To Blog or Not to Blog? What You Can Learn From Blogging

My first blog post is dated February 3, 2008.  It has no photographs. One long paragraph, it is visually unappealing.  More akin to a journal entry, describing my early morning walk downtown for coffee, it captures what was on my mind.  I called it “I Love My Dog.”   

Walking Grace, coffee in hand, on a winter morning in Annapolis.

My boss, the publisher of the magazine where I was working told me to start blogging. I originally named it “Write On Annapolis.” According to research at that time, the more blog posts the better. She was trying to increase traffic to the publication website and I was told to keep my blogs short and provide plenty of links to both our magazine content and other websites. 

The website editor suggested that my blog address be an exterior one and set me up on WordPress. My blogging goal was to attract readers from the world wide web who were not necessarily magazine subscribers. It turns out, he did me a huge favor.

The magazine’s website was rebuilt several times and my old articles have vanished, but the content of my original blog remains. Last time I checked, I’ve published 367 posts. Some are trivial and brief and other reveal the thoughts preeminent in my mind. As we are often cautioned, whatever we post online is part of our permanent record. I therefore also keep a sporadic private journal.

The word blog is defined as both a website with personal reflections as well as a feature column or article series in an online publication. If you want to share something with the world longer than a sentence on Facebook, Twitter or another social media site, you write a blog. A blog comes in all shapes an sizes and can be composed of photos, poems, incomplete sentences or scholarly articles. A blog can be used as a media platform to share art.  Or it can solely be a communication tool to sell products and ideas.

I often think about what I’d like to write about while sitting with my labradoodle Chloe.

From a marketing standpoint bloggers are advised to keep their sentences short. Simple prose is best. Choose words that will attract search engines and drive traffic to your website. Google keywords can help you with that. Break up your content with bolded headings. Add photographs. The most popular photographs will include people and pets. The optimal blog length is longer than 350 words and shorter than 700 words.  I frequently break these rules.

Puppy photos are always a hit! These are two of Grace’s puppies.

 Blogging has evolved into a money making enterprise for some writers. The more readers they can entice to view their blog, the more revenue they will collect. But I’m not blogging for the money. Iff I gear my format and content towards making false promises of fortune, fame, instant health or happiness where is the artistic fulfilment? I’m blogging to communicate what’s on my mind. If it makes someone smile or provide new insight, I’m satisfied.

One year ago, when the Covid-19 Pandemic  caused the world shut down, I committed myself to writing a post each week.  Thirteen years of blogging is a long time, and over the years my blogging has escalated and waned. But certainly in this time of self-imposed isolation, the blogging provides a tangible outreach to the world. When the next generation asks me what I was doing during the Pandemic, I’ll have something they can read.

Taking your dog to the park or the beach is something you can do in a Pandemic.

Published by Nadja Maril

Nadja Maril is a communications professional who has over 10 years experience as a magazine editor. A writer and journalist, Maril is the author of several books including: "American Lighting 1840-1940", "Antique Lamp Buyer's Guide", "Me, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat", and "Runaway, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat". Her short stories and essays have been published in several small online journals including Lunch Ticket, Change Seven, Scarlet Leaf Review and Defunkt Magazine. She has an MFA in creative writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Former Editor-in-Chief of What's Up ? Publishing, former Editor of Chesapeake Taste Magazine a regional lifestyle magazine based in Annapolis, and former Lighting Editor of Victorian Homes Magazine, Maril has written hundreds of newspaper and magazines articles on a variety of subjects..

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