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Posted 15th March 2015 at 10:21 AM by doingwrite

The following is the latest post on my new site. I am looking for feedback, because, frankly, I don't have my niche narrowed down. It has to do with changes, and being your own coach through them (I think).
the piece and other posts can be found at:

I’m a writer who wanted to blog, and I thought it would be easy – or at least easier than it is. The learning curve is huge. There are days like today when I live and breathe this “building an online presence as a writer” life with little progress. On such days I feel like someone somewhere keeps yanking the string of knowledge just a bit more out of my reach with every step I take.

There are thousands of blogs and bloggers online, and almost as many groups talking about blogging. At my level I have no idea who is a real expert and who isn’t. I do take advantage of the “experts” free advice for newbies though, for which I am usually eternally grateful.

Others entice with premium classes for a fee, and I’ve been tempted more than once to jump in and see what I could learn. But there are no guarantees, and no end to classes. As a person who learns by doing I just have to go for it, hoping for that big light bulb moment where it all makes sense.

In the meantime, I get flickers of illumination, grounding a new way of looking at how to climb further on this new blogger learning curve.

Choose your words carefully, especially the title.

I will venture to guess that most new bloggers are as unprepared as I was for this steep learning curve. With blogging you can’t just wing it. So many parts of this venture can have a significant impact on a blogger’s success. In many instances, the words we choose have an impact well beyond their meanings.

For instance, there is a science to designing titles, because you want to choose phrases with the least amount of competition online. I have no idea (yet) how to do this other than the following:

• Go to Google chrome and type “Learning curve” in the search bar. Today, I get about 21.5 million hits. That’s a lot of competition for that phrase.
• Now, type “new blogger learning curve.” Today that’s 1.6 million hits, still huge odds but better. So because of that difference, the title to this blog was born.

Like all things blogging I can get lost in the search, and often do just give up trying to find a phrase that's smaller than the last one I tried. I know the more time I put into that kind of research, though, the better chance my words have of being found online.

Choose the right theme.

Themes (the layout of the blog) can be tricky. I'm still using a free theme (thank you, Wordpress), and went through about a dozen before I settled on this one. There are others that seemed better, but I couldn't make them work.

This theme gives me some options as I test the waters, and I (mostly) like the way it works, but there have been some disagreements between me and my theme.

The challenges come from both sides. My blog has been the brunt of my pushiness and it has pushed back. It’s a game of chess and we’re still at the phase where the blog (the theme) generally wins. I’ve been letting go of trying to change it, focusing on my writing.

But then something weird will happen, and I’m back playing the game with my site. About an hour ago in fact, my blog’s home page was blank. It looks okay now, but I’m going to check it more often to see if it shifts again. In the meantime, I’ll call my friends in different areas of the country tomorrow and find out what they can see. Then I’ll get onto my dashboard again, making my chess move and hoping it’s one where I can get some control.

Stay out of the information vortex.

It's easy to get lost in clicking links.
I'm like a kid in a candy store and can get really lost when researching. I did it again this morning. I was looking for sources, and found a site with a link to “blogs of the day.” I clicked, deeper and deeper into that list. Then the sidebars referenced other articles/blogs on blogging so I started clicking on them. And so forth. As usual, my brain started to feel like it would implode, and I just closed my laptop and went to do something else. There is too much information out there and not enough in my head.

It also seeps into my email inbox, which is packed with persistent emails from seasoned bloggers offering advice. I’ve been so hungry to have my “aha” moment that I’ve clicked on dozens of sites offering help. Now, slowly but surely I’m “unsubscribing” from all but the few that resonate with me. And I'm learning to NOT give out my email address so readily.

Realize it takes time and practice to learn a new language

Patience is not one of my virtues, but as a new blogger patience is critical.

This is a new language, and most of us don't learn new languages overnight. This language includes words like "widgets," "plugins," and "RSS." There are domain hosts, and blog hosts. And, if I understand this correctly, we try to monetize our blogs, keeping an eye on the Google Analytics to discover whether our keyword density is enough to bring traffic to the site. (Or something like that.)

Find your niche.

This is where I'll end this post because "finding my niche" is my current challenge (in addition, of course, to feeling like I really understand this process). I wanted this site to be about life's changes, and I wanted to have a lot of options. But I've learned the more you specialize on any particular blog, the better the chances of actually getting readers.

I'm still writing about changes, but figuring out where to narrow - if it's the subject matter, my writing style, or my point of view. Stay tuned, and I'll let you know how it's going.
There is lots happening at once, and I'm still waiting for the“aha” moment that will bring this all together. I know it's out there, and on its way towards me. This learning curve is definitely steep, but I’m going to do more than survive it. I’m gonna master it.
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