Last weekend I attended PodCampOhio, a free conference for bloggers, vloggers, podcasting, and other types of social media. Overall, it was a great experience, and I feel like I learned a lot, while also meeting some new local bloggers, including those I already knew in name if not in person.
But one unexpected side effect of the event was an enhanced feeling of uneasiness with my blog. I’ve already been feeling as if I’m adrift lately, either due to a lack of focus or the possibility that my life has become so boring that I can’t find anything interesting to blog about. Don’t worry, I’m not pulling one of those I’m shutting down my blog 4-ever c-ya!!! dramatic moments, because that’s not what I want at all. I’m simply trying to refine and make this a better place for me and for everyone who stops by and cares for what I write.
One session I attended at PodCampOhio had me convinced I needed to “rebrand” my blog. I mean, after all, just look at my blog name: A Mommy Story. What in the world does that tell the reader about me? It says I’m a mom, and this is likely a mom blog. Well, that wouldn’t be so bad if there weren’t 163,946,037 OTHER mom blogs out there.
A Mommy Story is a somewhat dull name, created after the first three tries were already taken on Blogger back in 2005. Instead of taking the time to ponder and wait for inspiration to gift me with a creative name, I kept typing out new names desperately, because I had to have my blog now! now! now!
This session talked about setting yourself apart from your “competition” – offering unique value, being specific and remarkable, finding something to stand for, etc. Honestly, it was a lot of good information, even if it did send this blogger into a panic. I’ve screwed it all up from the beginning! I thought.
And then another session discussed good storytelling, and I realized I couldn’t tell you all about my blog in one sentence. Hmmm…maybe I’m not focused enough?
Finally, Dawn advised me that what I really needed to do was keep my blog name, but get my lazy butt off of Blogger and make the jump to WordPress, since Blogger isn’t always playing nice with some computers/browsers of late, which could be affecting my traffic.
So…yeah. I’m more confused than ever. Do I try to focus my scope more? Do I try to find an angle that works? Do I find a new blog name and rebrand? Do I switch to my own domain and WordPress? (OK, that last one really does need to happen. I am lazy, and I like the look of WordPress.)
Or do I just say to hell with all of that branding and narrative advice and keep on doing what I’m doing? I know some people will tell me that I shouldn’t worry about all of the superficial stuff like branding and contrived storyline focus. Writing should be organic, right? But I’m not one of those bloggers who can weave words with ease into artful essays, or come up with a story that is outrageously funny and over-the-top.
I’ll also admit: I do care about my stats, and I know I’m not supposed to care. I don’t like seeing that I’ve lost 1/4 of my traffic in the past year. Comments are down, making me wonder if I’m actually connecting with readers in a meaningful way or if my posts are still interesting. I still love every one of my readers like I love my chocolate cake – maybe even more so now that there are fewer of you.
(Side note: Wow, talk about rambling. This post counts as everything that might be wrong with my blog. All over the place without an editor. All I need for a truly dreadful post would be several different fonts, font sizes and colors throughout. Bear with me – I’m working through this as I type.)
So after writing all of this out, where does it leave me? Neurotic and in desperate need of a Xanax? Probably.
I’m not making any decision at the moment. I’m going to think on the topic at least until after BlogHer, then decide if I want to make any changes. Well, aside from the move to WordPress – I’m pretty certain on that one, once I learn CSS or save up for a good theme design. Maybe I’m just thinking too hard about this – after all, my birthday was also this weekend, and birthdays always make me susceptible to overthinking about what I’m doing with my life.
Feel free to add your thoughts to my one-person argument. I’d love to know what you want to see from me. Or how you solved a blogging crisis you’ve had. I know I’m really opening myself up to criticism here, and my flame-proof jacket is standing by. Just know that any comment of UR CRAZY = not helpful.
(Oh, I’m going to regret hitting publish on this one…)