So I have now been blogging for just over 3 months, what have I learnt?
Before I set up the blog, my biggest concern was having enough to write about and actually keep people wanting to come back. I knew I needed to write regularly, and so I set my public target as a minimum of 1 post per week, although I am trying to make it more like twice a week. Given the need for this volume of posts, I had decided I would start writing a bunch of posts before I even started creating the blog – if I struggled to write enough then that would be a clear sign that maybe I shouldn’t try and start the blog. As it stands I still have a whole bunch more posts to go, and seem to get new ideas fairly regularly, so far so good!
Lesson 1: Be Prepared.
So no, I wasn’t ever a Boy Scout, I did know that I wanted to post at least once a week (my publically declared goal) in order to ensure that I had a steady flow of articles to keep people coming back to the site. As I didn’t know how much I would be able to or want to write, before even starting the blog I fired up a text editor and started writing stuff down, to see could I actually write or generate content? I knew I would have two guaranteed posts a month (Income / Expenses and Portfolio Performance) but would I find enough else to ramble about? The short answer so far seems to be yes!
Lesson 2: Don’t underestimate how much time is required
From all the blogs I have read I knew that this would need a reasonable amount of time to keep going (especially after starting to write stuff before I even started the blog) – and that continues to be the case. I’ve spent several hours this morning just writing up ideas, drafting posts, editing posts and generally getting things ready for the blog. I know this is now a regular commitment I need to make in order to keep the blog alive – and I need to guarantee I have the time to do it. I can’t commit to doing this during the week as my work life is so busy (including commuting time I can easily spend 12, 14 or even 16 hours a day in my work) so I need to ensure time is there.
I guess I am probably averaging between 6 and 8 hours a week on the blog, and I want to increase this to ensure I have plenty of material to post.
Lesson 3: Know why you are starting
Everyone has their own reason for starting a blog – if you are doing it for money then you shouldn’t start a blog! Why did I start? I have immensely enjoyed reading others blogs, and follow somewhere in the region of 40 (in itself fairly time consuming!). At present there seemed to be only a few in the UK, and only a couple that I knew of that were London (FirevLondon and Monevator – I think has a slight nod to London from time to time). I know just how expensive it can be in London and wanted to share my experience so that others can follow and realise that it is possible.
Granted, I could move somewhere else but I wouldn’t get the salary I do, nor the opportunities – and I don’t just mean work. Being able to pop into the British Museum or head to the Royal Albert Hall for a concert are real perks (I didn’t purchase one of the boxes that recently came on the market funnily enough!).
Lesson 4: Have thick skin!
One of the joys of being “on the internet” is that anyone can find your blog. I want to keep the conversation flowing so haven’t as yet turned on moderation in the comments and I really hope I never have to, but of course this means people can post anything they want, when they want. So far I haven’t had anything I would class as a bad comment which is good, but I am prepared because at some point I know it will inevitably happen.
Lesson 5: I’ve really enjoyed it!
I can honestly say I have really enjoyed it so far – now if that is just because I have changed my verbal diarrhoea from the pub to this online form then so be it – it is cheaper to sit at home with a bit of TV in the background, a mug of fresh coffee and my laptop. It’s pretty much free, as opposed to spending a reasonable amount of cash down the pub, so it’s also saving me money! I have no idea if people are enjoying it but I would like to think so!
What have you found about yourself since you started blogging? Or what is stopping you from starting a blog?