a recipe for success, my blog and how I got here
I am pleased to announce, that this blog is doing well, I am attracting visitors daily, articles are being read, comments are being left and traffic abet a minor amount but traffic none the less is being directed by Google to my blog. I am more inspired to write and publish, I want to improve on my writing skills and I crave to truly create and publish a place that people choose to come and read stories on a diverse range of subjects in articles created, written and inspired by me and my life experiences.
I thought that today in celebration of the first 1500 hits that this site has received that I would explore the reasons and motivations that have brought you this site. I want to begin the documentation, the history of @ Now. In life as in all pursuits that we undertake we set our selves goals and targets and this article explores where I didn’t plan and prepare and why I failed, to where I did set goals and monitored outcomes and the success that I enjoyed because of them.
This article is kind of like a how to instructions on starting a blog ,I have made many mistakes and errors in getting to where I am today, and obviously I have done some things OK as well or why else would I not be crowing if only just a little. So here is my story chung! chung! (and in case you are wondering why I use that phrase, think to the beginning of Dick Wolf’s fabulous crime and justice drama Law & Order).
I first contemplated the idea of writing a blog in June of 2009. I know I was inspired by other blogs that I had encountered on the internet. I had not really had that much to do with the concept or idea of blog’s; I just thought they were some kind of online diary that no one read. However since joining Twitter a few months early I had been fortunate enough to read quite a few blogs and they were a lot more that just a diary, there were valid articles written by a huge cross section of the community, the views, ideas and stories expressed were well worth the read and in some cases warranted a bookmarking to revisit latter.
I was a bit naïve back then and on July the first 2009 I launched “The Bees Bonnet” catching name not, I thought it sounded good then and I was inspired, I was going to take on the world I was launching a blog “hear me roar” type stuff and here is my inspired first post.
“I have decided to begin this blog as a way of letting the bees go, I am a person whom is touched , angered and often dismayed by the world and the people whom inhabit it, so as a bit of therapy I have decided to write of these issues as and if they crop up.”
Not a very catchy first article, but the stage was set, I was taking on the world and this was only the beginning. I made quite a few mistakes in those early days, the writing was atrocious, mistake ridden bad grammar abounded and in reality it was hard work reading, what was I thinking? The bottom line is plan or idea neither did I have.
But I had decided that I wanted to start a blog; this is not something that I ever really thought that I would do. I felt some what self conscious about my writing as I still do today, I was neither a journalist nor a writer, (I would dispute the writer comment, as I now believe we all have the ability to communicate within us, its just a skill we need to find and harness) however I have very strong ideas and opinions and I wanted to share them. I felt alive, inspired and challenged. The first attempt began as I have said previously in July of last year. I had always been quite a keen contributor to comments on many of the news and technology sites. I had written a couple of articles found a blogging platform and launched “The Bee’s Bonnet”. I was initially thrilled, I had the site rated at Blogged and expected to see the readers flood in, it did not happen and I lost interest and the project just died. Part of the problem I feel is that I had chosen the wrong platform, I really did not know what I wanted the site to be, I had no planned measure of success, and I was not ready to deal with rejection and that’s what it felt like. I did not really give up; I just changed focus and started to evaluate the things that went wrong.
There were quite a few, I had no idea how to measure success, I had no idea what I wanted to write about, I did not set a plan of when to write or what to write about. I was disorganised, and contrary to earlier assertions I was not focused. I expected success with out really knowing what I wanted or with being willing to do the hard work. I did not promote. I just thought that I had created the best blog ever; I was annoyed that others could not see it and took criticism as a personal attack. I somehow thought that I was owed this, it was to be my reward for being a loyal user of the internet pretty much since its Australian inception. I soon tired of “The Bees Bonnet” it was an abject failure and by 17th of February the very last article was to be posted “Why the time of Intellectual Property is doomed” It might as well have talked of the demise of the blog for all it was worth and so shortly after this posting I abandoned the blog.
In the mean time I started to learn a lot more about analytical data and detailed analysis of the clicks on links, referrals and other such stuff. This got me thinking as I had never really known if people were even visiting my blog but I was over that now but the learning never really stops. That really had really irked me with Blogger, it was a great little blog platform, it was free but it never really gave me a picture of what the blog was doing or more specifically how I was going.
I then wondered if people were clicking on my links that I posted in Twitter. Twitter had become my focus, I scoured the net daily looking for interesting stories to add my two cent comment too and link and post on Twitter this was my publishing outlet, my voice so to speak since the blog had failed. I had been using bit.ly to shorten links on Twitter but never had an account, I was a user, never really could see any reason to have an account, after all I have so many different internet accounts these days, who need one more? until I discovered all the added benefits. “ bit.ly” allows you through a desktop shortcut to perform a one click shorten of nearly any article on the internet , the ability to add you own comment and then to post it to Twitter, in addition to this it also provides analytical data on the number of times that each link has been clicked. To me this was a godsend, at last I could tell how many clicks a link was getting but more importantly what stories were popular, and that is where it clicked excuse the pun, finally I could see a way that allowed me to monitor traffic and to adjust content to the type desired by my audience.
It was time to revisit the blog idea with a new gusto and to put in place some of the new skills and ideas that I had learnt so just under three months ago I launched “What I know What I think” this time a I employed a better blog platform that allowed me greater analytical data to gauge the success of my goals, I started slowly and experimented with different themes, worked on improving my writing skills and finally relaunched with a new look and feel “@ Now” on Monday 21st of June.
I feel that I have achieved a lot in a quite shot period of time, I have set realistic gaols and allocated the amount of resources that I feel is necessary for the outcomes that I want. I think I have learnt a lot of valuable skills in the process. I am however not delusional enough to think I know it all, I know have limitations knowing them is an important lesson to learn in everything we do.
So and to today, I have reached 1500 visits, 36 posts, a dozen or so comments and 4 subscribers a good beginning and I am thankful to everyone who has read enjoyed and commented and finally to finish this my 37th post on this blog a small list of thing that I feel that I am doing well and recommend that any one who is contemplating on beginning a blog to try to apply themselves.
- Chose a design and logo that suited you don’t be afraid to tinker with the look and feel until you are comfortable, do not view the need to change as a failure but a learning experience.
- Continue to write and contribute in the early days of launching when traffic is minimal, realise that building content is important and remember that like in they say in the movie “Field of Dreams” and that now famous quote “if you build they will come”.
- learn the value and need for feedback and that not all feed back is necessarily implicit and you must search for clues as to the type of content that your readers want to read with out compromising your goals.
- It is important to be flexible and willing to change, as trends and outcomes become clear, and that you will improve as time goes on.
- learn that you are the only proof reader of your site, and that although you can’t change the experience of readers past, new readers will appreciate it as the need to correct and improve grammar is paramount to credibility and is always ongoing.
- learn to set realistic goals and to revise them upwards if achieved or to revisit the reasons that you have failed and work to correct those issues.
- learn the need to promote your own work, but also to promote the work of your peers, to comment on others work and to thank those who have commented on yours.
So this article was a mixed bag a little bit about me and a lot about celebrating about how I have got here. I again would like thank everyone again who has read this and I look forward to my next benchmark being reached. This is sure one exciting journey I have launched my self on. Please feel free to leave a comment.