11 Things I’ve Learnt about Blogging (so far)

20 10 2008

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Image by adactio on Flickr via Creative Commons

Image by adactio on Flickr via Creative Commons

“I blog, therefore I am” (by loads of people)

I’ve been blogging for six months now, albeit haphazardly. As I prepare to re-launch my blog and take it to the next level I am reflecting on what I have learned in the last 6 months.

  1. Your most popular post may surprise you
    My most popular post is “Top 10 ways to Implement GTD Simply”. I knew that GTD was a big topic of interest for my target audience but a stumble here and a back link there certainly made a big difference in my traffic volumes. As did being on the front of wordpress.com with it.
  2. Comments breed comments
    Your first comment is the hardest to get when you are new. I notice that once some has left the first comment other people will comment. This rule isn’t true for bigger blogs where people compete to be the first to leave comments.
  3. There are a lot of brilliant blogs out there
    There are so many well written, orientated and focused blogs out there that you can often find yourself quickly de-motivated about your own blogging skills. I have had a lot of ideas for blog posts which have been done before many times over. You have to see through this and just knuckle down to it and focus on generating your content.
  4. Writing good content isn’t easy
    Well for me it isn’t anyway. I have a short term personal goal to significantly improve my content generation. I would ideally like to posts 2-3 times per week. I think that posting everyday can prove to be information overload.
  5. Quality over quantity
    A well written short post is better than a rambling long post. Most people skim through the web anyway so you need to deliver the hard hitting messages in a concise way.
  6. Readers are nice
    The vast majority of people in the blogosphere are very nice. Most comments are positive and rather than being in competition with each other, bloggers are keen to go out of their way to help each other. This online community is something that is great to be a part of.
  7. There is a lot of information out there about blogging.
    I have spend a lot of time reading about how to blog, monetizing blogs, SEO, design and more. Then I realised that it would be far more beneficial for my blog if I stopped reading about blogging and actual took action and blogged. I now take a pull approach to getting information about “how to” blog. This means that I seek the information when I need it, rather than having it pushed at to me causing information overload and a never ending list of things to do with my blog. Really all you need is two action points: 1) Write good content 2) promote your blog.
  8. People like memes
    My “What’s your Lifestyle Project?” page has been very successful.  I really want to create a good meme with this, any ideas on how to achieve it?
  9. Hitting publish feels nice
    Too nice. Sometimes it is too easy to want to get something published and out there rather than spending those extra ten minutes re-reading and checking your writing flows correctly.
  10. Inspiration is everywhere
    I have ideas for posts all of the time and have a list longer than my arm of draft post titles. I could be driving in my car, reading a book, doing a particular task or reading another blog. If blogging was just about coming up with ideas for posts I think I’d have it made. I always make sure that I’ve got something to capture these ideas wherever I go.

  11. WordPress is great but…
    Sometimes editing the layout of your posts can get pretty frustrating!

There’s a starter for ten of what I’ve learned about blogging so far. I’m sure in six months the list will be rather different, and I hope I am keen to act on what I’ve learnt so far to grow my blog significantly over the coming months.

What are your perspectives on blogging (and how long have you been blogging if at all?). I’d love to know in the comments below. Thanks.

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11 responses

21 10 2008
Joe

Huge Congrats!

Seeing how you’ve been posting 2-3 times per week is very impressive as well, posting relevant and interesting topics every time is not easy to do at all, but you’ve succeeded in doing it .

Keep rocking 🙂

Cheers,
Joe.

21 10 2008
Maria Isadora Romeral

Very insightful. And I totally agree with numbers 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. =)

21 10 2008
Edie Dykeman

You have certainly learned quite a lot in just a short time. I have watched you progress and mature as a blogger over the last couple of months. Just think, this is only the beginning for you and I see great things ahead. Looking forward to future posts.

21 10 2008
Chris

@Maria – Thanks.

@Edie – Thanks for the words of encouragement, that’s very kind. I am looking forward to the blog re-launch!

21 10 2008
Angel Cuala

I have been blogging for a year, but just turned pro 3 weeks ago. I think the best lessons I learned so far are: promoting is very hard as there are no guarantees that doing one strategy is not good enough. That we have be patient enough.

Making money on-line is a nightmare. Although there are many ways to do it, it is hard to find what suits the best for you.

Writing is very hard too, that one quality article takes me about 3~$ hrs. before publishing it.

But in the end, blogging is enjoyable. Imagine a career that you can earn money by being yourself, socializing and sharing useful information to others

21 10 2008
Mary Alexander

I love your blog and I agree with all the the points you’ve made.
The hardest thing for me is making time to blog and coming up with good content.

Keep up the good work!

22 10 2008
Chris

@Angel Cuala – Thanks for your insights. I struggle with the content too, but I am really focusing on it now. I’ll probably have a ‘Productive Content Creation’ post in the future.

@Mary Alexander – Thanks very much! Making time to blog, I suppose is like making time for anything, you have to prioritise what is important to you and cut out other stuff.

23 10 2008
Gina

I have learned:

1) The posts I love the most (as the author) may not be the most loved posts by readers.

2) Sometimes it is very hard to come up with ideas for daily posts.

3) Writing is good for the soul and makes you think.

23 10 2008
Chris

@Gina – Thanks for your insights. I particular agree with 1 and 3.

It’s interesting to see the comments from other bloggers, keep them coming. Seems that there are common themes, and then areas where we all differ. That’s what makes this such a great medium.

4 11 2008
christinegilbert

Chris,

I totally feel #1! My most popular post is http://almostfearless.com/2008/05/21/8-things-i-wish-i-knew-when-i-was-22/ which was a quick post I wrote and didn’t think much of it. It quickly went viral, landed on the front page of several social media sites, and still gives me thousands of pageviews even months later. And this whole time, I’m like, really? This post? Not the one I poured my heart into? I’ve never been able to recreate that level of response, but apparently people really connected to what I was saying (both for and against).

The only one I would add is to expand #5: Quality is so important, it is actually better to NOT POST than post a poorly written entry. No one unsubscribes because you skipped a day. Write a shoddy post though, and you could lose readers. I dropped my posting down to 2-3 X a week and it’s had no impact on my traffic… quantity is important to take it to the next level, but only if (a big IF) you can maintain high standards.

Great post, Chris!

4 11 2008
Chris

@christinegilbert – thanks for your insights. I enjoyed your post when I first came across it, I think the title draws people in. Trying to up my quality myself, but it can be a fine line as you don’t know until you hit publish whether people will get/like your stuff. Cheers Chris.

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