Oct 262014
cakeRandom list of lessons learned during 2 years of blogging

This week was the two-year anniversary of my blog. I didn’t know where I was going when I started my blog and certainly had no idea I’d still be blogging two years down the road. But I am. And as I look back over the past 2 years, a random list of things I’ve learned comes to mind.

I can now spell museum without thinking about it or looking it up in the dictionary.

As has too often been my experience with technology, when something fails it will be at the most inopportune time and require hours of Internet searching and follow-up to address.

There are so many choices for blogging platforms and tools it can be overwhelming.

I’ve learned a whole new vocabulary. e.g. plug-in, widget, SEO, blogroll, pingback, RSS feed.

Most of the people who comment on blogs are other bloggers. I think part of the reason for this is that most comment systems intimidate non-bloggers. I use Blogger’s default system. Even with adjusting its settings to the simplest possible version, it has its quirks. I’ve seen a variety of other systems on other blogs I’ve visited. While some are better than others, I have yet to come across one I’d consider ideal.

The more readership one gets, the more spam comments one receives. They are always annoying, but occasionally amusing as well. Cases in point:

Don’t you think most of the people who comment here are idiots?

I was just wondering if you get a lot of spam comments. If so, how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can recommend. I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy.

Fortunately, the Blogger platform I’m currently using is good at detecting spam and doesn’t automatically publish these comments.

The various tools used by bloggers to catch spam are not infallible. Sometimes spam comments creep through. Other times legitimate comments are flagged as spam. I’ve had one or two comments from regular readers wind up in my spam folder. And I went through a period this past summer when one of the commonly used comment systems flagged many of the comments I made on other blogs as spam. I received excellent support in sorting it out, but it still took time and effort. I regularly scan through my spam folder to check for non-spam comments. However, not all bloggers, especially those who receive a large amount of spam, do that.

There are a lot more differences between British and American spelling than I realized. Canadian spelling usually aligns with British spelling, but not always. Realize is the correct spelling in Canada and the U.S., but the British spelling is realise. I started my blog intending to adhere consistently to Canadian spelling, but suspect I may have lapsed occasionally. 

Did you know that aluminum is the American spelling for what the rest of the English world knows as aluminium, although Canadians are more likely to use aluminum than aluminium?

I react to my life experiences differently than before, looking for material for potential blog posts. It feels as if I’m always working. Good thing I enjoy it.

One of the greatest rewards has been the connections I’ve made. There are great communities of bloggers out there. Through membership in 2 such groups, LinkedIn Bloggers Helping Bloggers and Facebook Boomer Travel Bloggers, I’ve connected with other bloggers, learned from them, and read great stories.

Although I am getting better at editing my own writing, I still need a second set of eyes. I’m thankful my husband is a willing and capable copy editor. Oops, he just corrected me when editing this post: willing and capable and good-looking copy editor. 

Blogging takes a lot of time and effort. It’s time I choose to spend and generally enjoy, but I’ve had moments when I’ve wondered if I should drop it to devote more time to my other writing. Still, I intend to go into a third year.

What’s next? I hope to have more travel opportunities to write about. I will continue to explore the area around me, wherever that is. And a re-design of the web site is in the planning stage. 

As always, I like to hear what readers want to see.

  36 Responses to “Two Year Blogging Anniversary”

  1. My blog just celebrated year 2 as well – October 14 – and I can relate to so many things on your list. It is funny how bloggers live their lives in terms of potential blog posts! And I think other bloggers tend to leave comments because we understand the need for feedback – but I would suspect that most of us have a majority of silent readers. I know I do. Good luck to both of us entering our 3rd year. I feel as if I’m just getting warmed up!

  2. Congratulations, Donna!! You will keep on developing your blog as you go along – and enjoying it.

  3. Donna this is such a worthy milestone!!! My heartiest congratulations…yours is truly one of my favorite blogs. I hope you continue, though I can relate to it taking away from your other writing. That’s a dilemma fro me too. I have the best spam comment blocker on the planet and I have turned so many people onto it and they love it as well. It is a plug-in called Simple Comments and you can find it here https://www.toddlahman.com/shop/simple-comments/ Tell Todd I sent you! It’s fantastic and inexpensive and he truly gives great support when needed. Looking forward to your next 2 years…and beyond:)

  4. Donna, congratulations – that is a milestone I have yet to reach., I am glad you’re going into your third year as I really enjoy your blog – being a fellow Canadian unites us a bit too. All the things you wrote are things I have or am experiencing but I think that is one of the joys (and frustrations) of blogging – you’re constantly learning. I’ll be ready to congratulate you the day you celebrate your third anniversary.

  5. I’ve enjoyed visiting your blog, Donna, and look forward to celebrating future anniversaries with you!

  6. Congratulations on this milestone Donna! One of your funniest comments IS as you say, so true: the more comments you get, the more spam you attract. I’m really not sure why that is but it IS true. My webmaster has got a plugin on my WordPress blog that is fabulous in blocking them from getting through. Keep up posted on your year #4!

  7. Congratulations on your anniversary! I’ve been blogging for over 4 years now but I vividly remember my the first anniversary for my first blog. I had this big celebration planned and that day – that very day – the site crashed! It took me a week to get it back up and I’m now superstitious about celebrating anything like that so I just let the milestones come and go or I do a little rah rah jiggle at my desk and get back to work. Yes, blogging is quite the adventure … I think of it as a glorious exercise in humility. 🙂

    • How frustrating to have the site crash when you were ready to celebrate such an important milestone. I’m glad that didn’t deter you from continuing the glorious exercise in humility.

  8. Congratulations, Donna! Knowing how time consuming blogging is, my hat is off to your for your accomplishment. So many people give up. I think is wonderful that the blogging groups are so supportive. Just keep on blogging, or in the US as they say Just keep on trucking.

  9. I love travel and writing, so I’d say just keep doing what you’re doing. I think back to when I started my blog and knew so little, but we learn so much as time goes on. I barely even knew what a blog was and commenting seemed so weird and foreign, but now plays a huge role in my daily life and business practices.

  10. I think one of the reasons most comments come from other bloggers is that other bloggers appreciate comments themselves. I’m been blogging for a little less than a year and before I started it was pretty rare for me to leave a comment on someone’s blog even though I read a fair amount of blog posts. Now I find myself commenting pretty freely, almost as if you are having a conversations and when someone says something to you, you answer.

  11. Donna: Congratulations! You should absolutely pat yourself on the back. The learning curve for blogging is totally vertical! Isn’t it amazing what you have learned and accomplished? My favorite group I belong to is the Boomer Travel Bloggers. They are kind and generous with their comments. I don’t believe the general population understands the value of commenting! Keep up the great work! I love that I have friends in Canada that I would have never met without having my blog!

  12. Hi Donna,

    Lovely lessons learned here! You mentioned a lot of points about writing (different spellings, grammar etc) and I think that’s important. People underestimate the fact that a blog is essentially a place to showcase writings of various kinds. I hope you have many more great years!

    Jenny of Penned by Jenny

    P.S I’ve only been blogging for around three months. I wonder how far I’ll get in two years. What a lovely achievement!

  13. Happy Anniversary Donna! Congratulations on sticking with it this long! I agree with all your points, and the one about your husband made me laugh out loud. Here’s to always working!

  14. Hello Donna
    I am happy to read this.
    Congratulations on anniversary of your blog. I am trying to write from last few months and fro start I found bloggers helping bloggers, it is such an amazing group and from day I am on this I am not addicted to FB any more.
    This is a way and we all learn, I hope you have learned a lot and I first time came to know that there is difference in spelling in American and Canadian English.

    • Thanks Anna. Yes, there are differences between American, Canadian, and British spellings. With the Internet crossing borders, I wonder if over time, some of those differences will disappear and if so, which versions will prevail.

  15. Great point you make Donna about how you now view life and the events that happen within it; me to. The whole blogging experience is an evolution and for me at least, and I am thinking you to, it has been very cathartic. It allows me to chronicle life and for that I am grateful.

    • Not only does it allow one to chronicle life, I think knowing you might write about it changes the way you approach and look at things – wanting more information, asking why sometimes.

  16. Two years! I know in the time I’ve been following you, you have introduced me to many new places, many of them in my own country. On a personal and selfish note I hope you continue because I enjoy your writing.

    Congratulations on your two year anniversary.

  17. Congratulations Donna!!! Well I still need to check up on my spelling of museum so I am still behind you on that. I enjoy your blog and agree and concur to learning some of the same lessons you have learnt. I am still within one year of my blogging experience.

  18. Two years and still going strong! Congratulations Donna! I still don’t know what a “blogroll” is and the word I’m still looking up every time I use it is “anecdote.” Is “theater” and “theatre” a difference between American and British English too? In creating and growing a blog, I’ve spent countless hours trying to figure out this or that through Google searches and Youtube videos so I understand that frustration. Right now, if I try to comment on your blog using WordPress it says I don’t own that identity. I know I own the identity because I’m logged in with it on another tab. Ha! I hope I survive to my 2-year blogging anniversary and I get to write a similar post. Congrats again!

    • Thanks Angela. Yes “theater” and “theatre” is a difference between America and British English (in this case Canada follows the British spelling). And I’ve had similar issues with trying to comment using my WordPress account – logged in on another tab, but doesn’t recognize it where I’m commenting.

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