Darren has gone and done it again. Yet another group writing project. I certainly hope he continues to do these. If they serve no other purpose, they help me to do a little navel gazing as well as develop my skills as a blogger. I strongly suggest that if you want to make yourself a success in blogging, you read Problogger and participate in his group writing projects. They serve as a great writing prompt.
This time around, Darren has expanded the series he ran during paternity leave and created the group writing project, “If I had to start my blog again…“.
It’s hard to believe that it’s very nearly a year since I started this blog. There have been so many things to learn and are still so many to learn. More on that later.
The first and biggest thing that I would have done differently is to immediately get my own domain and hosting. I began thatedeguy on blogger/blogspot on August 7, 2005 and quickly came to realize that I just didn’t have the creative control over the design and execution of the blog that I would like to have had. By August 24th, I had registered the domain for it and procured hosting as well. Luckily, I did this early and as such there are very few people who will even realize that it happened that way. Still, my first suggestion for anyone beginning a blog is to find a domain and hosting instead of using a service like blogspot or wordpress.com.
Secondly, I would have like to have begun with more of my own voice than I did. At first, I was very much a follower blogger. I basically posted on things that others had posted on. I now realize of course that while it’s nearly impossible to not post on things that others have posted on, it’s important to add twice as much content as the original has. I still fail on this occasionally but I have gotten much better at it.
I would also have like to have participated more in the conversation than I did. In growing a new blog, attaining readership is the hardest part. By participating in comments and forums earlier, my readership would have grown much faster than it has.
Lastly, I should have been much less snarky than I was. In attempts to linkbait, I grew ever more snarky in the early months of the blog and felt consequences as a result. One of which, I believe, was my blacklisting in techmeme. Of course, I can’t prove it and Gabe will swear that there is no blacklist, but I really do believe that there is and I’m on it.
Hindsight being what it is, it is easy to see back to my beginnings and see the things that I should have done differently. I made mistakes along the way and continue to make others even now. The best I can do is learn from those mistakes and hope that others will as well.