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
- Grow readership and traffic
- Engage blogging community
- Comment on blogs
- Participate in forums
- Create presence on Facebook, Google+, Twitter
- Research/improve search engine optimization
- Engage blogging community
- 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.