26th January 2010. Starting again on the blog after end of job with risk management firm, move from NY to London and (temporary) relocation back to NY for personal and professional reasons. Surprised 9again) that blog continued to attract readers while nothing was being added. Why? Linkedin generates traffic (people check out my page there then come to this. Lesson: keep it updated or drop it altogether, otherwise it looks old). Also generating traffic: the pages on Ten Uses for an Ex-Journalist, especially via the excellent website of John Zhu, http://www.john-zhu.com/blog/how-to-voluntarily-become-an-ex-journalist/. Lesson: long form, more analytical or informational content generates traffic that keeps site alive, and is useful.
30th October. Stopped while I adjusted life as I left former employer, moved out of New York.
30th May. Gave this up for a month while I moved, job went into higher gear etc. now living in NY.
Surprised that it continued having readers while i was not blogging. The long-lived content (the background stuff on finding a new journalist) is really useful in this, and people then move on to read other stuff.
Finding it reasonably easy to get back into it. But ever more aware that many people blog on this subject and better than I do – more time, more original thought etc.
10th March. Now been doing this since early January. The process is fairly easy and the time involved not too arduous though tough on a cold morning when i wake up late. The readership comes mainly from Linkedin, Facebook, and a few links (thank you John Zhu in particular). The issue the thing deals with is clearly a good one to have followed (plenty of news flow). But there are lots of others covering it and it has little commercial application (if that were my concern which it isn’t). Also, i have had little time to add anything very original in terms of reporting (some analysis, and some packaging of stuff).
2nd March: turned off Snapshots thing. didnt like it.
About ten days of not publishing due to schedule in NY. Which was unavoidable and also gave a chance to see what the background usage of the thing is. Double figures even when not publishing: hmm.
Wrote a few things and put them up, left some for Monday morning. It is interesting to see how the news circles around. So much of it is rehashed from somewhere else (so is mine I realise). A little original reporting or thought would go a long way.
8th Feb. Readers now back in double figures. Content is concern: what is best? so much out there: best to simply link to it? how much to do a day? one story? five? again – what is audience? should it aim for only those that follow this professionally?
Picked new design from selection and added new image which is pleasing but i mustn’t do this too often or it becomes irritating. it is very easy which is a useful lesson.
Need to add more background content. also – if this was a fulltime job, i would be picking up real stories (or trying to).
4th Feb. 330 views yesterday: a friend very kindly linked to the blog from his FT page. Which was fab. Other lessons:
– Facebook yields a fair few visits. friends do use it for this. Linkedin rather less because people dont go to that page very often.
– Emails – better to do individual ones than blast but both work.
-Some searches and some use of tags to get there so i am starting to get that.
– vague questions: what is point of this? simply to broadcast? and what about focus for blog: there are others with a similiar focus so is there any point?
1st feb. Spent quite a lot of the weekend doing new pages on “10 uses for an ex-journalist”. Some useful lessons.
- by the time i finished it i reaslied several others already had done the same, more or less. Is it worth repeating? not sure.
- Found lots more new blogs and sites but starting to get fewer. I have a lot now.
- Now understand/remember why editing from MS Word is a bad idea which is why the posts and pages all look odd. Discovered various editing tools to help. Good.
- Set up more feeds onto Feed Demon which i am now very comfortable with. Also set up Delicious. Not quite sure of point of this yet but it will doubtless become clear.
- Debated strategy for best lanch of content – drip it over week or all in one go? decided on former. aim is to life regular traffic to a decent level. stilll some way away from a proper launch: maybe mid-Feb?
- The “focus” strategy works best: get focus on one issue or subject. As one of the things i read somewhere said – decomposition of story, recompsoition of news – see this. This is interestingly no different to what i ahd thought when i did this back in 2001. it has in some ways changed less than i had thought – if anything trends are more evident.
- Now have content going onto web, facebook, linkedin, email. will experiment with more next time.
- This is quite time-consuming. someone would have to do this professionally.
30th Jan. This is a running commentary on doing this website. I am doing it partly so i can understand how this works better for professional purposes so if i have to do it again, i will have some established knowledge. Things I have worked out.
1. This publishing platform is pretty good but still clunky which surprises me. i have become rich and fat and spoilt only ever using MS Office products which are pretty simple and advanced. i hate inserting links and the formatting keeps going all over the shop. this is because my understanding of HTML is not really good enough to fix the errors. also i am lazy. but i kind of thought CMS would fix my problems. Nothing will.
2. i wrote a piece today about SEo and it made me realise i don’t know that much about this subject. i should know more: it is pretty important and it is in effect the glue that keeps the thing running. if you can’t find stuff you can’t read it. that is a pretty central tenet of newspaper design and sales.
3. this also made me think about why i am doing this and who i am doing it for which is pretty pivotal in a website or indeed any communication product. the audience rules. i had essentially decided to do it for my own gratification but if no-one’s reading it there isnt any point writing (in my view). so: for raw beginners (how many of them are there?) or experts (not much i can tell them). probably: for people who are more interested in other things but want to know about this subject.
4. how much to publish? piece a day? and: what is right balance of original thought and mere linking (mere linking?).