These past few weeks has been hectic, I’ve been moving into my new house which inevitably involved talking to a lot of contractors/plumbers/repairmen and I had a very busy go-live period for my project. (Go-Live refers to the point of an IT project when it successfully becomes available to the users). To top it off I upgraded my blog from wordpress 3.1.1 to 3.2 and the upgrade wasn’t as smooth as I thought it would be.
Reflecting on my blogging and my goal to reach 1000 hits/month, I think there’s a lot I learnt from this blogging experience so far from a technical perspective (setting up a website/installing a database..etc etc), but there’s a whole lot more I learnt about other things as well. Here’s the top 3 things I learnt from blogging that have nothing to do with programming.
Blogging is hard.
Cliche as it sounds, this is true for just about any passion you have. In fact the word passion is derived from the Latin word passionem, which means suffering or enduring. Starting the blog is easy, putting the first post is easy, going from no pageviews to 100 pageviews is easy.
Learning to ride a bike is easy, and biking as a child is easy (too easy). But taking biking from something you do for the fun of it, and then trying to build on it to become a professional biker is HARD!! Think Tiger Woods likes golf? Maybe, but you think he absolutely enjoys hitting 2,000 shots a day from the sand trap, after the drops each ball and steps on it?
Starting a blog is easy.It gets real hard when you hit a brick wall, when your hits/month move upward but at a crawling pace. It gets hard when you have to take time off to write a post, it gets hard when you have to push yourself to get good content and at the same time promote your blog. It gets real hard when your initial bunch of ideas start to fizzle. It gets hard…and you think of just throwing in the towel or just stop blogging altogether, leaving your blog to die a natural death.
My aim for the moment is to reach 1000hits/month for any 30-day period. And I’m working towards that, but at times the hits just don’t come, and it’s tough to move forward because less hits means less feedback from the visitors so you have to figure yourself how to increase traffic.
Not all post are created equal.
Some post like my post on creative resumes bring it lots of traffic (20-30%), some post don’t.
Some post keep people on your site longer, like my post on project pier (avg. time of 14 minutes) and creating a site to share large files (avg. time of 9 minutes)
Some post do neither, like my post on cool facebook icons (3 visits with a avg. time of 0 seconds). *I’m not even linking that one.
So I guess from the data it’s clear, which content you need if you want to achieve 1000hits/month. A good website doesn’t just measure itself against just one metric, but against multiple metrics. One thing is for sure, the post wouldn’t be pulling in hits AND keeping people engaged if it wasn’t good content.
The internet is full of awesomeness!
While looking for good content, I discovered services/apps that were available online that were just awesome. From minutes.io to fetch.io , from Loads.in to Glype and Collabtive. From Google Engine to GIT to the whole collection of APIs from twitter,facebook,linkein..etc etc. The internet is full of amazing things that allow you to do just about anything if you have even the slightest tinge of technical know-how and a bit of inspiration (a bit of money helps as well).
Most of these services require you to pay, and I learnt from hosting this blog, that for the most part you get what you pay for online. You can be fussy about the service, or you can be stingy, but you can’t be both. Either part with some dough or be prepared for some restrictions/lack of quality.
Overall, I’m happy to report that 3.5 months into this project I’ve manage to work my way up to 403 hit/month. Less than half way there…let’s hope it gets better :).
Photo from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seandreilinger/276439738/sizes/s/in/photostream/