Questions at WordCamp: Is it Hard for You to Keep Blogging?

Last year, while at WordCamp, I was posting live coverage of the event for the Blog Herald. This year, I’m here representing b5media along with most of the tech team and Jeremy Wright, our CEO. Good times.

I figured I’d post about WordCamp again but I just don’t find any inspiration in giving you the blow by blow. I’m guessing you really don’t care, right? If you’re not here, you probably won’t really catch the groove.

Instead, I will post questions people have asked me while chatting here at WordCamp. If you are here, please say hi and feel free to ask a question. I may answer it here on the blog.

Q: Do you find it difficult to find inspiration to write posts regularly?

When I first got started blogging, I fell prey to the prison that most bloggers do. That prison is that you must produce content to stay relevant, have traffic and move up in the rankings. In other words, you must produce if you’re going to be successful.

While this is true to a degree, it really is something that bloggers as a whole have to get away from. In the past few weeks, I can count on one hand how many posts I’ve written. In that time, my RSS subscription numbers have jumped from approximately 680 subscribers to 750. Go figure. Why?

I boil this down to a number of factors that I have very explicitly tried to do here at Technosailor.

  1. Produce great content optimized for search engines. Recognizing that many people come from Google, I’ve made a point to think proactively about what kind of searches I’d like to have drive traffic to posts and then making sure I follow good practices in ensuring my posts ranks well. This means using keywords, great markup, etc. While this post won’t address SEO for blogs, you can find lots of great advice from folks like Aaron Wall and the people over at SEOMoz.
  2. Produce timeless content. This is a problem for newsy blogs or political blogs or current events blogs of any time. At Technosailor, I’ve spent more time trying to create content that, despite a timestamp, is relevant 3 years from now as it is today.
  3. Cultivating RSS subscribers. With premium content recently – that is, content that I only offer to my feed subscribers – and otther techniques, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to cultivate RSS subscriptions. RSS subscribers never have to deal with the frustration of clicking over to a site and being disappointed when no new content is available. It’s somewhat like watching paint dry. Why watch? Just get the content when it becomes available automatically. RSS subscribers get the benefit of carrying on doing their own thing and getting the content whenever I decide to write. It’s so much more low maintenance.

These are just three techniques I’ve used to build traffic without having to feel the chains that hinder bloggers. Bloggers feel like they have to keep producing, and producing, and producing. That’s a good way to get blogger burnout. If great content is produced that is optimized for search engines, timeless and you move your readers away from the constraints of “checking out your site” and instead consuming your content via RSS or newsletters, you’ll find a tremendous amount of freedom from the constraints of being a content production slave.

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Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

5 thoughts on “Questions at WordCamp: Is it Hard for You to Keep Blogging?”

  1. Hi Aaron,

    I was doing a little summary of the blogsearch ranking factors for my site’s SEO FAQ section (including links to the article on it at Problogger and to Bill Slawski’s analysis at SEO by the Sea). One of the things the patent says is that it might penalize sites for having different RSS than what’s on their blog content. This because the indexing of blogs for blogsearch goes through RSS and thus you could cloak your spammy blog by just showing different stuff in the RSS. The point being that there can be penalties for having a different feed and blog content

    Now, while I doubt as trustworthy and well SEO-ed (nice redesign and text navigation by the way) a site as Technosailor could get hit for that, do you think it’s advidable for smaller, lesser known blogs to do that? On a related note, could you try and pass the question on to Matt Cutts? I figure someone as well known as you has an in or two…

    Regards,
    Gabriel Goldenberg
    p.s. Let me know what you think of my blogsearch ranking factors summary and analysis.

  2. I was posting away (http://wordcamp.info), but I did find my other blogs (http://www.litwc.com) where somewhat neglected. I ended up doing a couple blogs via cell phone… that where lighter in content then usual.

    That said, I think one of the reasons I’m still posting somewhat strong on my main blog, but again as I’ll always say. I post about nothing specific. A person may love the topic he writes about, but hits a dry spot. I write a wine review blog. I noticed I had a bit over a month break in posts (usually posts about weekly). The reason? I had been drinking more beer. I couldn’t of filled the dead point with meaningless posts and expected my readers (what few there are) to go ok… I don’t mind. In the same way… I can go all over on my main blog, and I get replies back saying they love the variety.

    My point? If you find a dry spell, fill it with relevant content. Revisit and old idea/post. Does it still work, do you need to correct yourself. Do a follow up post. Or mention a parallel topic, that may still interest your readers, but it may not be exactly locked in on your main topic (but make sure you mention how it is similar unless you are doing a Lorelle).

  3. I’m trying to learn what search engines are looking for . . . you’re right . . . trying to produce high quality content and then being disappointed with 12 – 15 visitors a day can get frustrating . . . that’s why having a long term view is necessary, too.

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