My Blogging Past, Present & Future

I’ve hit a blogging wall recently. Whether it’s writer’s block or laziness, I’m struggling to get to where I want to be. To help recover my inspiration, I wanted to take a look back at where my blogging journey began, where it is now and where I want it to go.

I’ve had a longer history with blogging than you might think. Before the days of Facebook or Twitter, I had a little Blogspot blog that no one knew existed – because I didn’t tell anyone about it. Social media wasn’t a big thing yet, so I didn’t promote my posts in any way. But, that wasn’t the point – I just wanted an outlet for my writing. I’ve always enjoyed writing reviews and that’s what the blog was dedicated to. What can I say? I enjoy airing my opinions… It must have been around 2007, but I didn’t keep it up for long. I can’t remember when I deleted it (or if I even did) but I also can’t remember what it was called, so there’s no way to find out.

I didn’t dabble in blogging again until university, and postgrad at that, so around 2015. I wrote pieces (reviews, surprisingly) for the online counterpart of the magazine we published. You can still check out my reviews of Slipknot, Kingsman and Suite Française. It was around this time that I wanted to take the leap into blogging myself once again.

I say take the leap because launching a personal blog is pretty damn scary, as many will attest to. Putting yourself out there, knowing anyone can read your content, is nerve wracking. The difference between now and my Blogspot era was I had a social media presence and knew I wanted to share my posts, which meant people would (hopefully) know it exists this time.

I signed up to WordPress, as I was familiar with this platform through university, and Reviews & Ramblings was born! I published my first post in November 2015, which was – you guessed it – a review on a recent poetry show I had attended. For the record, this was the first ever poetry reading I’d ever went to, so thought it was fitting to document my experience. I shared it on social media and it picked up some traction with the performers in the show, which was a great confidence boost.

From then on, I wrote a review as and when I had something to talk about. This ranged from gigs to movies to books. My posts were sporadic to say the least, but it was purely for my enjoyment. I didn’t care about views or subscribers, I just wanted a place to share my thoughts. But, this started to change earlier this year. I wanted to write about more than just reviews and try to publish more regularly. What inspired this change? Quite simply, other blogs. I started to discover so many great blogs out there and wanted to establish a bigger place within the community.

I started my weekly happiness round-up in January of this year and have kept it up ever since. I dabbled in more personal posts about my weight and love life, as well as relatable lifestyle posts. I shared these on social media and often received messages of support, which encouraged me to keep going.

Working in digital marketing, I started to realise the limitations of a free WordPress blog. I couldn’t optimise my metadata or change any of the CMS, which meant I didn’t really have control over my blog. In fact, with a domain, I didn’t even truly own content. So, I researched how to go self-hosted and bought my own domain with SiteGround. I can now optimise my blog, so it at least stands a slight chance of ranking in search engines, unlike before. I also have greater control over my theme and can add plugins to help me along the way. I’m still working on finding a theme I love and may end up buying one. For now, I’ve finally got my very own header designed by Katie’s Corner, which is another step in establishing my identity in the blogging world.

That brings me nicely to where I want my blogging journey to go. I want to get my site looking exactly how I’d like it to – I’ve started by updating all my featured images to be cohesive. I want to publish regularly, at least twice a week, and have posts saved in my drafts ready to go out. I want to build my social media following and engage more with other bloggers. I’d also like to collaborate more with likeminded bloggers and expand my audience. Speaking of, I would like to establish who my audience is, beyond those I know on Facebook. I want to build a relationship with those readers and start a dialogue between us. I’d also love to get a sponsored post or two one day, but I’m not going to gauge my success on that.

Ultimately, I want to come into my own in 2018. I want to get into my blogging stride and dedicate more time to achieving my goals. I’ve come to enjoy blogging more than I could’ve imagined and hope this continues for the foreseeable future. And if it doesn’t? Then, it’s been fun.

Until next time,
Donna x

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