Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Sep 13

Blogging Comes with Hard Lessons

No, really. I’ve learned some awesome things about myself and my community and computers and the Internet and the world at large from being an active blogger. I’ve also learned some things that are frustrating, disheartening and just plain shocking. For example.

Pictofigo Frustration

This is pretty much me on a daily basis!

People Don’t Understand the Internet

Every week, I get at least one comment on Reviews by Cole from someone who thinks I am the company. Not just that I am somehow affiliated but that I can send them products or perform an exchange or send them a manual or what-have-you. Now, this just perplexes me. Chances are, they performed a search for a specific product and wound up on my site because the manufacturer doesn’t offer information about the specific product. I understand how people get to my site.

What I don’t understand is how they could possibly think that they are anywhere else than a product review blog where I talk about my personal experiences. My site looks like a blog. It reads like a blog. It quacks like a blog. It’s a blog, folks!

Language Is Important

I don’t just mean representing yourself in a professional way. I mean that almost any time I’ve worked with a company whose representative’s first language wasn’t English, it turned out terrible. My not-politically-correct opinion is that a lot of companies that cheaply manufacture items overseas view bloggers as a quick way to get some links with minimal cost on their end because they’re making crap.

It doesn’t matter if these are quality posts or long-term relationships. It sure as hell doesn’t matter if the product works or not. And sometimes I am not better than them. I don’t say “No” even when every sign indicates this is going to be painful from beginning to end or that it’s just not worth it.

Giveaways Are a Chance to Win

..and even if you’re the winner, you shouldn’t count your chickens before your eggs hatch. I recently posted on Facebook on how I had been contacted by a winner of my DX Mall giveaway. Sadly, this company fell into the last category. They’re a bottom-feeder type, and not only were my communications with them downright painful because of the language barrier, but it took them over a week to consider crediting my winner’s accounts. One winner went back and forth with them before weeks before she was finally told that the site shut down.

That’s all folks. I’m a middle man. There’s nothing I can do short of paying for those prizes out of my own pocket, which I just can’t do. I’ve been using a disclaimed about how I am not responsible for prize fulfillment for some time. Basically, this means I can send off your information to my contact and nag them a couple times, but you’re not actually the winner until the prize is in your hands.

It’s a Numbers Game

This might be the lesson that’s been the most difficult for me to come to terms with. While things like user engagement and comments mean a lot to me, it’s stuff like visits and Facebook “Likes” that turn the heads of PR folks and businesses who consider working with me. I know this isn’t always the case, but unless you don’t have the masses visiting your site, you’re likely going to miss out on opportunities that might otherwise be perfect for you.

Another thing is that someone who takes good (or sometimes numerous!) pictures will get more opportunities than I do because I tend to focus on text. I’ve literally left reviews not knowing what items were or how well they worked. I’ve seen bloggers highlighted on social media and forums because of their great photos that literally did nothing to convince me that the brand or product was worth thinking about twice.

I’ve seen this time and again, and it’s tempting to feel anger, but I know it’s not use it. I’ll keep building and getting better. I’ll be grateful for what I qualify for, and that’s included some awesome stuff. But I won’t be quiet when you write a terrible review because you’re hurting more than just yourself.

Also, when it comes to those giveaways? Another numbers game. Consider the amount of work you’re putting in and how much you really need or want that item because I can guarantee a lot of entrants are wasting their time and effort!

I sound more jaded than I feel on a daily basis in this post, but nothing everything about blogging is pretty.


Jul 05

Things I Like and Others I Don’t

I am enjoying the new WordPress dashboard. It’s sleeker, prettier. It seems to load faster and the updated admin bar is much more useful.

I am not enjoying the heat. It’s not even that hot here but my room is the warmest in the house. I wake up sweating and, if I want to do anything more than sit on the couch (and even just to do that, really) I have to turn on the air conditioning. We have a single “window” unit built into the wall. Unfortunately, the roommate doesn’t ever get hot so she’s always turning it off, not understanding the concept is not just to cool you off when you’re in a room but to reduce the overall temperature over time.

I enjoyed a very busy Thursday through Saturday with friends and family and now I’m enjoying having time to myself. As I’ve caught up with most of the television shows that I watch and there aren’t any new movies for me to procure, I have more time for putzing online, entering giveaways, reading and playing games on my devices. It’s much more relaxed.

I seriously dislike stupid article rewrite requests. Lately, I feel as though people who have never used the Internet or a computer before are editing my tech beta articles. If we have to assume that the reader has a basic grasp of the subject, I would think we can assume the same of the editors but, nope. I am constantly explaining things that they should know before they even accept an article to review. It seems like they expect it to be easy but they’re wasting my time and theirs.

I am super excited over my recent giveaways at Reviews by Cole. My giveaway for the Medium Next Door was moderately successful, compared to previous giveaways but my Bath and Body Works giveaway hasn’t even been up a day and I have almost three dozen entries. It’s fantastic. I recently won a giveaway myself so that’s also exciting.

I’m frustrated at Goliath for constantly scratching at carpet next to my bedroom door. I don’t know why he does it but I do know that sprays don’t help. I have covered the area with paper and duct tape — duct tape — but he still tries to get at it. It’s stupidly frustrating and I hate being angry with him. Perhaps it’s time to try Soft Paws again..

And to end this on a positive note, I’ve had very good luck shopping for new clothes and finding clothes that fit. I feel pretty confident in that area and with my weight loss, even though I haven’t been pursuing it that actively. It’s reassuring either way.


Jul 23

Pee Ess

I finally finished the book I have been reading for something like 7/8 months! God! I’ll probably finished the second edition of Ultimate Sandman and start Neverwhere and/or the next novel in the Death Gate Series.

On the mention of books, I entered to win a signed copy of Neil Gaiman’s the Graveyard Book – but you shouldn’t (so I can win, duh! ;)) Giveaways are also the subject of one of my recent posts on Reviews by Cole.


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