How to grow your blog: A Series of tips from 25 years of blogging

in #blogging2 months ago (edited)

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Do you want to grow your blog? Are you writing and not getting any recognition or audience?

25 ... Years?

In many ways Peakd goes back to the days of Live Journal and Geocities. Just creating content does not mean you will get readers.

Let me take you back to the start.

We didn't call it blogging back in the day. My whole approach was informed (led astray?) by BBS systems and the early web, where one of the first things folks did after getting online was to create a "homepage".

After a homepage, favourite links, and so on, we would perhaps start a journal.

Journals were like public diaries. Originally in hand-coded HTML and then systems popped up that automated a lot of it, but hand-coding was still common.

Right around the same time as websites were getting popular, writers started to branch into online newsletters and fanzines.

Around 1995 I started putting up pieces of content related to the Usenet groups I was a part of, especially around Sci-Fi - Doctor Who, Red Dwarf, Star Trek, etc. I stuck to hand-coding until 1998 when I coded my own content management system and redeveloped it each time I moved hosting platform.

Notice a couple of things there that are the same as today:

  1. We start by writing whatever comes into our heads.
  2. And then we start writing about our interests.
  3. Our links, navigation, design, etc was all in constant flux and based around technology rather than consumption.

Then and now, people often say "I want to write about ..." rather than "What would people most like to hear from me?" or "How can I make it enjoyable and easy for readers".

First ... Answer Why

Why are you blogging?

If you can't answer right now then stop what you are doing and work it out. You need to know what success looks like to you.

Is your why strong enough to cope?

You will get critics, haters, jealousy, bots, and other nasties.

It is much worse for women than men.

Just the fact you get a little visibility will be enough for some people to get angry and jealous and want to pull you down.

It's a fact of online life and you will need to come to terms with it.

Shouting into the void

One of the hardest frustrations to deal with isn't even trolls, it is dealing with the fact everyone is indifferent to what you have to say.

We overestimate in daily life how much people take notice of us ("oh no everybody saw that booger, I need to move town and start over") but then when we start putting hours of work into blog posts that go nowhere.

What are your REAL metrics?

Traffic, followers, likes, etc are vanity metrics unless "fame" is your goal, and even if it is, getting 1,000 likes from bots is not actually fame.

As I say above, what does success really look like to you?

It's easy to measure money in the bank, and a lot of goals come down to that, but can you measure where that money came from? Not in general ("online"), but specifically ("from this specific post and mostly from basketweaving community sharing on ...").

If you can't measure success then how will you know how to get more of it?

Bottom Line

Before you start growing a blog you need to know what it will do for you and how will you know when you are doing the right things.

Sorry not sorry that this article does not contain any magic tricks for getting overnight success, but I did say it was a series :)

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 2 months ago 

These days, I would say me writing posts is mainly for liquid HIVE to fuel my dCity issue.

I would say that goes for a lot of folks here :)

And in the case of writing for Hive it would be all about finding what works for that - research :)