Evolving Some Random Dude. An Experiment.

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:

No promotion

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.

Open books

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.

2 thoughts on “Evolving Some Random Dude. An Experiment.”

  1. PJ –

    I’ve never thought your work was dumbed down, nor promotion-laden, nor not well thought out. I’ve enjoyed your offerings over the years, but I’m hoping that this has been beneficial for you, too. The motivation for continuing to pour so much work into your publications should be as equally selfish as generous. Whether it be increasing your knowledge base from the response and feedback from the community on your ideas or contributions, or just a feeling that you’re not working alone – there should be something positive that you’re getting back from the time you’ve put in.

    Thank you again. I hope to emulate your involvement going forward.

  2. Thanks Nick for the kind words.

    I feel the writing/presentation process is one of the best methods of learning that I have. It is very easy just to write or publish content without thought, but to put something out that you feel will be beneficial for those taking it in requires much more work. You need to put just that much more thought into your ideas to ensure that they not only make sense, but that they are communicated in a way that others will understand what you are trying to convey. When releasing work that others will use, you need to put in a considerable amount of work in making it usable for complete strangers. These things almost inadvertently make your work that much better.

    So, in a long, roundabout way of saying it, yes, it has given me more than I could have expected.

    That said, this blog has trended towards quantity of quality in the last year. I really have not put out that many long-form articles, and that disappoints me. I have also gone through two redesigns in one year, but neither of those efforts addressed the ever-important details. These are the things I want to focus on. My theory (and hope) is that focusing on less-but-better will be reflected in how people use this site. I may have less random people stopping by once, but I will have a larger percentage of people sticking around.

    We will see…

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