I have been blog­ging about link build­ing and online mar­ket­ing for approx­i­mately one year now.

Whilst my ana­lyt­ics don’t exactly tell the tale of the most suc­cess­ful web­site on the inter­net, they cer­tainly don’t tell the whole story.

This snap­shot of the last year’s weekly vis­its tells you pretty much every­thing you need to know:

(Obvi­ously, weekly site vis­its isn’t my only met­ric for suc­cess here, but, you know, it’s an easy place to start.)

 

Even though we’re deal­ing with pretty mod­est fig­ures here, the steady decline in vis­i­tors post-March is disconcerting.

Up until Feb­ru­ary time, every­thing was head­ing in the right direction.

Then, for what­ever rea­son (busy, time, blah blah blah) the fre­quency of my blogs dropped.

Whilst the graph is still punc­tu­ated with spikes when I do pub­lish, on aver­age the weekly vis­i­tors has fallen.

I went from pub­lish­ing three posts a month to just the one.

I fell out of my rou­tine, telling myself it was in favour of qual­ity over quantity.

At the same time though, I knew that as a fledg­ling blog­ger, the more you write the bet­ter you get.

I should have just kept on shipping. 

So, aside from know­ing I need to write more, what else have I learned?

My content’s not great, but…

Under­stand­ing what it takes to con­sis­tently pro­duce good blog posts has been a pretty steep learn­ing curve.

When I read some of my ear­lier posts I cringe and ask what pos­sessed me.

They’re a pretty good demon­stra­tion of how naive I was and how lit­tle I knew when I started.

At the end of the day, every­body has an opin­ion. If you’ve rel­a­tively lit­tle expe­ri­ence and you’re blog is pred­i­cated on giv­ing indus­try com­ment, then it is unlikely your posts are going to offer value to any­body but yourself.

If you look at the most shared posts on this blog (side­bar —>) they all have one thing in com­mon, in that they do offer use­ful infor­ma­tion that you can take-away.

They’re use­ful, as opposed to thought provoking.

I know the whole ‘offer action­able advice’ is a bit of a plat­i­tude here and I’m not going to carry on regur­gi­tat­ing it. It is, how­ever, inter­est­ing to see it play-out for yourself.

How­ever…

All that said, whilst I do want to cre­ate con­tent use­ful for oth­ers, it wasn’t the sole moti­va­tion for starting.

Orig­i­nally, it was this Seth Godin video that kick-started the blog­ging thing for me:

I blog for myself as opposed to any­body else. It helps cement my own thought processes and opinions.

It forces me to describe why I do what I do, out-loud.

Whilst I’d like to be bet­ter at it, I know the read­er­ship fig­ures are not the be all and end all.

Appear­ance counts

The sec­ond thing that’s really hit home over the past year is how impor­tant the appear­ance side of the web is.

Even with all the short-cuts that are avail­able, I don’t think you can get around need­ing to under­stand the basics of HTML.

By no means am I say­ing this site is per­fect, far from it. Nor am I say­ing I do under­stand the basics.

I def­i­nitely appre­ci­ate it a lot more now than I ever have done and want to know more.

Rel­a­tive to how the blog used to look 12 months ago though, there is vast improvement.

Lit­tle things like con­sis­tent image for­mat­ting, use of header tags and font choice all add up in giv­ing your blog more enjoy­able to browse.

Less clut­ter is bet­ter. Let the con­tent speak for itself. Make it easy to read and stop peren­ni­ally try­ing to shift people’s attention.

Again though, I’ve been the pri­mary bene­fac­tor of this. Yeah, it’s made my site look bet­ter but it’s been the best way for me to actu­ally get my hands dirty.

Keep bug­ger­ing on

The final point really just devel­ops on the main theme intro­duced ear­lier in the post.

When all is said and done, the main thing is I’m still going.

Yes I could post more often and there is room for improve­ment. How­ever, it is easy to get sucked into fads and then quit when the ini­tial excite­ment recedes.

Moti­vat­ing myself to write has been tough going at times over the past year and I’ve had my fair share of writer’s block.

I’m hang­ing on in there though. Each post gets a lit­tle eas­ier and each week I learn a bit more about what works and what doesn’t.

Here’s to another year.

Post By Michael Smith (31 Posts)

Michael works at 9xb Dig­i­tal Agency in Har­ro­gate, Mon­day to Fri­day. Click here to fol­low him on Twit­ter or have a look a his Google+ pro­file.

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2 Responses to Reflections on a Year of Blogging

  1. Sean says:

    I blog for myself as opposed to any­body else. It helps cement my own thought processes and opin­ions.” If this is really your goal then don’t worry about ana­lyt­ics, I rarely look at mine as it’s not the rea­son that I write.

    Keep writ­ing dude, I par­tic­u­larly enjoyed http://www.eatsleepsearch.com/2012/04/26/thoughts-on-the-updates-and-raising-the-barrier-to-thrive-in-seo/

      

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