In the month of June this year, I consistently wrote new material on my blog. In fact, I’ve posted ten new blog posts in this particular month which averaged to one new article every three days. At the start of this month, I did not intentionally plan to write that frequently. Back then my target was to create a blog post at least once every week, and that turned to two or more posts weekly unknowingly as ideas kept coming in. Hence I decided, why not just write these thoughts out and get the hang of writing/blogging even faster. Below are what I learned thus far in this month.
1. Could I write consistently while maintaining a full-time job
Could I write consistently while having the responsibility to care for my 3 kids who are aged 5 years old and maintaining the same level of performance at work. Some questions I had at the back of my mind were could I still have quality time with the husband and kids, especially on the weekends? How long would it take me to write each topic and were the written blog posts satisfactory in content if I had to rush it a little? The short answer is yes, it took a while but I found that I could still manage family, home, and work while writing weekly. But it did come with cutting out some time from other leisurely activities, sleeping a little later some nights, and generally the home upkeep was impacted.
In regards to the house condition, my husband and I have had our expectations set even before I started blogging, due to the kids. We live in a home with three young ones, the youngest being the most barbaric. Some days I would have to walk around the house looking for my hairbrush or moisturizer that she’s taken and will find it on the stairs, in the laundry basket, or at some unknown location that she’s hidden it. We tend not to fuss over the mess too much, focusing to meet the bare minimum needed to have a functional home, such as doing the dishes in the kitchen, having a clean floor, bathrooms, and tackling endless laundry. It also helps that the husband does most of the cooking, so the weight is evenly distributed between us.
But coming back to this topic, yes, it is doable, to consistently blog while working a full time job and having young kids. I also found more time to blog by installing a blogging mobile app on my phone, so now I can also write while I’m waiting in a queue outside or in the car, and that gives me more time for other activities at home. Of course, it helps also that I do enjoy writing and that in itself gives me some motivation to write more.
2. I learned how to customize my blog and setup my website
I only just realized earlier this month that the links in my blogging website were broken and lead to nowhere, due to the initial site setup was incomplete. In fact, there was no way for readers to find my older blog posts back then. I learned about website themes and eventually changed the theme of the blog to one that was more functional, and then re-setup the pages and sidebar buttons, and later learned to categorize my blog posts for easier viewing. It took a while and fortunately my husband has some experience in blogging so there was some assistance from him.
All in all, I think the WordPress blog hosting platform is pretty user-friendly for new bloggers, however, I have no experience with other blogging web hosts out there so don’t take my word for it and do your own research. However, I must say one handy tool in WordPress is the analytics page, where it breaks down the viewers of the blog to which social media platform they came from and which country they are in. This helps me understand where my readers were from and which social media platform I needed to focus on to get more readership.
Apart from writing, I also learned how to take better photos with my phone for blogging purposes. I now look out for opportunities to take a interesting photo and am learning about which angle and lighting will best fit the image. At the same time I’ve picked up some very basic photo editing skills using available free mobile apps out there like Snapseed.
3. I learned what is my writing style and the types of content that I tend to write
I needed to analyze myself here. In making a point to write regularly I learned what are the topics that I would naturally tend to gravitate to and which topics I could write with ease. When I started this blog I made a draft of topics that I would have the interest to write about, and after blogging for a few months I found that I tend to write more on specific topics, from parenting and food, followed by perspectives on life, personal finance and some short stories. This may change a little over time, and I think I would also write on heavier topics in the future which will need more preparation. Some topics I kept in draft mode as I was not satisfied with it, and some I choose not to post due to these topics may be controversial or may be offensive to some. Maybe in the future I would feel comfortable to post those topics, but I am not quite there yet.
However, I do believe that you should write on what your interest are and not solely to get more readers, unless of course, you are doing it for income. The best scenario is that the blogging interests coincides with a need from the population of readers and hence you have the potential to get paid for something you enjoy writing about. At the same time, it would be good to write on topics that can benefit the readers and add value to them.
Another thing I’ve learned during this time is that I tend to be quite long-winded when I write and can go on and on as though I am narrating in my own head. Occasionally I can go off-topic, and lack punctuation, and become too wordy. One tip my husband gave me was to put in more photos and to create a break in between each paragraph. So, I am working on these to improve my writing.
4. Can my blog generate an audience ( Do people actually read my written blog posts?)
Some limitations on this due to I am on very limited social media platforms, and I just bought a domain name and am self hosting, which may have lower SEO (Search engine optimization) from Google compared to if I used a paid hosting service by WordPress. What I can see from my site analytics is that my readers are mainly from Facebook and some readers from the WordPress blogging community and occasionally from searches from Google. The majority of my readers found my blog from my posts on Facebook and very few are from Instagram, which I recently joined a few weeks ago.
A quick check online and I found a past survey was done here in this link and below are the top 5 ranked social networks in Malaysia (as of Q3 2018):
- Facebook – 23M users
- YouTube – 20M users
- Instagram – 11M users
- LinkedIn – 4.4M users
- Twitter – 2.2M users
So, although I am mainly using Facebook to notify of new blog posts, since it is the most popular social media network in Malaysia, and I do get some new readers now and again outside my social circle. However, my social circle is pretty small so my posts on Facebook are only seen by a limited group of readers.
5. Understanding who are my blog’s audience and what are the popular topics in this circle of readers
Continuing from point 4, after blogging for a month I’ve gotten a feel of what are the more popular topics in my circle of readers. Would you like to know which topics get the most views? Its topics on food, parenting, and one article I wrote a month back on why I decided to blog entitled Why Writing (5 reasons). My written articles on life experiences, perspectives, finances, motherhood, and short stories do not get as many views. But I enjoy writing those topics so I will keep writing based on my interest, and hope that it benefits some of you or give you some form of entertainment, and maybe new insight on these topics.
6. Do I want to continue Writing
There is no income generated for my blog at the moment. It is a platform for expressing ideas and thoughts, and to grow a skill. But it does take effort and time to create satisfactory content. This is an important question to ask myself, that after a month of consistent blogging, do I find joy ( not the Marie Kondo type) in writing and would I choose to continue? The answer is YES, for sure. I still enjoy writing and the learning curve that comes with blogging.
That’s it. If any of you are seasoned bloggers, do leave some comments or comment on what motivates you to write and how I can improve further. Thanks for reading.