It has now, well almost, been two years since I started publishing my ramblings on this blog, and on this occasion, I would like to engage in some reflection.
I started writing short articles in an attempt to improve my writing. After several months of doing so, I thought it would be a good idea to get some peer review by posting them online.
I thought that it would also help to fill some space on my CV if it was to become successful. Therefore, when I started this blog, my vision of success was to get better at writing to meet a standard that would be worthy of scientific publishing. And build a skill for my CV.
Although I have not published anything yet, I have been informed by my supervisors that the writing is now acceptable, and I need to get it finished, so in a way, I have been successful on that count. What I didn’t expect when I started was that I care so little about actually doing the scientific writing that the skill I set out to sharpen is diminished.
So, that Is why I started to the blog what have I learnt along the way?
At the start, I was obsessed with details that I no longer concern myself with.
- A logo and branding. I don’t think this is something anyone should be too concerned about, it is a distraction.
- Statistics. How many people are reading the things I have made, and how can I improve this?
- What shall I write about? I still think about this a lot.
- Meta-blogging. SEO, guest posts etc.
Addressing all of the above points in a couple of sentences to someone new to blogging.
My advice is, focus on making the posts as easy to read as possible. I don’t mean the writing, I mean the entire blog. Make sure, when you look at the page, there is as little clutter as possible.
Keep it simple concerning branding and images – less is more.
Other than that it is a matter of producing content that has value to someone. Tutorials are great.
For increasing your view count, you should consider increasing your post count. My record views in one day were when I accidentally posted two posts on the same day (~550).
Above all, though, I have to say that you need to go out and get your readers. It is rare unless prompted that someone will find themselves looking and your content.
Going past the first 3-6 months of writing where everything was new and exciting. Blogging became a routine, just like exercise, it was a necessary part of my week that needed to be completed, and that is pretty much the way it has been for the last 18 months.
I write my piece, schedule it and then got on with all the other things I do. Fortunately, because of the fact, I had written around three months worth of posts before I started putting them online. It was easy for me to be consistent with uploads. However, especially in the last six-months, the buffer I had built up has been slowly eroded, so much so that I am now writing in real-time. So everything you see from now on that is written by me, will be hand to mouth, or hand to webpage?
I think the successes I have had so far has been down to my consistency, I genuinely believe that if you last more than a few months with your blog, you’re in the upper echelons. Because of the minimal barrier to entry, it is easy to start up a blog on a whim, and soon after, when you realise it is hard to attract viewership, easy to quit.
I do not have much motivation to keep this blog going as it does not do much for me, but for some reason, I do feel compelled to keep at it. I think the prospect of some unknown additional benefit turning up at somepoint, hangs in the back of my mind like an embarrassing memory. So I continue.
For those of you that have been going longer than me, why do you persist?
For those of you that are interested in statistics, probably the newer bloggers, as I know, I was. This site has a total of ~10,000 followers, 85,000 views from 124 posts over two years. Each of these posts has an average of 600 words. I have also gained 100 twitter followers from this blog.
The traffic is definitely increasing year on year. However, these are still rookie numbers that would make literally double figures in terms of income. I do not know how these stats relate to other blogs as I have not really spoken to any other bloggers about this. Seeing as I put maybe three hours a week into this blog, I suspect that if you were dedicated, you could certainly do a lot better than I have.
I would guess that like me, this is something you do on the side of your side project. And I certainly could not commit much more time to it than I do at the moment – well it’s not that I couldn’t, I choose not to.
C O N T E N T
I thought the idea of writing about my studies would be interesting when I was a person who knew nothing about my PhD. But I do not find it that interesting, to be honest.
I will speak about where I want to go with my blog in the future, but as a primer, it involves less about what I do and more about things I am interested in.
I think I will post about what I do on a fortnightly basis and to fill in the gaps I will write about things that interest me. I may even dabble with some audio! It would be interesting to hear what you guess my voice is like as most of the people who read this are from the USA.
Overall, I thought I would have more to say after two years of blogging, but I to my surprise, this is it.
Anyway, if you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment down below. Or, if you would like to contribute, go here.
Otherwise, see you soon (figuratively speaking).