My 5-Year-Blog Anniversary: Half a Decade of Writing!

I was in for a surprise when I logged into my WordPress account yesterday. The following notification popped up and reminded me of a very crucial date:

5 year bloggiversary
5 year bloggiversary

I knew it was around this time of year that I decided to post my entire life story online for the very first time. But I had also almost forgotten about the first post I ever wrote and the first few pages I created. Read More »

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How to Set Up an Editorial Calendar: Organizing Your Blog Content

A crucial part of the 30-Day-Blogging-Challenge is to receive e-mail prompts on every day of the challenge. Since I already completed it a month ago, I didn’t sign up for another round of e-mails. I did however weed through some of my old correspondence and stumbled across one very important note. Setting up an Editorial Calendar – it had always been on my list of things to do – but somehow the idea was lost in the hectic of past post. So this week was certainly the time to look through all the tips and links the e-mail provided. Sarah from Sarkemedia listed a guest post she had written under http://www.dannybrown.me. Read More »

Blog Anniversary! 2 years already?!

Bloggiversary No. 2!
Bloggiversary No. 2!

UFF! After turning my computer on yesterday and logging into WordPress at the end of the day, I was KINDLY reminded that I almost missed out on yet another milestone since this blog has come into existence.

MY ANNIVERSARY! My TWO-year-anniversary, to be specific!

That’s right, folks, on May 9, 2011 this site has been created and I’ve had the pleasure to write my first post on the reasons why I intended to start German-American Abroad. Topics such as Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and the never-ending charade of New York were soon to follow.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since.

Finding the time to blog. Finding the motivation to write. Finding priority to set everything else aside and devote a few hours of computer time for yet another post that other people could stumble upon. I still consider this great exercise for writing out my thoughts and experiences. Somehow, I cannot believe that it’s been two years already. In the meantime, stats have gone up and down, clicks have reached new heights and depths and I’ve learned a lot about other people’s lives. True, blogging has not been my top priority lately. Photography has been. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy hitting that keyboard and creating a new post.

And no matter what, at the end of the day it boils down to one word: Creativity! Reaching other people out there who are enriched by my posts and communicating with new bloggers who I would have never met otherwise if it weren’t for the www.

I’m really surprised at how fast time has flown by. I raise my glass and say: Cheers to your two, five, or ten years of blogging. I will never regret having ever started and I hope you don’t either!

blog year 2

[To read my post on my first-year-anniversary go to Bloggiversary!]

My 2012 Year in Blogging

Rolling out of bed to see that the WordPress.com stats helpers have prepared my 2012 annual report for German-American Abroad. What a great comparison they have come up with!

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 14,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals.
In 2012, there were 129 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 230 posts.

I never even thought about comparing the quantity of my blog views to movies submitted to 3 film festivals at once. I am flattered by all the traffic I’ve gotten and how this blog has grown to reach more and more people around the globe.

A year in blogging has brought me closer to other writers and photographers. It has opened up new worlds to me and and endless opportunities to re-connect in creative way on the Internet. I am happy to still be a part of the WordPress community and look forward to every day a new post is created.

I want to take my time and thank every single one of you followers for being faithful and sticking to my writings, for contributing with likes and comments to several ideas this blog has expressed, and for still dropping by every day.

Happy New Year! Happy 2013! To another successful 365 days of blogging and sharing!

WordPress Mysteries I Possibly Will Never Understand

Recently I’ve been noticing a few things on WordPress which I just cannot ignore. Things that have puzzled as well as bothered me and I want an explanation. Right now! Or at least a feedback on how they work for others.

It appears that this blogging site has undergone some changes throughout the last year I have started blogging with them. Some of which I really adore, such as the new designs they’ve come up with. Or the handy layout which makes it much easier to sap through categories and tags on the overall WordPress.

But somehow these changes have also affected other parts.

1) How can you like a post on WordPress without even looking at it?

I’ve noticed this phenomenon especially with my other blog, A Picture Every Day. On this blog I never post in words but only in pictures. Hence people tend to like the posts more rather than commenting on them. But since February I’ve seen 10 people like a random post as soon as it published and the site stats were still at 0. At the end of the day I might have had 5 stats for this post while more people had liked it then clicked on the actual page.
How is that possible? Can you hit the like-button when you search a certain tag and not even click on the blogger’s page? I really do not have any other explanation other than this and I would be grateful for anyone who could enlighten me in the process of finding out the potential problem areas.

2) How can you change the layout of your blog so that you can get rid of the “scroll down” button?

It used to be so easy! You just hit older posts or newer posts to rewind or fast-forward through a blog. But now WordPress makes it so much harder for your browser. Instead of one window bearing only 5 posts (or 10 or 15, whatever you set it to) at once, they are expecting it to carry 20 or 30 or an indefinite number of posts. Depending on how often you click that scroll down button. Needless to say, this will eventually make your browser crash. Since you are not only posting in words but also in pictures and not everyone formats these in thumbnail size.

So these two things are the two main points that have bothered me in the past half a year.

Others are just subjective parts of my daily frustration attempt of dealing with more traffic on my site. Since May 2012 it seems that an average of 50 to 52 clicks has leveled out. The all-time high was in May when I had a monthly turn-around of 1574 clicks. Wohaaa! Thanks to friends sharing my Street Art post (read more here) and the Lotus Hom Review (read more here), I’ve been grateful to have more clicks than ever imagined. And the average high of 142 came around just a few weeks after this, on June 2.

But other than that, it appears that people are just randomly finding my blog through dubious google search term such as “naked girl in Germany” or other sleezies. So I’ve been wondering how other bloggers do it! Do you have a great following? I currently have 69 people subscribed to my blog. As I can tell, not everyone clicks on my site as soon as a post publishes, otherwise I would have an average of 69 clicks. Which is absolutely fine. Take a mere 50 percent out of that, and I am happy as a clam.

Do you promote your blog on Facebook? I’ve been seeing some writers have their own profile on a Facebook page and have though about opening up my very own. But does it really help to increase traffic or is this just a simpler tool for socializing? Does more blogging show results? I used to post 4 times a week. It has gone down to an average of 2 times a week. But thanks to the Photo A Day Challenge I’ve jacked up my writings to the 4-a-week again. Well, let’s see how it goes this month. So to everyone who posts almost every day: Does it really help to increase traffic?

All of these issues are fairly confusing to me former Internet ignorant. Maybe you have some answers to:
How many clicks to you get each day? And how big is your following? Has it increased over time or stayed the same from the beginning? Questions over questions, gimme some feedback!

WordPress has so far been my number one choice in blogging. I looked at tumblr, blogspot and other species but just couldn’t seem comfortable with adjusting to those sites. The one thing WordPress has that others do not: The Freshly Pressed Site. Updated daily and giving greenhorns but also experienced writers a great platform to share their thoughts. Not to forget the other possibilities that make it so much easier to connect to other bloggers. I’ve been playing around with the “publish later” feature and other goodies and have come to adore them. Hey, pressing a post while you are still sound asleep? How convenient is that! But after 165 166 posts and almost 14 months of blogging I am still left hanging when it comes to the issues above…

Bloggiversary!

It’s been a year! Already!
365 days, 8,760 hours, 52 weeks – call it whatever you want. An anniversary well deserved.

On this day 12 months ago I started this blog. My very own writing experience, my little world, my small realm of shelter. Opened up to a then still undiscovered online community. How little did I know how much fun it can be to share one’s own stories with practical strangers. Or how fascinating it can be to read about their daily lives and deepest emotions online, expressed without a feeling of shame.

One year of blogging, and the only piece of advice I have for you is: Do it! Do it now! Don’t push it off, don’t think about just doing it, simply DO it. It took me well over half a year to finally find the time and courage and interest to really start my own page on WordPress. And sometimes I wish I had done it earlier. Nothing can turn back time, nothing can express your current feelings and experiences so well than the present itself.

Inspired by these ladies, who turned their extensive roadtrip through the US into the best read of American history, I finally decided to write this time of my life down. And it was exactly what I had needed. Expressing my thoughts, concerns, and views in refreshing stories – stories found by other bloggers and commented on by like-minded or different-minded people. It has its appeal to see how your own life is being dissected and listened to by complete strangers. People I have most of the time never met but who have stuck with me throughout the year and who I still enjoy communicating with.

My life has been enriched by blogging, not deprived, as I had originally thought.

After one year, I take with the confidence I have gained in writing over the course of 12 months. I have discovered my love for word puns and I am more at ease in coming up with posts or themes.

I am also taking with a new feeling for time management, especially after having started a life- time-consuming job half a year ago and still trying to maintain this blog. Which has helped me in seeing these matters in a more relaxed way: There is no pressure to write, so when I write, I write because I want to. I am not aiming to come up with the next best post or a brilliant text. I simply want to get certain things off my shoulders and I value other readers’ opinions.

This WordPress page and its followers have helped me in setting my priorities and pursuing my dreams, even though you might not have realized this. Each one of you has motivated me in some sense or has opened up a whole different world to me, which has given me the ability to dream. Of better times, of different times, of exciting times – of adventure. All across the globe.

But also in real life this blog has helped me in various ways: In obtaining writing gigs, finding a roommate in New York, and meeting people with passion. Perhaps a shared passion: Traveling, writing, taking pictures, and simply experiencing the 1001 wonders this world has to offer. I hope it has inspired at least one person to start his or her own blog or to travel the world without the fear of being lost.

One thing it has definitely been is a very fun time. The 137 posts I’ve come up with in the past year have all been self-created, self-thought, and self-expressed.

1 year of blogging – learned so much, but taking with only the best. Thank you, fellow readers!

My Glorious 100!

Here it is! Right in time for the Christmas season! The one and only, the best, the glorious 100th post!
Wordpress shows me that I’ve composed exactly 100 published write-ups in the past 7 months l’ve been an active member of the blogging community. And while I thought it would happen sooner, be under more glamorous circumstances, and feel different – it simply is what it is! And I can’t quite believe I have opened up this blog only 7 months ago, written about so many diverse topics, and gained quite a handful of a readership. Thank you for following, thank you for commenting, thank you for opening up your worlds to me through your own personal blog.

And as I’ve already done in the Golden 50th Post, I have learned more about writing, more about blogging, more about myself in the past couple of months when coming up with these posts.

1) Take time to write!
Finding time to write can be challenging. My new full-time-job on top of my outdoor activities has really burned a hole in the time I could devote to writing. And, nonetheless, I am torn in between keeping this blog going or just using the time for other hobbies. I’ve so far decided that there is still a ton to write about here in New York and that I will therefore keep it going. It is merely the amount of posts a week I still have to regulate. But I see I am not doing too bad. This blog still gets quite a few hits a day, so not every subscriber has abandoned me yet. I will surely give my best to keep you loyal folks entertained.

2) Get away from the new hype of wanting to be famous!
I’ve noticed this from the beginning, actually. When browsing on other blogger’s sites or reading Freshly Pressed. There seems to be a hype around the so-called-writers in getting their work published. First of all, why would anyone want to be famous with a blog? If writing is the only thing you can accomplish, then sit down and write a book or an article, don’t satisfy this need in an easy blog! And second, why are you hoping to be freshly pressed? Most commenters are always the same on those sites, who hope that the community will boost their own page stats. Pathetic!
Now don’t get me wrong. Freshly pressed is a great thing WordPress has come up with. It is a great way to find other interesting writers and read their stories. But I consider these the only reasons they are of interest. Maybe I’m just blogging for the wrong purpose, though. Finding like-minded people who want to know about experiences in New York and on travels…

3) Don’t be too hard on yourself!
I know I’ve written quite a contradictory point in 7 tips on Blogging. I’ve said that once you push the publish button your post should be flawless. 90 posts later I disagree. It doesn’t kill the flow of reading if you stumble across a spelling or syntax error. Give yourself a break if you’re not 100 percent satisfied with what you’ve written. Of course you shouldn’t take it too easy. Proofreading and letting it sit for a few hours is still highly recommendable. But get out what you want to write about and don’t worry too much about the formalities. Which leads me to my next point…

4) Gain great writing practice!
Yes, I still think blogging in English has given me the best practice in writing I could ever have. I still look up terms and words in the Merriam Webster (online). I like to considerably work on my writing style. And I really do think I have improved over the past 7 months. If not in writing, then certainly in time. To me it is easier now to quickly come up a post in between breaks or on a Saturday morning, for I feel more secure about doing so. So if my writing has not improved, the way I go about certainly has!

5) Accumulate topics over time!
Remember that list of things I’ve mentioned in 7 Tips on Blogging? I still have it. But now it is closer 35 unfinished topics that are still on there. And every time I walk around Manhattan or hear something my friends and coworkers talk about, I write it down on that list. So on top of daily ideas, I do have it as a back-up, which is a really nice thing to have. Eventually I hope all of these will be written down, but that is yet to happen.

6) Write it down when it is new and exciting!
At the same time, when I look down at earlier topic ideas I’ve written, I feel like it will be hard for me to write about these now, just because it’s been so long I had a thought on them. And writing about summer in the winter time or Christmas in the summer time is really not the sense of keeping a blog up-to-date. So if you think you have a great topic, right it down as soon as possible. It is the freshness in your mind and the point of view you had at that time that will make it better than when you scramble for the right words months later.

7) Find different times to be creative!
I’ve noticed that there are different times I truly feel like writing and can come up with a post in a minute, as opposed to times I am just not feeling the vibes. And 100 posts later I still feel this way. But I also know that you cannot give in to your moods and circumstances for too long, and that you simply have to at least sit down and try. Even the most uncreative phases will create something. And if at the least they give you a feeling of accomplishment, is that really nothing to be proud of? But be wary of the fine line to procrastination, which you will just have to overcome by yourself.

8) Connect with people!
I have to admit, I’ve been quite bad in reconnecting with people online lately. Time is a drag! And while I am not sure I have the nerves to “discover” new people online, I will certainly give my best in commenting on my “friends’” blog posts and seeing what they’ve been up to. One subscription e-mail after another shoots into my inbox but I haven’t really had the time to go through them and see what you are up to in the US, Europe or Asia. Hopefully, this will change again in the future. I might even have some time during the holidays …

As you can tell, it still is not hard for me to even write my 100th post in over 1000 words. I guess I should stop blabbing on and wish you guys a MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS instead! Enjoy your time off!