At the beginning of 2011, I took up WordPress’ Post a Week challenge to write a blog post every week of the year. Being the last day of 2011, it’s a good time to look back at my original goals and what I learned out of the experience. It also helps that the folks at WordPress invited us to take a look back with the following questions:
Why did you start the Post a Day/Week Challenge?
I am a goal-oriented person. By making a commitment to post every week, I knew I would make sure I found the time to write. Building this blog was important to me and posting regularly was the first step.
Describe the state of your blog at the time you started the challenge.
This blog was just getting started, even though it had been “live” for about 5 months. My goal for 2010 was to have three significant posts so there was some existing material before publicizing my blog. I achieved that on Jan 1, 2011. So, the Post a Week challenge was perfectly timed.
How did your blog evolve over the course of the challenge?
I started my blog as an outlet for my ideas and to find my voice in the very crowded space of management and leadership blogs. I was pretty sure I had a point of view, but I wasn’t sure what it was and whether I had anything unique to offer. Looking at the posts I have written, and those I have not written, I am getting a clearer idea of my unique point of view. It’s not specific yet, but I have an idea of the direction I’ll go in 2012.
Did you post as often as you had hoped? Why or why not?
With this post, I will only have 49 total posts, including the three from 2010. Most months I only posted 3 out of 4 weeks, but I actually achieved 88% of my goal. I figured there would be some weeks where work or travel would interfere with my blogging about 15-20% of the time. That’s pretty much what happened. So, I did not post as often as I hoped, but I posted slightly more than I expected.
What type of blogging strategy works best for you?
I’m not sure I found the best blogging strategy yet. In January 2011, I participated in Bloggiesta where I spent most of a weekend working on my blog. That was the most productive time spent on developing my blog. Another one was planned for August, but didn’t happen. There might be one planned for January 2012. Still, I think I should figure out how to do my own mini-Bloggiesta more often – at least once every three months.
If you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently?
I would pre-write or gather sources for more quick posts for when life gets too busy.
What are you most proud of accomplishing this year?
The fact that I have 49 posts done and that the blog has developed this far. Some posts did wildly well, some got republished, and other got picked up by serious social networks. Some of my least popular posts initially seemed to have great staying power and resulted in a number of google search hits. Many of my readers are friends and colleagues who have also given me quite a bit of positive feedback. I’m delighted with all of that
Name 3 great blogs you discovered through the challenge.
I’m going to focus on blogs on WordPress. I follow a number of great blogs and in January I will update my blog list in the right column.
- Cecilia Weckström – Creative Thinking Unlocked. She works for Lego and writes about creativity – how cool is that?
- Born Again Agilist. A fellow Canadian and fellow Agilist.
- 1000 Awesome Things. The name says it all.
What surprised you about the challenge?
Even quick posts took longer to write than expected. I need to set aside some focused time and space to write.
What advice would you give to others who want to blog regularly?
Make the commitment and just do it. Posts don’t have to be long (like this one) or complicated. One of my top 5 posts was only 306 words on a TEDx video. Seems to be better to write less, but more frequently.
What are your blogging goals for 2012?
In addition to completing the WordPress Post-a-Week challenge, I had set the following goals for myself for 2011:
- Get listed in 3 to 5 blog directories. Done, but I haven’t done anything with it.
- Learn more about SEO and make three changes to my blog to improve on it. Success will be measured by having a clear #3 source of referrals. Still have WAY more to learn, but I’m happy to finally register on Google PageRank and search engines are the #3 source of referrals to my blog, edging out Twitter.
- Spend at least an hour a week on WordPress Tag Surfer to find, read and comment on blogs related to mine. Hmmm… less consistent than my blogging.
- Consistently reply to comments on a daily basis. I think I did pretty well at that.
- Promote my blog on social and professional networks to which I already belong. I could do more.
Considering how well (or not) I did on those, my goals for 2012 will be:
- Keep posting on this blog once a week and actually achieve 52 posts in 2012. I may change this depending on what challenge WordPress comes up with for 2012.
- Resurrect my personal blog and post on that once a month. I may even migrate it to WordPress… or not.
- Learn more about SEO and make three changes to my blog to improve on it. Success will be measured by increasing my page rank.
- Spend at least an hour a week surfing blogs to find, read and comment on blogs related to mine.
- Promote my blog on social and professional networks to which I already belong. I’m including the blog directories in this category.
So, auf wiedersehen to 2011. It was a challenging, but learning year. Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s keep learning, growing and sharing in 2012!