Maintaining a blog to the point that it contains 50 posts (I call them articles) is a milestone. As I just hit the 50 mark, it’s time to review how things are going.
Learning Web Development
While I’m trying to earn an income from this blog, its primary purpose is to help me track what I learn in terms of front-end web development. Monetizing this site takes second place.
The good news is that I learned a lot:
*HTML5 – I’ve made it clear that this was the main thing I wanted to learn and I’m giving myself an A- in this category. I’m about 85% well-versed in HTML5 page structure, understand how to implement it across multiple browsers and have read quite a bit of the HTML5 spec. I’ve also implemented it into a small Almay project and plan to implement it into a few personal projects as well as two more work ones. I’ve yet to make a 100% HTML5 site though. That may come soon though.
- CSS3 – Unfortunately, I can only give myself a B- in this category. I’ve spent so much time with HTML5 that I neglected CSS3, but I’m catching up. I’ve gone through a decent CSS3 book and the CSS3: First Look course at lynda.com. I also wrote a pretty good CSS3 Pie tutorial and have also played around with media queries.
I’d give myself a higher grade had I implemented any CSS3 in any projects. I think I will pretty soon though.
- .NET – I get a C here, which is better than I expected. I created user controls for the Almay project mentioned above, understand the role of the solution and the .dll file and understand why .NET does what it does from an OOP level. But I need to move forward on this and take things to the next level.
- jQuery – I earned a B. I’ve done some small projects here and there and also wrote a well-trafficked jQuery tutorial. Furthermore, I’m utilizing jQuery more and more while not having to look up answers to jQuery problems on the web.
So I’m happy with my overall progress but have more work to do, which I’m not worried about.
I did say that documenting my web development learning process was this blog’s primary goal and monetizing it took second place to that. But I didn’t say that it was a distant second. I’ve done quite a bit of technical and non-technical reading in terms of content strategy, proper SEO implementation and promoting myself and this site through social networks. kaidez.com isn’t at the point where I can leave my day job but there are some measures of success. And it’s important for me to understand how to read these measures:
Site Content While this blog doesn’t get boatloads of traffic, it gets enough when you consider that it has less than 100 posts. Its traffic is consistent to the point that I can go 10 days without adding a new article and the daily average of site visitors stays the same. Sure there are slight drops and increases from time to time, but the numbers are steady. None of this would be possible if I wasn’t generating good, meaningful content on a regular basis.
As true as that last line is, I can’t be too cocky about it and need to put things in perspective. I’m mostly blogging about HTML5 right now and that’s an extremely hot topic. Lots of people want to learn it and lots of employers want to hire people who know it. That being said, there are lots of Google searches on the subject so it stands to reason that my blog will snag some of them.
Blogging about a hot topic is not a bad thing. Not having a plan to expand your blog beyond that hot topic if/when it’s no longer hot, that’s a bad thing.
SEO During the WordPress Wordcamp/Bulgaria in 2011, Joost de Valk, pretty much the WordPress SEO expert, delivered one of the most inspirational blogging lectures I’ve ever heard. Among the many great things he said, this was his most brilliant quote:
“The funny thing is, if you have really good content, SEO is the easiest game in the world. If you have sh*t content, SEO is really REALLY hard because you’re working against your content all the time.”
I believe that this outlook is 100% true. While I use the all the proper SEO methods, well-crafted title & meta description tags, proper alt tag use, competitive keyword research, etc; I focus on content first and foremost. Again, HTML5 is content that people want; I believe I provide it in a format which appeals to endusers first and search engines second.
I do get long-winded sometimes…this article is proof of that and it’s something I need to work on.
Prior to my changing this blog from a soccer one to a web development one, I wasn’t a big social networker. I never got involved with MySpace, was pretty active on Facebook and had a Twitter account that I only used to tweet my blog articles. I now use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to promote my articles, but am actively tweeting a whole lot more. Best of all, I’m using Twitter more to communicate than to promote. And I love it!
I thoroughly enjoy talking to people on Twitter. I’ve connected with my two main blogging inspirations, an SEO expert in New Zealand and a few friends from high school. I find myself more on Twitter than I do Facebook nowadays, and that suits me just fine.
I’ve recently been involved in Quora. In that space, I answer and ask questions on a wide variety of topics, but also trying to promote myself as an overall nice guy. I try answer as many questions as I can about HTML5: if I can’t directly answer someone’s question, I try to help them find an answer online.
I’m also thinking of expanding to Tumblr. I was really influenced by the Mashable article on fashion brands flocking to Tumblr, specifically the part about how Kate Spade uses various social networking sites for specific tasks, making them a more efficient company in terms of their promotional efforts. Mashable has recently implemented the same tactic, using their Tumble site specifically for sharing the company’s behind-the-scenes activities with their readers..
While I’ve sort of done this with Quora, using a social network channel for the specific task of promoting myself as someone willing to help, applying this method to my overall blogging strategy will take me a little time though.
So here I am at my 50th article. While I still have work to do in certain areas, I’m happy overall and will enjoy getting to article #100!!! I hope you stay with me!!!