This isn’t the first blog I’ve run. It’s not even the first blog I’ve run at this URL. From about 2002 until 2007 – the golden age of blogging – I ran another blog on this site. It did reasonably well at the time. And I can tell you firsthand, a lot has changed since then. As I mentioned yesterday, in many ways, building your blog up is much harder than it used to be.
But in many ways, it’s also far easier than it used to be.
To put it bluntly, the blogging software back in the “golden age” sucked compared to today. Find today’s worst blogging platform and compare it to the best tools available in 2003 and you’ll see what I mean. Heck, the first version of a “blog” that I ran at this URL used software I wrote myself. Believe me, that software wasn’t very user friendly at all. At some point I switched over to B2Evolution, which was a huge improvement. WordPress came out around that time, and it was pretty decent, too. I liked B2Evo a lot better at the time. But today’s WordPress kicks its butt. The level of customizability, the number of themes out there, and the plugins available all far surpass what we had back in the day. And most of them are free.
We also didn’t have tools like Google Analytics or Google Webmasters, both of which are now indispensable. The best we had back then was the old fashioned “TTLB Ecosystem” and Google’s “submit your site” tool. Alexa came along a little bit later, but it’s always been less than perfect and seems today to actually be worse than it was then. You could get the Google toolbar and check your PageRank status, but that was always of mixed value.
And social media? MySpace was garbage right from the beginning. Facebook and Twitter didn’t even exist until 2004 and 2006 respectively, and it took a few years for each of them to really get big. Today, I get more than half of my blog traffic from social media – and I’m working to learn that world even better and increase that. As an example, yesterday’s post about the difficulties of today got shared by Mike Cernovich on Twitter this morning. I got an entire day’s worth of traffic in 15 minutes. Make friends with influencers on social media!
Want to really make use of that e-mail list you’ve built? MailChimp is phenomenal – and they have a free plan that’s just fine if you’re just getting started. Want to automate your social media? Check out HootSuite – again, the free plan will be plenty for many users.
Want to improve the performance on your blog? Get the caching plugins, and boom it’s done. No more spending days messing with your server’s configuration. Want your own server instead of the free blog-only solutions? Hosting solutions are cheap these days. I pay $98 per year through OpenSourceHost.com, and I run four web sites off of that! Want to pay for a killer site design? If you’ve got the cash, there are plenty of folks who will do it for you.
All the things I wrote yesterday are true. But on balance, building your blog is easier today than it’s ever been. You just have to adapt to the times. Keep reading. Stay current on what’s out there. Use tools to make your life easier. Learn to play the social media game. And keep on blogging.
- Social Media is Your Short Game
- Blogging is Your Long Game
- Building Your Blog Is Harder Than It Used To Be
- Why Blogging Works – Inbound Links
- Automate Your Social Media