Our web connection, my blog setup and your blog writing

Our Web Connection

They don’t call this a web for nuthin’. We’re all connected, sometimes in strange ways, by its invisible strings.

Seriously, the number of times that I write something, then read another post and blink with surprise that my message is right there on someone else’s blog wrapped up in different words – is astounding. The reverse is also true, just look at the comments in my posts – it seems at least once a day someone links me to a brilliant post they wrote that connects right in or exclaims, ‘I was just thinking/writing/talking about this!”

I absolutely love this. To me, it’s like the air around us is ripe with these ideas and we’re all just plucking them off the tree and making them ours. To share this brain and thought process with so many other people is like getting to swim in that pool with the pods in it in Cocoon – I think it actually feeds us and makes us better. Sometimes it even glows.

So, I was not shocked when I woke up this morning and saw Chris Brogan’s post on the necessity of purpose and focus for your blog, when I was sitting here with the guts of a post with a similar vein. My post is about my blog and about yours…

My Blog Setup

Well, really my whole site. Way back when I started my copywriting business, I thought it was all about the website – so I got one. And I loved it. When I quickly discovered the world of blogging, I dove in full force – for my clients – helping them write and leverage this platform for their own businesses. But I didn’t blog for myself.

Eventually, the uber-talented illustrator, Elizabeth Whelan – after hearing me go on and on about what blogging could do for a shared client we had, asked me where my blog was. Uh, er, um, well… She told me she wouldn’t speak to me again until my blog was up and running. THANK YOU, Elizabeth. I pulled a WordPress blog onto the writingroads.com site and my life hasn’t been the same since.

And then, recently, I’ve been finding myself in another one of these ‘do as I say, not as I do’ situations. I’m telling people left and right…

  • to just build a blog, not a traditional website
  • and add static pages
  • for SEO purposes
  • for ease of use, content management
  • for UI (user interface) or VEO (visitor enhanced optimization)
  • to use plugins for expansion and growth
  • to maximize sidebar real estate

And the whole time, I’m eyeballing my blog with a sideways glance. The cobbler has no shoes, the therapist’s family is full of nutjobs, and yes, the blogger’s blog is out of whack.

So, finally, with the help of the lovely, Shauna Callaghan, I’ve redone my site – the right way. You might not even notice, because it’s likely you didn’t ever click on those typewriter keys up above that shot you over to the ‘web’site and off the blog. But now when you click on them, they keep you here whilst showcasing my work and services. And www.writingroads.com gets you here now as well (no more need for writingroads.com/blog). Ahhh…c’est fini! (besides the incessant tweaking I’m doing). My wish is that it’s easier now for visitors to know who I am and what I do…

What does your blog/site need? How can you tweak it so to perform better?

Your Blog Writing

The other thing on my mind is your blog. This morning, when I tweeted CB’s post about blog focus and purpose, I added this: “(and if you need help focusing/purposing, call me)” – and several people responded with messages that looked something like, “Please help me!!!” in varying degrees of agony.

So, I thought it was worth putting it out there, but this time here: I help you figure out the blogosphere by helping you answer these questions:

  • What is my blog’s purpose?
  • What is my blog’s theme?
  • How do I define and rein in my scope?
  • What do I write about?
  • How do I write it?
  • How do I focus my content and outreach?
  • Should I talk to other bloggers?
  • Which ones?
  • How do I do that?
  • What plugins do I need?
  • What is a plugin?
  • Do I need to use Twitter and Facebook?
  • How do I ______? (fill in the blank)
  • …and on and on.

Let me know if you need help…after all, with the way this web connectivity thing is going, you were probably just thinking about all of this anyway…

Image credit: Jeff Smallwood

Join the discussion 18 Comments

  • Aaron Pogue says:

    Seriously. Every single thing you write is amazing. How do you do that?
    .-= Aaron Pogue´s last blog ..What I Learned about Writing this Week…from Heroes =-.

  • Julie! Another brilliant post in its ability to help others. It strikes me that your bulleted list with a bit of tweaking could apply to so many other walks of life ~ such as fundraising, public speaking, and most anything else that involves an “audience” of any sort. Great work.
    Arlene
    .-= Arlene Kirsch´s last blog ..Timing Major Gifts =-.

    • Julie Roads says:

      Thank you! And I agree – totally applicable to many other spheres. To be honest, I hope a lot of my posts land that way…Writing and blogging, etc. just so happen to be what I do, not everyone’s cup o’ tea.

  • This is so sisterly of you. Genuinely helpful to all who read it. Thank you.

  • Siddhartha says:

    Well I’ll say this, I like the way your site looks.

    One beef I have with most blog sites though is the right side of the page being plastered with bits and pieces of STUFF. My mind sees clutter.

    (And you’ve got TWO columns of it. Ugh!)

    I know they’ve (you’ve) got to monetize somehow, I just wish it could look cleaner. Maybe it’s just me.

    Nevertheless, I like your writing well enough I’m willing to endure a little discomfort to read what you have to say. So thanks for saying it.
    .-= Siddhartha´s last blog ..Do You Have a Phone? I Need to Take a Picture =-.

    • Julie Roads says:

      Hmmm…well, the sidebar isn’t new…none of what you’re seeing here on the blog page is new. What I did was take everything (and redo it) from the static site I had and I moved it here to the blog. That was the big ‘need to do’.

      I’m hardly monetizing in the sidebar – I think sidebars are an incredibly important piece of real estate for bloggers. Some people use them very well to provide information that is readily available on every page.

      Interestingly, the sidebar was one thing I didn’t touch, but it’s next on the list.

      Thanks much for the feedback…

      • Siddhartha says:

        I hope I wasn’t rude earlier. I like your site (redone or not), in fact I think it’s one of the cleaner ones I’ve seen. It’s just that right side…

        Thanks for not taking it the wrong way.

        Your response did make me wonder however, if you’re not using all those badges and tags or whatever they are on the right to make money why not move them down the page or get rid of them altogether?

        If you made it just one column wide you could have more white space and only the elements which have been specifically designed for your site “above the fold”. (Your “Where to find me” link and the buttons in the far right on typewriter keys. They go with the overall feel of the site and would push the odd looking bits farther down where they’re less visually intrusive.)

        But I think I’m overstepping again. I apologize.

        I should also acknowledge I have no background in website design or any other kind of design so it’s entirely possible I have no idea what I’m talking about.

        I’ll shut up now.
        .-= Siddhartha´s last blog ..Do You Have a Phone? I Need to Take a Picture =-.

        • Julie Roads says:

          No! This is great! I didn’t mean that I don’t use them, just that I’m not super monetized. There are only a 4 little bits on there – that I’m not fond of…the rest is important to me and my business and people (and their business) that I care about. The most important bits are actually above the fold *because* I have two columns…

          All very interesting. I hadn’t even started looking over to the right, yet…so this is great food for thought.

          And, of course you haven’t overstepped. To be public with a blog and to write a post like I did makes me open game. And, I’m practicing listening with a steady eye and not a personal vendetta army anyway – so this is great for me. You know, as target practice.

  • Our web is SO connected, as fast as it is, there are connections we can only find out, become aware of after the fact, yet some were occurring at the same time in real time! (as we tweeted together this AM)

    I love the web and all the connections it allows us to explore online and then even better, occasionally in person, in real life time!

    And I do like the layout: simple, functional, and especially cool how the typewriter (and old type font) was woven into the look! Well done!
    .-= Steve Sherlock´s last blog ..#the5 =-.

  • Julie Roads says:

    You guys are cracking me up…the layout didn’t change! It looks exactly the same. I can only hope my words have been so mesmerizing, that you didn’t notice the design! This was a functionality, UI kind of rework.

  • PicsieChick says:

    Hey, Julie!

    Thank you for posting this! I have two websites to build and have decided to go with self-hosted WordPress (with much guidance from Website in a Weekend king Dave Doolin), and I’m glad to see my thoughts are at least on the right track. And you bullet list is fantastic, applicable on many levels, as others have said.

    As far as the interconnections, well….I’m in it! A little overwhelmed, at times, by this strikingly awesome community that I stumbled into, and humbled and being welcomed so openly. It all feels like there is *something big* going to happen soon. Who wouldn’t like that?

    Hugs and butterflies,
    ~T~
    .-= PicsieChick´s last blog ..This morning, the gift =-.

  • Andi says:

    As someone on the receiving end of your blog therapy at this moment I can tell you how happy I am that you are putting yourself out there to do this. You got talent chica and you should shout it from the ROOFTOPS!
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..A new dress =-.

  • Cori Padgett says:

    As a first time visitor after landing on a Jonathan Fields post, lol I can’t attest to what your blog looked like before and if everyone is just loco.

    However I love the design myself, and the post was awesome. I found when I started my blog, my purpose for it changed and evolved the more I got involved with blogging. Originally intended as a way to showcase my writing and gain more ghostwriting clients, it became something completely different that I now adore… a bit like my children!

    Great work here and awesome post, I look forward to reading and getting to know a fellow writer better. :)

    Warm regards,
    C

  • Julie Roads says:

    Thanks, Cori – and welcome! I didn’t actually redesign the look of my blog. I simply eliminated my static site – brought my static info onto the blog (and redid all of that content). It was a functional redo, not design.

  • Stephanie says:

    I noticed :) Much nicer this way.

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