First Three Months and the Road Ahead

Beginning of a Long Road

Image copyright Oleg Kozlov – iStockphoto.com

It’s been just over three months since I started The Hobby Blogger, so I want to step back and reflect on my progress so far.

When I set out, I didn’t have any immediate goals other than to publish one post per week. So far, I’ve published eleven posts, including this one, over thirteen weeks. I also have two posts in reserve so I can still post something if I’m on vacation or if life in general gets too busy.

I research my design decisions and my posts extensively (hopefully to your benefit). Coupled with my slow writing, I’m not surprised I’m a bit behind my publishing goal.

How the blog has changed

Here’s a summary of what’s happened to the blog over its first three months:

  • Aug. 25 – Published first post.
  • Sept. 27 – Began adding Meta Description tags to all my posts and pages.
  • Oct. 13 – Optimized images.
  • Nov. 2 – Changed fonts, line spacing, content width, and added sidebar.
  • Nov. 12 – Added FeedBurner-managed RSS feed.
  • Nov. 19 – Added drop shadow to images, white space to images and h2/h3 headings.
  • Nov. 21 – Added custom CSS classes for <code> and <pre> elements.
  • Nov. 22 – Added About page and link to primary menu.
  • Nov. 23 – Swapped out default Genesis favicon for a blank white one. Changed ordered list left margin padding from 5px to 25px.
  • Nov. 25 – Moved navigation bar below header.

Including all of the reading, research, writing and tinkering, I’ve put about 140 hours into the blog. What has all that effort gotten me?

Bueller?… Bueller?… Bueller?

I’m not going to lie. Traffic to this blog has been virtually non-existent.

  • I have one subscriber to my RSS feed (thank you by the way).
  • My web stats tell me that I’ll have a meager amount of visits this month: 100 unique visitors (though that’s more than double the number of visitors last month).
  • No one has commented on any of my posts.

Am I worried? Bummed? Frustrated? Nope.

I’ve told all of two people about my site. I’ve made only one backlinked comment on someone else’s blog. I haven’t been active anywhere on social media sites.

Because I’ve been focusing on building a foundation of solid content, I haven’t performed any of the basics tactics that most bloggers use to promote a blog and build traffic.

Most of my posts are “evergreen” – posts that have a long shelf life because their content isn’t time dependent. It doesn’t matter that nobody read the tutorial posts when they were published because they will be useful to new readers for quite some time.

It would have been a waste of time to promote a site with only a few posts and no About page. The lack of content wouldn’t convince new visitors my blog was established enough to merit repeat visits.

So while I haven’t had many readers thus far, I expect that to change when I begin promoting the blog in earnest in about a month.

Goals for next three months

Here’s an outline for what I’d like to accomplish over the next three months.

  • Add more basic blog elements
    • Contact page
    • Email subscription form
    • Newsletter subscription form
    • Changeblog
  • Grow readership and traffic
    • Engage blogging community
      • Comment on blogs
      • Participate in forums
    • Create presence on Facebook, Google+, Twitter
    • Research/improve search engine optimization
  • Site design
    • Create color scheme
    • Add visual gradients to comments
    • Security tweaks
    • Speed optimizations
  • Revenue groundwork
    • Become affiliate for Genesis, HostGator, and NameCheap, and add their banners to my sidebar
    • Experiment with Google AdSense

Overall, I’m ecstatic. I’m hooked on blogging. It’s a fun and challenging hobby that already has me thinking of ideas for new blogs.

However, I wouldn’t advise everyone to go with my “dive right in” approach. Devising some sort of blogging plan to help define goals will help avoid bouts of “what do I do now?” Concrete goals will help you focus your efforts and achieve success, however you define it.

Thanks for reading.

Article by Bryan Kerr

I love breaking down the techie side of blogging into easy-to-understand tutorials. That's mostly what you'll find here on The Hobby Blogger.

Comments

  1. Congrats on having your blog for 3 months. :) Sure am glad you started it, great blog. Always enjoy reading your posts, look forward to many more months. Have a great day.

  2. Hi Bryan
    I reached your blog from problogger. Your road ahead seems to be great because your way of writing is going to bring in repeat visitors. I myself have been a blogger for the past 5 years, I lost one of my blogs with a fairly good number of visitors because I forgot to renew my site registration. By the time I remembered re registering, my domain was registered by someone else and I had no backup.I had to start from scratch again, I have never forgiven me for my mistake which cost me dearly. So always remember to backup your posts regularly. Keep writing, more readers will follow.

    • Bryan Kerr says:

      Thanks for the advice Jobin. I’m sorry you lost your blog. Backup is key, and I’m already backing up my WordPress install and database every week or so, and downloading the backups to my laptop.

      My registrar, Namecheap, is great about sending reminders to renew domains about a month before they expire. As a failsafe though, I also use my Google calendar to send email reminders. I’m also starting to register domains for at least two years.

  3. Hi Bryan! I also got to your blog through ProBlogger and am also very fresh in blogging community. It’s very nice that you’re passionate about your blog. Posts like this are very nice (what you probably can see because if comments below it), sincere and straight-forward :)

    While being spontaneous is great, thinking about the purpose of your blog could help you a lot! While it looks like you enjoy doing what you’re doing, finding exactly what you want from this blog could be a major step forward, and also help you with your motivation.

    Sorry if I misinterpreted anything and all the best with your blog :)

    • Bryan Kerr says:

      Thanks Chris. You’re absolutely right about coming up with a plan for a blog. I’m starting to formulate one, and it is helping me to focus my content toward a target audience that I’m beginning to define.

      I just checked out your blog, and it looks like you’re off to a great start too. Best of luck!

  4. If you would write about something else but “being passionate about blogging”, you would have better stats. We’ve started our blogs at the same time, but I am writing about technology. While the current stats are laughable, they are still 5 times bigger. If I would write about kittens, they would be even 10 times better, perhaps.

    What I mean is – there are some generic rules, and you’ve mentioned them. But there are also some golden rules, which are mentioned for a price (books, courses, seminars). And there are diamond rules, perhaps, which comes in form of enlightenment and loose their value once you share them, as then you would loose your uniqueness. And these “diamond rules” helps you to become a star and make a living from what you do.

    By the way, this particular post has a good perspective to be updated. For example – how things are going now? And especially – how many visitors you’ve had during the Christmas? I think it’s a very interesting mark of popularity.

    • Bryan Kerr says:

      First off, you’re the developer of Inkscape, right? Welcome! I’ve started using it recently and it’s nice to have a free alternative to Illustrator.
      Regarding “being passionate,” I think it’s a good way to connect to my audience by giving some personality. Since many of my posts are aimed at new bloggers, I think posts like the one you mention helps them relate to me better and understand where I’m coming from.

      I’m guessing that you’re stats are much better than mine because you’re probably have a built-in audience of those who know you from your development projects. And you also have a lot more content than I do. Which is great! I’m glad you’re getting a lot of traffic.

      I’m not planning on making a living from this. It’s intended to be a hobby. So I’m not too hung up on traffic at this point. One of this blog’s goal’s is to allow me the freedom to make mistakes without the pressure of having to earn money. Like we say in America, “You have to break a few eggs before you make an omelet.”

      I’m planning to post my progress every three months, but so far, I’m on pace to more than double last month’s traffic. This month, I already have 208 unique visitors and 626 visits (100 and 286 respectively, last month).

Speak Your Mind

*