Hi, I'm Morgan Day Cecil and here is a little bit about what I've learned so far as a "blogger"...
The process of getting clear about my intention with blogging (i.e. to do it 'for real'/as a profession) was a gift in re-getting to know who I am. It was also a process of gaining confidence in that unique message I get to share with the world. I think as bloggers we all occasional struggle with "does what I say really matter?" I began blogging 3 years ago with no clear purpose or point in my sharing. I was just sharing my life from the simple need to share life. I was a single mom who had nothing to do with her nights while her young babe slept, and so starting an online journal of my life/i.e. "blogging" seemed like an interesting way to deal with the silence in my room.
I've grown through several stages in my blogging and my blogs have changed shape and theme over time. I'm still experimenting in fact. But what began as "willy-nillyness" has matured. I have more clarity now and discretion. ;) I've learned a lot. Made a lot of mistakes. (Still allowing myself to make several more).
Where I am headed now comes less from the need to share my life with the world--I married now to an awesome husband (hooray!) and what I once shared publically I now get to treasure privately in relationship--and more from the need to give back and create community in a way that can benefit "my tribe." I spend more time thinking "how can this post be of value to others?"
Bluegrass Romance is a fun family project, but really it's just been a healthy way for me to transition. What I'm working on now (still in development) is a more over-arching project (MorganDayCecil.com) that will enable me to offer more help/guidance/advice/tools to those who have expressed interest in learning more about love/social media/personal development type stuff. My readers, over the years, have given me the gift of telling me what there needs are, but until now I didn't know how I could serve them. My free spirit tendecy is to just begin somthing without a clear plan for what I'm beginning, but in this next project, there is a lot more strategy going on-- a reflection of my own growth and one surprising change since I began as a blogger. It's taken me a few years, but I finally feel equipped to "put on my girl pants". ;)
How question:What blogging platforms (Blogspot, Typepad, Wordpress, etc.) have you tried, and which do you like best, for what reasons?
I started with a .wordpress blog. It was free. I set it up in an evening while drinking a glass of red wine. My first post was just a ramble about how much I loved the movie Love Actually. It got no comments ;) I was making conversation with the void for a long time before the void ever spoke back...still, it felt nice to share.
Anyway, back on track: I now use the wordpress platform for my blogs but my blogs are self-hosted (i.e I have purchased my own domain and installed wordpress on my own "web space". I use Bluehost for my website hosts if you are wondering). I've done all the design myself. Spent HOURS learning CSS by trial and error. (This little app called FIREBUG made things a bit easier for me).
I don't know about typepad or blogspot, because once you start with wordpress you rarely every find a reason to switch-- plus each require a learning curve I imagine so once you've gotten familiar with one, you kinda want to stay put. ;)
One little blog platform I've discovered recently and am having fun with exploring is Tumblr. Check it out.I think it's a great avenue to start with if you are just getting your feet wet as a blogger. It has a nice community component and it reminds me a little of Twitter in the sense that you can "reblog" another blogger's content if you find it interesting-- like the "ReTweet" function on Twitter.
More how questions:
Here are my fave resources re: blogging
URGH! Just spent 30 min on this section and lost it. Dang internet connection! Wish I would have saved as I was going. (I should know this by now, right??) Okay, I'll do a quick sum up, but I'm really sad you missed out on my longer description of each...
2). Woothemes Free and premium themes for wordpress
3). Third Tribe (affiliate link) This is membership site to learn about the business of blogging created by Chris Brogan and the like. It's internet marketing strategies with integrity and an emphasis on community building. I've been a paying member for a few months and feel like I'm learning a lot.
4). Copyblogger Great education on copywriting
5). Smashing Magazine Design elements and vectors to sprouse up website and blog posts
What else? Lot's more. Enough for now though! Must save before I loose this again... ;) THank you Rona for these questions. Looking forward to hearing from each of you!