The 11th of October 2014 I published my very first blog post ever on this blog. It was called ”Welcome” and I remember I tried to formulate what being an agileist meant. Looking back at it now, I think I have stayed pretty true to this cause. I’ve promoted ”adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery and continuous improvements” and ”coaches other people & thinks a step further”.
About a half year ago I published another blog post called ”How to create a mildly successful blog” and it describes how I got started using five keywords: purpose, platform, content, viewers and consistency. Since then total number of page views have grown about four times, basically thanks to two very successful blog posts:
- The Arrow – Advanced kanban board (19% of total page views)
- Priority Pyramid (9% of total page views)
Now the monthly page view statistics looks like this:
How to run a blog
Statistics aside, I guess you are more interested in how I did it and my thoughts about it. First of all I have limited time to spend on the blog, it’s about five hours per week. With this ”capacity” I can roughly create one blog post per week. During the time I’ve developed some sort of process for blog post writing. It’s based on two text files. One file where I keep blog post ideas and perform some planning, and the other where it write the actual texts for the posts. This have worked pretty well for me, I guess it can be done in many other different ways that are equally good or better.
My blog post process:
- Whenever I got an idea for a blog post I note it down somewhere. Then, when appropriate, I transfer the idea into the first text file just describing the idea with just a headline and sometimes a few lines of text. Then I do nothing more about the idea for the time being (other than a thread is spawned in my consciousness that starts to work on the idea I guess 🙂 ).
- At a regular interval (usually biweekly) I look at the first file with ideas and do some planning, i.e., I decide which week I shall publish one or two of them (I only publish on Mondays, that have become part of the routine somehow).
- Now its time to start the actual thinking about the blog posts I selected to write. I move to the second text file and I do a break-down of them, basically writing a lot of <TODO> tags. Then I wait (for more background processing).
- Time to start the actual writing for the blog post that is selected as the next upcoming blog post. If possible I do this in one round (a couple of hours), if there is a huge blog post (a lot of text to write), this step is split on two or more writing sessions.
- When the writing is done I transfer (copy) the information into wordpress.com. I edit the blog post: formatting, adding pictures and links. If it is a small blog post I do step 4) and 5) in one go.
- My beloved wife then kindly reviews the blog post by reading it and correcting any spelling and grammar errors (she is an English teacher 🙂 ).
- Final step, I schedule the blog post for publication. I very seldom publish directly when a blog post is finished. I think this have helped me to keep consistency, in one period I had two-three blog posts scheduled ahead in time, normally I complete the upcoming blog post the week before it’s published.
By separating the ideas from the actual writing, this process has prevented me from the feeling ”I need to write a blog post now, but I don’t know about what”, to instead be something that I do when I have time available.
How to reach an audience (channels)
In the ”How to create a mildly successful blog” post I hadn’t thought out on how to reach a broader audience. Now I have found some other channels that brings traffic to my blog:
- InfoQ.com – I’ve managed to get news written about my blog posts, and I’ve also done an article for them. The news have been translated to other languages than English, namely: Chinese, Japanese, French and Portuguese.
- JAXenter.com – They have been very kindly to re-publish some of my most popular blog posts.
However, Twitter (tweets about my blog posts) and search engines are still the two largest sources that brings traffic to my blog. I’m currently working on bringing in other channels as well.
One year celebration! First I must say thanks to all of you that is reading this blog! Without your comments and feedback it would have been impossible to keep going. Second, it’s amazing to see that people from 104 countries have visited the blog!
Since I’m a doer, I can now ”tick off” all of the following actions (taken from chapter 21 in ”Soft Skills” by John Sonmez):
What will happen now? I’m sure this blog will continue, maybe I change the frequency of adding posts and/or the direction of the content. Only time will tell.
All the best,
Tomas from TheAgileist