I’m a dreamer and a fool. I’m a dreamer because I set insurmountable goals. I’m a fool because I’m seldom deterred in my pursuit of them. This website is coming up on three years old in a few days. In that time I’ve seen others start blogs and turn them into full time businesses. Meanwhile I’ve been the poster child for blogging inconsistency. One might say I’ve earned what I deserve over the past few years.
The single most important thing I’ve learned in three years of intermittent posting here is consistency rules. I’ve gone through posting spurts and I’ve also been a blogging truant over the years, but the one thing I’ve realized is when I’m posting content, I’m getting the eyeballs. New content is indexed and people find me. Maybe not a lot, but certainly more than if I wasn’t posting at all.
With my current efforts, I don’t seem to have what it takes to turn this site into anything that would be a substantial earner, yet I’m still too blinded by optimism to think I’ll fail. As they say, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I desperately want to improve this site for the better and learn from the success others, so I often find myself perusing those blogs whose owners have conceded to earning a boat load of money from blogging. I stand firm behind the advice to take lead from those doing better than you.
My lackluster attendance aside, part of the reason I seem to periodically gravitate away from a steadfast posting schedule is the information overload of blogging tips (traffic, monetization, etc.) out there. I just found myself again becoming overwhelmed with data when all I was trying to do was research how to revitalize this site and augment its visibility. So instead of closing the laptop in frustration, I’m making a short list of a few things I’m not doing yet from some of the more successful blogs I often find myself visiting for inspiration and observation.
What I’m not doing (from CopyBlogger):
- I have no definitive audience. My defined audience is, well, me. Sure, I write for me first and foremost, but what kind of reader am I trying to attract? Is it the non-programming open source user, the system administrator, the home power user, etc? I’m not even sure I could tell you what sites would be considered competitors.
- I don’t have good headlines or hooks to get readers interested. Most of my posts are about software products, but there’s plenty of room in the traffic tips, how to, and blog sections to get creative.
- Never mind all the tips about how to sell, but I don’t even have a product of my own. It’s something I’ve thought about quite often because everyone wants you to have your own product. I’m just having a hard time coming up with something that serves the intended target, whoever that ends up being.
What I’m not doing (from SEOmoz):
- I fail miserably in the social arena. I have a Twitter handle that I started using shortly after the sites launch, but that’s kind of pointless without a following first. I don’t participate in any social media platforms on a personal level, but this is just unacceptable for a website or business these days.
- Everyone seems to love the whole guest blogging idea. I’m not averse to it, but in order to seek out these opportunities, I would have to take a much closer look at who my target audience is and where they spend most of their online time. Accepting guest posts here on OSH would work as long as it was relevant and about something I have no yet mentioned on the site.
What I’m not doing (from ProBlogger):
- Writing and giving away free reports or ebooks sounds like a great idea. My problem is being imaginative enough to come up with something a good number of users would find interesting on the topic of open source. This could also be a great lead generator for another point I mentioned earlier which is an eventual product of my own.
- Podcasts are something that scare the heck out of me, but it seems to work for a lot of people. I suppose you don’t have to be the focus of the video if it was more of the instructional type, but I would think putting your mug in front of your audience could lend some credibility from transparency. This one would be a tough swallow for me.
- The part on authority sites could really work for a site like OSH. With so many companies writing open source (and even commercial) software, and most of them have Wikipedia pages and other site directory listings, becoming a resource link on some of them might be a viable option.
Ok, I’m already in over my head with what I’m finding, so that’s enough to chew on for awhile.
I often notice many bloggers talk about speaking with authority and acting like an expert to be taken seriously. For a lot of the posts I write on this website, I feel like this is a contradiction to the point of including the personal challenges and failures along the way. Well, I’m still right in the middle of “along the way”, so I can’t possibly portray myself as an expert in running a successful website. All I can do is share my successes and failures as they happen.
Speaking of successes, it’s not all sad faces and rain clouds around here. There are a few things I feel like I’m doing right. Check out the reasons Why I Might Someday Make Money Blogging and let me know what you think.