I have a lot of opinions on how websites, specifically blogs, should work. If you talk to my friends/colleagues, they would likely complain at how much I talk about it. Oddly, I rarely, if ever write about these thoughts on this blog. More to the point, I rarely write about anything. So that is going to change. I am committing to writing what I hope to be quality content on a variety of subjects, one of which being how I think one should grow a website/blog. In the process, I am going to see if my theories hash out. If I am right, awesome. If not, well, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to tell me how and why I got it all wrong.
While I have taken this site seriously for years, much of the time it has consisted as more of a sandbox to do as I please. From this week on, I am going to start managing this site as a serious property. I will work to keep a weekly log of what I consider to be the vital statistical metrics (more on that later) signaling its growth/decline. In addition, I will write about my lessons and discuss if my theories actually panned out.
I am also going to put this site’s content through a pretty serious refinement phase. I will be using an analytical approach throughout this process and will write about my theories and how they turn out. In a sense, I am finally going to give this site’s content the treatment it deserves. My hope is that some positive results will spring from this. A consequence of this however is that project releases like coordy and Iconic are going to be less frequent.
Without getting into too much detail just yet, here are a few rules which I will abide by:
One of my biggest pet peeves that I openly admit falling for is the allure of promotion. For reasons I will delve into further detail in a future article, I feel promotion is an ultimately counter-productive activity that rarely pays long-term dividends. Therefore, I will personally resort to zero promotion of the site during this experiment. Rather, I am to work on making my own site work towards specific goals and guide users to areas I hope they find useful.
I will write/produce what I personally find to be interesting
This is not a project to pander to the crowds in an attempt to muster more traffic. My goal is to try to create a place that genuinely interests people for all the right reasons. There will be no schedules, no quota to meet. The intention is to keep a steady stream of content coming in, but I will not turn this blog into an assembly-line of mediocre content (subjectivity aside, of course). Additionally, I will keep the format of this blog as broad as I possibly can. A niched blog is a myopic blog.
No dumbing down
There will be zero, repeat zero, top 10 lists published. Titles will not be sensational. Content will not be abridged to coax people into reading. Opinions will not be disingenuously controversial. If you are interested, you will read it. Otherwise you will not. Simple enough.
Iteration, iteration, iteration
Publishing of content will only be phase 1. I will be spending a lot of time refining formats to find better ways to build trust and make the presentation of content more effective and efficient.
No more than 10 hours a week of work on the blog
I am not going to lose sleep on this project. I strongly, believe however that blogging does not need to be a full time job in order to create interesting and worthwhile content. The goal is to spend no more than 10 hours total a week (including any maintenance/development that i sometimes necessary). One major reason for instituting this rule is to keep me focused on writing rather than tinkering with the blog.
As has always been the case, all statistical data will be completely open for you to confirm my reports. I have no problem admitting when I am wrong, so when one of my theories is dashed into oblivion (which I full-heartedly expect), the results will be clear for you to see.