What is the biggest challenge that I have faced in all my years of blogging? The same as many other bloggers out there – time to do a blog post. Mind you, when I say the time, this includes the time to think of the blog post idea, the time to get enough research to be done, time to draft the content and finally posting it. Statistics source: Orbit Media
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Time sure flies fast before I know it, it has come to 15 years since I started blogging on 12th May 2005 with this very first post titled “New Start”:-
It has been some time since I wanted to do this…start a blog of my own and here am I doing just that.
I know I am getting into very big trouble with my wife when I signed on for my own blog. This means more time to write and sit in front of my home PC and less time to baby-sit my 1-year-old son. It is even lesser time for my wife.
I have always been fascinated by how technology is changing our environment and I are even more fascinated by some of the blog-loggers who can update their blog almost every day. Damn, where do these people get the funny, witty and interesting contents for the blog?
A scarier thought, now that I have heroically signed on a blog, what I am doing to do next? What will I write? I know that soon I will overcome my writer’s mental block to start blogging.
I know I love to write which unfortunately leads to my colleague complaining that my “short” emails to them look like the 19th Century Study of World History Thesis (here I go again). It supposes to be short and sweet but always ends up “long, winded and trip to Siberia and back”. I hope it won’t happen on this project!
And interestingly my post on Windows XP theme in November 2006 garnered the most views for my blog with 44,000 views, followed by my movie review of Crash 2004 in January 2009 with 34,000 views and then by my satirical post in July 2005 on how you too can talk like a lawyer with almost 29,000 views. That, unfortunately, attracted some controversies & fierce comments from some readers.
The best year for the blog would be in 2007 with almost 112,000 views.
Like many of us, I started off blogging with Blogspot which kind of forced me to start learning on Html and some basic webpage construction. Then after some years, I moved to WordPress free site before moving to a self-hosted site in September 2019.
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One of my key objectives of blogging although I did not mention in my first is also to improve my command of English. In general, I would say that my written and spoken English is fairly good but I see an opportunity to improve on this further especially for my written English.
This is why for the first few years; you will see my blog posts would be untidy, loose and incomplete compared to some of the recent ones (although I still need to touch upon some mistakes here and there). Sometimes, it is a matter of just putting up something without much care on the format, post length and content structure. Back then, the need to meet the basic SEO standards was rather zero, no thanks to my ignorance.
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Further considering I often travel due to work assignments, it has also become a form of diary to capture the experience, landscape and the food of the various places that I have been to. There are post related to the travel itself especially when there is an engine problem at 35,000 feet, the hotel or apartment accommodations (some are really good like where I stayed in Kabul, some are very bad like the rundown apartment in Tehran), the various tourist spots and of course, glorious food experience.
These travel blog posts are also one of the ways that my family, friends and colleagues were able to catch up on the latest happenings when I am not in the country. Before having a blog, I used to write down my experiences and share the photos through email which then get printed and photos downloaded for other family members. Yes, I know – it was not the most efficient way of updating someone else.
By the way, here are 10 interesting reasons why you too need to start blogging, from Lifehack:-
- You’ll gain confidence.
- It is a form of diary.
- Blogging is great writing experience.
- There is potential financial gain.
- The blogging community is great.
- It allows potential for self growth.
- It allows development of technological skills.
- It gives people a creative outlet.
- Blogging is the current way to market a business.
- And finally, it creates opportunities.
As at to date, I have done about 1,711 posts garnering about 740,000 pageviews (my best record is 12,000 page views per month) with almost 100,200 visitors over the last 15 years. Seriously given the number of years I have been blogging, these numbers are NOT impressive. I know of some blogs that have done more posts and garnered more page views within a year. I am pretty sure I could have ranked up a bit more page views and visitors had I been consistent on putting out the posts.
I was rather “active” in posting between years 2005 to 2014 where one way or another, I managed to post more than 250 posts per year but the years after that, I went to into some form of mental block, laziness and perhaps a good dose of boredom. The work at office also started to creep into my spare time and whenever I was free, I just wanted to “run away” from facing the laptop.
But the thing is I had plenty of ideas though – my working document had about 10 – 15 drafts in progress but none of it was completed due to lack of time and interest to complete them. After some time, I would scrap these drafts and start new ones. Even now, I have about 8 draft posts that I have yet to complete and I get 2-3 new ideas for the post content every day (especially I had an interesting dream or a eureka the night before).
Some times I read something very interesting on other’s blogs or news media and I want to put my own twists or opinion on it – so I will put that link in my draft, waiting for time to expand on it. However sometimes, by the time I come over, the information becomes obsolete and redundant and I had to scrap the draft post.
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In 2018, I only managed to scrap 7 posts for the whole year and the year before, 2017 I only managed to do about 13 posts for the whole year. After moving to a self-hosted site last year, I am trying to pace myself with an average post every 3 days (4 days on worse days). But with a longer paced posting, I hope that I could improve the quality of the content and with higher SEO score.
Basically, with the self-hosting site in 2019, I consider it is a fresh start for the blog site as well.
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It is also time to review all the posts that I have done since 2005 for the missing SEO keywords (Rank Math indicated 1,320 posts with missing keywords), spelling and grammar mistakes, posts are done with high emotions, posts done with little sensitivity to others, posts that are simply dumb to read (ya, what I was thinking), etc. I have already deleted 10 – 15 posts during my reviews to date. Image source: Tenthousand Foot View
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I have to say it has been very rewarding adventure blogging all over these years. Personally I feel my command of English improved, content writing is more structured and higher quality which also helps in my work, writing documentation and emails with the right expressions and words (so I assume it to be).
If my destiny permits, I do plan to continue to keep up blogging until the “end of the day”. It is, after all, a good mental exercise, improves command of the language, enriches my general knowledge and also fulfils my curiosity. And in some cases, a good distress avenue. After all, with a self-hosted blog site, it gives me a bit more bite on the blog themes, plugins and content structure.
Here’s to another 15 years of blogging.