I used to blog … occasionally. It felt tedious and time-consuming.
Most of all, it seemed like a bunch of work for an unknown return. Who would read it? Would it be interesting or matter? Would it result in more work or speaking opportunities or notoriety?
Did I have anything to say?
Last year, I went on a speaking tour of sorts in Europe with my good friend, Mat Sweezey. We did a ton of events in just under three weeks, and had countless conversations—many of them about the power of content and the importance of understanding what it means to be the consumer of that content.
Not only were people giving me an hour of their time to hear what I had to say, but they wanted to talk more once it was done. They wanted my input, specifically. Many of these people didn’t even primarily speak English.
Why? Because I’m famous? Obviously not.
My input was helping them. I was being conversational, yet helpful. That’s when I realized I could probably write without all the pressure, and still do something worthwhile for other people.
So, I committed to writing once a week. With one or two exceptions, I’ve done that for an entire year.
The most important thing that happened is I started to find my voice through disciplined, consistent writing and speaking. It was a worthwhile venture for that alone.
As I brought up in that post, I learned to focus on writing about people, big ideas, and how design and business fits into that. I learned to listen to feedback from others and give true value back. I learned that posts that bring in the most visitors (by far) are the simple, tactical ones (like exporting notes from Powerpoint or dealing with WordPress gallery styling) thanks to search engines, but that doesn’t translate into much beyond creating value for that person in that moment. Writing consistently about your expertise takes much more time to turn into big numbers in your analytics.
Instead of focusing on getting inbound traffic that doesn’t help me meet my goals, I focus on giving value to the less than 100 folks who read my posts every week.
These have been the five most popular posts that aren’t “How To”s:
- Cancellation as a Feature
- Your Work is Bad and You Should Feel Bad
- Get Started in Professional WordPress Design & Development
- The Interminable Pursuit of Best Practices
- Grow as a WordPress Developer
The two WordPress posts were kicked off by me essentially crowdsourcing the topic, so I’d like to do something a little like that again.
I’ve completed my commitment to disciplined blogging. Now, I want to commit to valuable blogging—however often that ends up being. As Chris Lema says, blog “as consistently as you can do it while being helpful”.
So, I’d love your help. If you read what I write, I’d like your feedback, so I can continue to meet my goal of being helpful and valuable. Your answer to this one question will shape what I write about and how often I write going forward.
Thank you for letting me be a part of your day. I’ll continue to try and earn it.