There are a few things I’ve learned about blogging in the mere three months that I’ve been running this blog — things that are a bit different than those I learned about blogging from being on the outside, as a reader/commenter only. What follows is a little bit about the three most significant things I’ve managed to figure out – I’m sure as I continue, I’ll figure it out a bit at a time…
The Back Burner
If an idea strikes, write it down. It doesn’t matter if you finish it — just get it into a file. A time will come along, and you’ll see that it is the right time to pull that file out, refine it, polish it, and publish it.
Having the stash of articles means you can react quickly and refer to other people’s posts. Building on the momentum of others is a good tactic if you want to build blog traffic. It also means that you get the main idea down right away, and that you get to revisit the idea later to make sure it still makes sense. For what it’s worth, I have about 10 pieces all on the go right now that are waiting for more attention and the right time.
Keeping a Schedule
Keith wrote about his publishing schedule the other day, and I think he provides good advice. There are a couple of points that matter most to me right now, especially in the early going.
The first is to do with weekends: I can’t say for certain that this applies to all blogs, but this blog sees a drop in traffic over the weekend. It doesn’t matter how good your post is — if you publish it on Saturday, it might get missed. Even if a few people pick it up and post it in their link blogs, by the time everyone else publishes on Monday, your link is long gone off the list. You don’t want to be at the beginning of the Monday morning rush. You’ll drop off the list sooner rather than later.
(And yes, I realize I’ve just published this on a North American long weekend. However, the web is a global medium, and I needed to get a head start on the week.)
The second is to do with predictability: Your readers will become attuned to your publishing schedule. Over the past three months, my posts have been very sporadic, and I haven’t really stuck to a schedule. This means that two weeks ago, when I posted on Wednesday and Thursday, nobody expected it. If you aren’t publishing regularly, and then all of a sudden, you post
two days in a row, I think there is a pretty good chance the second post will get missed by a number of readers.
Just Post It
Two weeks ago, I pulled two pieces from my stash that were close to, but not quite, complete: My Favourite FireFox Keystrokes, and Tracking the Spread of Information. I had written both beforehand, but hadn’t finalized them. I had my doubts and wasn’t sure about either — I thought that nobody would care about the keystrokes one (apparently I was wrong), and I wondered about the Tracking one because it builds on some ideas I published a while ago that got very little reaction (apparently wrong again…)