Tag Archives: blogging

SEO- what I’ve learned so far

I’ve been researching search engine optimization (SEO) lately. What I have been learning is not what I expected to find. 

I didn’t know much about SEO, but I imagined it as a series of technical steps that I could follow to make my website more visible. It’s about ranking higher in search engine results, right? So it should be like a game that I can learn to play, or so I thought.

The goal of search engines is to help people quickly find the information that they are looking for and to direct people to sources that are accessible. In the past, it was possible to trick search engines into ranking your site higher by using an excessive amount of keywords, links, and other tools. But as search engines become smarter, these strategies no longer work because they do not provide visitors with a positive user experience. To rank higher in search engines, you need to do something that you should be doing for your site anyway: provide content that is helpful and accessible.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t need to do some technical work; you absolutely do. You need to make sure that search engines are crawling the right pages of your site, and there are keywords and links that actually will help you. But search engine optimization is a lot more than that, too.

One of the most important aspects of SEO is putting your audience first. You need to think about what content people are actually searching for and craft your content to serve their needs. You can’t do that overnight; it takes time and practice. But when you succeed at putting these skills into practice, not only will your site rank higher in search engines, but your audience will actually have a better experience on your site. Isn’t that what you wanted in the first place, anyway?

I’ve learned that SEO is a means to an end, not an end in itself. I’ve also learned that I still have a lot to learn. SEO is not something that you can pick up in a day or two; there’s a lot to it, and it’s constantly changing.

If you’d like to begin learning about search engine optimization, I have found this site to be helpful:

https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo

I hope to continue developing my skills on this topic. I’ll keep you updated. 🙂

Updates

Several months ago, I changed the focus of this blog from my personal life to the arts and mental health.

This was exciting for me. However, in the past several months, I’ve changed my career goals quite a bit. These changes have affected how I felt about my blog, too.

I used to be a clarinet performance major. I wanted to pursue a graduate degree in clarinet and build a career out of performing and teaching. Since then, I realized that I don’t actually want to leave my home state to pursue my studies. I also discovered that I love my minor in professional writing even more than I thought I would. Later, I developed tendonitis in my hand and wrist from my clarinet practicing.

Following these realizations and the pain in my hand, I changed my major to a bachelor of arts in music, allowing me to have more room for writing classes and to give my hand a break. Post-graduation, I hope to have a job in technical writing, editing, or grant writing and I’m super excited.

As my career focus has shifted away from music (and my physical ability to practice has decreased), my personal relationship with music has changed. This change exposed an unhealthy mindset that I had developed as a musician. I’m still wrestling with that now, but I’m learning how to accept music as an enjoyable hobby rather than as a career, and it’s good for me.

Since I’m still wrestling with what it means for me to be a musician and artist, I’m opening this blog up for other personal content again; especially faith. But the blog will still be different from its early days.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts in the past year about the benefits and costs of being personal online, and more often than not, I feel that the costs outweigh the benefits. So many people share intimate details about their lives online for all to see, but I think it’s worth it to trust people before becoming super personal; a difficult, if not impossible, thing to develop on the internet.

However, I realized that I can share my thoughts on a variety of topics and discuss what I’ve been learning and/or thinking about without giving too much personal detail. That’s what I’m gonna do.

So here I go again with changing the course of this blog. Ope.

 

when things get in the way

I have two laptops. One of them is heavy, doesn’t fit into my backpack, and has a lot of loading issues. I named that one Roger. the other one has keyboard problems; letters t and y don’t work unless I repeatedly press them, and it’s nearly impossible to capitalize them. Hence, the lower case t that I started the previous sentence with. I haven’t given that laptop a name, but it’s blue, so I refer to it as the blue one.

I don’t write on the blue one most of the time, but sometimes Roger’s problems test my patience too much, or I don’t want to carry it with me around campus. When I do write on the blue one and have to press t and y between 7 and 15 times every time I need to use one of them, I have to pat myself on the back because I worked extra hard to get my words on the page.

Sometimes, as a creator, there are things that get in the way of making art, like malfunctioning keyboards, or for me, mental health. It’s awfully hard to write in a really negative head space. Sometimes it’s hard to write in a positive head space, but when my mind is being extra critical of the work I’m creating? It’s just downright painful. There are days when I try and just give up, and then there are the days where I push through. In either case, I remind myself that I tried, and sometimes that is more than enough.

Being a musician is like that for me too. Practicing is difficult even when I’m in the best mindset. to have an effective practice session where I’m really getting work done means many things. Focusing on tone, tonguing, and practicing runs of notes in ways that actually help me to retain them? That’s a lot to pay attention to in short spans of time. But that’s just what practicing is like. And on days where my head space is extra critical or just plain sad? the practice room becomes a very tricky place.

But I try to go there anyway. And on those days I sometimes still try to write. And I still write on a laptop with a bad keyboard.

Sometimes things get in the way of creating, but when you’re fighting those things, remember that if your work isn’t what it might be on better days, it’s probably because you had to work so much harder just to begin. Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether the art you create on bad days is your best work. You’re a trooper just for trying.

changes for the blog

I haven’t posted to my blog for a while, and this has been for good reason. I’ve been rethinking this site and its purposes, and I have decided to change its course. I’m starting with a blank page.

art-art-materials-art-supplies-1646981.jpg

This year, I decided to turn my love of writing into more than just a hobby. I have taken classes on grammar, design, media, and editing, and as a result, I’m more excited about blogging than ever. As I have grown as a writer, I realized that I want a more focused blog.

My blog has always been a personal blog, and it will continue to be. Personal blogs can be great, and they can have various degrees of focus. Through my years of experience, I’ve learned that when writing a personal blog, it is often best to choose some specific topics to write about, rather than just writing about whatever comes to mind. This gives a blog focus and purpose.

Focused blogs reach a more specific audience. They attract readers who are interested in the topic of the blog, and this keeps readers coming back. Having a focused blog can also help its writer to have some direction in picking topics. This is great, since picking a topic for a post can be one of the most difficult parts of actually writing a post.

When considering new topics for a blog, I thought that I should pick one or two things that are a part of my every day life and that are personal, but not too personal, to me. After thinking about this for a bit, it became obvious to me. The new topics for my blog are…

the arts and mental health.

These topics include things like:

  • What it means to be an artist (of music, visual arts, writing, and more)
  • Exploring what it looks like to practice the arts
  • Maintaining practice through seasons of mental health struggles
  • Self-care strategies
  • Blogging
  • How media and technology are related to mental health
  • How to promote yourself as an artist
  • How faith is related to being an artist
  • How faith is related to mental health
  • How the arts can help you through mental health struggles
  • What it means to grow as an artist
  • And MORE

As I have grown as an artist, I find that my mental health and my creation of art are closely related. Since I am a musician, writer, and visual artist, this has overlap with many areas of my life.

I’m really excited for this change. These topics are near and dear to my heart, and I can’t wait to see what is to come for this site.

If you are interested, please follow and share with friends who are also interested in these topics.

See you again soon,

Amberly