Retrospective Blogging for New Bloggers
A little over a year ago marked the official start of the blog here at RustProof Labs. In that time I have published over 40 posts, trashed probably close to as many, and already want to rewrite about half of what I've written. That last part is the part that I didn't expect. Sure, I'm used to trashing work that no one has seen and starting it again the right way, but writing it, publishing it, then realizing that I could have done so much better...
It's true, I'm not great at blogging. That's probably proven right now by me writing a blog about my blog, but hopefully some of my thoughts today will help a new writer in the future.
Want to Blog? Write!
Don't rush into a huge commitment you aren't ready for. Have you ever tried to hold yourself to a writing schedule? It isn't easy! You need to decide how often you want to write, maybe daily or weekly, but even monthly is good if you stick with it. If you haven't done a lot of writing in the past, start practicing by trying to write about a topic in Notepad once a week and see if you still like the schedule you picked. Also, start a list of topics you would like to write about so when you are in the mood to write you have some easy ideas to grab from.
Know Why Your Write
I write with the goal of helping others learn. I started writing this blog because I have learned so many awesome things from amazing individuals who also wrote blogs. I also write because I enjoy writing, and I enjoy making my brain work a little bit differently than just sitting here banging away at config files. It's nice to have to type extended communication in the English language, my hands and keyboard do appreciate the diversity. ( echo 'Hello world!'; doesn't count as writing in English...)
If you only have two posts, you can't expect people to stay on your site for too long. Or even find you! After a year of this blog, I've started seeing a small dribble of traffic that I didn't personally drive to the site. It's slowly but steadily starting to come in, which is good because I'm getting tired of constantly deleting the SPAM comments that Akismet has caught without having real traffic as well. Don't be sad when Google Analytics tells you the same sad story hour after hour, day after day, week after week. Give it time, and take advantage of the lack of traffic to hone in on your writing style and subject matter.
Don't Stress about the "Other Stuff"
I use WordPress because it's simple to setup to function like a basic blog. All you have to do is install it, and it works! But then you have almost endless opportunities with themes, plugins, configurations, etc.... but at the end of the day I still have work to do. I have wasted countless hours trying to get the SEO plugin to switch from orange to green by trying out different keywords, updating my post title, updating the header text throughout, injecting words into the paragraphs.... all to get really horrible writing.
I'm sure I'm just not approaching it quite right, but for now I've given up on trying to SEO my individual posts. I can't imagine that the hour and a half I spend tweaking the post after 30 minutes of writing it has any real benefit to my blog overall. That hour and half, instead, could go towards writing one or two more posts! I'm sure someday I will decide it's important enough to spend time on again, but maybe by then I can hire someone who knows it much better than I do.
My point here: Keep your blog simple, and unless it's really a problem.... don't worry about it!
If you're going to spend the time required to write and maintain a blog, make sure it's something you enjoy. It does take time, it does take commitment and dedication, and you have to have thick skin. Not everyone will like or agree with everything (or anything!) you write and that is ok.
Published July 31, 2014
Last Updated July 31, 2014