The blog experiment so far…

Around the end of November, I decided to relaunch my blog and see what would happen if I actually updated as close to daily as I could.

It’s been about a month so far, and I’m fairly pleased with the results.   Visits and page views are climbing, and at least one of my articles has had over 800 hits, due to search relevance.    My bandwidth usage is actually lower now since I removed some mp3 files from my site that aren’t even linked to these pages — apparently there are a lot of spiders finding all the mp3s out there, so some of my music has been linked from a number of mp3 sites.  Traffic has doubled over October, even considering the mp3 files that I removed, which were Christmas mashups that got 3000 hits each in the 2 days in December I had them up.

It’s taking a while to get a rhythm going.  It’s now been 2 weeks since my last update,  which is a bit disappointing but I have some excellent excuses, like updating my laptop to OS X Mountain Lion and finally getting all my devices synced properly through iCloud.  And then there were job interviews.   The fun thing is that all of these occurrences have inspired me with topics for future posts.    My last post, the announcement of WordPress 3.5, has opened a can of worms — my upgrade process is going to be non-trivial, so I should have a lot to share as it goes.

My first long-form article, the iTunes 11 review, took days to complete, while I’ve been able to get out a number of short useful articles in no time at all.   A lot of this has to do with the workflow behind collecting links and using screen grabs.  I have made some strides in collecting links, but am still having some issues with my workflow for media.   I am hoping the WordPress 3.5 authoring tools will improve this, soon as I do the update.

I’m not expecting to build an audience overnight, it’s going to take time, and more compelling content, but I’m optimistic that things will grow.

Some insights I’ve gotten so far:

  1. Regular updates are really important, both for getting return views and for maintaining creative momentum.
  2. For a blog like mine, it’s important to mix it up between bite-sized posts and longer-form articles.   Holding off for 5 days to finish a long story doesn’t help you be a daily resource for people.
  3. Longer form articles can take a lot of time to research, fact-check, and do screen captures.  You need to nail down a workflow that won’t get in your way, especially for your screen captures, which often will need annotations.
  4. Relevant post titles and content will get you good search engine placement.  The most popular article so far in December was ‘changing font size in itunes 11’, which was also the search term.  You just have to title and write your posts clearly to get this benefit.
  5. Analog seems like a more detailed web statistics package, but I’m not sure it’s more useful than Webalyzer.  I will probably switch back soon.  Whichever you use, seeing the needle move day to day based on your posts is a powerful motivator.
  6. It’s not cheating to blog about process.  Really.

Let’s see what Month 2 brings.

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