Throughout this semester, I’ve learned and gained much knowledge of being an online publisher. Creating an online presence and expanding it to an online publisher is definitely not an easy job because you need an online community formed to interact and communicate with. Knowing your public and audience is crucial to maintain the blog because it can really help to enhance bringing more visitors to the blog and creating a bigger community.
Firstly, I have created my blog using WordPress as we were directed to do so in our class. I struggled a lot at first because this was my first time creating a blog or even playing around WordPress. I used social media a lot and created an online presence through the platforms multiple times, but creating a personal blog was a very different experience. It was definitely more personal and unique as Chittenden (2010) mentions that: “Blogs, which resemble online diaries, represent a popular space for teenagers to write about their experiences and instantly publish their thoughts to the web with minimal technical understanding”. My blog is a lifestyle blog, where I talk about the things I love- mainly beauty and food. I also had a section of ‘lifestyle’ where I posted different events and places to visit around Vancouver. This blog was definitely a personal blog because I wanted to share mainly my life, what I enjoy and where life takes me at.
Before I mention anything, it’s important to understand what a public is. “A public is a space of discourse organized by nothing other than discourse itself” (Warner, 2002, pg. 413). At first, the public that I imagined for my blog was strictly to young females, aged around 18-25, who lives in Vancouver. Since females typically enjoy more beauty products and adventuring for food in the cities, I thought that my audience will be mainly female. I thought that male would not enjoy my content as much because the content itself was not very appealing and also the visualization of my blog was more girly and feminine like. I’ve chose a very girly theme, which was the Olsen Light theme that I ultimately used for my blog. I personally really like a lot of white space because it gives a simple and minimalistic look to the blog. Also, the usage of white space allows my content to pop and easily catch the reader’s eyes. My main page does not display the recent posts because I thought that it made the front page look a bit messy, therefore I put a main home page picture, which was a decoration with flowers at first. However, as I developed my blog according to my audience, I ultimately changed my main picture to a city landscape image because it could target to everyone, not limiting to a specific audience.
Furthermore, with the help of Google Analytics, I’ve got to identify who my real audience was for my blog and I was very surprised with the results. It was very interesting to see that a lot of male were visiting my blog and reading my content. The content that male visitors enjoyed is food posts and lifestyle posts. As I mentioned, there are more girls that enjoy the beauty posts but to see that more male were coming to visit the blog, I naturally geared towards creating more content on food because it opens to a bigger audience. Initially, I wanted to focus my blog on beauty because I’ve always been passionate about makeup but I’ve reached to a point where I had to think about balancing what I wanted to share the most and what my audience wants. As I assumed, most of my visitors were located in the Vancouver area since my blog incorporated a lot with where I lived. To add on, I was surprised with the amount of people that were returning visitors. This proved me that putting efforts to engage with my audience does really pay off and creating content based on their interest is a significant factor to bring them back. I did not gather much comment on my site because it’s surely challenging for the audience to start commenting at first since my blog is fairly new. I definitely hope that more audience will engage and comment on my posts as it will help me to create content and give me inspirations.
Since the beginning of the term, I’ve learned tremendously about publication and how to develop my online presence. As having a lifestyle blog, I definitely think that having a distinct and unique online presence is essential and promoting myself is a crucial factor to be successful. As we can see from the media in our society today: “Promoting and branding the self has also become normalized, accepted phenomenon in ordinary people’s lives” (Van Dijck, 2013, pg. 203). I definitely have more respect to the famous bloggers in the media because with my short experience, I can doubtlessly state that a lot of time and effort goes into blogging and to maintain it. I think that creating a distinct online presence is a very important aspect when thinking about being an online publisher. There are many diverse factors to look at such as audience, visual, layout, content and much more to create a blog that will catch people’s attention. After this course is over, I do wish to continue with my blog because I think that I can really benefit from this experience and learning that will eventually help me in the future. PUB 101 has absolutely given me hands on, applicable skills that I can further use and I know that it will be extremely helpful. I’ve learned immensely about the publishing industry and what publishing is all about. I’m excited to learn and study more about Publishing as I continue doing my minor at SFU!
- Van Dijck, J. (2013). ‘You have one identity’: performing the self on Facebook and LinkedIn, Media, Culture & Society, 35 (2). http://www4.uwm.edu/c21/pdfs/events/vanDijck_oneidentity.pdf
- Warner, M. (2002). Publics and Counterpublics, Quarterly Journal of Speech, 88 (4). http://knowledgepublic.pbworks.com/f/warnerPubCounterP.pdf
- Chittenden, T. (2010). Digital dressing up: modelling female teen identity in the discursive space of the fashion blogosphere, Journal of Youth Studies, 13 (4). http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13676260903520902?scroll=top&needAccess=true