This my 12th post for this month. Starting with October 2008 my posting speed is part of my monthly goals. Each month I set up a certain target for the number of posts and I do my best to make it. In October I wanted to have at least 15 posts, meaning one post every other day. It went very well, and actually I ended up with 17 posts instead of 15. For November I wanted to publish at least 15 posts, but with at least 5 more. That would make a big total of 20, of course. I needed to put up a little stress to see if I can improve something in the process. It was a little bit difficult to make it, but with some effort I did exactly 20 posts. And for December the schedule is the same, 20 posts. So far, I’ve made it to the half of it, and I will do my best to keep up with the pace.
The most important ingredient in making this happening is time management. I don’t have any writer’s block, as they say, and I feel like I could write continuously for days, if nobody will stop me. But I need to isolate and allocate significant chunks of time for that. I work from home now and interruption are very likely to happen, but I try to keep them under control. It’s still kinda difficult to buy time chunks bigger than 3 hours at a time to work on. I guess I’ll have to find a solution for that: either learn how to manage smaller chunks of time, either buy bigger chunks of time. Whatever the solution, the result must be a constant posting speed.
This posting speed is not something I started in October this year. To be honest, my first challenge was in May, and it was about one post per day for 90 days. I failed miserably with only 17 posts, not even making 3 full weeks, and got ill starting with day 18. I don’t think it was a direct link between my blog challenge and my illness, but I know for sure that the blog challenge was a stress factor. It was way too high. So high that I sometimes suspect myself of not wanting to make it through, hence establishing such a difficult target.
The second challenge, in October, was way lower, one post every other day. It was sustainable and I was able to make it very easy. In fact, I even did more than that. In November I was almost to the limit and I suspect the same thing will happen in December too. 20 posts per month seems like something that I’m ready to do, but with some discipline and effort.
One may ask why I establish such goals, in the first place. Isn’t this artificially induced posting speed something that will take out the value in what I write? Isn’t it something that will suffer from lack of spontaneity? Not at all. In fact, I don’t have any problem with what I want to write, but with how I write it. This posting speed is related to the “how” portion, not the “what”. I already know what I want to write I only need to find a sustainable workflow for it. Maintaing a blog and making it work is not something trivial at all. The vast majority of people who start blogging fail at it because of the how not of the what. They all know what to do, but they don’t know how.
This how involves a lot of persistency, among other specific skills. The blogosphere become so crowded that you need several months only to find a voice of yourself. You need several months only to tune in and start to consistently broadcast your own message. For that, you will have to manage a constant posting speed for several months. And that requires self-discipline and strategy. I do have a Â long term strategy with this blog, one that spreads over an entire year. October was the very first month of this interval, so the next blog audit will be on October 2009.
There are many metrics involved in this strategy but so far I’m very focused on posting speed. I have this blog for almost 2 years now and I had some very big fluctuation in posting speed during the first year. Those fluctuations eventually led to a semi abandon of this venture. I don’t want this to happen again, although nobody can guarantee that it won’t happen for sure. I just want to take another angle until I will succeed. And for the first two months, October and November, this went very well.
Since I made this specific goal of making a business out of this blog, I’m interested in the metrics involved. I need to know how I can measure this blog performance. In fact, I need to measure how this whole blogging process works, in the first place. I know how a web publishing company works, I just had a web publishing company in the last 10 years. It has some metrics, like the number of vertical portals, traffic and audience for each portal, newsletter subscribers and advertising clients. Managing a web publishing company is a matter of manipulating those metrics, tweaking every now and then and monitoring the financial outcome.
Blogging is different. It has a different set of metrics and I needed to identify them. So far, I found 4 main metrics that I will monitor:
- posting speed
- comments density
- category distribution
- pingback volume
I won’t go through each of them separately, because I intend to write a full post about my own blog metrics in the near future. What I do want to say is that I wrote a WordPress plugin that helps me keeping an eye on those metrics. It is integrated in the admin interface of WordPress and provides several key data that helps me understand how I progress with my strategy. The plugin is in alpha stage now and, although it is ready to be publicly released, I will wait for another few weeks in order to be sure I didn’t miss anything. I use the plugin for 3 weeks now, and it surely gave me some important information about how I write and what I want to achieve.
Starting December 20th we’ll leave the country for Holidays. We’ll be in Switzerland, visiting my sister’s family in Geneve, and having a New Year Eve somewhere near Gstaad. I really look forward to it, although I know it will be a little bit difficult to keep up with the digital version of my life. Hopefully there will be enough Wi-Fi in Switzerland apart form cheese and watches to keep me updated. Let’s hope so.
On the other hand, I do want to enjoy this travel as much as I can, so do expect from me to blog about what I see and experience in the moment, rather than my regular personal development articles. I did this before, when I visited New Zealand, and it seemed some of you, my readers, really enjoyed that travel journal. I visited Switzerland before and it is a wonderful country, especially during the winter. The other day I even shopped for my first ski outfit ever, and I’m really eager to test it. They say Switzerland is good for ski, it has mountains, you know…
All in all, let’s link together what the title of this post wanted to say: I will do my best to keep my posting speed constant, and closely watch the blog metrics with the help of my plugin, while still having to enjoy a nice trip in a beautiful country.