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Am I just wasting my time?

Ryan’s Note: This is an important post, loaded with important, deep-level questions. We all need to take gut checks from time to time. And I for one have found myself asking the same questions and dealing with the same issues.

The question should be an obvious one. If I am to continue with my blog, it would need to be significantly reworked with a proportionate investment of my time and effort.

I pondered if this should be a question for the forum but I couldn’t think of an appropriate place. It also appeals to my sense of humour that my first post on my Performancing blog is one that questions whether I should be bothering at all.

I have been a casual reader of Performancing for well over a year now, largely via the main feed. I’m not a pro-blogger (actual or aspiring) but I have found many interesting tips here that have, at various times, improved my blog (to my eyes at least).

My problem is that my free time is becoming more and more of a rare commodity between working, being a father and husband and studying part-time. Researching subjects and writing used to be fun but it is now less so. Sometimes it even seems like a chore.

It started off as fun. I never aspired for greatness or huge traffic, which is a good thing because I’ve got neither. In just over a year I have a blog that only has 150+ posts, traffic that struggles to maintain double-digit visitors, no community (so few comments I wonder if having comments turned on makes a negative impression) and, according to feedburner, I have between 5 and 10 subscribers (although sometimes that spikes up to 30 for a day or two for no reason I can see).

The more news feeds I subscribe to, the less inspired I feel. There are so many good writers out there with better leads and information that can analyse and report on issues that interest me much better than I can. It’s depressing for a (very) small time blogger like myself.

I know there are many things wrong with my blog: standard Blogger template, too broad a focus, no linkbait, no time to market it or do the comment thing on other people’s blogs. I’m sure there is much, much more that could be dissected and analysed.

I thought about submitting for a reboot but I don’t think there’s enough to work with to make it worth anyone’s time. Therefore, I’m not looking for a reboot here. I’m just looking for honest opinions. Is there anything in my writing that would indicate that reworking and relaunching my blog would be worthwhile? Is there some sort of spark, something buried deep or am I just wasting my time? Should I just write it off as a fun experiment and let it go?

There are no ads so I’m not trying to drive traffic or increase revenue with this. I just need an opinion from people who do this sort of thing for a living.

Pixelated Dreams – http://www.pixelated-dreams.info/ – the current first page is an accurate reflection of the malaise that has struck me in recent weeks. There’s probably better stuff buried a bit further in but I no longer feel like I’m in a position to judge.

The Sitemeter stats are publically accessible so feel free to poke around through the sitemeter link at the bottom as well if you so desire.

All comments are welcome, positive or negative. If anyone does stop by to take a look and share a thought or two, your time is greatly appreciated.

Shane

Author: smperris

12 thoughts on “Am I just wasting my time?

  1. Don’t tighten too much I like your style – it’s friendly and inviting, easy to read.

  2. I looked back over the last couple of months and you’re absolutely correct. I need to start my posts better. Over the years I’ve developed a rambling style of writing that really could stand to be tightened a notch or two. Must be time to dig out my old journalism text books and refresh my memory.

    So much to think about. I wish I had done this sooner.

  3. Your titles seem to both be catchy and fun, and have good keywords. Your “first paragraphs” do not always anything relevant. That’s something you want to consider before posting.

    I’m not a big fan of the one-sentence first paragraph in a blog post because it sometimes forces you to unnaturally use a keyword in that sentence. If you make your first paragraphs 2-4 sentences, it’s still short, and it gives you room to more naturally include a relevant keyword.

  4. Thanks for the kind words, Raj. My post titles tend to make my wife either sigh or groan (I know I’ve got a good one when she does both). I work on the theory that I can’t sell my story based on technical expertise. There are too many other people out there that know a lot more than I ever will. However, if I can be entertaining while remaining accurate, I’m happy.

    I’m glad you like my style. The two things I have always worked hard on are being down-to-earth and accessible. I like to think that I know just enough to be a conduit between the alpha-geeks and people who are interested but non-techie. I hope I succeed at this at some level.

  5. That’s a good point, Ahmed.

    I never expected big traffic, but I had always hoped that people who do stop by (and traffic has been steady, especially for a couple of posts that obviously pop up well in Google) would drop a line if something interested them, or even if a post helped them in some way (in fact, even if it didn’t, I’d like to know I was wrong). I’m not jaded about the traffic levels on their own because I know that I haven’t done the necessary promotion and marketing, which was a choice I made based on time available to me (and what I would like to do with that time – my little boy prefers not to even give me an option, bless him ).

    Having no ‘return’ rings more true than I thought it would. I’ve learned something new today about my subconscious expectations. I like learning new things.

  6. smperris,
    posting here at Performancing might be a model for how to expand your reach, influence and success. I for one had never heard of you or your blog. Now I think a lot of you. In fact, I’d love to have you post here at Performancing on a regular basis.

    Oh, and check your PM in a few minutes. I’m sending you a top-secret forum invitation.

  7. Love your catchy titles and down-to-earth writing style. It’s kind of a nice glimpse into your (tech) thoughts without being voyeuristic.

  8. Nope, I linked to your blog – I liked what I read, and I think that post tells people a lot (all of it good) about how good your blogging is.

    Seriously

    If you’re jaded, that’s probably because you’re not seeing enough ‘return’ on your blogging – for that, you either need lots of comments and traffic or money, and the immediate way to make that work is to start blogging on a popular blog.

    Btw, if you’re good with PHP / WordPress, then I might have some ideas for you to write on Perf…if you’re interested, drop me a PM.

  9. Thanks for the ideas, Ahmed. I had come to similar conclusions regarding what I would need to do if I decided to continue. It’s encouraging to read that my writing has some sort of potential. I’ve become somewhat jaded of late, so that’s a nice little boost.

    One question: did you mean to link through to a post on my blog, or should that have been a link to something else?

  10. Read this article – and I definitely think you’ve got the right ‘germs’ for blogging success.

    My suggestion would be to kick things off with a new blog, better domain (no hashes and a .com please), a wordpress platform (anything apart from blogger, actually), put up a dozen of your best posts, and then use them to get guest blogging gigs on tech sites. Use those gigs to build up your rep and keep blogging away.

    And if you need any help mate, PM me or ask around here.

  11. You’re right in that being popular is not the only thing to strive for. I exercise my right to ramble on my personal blog (mainly used to keep family and friends interstate in the loop).

    Blogging on Pixelated Dreams used to be fun, when I had time and energy to do it properly. It was even fun when I slowed down and tried to do some in-depth writing. However, it is starting to seem like less and less fun as the weeks go on.

    In retrospect, I guess what I was looking for was a bit of a community of like minded people. The problem with my interests is that no one and everyone has them, in that they are so broad that similar people are everywhere, but it can be hard to find them because, like me, they are totally off the radar.

    I also have something of a “if you’re going to do it, do it properly” attitude and PD is starting to look a little half-arsed, so to speak. Doing it properly, even for just my own benefit, will take time. I’m stuck trying to decide if it that is worth it to me.

    I’ve probably got too many blogs. Consolidation is likely in order, once I can find the right platform to suit my needs.

    Thanks for commenting!

  12. Depends on what you are trying to accomplish. I have a similar blog that is just my ramblings. Mainly on geek stuff, but it delves into other areas. That site is for me mostly. In fact, I never look at the stats for it and I have no ads on it. I would say that if you want readers and want to be “popular” you have to focus on one topic.

    Just because you aren’t “popular” and have no readers doesn’t mean the site can’t mean something for you. Depends on what you want out of it

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