Kill Fifty Birds With One Stone

Posted in Geek / I Rant by Cujo
July 26th, 2006 - 11:26 PM

I’m not a professional blogger but I read ProBlogger and pretend I’m one. One day maybe I’ll even become one — I do have plans but I’ll settle for a professional blogger who can just cover server fees or maybe car payments.

Just recently the author of ProBlogger Darren Rowse made a post titled If I Had to Start My Blog Again and the general idea is that it’s a “group writing project” where everyone shares what they would do differently if they knew what they know now when they started their blog. This current article is that exact entry from me. I’m not sure if I’ll be “featured” on ProBlogger or not but I just stumbled upon the site in the past couple of weeks and it’s opened my eyes to a lot of things I’ve been missing out on.

So without further ado this is my post on what I would do differently (and what I’m happy I did do) if I had to start my blog again.

The changes.

First thing I would change and I know this now especially if I was looking at capitalizing on the blog would be to create a narrower focus for the blog — the title of this post is supposed to convey that. When I started out I was just getting Murderfly Multimedia off the ground and thought a blog would be a good co-piece to the site but then I also added general posts talking about every day life, then also other topics such as the NHL hockey strike and favourite TV shows etc. Basically the blog went in about fifty different directions and didn’t have a main focus. This still holds true today although I think I’ve tightened it up a bit. I’ve added my photography to the site and that’s one of the main features of it now but also intertwined are the personal tidbits here and there. I’m working on changing this with the creation of a photo blog to showcase work, another “top secret project” for something else with an actual narrow focus and where ProBlogger has definitely helped out a lot and this blog will stay alive as my general all purpose see everything do everything blog.

Secondly I would have researched into blogging more and realized that it wasn’t just “online journals” where only friends read what you wrote and that there is a market for interesting facts/opinions. I started blogging in late June of last year and really didn’t know anything about them as I avoided them pretty much while I was mainly concentraded on trying to be a web developer. After reading blogs of friends I decided to start my own up. After time I realized the power of the blog.

The third change ties into the second change. Along with research into what blogging could do for me I would have looked harder at what all the plugins could offer me with ease of use and help in generating an audience. Honestly I have been ignorant to the fact that people would read the blog in a feed reader and never really follwed up on that, I just installed the Feed Burner plugin earlier in the week and also just started keeping track of the readers reading through feeds (feel free to sign up to my feed). It’s not a large number but it’s a number that I know is out there. While reading ProBlogger I realized that all those plugins you see are actually useful and I just recently made a post regarding the plugins I was using (only really Akismet) and the ones I installed because of it.

The fourth change would have been to jump on the link exchange/gathering sooner in the blog expedition. When I started I linked to a limited number of blogs that I knew. I have slowly added more but they are all still people that I generally have a similar connection with and that is how the link came about. I am looking forward to changing this with my new project. Also I will not be afraid to link to somebody and worry that they won’t link back. It shouldn’t have to work that way, it’d be nice but realistically the person you are linking to might not even realize your blog exists but if you think the blog you’re reading is useful why not tell others about it?

The last change that I can think of quickly is to stop being ignorant to the fact that people might want to contact me. Just before I wrote this entry I actually added the WP-ContactForm plugin to the site. I always assumed if people really wanted to get into contact with me they had the comments but now if people actually want to contact me privately there is a link in the right hand panel.

The Keepers.

Seeing as I’m running on (like I usually do — maybe I’ll change that too) the things I’d keep or modify slightly will be a nice, quick, short list.

The unique blog name. I like it, it’s original and I think memorable.

Starting with WordPress and not a general hosted solution. This allowed for some freedom from the get go and additional freedom now that I’m taking advantage (somewhat) of it.

Trying to create my own theme. As much as the plethora of available themes rock I like being a little different. Yes this isn’t too far off of the default theme of WordPress but it has the slight mods that make it unique to my site (I’m working on changing this as well).

That’s all for now. Join in the game, it’s actually quite fun. And let me know what you’d change with Better Than Crabs if it were your blog.

EDIT:Ã? After sleeping on it I thought of a couple more things.Ã? Using tags to describe my posts (just started this), SEO optimization (nowhere near this), and posting on schedule.Ã? I’m pretty sporatic in posts and trying to get up to the at least once a day routine.

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16 Responses to “Kill Fifty Birds With One Stone”

  1. If I had to Start My Blog Again - Reader Submissions Part 3 Says:

    [...] Kill Fifty Birds with One Stone by Curt [...]

  2. Marina Says:

    I would make your title bar a clickable link to your homepage. I am going through Darren’s list and adding sites of interest to my feed, and yours is the first where I could not click the logo and immediately go “home.” Just a thought…

  3. Cujo Says:

    Thanks for that comment Marina… I realized this as well when first started and made the “Main Page” link on the side but realize now that it might now be visible enough. It’s one of the lazy things I forgot to change. I’ll look into this tonight.

  4. Cujo Says:

    Why I didn’t do the header link sooner I do not know. I just switched it now on my lunch break. I’ve tested it out in FF 1.5 Mac, FF 1.5 W2K and IE 6 W2K and it’s working in all of those so I’m going to assume that it’s good to go.

    Any more suggestions?

  5. Damien Says:

    Great entry � I enjoyed reading it.

    I’ve had problems staying on topic myself, so I’ve decided recently that I’ll end up making my current blog into my personal blog/portfolio. I’ll be trying harder in my new ones to stay focused..

  6. MamaDuck Says:

    Great entry - glad you made the clickable header, I’m forever clicking on those and if they don’t work it’s such a pain ;). We did this project as well - http://lilduckduck.com/archive/187 - if you want to look!

  7. Cujo Says:

    Thanks for the comments guys. Reading ProBlogger has got me on a path (hopefully) for more blog modifications and hopefully a better start on some projects.

  8. Peter T Davis » What would I do if I was starting over again? Says:

    [...] Kill Fifty Birds with One Stone by Curt [...]

  9. Thom Says:

    You seem to have a pretty solid thing going here. I like the simple theme, and your posts are well written.

    I agree about the linking. I know that early on, I didn’t even think about it. But duh, with such a great opportunity to spread the word, I totally fell on my face with this one.

    Nice site, have a great day.

  10. Cujo Says:

    Hey Thom, thanks for the kind words. Writing coherently is a tough task for me as some of my regulars will probably tell you. I usually shoot from the hip then afterwards I’m informed that half of it doesn’t make sense so I make heavy use of the edit button.

    I like the template nice and simple how it is but it’ll soon be changing, hopefully to something else still nice and simple but a little “newer”.

  11. Kristonia Ink! » Problogger’s Writing Project Submissions Says:

    [...] Kill Fifty Birds with One Stone by Curt [...]

  12. My ‘Starting Blog Over’ favorite posts Says:

    [...] Kill Fifty Birds with One Stone by Curt [...]

  13. Canadian Mark Says:

    I took advice from this post, and signed up with Feedburner - never even thought about it - however, I got wrapped up in things since then, and never thought to drop back in and say thanks. So…uh… Thanks!

  14. Better Than Crabs » Blog Archive » Problogger’s Writing Project - My Summary Links Says:

    [...] If you want to check out my original post on this topic you can view it here: Kill Fifty Birds with One Stone. [...]

  15. Cujo Says:

    Glad I could help Mark. Check out the new post, tonnes of great info in there.

  16. If I had to Start My Blog Again - Reader Submissions Part 3 | Internet Marketing Says:

    [...] Kill Fifty Birds with One Stone by Curt [...]