My blog is on a new host with a new, modern design. The transfer has given me a chance to reflect on nearly 6 years of intermittent blogging. Here’s what I’ve learned about what it takes to write a successful blog (from the point-of-view of someone who yearns for a better blog):
Blogging is hard. To understand why, it’s important to define what “blogging” means. When launched my first blog, I defined blogging as “the act of writing a blog post.” I now define it as “the act of building and maintaining an interesting, frequently updated blog.” The former, challenging but not hard. The latter, hard.
It’s not just what you say, but how quickly you can say it. Time is the enemy of blog maintenance. So is perfectionism. A single post can be planned, crafted, reworked, slept on, and then finally published. But not daily, while holding a full-time job and raising a family. To be successful, you have to quickly produce engaging content in one try that’s good enough.
The most interesting content is also the most controversial. Back when I was developing Pandora Radio for iPhone, I grew accustomed to reading inflammatory, raging iTunes “reviews” that hated on me and my company for a host of minor irritations that, for some reason, really pissed certain people off. Such is the Internet. But angry comments directed personally at me on my blog? Different story. Plus, I hesitate to write anything that might embarrass or strategically hinder Pandora, which knocks out a bunch of interesting topics.
Writer’s urge isn’t guaranteed to align with spare time. And that’s the crux — spare time. My blog is a spare time activity. To have a successful blog, you need to prioritize and schedule time for it.
Casual reading doesn’t translate to casual writing. Like all great art, a well-written blog looks effortless from the outside looking in. But in reality a ton of effort lies beneath that silky text.
So those are a few of my lessons learned. Though I haven’t been as successful at blogging as I’d hoped, it’s been well worth the effort. I’ve learned a ton and it’s nice to “build” a product that “ships” so easily.