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!