We’re in the homestretch my friends.
It’s been a great race that started with Lap One’s creativity tips to help you find your creative muse and develop your blogging muscles.
And continued with Lap Two as I shared the story of Live Fix and suggested blog publishing tools you can use to start your own blog.
Now, as we take our last lap and head for home, I’ll tell you why no blogger really blogs alone. And I’ll share a list of links and resources to help keep your blog running strong.
No Blogger Really Blogs Alone
Yes, blogging is often a solo adventure. But don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can always do it alone.
At some point as a blogger, you’ll realize that you need others to help challenge you, develop you and connect you with other like-minded bloggers.
There are a lot of other reasons to have a community, but one of the most important reasons I’ve found is that having a community helps to bring balance between your blogging and the rest of your life.
And maintaining that balance is so important because, I promise you, that once you get going there will come a time when things get blurry or even boring. It’s going to happen. You will get discouraged. You will lose focus. Doubt will creep in. It’ll get nasty. And if you don’t have balance, you will put to much pressure on yourself and prematurely throw in the towel and give up for the wrong reasons.
I’m not trying to scare you. I’m just telling you the truth so you don’t get surprised. I also don’t want you to have any unrealistic expectations about blogging. I appreciate honest blogging so I’m doing the same for you.
How Do You Cope and Conquer?
Well, one way to cope, battle and conquer blogging’s emotional and psychological onslaught is to have a community to rely on.
Your community can be small or large. It can gather online or offline.
Your community can be made up of all types of people, too.
Besides helping me navigate the writing and technical obstacles of blogging’s day-to-day grind, the community I have helps me to stay balanced psychologically and emotionally.
How Do They Do That?
Simply put, whether by reading a post they wrote or talking with them in conversation, my community helps me to remember the difference between what I write as a blogger and who I am as a person.
It’s an ongoing struggle to keep those ideas in perspective and I can tell you that my community has reminded me of the truth that I am not what I write and the success (or failure) of my blog or anything related to my blog at all doesn’t define me as a person.
Yes, I love to communicate and connect with people.
And one of the ways I do that is through my blog.
But I have to remind myself daily, and each time I sit down to write a blog post, that what I write — whether it’s golden or complete garbage — should never, ever determine my worth as person.
I know it sounds like a no-brainer.
But if you ask most bloggers and writers, you’ll probably find that they do struggle with this at some level. And when the struggles with balancing blogging, identity and self-worth are out of balance the result can be a nasty case of writers block. And usually doubt in your craft comes next followed by a fear that would bring most bloggers to their knees.
So, in case you missed it the first time, I encourage you as a blogger to have a clear and balanced perspective of your identity and don’t confused your identity as a blogger, or what you write, with who you are as person.
And if you can keep a sound and balanced perspective as you develop your blog, I assure you that it’ll make blogging a lot easier and a lot more fun.
There’s a lot more I could say about the need to have a community, but I’ll save that for another post.
Now, it’s time to share with you a few folks from my community and a list of links and resources that I use to keep Live Fix going.
Who’s In Your Community?
Whether they’ve inspired me to write a blog post or offered up wisdom on design, coding and affiliate marketing, these people and their communities all continue to play a crucial role in the day-to-day adventures of Live Fix.
Some of them are friends who I have the pleasure of working and interacting with on a daily basis. And some of them I’ve met through other bloggers who’ve shared their own success tips.
Whether I’ve connected with them offline or learned from them online, all of these people are generous and geniuses in their own right.
You should read their blogs and use their expert advice to improve your blog. I have and it’s made a huge difference. And I wouldn’t be able to do what I do with out their expert contributions to craft of blogging.
Copyblogger – a team of bloggers who are always on top of the blogging craft. And they’re the ones behind DIYThemes.
Todd Larsen – A huge music fan himself, Todd has been a key player in the current Live Fix design. Beside offering tips on development and hosting, he helped me navigate and recover from a nasty malicious WordPress code attack earlier this year. Todd knows his stuff and he’s always been there when I needed to answer to a design or coding question. If you reach out to Todd to help with your blog project, let him know that Chris from Live Fix sent you.
Seth Godin – Blogger, Doer, Thinker. Mr. Godin is one of the best and keeping things short and sweet, and completely packed with ideas they make you think long and deep. His booksLinchpin and Tribes are required reading for all bloggers who want to be free-thinkers and leaders. And I’m always inspired when I read a Seth Godin blog post because he has a creative way of reminding me that blogging, or any creative endeavor, is a gutsy daily experiment that’s completely exhilarating and totally worth the struggle.
John Paul Aguiar
The posts that John Paul Aguiar writes on Money Dummy Blog have been helpful to me for promoting and connecting with other bloggers. And when it comes to mixing music and blogging one of my favorite Money Dummy posts was John’s Jay-Z “Star Is Born” post that he wrote to inspire bloggers.
John also introduced me to the BlogEngage community that I’ve been enjoying and found helpful, too. BlogEngage offers support, feedback and other ways to grow your craft and expand your blogging audience. And if you decide to join BlogEngage tell Brian that John and Chris at Live Fix blog sent you.
Chris Brogan was one of the web’s first bloggers. He’s also one of the best, most prolific and generous bloggers out there. And his blogging has inspired and challenged me to write post like Do You Know How To Pitch To Bloggers?
Besides his blog, I suggest checking out Brogan’s Trust Agents. It’s a must-have guide for learning how to make blogging and using social media feel more like a conversation between friends instead of a battle to master foreign web technologies. And the book will help show you how to use other new media tools to help grow your blog’s community, too.
Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker
Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker are the folks behind SOBCon and both are bloggers who regularly and generously share their wisdom on blogging and social media. In reading their blogs and meeting them at social media events in Chicago, I’ve learned about their love for music and how live music has inspired their blogging, too. Coming up soon, we’ll be posting an interview with Terry Starbucker about how his live music experiences have taught him a lot about leadership, so stay tuned.
I can’t say enough how much Darren Rose’s Problogger has helped shape and guide Live Fix. I’ve never met Darren but still I’ve benefited tremendously from his site that features many tools, tips, blogger job board, case studies and a community of bloggers, all of which are vital to any new blogger, or “veterans” who need a daily refresh of the basics or a trusted glimpse into developing trends. And the Problogger book has been a great resource too.
The services of Outbrain play a very important role in Live Fix. At the end of every post you’ll see a picture with a link to a related post that is powered by Outbrain. I met them at Blogworld Expo and ever since I added their service to Live Fix, I have seen an increase in referral traffic and page views. So, if you are self-hosting on WordPress.org, which I suggest doing right from the start if you can afford the roughly $10 bucks a year domain hosting on DreamHost, I would recommend adding Outbrain’s widget to your blog.
There are others who have helped me create Live Fix. And if I’ve forgotten anybody please know that I didn’t leave you off the list on purpose. I’m just a bit scattered at times. Just know that if you’ve offered advice or helped out in some way, I thank you very much for everything you done.
More Links And Tips For Bloggers
To wrap up this series, here’s list of other helpful how-to links and tips that I’ve used over the last three years.
How To Measure, Monetize and Find Advertisers For Your Blog
The free package of services offered by having a Google account and using their services are a crucial part to Live Fix. And I use them all to track stats(Google Analytics), keep up on other blogs (Google Reader) and monetize (Google Adsense, Google Affiliate Network) Live Fix.
I also use a combination of other affiliate marketing networks, such as Linkshare, Amazon Associates, Adify (MOG Music Network), Commission Junction and shareasale.com to feature vendors and companies that I feel the Live Fix Community would enjoy learning about and purchasing products from.
This Problogger post features a hilarious video tutorial by wine pro Guy Vanderchuk about how to find advertisers for your blog. It speaks for itself.
How A Blogger Like Me Learns To Think Like A Developer/Designer
Smashing Magazine always has tons of great tips on design, coding, etc.
How To Migrate From WordPress.com to WordPress.org
Among several posts on the web that explain the process, this post from Maggie Williams Wanderer was very helpful in explain the details as I migrate to from WordPress.com to WordPress.org.
What Plug-Ins Should You Use?
Mashable.com is one of my favorite sites for social and blogger news and this link will get guide you to find the plug-in you’re looking for. But always make sure the plug-in your going to use is approved by the official WordPress.org directory. I also suggest starting out slow with plug-ins because, even though they can be exciting to add at first when you first migrate to self-hosting, it’s also to easy to overload your blog with to many plug-ins and spend to much time trying to figure out how they work. Don’t just start adding plug-in because they sound cool. Always start with your blog’s need and then find the plug-in to meet that need.
This Is The End. But It’s Just The Beginning.
There’s a lot more I could share. But I think you’ve got enough now to get you started.
I’ve had fun sharing what I know about blogging and I hope everything I’ve covered in Part One and Two and on this post, will spur you on to blogging greatness. If you’ve found this series helpful, please pass the link on to others.
Be sure to check back and bookmark this series as I update it with other tips and “secrets” for Building The Best Live Music (or any kind of) Blog.
Got A Tip To Add? Got A Question?
What’s helped you to start your own blog? Or what keeps you from starting your own blog? Go ahead and share your thoughts and comments below.
Photo by Happy Rower