On January 18, 2013 this blog will be exactly 5 years old. And because 5 is my favorite number, I am celebrating this moment with 5 blog posts about the blog.
What did I learn from 5 years of blogging?
I already explained yesterday that blog posts give me an opportunity to get specific feedback from readers. But I can also mention a couple of things I learned in general from being the writer of a blog.
Don’t be boring!
There are many blogs out there that struggle with their readership simply because the writing style of the authors is too bland. It is important not to be boring! Blogs need a bit of spice to make people crave for more. No matter whether you achieve this with self-made illustrations, snarky observations, or beautiful prose, if your blog doesn’t have a personality your blog won’t have any readers either.
Lure them in!
Apart from spice your blog also needs a bit of sugar. My various top 100 posts, interview questions and posts about personal misery have drawn in many thousands of visitors. Granted, such popular posts have little or nothing to do with the actual goals of the blog, but people won’t hang around on a blog if they don’t get acquainted with the blog in the first place.
Specialize and focus!
I had a couple of earlier blogs that covered anything from politics to cartoons, and from music to cats. Apparently, that was a bit too much. And even when I started with NOOP.NL the coverage of my writing (about complexity and software engineering) was still too wide. Over time I learned to narrow it down to the topic of management in Agile organizations. No focus means no staying power.
Blogging is complex!
There are a lot of books and resources for bloggers telling you how to do search engine optimization, how to do marketing and promotion, how to do this and how to do that. But I noticed that cause and effect are hard to predict. I tried to optimize pages with no results whatsoever, while some big waves of readers arrived on my blog unexpectedly without me doing anything. It’s simply too complex to forecast.
Get used to interaction!
I have experienced someone crying for joy and trembling with anxiety just because I signed a book. I have also experienced people calling me some very bad names just because they had their own interpretations of what I was trying to say. When you express yourself, whether you do this well or not, people will fill in the blanks, draw their conclusions, and confront you with their judgment. It comes with the job.
And those are the 5 things I learned with my blog.
Now, is there anything that you learned?
I have a special gift for 25 readers of this blog! Send me an email explaining which of my 663 blog posts was important to you and why. Out of the contributions I will select 5×5 people who will get a signed copy of How to Change the World (limited color edition), with a set of Delegation Poker, Moving Motivators and some Kudo Cards. The deadline is 31 January 2013.