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5 Ways I’ve Messed Up My Own Blog

April 19, 2022

I’ve been blogging on Dysfunctional Literacy for over ten years, but that doesn’t mean I’m necessarily good at blogging. I probably don’t have the traffic I should. I don’t get a lot of comments from new posts. I don’t make any money off of my blog. From those perspectives, Dysfunctional Literacy might be considered a failure.

On the other hand, I’ve written a lot of stuff that I’m proud of. WordPress recommended my blog for about 18 months a few years ago, so somebody other than my mom thinks I’m a decent writer.

As far as social media relevance goes, though, I’ve done a lot of things wrong. This might not be everything I’ve messed up, but it’s a pretty good list.

1. Putting profanity in a bunch of my post titles

A few years ago I wrote a bunch of posts about the etymology of certain profane words. They were meant to be tongue-in-cheek, and I didn’t think much of them, but they kind of messed up my blog a little bit. I didn’t censor the words either. I wrote ‘shit’ instead of ‘sh*t.’ I don’t see the point of writing ‘sh*t’ instead of ‘shit’. Everybody knows what ‘sh*t’ means.

Unfortunately, these are the only blog posts that have caught Google’s attention. Now most of my blog traffic comes to read about why words like shit and fuck are bad words. And I can’t monetize my blog because Dysfunctional Literacy is not considered a family friendly website. I bring in enough traffic to get monetized, but the posts that bring in the traffic make my blog unable to be monetized.

That’s okay. I didn’t want their stupid money anyway.

2. Not having a product to sell

I should have had a product to sell. I didn’t even have a book to sell when I started Dysfunctional Literacy. I still don’t have a real book yet. I’ve put out a few ebooks as practice and learned a few lessons (I’ll get to those lessons another time).

My one actual real book should be ready in about six months, and I’ll use Dysfunctionally Literacy a lot differently once I start promoting it. Don’t worry. I’m not bombarding everybody with a bunch of crap five times a day when I start selling my book , but if I do decide to bombard everybody five times a day, it will only be for that one book and for a little while. I won’t make a habit of bombarding everybody with crap all the time.

3. Writing about books and writing

This blog has way too narrow of a niche. Out of all the things to review on a blog, books are the worst. Books take way too long to read. I should have picked movies, television shows, or even comic books to review. Those guys who review movies or television shows or comic books can crank out content every day or even more frequently if they want to. Me? I have to take a week to read a whole damn book, and then I have to process it before I even start writing.

For a while I wrote what was called a Literary Glance, where I’d read the first few pages of a current popular book and review that. I was reading so many crappy books that I wasn’t enjoying them at all. I was reading books just to have something to review; I had no desire to read most of the books I was reviewing for a Literary Glance. I should have a desire to read a book before I decide to review it.

4. Not responding to comments

I don’t respond to comments as frequently as I should. Years ago when Dysfunctional Literacy was a WordPress recommended blog, I’d get dozens of comments almost every day and I had a full-time job and a family, so I couldn’t respond to everybody. Besides, most of the time I had no response other than “Thank you.” Maybe I should have littered my comments section with “Thank you” after “Thank you,” but I’m slow on the keyboard; even that would have taken time.

If you write a comment and I don’t respond, I don’t mean to be rude. It just means that I have no response other than “Thank you.”

5. Not having a clear purpose

I write book reviews. I write stories. I write humorous pieces. But my blog doesn’t have one specific purpose.

Plus, my blog’s name is Dysfunctional Literacy. The good thing about Dysfunctional Literacy was that the domain name wasn’t taken when I chose it, but nobody knows what it means. At the time, I was thinking of the term ‘functionally illiterate,’ and I thought about people who were capable of reading and chose to read what is considered crap rather than what is considered literature. They were literate but dysfunctional in their choices. Hence the term ‘dysfunctional literacy.’

Next time I start a blog, I’ll choose a name that I don’t have to explain.

  1. I think you’re nitpicking a bit. This is a really good blog with character and good writing. 99 percent of the other blogs can’t say that.

    • Thank you. I was just looking at my blog from a different perspective. If I were the type to be obsessed with analytics, and SEO optimization, and stuff like that, it would take the fun out of blogging.

  2. Hear you brother 🙏 for what it’s worth and monetizing aside, I enjoy what you have to say so keep on keeping on😀

  3. I follow because there is generally something that rings a bell with me. This one…I read…it is all I do and yet I have always felt that I was one of those dysfunctional readers. I do not read the recommended books, I did not enjoy the classics (I did love Moby Dick). I loved Harlequin Romances and had my two or three years of reading nothing but. Never went for bodice rippers. That being said, every list of the 100 books you must read in your life finds me having read at least 75. So why do I still feel I read crap…well maybe I think the stuff that is not considered crap is only okay and not my go to choice over all. I do not read to learn or improve myself. I never plan to become a writer. I read to escape and crap books do that just fine. On the line ‘I should have a desire to read a book before I review it’…my building book club just started up again after a two year Covid break and I found that the format has changed…a lot of new people and only a few of us old guard gathered and it was decided we would all read the same book each month. After the dust settled I simply announced I would not be attending in future that I do not read to order, I do not read books chosen for someone else’s taste, I do not have enough hours left in my life to read the books I have already bought that I want to read. They offered to do the old format every second month to cater to me but I am soured on it all. As for Dysfunctional reading I will note for the record that on my list of book I am currently reading on Goodreads (which means books I started and have not yet finished and might never finish) are: Book 3 of The Greville Memoirs, The Complete Works of Michel de Montaigne, Self Portrait With Friends – Cecil Beaton, Simarillion, The Wisdom of Winston Churchill, The Splendid & the Vile-Churchill Saga, The Highly Selective Dictionary of Golden Adjectives and Rationality by Pinker. I am almost positive I will never get back to Simarillion, I will finish Rationality this month if I can drag myself away from X-Files fan fiction which I am currently reading as a sedative to keep my sanity during the most awful month I have had in years. The others I will get to sooner or later as my interest shifts. Before the month from hell began, I was reading Pinker’s books, there are three more on my Kindle. I read five Churchill biographies before running out of steam on the last two, two Greville’s under my belt before drifting off to the world of vampires or something like that. I think I left Simarillion for Season 8 etc of the Buffy comics. On my list of books to read are the entire series of 300 Cerebus comics. I will never finish the third volume of Remembrance of Things Past, I will never read all of Jane Austen. I follow my triggers…could be a name, a word, a phrase in something I am reading or watching that has me following the bread crumbs into a new biography, a new genre or back to the shelves for comfort reading of my old old old favourites like Horatio Hornblower series by Forester and then the Bolitho series and on and on and on.

    • I respect a comment that might be longer than my blog post. I also respect that you like Moby Dick and X-Files fan fiction. I had a copy of The Silmarillion, but my dog shredded it, and I didn’t really care because I knew I’d never read it. I liked Season 8 of Buffy. I didn’t read any other seasons after that, though. Cerebus got too complicated for me after about 80 issues, but I still have my Cerebus t-shirt from the 1980s. Ah, comic books.

  4. Marilyn Kriete permalink

    I love reading your blog, just the way it is! Thanks for pulling back the curtain and sharing some of your ‘darker’ thoughts. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  5. I love your blog! Thank you for your hard work! Always a pleasure to stop by and read your posts, I don’t use to comment either….

  6. I think your clear purpose is that you write whatever you’re motivated to write about, which makes it good writing, and thus, good reading.

  7. Anonymous permalink

    I’ve read many of your blogs in the last couple of years but can’t recall that I’ve commented much. I invariably find them thought provoking, though, as with this one. Keep it up 😀👍

    • Thank you, Someone. Usually the commenters who go by the name of Someone leave vulgar responses that I delete. I appreciate your positive and appropriate comment.

  8. I really enjoy your blog, and I don’t think there is a ‘bad’ way to blog – who says you have to get money from blogging, or have something to sell? The internet has made it seem like everybody who has something to say online should make themselves into a ‘brand’ and make money off their opinions/appearance etc etc etc. What about just blogging for the good old fun of it, and the community, hey? I guess the only reason these reasons would be considered reasons your blog has ‘failed’ is if you blog for those reasons alone. Your blog is unique and you have a strong voice – your opinions always thought-provoking. That is successful in my eyes 😀

  9. Agree. At times I wish I picked a different name for my blogs. Maybe if I have a third blog I will pick a better name. Thanks for writing.

  10. Yes, I have some of the same f***ing regrets. Including “Paris” in my domain name when my posts are at least 50% about another topic is another regret. Maybe we monetize by instructing new bloggers on what not to do. Ps No reply necessary.

  11. John Stephen Walsh permalink

    I’ve found that a blog, unlike writing I get paid for, is about the nonfiction writing I want to do. The first time I wrote something that bored me, it set off an alarm. Your points are specific and interesting and make sense, but the most important one, to me, is the one about writing reviews of books. Reading takes time, but if you love reading AND writing about it, it’s a pleasure. I’m not about ‘just do what makes you happy,’ but if you see a blog as a piece of your writing, an end in itself, it’s hard to break any rules or make any mistakes. For me I address my fiction writing as work, and take it seriously, and blogging is, if not fun, a way to express things I otherwise wouldn’t. Enjoyed your piece very much and hope you’ve found where you want to be with your blog.

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