The following post was submitted by Adrian W Kingsley-Hughes as part of the ProBlogger Case Study Series
PC Doctor blog, a blog designed to help people get more from their PCs, back in April of last year.
I bought it to life after a long period of being asked by people why I didn’t have a blog and a longer period of thinking, worrying (standard stuff like “do I have the time?”, “do I have enough to say?”, “will I ever get any readers?”) and then, finally, some constructive planning. One day I just uploaded WordPress to the server, set it up and within five minutes I had a brand new blog. Admittedly, I’d set up a load of blogs and forums before this so the process wasn’t new to me but I still felt a huge buzz of excitement because this was MY blog! After a few basic tweaks and mods (specifically, I let FeedBurner handle my RSS feed and added SiteMeter stats tracking so I could see what was going on, stats wise) I was ready to blog!
I got going straight away and even used the default WordPress template for quite a few months. I worked on the assumption that it was content that was going to draw readers and not how it looked, and since I’m a writer by trade I wasn’t put off by having to write a lot. I’m glad I did this because I could have spent weeks on the style and have no content. Also, since I knew that it would take weeks for any real traffic to show up on the site (from the search engines) I knew that I had time to tweak the look and fix anything that might be broken (or that I might break).
I started off populating the blog with stuff that I’d wanted to put up on the website for some time but hadn’t found the time. I found that by having a backlog of material to go on the web actually help because after a couple of weeks the blog had a good number of posts and the place didn’t feel empty any more. Traffic was slow to begin with but by using Technorati (I tagged everything back then!), leveraging my existing websites by cross-linking, and stated participating in the blogosphere through comments and trackbacks. Traffic was depressingly slow for the first few weeks but I knew that I’d be basically talking to myself for week and I remained optimistic. I lived by the motto that “if you build it, they will come”, and eventually, come they did! Within a year Google has gone from bringing no one to the blog to now bringing in 85% of my readers.
After a year, and over 2500 posts, I can say that I’m now really addicted to blogging. I love the speed with which I can get information onto the web, the speed that others can find out about it through RSS/web feeds and the great sense of community that has formed around blogs.
Three of the best decisions that I made in running my blog were:
- Use WordPress. This platform is a joy to use and the folks behind it really are committed to the project.
- Use BlogJet for posting. BlogJet allows me to concentrate of my content rather than having to mess around with HTML. Some of my posts containing a lot of formatting and dozens of images and
BlogJet handles all this for me.
- I’m so glad that I used FeedBurner to power my RSS/web feed. Using FeedBurner I’m able to offload all the technical issues onto someone else and I’m able to keep an eye on the stats. I now also make use of the
FeedBlitz RSS-to-email service incorporated into FeedBurner – I’m amazed how many people want to get news of daily posts via email!
I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way but the biggest by far was not starting earlier. I wish that I’d just gotten on with the blog two or three years ago rather than putting it off. Don’t be put off – just start blogging! I also wish that I hadn’t put the blog into a folder called ‘WordPress’ – I could change it but I can’t be bothered and it’s not worth risking the loss in traffic – choose your URL and the folder for your blog carefully!
For the next year I plan on doing what I did last year and post a goodly number of posts every day. I also have plans to launch two new blogs, both spin-offs of the PC Doctor blog and both on computer-related topics. After that, who know what will happen!