Bloggy Musings: My Blogging History (aka A List of My Failed Blogs)

 
 

I’ve seen a lot of fellow book bloggers mention that they had some failed blogs before their current one, and, well, I too had some failed blogs before this one. And since it was this blog’s two year anniversary on Sunday, this just seemed like the perfect time to look back on all those other blogs that didn’t make it anywhere near two years and tell you all about them :-D

 

 

I’m pretty sure my first blog was for a school assignment. I don’t remember exactly what the class was, some sort of required creative/media class for ad majors. All I remember is that I had to create some print ads and a blog with like three posts. I ended up making my blog about beauty—not like makeup and hair, but like… the philosophy of beauty? Probably wasn’t what my professor was expecting when I asked if my topic could be beauty lol. I liked the whole blogging thing though, this outlet to express my thoughts on things, so I figured I’d just keep it going and have a real blog! That didn’t happen. I’m pretty sure I never wrote even a single other post.

After that I think I tried to start an alternative medicine/health blog. I’m not even sure I wrote any posts? I don’t remember. That should tell you everything you need to know about how well that blogging endeavor went.

I know I ended up having to create two more blogs for school assignments, but those weren’t really used as blogs, more just websites with some pages to showcase our assignments and work.

After that, I joined Squidoo. Squidoo is no longer in existence, but the way it worked was that, instead of a blog, you just wrote articles. You didn’t need a niche; you could write about a million different things, and then you just chose the right category for each, and they went to that section of the site along with everyone else’s articles about that topic. You could also make money from Amazon affiliate marketing as well from the ad revenue the site made. Articles were ranked according to some algorithm, and then there were tiers; the top 1000 or so articles would get X percentage of the ad revenue the entire site made, the next 10,000 articles would get a smaller percentage, etc. Well, joining Squidoo turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. Within about six months of joining, I won a kindle in a contest, I won a sewing machine (that I gave to my grandma) in another contest, and I made significantly more money than I had expected to. But the really funny part is the reason I was able to get my articles into the top tier and make so much money.

Ok, so, one of the common types of articles on Squidoo was costume pages where you would give suggestions for how to dress like certain characters or things and then include links to the items on Amazon. Well, around the time I started on Squidoo, the cartoon Gravity Falls started on TV. I decided to make some costume pages for the characters on the show. It just so happened, however, that I was the FIRST person to make costume pages for that show. Like, the first person period, not just on Squidoo. The show exploded with a cult-like following, and I apparently filled a void on the internet. I’m talking first link at the top of Google searches. Everyone who wanted to dress up like those characters ended up using my articles. People even sometimes asked me questions like, “If I can’t get/make [this part of the costume], can I wear [whatever other thing] instead?” as though my answer was the deciding factor in what was acceptable. It was too funny to me because I was literally just some random person sitting behind a computer. And that, my friends, is how I became the #1 authority on Gravity Falls cosplay despite having never dressed up as a Gravity Falls character in my life. :-) When Squidoo shut down, I moved my articles somewhere else for a while but have since taken them down. So my 15 minutes of internet authority are officially over.

Squidoo was also my first experience with an online community though, another thing to add to the list of why joining Squidoo was a great decision. I spent a lot of time on the forums, and we all discussed things and helped each other, and it was nice.

During that time I also tried out some other similar sites, but none of them stuck.

After Squidoo shut down, I decided to take the leap and start my own blog on my own domain and hosting. I think the first self-hosted blog I created was about college tips and advice. I was still in college (albeit taking online classes at that point), and I had a lot of good advice to give. But my heart wasn’t in it, and I knew I was gonna run out of stuff to say, so that didn’t last very long.

I know at some point around that time I also tried a poetry blog and a personal blog, both of which had like two posts before I gave them up.

After that, I started up a site with the sole purpose of just making some money through affiliate links and made a bunch of posts with gift guides and the like (e.g. gifts for book lovers). That didn’t last long either since I didn’t care about a single thing I was posting, and I just couldn’t bring myself to keep doing it.

It was after that when I finally learned about book blogs and eventually made one of my own! And, as you all can clearly see, this is the blog that finally stuck and lasted.

So, the moral of the story is, if you want to consistently keep a blog, you either need to have A LOT of willpower, or you need to find a topic you’re truly passionate about and that has a community you can get involved in.

BUT I don’t regret all those failed blogs. I mean, not only did I win some stuff and make some money, I learned a lot. I tried out Blogger, WordPress.com, Squidoo, Zujava, HubPages, Weebly, and WordPress.org (which is where I am now) and learned the pros and cons of each platform. I already understood the basics of HTML, but I learned more when I started using Squidoo, and then I learned CSS and some PHP just by playing around with it and Googling and trying things once I moved into self-hosting. I learned how great and supportive online communities can be. I learned about SEO. I learned how to get more comfortable with writing posts in order to let my own voice come through. And, most importantly, I think all those failed blogs are what led me to eventually start this one!

 
 

Talk to me!

Do you have any failed blogs in your past?
What were they about?
Have you seen Gravity Falls?

 

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  1. Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews

    When I read the post title I thought, what does she mean by that and immediately I went ohh I know she means, I’ve done it! I think everyone more or less has had some experience with blogging before they create THE blog. Personally I had a blogspot one that was totally confusing and then a livejournal one that I thought I was cool enough to pull off with my personal stuff, like favorite songs, quotes and stuff. I’m not. And I don’t think I ever deleted my LJ account now that I think about it. Then I created my current one and later went into self-hosting so like you said, they all lead up to the one. Great post!

    Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews recently posted: The Smallest Thing by Lisa Manterfield

  2. chucklesthescot

    I had a general blog where I talked about everything but my life is pretty dull really (I don’t really go out much or do anything) so I ended up talking mostly about books and tv/films. I figured I might as well just launch a book blog and here I am! I had just got into Indie books so my early focus was on author and book promotion as well as reviews.

    Sorry, never heard of Gravity Falls.

    chucklesthescot recently posted: Can't Wait Wednesday

    1. Kristen Burns

      My life is dull too lol, so yeah, books gives me something to talk about at least! That’s cool that you focused on author promotion when you first started. It was actually indie books that got me interested in starting a blog too, except I didn’t have the guts to contact authors or anything like that. I just wanted to write reviews in order to help promote books that weren’t as well known.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks!

      I’m glad someone else thinks it’s funny, because I sure do lol. I didn’t even mean for that to happen, it just did. But it also shows that you have a lot better chances of ranking well on Google and all that if you’re the FIRST one to carve out a certain niche.

  3. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    oh haha! yesterday I left a comment about not knowing how old I was as a blogger because my two blogs :) so I’m so happy you posted this :)

    I wonder if I had liked to have a school assignment like that! :)

    WOW little wify of mine! You have been around huh? you know.. I don’t know how I feel about that! [LOL!] as a PNR reader I would have liked my wife to much more innocent :) :) :)

    now seriously speaking… I think it’s great you have all this experience and history. I remember in my past life when you told me about your previous blog and how you weren’t as social. Glad you decided to be very social with this one because that’s what I love. All your interactions. :)

    And yes, you gotta love what you blog about. I always wanted to explore the affiliated links but I wonder if it’d take the magic away for me

    Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium recently posted: Seven Years (Seven #1) – Down to earth PNR!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m sorry that I could not be your blushing blogging virgin. I guess I will have to take the role of the alpha male player with all the experience ;-)

      It’s not using affiliate links themselves that’s the problem. I do use affiliate links on this blog. It was that the only point of that blog was using the links. I didn’t actually care about anything I was writing. So as long as you care about what you’re writing, tossing in a few links to make a few bucks doesn’t take away any of the magic :-)

  4. Karen

    I started with a political blog 9 years ago because I thought there wasn’t enough reasonable discussion. I’m SOOOOOO glad I didn’t keep that. lol

    Then I started my current blog but as a personal blog to talk about a lot of different things – books, music, movies, life. It somehow morphed into a book review blog but is shifting back to an everything blog.

    For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      Well I too I’m glad you switched topics because I don’t read political blogs and never would have become bloggy friends with you lol.

      I think a personal blog can work as long as it still has some sort of niche that allows you to join up with a community, like how we all are bookworms and post book reviews or discussions about books, and so we have that in common, but most of us oftentimes post about our personal lives or movies or other media too.

  5. Lola

    Wow that are a lot of other blogs/ blogging attempt you had before this one. i enjoyed reading about your short time of fame on that squidoo platform. And that’s neat you even won some things and made some money.

    Lola’s Reviews is my first blog. I did start on blogger first and then moved to wordpress. Oh and I was a co-blogger for a bit more than half a year before I started my own blog. That’s how I came into contact with blogging. someone I knew on Goodreads asked me to join her blog as co-blogger and I did and then slowly learned a bit about blogging. Eventually we decide to go our separate ways and she helped me set up my own blog. There were a lot of things I didn’t knew as I only did reviews and blog tour stops posts on the other, so it was still a learning curve when I started my own blog, but it helped already knowing a bit.

    And now I remember I’ve been part of a group blog for a little bit, but I eventually dropped out of that to focus on my own blog and I think the the group blog fell apart eventually as more people left or started their own blog instead.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I did go through a lot of other blogs. I still think it’s so funny about what happened with the Gravity Falls thing lol. But the stuff that I won and the money I made from Squidoo was fantastic, especially since I needed the money, and it was getting that Kindle that got me back into reading in the first place.

      That’s interesting that you were a co-blogger first, and that’s nice that she helped you set up your own blog eventually. I guess we all have a learning curve though. Even with all the other blogs I had tried, I still had a lot of figure out about book blogging in particular once I started.

      Group blogs just seem difficult to me. I like being able to make all the decisions for my own blog. Maybe it’s just all those terrible experiences of group projects throughout school that makes me never want to work with a group again, haha.

  6. Olivia Roach

    Wow, that’s a very long journey to being where you are now! I had one other blog, which was basically a private one where I ranted about all the bad things in my life. No one could read it lol. But I’ve deleted it, and then I made Olivia’s Catastrophe! I had a writing blog which was for a school project. It was with some other bloggers, but we were a bit unorganised so I called it quits. It’s still up on wordpress though, because I think those articles could be useful to whoever stumbles across them.

    Olivia Roach recently posted: June Wrap Up & Giveaway!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I guess I did have a long journey. That’s cool that you left that one site up. I was kind of bummed to take my college tips site down because I think those could still be helpful to people too, but they were on a self hosted site, and I didn’t want to keep paying for that, and it was too much work to move them to a free site.

  7. AngelErin

    Happy blogoversary! I had a failed blog before this one as well. It was years ago and it was about my life with my autistic daughter. It failed because it was too difficult to write and I just never gave it my all really. Lol.

  8. Rachel @ Chocolate and Chapters

    Oh gosh, yes, I have had blogs in the past.

    I had a blog on Blogger when I was a young teenager (like 13-15 years old), where I would write about my personal life in WAYYYY too much detail. I had a lot of readers and looking back, I can’t believe how flippant I was about everything I said! Like, if there was a crazy person on my following list, they could have tracked me down EASILY. Which is ridiculous of me! I had that for awhile, but then got embarrassed by how much personal stuff I had, so I deleted it. (I wasn’t embarrassed of the personal information I had posted, but about the crushes I had talked about, etc. Gosh… being a teenager…)

    After I got married, I started another blog that I used as a journal. I was much better about not divulging personal stuff, but not enough. I still use that blog about seven years later, but I’ve made it Private so only Friends on a list can see it.

    And now, I have my book blog! I’ve never had a non-personal blog so I have a lot to learn!

    Rachel @ Chocolate and Chapters recently posted: Homemade Moon Pies: The perfect companion for your summer reading

    1. Kristen Burns

      I am really glad I didn’t have a blog when I was 15 lol. I used to keep a journal back then, and I cringe just reading that sometimes. I can’t imagine how embarrassed I’d be if all of that stuff were posted publicly.

      That’s cool that you have a private blog for your friends, that makes sense.

      I’m the opposite and that I’ve never really had a personal blog, so I’m always trying to find a balance between how much personal information I should share too but in the opposite way lol.

  9. Wren

    Yeah I have some failed blogs…… I used to be on Tumblr years ago. Got bullied and harassed. My blog was literally stalked by people because they didn’t like something I had said. And then I got messages from people going on about how I deserved horrible things to happen to me because I liked a book lots of people really hated……gotta love Tumblr. I left that site but I had a friend post some of my book reviews on her page at the start of my new blogging experience. I thought maybe I could gain some followers through her. But then she started getting harassed too and I was like, please take my reviews down before people track me down and start bullying me again! That’s why I left Tumblr in the first place, after all. Looking back, I don’t even get why I was on Tumblr for so long anyways…. I didn’t even like it haha. I guess I was just bored.

    Wren recently posted: Blood Sinister by Celia Rees

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m sorry you were bullied like that. I will never understand the cruelty of some people. There’s no excuse for treating someone like that when what they’re doing isn’t hurting anyone else. I’m glad you finally have your own blog where you can talk about the books you love :-)

  10. Greg

    Wow you had a lot of pre- blog activity. :) I kinda feel like I came late to blogging, because even though I’ve been doing this for a while it was like only 2012 that I actually started (it took almost another year to start posting regularly), and so many people have been blogging since the 2000’s that I wonder why I was so late to the party? And I did have that early phase where I THOUGHT it was going to be a book blog but also that it might be something else too… it took a while to narrow that down lol.

    And Squidoo I had heard of but never checked out. Awesome story though you became the Gravity Falls cosplay expert! :)

    Greg recently posted: Ivory and Bone

    1. Kristen Burns

      I guess I did. But actually, that first blog I created for the class wasn’t until 2012, I think. So you weren’t any later than I was. I’m always late to the party though. For some reason I’m very resistant to new things lol.

      Thanks! I still think the Gravity Falls thing is too funny.

  11. Laura

    Wow, you definitely have an illustrious blogging history! It all sounds like good experience to me, and it is pretty cool that you were the authority on Gravity Falls cosplay! And happy blogoversary by the way! :)
    Boats Against The Current is my first blog, and whilst I’m happy that my first blog is still going almost three years later, I probably could have benefitted from some previous experience, because I literally had no idea what I was doing when I first started. I just decided to jump straight into self-hosted wordpress, which was a pretty crazy thing to do really for a first blog. There was every chance I wouldn’t stick with it, when I had paid hosting fees and everything! Thankfully I did stick with it, but when I look back at some of my early blog posts (and photography!) now, they do seem pretty rubbish, because I had no experience at all of writing blog posts or articles.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Illustrious, what a positive way to spin it LOL. But it really was good experience even if they were all failures in the end. Thanks!

      That is pretty crazy that you jumped into self-hosting right away, but hey, it worked out in the end! Maybe knowing that you paid for it helped you stay motivated in the beginning lol.

  12. Karen Blue

    I have hear of Squidoo but I had no idea what it was. Your story is one worth sharing. It is really cool that you got all that free stuff. Now Amazon sellers are where you get free stuff by having a high amazon rank. I just turn stuff down lately because it violates their new policies. It was fun while it lasted. Thanks for sharing your experience with blogging!

    Karen Blue recently posted: Weird Things Only Bloggers Do

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, Squidoo was great while it was around. I’ve never had a high enough Amazon ranking to get free stuff from sellers. That’s cool that you have though, but it sucks that you can’t anymore :-/

  13. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Wow, you did go on an adventure with blogging and an interesting one! I know I never had to do any blog things for school but I did discover LiveJournal as a youth (about the time I was getting into fandom type things) and so had a very terrible LiveJournal for a while. I rarely posted and mostly just looked at everyone else’s stuff. I just redesigned my LiveJournal constantly with new headers. That’s where I learnt about design and photoshop and all of that stuff and really was very terrible at it. Really, all my blogging type adventures have been related to fandom (although I debated beauty blogging at one point and then remembered I don’t like taking photos and so that never happened. I actually decided to book blog two years after learning what book blogs are. I wish I’d discovered them and started blogging at uni as it would have been great for me… but I didn’t and there is little I can do about that now. I thought blogging would be another thing I gave up on but I’m still going strong three years later and I’m so proud of that fact. Go me!

    Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity recently posted: Sunday Summary // 16.07.2017

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol that’s too funny that you didn’t really post, you just redesigned a lot. But if that’s how you started to learn about designing and Photoshop, then it was still beneficial experience! And yay, I’m glad you didn’t give up and are still blogging!

  14. Evelina

    Hahaha, your costume post story :D that was great! I laughed so much. Absolutely loved it. Squidoo sounds awesome, actually, although I’ve never heard about it before! Too bad it shut down, huh. I wonder why?
    You had a lot of blogs though, didn’t you! I had a few as well, I had a LiveJournal when I was a teen, back when that wasn’t Russian-owned yet. It was quite popular here, and everyone just had personal blogs, no particular theme (the internet was so different! I remember it now and thank it’s so weird!) Then I had a few different dream blogs. Mostly just dream journals (I was very into lucid dreaming at one point.) Then I didn’t have anything for a looooong time and then had my regular blog :) this one, I mean.

    Evelina recently posted: Sunday post #15

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol I’m glad someone else finds it funny to. Scooby-Doo was a great site, I don’t know why it shut down.

      I’ve heard a lot about livejournal, but I never had one myself. Oh cool, did you ever manage to actually do the lucid dreaming? I remember a lot of dreams but I’ve never been able to control them, and the few times I’ve become aware I was dreaming, I immediately woke up.

  15. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    Well, now I just really want to see your Gravity Falls costume posts. You need to link them up somewhere! I kind of love that you have this whole other side to you that we all don’t know about. I’m typically JUST a book blog reader, but if a blogger I love posts about other things, I read them. Like your posts about SIMS (which reminds me, I have to go check to see if I’ve missed any of those).

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted: The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan: Review of a Perfect Summer Read!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol they really weren’t anything special, just suggestions for clothing to wear that looks like the characters’ clothing. But they don’t exist anymore anyway, I took them down. Haha, I haven’t posted any more Sims stuff yet, but I’m going to post an update soon!

  16. Emma

    I had one blog before my book blog for about a year. It was more general, reading, cooking, crafts. I realised books were taking up more and more of the posts and were the ones I enjoyed writing most. I started from scratch because I wanted a fresh start / relaunch,

    Emma recently posted: Weekly update: 16th July, 2017

  17. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    What a cool trail to follow!

    I started a couple of random blogs previously too, although not for the sake of blogging… One was supposed to be a family blog, like our own personal Facebook but was supposed to be a collaborative effort from everyone in my extended family (none of us ever posted!) and another was one that only held draft posts and was going to be a ‘road to a baby’ blog…. So random.

    Starting a book blog wasn’t exactly the logical succession but there you have it!

    Di @ Book Reviews by Di recently posted: Review: The Last Magician - Lisa Maxwell

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol about the family blog that no one ever posted to. Your blog succession may not have been logical, but neither was mine. I posted about college and costumes and other random stuff before books!

  18. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    Books for a Delicate Eternity is my first (but not only) blog! Unless Tumblrs count, but since I wasn’t writing any posts on Tumblr I don’t think they really count. When I found out about book blogs in 2013 I decided that I needed to create one. I didn’t have anyone in “real life” to talk to about books, and yet they were (and still are) one of the biggest aspects of my life. So I went ahead and created my blog on WordPress.com and then in 2014 I switched to WordPress.org (which I LOVE because my design is mine, mine, mine XD). In 2015 (I think) I created my writing/author blog. I don’t use it as much, and it certainly doesn’t have the same following as my book blog, but I like the things I post over there :D

    I think it’s interesting that you have so many blogging experiences behind you! And like you said: they led you to this one, which is the best thing!

    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted: Six Thoughts on Sad Girls by Lang Leav

    1. Kristen Burns

      I think a lot of us are in the same situation, that we love books but don’t have anyone in our real life to talk to about them, and that’s why we’ve ended up with a Blog! And I definitely agree about wordpress.org! Even if you don’t have as many followers on your other blog, as long as you enjoy posting there, that’s what counts!

  19. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I did a knitting blog where I did a project together with my sister and we shared our progress. That was fun but had no followers. Then I was a new mom and didn’t have much time so I dropped it.

    I also started a LiveJournal at one point because I saw authors and cool people had them, but that didn’t last long.

    I didn’t really get into blogging, or understand how to attract followers, until my current one – started when I had more time to put into it. I’m glad that’s still going!

    1. Kristen Burns

      As long as you had fun, I guess the followers don’t matter :-)

      I heard a lot about livejournal but never used it or read it myself. Apparently lots of people did though since a lot of people have said they had one!

      Same, I didn’t really understand the whole blog-hopping/getting followers thing until my current blog!