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Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Making of This Blog

I've been asked numerous times how I made my blog. It is and always has been a 'work in progress' in my eyes. I started blogging at HomeschoolBlogger.com and since I was a graphic designer before staying at home and eventually homeschooling, I have an advantage over other 'new to blogging' users. I quickly learned how to identify elements in others' blogs and seek how they did it so I can do it on my blog as well.

I slowly learned how to read HTML and CSS code and even bought a book about it to help me. My blog is not professionally done at all, it is piecemeal. I have created all the graphic elements, the title bars are graphics that I created in Photoshop. Code elements of my blog are from seeing items at other blogs and figuring it out for myself. This means I cannot teach anyone else how to do it b/c if I were to have to do it again- I would have to relearn how to do it myself. Isn't that helpful? Lol.

The content? That's been two years in the making. I research everything, everything. I had so many bookmarks on my blog before listed individually that they cluttered up my space. Someone had mentioned Ikeepbookmarks.com and that has been a tremendous help in keeping track of all the various websites that are wonderful resources. I have thousands of websites now linked through Ikeepbookmarks.com for my own use and as a help to others. I now only list the main topics on the left sidebar and when other homeschoolers mention a link that has been helpful to them, I look at it to see if I want to add it to our bookmarks, if so - I do.

I don't write for others (well I do sometimes, like this post), I write about us for us. This is my digital scrapbook of our homeschool and life. In the beginning of blogging, I wrote to be a part of the online community, to get readers, to make friends and to be somebody. Through a lot of pitfalls, God has shown me where this is detrimental to my spiritual journey with Him and unhealthy. I no longer wish to be somebody online. I want to be somebody in my own life, to my kids and dh. Of course as soon as I developed a healthier view of myself online, that's when the blog became popular, lol.

I write from the heart, I write about what's on my mind, the decisions I'm facing and what I worry about. I write so that I don't drive my dh crazy and I have an outlet for all the ideas that pass through my little brain. I don't write about politics, homeschooling views other than my own, news happenings, or anything else than just our journey. I will at times write about what is happening in GA legislation regarding homeschooling b/c that does affect us. I did not write about the California case recently because I didn't feel it was a productive topic.

For new bloggers, write for yourself. Write for your family members, share your child(ren)'s triumphs and struggles. Make your blog your space and don't worry about how many comments or readers you have. Decide why you are blogging and make it your own. I know many mothers that have made businesses out of their blogging efforts or they blog to promote their business. I do not sell anything but I do have affiliations that help us that I make available for readers and visitors to use if they wish. They are a help to us, but I don't obsess about them- I'm grateful for each time someone does use our links to purchase something because it is a HUGE blessing for us. I do not affiliate products that I do not use myself and enjoy or solicit visitors/readers just because I can. I have received many emails from companies asking me to promote their products on my blog, but I won't do it. My blog is not a business, that is not my purpose.

I created this blog in 2006 at homeschoolblogger.com, it has undergone many changes and probably still more to endure but it is what I make it with all its' faults and successes. During writing this post, I have stopped to feed my children, kiss Danny b/c he scraped his knee outside and played with my dog. It has taken a while to get to the end of this post and I hope it's coherent. Lol. My life is not this blog, this blog is just an extension of my life in a very small way. Keep it in perspective.

 

6 comments:

Jacqueline said...

Absolutely love this post!

mom24 said...

It's good that you have been able to keep your focus with this blog! As much of a resource as it can be for others, I'm sure you gets tons of emails, questions and requests. It's obvious through your thoughts and posts however, that your homeschooling/kids are your focus.
Good job! It will be a great digital scrapbook for your family
Andrea

Sheryl said...

My favorite post you have ever written and I think the one I will get the most out of. Funny how God speaks to us sometimes. Thanks for sharing your life and your heart. Its obvious to me you must be living it or it wouldn't be so meaningful on the page. Now off to play some playdough with my little boy.

Sheryl

Leesa said...

Great post. I think it's great that you are able to share your gifts with the rest of us. I try to do that on my blog as well, and I feel that you bring a sense of unity to the homeschool world. We are all serving our children and learning about ourselves as we teach them... as we read your blog I think everyone relates to you and each other.

Ivy Vega from www.ivysmind.com said...

Jessica:
When I first came across your blog I was still in the desicion making whether to homeschool or not. Well, after reading many of your post and doing more in depth research I began homeschooling. I have you linked in my blog because from time to time I come and see what you are working on and it inspires me greatly. I have realized that if I am not "careful" blogging eats up my time and takes aways from my real world responsibilities. Thanks for making it real!
Ivy

Naimah Umm Khadijah said...

Hi Jessica,

This post is exactly what I needed to read right now!
I started blogging a few months back, and at first my intention was to hopefully make some money through it, but along the way, my intentions have slowly started to change, and I started to post more about our homeschooling,funny things the kids say etc.. as something to look back at.
I admit I have found myself becoming a bit obsessive about how many followers I have, comments etc... and sometimes when I'm thinking of what new content I should add, I find myself thinking will others like it, appreciate it...... and I don't really want to be like this.
I really related to your post, and I'm definitely going to take your advice, and work on making it our space, and not worrying if others find it boring or whatever.
I love your blog by the way, there's so much to read,and so helpful as I am struggling right now to keep a consistent approach with homeschooling, and don't want to let my daughters down, I know I have to concentrate more on it, and less on the blog!

p.s sorry for such a long comment!