Mid-Blog Crisis

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…)

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  1. UR CRAZY.

  2. Ha – you knew I would write that.

    Having done the re-branding thing and figured out I don’t care about stats – I’m happy.

    Let me know if you wanna take the leap. I’ll hold your hand.

  3. How about “Mommy, R.N.” or something like that?

  4. I’ve been thinking about switching to WP as well. But I’m SCARED! And yeah, maybe a little bit lazy.

  5. I know we try not to care about stats but it’s a constant internal battle…

    That said, why DO you write here? Get that figured out and then you’ll be better able to figure out if you CARE if stats are down a bit.

    Also? You have been BUSY. School and jobs and kids.

  6. You are NOT crazy. I think we all go through this panicked What The Hell Am I Doing With My Blog? moment.

    First of all, I love your blog name. I would recommend keeping it, if only because it’s miserable to try to find a name that’s not taken now. I wanted to get away from Sleepy New Mommy since I’m not a “new” mommy anymore, but it seems like EVERY name I could think of was gone. There are millions of blogs and it’s hard to come up with something unique.

    As far as switching to WordPress and your own hosting, have someone to help you. I tried to make the jump by myself and it was a disaster. I cancelled the whole thing and went back to my wordpress.com blog. If I get up the nerve to switch again, I will do it after BlogHer, when I make some contacts and find someone to hold my hand.

    I still love reading your blog. It’s real and it’s wonderful. I know we all get freaked out about stats (mine are waaaay down), but I have to keep telling myself that I’m doing what I love.

    Okay, my novel is over now.

  7. Well, I just recently closed shop on Eucalyptus Pillow and am now solely posting at my Revelry Press blog for some of the reasons that you mention in your post. I no longer feel like being a mommy totally defines me and that blog was what I started it for. I’m feeling good in my new digs. I had once considered moving over to wordpress because they do have better formats, and still considering it. At the time it was just easier to stay on blogger since it was more familiar. I don’t know hardly anything about creating a web site, so I need something on a kindergarten level.

  8. Poppy – That is one reason why I need to switch to WordPress. Unless you enable your e-mail address in your Blogger profile, I have no way of contacting you. When I receive your comment, your e-mail is listed as noreply-comment@blogger.com. (And not just you – lots of people don’t enable their e-mail addresses.)

    There have been many times I’ve wanted to reply to someone’s comment, but had no e-mail address to use. Blogger sucks like that.

    I do occasionally leave replies in the comments, but I always wonder if anyone comes back to read them. I know I’m not someone who revisits posts to look for replies, so I guess I figured no one else did either. :)

  9. Amelia Sprout says:

    BlogHer roomie, you know I’d follow you wherever you go. All I can say is this, I wish you would write more. If you feel limited by your name to write about mom stuff, then change your name.

  10. Just to echo Poppy, for what it is worth – I do tend to comment more on blogs where I feel there is a back-and-forth to some extent (or at least an occasional “hi! I see you are out there! thanks!”) I realize you don’t know that I read you religiously through RSS because I rarely comment, but sometimes I don’t feel it’s worthwhile to put my two cents out there. That said – it is YOUR blog and you can treat it however you want! I’m reading regardless!

  11. I renamed and rebranded, as you remember, and I don’t regret it one bit. It’s not as hard as it seems. Scary, maybe, but not hard.

    Also, it took me three months to come up with our blog name. And it came to me in bed one night. lol

    But, yes, seriously. Welcome to 2009; get on WordPress. ;)

  12. I switched to WordPress (self-hosted) earlier this year and I am happy. I did have help which made a big difference! I try very hard to not care about stats and just write what I want, when I want. But I have to work at that–it’s not easy.

  13. Don’t regret publishing the post, so many of us out here are having the same thoughts! I never got mine off the ground too much, I’m thinking about scrapping the old one and starting from scratch. I don’t worry about the stats, basically because there are none (I haven’t written anything in months!) Talk about needing a Xanax … anyway, here’s one reader who will be sticking with you no matter where you go!

  14. I like your blog the way it is! But then again I know I am always all over the place on my blog (baby’s 1st birthday one day, Drag queens the next! oh my!) and I doubt I’ll ever have to worry about my “brand.” Do whatever you think is best for you but don’t worry too much about it.

  15. Honestly, I solved my blogging crisis by deciding not to give a shit. I don’t want to be a brand, and to that end, I took down ads and posted only when I felt like I had a decent post. I took sitemeter off so I am not preoccupied, and I have never even been to technorati.
    I just wanna write, man.

  16. I also need to rethink my blog(s) and who/what I do them for. Did not know about the problems with Blogger, and am hoping for some enlightenment at BlogHer. Maybe we can get in the same room for at least part of the discussion! (now, let me go see if my email addy is turned on…)

  17. First I’ll tell you why I blog. I blog because I wanted/needed a place to vent about my life and situations in my life that I wasn’t happy about. I also wanted a place to record the wonderful events in my life, of which there are many. My blog is for me. I don’t give a crap who reads it. I don’t care if anyone comments. However, I always acknowledge those who do. I have no desire to make money off of my blog or to become a “superstar” blogger. I actually password protected my blog a while back because recent events in my life created a very painful period of high drama and I did not want certain family members to ever, ever find my blog. I feared much of what I felt and shared would escalate the drama and frankly, I didn’t need that.

    I’ve been a reader of your blog for several years now. I felt a bit of a connection to you because we live in the same general area. I like your writing. I like keeping up with what’s going on with Miss Cordy and now Mira. I’ll be honest and say that I rarely ever comment anymore because I never got any feedback from any comment I made. That made me feel like you didn’t care about “me”, not that you needed to become my BFF, but acknowledgment is always nice. I pretty much stopped leaving comments.

    Ultimately it’s up to you as to whether you make any changes to your blog. You’ll have to decide what you want from your blog. But I enjoy it the way it is.

  18. I’m a long time reader and a zero time commenter but I wanted you to know how much I enjoy your blog and enjoy reading about your delightful girls. I will follow you anywhere! Well maybe not to the bathroom because that would be weird.

  19. Well, to be honest… I’m kinda sick of all this “professional” blogger stuff. What ever happened to just sharing your ideas with the world? And not worrying about how it has to be in catchy sound bites, etc.?

    I enjoy coming here to read YOU. I’ve seen a few other blogs become “professional” and I just don’t have as much fun reading them as I used to. I like that you keep it real and just talk about life. AND you do write well! With a good sense of humor!

    So that’s just my little opinion on the matter.

  20. MBKimmy says:

    haha LMAO! I love reading your blog, don’t always comment, but I am here!

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Thanks for your reply, Christina. I had no clue that my email address did not show up. Thanks for that bit of info…now tell me if it’s showing now :) LOL

    I agree with Shannon River. I’ve seen quite a few blogs go pro over the years and that usually sucks the life out of them and I end up deleting them from my reader. There are those out there (Pioneer Woman to name one) who are pro and it hasn’t affected their writing but most people in my opinion are better off keeping it real and writing about their everyday lives. I prefer those types of blogs much more than the ones who are spouting their opinions on everything from soup to nuts.

    But again…your blog, your decision.

  23. Maureen @ Wisconsin Mommy says:

    You are still one of my favorite blogs (but you knew that, right?). I love that you don’t have a specific narrow niche – it’s more like real life…I mean, whose life fits into a niche?!

  24. I feel like I know exactly what you’re talking about. Am I allowed to say that? Surely I haven’t been blogging long enough or often enough. I still can’t help feeling like it’s time for a change.

    Lemme know how it’s going while it’s going.

  25. Hello again. Podcamp was a little hear and there as am I. I had 5 blogs on blogger because I felt like I couldn’t mix any two topics. But then, I was hardly posting to all but two so those two I concentrated on. One is a health blog and one is a travel blog based on my career as a flight attendant, both personal and professional. I digress.
    I did change over to WordPress and sometimes, I think I like Blogger better. Probably just because it’s so familiar.At first, I tried the wordpress.org but that didn’t go too well. Definitely have someone help you with it unless you are reallygood at it. I had more problems and couldn’t even write for weeks and I paid a bunch of money for said unusable product that no one could figure out. I switched over to wordpress.com and do love it. They host it and do all of the technical stuff while I just write. I do own my domain but that’s because it’s a specialty one (I’m the Nearly the Bionic Woman blogger). mommystory.com is already taken but rnmommystory is not. Perhaps you could get graphics like wine-girl and winemedineme of a mom in a nurses outfit. You could talk about your kids at work (patients) and the one’s at home. Just watch the whole employer and the blogger issues.You cannot have any advertisements or anything to make money on wordpress.com though, which I had hoped to promote the things I like and am able to be an affiliate for so it that’s your thing then go for the .org version and get help.The biggest thing is to not stress out too much. That was a lot to take in up in Columbus. One day at a time, one piece at a time.You can always set up a wordpress.com acct and see if you like it. You can even import your posts from your blogger to wordpress! No retyping all of it or starting over. Keep in tough and good luck.

  26. hello is my first time to visiting here, wow is a greats site with a greats articles, i’m glad to be read in here. thanks for share

  27. I found out the hard way that running many niche sites built with wordpress (over 80 on one server) causes extreme loading and will have your hosting company wanting you to upgrade. Since that time I found there are plugins (ie WP-Cache) which help offset the load significantly.
    Thanks for this great site and your great heart and integrity in being so honest and sharing your experience. It gets tiring to go through so many “huckster” blogs and sites that are no more substantive than tv infomercials or even when a blog author is seeming to be open, to not be hiding behind a curtain, that you still feel you are somehow being played.
    I don’t know if people still remember how the Internet was founded on the idea that openness, exchange and cooperation would make the world a better place. All of use owe a great debt that it was such people that first formed and developed the Internet and not Time Warner, etc. or the “little guys” with the same corporate intent of putting commercialization and manipulation above exchange and giving value equal or exceeding.
    Please continue being genuine and relating to others. I hope and believe the rewards will come and though I am just starting out, I hope to be a part of that to you.

  28. I already commented but I want to add that one of the things that attracted me to your blog is your thoughtful postings about blogging. Just my 2 cents!

  29. Late to this!! I kinda hate what the professionalism of blogging has done to writers. I think you have to decide what your goals are as a blogger and then work towards those goals. Because if it’s to raise your stats that’s different than sharing your story (yes, you can sure as hell do both but depending on which is top dog, it’ll change your approach). Is it to get more free stuff? More professional opportunities? Greater ad revenue? Greater clarity in your life goals? To become a better writer? All useful, valuable goals but some of them are at odds with each other or can be if you don’t decide which one is the most important and let it be the deciding factor when you’re torn.

    And WordPress.org is easy-peasy. If you use a site like bluehost, the control panel has a one-touch install and you never even need to go into the backend. Jenna’s host has it, too.

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