As I approach four years of problogging and my tenth year of being a full time work at home mother, one of the most difficult challenges I have faced is allowing for the natural evolution process of my primary blog.
When I first set out to develop MomGadget, the intention was for her to become a mutual project that several family members would work together on. The plan was conceived following a baby shower. So many new gadgets were gifted and in my eyes, they made being a mom seem so much easier then my own personal new parent experience 13 years prior.
Until Momgadget, most every other blog I’d ever written was so well defined, there was no natural evolution to consider. In reality, this particular blog was serving as my own parent in this new world of blogging that I was born into.
Just when I thought I had a plan together and began blogging according to that plan, I saw a whole different model taking shape, based on the habits my visitors were sharing.
On a local level, my immediate area of Indiana had experienced a tremendous depression after the loss of thousands of jobs in the auto industry. For the first time, I was seeing moms having to leave their children to secure additional income for their families. This disturbed me deeply. Having been fortunate enough to be a successful work at home and single mom since my twins were four – I wanted to share that success and help devise ways for local parents to have the choice of working outside the home or not.
MomGadget quickly evolved into a training tool for local would be bloggers. The truest compliment any writer could receive came when I saw my efforts helping people in my local area and far beyond. Again, I listened to the demands, and followed.
Just when I became comfortable in the new purpose, the winds of change began to blow yet again.
Again, based on the statistical habits of my visitors, I see another change taking place and this time, this time I wasn’t going quite so willingly. The next phase of evolution appeared to be taking shape and to be more on on target with the original purpose – this time, I’m seeing a demand for reviews, gadgets and holidays. I’m not really a Martha Stewart type, but apparently it’s time to learn.
It’s not been the easiest journey, considering I’m a steadfast creature of habit. Only with the amazing support network of professional bloggers I have to lean on, have I realized that evolving isn’t something to fight – it’s something to be embraced. Evolution is the way your readers help you become the blogger you’re meant to be.
Are you listening to what your readers want?
Are you prepared to take a completely different path if your calling should change?
Scot, thanks for the comment. The methods I’ve found to be most helpful in tracking are a bit archaic by comparison to some of the choices out there. I’m a huge fan of ‘keeping it simple’ – What I use is a combination of Statcounter, Awstats and the Popularity WordPress plugin. By seeing what your readers are reading and which posts are being visited most often, you can get a real feel for the direction your blog is taking or should take.
Brett, thanks for the comment. I suppose my resistance has always been connected with the fear of failure or the fear of making some sort of mistake that’s irreversible. No one wants to think they’re making the wrong move.
While fear plays a big part in my resistance, once I get moving the new directions, I find it’s much more enjoyable – because there’s always something to learn.
I check stats (here at Performancing!!) but I’m curious how you determined that the wind was blowing this way and then that way based upon statistics. What stats did you use? How did you determine the change over time through tracking? How did you track?
Inquiring minds and all…
Nice article — thanks for writing it.
Great article Gayla, definitely resonated here.
My own calling definitely changed. For me it happened 2 years ago. It was about this time that I was still working for a start up company that had spun out of Motorola in 2003. At a professional level things had not been better until, all the skeletons of this company came out of the closet and started attacking, literally. I started receiving midnight death threats aimed at myself and my kids from board members of the company residing in Hong Kong.
I had become an overnight whistle blower with the company that I had helped to build. As an accountant I learned about corruption in the company and became an overnight whistle blower. That was when things got ugly, and then got uglier several times over.
A couple months after this happened, I rediscovered the reason why I became an accountant. I had gone to school to eventually become a financial writer. In school, I became convinced that I needed experience in the finance industry before I could write about it. Along the way up the corporate ladder, I fast tracked my way past a few writing opportunities until I caught hold of a comet like start up company.
The comet flamed out (I know comets are made of ice, but best analogy I had today.) and I had to figure out what was important to me. That turned me back towards writing and several other things that I had found along my recent journey.
I am much happier today and building my way back towards the level of success that I previously held. This time, I am building a much stronger foundation.
The world of Pro Blogging has redefined several paradigms, but ultimately I see it as a vehicle for managing knowledge, wisdom and entertainment, sometimes mixing the three.
Its much more than just writing, much harder, and much more fun.
In many ways we have all turned down a path that no one has traveled. Its a very new service and solution that we are providing. When we do it well we cut down on the confusion and provide wisdom and insight into what is happening in the world or the internet. We answer issues with context and help people understand why something is important or how it can be applied. When we screw up, we create junk and more noise and on a really bad day, maybe even spam.
But the cool thing is that we can keep sculpting, keep creating, keep building something new and start fresh later that day or tomorrow.
I know of no other profession that allows for so much latitude for its professionals to experiment and make mistakes. We are a big social experiment with a massive potential for creativity and invention and break throughs . . . We can create and test and break and remold and ultimately do things that almost no other group can do anywhere. That keeps things dynamic, it keeps us fresh, it makes this fun, and It proves the value of problogging.
If you are not creating, if you are not breaking, if you are not experimenting, if you are not improving the processes and testing new options, and widgets, and tools and plugins and services and concepts and perspectives, then as a Pro Blogger you are missing an opportunity. If you are doing any or all of those things, your odds of success will be very high!