On 1 October 2017, I relaunched this blog with a commitment to publish more regularly. Soon enough I began a routine of publishing shorter posts on an almost-daily basis. For some reason I actually missed out posting on 1 January 2018. But I have maintained the daily habit ever since, so today marks a full year of blogging on a daily basis.
It’s not that I have written something each day — I don’t have the time for that these days. But I have planned and committed to publishing something every day. This has often meant setting aside some time to bulk-write several posts, and schedule them for days in advance.
I enjoy the discipline of blogging regularly. I know that being a blogger since the age of 16 has made me a better writer.
I think it has made me a better thinker, as well. Seeking to publish something interesting on a daily basis has made me seek out interesting links to read. In turn, that has made me read more often, with more commitment and more purpose.
Some really interesting things happened to me in the past year. Even though I said I would begin “blogging without purpose”, I set myself a few vague and informal goals. I think I met most of them.
- Get people commenting more often. I think this has happened, but probably not in proportion to the number of posts. However, it has been great to hear more regularly from some long-time readers, as well as a few new ones.
- Raise my professional profile. I’m writing more often about work-related topics. My posts have often been a talking point at work, and after attending networking events and conferences have remarked on my blog posts.
- See if I could get the attention of the media. In the mid-2000s I ended up being featured in newspapers and on the radio a handful of times as a result of my blogging. I was intrigued to see if that could happen again. I was surprised to end up being filmed for a BBC Scotland documentary. Although the footage won’t end up being used, and the post that grabbed the production team’s attention was a few years old, it did seem to demonstrate that blogging can still be a way to get noticed.
Another goal had more mixed results.
- Become part of a community with other bloggers. Since ramping up my posting activity, I have heard from old-time bloggers I really admire. People I know in real life have begun blogging, and others are talking about doing so. And I have gained some new readers, and found some new blogs to read.
But it’s still not enough to feel like a return to the blogging spirit that I am seeking a return of.
The number of visitors to my blog has drifted up a little from the previous year. But not really by enough to reflect the vastly greater amount of time I now spend blogging. As far as I can tell, most other blogs must be getting pitiful amounts of traffic, at least in comparison to what might have been expected 10 or 15 years ago.
The tail wagging the dog
As I wrote back in November, I plan to shift the focus of this blog. In that post, I said I would probably stop committing to posting daily.
That’s because I was spending more time trying to think of ‘quick’ things to write just to fulfil that commitment. It’s also been very noticeable that people won’t really look at the short link posts, and are much more likely to read and comment on own articles.
I postponed the focus shift after being encouraged by a friend to carry on posting daily for the full year.
I have found it quite difficult to maintain the daily habit over Christmas. This has solidified in my mind the need for change.
The next couple of months are also going to be exceptionally busy for me, with our wedding coming up in mid February.
So today is the last time I commit to posting daily. There may, or may not, be a post tomorrow — but I’m not going to break my back to do it.
I am devising a new strategy, which I will implement from March onwards. This will be focused on posting more regularly, but less frequently, and with higher quality.
How do you discover new blogs to follow?
Going back to that final aim of mine, which I didn’t quite achieve, of trying to become part of a community of bloggers.
I would really like to find more new blogs to follow. Most of the blogs I do read are mainly about certain topics, written mainly by certain types of people. I would really like to read a more diverse range of blogs — but I’m struggling to find them.
The biggest challenge blogging faces today is discovery. We need to build the sense of community that is seemingly easier to find nowadays on social media platforms (despite the manifest disadvantages of social media).
I’ve spent some of the Christmas period looking through my RSS reader subscriptions. Several blogs I had subscribed to have simply disappeared off the internet. Around 100 old subscriptions are ‘dormant’, having not been updated for three months.
On investigating some of these, I have maddeningly discovered that the blogs still exist (presumably following a platform migration) — but are no longer publishing an RSS feed. What’s that all about?
Is there another way to keep up with blogs other than dusty old RSS readers? (Don’t say Twitter.)
And what blogs have you discovered in the past year?