Yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of the very first blog post that I ever did on my first personal blog.
It has been a very interesting and rewarding two years. I’ve been reflecting today a little about the journey of blogging so far. There have been a number of movements that have brought me to the place I’m in today as someone who now who earns a living from blogging. Let me reflect a little on the journey so far….
– The first year of blogging (almost solely working on my own personal blog) was mainly about connecting with other bloggers, learning some basic coding (I knew nothing at all when I first started), testing different blogging tools, developing some writing skills, testing what worked and what didn’t in terms of topics etc. It was largely about familiarization, experimentation and gathering of skills and knowledge.
– Another side benefit of the first year was that it built my ‘livingroom.org.au’ page ranking in Google. I did a number of projects in that time which caught the attention of a wide variety of other bloggers and involved them in my blogging. This had the side benefit of thousands of inward links to my blog which built my domain ranking significantly and gave me a great foundation for the launching of new commercial blogs.
– At the end of my first year I discovered Google adsense and added it to my blogs to discover that I could pay for my ISP and hosting costs with it. Nice. I also had a play around with Amazon affiliate-ship and made a few dollars on the side – enough to buy a book or two each quarter.
– Around this time I accidentally started my first commercially viable blog – Digital Photography Blog. I say accidentally because it was a complete fluke. This blog was originally a personal photolog with holiday pictures that I’d taken on a trip to Europe. I also had a review of the camera I used on the trip which included links to a number of other good reviews on the camera.
After a few weeks it became very evident that the pictures were getting no hits but the camera review was ranked quite highly on Google (due to my domain having risen in ranking over the previous year). I also noticed that one or two people bought the camera I’d recommended through my link to Amazon and that my Google Adsense figures seemed a little higher. A light went on in my head as I thought – ‘what if instead of having just one page of reviews – I had 100 pages on digital cameras?’
This began my intentional journey of developing a niche news blog on digital imaging. Today that blog has thousands of pages and has become a regular read for hundreds of thousands digital imaging enthusiasts each month. Whilst not the biggest digicam site out there it regularly features in the top 10 returns for hundreds of Google and is slowly growing in readership and reputation.
– A few months into this new blog I started experimenting with a number of other topics and have since rolled out around 13 blogs including the mother of them all (well it was for a month) – the Olympics Blog which I worked on with a friend in the months leading up to the games in August. The traffic graph (below) for this blog is pretty amusing (click to enlarge) with the blog receiving around 1.5million visitors over the month of August. It was hard work with us each working virtually around the clock on it during the games – but it was a worthwhile time which saw us not only financially rewarded but also learning many lessons about commercial blogging.
– Some of the blogs I’m involved with are more commercially more successful than others of course – but all in all they have become my main source of income. As they’ve increased in earnings I’ve been freed up to dedicate more time to it – which in turn is rewarding. Next year I will be a full time blogger as my last part time job ends.
– As I look ahead at the next 12 months of blogging I’m excited by the potential that I see for the medium. I’m currently working on some new projects which I’ll talk about here over the next few weeks and am thinking through some ways of making blogging something that not only benefits me financially but a medium that can bring about social change. I see that it is a powerful tool that could really give a voice to the marginalized and even be a way of generating income for those less fortunate an unable to work in traditional work places for reasons of health, location, disability etc.
All in all its been an amazing two years in which I can hardly believe the progression. I would never have imagined that blogging would progress from a hobby to a career as it has.