Quite some time ago, a stranger on the Internet suggested I could try my hand at writing as he thought a post I had made on a forum was well written. He persuaded me to think about trying my hand at writing. However, the problems to be solved were what to write and for whom. I did nothing for quite some months.
One evening, I was flicking through a magazine in a hamburger joint and came across an article on blogging. It was a short article but with enough to put the idea of blogging into my head. Blogging could be a little sideline to supplement my salary. I gave the idea very little thought at the time.
A man, learning that I was an accountant, asked me for some budgeting advice so he could save money. That went very well for him. It occurred to me that I could give useful advice about personal budgeting. The idea of blogging about personal budgeting entered my head and so this blog was born.
I started out without a clue as to how I might start a blog. I could have done a lot of research to make plans and set quantifiable goals. On the other I could just get started as there is no real downside to starting a blog. I don’t need to spend money getting started, just some time which I can spare. I did get started at once.
The first step was to get a blog, write some articles and cause them to appear on the blog. I could find out how to attract visitors and monetise the blog later. This would be an experiment to see if I could produce a blog and generate some interest.
My learning began. I learnt that there are such things as blog hosts such as WordPress which I am using now. I learnt how to get a blog set up. Next was how do I post an article and make it appear on my blog. It took weeks to write the first few articles as I had no experience writing articles for the general public. Articles were written and posted on the blog.
There were no more articles in the following two months. I was having some serious difficulties setting up my blog. The free WordPress sites do have some of the options available on hosted WordPress sites. Much of the advice and instruction available for WordPress sites appears to be written for hosted WordPress sites. My site remains visually unappealing and is not organised in the way I would like however those problems will be soluble when I move to a host. I am not moving to a host until I have written more articles and obtained sufficient and useful feedback from visitors. It costs money for hosting and domain names. This experiment needs to meet with sufficient success to warrant expenditures.
Search Engine Optimisation seems effectively impossible with my free blog. That must wait until I move to a hosted blog. I have found information on how to optimise a hosted WordPress blog that seems very lucid and useful. My blog statistics tell me that I am not being found by search engines. I can’t find my blog with search engines.
I set up a Twitter account. I acquired the grand total of 22 followers in four months. Meanwhile my website had 11 visits in those four months, some apparently from the WordPress Help Person in response to a query I had. I also noticed somebody had followed my blog and somebody had favourited 2 of my articles which seemed good feedback from such a small number of visitors.
At this stage I had obtained very little in the way of results and put very little into my blog. Getting a couple of articles favourited and a follow seemed promising start from such a miniscule response. One can expect to get little out from minimal effort so, on that basis, this experiment seemed to be going well.
And then I noticed somebody called Marc Guberti had followed me. I had a look at his blog and read his article on gaining Twitter followers. Within weeks, my followers had increased from 22 to 615. This encouraged me. It was time to ramp up my efforts. Thus motivated I published 5 articles in September and more in October.
I am getting only a trickle of visits from Twitter so far. The 14 visitors in October exceeds the total visits in the previous 3 months. I have confidence in the quality of my content but need more results to support confidence that I will attract visitors to my site. I need to learn better targeting to attract more engaged twitter followers.
I gather it is important to get email adresses so I need to find out exactly why that is important. And I need to find out how visitors can leave their email addresses on my blog. Next i need to figure out how to monetise this blog when I have a volume of visitors. All that can wait until I move to a hosted blog. The time is not yet ripe to do that. I will lose links to my blog when I move however that is acceptable as I have had so few visitors.
I am now thinking of a book on how to prepare a budget. Then I need to figure out how to sell it.
All of this will be solved in due course.
Success in any venture can be boiled down to three key points:
- get started
- keep learning
- keep going
I invite your comments on how you started out with blogging. If you are also starting out then please share you story.