One of the things that I’ve noticed over the past few years of my blogging life is that it’s extremely difficult — more than you can imagine when starting out — to actually keep blogging when you don’t have any goals. I guess it’s a no-brainer, as with most other things in life. You have to set a goal first to actually achieve it.
I’ve been able to set goals for a few other blogs and I’ve had success with it. Oddly enough, this blog — the oldest of all of them — has always been kind of neglected. Perhaps that’s because I call it a personal blog? Should personal blogs have a goal? What kind of goal could I set for what’s merely a digital diary?
I’ve signed up for WordPress.com’s Blogging University course called Blogging 201. Today marks the first day of the course and it asks to set three goals for the blog. The prompt made me think, why did I start blogging in the first place?
A place to share thoughts and connect
That might sound like one of the most clichéd sentences on the web. But that’s actually true. My blogging life started way back in 2007 (or 2006, I can’t quite remember) through a platform that was a multi-authored blogging network. It pioneered blogging in Bangladesh and made me recognize my passion for writing about the things that I enjoy, care, and think about.
Should I have a routine for my personal blog? Isn’t the idea of having a personal blog to relax and post when you feel like it?
Shortly afterwards, I realized I could have been doing more. I could reach everyone in the planet if I could write in English. Okay, maybe not everyone, but as you know, with English, you can reach the widest audience possible as it’s sort of the global language in terms of communication.
I was in my early teenage and I didn’t know much English at all. But I took the leap of faith and started this blog on WordPress.com with high hopes of practicing my English and reaching a wider audience.
Over the years, I’ve met a lot of amazing people — both online and in real life — through my blog posts. Many people have shared similar thoughts on many topics, many have opposed. I’ve enjoyed my journey on this blog so far. But looking back, I can feel that I could’ve done better. A lot better. Only if I had goals and only if I took things a bit more seriously.
Looking at the Blogging 201 prompt at this early morning hour, I’m thinking to myself, there’s no time like the present to make this happen. So here I am, taking another leap of faith that this blog will become active again. 🙂
Goal 1: More Posts
I’m surprised at looking back and figuring out how many posts ideas have died right where they were born: inside of my head. I’ve had so many ideas for posts that never made it into this blog. Not because I didn’t have the time, but because I simply didn’t care enough to actually stop procrastinating and start writing. As everyone who has tried writing something for even once knows, staring at a blank space is the most difficult part of getting started. It feels stupid now that I think that I knew this and still I didn’t try hard enough.
Staring at a blank space is the most difficult part of getting started.
So the number 1 goal for this blog going forward is to simply write more posts. Sure, I could just babble about my everyday life and post two dozen times a day. In fact, I would be happy if I could do that. For those rants, I’ve created a separate blog over at aisajib.me. I plan to push less important, everyday rants and pictures over to that site so that I can keep this blog for fresh, interesting posts that are worthy of your time.
How I plan on achieving this goal: Simple. I just want to stop procrastinating. Believe it or not, it’s the most difficult part of getting productive or getting anything done. If you can stop procrastinating, you’d be surprised at the things you can get done during the same period of time that you’d otherwise spend thinking about doing that.
Goal 2: Routine
I suck at sticking to routines. In fact, I’ve never been able to follow a daily routine in my life. My parents always told me that this would come back to haunt me. Fortunately for me, I have yet to suffer because I follow such a random routine. Even my job is now flexible that I don’t really have to stick to a routine — even if I do, that’s just for a couple of weeks after which I can easily shuffle my time around.
Routine work can be outsourced or automated; artistic, empathic, nonroutine work generally cannot.
I know it doesn’t sound like a good habit to have such a messed up flexible life, but some say that work that’s not slave to a routine can actually be artistic. Now that’s convenient for me, isn’t that? 😉
However, for a blog, where there are readers’ expectations involved, it’s actually a rather good idea to have an editorial routine. Every publication — large or small — have an editorial routine that they stick to. Even every blogs that have become popular over the past decade have an editorial routine so that readers know when to expect something from those blogs.
This is where I come back to the question: Should I have a routine for my personal blog? Isn’t the idea of having a personal blog to relax and post when you feel like it?
That’s true. But by allowing myself to be careless about when I post on my blog, I’m essentially making it impossible for myself to continue writing. It’s like this: When I know I’ve setup a schedule to write at least two posts a week, even if I can’t do that, I’ll end up writing at least one. If I don’t setup any schedule at all, I’ll never write anything.
So, going forward, my plan is to write at least 2 posts every week on this blog for the rest of this year. And beginning in the year 2016, I plan on increasing that number to 3 posts per week. For now, these posts will be about the things that I think about, an observation about an event that I witnessed, a thought that I had, reviews of products or services that I’m using, and generally things that most people will enjoy reading and may find it useful to some degree.
Goal 3: Reach More Bloggers
Not replying to comments is the rudest thing you can do to your readers.
I actually do browse the Reader for relevant tags such as photography, life, relationships, and writing for interesting posts from bloggers across the world. It’s one of the best perks of blogging at WordPress.com. In the same way that I can discover your blog if you add relevant tags to your posts, you too can find my blog if you search for what interests you in the Reader, and if our interests collide, we can be blogger buddies. 🙂
The idea is to read more posts from the Reader and interact with other bloggers. It’s not always a neat experience. More often than not, I’ve seen that bloggers do not care about replying to comments that I’ve posted on their blog. In my humble opinion, nothing is as rude as not replying to the people who cared enough about your post to write a response.
I try to reply to every comment that people post on my blog. And I apologize right now if I missed any of the comments or forgot to reply. But for the most part, I try to reply to every comment that I receive. And you should do it too. Not replying to a comment posted on your blog is the worst thing you can do to discourage that person from leaving more comments on your blog. I understand that not all of us wants comments on our blogs, but if you do, make sure to reply back to the commentators.
It All Starts Here
Phew! Long post! Not sure if anyone will read it, but spelling all that out actually helps visualize and take the goal I’ve set more seriously. If you’ve made it this far, and you’re a blogger yourself, what goal do you think will be the most effective to ensure the growth and better engagement in a blog? Do you have a set of goals for your blogging journey? Why? Why not?
Let’s sound off in the comments!