Tag: Blogging

2018 Blog Goals

I have never been much of a person for making goals for a coming year, especially not for my writing or my blog. Sure, there’s things I’d like to do, but I generally don’t set them out in goal form.

I thought I’d change that this year for a few different reasons. First and foremost, I’ve had this blog for a little over three years now. While I’ve enjoyed writing on this blog, it’s never quite reached the traffic levels of either of the two blogs I had before that. I recognize that part of that is timing related. Early on in this blog’s existence, the active blogging community I was part of closed its doors. I received a decent amount of traffic from that site, we well as various bloggers who frequented that site coming to my blog(s) directly. Losing that was unfortunate.

Additionally, I think blogging as a medium is in a decline. That’s not to say that people don’t read blogs anymore, as I don’t think that’s the case. What I do see, however, is a decrease in the number of bloggers who have stuck with blogging for a long time. I can count on one hand1Maybe two hands. But that’s only if I’m being generous or if I’m forgetting a lot of people. the number of bloggers who I’ve seen stick with blogging over the past three years. There’s new bloggers out there who write good content, but for every one new blogger I’ve seen, I can think of three or four that have stopped.

I do see other bloggers doing great things. I’ve watched Laidig grow her blog significantly over the past year. Tabitha does some of the better written posts you’ll come across. Todd does some quality (and frequent) work on his blog. There’s other great writers out there (even non-bloggers) who are doing great work that leaves me inspired to improve what I do each day.

In light of all of this, I think there’s definitely some value to setting some goals for my blog. Here’s the goals I’m setting for 2018, along with a short explanation of why I’m setting each. I recognize the numbers I’ll be mentioning below aren’t big numbers, but you have to start somewhere.

  • 20 new WordPress followers – This blog doesn’t have a ton of WordPress followers, as I get a decent amount of my traffic via my various social media accounts. That said, I did pick up 16 new WordPress followers last year, bringing the site’s total to 29. I’d like to think that picking up 5 new followers per quarter (on average) isn’t particularly outlandish as a goal.
  • Average 250 visits a month – Last year, That Tiny Website averaged 197 visits a month. On one hand, that was a great thing to see, as it was this site’s best year ever. On the other hand, my previous blog’s worst full year saw an average of 245 visits per month. This will be the site’s third full year in existence and second one where I’m writing fairly regularly. I don’t want to be lagging behind my old work anymore. I recognize that this is around a 27% growth number, but I’d like to think I can hit it.
  • Grow comment count by 20% again – My blog comment totals got thrown all out of whack when I migrated from WordPress.com to a self-hosted blog2Through my own error. I didn’t follow directions well.. As such, the only comment data I have is from 2016 and 2017, where I went from 102 comments to 122. Ideally, I’d like to see a similar percentage increase this year, which would mean 147 comments on this blog this year.

I realize that none of this will be able to be done without the help of you, those who are reading my blog. Some of you have been reading and interacting with me for quite a while. For that, I thank you. Others of you are likely new to this blog. Welcome. I hope you stick around a while.

 

What are some of your goals for the new year? If you’re a blogger, podcaster, YouTuber, or other creator, what are some of your personal growth goals for 2018? Sound off in the comments.

Jealousy and Confusion

I’m almost always excited when I see people I know succeed. It’s gratifying to see people I’ve worked with, people I’ve learned from, people I’ve mentored, or even people I’ve influenced become successful in their own way. It’s also great to see people who I’ve looked up to be successful. In some cases, they were already doing well for themselves when I heard of them. In other cases, that person was as anonymous as me when I first met them, but they’ve made something of themselves. It’s an awesome thing to see.

Yet, for some reason I cannot fully explain or comprehend, I find myself jealous of that success. Instead of solely being happy for my friend or colleague, I’m wishing that I had received that book deal or that I been the one to get that promotion — even if their triumph was in an area that has little to nothing to do with what I’m good at doing or what I enjoy doing.

As a kid, I wanted to be a lot of different things when I grew up (as most kids are wont to do). At various points, I wanted to be a history teacher, a pro football player, a race car driver, an author, and a famous musician. Somewhere in there, around the age of 11 or so, I wanted to be a professional wrestler. The urge to be a wrestler didn’t last any longer than the other things that I wanted to be when I grew up[1], but it sticks out to me as an adult because of how vividly I had thought things through. I was going to go wrestle for the WWF, where my ring name would be the Juke Box Hero — an odd cross between early 1990s Randy Savage and HBK-era Shawn Michaels —  and my finishing move would be a knee drop from the top turnbuckle. My dad even got mad at me when I broke my brother’s bed by performing said knee drop on one of my pillows. My entrance music? Clearly already picked out for me.

I obviously didn’t become a pro wrestler[2]. I have zero regrets about not being one either. But I think the appeal to that childhood ambition was to be noticed. When you’re in the wrestling ring, the focus is, by its very nature, on you. The better you and your opponent are at putting on a show and telling a story, the more the crowd cares about what you have to say. Professional wrestling is just as much about story telling as it is feats of athletic prowess. Just don’t tell that to pre-teen me.

As an adult, I’ve learned that I don’t always want the spotlight on me. In an age of social media panic, every action we take is judged and misjudged until the meaning is largely lost. Yet that same technology is also the technology that allowed me to get what I had to say out to the masses — be that this blog, my book, my podcast, or just the random bullshit I spouted off for whatever reason.

I know these people I see around me being successful are becoming that way because they’re working their asses off. I know I do the same — just not to the same extent. It’s not to say I don’t try hard. I definitely try hard and I definitely care a ton about the creative work I create. If I could be someone who just creates meaningful content for a living, be that my own work or something educational like Crash Course, that would be the ideal job situation for me.

Yet I haven’t completely found the thing that moves me so much that I want to create content about that thing and nothing more. I haven’t found that idea that sparks me to want to develop that pro wrestling persona that I thought up as a child (or at least its adulthood applicable equivalent). And that fact is both inspiring and depressing. On one hand, I know I have a lot of time to get to the point where I am inspired. Yet, on the other hand, I know the longer that inspiration goes unfound, the harder it’ll be for me to act upon it.

Adult responsibilities kill time. There’s only so much time to be had before you have no free time left. And to create quality work, you need time to focus your energy on that work. That means for me, and for many others, if you’re working a full-time job and trying to create creative content, you need some time to unwind. It works out great if you never sleep. That said, I’ve found that sleep deprived content rarely turns out positive.

I want to see my work be successful. I want to achieve some modicum of greatness with my life. I want to make an impact with the work I do. I wouldn’t be jealous of the success of others if I didn’t want these things. I’m just confused as to the direction I need to go.

Best Of The Week Posts (Intro)

As those of you who follow me on Twitter know, over the past couple of months I’ve been posting blog posts that I feel are exceptionally well-written, or worth sharing for content related reasons. This weekly feature has been hashtagged #BestOfTheWeek, and is intended to help generate traffic to blog posts (and, by extension, bloggers) who deserve it.

Now that I’ve been posting these recommendations for a while, I’ve recommended a lot of posts. Going forward, I’ll be sharing my best of the week posts here every Sunday, as well as on Twitter. That said, I’ve got tons of posts I need to share here to get me caught up. I’ve tried to categorize them the best I could, however some posts may fall into multiple categories.

Art

Aesthetics Are Important by Erin Veness

Tempered Dreams by Erin Veness

Sketchbook #2 by Erin Veness

Wine, Art, and Statistics by Lorraine

Be Yourself (NO) by Erin Veness

Business

You Might Be An Annoying Customer If… by Cherie Jamison

The Art of the Conversation Starter by Krystal

Is Being a High-Earning Career Woman Killing Your Marriage? by Tabitha Wells

Why I Resigned by Jun

Education

Should I Attend A Local University by Kara Beth

Ontario’s New Sex Ed Curriculum by Tabitha Wells

Are You Going Back To School? by Brittany of Pines and Palmettos

Film and Television

Review of The Emperor’s New Groove by Willie Sun

On Flawed {Annoying} Heroes by Risha Nandagiri

Resting Bitch Face + Live TV by Bree

My Farewell to Jon Stewart by Jill of All Trades

Food

Smooth(ie) Operator by Sacha Chiniara

Triple Berry Muffins by Kate Gone Coastal

Going Gourmet by Kate Gone Coastal

DIY Orange Kiwi Popsicles by Nicola M

Candies That Followed Me Through Childhood by Jun

Health/Social Issues

Not Thinking by Erin Veness

Gotta Eat To Live by Sarah

Oh Captain, My Captain by Kate Gone Coastal

#ViolenceIsViolence by Saphfyre

How To Be Kind To Yourself by Sarah

Reasons To Keep Going by Sarah

What Happened To Your Face? Did You Have A Stroke Or Something? by Nicola M

What’s Wrong With Telling Women How To Prevent Getting Raped? by Jill of all Trades

The Game of Comparison by Erin Veness

50 Shades of Nope by House of Hale

Why We Need to Stop Circumcising Our Children by Jill of all Trades

Humor

Products That Made Me Nope So Hard by Sacha Chiniara

The Old Internet Was Terrible by Ed Irkitated

Be My Person by Sacha Chiniara

You Should Wash Your Car, You Stupid Bitch by Jas Sams

5 Stages of Social Media Use by Agent Q

My Opinion of the Basic Sex Positions by Jill of All Trades

Mars One is a One-Way Suicide Mission by Ed Irkitated

Nudity Required for this Shit Part in my Shit Film by Jas Sams

Life

Talking by Lauren

What It’s Like Being Biracial by Amanda Osborn

Vacation Days vs Salary by Amanda Osborn

How To Get A Job At A NGO by Flynn

About Me In Threes by Kate Gone Coastal

On Self-Perception by Willie Sun

I’m Currently Hungover and a Little Bit Melancholy by Lauren

What Does Job Satisfaction Really Mean? by Jun

Til Now I’m Doing Great, Doing Well is Pretty Vague by Amanda

This Post Has No Pictures by Super Saiyan M

Things You Learn When You Buy (and Renovate) a House by Kate Gone Coastal

Love/Relationships

I Want Someone by Willie Sun

When Viewpoints Collide by Agent Q

Why I Took My Husband’s Last Name by Brittany of Pines and Palmettos

Casual Sex Not Just For The Single by Twenty-Ish

Online Dating My Way To Oblivion by Christa Lei

What The Heck Is A Professional Bridesmaid by Jen Glantz

You’ve Gotta (un)friend by Emmy Potter

Thinking Out Loud: Down the Rabbit Hole of Intimacy by Tish Haridass

Feminists Can Be Sexually Submissive (But 50 Shades is Still Awful) by Jill of All Trades

Tips for a DIY Budget by Brittany of Pines and Palmettos

Music

The Death of the iPod by Amanda of Static Image

Efficient Preparation by Agent Q

Well This Isn’t Fun: Frontman Nate Ruess Goes Solo by Stephanie

Politics

Jean Valjean Was a Criminal by Kat Argo

Protests, Tear Gas, and Uncertainty About Hong Kong’s Democratic Future by Amanda Osborn

Ebola Changing The West African Culture by Kat Argo

To Infinity and Beyond… by Dan 2.0

The Worsening Ukrainian Civil War by Kat Argo

Rafael Lusvarghi: The Viking of Donbas by Kat Argo

Arming Ukraine, and the Naivete of Soviet Tactics by Kat Argo

Philosophy

Silence by Brittany of Pines and Palmettos

Intimate Strangers by Samantha I. E.

Age Is Just A Number Yo! by Nicola M

What Being A Teacher Taught Me by Agent Q

A Response To Women Against Feminism by Tabitha Wells

Morality – A Human Invention by Agent Q

Sports

Robby Glantz Brings Power Skating Techniques to Central Texas by Sean Shapiro

What Is This, I Don’t Even by Wrestling Out Of Context

Technology

The Great Social Media Story by Casey Palmer

How To Avoid Poor Navigation on Websites and Blogs by Holly Pryce

Why I Deleted Facebook by Jill of All Trades

XBox, Playstation, or Nintendo by Tabby G

Travel

My Travel Wishlist by Amanda Osborn

Kaifeng, China – Part 2 by Kristina

Kaifeng, China – Part 3 by Kristina

The Accidental Bridesmaid by Cherie Jamison

Walking The Night Away, Singapore by Kattrinna

Writing/Literature/Blogging

Marketing Tools for any Self-Published Book by Paul Jarvis

AdSense Alternatives For Small Blogs by Jill of all Trades

What I’m Reading (July) by Holly Pryce

Blogging Is My Hobby, It Isn’t My Job by Amanda Osborn

Writing Diversity in Fiction by Eve Jacob

Writing Good Bad Guys by Eve Jacob

My Writing Process by Amanda Osborn

It’s My Blog…and I’ll Write What I Want To by Tabby G

No Books Were Harmed. Or Read. by Laidig

How I Failed at Being Jack Kerouac and Became a Journalist by Kat Argo

Book Cover Designs, Necessary? by Janna Kaixer

Island

The longer I blog, the more I realize I’m participating in a world where I am the minority. I’m a male writing a personal/creative fiction blog on the internet. Personal blogs are a realm largely dominated by female bloggers, and while the statistics appear to be slightly more balanced (anecdotally speaking) in terms of creative fiction blogs, I realize I’m still not the most common blogger. While I will write satire/comedy category from time to time, unlike many of my counterpart in the blogging world who are also 20-something males, I don’t feel the need to base all of my humor off of sex, drugs, and alcohol — the genre of fratire as I recently heard it referred to as.

Likewise, I rarely write about sports despite being a huge fan of American football, hockey, and professional wrestling. Unlike frat humor, which I find generally annoying and unprofessional to write about, I choose not to write about sports for different reasons. In my time writing, I’ve developed a bit of a consistent audience to read my work, and while each of the individual readers have their own individual tastes, one sweeping generalization I’ve been able to make (safely) is that the majority of those who come across this blog don’t care about sports enough to warrant writing about them over and over again. That said, my desire to talk about sports, be it here or otherwise is somewhat limited in the blogging world. Unless you’re going to a blog that is solely sports focused, most bloggers won’t even discuss sports.

Ye verily, a rousing game of ice-puck-stick was played to the rejoicing of the masses. Image credit Luke Jones on Flickr.
Ye verily, a rousing game of ice-puck-stick was played to the rejoicing of the masses. Image credit Luke Jones on Flickr.

I’m sure there’s something psychological/sociological that makes females more apt to be writers/bloggers than males. That said, I do believe a (very) large part of this divide is content based. Even a casual spin around WordPress’ random blog feature will produce a hit on either a fashion or photography blog (both terms which I use extremely loosely) within just a few clicks. If neither of those topics come up, there’s a good chance that you’ll hit a pop culture blog, particularly for television or movies. While both men and women consume this media, the way that media is discussed differs greatly among the two genders. If you don’t believe me, walk into an office building first thing in the morning — men will likely be discussing sports, while women will have a greater focus on the previous night’s TV shows.

None of these things are bad or good — they just are. If it weren’t for watching TV with the girlfriend, I likely wouldn’t watch it at all. Excluding sports events, I have a handful of television shows I watch, only one of which (Monday Night RAW) is anything close to appointment viewing. Instead of appointment viewing, I have appointment reading. While there isn’t an incredibly large number of blogs I follow, if there’s a post that goes up on a blog that I do read, I’ll go out of my way to make time to read it. As someone who’s been seriously blogging for nearly six years now, I can count on one hand how many bloggers that I started out reading who are still active and writing now.

Zero.

That’s right. Even counting in blog changes and platform shifts (my own included), there’s not a single blogger that I’ve followed from my starting blogging on my own site in 2009 that is still actively writing. There’s a couple of blogs that are close (most notably Thoughts Appear and Clantily Scad), though I didn’t start following either of them until the latter part of 2011 if my memory is correct. It takes a lot of dedication to continue blogging for such a long time. Sadly, I could likely go back even further and count the fact that I wrote for a radio station blog as early as 2006 into this count, but that doesn’t make it much better.

The last factor that makes me feel like I’m in the blogging minority comes courtesy of the fact that many of the bloggers I do read are slowly beginning to have families of their own. Even the blogs that focused on “artsy” photography (read: slapping multiple filters over an out-of-focus shot) have slowly drifted the way of OH MY GOD LOOK AT ALL THESE BABY CLOTHES I’M BUYING BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT’S GOING TO MAKE ME THE MOST RESPONSIBLE PARENT OF ALL TIMES!

Did you know that spit-up makes all clothes look not cute, no matter how much you paid for them? Image credit: peasap on Flickr
Did you know that spit-up makes all clothes look not cute, no matter how much you paid for them? Image credit: peasap on Flickr

Look…I get it. You’re excited you’re going to be having a child. Good for you. I too hope you manufacture a smaller, less-cynical version of myself one day (except the child will be female, as that would be my luck…more on that in another post though). However, just because you have a child doesn’t mean you have to stop having other interests. For example, perhaps you’re a couple. One of you loves video games, while the other is a television fanatic. Just because you have a child, that doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying those things. Likewise, if you’re a blogger, that doesn’t mean you have to stop writing about the things you enjoy.

As I look around the blogging world, I realize that there are many other talented writers, thinkers, and dreamers out there that I can draw support from at any given time. This fact, in and of itself, is a huge reason why I keep blogging. At the same time, the larger the blogging world is, the more I feel like a tiny island amongst a sea of repetition. Ultimately, it’s within this uniqueness that lies the seeds to my success or my downfall as a writer, as a blogger, and as a storyteller.

Front page image cap: David Stanley on Flickr

The Night I Crashed My Blog

Note: This post is part of this blog’s recurring series, Everyone Else Is More Talented Than Me. The series is a self-deprecating look into how I’m a jack of all trades, master of none, and competent at few.

A few weeks ago, I broke my blog. Broken links, 403 and 404 errors, the whole shoot and match. Rather than get into a long-winded analysis of exactly what happened, I’ve decided to share a live mental diary of what happened that night. You might have noticed that TTW has a completely different theme, as well as other changes. This came about as a result of that night. All times listed below are approximate((Not that you would know anyway. I could be pulling these times out of my ass and you’d be none the wiser)).

Sunday, 4:30pm: The fiancee and I live together now. She had some friends over to play Smash Bros, card games, and board games. Since I’m a high-functioning workaholic((I’m beginning to wonder if being a workaholic is a disease)), I had sequestered myself in our bedroom from the end of Smash Bros time until I finished my work.

5:45pm: Finally done with what work I could get done with other people around. Apparently the new favorite phrase of everyone has become “clit wizard”. I prefer “titty master“, but what do I know?

6:35pm: Following dinner, the fiancee and her friends decide to play Legendary Encounters. I enjoy deck building games, but I despise Legendary. Maybe it’s because I hated the Alien films, maybe it’s the format of this specific game. Either way, it’s time to work on the TTW.

It’s worth mentioning at this point that I’ve had two major problems with the site recently. The first is that I can’t get a search box to show up in the header of my (then) theme, no matter what I do. I’ve tried writing child themes, creating my own PHP, finding other PHP sources and using them…all to no avail. The second problem is that my WordPress installation forces my website to redirect to thattinywebsite.com/wp/ rather than thattinywebsite.com. This means I can’t create any items in IFTTT with my RSS feed. I’m off to fix these issues.

8:00pm: Nearly an hour and a half in and I’ve learned that I don’t have a fucking clue how to move a WordPress.org installation from a subfolder into my root directory. This is in spite of the fact that I have what seems to be a very straightforward tutorial on how to do so. Unfortunately, somewhere between step 5 and step 12 on the process, I always manage to have my site to have constant 403 errors. It’s getting a bit annoying.

8:30pm: Another half hour of failed attempts passes when I get a bright idea…let’s try making a fresh install of WordPress.org on my root directory. Since there’s a pending update, I can just put it there. What could possibly go wrong?

8:45pm: Yeah. As for what could possibly go wrong…that would be that my site goes completely down to where I can’t access it, even from my host’s servers. This is bad.

9:15pm: After a 20 minute discussion with my host’s support team, I can get back into the server. Unfortunately, this required deleting my .htaccess file and completely deleting my entire WordPress installation and all backups. Fortunately, I had managed to export all of my post and comment files, but nothing else was backed up. Goodbye images, theme modifications, child themes, and plug-in modifications.

9:20pm: In light of the previous problem, I got a brilliant idea…I’m going to install Ghost and blog off of that rather than WordPress((The idea wasn’t brilliant.)).

9:22pm: Ghost is installed…aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand it sucks. You can’t import post files, there’s only one theme option, AND Ghost didn’t install in my root directory like it was supposed to. You know, the same problem that just broke WordPress and my site.

9:23pm: Well fuck((Fuck.)).

9:35pm: I’ve uninstalled Ghost and reinstalled WordPress.org. I’ve thrown a placeholder theme up in the interim. Importing my posts worked fine and my blog opens correctly. But now will building RSS work properly? To IFTTT!

10:05pm: Hey…it worked! And I found a new theme (evolve) that actually has a search box in the header and is really customizable. Win?((Win.))

Monday, 12:15am: I’ve got Disqus installed, all previous posts up, and am starting install the other plugins I used. Everyone I talked to said this process was simple, straight forward, and required little work on my part. But I guess everyone else is more talented than me.