Anyone looking for a daily blogging accountabilibuddy?

(Leland Fiegel) #1

All right, so I’ve been making attempts to get into “daily blogging” inspired by the likes of Chris Lema and @Tom McFarlin, but it always ends up fizzling out one way or another. The benefits of daily blogging are pretty well-documented, so I won’t get too deep into that.

I’ve tried using WP Chat as my daily “blog” but it always felt weird, plus a lot of the things I write about aren’t necessarily WP-specific. Related to the web, probably, but not WP-specific. So I felt it wasn’t the appropriate place for some of the ideas that pop into my head.

I’ve tried blogging on an actual blog, but was discouraged by the lack of response on what I wrote. I barely made it on a 2 day streak before I turned that into a “once a week” goal and eventually gave up altogether.

I feel like I need someone else taking the journey with me to really stay on target.

Here’s what I ideally want to do:

  • Post something substantive (i.e. not a quick link aside) on my personal blog every single day of the year. I know it sounds overly ambitious, and I know some daily bloggers take weekends and such off, but I feel like I need an extra dose of discipline to get in the habit and stay on track.
  • Find someone else to do the exact same thing and start at the same time (assuming they haven’t already). Possibly bouncing off prompts/ideas off each other to stay focused.

So yeah, basically I’m looking for a daily blogging accountabilibuddy (a facetious portmanteau of “accountability” and “buddy” if you’re not familiar with the term).

If you or anyone you know has similar goals, let me know. It doesn’t have to be one person. It could be a small group in a private Skype chat, but I feel like the smaller and more-focused, the better and more likely we’ll all succeed.

(tom) #2

I’m not the best person to have as a blogging accountability buddy, but I’m more than happy to share some of the lessons I’ve learned over the past few years of blogging. Some of these you’ve likely heard, some of them, maybe not.

At any rate, I hope they help.

First, I want to preface all of this by saying that I’ve been blogging off an on throughout high school using during platforms (all the way back to BlogSpot and even some earlier, far more primitive services). None of those blogs were “successful” but they were fun and I was able to consistently write on them.

So with that said, here are four points that I usually share with people whenever they’re looking to get started with blogging.

1. Narrow Content Focus

A lot of people say that want to blog about X (let’s, for the purposes of this post say that X is WordPress). So someone sets out to blog about WordPress - and that’s great (it’s even kind of meta since WordPress is made for blogging - but it works to which many of us can attest :).

Anyway, the next step is to define what are you going to talk about when it comes to WordPress. Design? Development? Plugin Reviews? Themes? News? The people involved? And so on.

There’s obviously a lot that can be covered. Early, when you’re just establishing your blog, pick a narrow subset of the general topic - such as, say, Plugin Reviews - and just hammer out a post a week about a single plugin that you like, that you dislike, or that you’ve selected to review just for the sake of sharing about it.

For example, maybe it’d be work going through Tidy Repo and reviewing all of the plugins listed there. Become a companion site for it. I digress - these are just ideas.

Anyway, back to the point: Don’t worry about talking about anything except plugins. Overtime, you’ll end up building a reputation as a site - a go to blog - for plugin reviews. From there, it won’t be uncommon for people to then come to you and to ask for you to review their plugin.

This could lead to higher traffic, a plan of monetization, or other factors that may contribute to the growth of your blog (however you may define growth). But, again, this is far in the future once the blog has been established and likely after you’ve begun to blog more than once a week.

2. Expanding Schedule

And speaking of once a week, I generally tell others that it’s easy to pick one day a week and to make that day the day you’re going to run a post. Maybe it’s Tuesday, maybe it’s Wednesday, maybe it’s Friday – it doesn’t matter so much as long as it’s not on a weekend.

Some people may argue against this, but in my experience, weekend posts generally perform worse than those during the week; however, if that’s when you have time to blog, then write the post and schedule it to go out the next week.

Once you begin to develop a rhythm and a backlog of posts, then turn it up to twice a week. As it becomes more habitual to write - and it will - then go from there. During this initial phase, you’re going to end up finding a format with which you’d like to follow for your posts, the type of voice with which you want to write with (which is usually your own - how casual or formal is up to you) - and so on.

Once you’ve gotten in the habit of writing, more and more ideas are going to come naturally. If you’re writing about plugin reviews, then something is going to happen such that you’re going to begin thinking about things that are tangentially related. So if you’re writing regularly and you have a decent readership, then you can slowly begin to expand the topics as long as they tie back to the heart of what you’re writing about.

3. It Takes [A lot of] Time

The blog I write on now as been a project (for lack of a better term) for four years. Not everyone takes that long and some take longer. I still don’t have the readership that I want, but I don’t let that bring me down.

Instead, I write about what I know, focus on the content, respond to the comments, and move forward from there. For me, it’s really been about organic growth - I haven’t done any advertising or trying to tie myself to any other sources of traffic, though I’m not against those ideas - I’m just not a marketer at all so I stick with what I know.

I have a decent source of traffic right now, but I’m always looking at what I can do to increase it, not just for the sake of increasing traffic but for the sake of trying to reach more people in order to help them with their WordPress development efforts and to help learn from them along way.

4. There’s No Magic

People love recipes and they love to know what they work they are putting into something won’t be in vain. But that’s a risk you take in blogging - some people may make it, some people may not.

But what does it even mean to “make it?” That is, when have you achieved your goals in blogging? Is it when you’re consistently posting once a week? Three times a week? Is it when you have 1K visitors or 4K visitors?

Ultimately, I think it’s a moving target. You should always want your blog to be maturing so that the work that’s going into it is contributing so whatever goal you’ve set next for it. Sometimes it’s going to be increasing readership, sometimes it’s going to be updating the theme to make it more accessible for those who need it and for those who are on mobile devices.

Some things that you do are going to work and some things that you do are not going to work. Or, more blatantly, you’re going to succeed with some things and fail at others. Don’t be scared of that word “fail,” though. School does that to us - but come on, in blogging? All it means is that you tried something and it didn’t work.

So what? Try something new. If it works and you like it, stick with it; otherwise, drop it and move on to the next thing.

At any rate, that’s the best advice I can give. First and foremost, lay the foundation for developing a habit. It’s like working out when you haven’t done so in a long time - it sucks. It’s kind of painful. But then you exercise that muscle and it gets stronger. Then it gets to a point where you’ve gotta mix it up in order to keep growing so you don’t plateau.

I know you’re looking for more accountability and I hope you find it here on WP Chat, but don’t hesitate to ping me on Twitter either. The least I could do is check in periodically and say “Leland, missing a blog post. WHERE IS THE LATEST?” :slight_smile:

With that said, I hope this helps you (and anyone who opts to read it).

(Mark Senff) #3

I’d love to join in here, but it would depend on when you wanna start this. Cause I just started a blog redesign and so I’d need a bit of time to finish that up before I could do a daily blog.

I agree with the whole sentiment about the lack of response and that being discouraging. I’ve had that myself as well, but if I’d have a Blogging Accountabilibuddy, then things might indeed be different.

On another note, I once had a blog called something like “Learning Something New Every Single Day”, where I would document what I had learned that day (technical/coding stuff), no matter how stupid it was. Problem was, there were days where I felt I didn’t learn anything, and sometimes I just didn’t want to admit I learned something (that I felt was common knowledge). So that died after a week.

(Leland Fiegel) #4

Wow, thanks so much for dropping by and leaving these thoughts! Definitely have a lot to mull over here.

I think starting with a once a week goal is definitely a bit more manageable than diving into the deep end with a daily blog right from the start, and risk getting burned out when you’re not quite in the habit yet.

Narrowing in on a focus will definitely be a challenge for me too. My blog post ideas are kinda all over the place.

I’m flexible. How much time did you think you needed?

(Mark Senff) #5

I’d say a week or so, maybe a little bit more. I’m not going to completely redesign it after all – just tweak it a bit, and come up with a new home page. That’s all!

(Leland Fiegel) #6

No worries! I just private messaged.

Also, on a related note…apparently Jetpack offers some sort of gamification feature for blogging streaks. Just learned about it on Matt Mullenweg’s blog.

(Mark Senff) #7

Gotcha Leland – I’ll hit you up in a few days!

(Kakoma) #8

I’m totally in. Been meaning to get more focussed since the beginning of the year. I actually have quite a bit in drafts (and a lot more in my head) but never quite gotten round to starting. I’d want though to start with say twice a week then slowly rump it up.
I’d just need a one week’s heads-up. As a group, I’m with you on doing chats; My timezone is 8 hours off but we’ll work out something.
So, seeing as you now have a few people in, when do we start?

(Mark Senff) #9

How about starting on a clean calendar date of August 1?


What about idea that you blog together on one site and make it higher quality than each individual personal blog site?

As reader many times I discover interesting blog post on some personal site, but usually I never come back, bc. it was just one post not whole site, so it get lost easily.

(Leland Fiegel) #11

Sounds good to me. @kakoma? If not you’re totally welcome to join in at a later date. :smiley:

(Kakoma) #12

Great! Do we setup a separate chat for this? Skype maybe…