I’ve been reading the book Technical Blogging, by Antonio Cangiano, over the past couple of months and am glad that I am. I’m reading it in the hopes of improving the quality of (and, potentially, income from) this blog, and I think it will pan out.
I started this blog a couple of years ago as a way to support my books and to connect with readers more directly. I hadn’t put much thought or planning into the blog, and have been mostly winging it thus far. Eventually I noticed that the blog was the only part of my site being updated within any regularity, and so I moved the blog to the forefront. When I did that, I also added the Amazon carousel widget as a way to promote my books (it just about covers the cost of hosting, which is a start). The blog had picked up significant viewership because of the popularity of my series on the Yii framework, and I wanted to tap into that (i.e., if you like my writing with this series, you may like one of my books). And now, about a year and half later, I thought it time to put a bit more thought into it.
I’ve been reading many good pieces of advice in the Technical Blogging book, and one that I’ve started implementing already is a harder blogging schedule. Historically, I’ve posted three days a week: Tuesday, Thursday, and the weekend, hopefully not skipping more than one of those days every two weeks (i.e., my goal was to do at least 5 posts in a two-week period). The book makes a good argument for posting on weekdays and for being consistent in the time of day. So as of this month, I’ve started trying to consistently post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, around 10:30AM (EST). Mostly this means that I’m still writing a blog post on Tuesday, Thursday, and the weekend, but those don’t go live until Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Same requirement to me, but a consistent end result this way.
Another concept take from the book that I’ve started implementing is a schedule as to the types of posts being made. Almost all of the posts I write fall into one of three categories:
- About me (book updates, newsletters, and the like)
- How-to’s (technical instruction)
- Sharing links and resources
Starting this month, Mondays are for the first type of post, Wednesdays, the second, and Fridays, the third. The thinking is that on Monday morning, you, the lovely reader, will find out what I’m up to, without taking too much time from your other Monday-morning duties. On Friday, you’ll be introduced to something useful, while your work week is winding down. And on Wednesday, in the middle of the week, you’ll see some actual code and perhaps learn how to do something new. That’s the thinking, anyway. This intended schedule also forces me to write more How-to’s, which are more time consuming than the other two types but arguably more useful to readers.
I’m thinking about adding guest posts, book reviews, and other new types of posts. Once I do those, they’ll probably be “one-off” postings that go on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Through these and other planned changes, I hope to fulfill the two goals that I’ve finally identified for the site:
- Say something useful (such as my Yii series)
- Sell a few more books
I do get many specific requests for things people would like to see me write about. If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear them!