I reached a milestone this past weekend. June 21st marked 10 years that I've been blogging. When I began posting articles in June of 1999, the term was in its infancy, and I had no idea what a blogger was. I still wouldn't consider myself officially a blogger, I'm more an amalgamation of 1990s Web 1.0 Webmaster/Entrepreneur, continually finding a way to present my message, in our ever changing online world.
In a decade of creating fresh content daily, I've made some personal gains in becoming more productive and efficient, continuously discovering new ways to get the message out. I can't say that I'll be blogging for another decade, as I currently find myself leaning towards photography, but we can revisit the idea in 2019.
My hope for those reading this post, is that you'll take away one idea that you can set in motion, to improve your blogging consistency or efficiency.
Stop, hands off the keyboard, take a deep breath in, and exhale. Read the affirmation above; the outcome is up to you. It's pretty simple really, if you think you can do it, well then you can do it. Will you bring about a blog that's sprinkled with updated posts several times per year? The one that appears to have less Page Rank every time you check it? Or will you consistently strive to think up new and creative topics, bringing about the physical manifestation of fresh and lively daily content? That's a blog I'd like to subscribe to.
You're so Vain: My posts have a tendency to become about me, vain SOB that I am, but that's not something I'd suggest you make a habit of on your blog (unless it's your personal blog). Write for your audience (but don't steer too far off course from your core message). It feels good to write about yourself, and you may want to sprinkle some self-importance in every now and then, but you already know how much more you'd like this article, if I wrote it all about you, instead of all about me. While self-aggrandizing posts may result in positive feel-good fuzzies, in my experience the articles rarely amount to much in the way of web traffic, and that may create incongruencies with your predetermined goals.
We've heard it a thousand times at conferences and from those in the SEO and social media communities, provide the answers to the questions people most frequently seek, and you'll be on the path to reaching the mountaintop of the blogosphere. There may be many paths to the top of the mountain, but you've got to train, and apply some skills if you want to do it consistently. Answering peoples questions, in the most simple terms you can manage, has been a good strategy for me.
Remove inconsistencies, as well as excess baggage, and prepare for the climb. The photo shows vitamin C packets stuck to my dry erase board with old hard drive magnets. It is what I refer to as a daily reminder. Keeping your mind and body sharp, with balanced nutrition and regular exercise, is essential if you're planning a constant regimen of delivering digital information to the world. The caffeine/alcohol blogging approach will only get you by so long, and you'd likely long burnout before you've reached the mountaintop. Don't neglect your health.
Stop watching television: I turned the TV off around 2003, and I'd recommend that switch to any aspiring blogger, unless of course your field or topic requires that you watch live television programming. That single change in my life freed up many hours each week, making it available for research, photo and article preparation, and content publishing related tasks.
In today's world do you really need television as a source of information? In 2009, if you are blogging based on what you gather from watching television news, you're likely three days behind the leaders in the blogosphere pack, no room at the mountaintop for you. Aside from entertainment, turn it off, and focus your energy on the tasks at hand.
Think Outside of Your Circle: If you're blogging about movies and celebrities, electronic gadgets, music and other popular topics, coming up with fresh content on a regular basis may not be your most difficult task. If you're in a niche industry like I am, a freshly sharpened creative mind, becomes essential in consistently accomplishing your daily tasks.
In Doc Kane's Almost an SEO Rocket Scientist post, he mentioned 3 things that are essential for blogging success. The first was starting with a plan, the second was thinking like the buyer, and the third was breaking all the rules.
I'd like to direct your attention to breaking all the rules. I blame my musical upbringing for development of this attitude. In Van Halens classic 1981 hit Unchained, band producer Ted Templeman can be heard mid song saying Come on Dave give me a break, to which Diamond David Lee Roth confidently replies... One break coming up!
When a chiropractor's wife graced the cover of a 2006 Playboy magazine, I did an e-mail interview, with the centerfolds husband. Undoubtedly not the type of topic you may expect from a chiropractic centered website, but it broke the traditional mold, and left me with one hell of an educational experience. The unanticipated result was a dramatic increase in queries from twenty something-year-old males seeking more information about attending chiropractic school. Cha Ching.
In the recent Ruud Hein interview with Paul Wylie on Blogging, Paul mentions 3 things that were strong takeaways for me. The first is that your company must have a strategy along with a clear way of implementing those strategies. He also mentioned that you'd better make time in your schedule to blog, that's the primary reason I say drop the TV watching, especially if you're procrastinating in getting the job done.
Think about it, if you had the option to watch TV for 10 years, verses 10 years of writing blog posts, which do you think would be more rewarding? Chances are you've already covered that many hours watching television already, you may as well try something new.
The third thing Paul mentioned was that not everybody is a good writer or blogger. I'm still not quite sure I'm that good at either, but after 10 years of practice, I'm a lot better than I was in the beginning. If the job is on you to get it done, roll up your sleeves and get to it, and move forward without hesitation.
Michael Dorausch is the Founder of Planet Chiropractic, a website launched in 1998, that specializes in alternative health topics, and just about anything related to living a chiropractic lifestyle.