My Blogging Retrospective Part 3: Going Beyond Blogging

Once you have been blogging for a while, things might change and there could be a time when other offers might come your way that have very little to do with blogging. This recently happened to me, with my new position as Community Manager for PicApp.

Some of the things that you will most likely learn if you take even the smallest interest in them include: software, hardware, advertising, monetization, networking, branding, promotion, and social media. Some of those can be merged together, but in the end, they are all skills that can be used for other jobs.

Software/Hardware

When I first started blogging, I was just manually editing HTML on Geocities. After that, I moved onto a simple PHP script that I found on Hotscripts, and then finally I moved onto WordPress after hearing about it on a blog I enjoyed by Michael Heilemann, aka Binary Bonsai.

WordPress was this complex piece of software, and at first I felt like I would never understand any of the code that made it run, but after tweaking a few themes to suit me, I began to understand the theme architecture and that stood me in good stead when I was working for Bloggy Network as they had a great designer, and needed those designs quickly converted into WordPress themes. This made me more useful to them, and gave me the occasional break from writing articles.

Beyond WordPress, I was a bit of a geek, and was able to spend some time refreshing myself on Linux command line commands, and became useful in that way as well in setting up all of the Bloggy Network blogs to use Subversion to manage updating the blogs, which shaved hours off of the upgrade time for the blogs.

Advertising and Promotion

If you aren’t a technical person, but you want to run a successful blog, you have to either really have some personality in your writing or you need to be amazing at advertising and promotion. Social media promotion is a skill I am still learning and each time I figure out something new, the power of my articles increases.

Advertising on the right blogs can be really difficult. You need to think about the amount of money you want to spend, and the position of the blog. I am hesitant to buy any advertising except where the owner of the site has priced the spot so low that I would be stupid not to.

The issue with advertising on most blogs is that the readers have no doubt become ad blind to most of the traditional advertising locations, and so unless your campaign is unique in some way, you will not get the results you are hoping for. I learned this the hard way, and spent a fair bit of money trying to capture an audience off of competing sites.

Always try to increase your skills outside of blogging, but don’t stray too far from your craft. At one point I was spending more time on advertising, marketing, WordPress support and theme development than I was blogging, and that can be draining and sometimes depressing if it is writing that you are really passionate about.

Do You Have a Goal?

One of the things that I had when I started blogging was a goal in my mind, and I try to create goals for each and every site I launch. Some are unrealistic and nearly impossible to attain in the time line I have created, but I have always been one to reach for the stars and find fulfillment in making it to the moon.

If you don’t have goals for your blog, and your blogging efforts, then how will you know how far you have really come and how much more you have to work on?

My current goal with this blog is to build it to a four figure revenue mark per month or sell to a good company or blogger for low five figures. My initial time line on this was to have it happen within the first year of posting, and in a little over two weeks we will be at that one year point, and I am only bringing in half as much revenue per month than I was hoping and I haven’t yet sold the blog.

So while I haven’t met my goals, it does feel really nice to have built a site with five hundred posts, nearly five hundred RSS subscribers and some new friends that I wouldn’t have made without creating this blog. I couldn’t have set a goal towards the intangible things I would gain for this blog, and so I see them as a bonus.

You need to have blogging goals, and to try to stick with them. Every time I changed full time blogging jobs, I received a small but substantial bump in pay, bringing me finally to a level where I can lead a comfortable life from my online work.

Never forget the people that helped build your career, but continue to focus on the things that will excite you and help you attain your goals.

This post is part three of three parts. This is the 500th post on this blog. Some things that have changed on this blog and some more changes are coming. I am continuing to try to improve this blog and I want to thank all of you that take the time to read my thoughts and comment.

If you are a blogger just starting out and looking for advice, please contact me. I love to give advice, even if it isn’t something I am particularly knowledgeable about, I am always looking to learn new things and help people succeed.

Check out Part One: Don’t Take Every Job
Check out Part Two: Build Your Personal Brand

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