To begin with, I will share some of my experiences with blogging. I never wanted to be a blogger. In fact, I didn't even knew what exactly a blogger is. I was happy as a web enthusiast and a geek. Then, I came across people who had blogs, the typical ones you see on the Internet about tech and 'how to make money online' stuff. At first, it sounded boring. Why would anyone write on such things, and I wondered who must be actually reading those articles. Then, after some weeks of following the authors of those blogs, I came to know that those blogs actually get traffic. More importantly, the blog owners are making a fortune out of it. This was exactly when I decided to start my own blog.
There was a lot of thinking. Right from the domain name to platform and hosting. Finally, I got a short little domain, choose Joomla as the CMS for my blog, for a variety of reasons, but mainly because of the balance it gives between the level of customization and ease of use. Initially I set it up on a free hosting site, but within a month, I realized that if you want to do some serious blogging, either go with blogger or wordpress or host it on some qualtiy host, because the moment you start getting traffic, the free hosts complain about excessive resource usage and your blog goes down. I switched over to a cheap but quality hosting service. From that moment on, my short blogging career started.
It was a tech blog, with mainly news about new smartphones and occasionally reviews about the services I used. I tried to write one article a day, with images and all, posted its update on the three social pages I had, all myself. It was quite exhaustive task. A short news article would take me about 90 minutes to write, share and build some seo. Still I continued this way.
I got some traffic. Averaging about 100-150 pageviews a day. It was poor, and I wondered why I wasn't getting interest of the people. Maybe it was because people didn't actually search what I wrote, instead, 'how to make money online' was in vogue. Frankly, I cannot write something just because it would get higher traffic. I was not that kind of writer. Rather, I wrote what I liked, too bad it failed miserably.
My second biggest change in my blogging career was to switch from shared hosting to VPS. Now, any seasoned blogger would point out, it is over-overkill to switch a blog to a VPS which barely gets 200 hits a day, let alone making any revenue out of it. But I did it, not because I needed it, but because I wanted to experience working on a production server. From my side, it was successful as I learnt a lot about managing and maintaining servers, troubleshooting and stuff, from my blog's side, not so much. The traffic was constant. I even received a request from an antivirus company to review their product and they had promised to pay me for that. But I didn't. Blogging simply wasn't working for me. I cannot just write something because it earns me visitors, I want to write something that I enjoy writing.
Finally, near the end of the year 2013, I left blogging. My final alexa rank was around 300k globally (18k India) which was decent. During my 5 months of blogging, I could get around 100k valid hits.
So, was I right?
I actually still wonder about that decision of mine. Maybe if I had given a little more push, I could have succeeded in getting traffic. But the thing here is, I wasn't enjoying it. This is the main question you must ask yourself before continuing. Are you enjoying this life as a blogger, writing the accomplishments of others and depending on them. Ok, there is nothing wrong in doing so, and you should be proud, because you do it and you like to do it. But for those of us, who like to build something of their own, however small it is, still feel the satisfaction of doing it, blogging isn't the thing.
So, you may ask, what is this thing? The thing you are reading this on! Isn't it a blog?
Yes it surely it, but I feel it is more than a blog. It is a diary. I don't really care if no one reads this blog, and as a result, if you look at the source code, there is no analytics code installed. It simply means I never know how many people visit this blog, if at all they do. All I know is I enjoy writing here far more that what I did writing on a blog where people actually came are read stuff.
For the wannabe bloggers
If you read the above part, you surely know I am not the right guy you should be reading for a blogging advice. Yes, even I know that, but still, I will write it from my point of view. Please fell free to contradict me in the comments.
I feel that, if you want to be a good blogger, you must know what you are really good are and what are your interests. I have experienced that it is almost impossible to write on something that you ain't interested in, or something that is trending in google keyword search but out of your field of interest. Before creating and working on a blog, make sure you do some reasearch on these things. Blogging communities are often a great place to start with. Go there and check out what kinds of articles make it to the top of the list. It is usually a good interest. Befriend some of the elite bloggers there for tips on what topics to blog on.
If you want to make a living out of your blog, then the to-do list goes huge. Then, it is not just about writing your heart out. It becomes complicated. Of course, quality writing is most important and nothing can substitute that, but with that, you must also make sure your blog is user friendly, easy to navigate and makes it into every search engine out there.
Special focus is needed when optimizing for google. The experts call it SEO, which stands for search engine optimization. It is a set of guidelines and methodologies that you can follow to increase your search engine visibility. It includes stuff like adding keywords to the meta tags (but usually search engines analyze the content of the site rather than keywords, still a good thing to have in place), getting more backlinks (which are other sites linking to your's; see link exchange too!), an optimized robots.txt file, reduced 404s and other errors, faster site and keeping a watch at Google Trends. There are many more, but as I said, refer some good guide, and not my article for any purpose. Next is building a solid social networks following. Not just increase the number of 'likes' or 'followers' but you need to gain trust of the people. Make them buy what you are selling, not just follow you. Read this excellent guide for some more info. If it becomes too much for you to do it all alone, get a friend to help you, but then be ready to give him his cut from the revenue! However, I should mention here, I know many bloggers who worked alone and still do.
Research on the above steps and follow them. It takes time. A lot of it. Perseverance is the key. Don't target at publishing a post each day, rather target at publishing a quatily 1500+ words post once in a while. Trust me with that, it really works. Consistency is very important. But most important of all, don't lose faith. If you are through that blogger is what you want to be, make it happen.
I have mentioned it earlier, still a reminder: I am not an expert in any sense of the word when it comes to blogging. I tried and failed miserably, so I am someone with experience. Before you start a professional blog or website, make sure you do proper research. The more you know the world around you, the more are your chances of succeeding.
Thank you for reading :)