it is great to see that others benefit from it!

Do I have enough inspiration to keep on writing?

Another issue is ‘not having enough content’ to write about. A very successful blogger in Australia (www.problogger.com) once wrote that you should be able to write at least 30 blog posts about your topic. A good aim is to do this even before you start. If you can’t do this you may eventually run dry and have nothing to write about.

The reason you start blogging is because you have got something to say, you like to speak ‘your’ truth and talk about the way you see how things are. If you can’t do that, why would you bother!  Don’t be one of the thousands of blogs that ‘hang inactively’ in the blogosphere.

Tara Frey (www.bloggingforbliss.com) reckons that readers connect more with you if you stay faithful to your truth and as a result words come easily. And she should know as her blog gets thousands of hits per day and in 2008 ago it was was honoured Typepad Favourite Blog! Something to aim for.

How to find content……….

  • Look around and see what inspires you, irritates you, makes you happy or sad and most of all discover what is close to your heart.
  • Then do something with, discuss it, embrace it or fight it.
  • But approach it with passion and you’ll find the words will flow!

Credibility of a blogger

Are you an expert?

While sifting through my blog posts to evaluate what I have written so far I realised that I am blogging about something that is not ‘exactly’ my area of expertise. At least it wasn’t before I started to look into this subject. Funny enough this apparently goes against the rules of running a business or in this case writing a blog.

While browsing in the library I came across a book with an interesting title. Inspiring enough to take it home. The book was called: ‘How to make a million before lunch time’ by Rachel Bridge, www.rachelbridge.com. I started reading it and I was hooked. Let’s be honest – who would not be tempted?

Most of these books including this one, make becoming a millionaire sound so easy. The writer mentions that you have to be ‘good’ at what your business is about. According to her there are quite a number of people out there who start up a business while they are not an expert in what they offer. ‘A recipe for failure’, she reckons. And it makes sense, doesn’t it?

Inspiration to write a blog

Does this apply to blogs as well? How many bloggers are there who aren’t experts? Does this matter? Isn’t the nature of a blog that you can publish anything that interests you? After all you could be exploring the subject, learn about it and put it in your blog.

The same writer mentions that one reason for starting up a business could be ‘the aim to improve something. Have you ever been frustrated with a product, a service or a treatment and has it ever inspired you to want to do something about it. I personally have many times.

Who likes bad service, bad products and above all complicated topics? How many times do we research something to find out that it too confusing to understand? The information out there is often overwhelming, confusing, too specialised in its use of language – expecting us all to have a law degree – and quite often contradicting or missing essential pieces of information.

Is this not a perfect reason to start blogging? To have a good old rant and to find ‘mates’  who share your frustrations. To connect to people who have had similar experiences and who could help you shed some light.

Does it matter if you are no expert?

I like to say no! It could be interesting as many people may have similar frustrations. By reading your blog they could find recognition of their feelings and hopefully some tips to make improvements.  As a blog is not a scientific paper, it can attract different opinions which may lead to an interesting debate or heated discussions. What does matter is ‘pretending’ to be an expert and ‘borrowing’ someone else’s content.

An interesting topic for my next post…..