Jun 8, 2011

Welcome Distractions

When I first took to the Internet back in 2005 I'm not really sure what my expectations were.  That's when I first started blogging, but I use that term extremely loosely.  There was no focus, no target audience, and no style.  But in 2006 came my YouTube account, then a slightly more motivated approach to blogging, and finally, Editing Luke appeared in 2007.

On the verge of promoting a brand new site on June 10, I'm left once again to consider what I'm hoping to achieve with my welcome distractions.  I'm cautious to the fact that Editing Luke is becoming a bit of a nostalgia trip as I re-contextualize things that I've already done.  This is a challenge when my future isn't quite as predictable as my ambitions as a film student were.  In terms of my writing, where do I go from here?

Then there's also a strong desire to see my sites gain more momentum on their own.  While I'm still motivated to write for myself, I feel like I need more gratification than I did before.  

This isn't a pity post, but these are legitimate concerns I have and I don't have any role models to follow by example.  I'm the only person I know who has kept a blog consistently for over four years without letting it die out, and I think at least half of the people in my social circle had a blog or website at some point during that time.  Is it discipline or did they realize something I haven't that lead them to quit?  Who knows.

In some ways I figure we're all just winging it and hoping for the best. Maybe it's time for a bit of soul searching. This isn't the first time and it certainly won't be the last.  


Wendy said...

I've had dozens of blogs over the last 6 or 7 years, and the most successful blog I ever ran happened by accident, but I learned a lot about what "works" in the blogging world, at least for what was then my target audience.

It was a knitting blog, and I was a knitting pattern designer. I originally intended the blog to be nothing special but sort of a dumping area for all of my projects to track their progress and to plan future designs. I never intended it to be as big as it ended up getting.

I had the blog for about 4 months, never tracked # of visits or search keywords or anything like that, but I started noticing I'd get tons of comments every time I posted. When I finally decided to activate Google Analytics, I learned I was getting a few hundred visitors consistently each day. So I started tracking the visits and giving people more of what they wanted, which, as it turns out, was tutorial-style posts and "work-in-progress" posts so people could see HOW I was doing things instead of just the end product.

Well, I watched the numbers climb month after month until at the year point of the blog, I was getting around 3 to 5 thousand visitors a day, most who were returning visitors but a pretty consistent 200 new visitors each day.

What did the internet fame get me? My designs were published in a few print magazines, a book, and a page-a-day calendar. Eventually the blog evolved into a podcast. I was pretty famous in small rooms consisting of mostly knitters haha.

It was kind of cool, but I think because it was so unexpected, it freaked me out in a way and I sort of stopped updating as frequently and when it came time to renew my hosting package... I didn't and the blog simply fell off the face of the Internet. Sometimes I regret that, but honestly I wasn't enjoying the work anymore and it was starting to show in my lack of enthusiasm.

I've tried to re-create that sort of buzz with several blogs since then but haven't been able to duplicate the results. I think that a lot of blogging momentum and getting lots of visitors has to do with luck and being in the right place at the right time, with the right topics. You need to appeal to a wide audience while still keeping it personal and with lots of personality.

In the online creative industry (artistic type thing, including video) people really demand output. They want to see something new, and pretty frequently.

Okay this comment got long. Just wanted to share my blogging experiences. I think if it's something you enjoy, you should keep it up. If you want to improve your sites popularity, there are literally a million things you can do but the most important is content (specifically the quality) and consistency. Best of luck Luke!

Editing Luke said...

Thanks for the indepth comment, Wendy! And you're right about the fact that people want very consistent types of posts with specific how-to type content. I've noticed that those are my most popular types of posts too.

I wrote this post over the weekend, and just in that time I've found a few ways to refocus some of my energy. I certainly won't be giving up on this blog any time soon, but I think I just needed to make a point of saying how my strategy is currently in shift.

Alex Chandler said...

My favorite thing about your blog Luke, is that whenever I want to learn something, or enjoy a little light reading, all I have to do is come to your blog. I might only visit an average of a couple times a month, but it is always a pleasant experience.
Plus your blog inspires me to keep blogging

Editing Luke said...

Thanks, I appreciate that Alex!

Angry Charlie said...

I'm with Alex, your blog is a consistent reminder for me to keep going with my own blogs. I remember very clearly us talking about a similar feeling you had before you left Regina in 2008 - the lack of those around you to bounce ideas off of and keep you going. Sometimes you get to be the one who feeds off of others for motivation (like myself and maybe Alex), and other times you get to be the one handing out the inspiration.

You're the big blog brother to us all, and I'm happy to be someone who gets to follow in your footsteps and learn from your mistakes - and then make a whole shitload of my own! :-) I wouldn't be a constant failure if it wasn't for you, Luke. But I wouldn't be trying either. So, thank you!

Editing Luke said...

Awww, that's the nicest insult you've ever given me, Tyler! haha. I'm glad I give you the inspiration to keep at it.