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What would you do differently if you had to start your blog again? – One Question Interview Series

Posted By Darren Rowse 7th of July 2006 ProBlogger Site News 0 Comments


I’ve been interviewed on quite a few occasions by other bloggers and podcasters in the past 12 months and there is one question I get asked time and time again:

‘What would you do differently if you had to start your blog again?’

It’s actually a good question in my mind and is one that I’ve used myself from time to time when in conversation with more experienced bloggers and webmasters.

As a result when I was thinking about a series of posts that I could run while I take a couple of weeks off as paternity leave I thought it would make a great ‘one question interview’ series.

So I quickly emailed 30 or so fellow bloggers (mainly longer term and fairly experienced ones) and asked them to have a go at answering the question. I told them they could answer it with one line or an essay and could tackle it any way they wish.

The answers have rolled in over the past couple of weeks since I sent the request. Some have had said that they have too much on their plates to participate, a few others have not responded – but what will follow over the next two weeks will be the replies of those who responded.

Some loved the question, others found it harder to answer. Some submitted two or three versions before being happy with what they’d written while others sent one liners. Hopefully the results when read together will help those of us in the start-up phase of new blogs to not make the mistakes of those who’ve gone before us.

If you didn’t get one of my emails asking for you to participate – please don’t be offended. I was pretty random with who I sent them to and just because I didn’t officially ask you to participate doesn’t mean I don’t want you to. In fact consider this your official invitation!

What would YOU do differently if you had to start your blog again?

Tell us in comments below or write your own post and think leave a URL below. I was going to make this an official ProBlogger Group Writing Project but I won’t be around to collate all the links – so we’ll leave it as an unofficial one. I’m looking forward to reading your answers on my return.

But in the mean time – over the next couple of weeks you’ll see the responses of my interviewees – I hope you enjoy them.

update: See the responses of those I interviewed here.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. (isfullofcrap.com) I’d probably have separated the catblogging and podcasted stories out more from the main rant-filled domain. I’ll probably register some kind of domain specifically for the podcast and break it away from the main set in the next month or so.

  2. I would immediately separate content from presentation.

    For those of you who use CMS tools, that’s pretty meaningless, but when I started (way back in the early 90’s) there were no such things, so I wrote raw html. Cgi was very limited then, but I did what I could with the tools I had.

    When it became possible, I did start moving content to files that are read by cgi that actually generates the page.

    I still wouldn’t use CMS’s because I prefer to write my own code, but it has taken me a long time to convert most of my site to the point where I can change the layout at a moment’s whim and easily add new features that instantly appear across all pages.

    I’d probably also move to Php. Right now, I’m entirely Perl based – again, that
    was what we had for a long time, so that’s what I used. If I had to start from scratch, I’d go Php, but I’m not going to change my habits now.

    Why I don’t use CMS: http://aplawrence.com/foo-web/content-management-systems.html

    Some details on how I manage my site: http://aplawrence.com/Unixart/website.html

  3. I would use a CMS like WordPress. My main blog is a home-grown solution built long before blogging software was mature. It gave me flexibility, but now requires more time than I’d like to spend. And I can’t tap in to all the great WordPress add-ons! I’d switch platforms, but I’d hate to mess up the great search engine traffic I get.

  4. Why do you think switching platforms would mess up your search engine traffic?

    If you actually have to switch hosts, a 301 redirect will push the search engines (and everyone else) to your new site. They’ll find you.

    For example, I once had the confusion of having two domain names pointing to the same site. Google gave some site ranking to one domain, and some to the other because links from other sites sometimes used one domain and sometimes the other.

    I took one of the domains and redirected it to the other with a 301 (see http://aplawrence.com/Unixart/googlepagerank301.html for details)

    If you search google today for that other domain, it will say “Sorry, no information is available” – everything now points to one place.

  5. I would absolutely not use Blogger if I was starting my blog over, simply because of the lack of categories. Unfortunately now I have so many links that I don’t feel like I can change, but I’ve been able to adapt the blog quite a bit so it at least doesn’t look very “Blogger”.

  6. My blog http://elamb.org is going to get nuked with traffic when summer ends. Bandwidth is going cost me big time.

    If I could start over, I would have set it up on a wordpress, or drupal on a good server (with reasonable prices). Now, I’ll have to transport it before the summer ends and possibly lose traffic. Either way, I have to lose traffic and money.

  7. …organized my site better from the start like it is today.

    Also, read problogger for tips from the start, I’ve learned a lot.

  8. I think since mine is new, i’m still figuring out what I want to say. I found that I’m mixing politicis, random thoughts, and there is lack of focus. I think i would find a niche….i just have to figure out what i want that to be…


  9. I just started my blog on June 4th so it is only a month old. If I could do it again, I would have done more research and bought an established blog that already had traffic that I could enhance. I am sticking with it though and I am sure in a year, I will be happy with my traffic.

  10. Nothing.

    Do I want more readers and revenue? You betcha. But over a year of building, retooling, acting on feeback, and “pigeonizing,” I fully feel I’ve created the perfect forum for my thoughts.

    But alas, readers come to read what I have to say, not to click on ads or affiliate links.

  11. t-bone says: 07/08/2006 at 5:43 am

    I just started a blog site. Believe it or not, it took me this long to a) figure out what a blog is and b) how to get started with a blog site. My main regret is not doing it earlier, like years earlier. I had been hearing blog this and blog that for so long now and never really paid attention to it until recently. Anyway, this is a great blog site. Well done. Keep on blogging!


  12. Balance my activities more equally between content production and promotion/marketing. My first blog had, and continues to have, great content, but the unfortunate fact of the matter is that I’ve always been a bit lazy at marketing it and/or promoting it. It’s one of those blogs that, were it just for content, would definitely be ranking in the stratosphere of blogging, but for lack of marketing, just lazes about in the pack.

    Nowadays, I’ve started some business blogs, and you can rest assured I’m working on the marketing side of things.

  13. I do regret not starting a blog a year or two ago, although it wouldn’t have been on the same topic as I have a toddler blog about my toddler. I wish I had set my permalinks in WordPress to include the post name from the beginning, now I’m not going to change it as I’d break all my existing links and all my traffic, but with /archive/postid it isn’t helping the search engines at all. I also would have put my business together on the same domain with my blog site sooner – I have them together now, but it was a pain redoing everything to make them mesh and redirecting the traffic from my previous business site, etc.

  14. […] Darren at ProBlogger.net is running a series of one question interviews with different well known bloggers. He has recently been asking them “What would I do different if I had to start my blog over?” and today he has a response from Seth Gordin that I think is the perfect answer for the question and shows how great the idea behind blogging really is. The following is an answer from Seth Godin responding to my one question interview question of what he’d do differently if he had to start his blog over again. […]

  15. “I would use a CMS like WordPress. My main blog is a home-grown solution built long before blogging software was mature. It gave me flexibility, but now requires more time than I’d like to spend. And I can’t tap in to all the great WordPress add-ons! I’d switch platforms, but I’d hate to mess up the great search engine traffic I get. ”

    WordPress is great, i use on one blog and i am happy with this great CMS! But i think that best part is WP addons, created by other webmasters!

  16. […] The One Question Interview series Darren created recently has introduced a number of interesting issues to me. But the one particular issue I want to talk about now is the one raised by Darren’s interview with Guy Kawasaki: Is it better to start a personal web site, with a blog as one dedicated component of it, or start a personal blog and use the sidebars (and equivalent areas) for all the promotional stuff about yourself? […]

  17. I’d have one blog and not the 5 or 6 I have now. And I’d probably tie it to my personal domain. More details at my blog. :-)

  18. […] idea de entrevistas de una sola pregunta creo que se la le originalmente a Darren Rowse en su One Question Interview Series. Me pareci una idea divertida. As que voy a intentar implementarla. Pero en mi caso, aspiro a […]

  19. I’d would ever start a blog on my very own name. It’s better to start a blog on a different niche than your name alone. Also, I wouldn’t create too many categories, it will mess the navegability of your blog.

    I would work so hard picking the right words for the description, you now all SEO advice on this one.

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